Talk:Irish mythology

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Wikibooks[edit]

Anyone interested in contibuting to this project might also like to help out with the wikibook project http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Mythology/British_and_Irish_Mythology

Bandraoi 12:57, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Other Comments[edit]

Some of this is Scots as much as Irish. Perhaps it would be better placed in Celtic or Gaelic mythology. -- Derek Ross


Pre-christion Ireland and Scotland were a single cultural region, (in fact the term "Scot" was originally applied to people in Ireland), so yes this stuff probably should be moved somewhere more general. Probably Gaelic mythology is the place to put it rather than Celtic mythology (on the assumption that Welsh and Breton mythology is sufficiently different). --Eob

Gaelic mythology would certainly be more accurate. I would move it, but because Irish mythographers (and, for instance, German Hibernicists) tend to use the word "Irish" where Gaelic is meant, Irish is much more recognizable. What do others think? - Calgacus 16:59, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

I think there will probably need to be a sort out at some point. But this was really put up (with the move to the PHP bracketed solution firmly in mind) so that precisely these sorts of issues could be addressed. Once we get brackets we can do this such that we can split the different implementations of the various Celtic deities by ethnicity e.g. [Lugh (Breton Celtic deity)], [Lugh (Britannic Celtic deity)], [Lugh (Irish Celtic deity)] etc. sjc --

There does need to be some recognition of the pan-Gaelic nature of some of this stuff, particularly the Fenian material, but most "Irish mythology" - the Invasions tradition, the Ulster Cycle, the Kings Cycles - is specifically Irish. It's also wrong to say that pre-Christian Ireland and Scotland were one cultural region, as the Gaelic colonisation of Scotland is quite late and mostly Christian - pre Christian Scotland was mostly Brythonic and therefore of a cultural piece with the Welsh and Cornish. The different manifestations of Lugh are already addressed to a certain degree - Lugus is the ancient continental Celtic deity, Lug is the Irish former deity, Llew Llaw Gyffes is the Welsh manifestation. The differences in time, geography and story require them to be treated separately. I don't know if there is a surviving Breton equivalent, but if there is he'll have a distinctive Breton name and story and should have his own article, obviously linking to the others.--Nicknack009 18:04, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Scottish (i.e. Gaelic) colonization of northern Britain was mostly post-christian, that is true; but that makes little difference, as virtually all Gaelic mythology is recorded in the christian era. The Scots and Irish do need to be treated as one people for almost all of the middle ages. The Scots themselves, until the 14th century at least, regarded Ireland as their homeland, and indeed many Scottish Gaelic myths are set in Ireland. Moreover, a new article on Gaelic mythology would simply replicate much of the fine stuff in this article. The only reason I'm ok with the current title is, like I said, because Irish is frequently used were Gaelic is blatantly meant (e.g. Imperator Scottorum equalling Emperor of the Irish rather than the more accurate High King of the Gaels; or Middle Irish; or the Irish Kings of Scotland). It's not the job of wikipedia, after all, to correct imperfect scholarly habits. If it were, I'd be all for moving the article. - Calgacus 18:51, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Some of these stories are not religious in nature. Many of them continued past the Christianization of Ireland and were accepted as historical or folk tales. This page should not be renamed 'stories of the Irish religion' it would be akin to describing Paul Bunyan as part of the American religion.

But exactly the same thing can be said about the Bible. And yet LMS still moved Christian Mythology to The stories of Christianity -- so if we are to be neutral, we must do the same thing to Irish mythology. Also, even if they survived the arrival of Christianity as folk tales, they were religious stories to begin with. -- SJK

A few points I'd like to make.

  • The statement of Scotland and Ireland is a bit sweeping. There is a distinct limit to the spread of Irish as a language in Scotland in the prehistoric era, basically just the Nort West. It would probably be truer to view Irish-speaking areas of Scotland between the 5th and 9th centuries to actually be a part of Ireland, culturally at least. Plus all the major source documents are of Irish origin.
  • Of the 4 cycles. the Mythological is entitirely devoted to 'events' in Ireland, the Ulster has a short section on the training of Cuchulainn that is set in scotland and the Historical deals with semi-historical Irish kings. Only the Fenian has a significant Scottish element.
  • Irish mythology is a perfectly respectable academic label, and has been since at least the mid 19th century.
  • There is no real evidence for considering Irish mythology as being in any way religious. The religious element is a mix of introductions by Christian scribes and Victorians . The 'gods' were apparently not worshipped and are, in fact, more like the heroes of Greek mythology. Would you say that Norse mythology, Greek mythology, etc should be moved, too?


I would like to restructure this article to give more information on the sources, nature and structure of Irish mythology and have made a brief start at User:Bmills/Irish mythology. Also of interest (maybe) is Táin Bó Cúailnge. Bmills 13:06, 5 Dec 2003 (UTC)


Here is the text I am overwriting:

Irish mythology is the collection of tales and beliefs out of Celtic folklore and religion in Ireland, mostly prior to the widespread introduction of Christianity. Major legendary cycles that have survived to the present day include the Tain and the Fenian cycle.

A request for information[edit]

I am working on the Elijah page and I have a question. I came across a single statement that Irish Catholics set a place for Elijah. ("in the Ireland of old, a place at the table was set for him--Elijah--in even the most humble house -- should he arrive unexpectedly to the Catholic Irish family who lived there.") There was no reference for this and no further information. I was hoping that someone in this group might have heard of this and could point me toward a source. ThomasHartman 00:43, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

Topics in Irish mythology[edit]

Festivals and Seasons[edit]

Gods and Goddesses[edit]

Heroes and Heroines[edit]

Legendary creatures[edit]

Places[edit]

Miscellaneous[edit]

Accounts and Writings[edit]

Other sources[edit]

Also see[edit]

External links[edit]

Children of Lir[edit]

I've changed the Tragedy of the Children of Lir from one of the "greatest" Irish stories to one of the best known, partly because it's a value judgement and therefore not NPOV, but also because, as an Irish mythology buff, I think it's one of the worst. Personal taste and all that. --Nicknack009 08:39, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Same person?[edit]

Is Dian different from Dian Cecht?--Confuzion 22:47, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

Gaelic mythology[edit]

I redirected the article Gaelic mythology here. It was created by User:Eog1916 based completely from the information found here, with a few minor changes. « Keith te» 16:02, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

Eog1916 06:00, 20 January 2007 (UTC)eog1916 Dear Keith,

Thanks for the comments. The English version of Wikipedia is rather too ethnocentric for a world audience. I think that it is important that we refrain from using terminology that is politically or otherwise loaded. Many other language groups resort to using the English version as the template for their own versions and it is surely important that we divest ourselves of as mush of our anglophilic/phobic thoughts whilst composing articles! Celtic or Gaelic Mythology and not Irish Mythology would be a much better heading for these articles. I spend most of my time on other language versions of Wikipedia ( mainly the gaelic version) and am not that well versed in the editorial end...please forgive me.

Celtic mythology is a wider subject, including the mythologies of the British and continental Celtic-speaking peoples. Gaelic mythology is perhaps arguable, but apart from some Fenian ballads it is overwhelmingly Irish, i.e. originating in Ireland, written in Ireland in the Irish language, and set in Ireland. --Nicknack009 11:01, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
I should point out that I know nothing about Irish/Gaelic mythology or mythology in general. I created the redirect for no other reason than Gaelic mythology was just copied from here. The page contained nothing to merit an article of it's own. « Keith te» 13:00, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

I always thought that the Celts were the people who came to anf from Ireland over to Scotland and Gaelic was the language they spoke (and speak still today in different form). Can someone elaborate for me please?

The current title is rather awkward. Irish mythology should refer to the mythology of Ireland, which would include Gaelic mythology, but also any myths by any non-Gaelic Irish people - English has been in Ireland for 8 centuries and Dublin, Ireland's current capital, hasn't been Gaelic speaking for over a millenium. In practice, "Irish mythology" is being used to mean "Gaelic mythology", which is blatantly Hibernocentric. It is undeniable that most Gaelic mythology is Irish, in respect of geographical focus and manuscript preservation. Yet, as Scotland is not in Ireland, surely Gaelic mythology is best for preserving NPOV? It's funny because before the growth of Irish nationalist romanticism in the 19th century, most people in Europe identified Gaelic mythology with Scotland (e.g. MacPherson's Ossian). I speak as a Scotsman, and therefore accussable of bias. Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 11:29, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Was not Ossain a make-up by MacPherson? He claimed he secretly collected that mythology somewhere in the highlands. The problem was that no one else in Scotland ever heard of these "mythology" stories. MacPherson never gave the "source" of his writings, so he never defended himself against Dr Johnson, and was totally discredited, though some die-hards still try to spin the myth. About 75% of Ireland was Irish-speaking until about 1850. Why would Scotland want to appropriate Irish mythology? Manopingo 02:19, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Ossian was not made up; the tales Macpherson used were embellished, which is quite different. He got the basis for his stories from real sources. Ossianic myth is independently attested in Scotland (from placenames, the Book of the Dean of Lismore to modern oral tradition). (May I remind you also that Johnson's main reason for doubting MacPherson was his belief that Gaels could not possess a literary culture; it was other men who were responsible for revealing MacPherson's embellishments.) No-one doubts the existence of Ossianic myths in Scotland ... that just not possible. Likewise, Fenianic myths are well accounted for in Scottish tradition. Not that it matters, it doesn't get atround the fact that these myths were associated mostly with Scotland rather than Ireland until the 19th century. As for the phrase, "Why would Scotland want to appropriate Irish mythology?", well, what can I say? The mythology is Scottish as well as Irish. It is a disservice to history to see the two (Scottish and Irish) as mutually exclusive along artificial national boundaries, and wrong to see the two countries as rivals. The traditions, are, after all, shared, no matter how much more important Ireland is (remember that Ireland had perhaps as much as three times the population of Scotland until the modern period). You'll notice, too, if you read any medieval Irish mythological writings or like material, the medieval Irish-speaking Irish - unlike the modern English-speaking Irish - didn't think their culture was confined to Ireland; hence common phrases like the "greatest poet in Ireland and Scotland", you get in so many Irish obits, or the distinction between Gaedel and Eireanach. May I remind you also that the Irish name for "Irish" is not "Irish", but "Gaelic", as it is in both Scotland and Mann. So everytime something Gaelic is called either "Irish" or "Scottish", it's just another triumph for modern anglophone nationalism over real Gaelic tradition. BTW, I don't really think the page should be moved; it's just a fact of life that the mythology is (except sometimes in Scotland or amongst a few conscientious scholars) referred to as "Irish", even though "Gaelic" is what in practice is generally meant. Wikipedia just has to deal with things the way they are, just as Old Irish and Middle Irish are used synonymously with Old Gaelic and Middle Gaelic (the terms Scottish historians use for the exact same languages). I just think it's a shame that it is this way. Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 12:41, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
A separation of 1000 years, would definitely delink the Ireland and Scotland, as far as mythology is concerned. "England", waxed and waned in their control of Ireland for 800 years, and Ireland never took on "English Mythology". And what has happened to Pictish mythology. Scotland, as we know it today is a meld of old Gaelic (that bland Anglo-word, that is so ubiquitous on WP), and the Pictish history and mythology too. You cannot pick up on Irish mythology just because of a connection almost 1000 years ago. And too, I notice that some of the "Scottish" pages(if I am allowed use that word), give a vague account of the connections with "Old Ireland". There is a source, which suggests that it was Oliver Goldsmith, who briefed Johnson on the authenticity of MacPherson's "discovery".Manopingo 17:06, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Separation of 1000 years? What is that exactly supposed to mean? That date makes no sense in terms of any argument I've ever heard. It can't be a state, since 1) states have virtually nothing to do with culture, and 2) Ireland never was a state until the early 20th century. And who was the last Gaelic High King of Ireland? Wait, it was Edubard, son of the Countess of Carrick, the brother of the Scottish king. Where did the Scottish dynasty believe they came from? Ireland! The Scots and Irish have never been separated in any meaningful sense. Sure, the Irish were ruled by England in varying senses since the 1170s, and Scotland had a Kingdom, but how does that imply separation? Surely, if statehood implies separations, then even today there has never been an Ireland. Of course, this is absurd. As for Pictish mythology ... well, why is Nechtan in "Irish mythology"; why does the King of Alba feature so prominently in Irish myths? And who were the Picts? They were Celts in a linguistic and cultural continuum between southern Britain and southern Ireland. Munstermen were always similar but different to Leinstermen; Leinstermen always similar to Ulstermen; Ulstermen always similar to Argyllmen/Dal Riatans/Galwegians; Dal Riatans always similar to Picts/Albanaich/Scotsmen; Albanaich similar to Strathclydians; Strathclydians to Cumbrians; Cumbrians to Welsh; Welsh to Cornish; Cornish to Bretons. "Pictish" was certainly a strong ethnic identity for a few hundred years, but so was the Ulaid. And as the Celtic language came from Britain to Ireland, it 's not entirely clear in what meaningful sense "Gaels" in Scotland came from Ireland, since they were already there; and, in so far as we take account of ethnic identities, Gaels are recorded in "Scotland" as a recognizable ethnic group (Scotti) since the 4th century AD. Perhaps instead of dictating that this mythology is going to be Irish, why not just take the mythology as you find it ... among the Gaelic traditions of Scotland, Ireland and Man, who in all cases called their language "Gaelic". "Irish" is an English and Anglophone exonym which connects the Gaelic language to a part of the territories in which it was and is spoken and ignores actual present and historical Gaelic usage. So like I said, everytime something Gaelic is called either "Irish" or "Scottish", it's just another triumph for modern anglophone nationalism over real Gaelic tradition. Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 17:41, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
One could argue like this forever. As for me, I'll adhere to actual facts. In the meantime, MacPherson's spirit still lurks. Manopingo 18:13, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
That's a very ignoble way to end a conversation, casting aspersions like that after I took time to answer you. If you disagree, you disagree and that's fine ... surely? Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 18:37, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, but you were ignoble first. From the content of your input, you seem to have a "chip" about Ireland, I won't analysis, not into book writing. What has Edward got to do with Irish Mythology, and he was made high-king through a plot to trounce the English. No point answering you, as you'll be throwing in the kitchen sink next. Manopingo 18:46, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, fine, no skin off my nose. As for what I've written, that will speak for itself to neutral editors. Regards, Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 18:56, 2 March 2007 (UTC)