The gods of Ireland, Scotland and Man are intimately related to the land and the people, as well as being regarded as ancestors of many of the royal dynasties. Given the sources that survive for Ireland in particular, we see a landscape full of gods and goddesses, and understanding this landscape helps us understand some of the basics of belief.
The following map and accompanying table gives some details of which deities are most closely associated with which places in Ireland, taken from the myths, Dindshenchas, local lore and placename studies. Where possible, details of the association are given as well. Listings are given alphabetically, according to the deity, but otherwise in no particular order where there is more than one place associated with a particular deity.
Given the fact that some areas are particularly concentrated with relevant places and features that need listing, some consideration for space has had to be taken into account. Where each and every spot could not be fitted into the map, the specific place that is associated with the god(s) is given first, and the nearest relevant spot on the map is then given in bold, for point of reference.
The map is by no means complete – not least because many associations that can be found in the older lore, especially, can be difficult or now impossible to locate on a modern map (especially wells and plains, or features like the fulacht na Mór-Ríoghna, or lochs like Loch Lugborta, said be named after Lug), since the names may have changed and the old associations been forgotten. It can be seen, however, that many names show a remarkable consistency in terms of the general area they are found in; Cailleach Bheura, Mugain, Donn and Clíodhna cluster in the south; Nuadu to the east; Medb and the Morrígan are concentrated mainly to the west, and Macha is centred firmly around the heart of Armagh to the north.
The exceptions to this is with deities like the Dagda, who said to have overseen the building of the brughs/síd mounds in Ireland in Lebor Gabála Érenn,1 or Manannán mac Lir, for example. While it might seem that they get around a lot, it also makes sense that the Dagda would be associated with many different brughs, as the lore bears out, and that Manannán, with his associations with the sea and the Otherworld in particular, would be associated with many different watery contexts, such as the creations or naming of loughs.
Another notable point about the names we see listed are that some of those with the most mentions on the map are those that feature the least in the myths – the Cailleach Bhéarra may be seen mentioned as Buí, wife of Lug, for example, but we do not see her featured as a major player. Likewise with Clíodhna and Áine, Mugain we see strong traditions for all of them being regarded as ancestral deities of particular areas and dynasties associated with those areas, but very little mention in terms of the early Irish myths. This is not to say there are none at all, however, and given their consistency in locations associated with the people who regarded them as ancestors, we might see that there are genuine traditions in evidence. The Cailleach Bhéarra, or Buí, in particular is suggestive of genuine pre-Christian origins, since an early poem, ‘The Lament of the Old Hag of Beare’ (c. 800C.E.), bears elements of her previous role as a sovereignty goddess.2
It should be pointed out that sometimes these ancestral deities might be co-opted by a people for more contemporary, political and largely secular purposes, such as in the case of Áine. A goddess of the Munster area, she was adopted as an ancestral deity of the Norman Fitzgerald family after they were given lands taken from the Irish chiefs, in order to legitimate their claim and influence in the area (see below). Nonetheless, it seems that Áine was adopted for her already firm associations in the area, rather than her being a contemporary invention of the time.
One final point remains to be made: The map should in no way be considered to be to scale! It’s simply given for general reference to give an idea of where we’re talking about:
Gods in the Landscape (based on a map from Wikimedia)
Boa Island, County Fermanagh
|Placename||God(s)||Sources/Nature of Association|
|Rathlin Island, County Donegal||Áed||Mentioned in Acallam na Senórach as Áed son of Áed na nAmsach (“of the Mercenaries”), who lived on Rathlin at the Hill of Ardmoll, “far off on the sea.”3|
|Ballyshannon, County Donegal||Aed Ruad||Father of Macha Mong Ruad (Macha of the Red Hair, daughter of Aed the Red, who founded Emain Macha), he drowned in the waterfall near Ballyshannon and gave his name to the place, Assaroe (Eas Ruad – the Red Falls).4 Nearby, he had a fort on the hill of Mullaghshee.5|
|Knockainy, County Limerick||Áine||From Cnoc Áine, the ‘hill of Áine’ and site of Midsummer fire processions.Although not a major player in the myths contained in the many Irish manuscripts, Áine remains a very prominent figure in the Munster landscape. A wife (or daughter) of Manannán, she has a sometimes fearsome, sometimes benevolent reputation according to the local lore associated with her (see entries, below).
Áine is also associated with the Fitzgeralds of Limerick, who claim her as an ancestor after the third Earl of Desmond, who was said to be a great poet and wizard, had an affair with her. He is said to have mysteriously disappeared in 1398, but is said to live beneath the waters of Lough Gur in the vicinity of Áine’s hill. Once every seven years, it is said that he can be seen riding a white horse along the banks.6
Such an association with a family who were given lands taken from the Irish chiefs by the Hiberno-Norman invaders was really aimed at helping to legitimate their claim and authority over the area. Áine is said to act in the capacity of a bean sí (banshee) to them, and other prominent families of Munster.7
|Dunany (Dun Áine), County Louth||Áine||Áine is regarded with some fear in later lore, and the people of Dunany would not set to sea on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday after Lùnastal because it was said that somebody (or more than one person) would drown by her hand. Likewise, there was a reluctance to bathe during this time.At the top of the hill there is ‘the chair of Áine’, also known as ‘the chair of the lunatics.’ Those who were already considered to be insane were said to be compelled to climb the hill and sit on the chair three times, after which they would be utterly incurable. Those who were considered sane would also end up afflicted if they sat on the chair.8|
|Lissan (Lios Áine), County Derry||Áine||Folklore abounds with Áine in the Derry landscape, and the Ó Corra family of the area see her as their ancestor. She is said to act as their bean sí,9 wailing from the Vale of the Storms (Alt na Síon) when a member of the family is due to die.10|
|Teelin (Cnoc Áine), County Donegal||Áine||One of many Cnoc Áine’s in Ireland is found here.11|
|Killarney, County Kerry||Anu||Known as Dá Chích Anann – ‘the Paps of Anu.’12 According to one etymology in Coir Anmann, ‘The Fitness of Names,’ she also lends her name to Munster (Muma) itself: “Or Muma, that is mó ‘greater’ itsána ‘wealth’ than the wealth of every other province in Erin; for in it was worshipped the goddess of prosperity, whose name was Ana, and from her are named the Two Paps of Ána over Luachair Degad.”13|
|Craglea (Craig Liath, nr Killaloe), County Clare||Aoibheall||Associated with a fortress of the Dal gCais. Probably a tutelary deity of east Clare and north-west Tipperary, and in County Cork (or north Munster as a whole) she is said to be the sister of Clíodhna.14 She is seen as the tutelary deity of the O’ Brien’s of County Clare, and the land of Thomond, after her first appearance written record in 1014, at the Battle of Clontarf, where she is said to have told Brian Boru of his impending death. She is an especially important figure in eighteenth century Aisling poetry.15|
|Boa Island, County Fermanagh||Badb||Named after Badb (or Badhbh in modern Irish), and situated near the north shore of Lough Erne.16 A number of ‘Janus-figures’ can be seen there, which may be pre-Christian.|
|Mizen Head (Carn Uí Néit), County Cork||Balor||Associated with Carn Uí Néit – the cairn of the grandson of Nét (Balor).17|
|Tory Island, off the coast of County Donegal||Balor||Said to be the base of the Fomorians, and association with their king, Balor, continues. “Two of the tower-like rocks on the east side of Tory are still called Balor’s castle and Balor’s prison.”18|
|Slieve Mish (Slieve Mis), County Kerry||Banba||The place where Banba met the Milesians in Lebor Gabála Érenn19 According to the lost manuscript of Cin Druimm Snechta, however, it was Fótla at Uisneach, and Eriu at Slieve Mish.20|
|Portroe, County Tipperary||Banba||According to the now lost manuscript of Cin Druimm Snechta, Banba survived the Flood by taking refuge at the highest point in the area, known as Tul Toinne (hill of the flood).21|
|Malin Head, County Donegal||Banba||Malin Head, the topmost point of which is poetically known as Banba’s Crown, is the northern-most point of Ireland.22|
|Carbury (Newberry), County Kildare||Boann, Nechtan (Nuadu)||The source of the River Boyne, so presumably the Síd Nechtain mentioned in the Dindshenchas that is said to be at the source. Ó hÓgáin notes there is still a holy well there, dedicated to the Holy Trinity.23|
|Síd ar Femen (at the top of Slieveanamon in theCashel area), County Tipperary||Bodb Derg||Home of Bodb Derg,24 described as ríg síde Mumhan (‘king of the síd of Munster’) in the Vision of Oengus.25
Bodb Derg is also associated with Loch Derg, having another residence on a hill by the side of the river Shannon.26
|Kildare, County Kildare||Brigit||Saint Brigit is said to have founded the monastery at Kildare, possibly on a pre-Christian cult site of a goddess of the same name.
According to Ptolemy’s map of Ireland, the Brigantia tribe roughly corresponds with the area only just further south (Wexford/Waterford), hinting at some sort of continuity.27 O’ Rahilly points out that a sept of the Déisi, a powerful dynastic family centred in the south-east and up through the midlands, were known as the Uí Brigte.28
|Knowth (Cnogba, near Newgrange), County Meath||Buí||A wife of Lug, said to be buried here.29 Though not explicitly stated, Buí is likely to be the same as Cailleach Bhéarra.30|
|Dursey Island, County Cork||Cailleach Bhéarra (Buí)||Dursey Island is also known as Oileán Buí, and is regarded as the Cailleach’s home. The island’s village is known as Baile ni Cailli (‘The Town of the Hag’).31|
|Beara Peninsula, County Cork||Cailleach Bhéarra (Buí)||The area surrounding Dursey Island is heavily associated with the Cailleach, who lends her name to it. She is perhaps best known from The Lament of the Old Woman of Beare. The introduction to the poem gives her pedigree as, “The Old Woman of Beare, whose name was Digde, was of the Corco Duibne…”32 According to other sources, the Corca Loigde, whose territory once encompassed the peninsula, regarded Buí as their ancestor, and the neighbouring sept, the Corca Duibhne, claimed her as the foster-mother of their own ancestor, Corc Duibhne.33 Some sources say that his mother was Duibhne and his wife was Buí, which seems to be hinting at their conflation.34 The association is clearly very old, as the Duibhne name is attested to in ogam inscriptions in the area, given as ‘Davonia.’35|
|Slieve Gullion, Newry and Mourne||Cailleach Bhéarra||The Cailleach is said to live in a chamber deep beneath the cairn at the top of the hill.36 Nearby there is a lake known as Lough Cailleach Berri, which is said to be enchanted.37|
|Nephin, County Mayo||Cailleach Bhéarra||The Cailleach is said to live at the foot of the Nephin mountains, tending her herds and flocks.38|
|Dunquin, County Kerry||Cailleach Bhéarra||Here she lived to a fine old age at the top of Cnoc an tSíde, her cabin buffeted by the coastal elements. She subsisted on “real, pure madhbhán”, dulse, fish, and wild garlic, and was known to be incredibly wealthy. Knowing that people knew this, she stole a lobster from a local pot and put it in a box, and the next day a thief broke in to her cabin and searched for her wealth, which he presumed to be gold. Finally, he located a box under her bed – the sort that seemed a likely place to keep a pile of money, and he noticed a hole in it. Thinking the Cailleach too old and stupid to mend it, he reached in to get at the money and had his hand gripped by the lobster instead. There he stayed, trapped with his hand in a box by a lobster, until the Cailleach returned from collecting food. Finding the thief, she complimented the lobster on its good work and killed the thief with an axe.39 Wealthy she was, but not in the way the thief was expecting.|
|Cliffs of Moher, County Clare||Cailleach (Mál)||The most southerly of the cliffs is known as Ceann na Cailleach, or ‘Hag’s Head’. This hag is also locally known as Mál.40|
|Loughcrew, County Meath||Cailleach||The neolithic burial mound of Loughcrew is situated at the top of Slieve-na-Calliaghe, ‘mountain of the hag,’ who is said to have created the tomb structure by accidentally dropping a pile of stones from her apron.41|
|Dunmore East, County Waterford||Cailleach Bhéarra||Just to the north of Dunmore East is Carrick-a-Dhirra. The hill and the five cists at its top are named after the hag (a corruption of Cailleach Bheara).42|
|Glandore, County Cork||Clíodhna||Said to have drowned in Glandore bay, at Lecht Clíodhna (the Rock of Clíodhna), where the Wave of Clíodhna swallowed her.43 “Her name is on the roaring wave called boldly after her agony” says the Banshenchas.
As a maiden in Manannán’s kingdom (Manannán being her father) under the sea, Clíodhna met a mortal man, Ciabhán, who had been rescued from drowning. They fell in love and she went with him in a boat to go and live with him on land, but members of Manannán’s household pursued them, however, and she was killed by a tidal wave. Some versions have it that the wave took her back to the kingdom of Manannán, instead of the wave killing her.44
The Wave of Clíodhna (Tonn Clíodhna) is said to come into the harbour at Glandore to foretell the death of a king (of the south of Ireland.45
She is also intimately connected with important families in the area, most notably the O’ Keefe’s (see the story in the next entry below), taking on the role of a bean sí (banshee), which helps to reinforce the idea that she is a territorial goddess of south Munster.46
|Mallow (Carraig Chlíona), County Cork||Clíodhna||Later lore cites Carraig Chlíona, in the parish of Kilshannig, as being her home;47 Clíodhna had a reputation for carrying off eligible young men from a market or fair in the area, if they happened to take her fancy. She also has more benevolent associations, and it is said that she protects the cattle in the area from evil eye and malignant spirits. She is said to protect the harvests from blight, and in Wood-Martin’s day he commented, “the peasantry are the children of her peculiar care.”48 The locals must treat her with respect, however. It is said that once upon a time, people tried cultivating potatoes around the site of her rock, until wailing, “as if lamenting the desecration” was heard.49 Some stories have her as the sister of Aoibheall, and while Aoibheall was gentle and quiet, Clíodhna grew to be a beautiful and outgoing woman, skilled in the druidic arts and able to transform herself into any shape or creature she wanted to. They both fell in love with the same man, but being so quiet and shy nobody knew of Aoibheall’s feelings and it was Clíodhna who ended up being set to marry the athletic young man, Caoimh. It was Aoibheall that Caoimh was secretly in love with however, and soon Clíodhna found out. Wanting Caoimh for herself, she gave her sister a magic potion that made her ill, and then pretended to tend to Aoibheall with further potions that ended up put her into a deep sleep, as if dead. Aoibheall was taken to a cave for burial, and her parents and Caoimh mourned her deeply. However, nobody knew that Clíodhna had gone to the cave after Aoibheall had been laid to rest, and had woken her up. She begged Aoibheall to give up Caoimh, and told her that she would be kept in the cave until she agreed to let Clíodhna have Caoimh to herself. Aoibheall refused, and so Clíodhna transformed her into a white cat, and nobody was any the wiser. Clíodhna and Aoibheall’s grief were so great at the loss of their daughter, that they eventually died of it.
Clíodhna and Caoimh were happily married for some years, and had two daughters together. Eventually – inevitably – Caoimh found out what Clíodhna had done, and demanded that she remove the spell over Aoibheall, but she told Caoimh that she could not, and that she had told Aoibheall that he’d been killed in battle. The resulting rift between Caoimh and Clíodhna led to Clíodhna taking their daughters to Carraig Chlíona, where she undertook their education. In spite of their unhappy parting, it is because of their marriage that Clíodhna is associated with the O’ Keefes – Caoimh (pron: ‘keev’).
Clíodhna and her daughters still live at Carraig Clíodhna, and it is said to be the place where the daoine sìth from all over the place gather to agree laws and treaties of peace, and resolve any differences through peaceful means. Local folk often see Clíodhna dancing at the top of the rock around the waning of the May moon, and some of the locals join her.
As for Aoibheall, at Midsummer she can resume her human form, and celebrations are held in her honour. After a week, however, she must return to her cave and await her rescuer – for one day, somehow, she will be rescued.50
|Newgrange, County Meath||The Dagda, Oengus, Boann, Bodb Derg, and the Morrígan||The Dagda’s home was originally Brug na Boinne, but was tricked out of it by Oengus. Boann lends her name to the River Boyne in the area, and nearby, local hills are known as the ‘Paps of the Morrígan.’ (See Metrical Dindshenchas 1 and 2).
In Acallam na Senórach, Bodb Derg, son of the Dagda, is said to live there.51
|Kilrush (Leithead Lachtmhaighe – Leadmore), County Clare||The Dagda||After the Dagda was tricked out of his brug, Brug na Boinne, by his son Oengus, the Dagda is said to have gone to several others around Ireland.52|
|Clogher (Ballygawley), County Tyrone||The Dagda||Another residence the Dagda resorted to after losing Brug na Boinne.53|
|Glen of Imaal (Imail), County Wicklow||The Dagda||The cairn at the top of O Chualann, the Sugerloaf, is another brug the Dagda is said to have stayed at.54|
|Lough Arrow (east of the lough – Tiobraid Slane), County Connaught||Dian Cecht||A local healing well associated with Dian Cecht, who is said to have every kind of herb in Ireland into the well, endowing it with healing powers.55|
|Knockfierna (nearBallingarry on the map), County Limerick||Donn||Said to be the síd of Donn.56 In local lore in the area, Donn is reputed to be able to control the weather, the ripening of the crops (which are dependent on an annual battle – local legend has it that Donn and the neighbouring fairy host at Cnoc Áine, led by Áine, often do battle against each other), can ride through the air at night, and has the gift of music. Untimely deaths are attributed to his taking the person away to live with him in the hill. The local Lùnastal festival was held here.57 At Bealltainn, Samhainn, the Feast of St Martin (November 11th), and Lùnastal, the local folk used to bring offerings to Donn at the top of Knockfierna. These offerings included flowers, eggs, and meat, which were left at a specific spot near the old ring fort at the top of the hill. When the storms come, it is said that it is Donn’s work: “One may say that Donn is galloping in the clouds tonight.”58|
|Dursey Island, County Cork||Donn||Just off Dursey Island is the Bull Rock, reputed to be Tech Duinn, the home of Donn,59 and according to one version of his death, the place where he died.60|
|Inbhear Scéine, Kenmare Bay, County Kerry||Donn||The place where Donn is said to have drowned in Lebor Gabála Érenn, and where the Milesians eventually landed.61|
|Doonbeg (Dunbeg), County Clare||Donn||The sand dunes of Doonbeg are associated with Donn, who is known as Donn na Duimhche, ‘Donn of the Dune’ in the area.62 He is said to live at Doonaghmore, the dunes just north of Doonbeg.63
Stories relating to Donn almost always show him in a positive light; a kindly, well-loved figure. Over the years, in spite of the Lebor Gabála Érenn describing him as a member of the Milesians, he has been given a Tuatha Dé Danann pedigree. An eighteenth century poem to Donn by Andrias MacCrutin, lamenting the prospect of his impending eviction, exalts Donn like so:
You are the brother of Áine and Aoife
You lived without sorrow in the king’s palace
You fought against the sons of Mil
|Skillig Michael||Donn||Where Donn’s body was taken after his death, according to the Lebor Gabála Érenn.65|
|Slieve Aughty, County Galway||Echtga||Mountain of Echtga, named after Echtga, daughter of Núadu Argatlám.66|
|Uisneach, County West Meath||Ériu||Where Ériu met the Milesians on their arrival, Lebor Gabála Érenn.67 According to the lost manuscript of Cin Druimm Snechta, however, it was Fótla at Uisneach, and Eriu at Slieve Mish.68|
|Tuam, County Galway||Finnbheara||Cnoc Meadha (Knockmaa) in the area is said to be his home.69 At the top of Cnoc Meadha there is a large burial mound, and the summit gives views across a vast area of the landscape, much of which is also important to the mythological landscape of Ireland.
Finnbheara is said to be the king of all the daoine sìth in Connacht, and is friendly with several families from the area, including the Kirwins, Blakes and Frenches. He rules from Cnoc Meadha with his queen, Una, but in spite of Una being beautiful, with golden hair that sweeps the ground, Finnbheara has a reputation for being something of a ladies’ man – having a particular liking for carrying off beautiful mortal maidens on the eve of their weddings.70
|Erris, County Roscommon||Flidais||Flidais is said to have lived here.|
|Nephin, County Mayo||Flidais||Another home of Flidais.|
|Slieve Felim, County Limerick||Fótla||Said to be the place where Fótla met the Milesians in Lebor Gabála Érenn.71|
|Beara Peninsula (nearDursey Island)||Gobniu||Goibniu is associated with Crow Island in the Beara Peninsula area, where he is said to have his forge.72|
|Cnoc Gréne, County Limerick||Grian||The home of Grian, sometimes said to be the sister of Áine, and both daughter’s Fer Í; other versions have her as Áine’s niece.73|
|Lough Neagh||Li Bán||The only survivor after the lough burst forth, she managed to survive by turning into a mermaid and rode the waves for years until she met St Comgall of Bangor and was baptised.74|
|Dunlewy (Dún Lúiche), County Donegal||Lug||The site at Mount Errigal and the surrounding area is particularly associated with Lug.|
|Armagh, County Armagh||Macha||From Ard Macha (‘Macha’s Height’). The Metrical Dindshenchas says she was buried here: “Macha, who diffused all excellences, the noble daughter of red-weaponed Aed, the raven of the raids, was buried here when Rechtaid Red-Wrist slew her.”|
|Navan fort, County Armagh||Macha||From Emain Macha.|
|Bekan, County Mayo||Manannán mac Lir||Manannán is said to have lived at castle Mannan in the parish of Bekan, where he had a reputation as a famous magician.76|
|Limerick, County Limerick||Manannán mac Lir||The Dindshenchas for Limerick (Luimnech) extols the virtues of its soldiers, and the heroes, standing at Tul Toinne (see also: Banba, Portroe) claim: “ ‘Shielded’ (luimnechda) is the stream of Mac Lir: unfruitful are its strong men!” The stream referred to here is presumably the Shannon (named after Sinann, who is named as a granddaughter of Lir), and MacQuarrie makes the point that the ‘shield’ referred to is possibly something like the bronze wall (or ‘brazen cliff’) that Manannán is said to have magically raised in the Dindshenchas for Umall.|
|Lough Corrib||Manannán mac Lir||The Coir Anmann gives Oirbsen as an alternative name of Manannán mac Lir,77 linking him with Loch nOirbsen. This is explicitly stated in Lebor Gabála Érenn, which states that the lough burst forth from the grave that was dug for him,78 after he was killed by Uillind son of Tadg son of Nuadu Argetlám.79
The Conmhaicne, a Leinster sept, regarded him as their ancestor.80
|Rathcroghan, County Roscommon||Medb||Reputed to be Medb’s home, Cruachan, the political centre of Connacht,81 which is referred to as “Medb’s fifth” (cóiced) in Lebor Gabála Érenn.82
The Dindshenchas for Rath Cruachan tells us: “It was Crochen of pure Cruachu who was mother of Medb great of valour: she was in Cruachu – it was an open reproach – awhile with Etain’s spouse.”
|Knocknarea, County Sligo||Medb||Situated just west of Sligo, the cairn at the top is known as Miosgán Meadhbha,‘Medb’s Nipple.’ It is said to be her tomb.83|
|Tara, County Meath||Medb Lethderg, Tea, Nuadu, Lug, Étain||A political centre associated with the high kingship of Ireland, Tea is said to have leant her name to it (Temair) in the Dindshenchas and Lebor Gabála Érenn.84 That she is a Milesian is perhaps fitting, given that the place itself is so intertwined with the kingship and the rightful rulership of Ireland. Nonetheless, the gods are also present.
It is Medb Lethderg, who is said to have ruled at Tara, that is popularly thought of as the sovereignty goddess for the area. It is said she allowed no king to rule in Tara, who would not marry her, which certainly fits her role as sovereignty goddess.85
Nuadu, Lug, and many other gods and mythological figures, are said to have ruled there, and in the Wooing of Étain, Eochaid lived there with Étain after they married.
|Brí Léith, Ardagh, County Longford (Slieve Golry)||Midir and Étain||Midir’s síd in The Wooing of Étain, but named after Bruachbrecc, doomed lover of Liath according to the Metrical Dindshenchas.|
|Aghanagh and Lisconny, County Sligo||The Morrígan||The Morrígan is said to have had one foot in either place, south and north of the River Unshin respectively, in the episode of Cath Maige Tuired where she met with the Dagda for their tryst (84).|
|Oweynagat (Uaimh na gCat), near Rathcroghan, County Roscommon||The Morrígan||Although the name of the cave itself suggests an association with cats, legend has it that the Morrígan corralled her Otherworldly cattle here. She is said to have punished a woman for letting a bull into the cave.86|
|Clonmona (Cluain Mughna), County Tipperary||Mugain (Mór Mumhan)||The placename appears to refer to Mugain, or Mór Mumhan, the tutelary deity of Munster.87|
|Ballaghmoon (Bealach Mughna), County Carlow||Mugain (Mór Mumhan)||As above.|
|Sliabh na dée Dána (Corleck Hill, near Drumeague on the map), County Cavan||Na trí dée dána – ‘the gods of skill’||The site is named after ‘the three gods of skill,’ who are usually given as Brian, Iuchar, and Iucharba. The Lebor Gabála Érenn explicitly mentions them in relation to a ‘Slieve nDee.’88
A tricephalic stone head was discovered at the site and is thought to date to around 200BCE. It is popularly associated with Brigid, but there seems to be no basis for this aside from the triple head/triple goddess connection. The head itself appears to bear male faces.
According to Maire MacNeill, people used to visit it at Lùnastal.89
|Ailech (Aileach, Ailigh), County Donegal||Neit, Nemain and Badb; Aed and the Dagda||Reputed home of Neit (Nét), who had two wives, Nemain and Badb. They are said to have perished at Ailech at the hands of the Fomorian, Nemtuir the Red.90
In the Dindshenchas of Ailech, it is also where the Dagda’s son, Aed, died, and where the Dagda built his burial cairn (Poems 22-24).
|Maynooth, County Kildare||Nuadu||From Maigh Nuad – ‘the Plain of Nuadu.’|
|Almu (now known as the Hill of Allen), County Kildare||Nuadu, Fionn, Alma||Said to be Nuadu’s fort, but also associated with Fionn mac Cumaill.91 In some texts, Fionn is said to be a descendant of Nuadu Necht.92
The Acallam na Senórach tells us that Nuadu (Núadu Drúi) built the fort, which – according to one version of its origins – was named after the daughter of Bracan (a warrior of the Tuatha Dé Danann), Alma. She died in childbirth, and the mound was erected in her memory.93 Little is known about Almu from the earliest texts, but it seems possible that she may have had some role as a tutelary deity. Her popularity in the area persisted by way of eulogies dedicated to her up until the seventeenth century.94
|Tandragee, County Armagh||Nuadu||Stone statue popularly said to represent Nuadu Necht.|
|Teltown, County Meath||Tailltiu||The place where the annual commemorative games were held in her honour every Lugnasad by Lug after her death.95|
|Hill of Ward, County Meath||Tlachtga||According to the Dindshenchas: “The hill where a grave was built for the lady of the chilly lands, above every title given by lucky poet it bears the style of silent Tlachtga.”|
|Uisneach, County Westmeath||Tuirill Bicereo, Dian Cécht||It was also at Uisneach (Cnoc Uachtar Archae) that Tuirill Bicereo (sometimes known as Delbaeth) drank an emetic made for him by Dian Cecht, to rid him of a poison. Upon taking the draught Tuirill burped three times – “a cold belch in Loch Uair, an iron belch in Loch Iairn, and a … belch in Loch Ainnin, and, according to this story, it is thence they [the lakes] take their names.”96 The tale is suggestive of the fact that Tuirill is actually responsible for their creation as well, as vomiting, burping, sweating or crying topographical features into being is a common cosmogonical motif.97 We are told by O’ Hanlon, in his Lives of the Saints that Loch Uair is the ancient name for Lough Owel,98 which is in the vicinity of Uisneach (the middle lake of the three nearby, on the map above). This suggests that Iairn and Aininn correspond with the modern Lough Derravagh and Ennell (north and south of Lough Owel, respectively).|
|Knockshegowna (Cnoc Sídhe Úna), County Tipperary||Úna||The hill where the (probable) tutelary deity of the area lived, heavily associated with the O’ Carroll family.99
Knockshegowna was described by John O’ Donovan as “the most conspicuous and beautiful in this neighbourhood…and was as celebrated as Cnoc Meadha near Tuam in Connacht.” It is one of many Lùnastal hills found in Ireland.100
1 Carey, John: Lebar Gabala: Recension I, 1983, p288.
2 See for example, Transmutations of Immortality in ‘The Lament of the Old Woman of Beare’ by John Carney, in Celtica 23.
3 Dooley and Roe, Tales of the Elders of Ireland, 1999, p15.
4 Ó Crualaoich, The Book of the Cailleach, 2003, p39.
5 Joyce, Irish Names of Places, 1869, p183.
6 Rolleston, Celtic Myth and Legend, p 127-128.
7 Lysaght, The Banshee: The Irish Supernatural Death Messenger, 1986, p195.
8 Wood-Martin, Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland Volume I, 1902, p356.
9 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p8.
10 MacNeill, The Festival of Lughnasa, 1962, p151.
11 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p8.
12 Macalister, Lebor Gabála Érenn Book IV, 1941, p155.
13 Stokes, ‘Coir Anmann,’ Irische Texte III, p289.
14 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p20.
15 Lysaght, The Banshee: The Irish Supernatural Death Messenger, 1986, p194-195; Logan, The Old Gods: The Facts about Irish Fairies, 1981, p45.
16 Wood-Martin, Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland Volume I, 1902, p358.
17 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p28-30.
18 Joyce, Irish Names of Places, 1869, p162.
19 Macalister, Lebor Gabála Érenn Book V, 1956, p35.
20 Macalister, Lebor Gabála Érenn Book V, 1956, p53.
21 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p30.
22 Dames, Mythic Ireland, 1992, p217.
23 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p38.
24 Macalister, Lebor Gabála Érenn Book IV, 1941, p157.
25 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p37.
26 Logan, The Old Gods: The Facts about Irish Fairies, 1981, p7.
27 Koch, Encyclopedia of Celtic Culture, 2005, p1695.
28 O’ Rahilly, Early Irish History and Mythology, 1946, p38.
29 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p313.
30 Ó Crualaoich, The Book of the Cailleach, 2003, p82.
31 Ó Crualaoich, The Book of the Cailleach, 2003, plate 3.
32 Ó Crualaoich, The Book of the Cailleach, 2003, p51.
33 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p58.
34 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p119.
35 Byrne, Irish Kings and High-Kings, 2001, p166-167.
36 MacNeill, The Festival of Lughnasa, 1962, p160-161.
37 Wood-Martin, Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland Volume I, 1902, p362.
38 Ó Crualaoich, The Book of the Cailleach, 2003, p100.
39 Ó Crualaoich, The Book of the Cailleach, 2003, p111-112.
40 Monaghan, The Red-Haired Girl From the Bog, 2003, p23.
41 Wood-Martin, Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland Volume I, 1902, p361.
42 Wood-Martin, Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland Volume I, 1902, p361.
43 Dooley and Roe, Tales of the Elders of Ireland, 1999, p116; Logan, The Old Gods: The Facts about Irish Fairies, 1981, p141.
44 Ibid; See also MacQuarrie, The Waves of Manannán, 1997, p228-229.
45 Wood-Martin, Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland Volume I, 1902, p371.
46 Lysaght, The Banshee: The Irish Supernatural Death Messenger, 1986, p196.
47 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p85-86.
48 Wood-Martin, Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland Volume I, 1902, p372.
49 Wood-Martin, Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland Volume I, 1902, p372.
50 Logan, The Old Gods: The Facts about Irish Fairies, 1981, p51-53.
51 Dooley and Roe, Tales of the Elders of Ireland, 1999, p14.
52 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p153.
53 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p153.
54 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p153.
55 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p168.
56 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p179.
57 MacNeill, The Festival of Lughnasa, 1962, p201-206.
58 Logan, The Old Gods: The Facts about Irish Fairies, 1981, p34-35; Ó Duinn, Where Three Streams Meet: Celtic Spirituality, 2000, p67.
59 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p179.
60 Macalister, Lebor Gabála Érenn Book V, 1956, p65.
61 Macalister, Lebor Gabála Érenn Book V, 1956, p31.
62 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p179-180.
63 MacNeill, The Festival of Lughnasa, 1962, p284.
64 Logan, The Old Gods: The Facts about Irish Fairies, 1981, p40-41.
65 Macalister, Lebor Gabála Érenn Book V, 1956, p31.
66 Dooley and Roe, Tales of the Elders of Ireland, 1999, p33.
67 Macalister, Lebor Gabála Érenn Book V, 1956, p35.
68 Macalister, Lebor Gabála Érenn Book V, 1956, p53.
69 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p234.
70 Logan, The Old Gods: The Facts about Irish Fairies, 1981, p27-29.
71 Macalister, Lebor Gabála Érenn Book V, 1956, p35.
72 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p278.
73 O’ Rahilly, Early Irish History and Mythology, 1946, p290; Logan, The Old Gods: The Facts about Irish Fairies, 1981, p56.
74 Dooley and Roe, Tales of the Elders of Ireland, 1999, p239.
75 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p314.
76 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p331.
77 Stokes, ‘Coir Anmann: The Fitness of Names’, in Irische Texte III, 1897, p357.
78 Macalister, Lebor Gabála Érenn Book IV, 1941, p153.
79 Macalister, Lebor Gabála Érenn Book IV, 1941, p187, although a different genealogy/scenario is given elsewhere (p193), with Oirbsen being suggested as Manannán’s son.
80 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p331.
81 Dooley and Roe, Tales of the Elders of Ireland, 1999, p117.
82 Macalister, Lebor Gabála Érenn Book IV, 1941, p72-73.
83 Monaghan, The Red-Haired Girl From the Bog, 2003, p82.
84 Macalister, Lebor Gabála Érenn Book V, 1956, p63.
85 Byrne, Irish Kings and High-Kings, 2001, p51.
86 Monaghan, The Red-Haired Girl From the Bog, 2003, p101.
87 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p359.
88 Macalister, Lebor Gabála Érenn Book IV, 1941, p193.
89 MacNeill, The Festival of Lughnasa, 1962, p172.
90 Macalister, Lebor Gabála Érenn Book IV, 1941, p237.
91 Ó hÓgaín, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend and Romance, 2006, p386.
92 Dooley and Roe, Tales of the Elders of Ireland, 1999, p225.
93 Dooley and Roe, Tales of the Elders of Ireland, 1999, p39-40.
94 Dames, Mythic Ireland, 1992, p227.
95 Macalister, Lebor Gabála Érenn Book IV, 1941, p149; p179.
96 Macalister, Lebor Gabála Érenn Book IV, 1941, p137; cf p341.
97 MacQuarrie, The Waves of Manannán, 1997, p219.
98 For an excerpt, see here.
99 MacNeill, The Festival of Lughnasa, 1962, p216.
100 Logan, The Old Gods: The Facts about Irish Fairies, 1981, p56.