Irish Folklore & History

History of Ireland

During the Middle Stone Age around 10,000 B.C. the first settlers crossed a land bridge from Scotland to what is now Ireland and were mainly hunters. Around 3,000 B.C. the New Stone-age colonists who were mainly farmers arrived . In 2,000 B.C. prospectors discovered metal deposits. Pottery and jewelery were made during this time period. The Celts began arriving in Ireland around 600 B.C. and were from the Indo-European culture. It was not long before the Celts dominated the earlier settlers of Ireland. Around 200 B.C. a Celtic culture from La Tene civilization arrived. The only way the country was unified was through language and culture. There were 150 miniature kingdoms. Each kingdom was known as a “tuath” and ruled by a minor king who was ruled by another king that ruled a group of “tuath”.

Legend of the leprechaun

Leipreachan is the Irish spelling for leprechaun and defined as pigmy or spirit. They are considered to be mischievous and generally appear as an old man wearing either a red or green coat. According to folklore if a person captures a leprechaun he/she is granted three wishes for which the person must release the leprechaun. The leprechaun works at making shoes and hoards all of his gold generally in a large pot at the end of the rainbow. Their appearance varies from one area to another, some wear jackets with seven rows of buttons containing seven buttons in each row. Some jackets are laced in gold. Leprechauns are not very tall usually described as being about three feet tall. Clurichaun and far darrig are related to leprechauns by the idea that they are solitary creatures. Although some people believe that a clurichaun is actually a leprechaun on a drinking spree.

Banshee

The banshee is usually described as being a woman who is evil. She is seen by some as an old woman with pointed sharp teeth, long fingernails, dirty hair, blood red eyes and wearing rags. Some people say a banshee will stalk a person continually wailing and screaming at them until they either die or go insane. Hollywood has portrayed the banshee as the taker of life in some violent way. In Ireland is generally believed that she is the bearer of news that a death is about to occur within a family and they do seem to attach themselves to a particular family. It is also believed that the banshee is only there to escort the departed safely to the other side.