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Meandering Through the Past

On the History of Ireland

History of Irish Myths

Well this author was thoroughly impressed to discover that Ireland has a rather rich historic mythological background. I also suspect that it wouldn’t be considered “myth” had Christian monks not been the ones recording everything. The fact that they are of a tradition, caused me to hesitate, but then again, if it had been my own tradition doing the recording, then, maybe I wouldn’t feel that way. This will mark the beginning of a series of articles studying the different periods of the history of Ireland. If you would like to read about the history of your own tradition please feel free to email me the suggestion.

The monks of the time listened to elders telling their families of the history. As they recorded what they heard, they intended to entertain the royals and thus decided to tweak the stories just a bit to a Christian lean.  They did this by removing the divinity of key players and rewrote epic events into simple tales. Despite this discovery there are a couple of manuscripts we can look back and read such as The Book of Invasions. With that in mind, let’s go back in time, and visit what the history of Ireland may have entailed.

Apparently there are four different historical cycles. The first historic cycle is called the Mythological cycle. This period of time is specifically called the Mythological cycle because it deals with many “Otherworld” type beings. The monks couldn’t exactly say these beings are completely real, and their tales true, because of their own tradition. I suspect this is one of the areas where they changed the characters from glorious powerful players, to regular human beings. This is also considered the time of the Invasions.

It is this time period where we learn about all the different types of beings that tried to rule the island. I found it extremely interesting to learn that the Partholonians were considered the first inhabitants of Ireland. This group landed on Beltaine, fought with the next group to try to rule and were said to be wiped out by a plague.

The next group to attempt to rule Ireland, were called the Nemedians, also said to have lived on Ireland for many years. They fought with the Partholonians who fought with the Fomhoire’. The Nemedians were also killed by the plague, and any left living were defeated and run off by the Fomhoire‘.

The Fomhoire’ were next and means “come from the sea.” These creatures were said to haave come from the “evil or dark fairy” race and were terribly misshapen. They were said to be the gods of death and cold. These creatures were said to be worshiped by the Fir Bholg or Men of Bags. The Men of Bags were also known as the men of the Goddess Domnu, a Goddess I hadn’t heard of before. Though they lived and worshiped the Fomhoire’ The Tuatha De’ Danann defeated them in battle and took over Ireland at that time.

The Tuatha De’ Danann were considered the race of the gods of the goddess Danu. They rules the powers of Light, life and warmth. According to the Book of Invasions this race came upon Ireland by surprise inside clouds. From the cities they settled in after battling the Fomhoire’ many sacred objects were said to have been created. The stone of Destiny, The Spear of Lugh, as well as the Sword of Naudhu, and the Dagda’s Cauldron. The Dagda being the God to Danu’s Goddess.

The Tuatha De’ Danann were defeated by the Milesians the first human ancestors of Ireland. Here the book of Invasions states that an agreement was reached between these two forces. The humans would get to rule the upper regions of Earth and the Tuatha the lower regions or underground. This is where the name Sidhe came from, eventually dwindling to the name of the Faerie Folk.

Source: http://www.sacredfire.net/peoples.html#Partholonians

In next months article we will study the second period called Fenian Cycle.