Tír na nÓg

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Tír na nÓg (disambiguation).
Tír na nÓg
Irish mythology location
Type Otherworld
Notable characters Oisín, Niamh

In Irish mythology and folklore, Tír na nÓg ([tʲiːɾˠ n̪ˠə ˈn̪ˠoːɡ]; "Land of the Young") or Tír na hÓige ("Land of Youth") is one of the names for the Otherworld, or perhaps for a part of it. It is depicted as a supernatural realm of everlasting youth, beauty, health, abundance and joy.[1] Its inhabitants are the Tuath Dé, the gods of pre-Christian Ireland.[1] In the echtrae (adventure) and immram (voyage) tales, various Irish mythical heroes visit Tír na nÓg after a voyage or an invitation from one of its residents. They reach it by entering ancient burial mounds or caves, or by going under water or across the sea.[1]

Tír na nÓg is best known from the tale of Oisín and Niamh.[2] In the tale, Oisín (a human hero) and Niamh (a woman of the Otherworld) fall in love. She brings him to Tír na nÓg on a magical horse that can travel over water. After spending what seems to be three years there, Oisín becomes homesick and wants to return to Ireland. Niamh reluctantly lets him return on the magical horse, but warns him never to touch the ground. When he returns, he finds that 300 years have passed in Ireland. Oisín falls from the horse. He instantly becomes elderly, as the years catch up with him, and he quickly dies of old age.[3]

Other Old Irish names for the Otherworld include Tír Tairngire ("Land of Promise/Promised Land"),[1][4] Tír fo Thuinn ("Land under the Wave"),[1] Mag Mell ("Plain of Delight/Delightful Plain"),[1] Ildathach ("Multicoloured place"),[3] and Emain Ablach.

Similar tales[edit]

This story of Oisín and Niamh bears a striking similarity to many other tales, including the Japanese tale of Urashima Tarō.[5] Francis Hindes Groome recorded another such tale in his Gypsy Folk Tales.[6] Another version concerns King Herla, a legendary king of the ancient Britons, who visited to the Otherworld, only to return some two hundred years later after the lands had been settled by the Anglo-Saxons. The "Seven Sleepers of Ephesus", a group of Christian youths who hid inside a cave outside the city of Ephesus around 250 AD, purportedly awoke approximately 180 years later during the reign of Theodosius II.

Also featured in[edit]

  • Tír na nÓg is the capital city of the realm of Hibernia based on ancient Celtic mythology in the 2001 MMORPG Dark Age of Camelot.
  • The mythological island of Tír na nÓg is also featured in the less mythological series Winx Club, in which it is depicted as the realm of the terrestrial fairies, a realm that functions as the border between the human world and that of the fairies of the earth. The directors of Rainbow Inc. started using the island as a setting for their show as from the fourth season of Winx Club. As it used to be "a place of joy and happiness", as avouched in the show, the island in the show refers undeniably to the history of the island featured earlier on this page: "It is depicted as a supernatural realm of everlasting youth, beauty, health, abundance and joy." The featuring of the island on the show doesn't add anything to the mythological or historical value of the folklore, however, the show is one of the few animation shows that has dedicated a part of its plot to the island, which is highly remarkable.
  • Tír na nÓg was the setting for most of the earlier tales of the long running Sláine series, in the UK's sci-fi and fantasy comic 2000ad
  • In the MMORPG Mabinogi, Tír na nÓg is the supposed land of paradise that three warriors set out to find. Further into the storyline, the player is told that Erinn, the land that the game takes place in, is in fact Tír na nÓg, and the land that they thought was Tír na nÓg was nothing but a wasteland, that resembles Erinn very closely.
  • In the movie Titanic, Tír na nÓg was mentioned by a storytelling mother.[7]
  • Tír na nÓg was featured in the Fox Kids television series The Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog. It was ruled by the fairy king Fin Varra and served as a training ground for the Mystic Knights, and where the Knights sought out Fin Varra's advice.
  • In the Iron Fey novels by Julie Kagawa, Tir Na Nog is the home of the Winter fey. In this story, it is not a land of joy and happiness, but a land of eternal Winter, covered in snow. The Winter court, which is underground, is ruled by Queen Mab, a cruel faery queen.
  • Tír-na Nog'th appears in Roger Zelaznys "Chronicles of Amber". The city appears during full moon above the city of Amber. The only inhabitants of this city are shadows and ghosts of people who once, might have, or never existed.
  • Alcest's first full length album 'Souvenirs d'un autre monde' closes with a track called "Tir Nan Og"
  • The pluripotent stem cell protein Nanog is named after Tir Na Nog
  • Tír na nÓg is the setting of the book "The Feral Cild" by Che Golden

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Koch, John T. Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO, 2006. pp.1671
  2. ^ T.A. Rolleston (1990). Celtic Myths and Legends Courier Dover Publications.
  3. ^ a b Monaghan, Patricia. The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore. Infobase Publishing, 2004. pp.358, 368
  4. ^ James MacKillop (1998). A dictionary of Celtic mythology Oxford University Press.
  5. ^ Shah, Idries (1991). World tales : the extraordinary coincidence of stories told in all times, in all places. London: Octagon. p. 359. ISBN 978-0863040368. 
  6. ^ http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/roma/gft/gft074.htm
  7. ^ "Titanic (1997) – Quotes". IMDb. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]