Mythical Ireland Blog | Myths & Legends

Dagda had two mounds - Newgrange and Mound B

Dagda Mór, the supreme deity of the Tuatha Dé Danann, was said to have been the one who built and owned Síd in Broga (Newgrange). He was later tricked out of ownership of Newgrange by his son, Oengus Óg. Afterwards, he retired to another, smaller mound. Here, I discuss which one he went to.

 

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The night stretches – Lughnasa brings a noticeable shortening of the days

The festival of Lughnasa, marking the beginning of the harvest and the end of summer, might well be a prehistoric celebration. One of the most noticeable aspects of this time of year is the noticeable contraction of the days, and the lengthening of night.

 

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The Meaning of Myth – Fintan mac Bóchra, the hawk and the flood

In a brand new episode of The Meaning of Myth, Anthony Murphy and Treacy O'Connor discuss the symbol of the hawk from Irish mythology, and how the myth of Fintan mac Bóchra inspired the novel The Cry of the Sebac.

 

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Tuatha Dé Danann - their origins in the old manuscripts

The Tuatha Dé Danann are the early gods of Ireland, associated with the great sídhe or passage-mounds of Brú na Bóinne. There is some debate about their original name, whether it was Tuatha Dé Danann or just Tuatha Dé, and attempts have been made to link them with the Tribe of Dan, one of the 12 tribes of Israel. Anthony Murphy briefly investigates.

 

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The Song of Wandering Aengus by W. B. Yeats

The late Irish poet William Butler Yeats needs no introduction. He is probably Ireland's most famous poet, and is acknowledged as a significant figure in literary modernism and twentieth-century European letters. Here, I look at one of his poems (and one of my favourites), the Song of Wandering Aengus, and examine briefly some of its mythical and symbolic importance.

 

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Saint Patrick was married - his wife was Sheelah and her day was celebrated on March 18th

While the whole population of Ireland and people of Irish descent around the world celebrate Saint Patrick's Day this coming Saturday, not many people will know that the day after, March 18th, is dedicated to Patrick's wife, Sheelah. Yes, Saint Patrick was married, according to tradition!

 

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How Newgrange became known as Brug Mac Ind Oc

Newgrange was, in the early stories, known as Síd in Broga and Brug na Bóinne. It later became known as Brug Mac Ind Óc after its owner, Dagda, the chief of the Tuatha Dé Danann, was tricked out of ownership by his son.

 

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Lugh na Bua – Lugh the Deliverer – a wonderful new book

A new book retells an ancient myth about how the great god Lugh of the Tuatha Dé Danann defeated the Fomorian king, Balor of the Evil Eye. The story is beautifully retold from versions of the tale told in County Donegal.

 

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The Celtic Imagination and A.E.'s 'Kingdom of Light'

The following is taken from a chapter of Candle of Vision by A.E. (George William Russell), published in 1918. The chapter is called The Celtic Imagination.To one who lay on the mound which is called the Brugh on the Boyne a form like that the bards speak of Angus appeared, and it cried: "Can you not see me? Can you not hear me? I come from the Land of Immortal Youth."

 

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Buí, the smiling hag of Knowth, perhaps?

Many people look for meaning in the symbols carved in stone at the great monuments of the Boyne. Sometimes the most facile examination (and perhaps the most puerile too!) is to indulge in pareidolia. When I took this image at Knowth/Cnogba today, I was conscious of the image of the Cailleach, having been reading about her quite a lot lately. I will quote the lovely words of the late Patricia Monaghan, whose book 'The Red-Haired Girl From the Bog' I am currently reading:"Rock is the hag's prime element, her stony spine.... Cailleach time moves form moon to moon, harvest to harvest. It is pagan time, rooted in the eternal return rather than the once-off redemption."

 

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