Monday, October 10, 2005


UI's Celtic Mythology - Tuatha De Danann

Tuatha De Danann were "the people of the goddess Dana" in Irish mythology. They were the last generation of gods to rule Ireland before the invasion of the sons of Milesius, the ancestors of the present-day Irish. The Tuatha De Danann overcame the Fomorii, violent and mishapen sea gods, at the second battle of Magh Tuireadh largely because of their superior magic. They were said to have learned magic, crafts and knowledge in four marvellous cities of the north, Falias, Gorias, Finias and Murias. From these cities the Tuatha De Danann brought to Ireland four talismans: the Stone of Fal, which screamed aloud when the rightful king of Ireland placed his foot upon it; the magic sword of Nuada, their great war-leader, which was a weapon that could only inflict fatal blows; the spear or sling-shot of the sun god Lugh, who, as the slayer of Balor, was the bringer of victory over the Fomorii; and the cauldron belonging to to Dagda, father of the gods, which was an inexhaustible pot that was capable of satisfying every appetite.
It is clear that the gods known in Ireland as the Tuatha De Danann were common to all Celtic peoples. Their names can be found in Welsh myths and in inscriptions on the continent of Europe. In Ireland they were not entirely lost with the advent of Christianity. Apart from having their exploits recorded by the monks who wrote down the Irish sagas, the Tuatha De Danann took up residence underground as the fairies. On the ancient Celtic feast of Samhain, celebrated on the last day of October to mark the new year, the De Danann were believed to allow mortals to enter their realm.

It's interesting how the Tuatha De Danann were important to all the Celtic peoples and it gives credibility I think to the special affinity felt even today amongst people of these Celtic nations.


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