We all know about leprechauns, the little tricksters that you have to catch in order to get their treasure of three wishes. A lot of mythology goes into the traditions that people have come to know for holidays like St. Patrick’s Day. The topic of traditions on St. Patrick’s Day is already being covered by another blogger so this blog is to explore other creatures from Irish mythology.
Mythology is expansive and many cultures have different versions of their dragons, vampires, werewolves and more. While each culture has their most notable monsters, the variations can be vast even within one mythology. Such as Irish folklore and creatures – There is a creature called a Clurichaun, which is the happy cousin of a leprechaun that few are aware of. It was rumored that many couldn’t tell the difference between these types of fairy so they’d often call both Leprechauns. Clurichaun looks like a leprechaun only he goes out at night time when his chores are done in order to enjoy his spoils.
There are other creatures you may recognize and others that may be interesting to learn about:
Banshee – Simply a female spirit who has white hair and can be seen roaming around while wailing at the top of her lungs. She is a sign of death within a family. Depending on the legend, she can also be the spirit of a woman who was wronged and gives out warnings to others.
Changelings – They are believed to be children left in place of a human child by fairies that wanted to keep the child. The legends involve the changeling being the child of an elf or other creatures and not just fairies.
Dearg-Dur – They are a type of Irish vampire. These vampires take the image of a young woman that lingers in graveyards and then steals the life of her victims.
Faoladh – Irish werewolves are actually supposed to be protectors of children. They are non-hostile and also watch over wounded men.
Púca – A spirit that can shape shift into forms such as black horses, hares, and goats. They are Celtic mythology based and can bring different types of fortune to someone. They can also become human but have animal attributes to their body such as a tail or ears.
Salmon of Knowledge – A much sought after fish that held the wisdom of everything within it. It comes with a legend that a man named Fionn cooked in (after he was told not to) and tested the fish to see if it was cooked. He burned his finger and brought it to his lips, gaining the knowledge the salmon had to offer in that one small drop of fat.
Selkies – Both male and female versions exist with the form of a seal in the water and a human form that is beautiful upon land. They are known throughout Scottish and Faroese folklore as well as Ireland. The Selkie sheds its animal skin once it is on land and often interact with humans whether through their skin being stolen or wanting to find a wife.
Of course this doesn’t cover the vast variety of creatures that existed within folklore. Still, the imagination can run wild with this information. To learn more, come visit the library and check out our Display Shelf – An Irish Blessing. Maybe some of those blessings will keep a banshee or changeling from haunting your step. Don’t forget to check out our blog site for information on St. Patrick’s Day! Or take a peak at our Pinterest board about St. Patrick’s Day.