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Fairies & Folklore

Fairies & Folklore

14th Mar 2018

We have just received an email from the fairy king who was the leader of the fairy village in St. Fiachras garden last year. He asks would it be ok for the fairies to return in March this year. We have replied saying that they would be most welcome and that we will have everything ready. Come and explore the fairy trail with us!!! 

Mythological creatures such as fairies feature strongly throughout Irish history and we are delighted to make these little people welcome at the Irish national stud & Gardens.

In Ireland our association with the little people or ‘Sidhe’ as they’re called in Irish, dates back to the dim past when battles raged at different times between various tribes like the Nemedians, Milesians, Fir bolg and Tuatha de Danann.

According to legend, when the Milesians defeated the Tuatha de Danann, it was agreed that the tribes would divide the land equally between them; the over ground portion going to the Milesians and the underworld to the Tuatha de Danann. [They also got a small portion of land over ground in the west of Ireland known as ‘Tir na nOg’.]

So, the ‘Sidhe’ are the descendants of the Tuatha de Danann.

Irish fairies are said to be the tallest and most handsome fairies in Europe and generally, if in contact with humans, they give protection and have healing abilities.

They usually stay hidden unless angered by something silly that humans do. For example; if a fairy tree or path is damaged in any way, the fairies will put a curse on the human responsible for the damage.

 There are 3 important species of fairy trees in Ireland;

Oak  Dair ghaelach

Ash  Fuinseog

Hawthorn  Sceach geal

Of these, we’re probably most familiar with the Hawthorn or ‘May blossom’ and we all know that to disturb a lone Hawthorn in a field is to bring bad luck.

In fact, there’s many a road and even one motorway that I know of, which has been re-routed to avoid disturbing a fairy Hawthorn tree, such is its power.

If you come across all three species together then this is said to be the ‘Magical fairy tree triad’ and seemingly this sighting will bring a lot of good luck and possibly even a chance to see the fairies themselves…………. so look out for all three in St. Fiacras Garden.

One of our most illustrious Irish writers; W.B. Yeats, had a fascination with fairies.

In the poem ‘The stolen Child’, he depicts the fairy world as being an idyllic escape from troubled human existence;-

‘Come away, O human child!

 

To the waters and the wild

 

With a faery, hand in hand,

 

For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.’

 

Also, in the poem ‘The song of Wandering Aengus’, (Aengus was said to be one of the Tuatha de Danann), we find a trout magically changing into a beautiful girl.

You need to read the whole poem this time to appreciate the sentiment and pay homage to the fairies !

 

‘I went out to the hazel wood,

Because a fire was in my head,

And cut and peeled a hazel wand,

And hooked a berry to a thread;

And when white moths were on the wing,

And moth-like stars were flickering out,

I dropped the berry in a stream

And caught a little silver trout.

 

When I had laid it on the floor

I went to blow the fire a-flame,

But something rustled on the floor,

And someone called me by my name:

It had become a glimmering girl

With apple blossom in her hair

Who called me by my name and ran

And faded through the brightening air.

 

Though I am old with wandering

Through hollow lands and hilly lands,

I will find out where she has gone,

And kiss her lips and take her hands;

And walk among long dappled grass,

And pluck till time and times are done,

The silver apples of the moon,

The golden apples of the sun.’

 

 

Oh, and one last thing;

Don’t forget………..

 

Every time a child says; ‘I don’t believe in Fairies’, there is a fairy somewhere that falls down dead………….James Matthew Barry, Peter Pan

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