Tuatha de Danann, Milesians, Sidhe, Danu, Firbolg, Fomorians,


The Daoine Sidhe were the divine folk of Old Irish folklore. After the Tuatha Dé Danann were defeated by the Milesians (Gaels), those members who decided to stay in Ireland formed the Daoine Sidhe. They live in hollow mounds, hence the name sidhe which literally means "people of the (fairy) mounds". In Connaught they are ruled by Finnbheara, who holds court beneath the fairy hill of Knockma. His wife is the fair Oonagh. In Munster, there are three fairy queens: Cliodna, Aine (said to be the mother of Earl Gerald, who sleeps under the castle of Mullaghmast), and Aoibhill.

The Daoine Sidhe are fond of battles, hurling (a kind of field hockey) and are skilled chess players. Many a mortal challenged Finvarra to a game and lost all his possessions, for the king has never been beaten. These fairies are small and this is responsible for the name of daoine beaga, "little folk". They may ride out to hunt, or stir up an eddy of dust, or engage in battles, or steal children, or prevent butter from forming in the churn.

Finnbheara is pronounced as Finvarra, Cliodna as Cleena, and Aoibhill as Eevil.

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Tuatha De Danann

In Irish-Celtic mythology, the Tuatha Dé Danann ("People of the goddess Danu") are the Irish race of gods, founded by the goddess Danu. These gods, who originally lived on 'the islands in the west', had perfected the use of magic. They traveled on a big cloud to the land that later would be called Ireland and settled there.

Shortly after their arrival they defeated the Firbolg at the first battle of Mag Tuireadh. In the second battle of Mag Tuireadh they fought and conquered the Fomorians, a race of giants who were the primordial inhabitants of Ireland. The Tuatha Dé dealt more subtly with the Fomorians than with the Firbolg, and gave them the province of Connacht. There was also some marrying between the two races.

The Tuatha Dé themselves were later driven to the underworld by the Milesians, the people of the fabulous spanish king Milesius. There they still live as invisible beings and are known as the Aes sidhe. In a just battle, they will fight beside mortals. When they fight, they go armed with lances of blue flame and shields of pure white.

Important members are of the Tuatha Dé are: Dagda, Brigid, Nuada, Lugh, Dian Cecht, Ogma, and Lir. The goddess Danu can also be identified with the Welsh goddess Don.

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Properly, the inhabitants of Miletus; but the name has been given to the ancient Irish because of the legend that two sons of Milesius, a fabulous king of Spain, conquered the country, and repeopled it after exterminating the aborigines (the Firbolgs).

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Sidhe (pronounced 'shee') literally means "people of the (fairy) hills". It is the Gaelic name for the fairies in both Ireland and the Highlands of Scotland. Usually these fairies are attracted to those who are beautiful as well as wealthy.

The people known as "The Sidhe" or people of the mounds, or "The Lordly Ones" or "The Good People" were descended from the "Tuatha de Danann" who settled in Ireland millennia ago and in being defeated by the Milesians they retreated to a different dimension of space and time than our own, believed to be living under mounds and fairy raths and cairns,  and also the land of "Tír na nÓg" a mythical island to the west of Ireland.  Placenames in Ireland with the pre-nouns Lis, Rath, and Shee are associated with these people for example Lismore, Lisdoonvarna, Sheemore, Rathfarnham etc.

Down through the ages the Sidhe have been in contact with mortals giving protection, healing and even teaching some of their skills to mortals - Smithcraft or the working of metals being one such skill.  Cuillen (Culann) is one such sidhe smith who has been told of in the legends of Cúchulainn and the later legends of Fionn mac Cumhail.

The Gaelic word sí or síog refers to these otherworldly beings now called fairies.  The Irish fairy is not like the diminutive fairies of other European countries, the Sidhe are described as tall and handsome in all accounts, also they are dressed very richly and accounts of their halls are of richly decorated places with sumptuous foods and drinks.

The Sidhe are generally benign until angered by some foolish action of a mortal.  Many trees and mounds are considered under their protection and if a mortal destroys or damages these then a curse is put upon himself and his family.  In some parts of the countryside people would not build their houses over certain "fairy paths" because of the type of disturbances which would ensue.

Whenever a host of the Sidhe appears there is a strange sound like the humming of thousands of bees also a whirlwind or shee-gaoithe is caused.

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The Irish/Celtic earth goddess, matriarch of the Tuatha Dé Danann ("People of the goddess Danu"). Danu is the mother of various Irish gods, such as the Dagda (also mentioned as her father), Dian Cecht, Ogma, Lir, Lugh, and many others. Her Welsh equivalent is the goddess Don.

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The Firbolg people are primordial inhabitants, or early gods, of Ireland. The third wave of invaders, they conquered Ireland and defeated the Fomorians. The name can be translated as 'Men of the Bags'.

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In Irish-Celtic mythology, the Fomorians are a race of demonic giants, ancient occupants of Ireland (or sometimes mentioned as a mythical, prehistoric people who raided and pillaged Ireland from the sea). The first to invade Ireland were the Partholons, but after many battles the Fomorians afflicted them all with plague. After them came the Nemeds, who in their very first battle were defeated and enslaved. The third wave of invaders, the Firbolgs, were more successful and they subdued the Fomorians and managed to live peacefully with them. After a period of peace, the Tuatha Dé Danann, the Irish race of gods, arrived. They conquered the Firbolgs, but dealt more subtly with the Fomorians, although they destroyed their hegemony over Ireland for good in the second battle of Mag Tuireadh. The Fomorians were given the province of Connacht, and were even allowed to marry some of the Tuatha Dé. The king of the Fomorians is the one-eyed Balor. Other prominent members are: Bres, Eriu, and Tethra. The Fomorians are sometimes mythologically associated with the powers of nature which challenge man: fog, storm, winter, disease, crop-blight. The name comes from fomó, "giant", "pirate".

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Midi: "King of the Fairies,"
Sequencer, Barry Taylor
Used with Permission.

Graphics by Angie
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