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Wonder of Ireland - Week 4 - Discussion

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(First of all, sorry for this being so late. I'm dealing with some real life stuff.)


Irish folklore and mythology are truly the stuff of legends and some of it has spread far from the Emerald Coast. I think one of the first things that any of us can think of is Leprechauns, which have been in horror movies, Disney movies, video games, and even cereal. Ate any Lucky Charms recently?


However, they are greatly changed from some of their original tales. For starters, they wore red jackets typically, very sharp suits, and would actually be seen as cobblers, though why depends. Some tales claim they just liked to work on shoes, others say they  often wore out their shoes and had to fix them constantly. And they're not even a super common creature of Ireland, only coming around in later myths. They would promise you wealth if you managed to catch one, but this is one time silver  is better, at least according to one myth I found. If you took the silver shilling, it was enchanted to always return to your pouch. But if you took the gold, beware, the gold would turn to ashes or leaves.


Now it's your turn to share a story or a folktale from Ireland that you enjoy. 

Reply in 100 or more words for a chance to earn 15 diamonds. You can earn a second set of diamonds for a second post, as long as it's another 100 words, either in reply to another post or reviewing another story or folktale.


Make sure to post by February 28th by 11:59 pm HOL time.


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Oh, I want to mention the pooka. Although the Harry Potter books give reference to this kind of entity, I'm not entirely in agreement with JK Rowling!  I first encountered Pookas in the movie Harvey, with Jimmy Stewart. I found that Harvey (which is the name of the entity as given him by Elwood P. Dowd) is gentle, engaging, imaginative and very caring. He's also capable of protection of that which he loves. It's a funny thing; when I first watched the movie, when Elwood P. Dowd walks away from the camera, he has his arm over Harvey (who is invisible). The second time I saw the movie, at the end, I thought 'oh, they changed the ending!', because there was Harvey, walking with Elwood P. Dowd!  I SAW it.  Then when I viewed the movie a third time .... no Harvey.  :o   Strange


Harvey  movie clip
Marvin Wilson, sanitarium orderly: [Reading from a dictionary] "P-O-O-K-A. Pooka. From old Celtic mythology, a fairy spirit in animal form, always very large. The pooka appears here and there, now and then, to this one and that one. A benign but mischievous creature. Very fond of rumpots, crackpots, and how are you, Mr. Wilson?" [Inverts and shakes the dictionary] "How are you, Mr. Wilson?" Who in the encyclopedia wants to know?"
"You see, science has overcome time and space. Well, Harvey has overcome not only time and space — but any objections."


One online source for information can be found here .


Another source online, when searching for Pooka, show this:

The Púca (Irish for spirit/ghost), Pooka, Phouka, Phooka, Phooca, Puca or Púka, is primarily a creature of Irish folklore. Considered to be bringers both of good and bad fortune, they could either help or hinder rural and marine communities. The creatures were said to be shape changers which could take the appearance of black horses, goats and rabbits. They may also take a human form, which includes various animal features, such as ears or a tail.

The púca has counterparts throughout the Celtic cultures of Northwest Europe. For instance, in Welsh mythology it is named the pwca and in Cornish the Bucca. In the Channel Islands, the pouque were said to be fairies who lived near ancient stones; in Channel Island French a cromlech is referred to as a pouquelée or pouquelay(e); poulpiquet and polpegan are corresponding terms in Brittany.



Yet more information can be found here .

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One of my favorite Irish legends is the Children of Lir.  Summarizing it would not do it justice, so I have taken the liberty of posting the whole tale,



When the children did not return home that evening, the king went to look for them beside the lake. But all he saw were four beautiful swans. To his amazement one of the swans call out. It was Fionnula. She told him what Aoife had done to them. Lir returned to his castle and pleaded with Aoife to reverse the spell, but Aoife refused. Lir became very angry and banished her from his kingdom. Lir spend all his time beside the lake talking to his children and listening to their singing. When Lir grew old and died the children were very sad. 


After three hundred years had passed they moved to the sea of Moyle between Ireland and Scotland. It was very cold and stormy on the sea. When the time came they flew to Inis Glora, by now the swans had grown old and tired. Life was easier on the island, it was warmer and there was lots of food. Then one morning they heard the sound they had been waiting for. It was the sound of a Christian church bell. They swam to shore. Outside the church where the bells were ringing was a monk named Caomhog. He was stunned when he saw the four swans turn into four old people in front of him. Fionnuala put her arms around her brothers, they were so happy to be human again. They were now 900 years old. Caomhog listened to their sad story and baptised them, soon after they died of old age. He buried them in one grave. That he dreamt that he saw four children flying up through the clouds. He knew that the children of Lir were now with their father and mother.


I’m not even sure why, but this story has always touched me deeply.

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The story of the Salmon of Knowledge is one of my favourites that involves Fionn Mac Cumhaill.


It all begins when a young Fionn is sent to be an apprentice with a celebrated poet named Finnegas.

It’s during his time with Finnegas that Fionn learns of a magical fish that holds the knowledge of the world. According to the poet, the person who eats the fish will inherit all of its knowledge.

One day, while the pair were sat on the banks of the River Boyne, the poet caught a glimpse of the salmon and, without hesitating, he dived into the water and caught it. 


He asked Fionn to cook it for him, but under no circumstances was he to eat it. Fionn agreed and went about cooking the Salmon. After a couple of minutes, Fionn turned the salmon and burned his thumb on the searing flesh.

Without thinking, he stuck his thumb into his mouth to ease the pain. He instantly realised his mistake.

The poet returned and he knew by the look on Fionn’s face that something was wrong. You can read the full tale in our guide to the mighty Salmon of Knowledge.

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The story of the Banshee terrified me as a child. My dad used to say that there was one living down my Nan’s back garden, and I’d always be nervous about seeing it.


Now, depending on who you speak to, Banshees (a terrifying Irish mythological creature!) take on different forms. Some say that it’s a spirit, others describe it as a fairy, of sorts. I’ve also heard it described as a ragged old woman with wild hair.


The scream of a Banshee is believed to be an omen of death. According to legend, if a person hears the scream ring out, one of their family is set to pass away shortly.


But are Banshees real? Well, there’s definitely a very clear link behind this myth and reality, and it comes in the form of the ‘Keening Woman’. Learn the full tale in our guide to the Banshee.

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The Cattle Raid of Cooley (AKA the Tain Bo Cuailnge) is one of the best-known stories that involves the warrior Cu Chulainn. The story begins with Queen Medb and an argument with her husband over who was wealthier.

Each had their servants pile up their riches in two piles side-by-side. It became immediately evident that the one thing Medb’s husband had that she didn’t was a champion bull.


Medb knew of only one bull in Ireland that would help her pip her husband. That very day she sent a servant to meet the owner and offer him great riches in exchange for a loan of the bull.


He was about to agree when he overheard one of Medb’s servants state that they’d have stolen the bull if the man turned them down. He was infuriated and he denied Medb’s request.


Medb was enraged and a battle began. However, this was no ordinary battle, oh no – on one side, there was Medb and hundreds of men. On the other, there was a young boy named Cu Chulainn. Read the full story in our guide to the Tain.

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The Puca is a mischievous little creature that’s often misunderstood as evil. Yes, the Puca can cause trouble and strife, but its interactions with humans have never lead to injury or death.


The Puca is one of many shape-shifters in Irish mythology and it has the ability to change its appearance with ease. Known to frequent quiet corners of rural Ireland, the Puca can bring either good or bad fortune.

One of the stories about the Puca that tends to be told quite a bit is how it takes on the appearance of a horse and waits outside pubs for people that have had one drink too many.


The Puca horse offers the person a lift home and, when they climb aboard, it takes them on a wild ride home, jumping over trees and through bushes, terrifying the person. Find out more about its tricky ways in our guide to the Puca.

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