Every nation, religion and culture boasts tales of folklore, myth and legend, featuring the heroes or our past, creating a human narrative and shaping our world view. These are the stories that our communities have grown up with for centuries, millennia even, and are sewn into the very fabric of our human story. Ireland, like many nations, boasts a huge number of fascinating legends, many of which were borne from the ancient Celtic and Druid communities. Here are the five big Irish legends that you need to know.
1. The Leprechaun
The most well-known sprite of Irish folklore, this mischievous little green-clad man has come to represent the nation in many ways. These tall male fairies were said to collect gold and store it at the end of the rainbow. It was also thought that by capturing a leprechaun, you will be granted three wishes for his safe release!
Whilst fairies appear in most Western folklore, the Irish Faerie is a unique thing. Beautiful, powerful, mystical and able to take any form she wishes, this temptress of a faerie brings bad luck and is in fact, best avoided.
3. Finn MacCool
The legend of Finn MacCool, a mythological warrior, is certainly one of Ireland’s more unusual myths. The story goes that Finn ate a knowledgeable salmon which gave him all the wisdom of the world. Now, if only that were possible!
4. The Shamrock
The humble clover is probably the most familiar motif of Irish folklore. Both Celtics and Druids saw clovers as sacred plants, thought to ward off bad spirits. The three leaves are also thought to represent the Holy Trinity. Shamrock socks, jewellery or even a mug can make an excellent patriotic gift for a loved one. These are just some of the great St Patricks Day gifts found at https://www.shamrockgift.com/st-patricks-day.
5. St Patrick
We couldn’t possibly not mention St Patrick himself, the patron saint of Ireland. Contrary to popular belief he did not dispose of all of Ireland’s snakes, but was in fact a British man who helped convert the Irish to Christianity in the 5th century. The snakes of course were a metaphor for the pagan beliefs and barbaric ways of the time.
There you have it, the five biggest Irish legends that you needed to know!