Celtic mythology in popular culture

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Celtic mythology in popular culture is a common feature in books, movies, television shows, and games. Celtic mythology elements appear many times in these popular culture outlets.

Bloody Bones[edit]

Rawhead and Bloody Bones
Steals naughty children from their homes,
Takes them to his dirty den,
And they are never seen again.

Bodach[edit]

  • The name Bodach is used to describe shadow-like creatures—invisible to most people—that appear at locations before disasters in the books Odd Thomas, Forever Odd, Brother Odd, and Odd Hours by Dean Koontz. These can only be seen by the character Odd.
  • Bodachs appear as a sort of evil supernatural soldiers in Alan Garner's fantasy novel The Weirdstone of Brisingame.
  • In regions of Wales and Scotland, a bodach is a term for an imp or a faery, often one of the shapeshifting, mischievous variety; this term, though derogatory in nature, was often used with affection, translating closest to "scoundrel" or "rascal".
  • Na'Bodach [sic] is a band located in the United States, specializing in Celtic music.[1]

Cat Sìth[edit]

  • Cat Sith has appeared in various installments of the Final Fantasy series, generally under the name "Cait Sith:" in Final Fantasy IV as a monster in the forests surrounding Troia (Japanese Super Famicom version, all Nintendo DS versions); in Final Fantasy VI as an obtainable Esper (originally localized as "Stray" but corrected in later re-releases); in Final Fantasy VII as a robotic side character controlled by a ShinRa employee who initially spies on the other player characters and later revolts to join them permanently, and almost always appears riding a giant stuffed Maneki Neko-like robot; and in Final Fantasy XI as a character that plays an important role in the storyline of the Wings of the Goddess expansion.
  • In Aria Cat Sìth is a character whose role is akin to being the lord or god of the cats on both earth (called Man-home in the Aria setting) and Aqua (Mars). As well as having great supernatural powers, he acts as a guardian character for the main character Akari.
  • In The Black Company Cat Sìth is the name of one of the Unknown Shadows that befriends Murgen's son Tobo in Soldiers Live.
  • In Yume Miru Kusuri Cat Sidhe Nekoko is one of the three lead heroines; her problem situation is a drug addiction.
  • In Sorcerous Stabber Orphen Azalie Cat Sìth is a key character, which the main story revolves around.
  • Many of the games in the MegaTen series feature a demon that goes by the name of Cait Sith, though this creature has more in common with the titular feline of Puss in Boots.
  • In Pop 'n Music Party, there is an artist called Cait Sith.
  • In the Disgaea games, Cait Sith is the second level form of the KitCat monster character class.
  • In Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas there is Specter Cait Sith Cheshire.
  • In the game Gloria Union, the main character Pinger is a Cat Sìth, and appears as a dark-skinned humanoid with black cat ears and tail, and a white spot on her forehead.
  • In the "Kamen Rider" tokusatsu series "Kamen Rider Wizard", a Phantom named CatSith serves as the monster of episodes 4 and 5.
  • In The Dresden Files novel Cold Days by Jim Butcher, Cat Sith is a powerful and dangerous faerie who serves Queen Mab, Monarch of the Winter Court of the Sidhe.
  • Cait Sith appears as an enemy in La-Mulana. Here it appears as an all-white (in the original version) or all-golden (in the remake) cat riding a ball, earning it the nickname Cat-Ball.
  • In the MMORPG Mabinogi, Cat Sìths are human-feline hybrids that inhabit Rundal Dungeon, both as regular spawns, and as a boss.

Crom Dubh[edit]

  • Crom Dubh has been featured in Bernard Cornwell's Warlord Chronicles in The Winter King and Enemy of God. Here Crom Dubh is described as an evil and malevolent god who is an Irish god brought to post-Roman Britain by King Dyrnwych. Crom Dubh was described as a crippled and dark god.

Dullahan[edit]

  • In the Disney film Darby O'Gill and the Little People, a dullahan makes an appearance as the coachman of the Cóiste Bodhar (death coach - pronounced "Coashta Bower"). Upon the arrival of the Death Coach, the dullahan calls out Darby's name and orders him to board the coach. Darby reluctantly complies, and is borne into the heavens on the way to the afterlife. But his life is saved by his friend, the wily leprechaun King Brian Connors. King Brian tricks him into wishing a fourth wish, negating the previous three wishes (the third of which was to die in his daughter Katie's place), and causing Darby to be ejected from the coach.
  • In Treasure of the Rudras Dullahan is a floating cuirass and the arm pieces of the armor, and appears as a common enemy in the haunted castle.
  • In the Castlevania series the Dullahan is typically one of the game's earlier bosses, carrying its head and attacking the hero with a lance. In later games, he's a headless knight, carrying a demonic shield inscribed with a face which acts as its head, or, he is a headless horseman riding the front end of an undead horse back and forth, while wielding a sword or spear. He is also in Castlevania: Curse of Darkness as a boss near the end of the game.
  • In Golden Sun: The Lost Age, and its sequel Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Dullahan is an incredibly difficult optional boss, appearing as a headless knight in purple armour with a large sword who guard's the game's most powerful summon. Generally considered the most difficult boss in the game, due to his use of exceedingly powerful attacks, one of which has a chance to instantly kill most of your party, and the ability to use your summons against you.[citation needed]
  • This mythological creature also appears as an enemy in Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, however in the English version its name got mistranslated into Jurahan.
  • In Vagrant Story Dullahan is a type of animated armor, always without a helmet, and appears mostly in the Undercity section of Lea Mondé after you defeat him in the Wine Cellars.
  • In Ragnarok Online Dullahan are heavily armored monsters who remove their heads to use as a weapon against players. They are fairly difficult and appear in the fields of Niflheim, as well as in the town itself.
  • Dullahan is a mini-boss in the game Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest atop Mt Gale. He also appears in Final Fantasy VI as the boss in Daryl's Tomb in the form of a skeletal charioteer pulled by purple-flaming skeletal horses. They also appeared in Final Fantasy III, IX, and XII, and as a non-boss enemy in Final Fantasy Legend III.
  • In Dragon Quest VIII the Dullahans are like the ones in Castlevania, headless armors with a somewhat expressive face on their shield and wielding a flail. They appear as the enemies Dark Dullahan, Dullahan, and Hell's Gatekeeper. The Dullahan version is also an obtainable monster in the spin-off Dragon Quest Monsters, specifically the Joker version.
  • In Shining Force, sword-wielding creatures who serve once as a boss and afterwards as minions bearing the aforementioned resemblance also appear, but are more in purple color and fully centaur. They do not have obvious magical powers though they can put allies to sleep, poison them and carry the dreaded Doom Blade which can kill the foe instantly. Strangely they are absent from Shining Force II.
  • In the Monster Rancher series, there exists a monster named Durahan that's a hollow suit of armor specializing in strong attack and defense.
  • The Dullahan is an enemy in Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening. It is a hovering suit of armor whose only weak point is a crystal on its backside.
  • In Capcom's cult classic Gotcha Force, there are both Ghost Knights and an Elemental Knights that can be fought and/or used by players. Both of them are hollow, ghostly suits of armors (missing several pieces, so one can easily see that they're empty) that float around, and are completely without heads. The gigantic swords that they wield have their heads near the bottom of the blade and merged into the pommel.
  • In the Square fighting game, Tobal No.1 for PlayStation, Dullahan appears as a possessed headless suit of armor in the game's dungeon mode. He has a very low life bar which allows the player to defeat him quickly but he also possesses a very high offence rate which requires the player to exercise caution when fighting him.
  • In Disgaea Dullahans are the third level of the Dark Knight monster class.
  • In the arcade game Ghouls'n'Ghosts, Dullahan is the first end of level boss. He appears as a large statue which sheds its stone skin as the player approaches. He then lifts his head from his shoulders, and carries it above and in front on his body as it spits fire at the player.
  • In Sega's Shining Force: The Legacy of Great Intention, once the party has reached "Prompt", Durahans appear as regular enemies, appearing as headless centaurs in armor with a face on their stomachs.
  • In Valkyrie Profile Dullahans are common enemies found on dungeons represented by a headless animated suit of heavy armor.
  • In World of Warcraft Dullahan appears in the scarlet monastery in the graveyard part as a boss for the in-game holiday Hallows End, as the headless horseman who after receiving enough damage loses its head and is forced to chase it around.
  • In Magician's Quest: Mysterious Times, during one of the mysteries, the player needs to help the head of a Dullahan to make amends with its body.
  • In Durarara!!, Celty Sturluson, one of the main characters, is a Dullahan.
  • In Fables, Mister Dark is referred to as Dullahan by the North Wind.
  • In Mabinogi, the Dullahan is the boss enemy for the Shadow Mission "Ghosts of Partholon." He is mounted on a "Hell Steed" which counts as an individual enemy.

Fachen[edit]

Ghillie Dhu[edit]

Kelpie[edit]

  • The film Into the West features a kelpie.
  • The young adult novel Tithe:A Modern Faerie Tale, by Holly Black, shows a kelpie. The main character, Kaye, sees her friend, Janet, walk away from a party with a strange boy. The strange boy then turns into a white horse and drowns Janet.
  • On the forum website Gaiaonline, there is an avatar item called "Kelp o' th' Loch" which seems to be based on Kelpie, allowing for various water horse related avatar looks, even including a celtic cross.

Knocker[edit]

Korrigan[edit]

  • Korrigans are characters in the Book of the Stars trilogy by Erik L'Homme.

Merrow[edit]

Pech[edit]

  • Pech is used as a pejorative term for the halfling-like race in the 1988 film Willow by George Lucas. It might be assumed the idea comes from this myth (although it could also be the word "peck", which like "hobbit" is a small unit of measure).
  • In the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game Pech are elemental creatures from the Inner Plane of Earth that are based on this myth.
  • In the Minecraft mod Thaumcraft the Pechs appear in magical regions, and are represented as avaricious gnomes of great strength and speed.

Púca[edit]

  • In the Mary Chase play Harvey and its 1950 film adaptation, the title character Harvey is a pooka, in the form of a very tall humanoid white rabbit.
  • In Emma Bull's 1987 book War for the Oaks, the phouka is a mischievous but ultimately trustworthy shapeshifter who takes the form of a large black dog.
  • In The Spiderwick Chronicles, the phooka is a shapeshifter that resembles a black rabbit/monkey-like creature; he is smarter than his speech can demonstrate.
  • In Chynna Clugston's Blue Monday comic, heroine Blue encounters her pooka, Seamus, who is a giant, gaseous, kilt-bearing otter who often causes more mischief than anything else.
  • In the 1959 Disney film Darby O'Gill and the Little People, Darby's horse turns into a pookah.
  • In the 1985 book Crewel Lye: A Caustic Yarn, the eighth Xanth novel by Piers Anthony, a pooka befriends the main character. He is a smart, helpful ghost horse with rattling chains and ends up being named "Pook".
  • In the final song of Final Fantasy's album, He Poos Clouds ("The Pooka Sings"), the pooka is depicted as a sort of anti-muse, declaiming the composer (Owen Pallett) for writing about things which he does not believe and which "don't exist". At the conclusion of the song, the Pooka flies away, and Owen Pallett puts down his violin, saying "I leave it down, never again!".
  • The Magic: The Gathering trading card game features three cards based on púca.
  • In Flann O'Brien's novel At Swim-Two-Birds there is a pooka named MacPhellimey.
  • In the 2000 Jonathan Glazer film Sexy Beast, a malicious "Harvey"-style pooka haunts the protagonist, Gal, in his dreams and waking life. This pooka becomes synonymous with both the title and the antagonist, Don Logan, replacing Don in the latter portion of the movie as Gal's tormentor.
  • In Odin Sphere, a 2007 game for PlayStation 2, one of the main characters is Cornelius, The Pooka Prince, who is transformed into a pooka, and finds a city of other pookas who are all trying to lift the curse and become human. They take the form of an anthropomorphized rabbit.
  • In the 1980s Namco arcade game Dig Dug, one of the two enemies that you need to defeat to clear each level is called a Pooka.
  • In White Wolf's original World of Darkness role playing game, Changeling: The Dreaming, mischievous pooka are available as player characters.
  • In Jasper Fforde's novel Shades of Grey, a pooka is an uncompleted hologram, seen as a type of ghost by the book's villagers.

Notes[edit]