Celtic Myth & legend

Irish American Halloween in South Jersey

One of the defining moments in my recalling the joys of childhood is Halloween. As I write this I am transported back into time as I recollect the excitement of the evening.

We rushed home from school on that magical day at the end of October to prepare our costumes and position ourselves, giddy with anticipation, at the front door awaiting sundown and then we were off on a night of mystery and enchantment.  As darkness fell we began our journey through the dimly lit streets. 

Festival of Samhain

Beltane Bonfire

The ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain (Halloween) was the start of the Celtic New Year. This is when the Druids lit bonfires marking a period of great danger to mortal souls. The bonfires were a warning that the laws of nature were suspended and the barriers between the natural order of things and the Celtic Underworld were dissolved, when the Underworld became visible to the living and the Fairies and the Dead would come forth.

The Children of Lir

The Children of Lir, Gardens of Remembrance, Dublin

Visitors to the Gardens of Remembrance (An Gairdín Cuimhneacháin) in Dublin are presented with the impressive sculpture by Oisin Kelly, the ‘Children of Lir’. This Irish Legend tells of the Clann Lir and the story is recounted in one of the cycles of Irish mythology. The Mythological Cycle looks at the Tuatha Dé Danann a magical race of people who came to Ireland from four Cities in the north. Lebor Gabála Érenn (The Book of Invasions) compiled in the 11th Century tells how they arrived in 'dark clouds'. These people were attributed with supernatural powers and Lir was a Sea God and father of the legendary Manannán mac Lir.

Fand, Queen of the Fairies

Fand is a Celtic sea goddess also known as Queen of the Fairies and wife of Manannán. Manannán mac Lir is a sea deity and referred to as the first ruler of the Manx Nation and very closely linked with the Isle of Man. He is usually associated with the Tuatha Dé Danann. The Tuatha Dé Danann is a race of Celtic people with supernatural abilities. They arrived in Ireland from four cities 'in the north' (thought to be Norway) where they learned their supernatural skills.

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