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Ireland’s mythical past: 5 of the most magical stories listed

Image by Pete from Pixabay

As people across the world begin to celebrate the joy of being Irish with St Patrick’s Day on the horizon. The Circular takes you back in time to a mythical, magical country before St Patrick had even stepped foot on the Emerald Isle, a country that held strong traditions and superstitions commonly now known as Irish folklore. We count down our 5 favorite stories, traditions, and superstitions that were held. 

Image by GrumpyBeere from Pixabay

1.Belief in Fairies

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Leprechauns, Pookas Sealkies (Seal-Folk) Merrows (Mer-People), and of course the feared Banshee were all mythical fairies that the Irish once believed in. The Irish believed that there was a separate dimension and not the Marvel Universe kind called the underworld. A supernatural realm in which all these creatures lived. Disturbing these creatures and the underworld were at your peril.

2. Holy Wells

Pre-Christian Irish would have been identified as Celts. According to historians the Celts held many magical beliefs. The Celts believed in the ability of natural springs, Natural springs had magical healing abilities when you drank from it. The Celts believed that these springs were a sacred place where the underworld met our world and should not be disturbed. Eventually, Christianity arrived in Ireland and these springs became known as holy wells people can still visit these wells today all across Ireland including St Brigid well in county Kildare.

3. Fairy Trees

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Fairy trees usually hawthorn trees can still be found in Ireland today including locations like the Hill of Tara in county Meath, and Knockainy in Co.Limerick even Marley Park in Co.Dublin has a magical fairy tree. Fairy trees are extremely recognizable as they are usually located in the middle of a field. Trees like this usually remain untouched as the Irish people at the time had a fear of cutting them down in worry they might disturb the underworld and be garnered with generational bad luck.

4. Bullaun Stones

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Bullaun Stones are an ancient stone that held a lot of power to Celtic people. Bullaun stones are an incredibly rare stone that is said to have held magical powers in creating a blessing or a curse. if a person had a Bullaun stone and had a blessing or a curse they could place it by holding a Bullaun stone and simply speak to this seemingly magical stone. Imagine the Irish rugby team had this stone for the Rugby World Cup last year.

5. Halloween

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Halloween nowadays is a global phenomenon that is celebrated across the world by kids, adults, and everything in between. Everyone who enjoys Halloween has the opportunity to dress up in spooky costumes and masks. Irish folklore would consider this day the day when the souls of the dead would roam free after dark. Halloween or Samhain for what it was called back then the Irish word for Halloween, was considered the end of the harvest season and the start of winter this time held a lot of fear for Irish people considering the darkness and the possibility of failing agriculture. Celtic Irish people used Bonfires lanterns and masks to protect themselves from the roaming ghosts they feared would be circling the world on this day. Interestingly enough these traditions are still practiced thankfully we do not need to protect ourselves from ghosts anymore or do we?

If you are still intrigued why not check out Blindboy’s interview with Irish Folklore expert Eddie Lenihan on Spotify

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