Anu (deity)

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Not to be confused with Annan.
Paps of Anu; the western Pap from the eastern Pap

In Irish mythology, Anu (or Ana, sometimes given as Anann or Anand) is a goddess. She may be a goddess in her own right,[1] or an alternate name for Danu. In the Lebor Gabála Érenn, "Anand" is given as an alternate name for Morrígu.[2] While an Irish goddess, in parts of Britain a similar figure is referred to as "Gentle Annie," in an effort to avoid offense, a tactic which is similar to referring to the fairies as "The Good People".[3] As her name is often conflated with a number of other goddesses, it is not always clear which figure is being referred to if the name is taken out of context.[1]


This name may be derived the Proto-Celtic theonym *Φanon-.[4]

Paps of Anu[edit]

Anu has particular associations with Munster: the twin hills known as the Paps of Anu (Dá Chích Anann or the breasts of Anu), at 52°00′55″N 9°16′09″W / 52.01528°N 9.26917°W / 52.01528; -9.26917, near Killarney,[5] County Kerry are said to have been named after this ancient goddess.[2]


Evidence that Anu may be the same deity as Danu appears in the following comment from Sanas Cormaic: "Ana .i. mother of the Irish gods. Well did she feed the gods."[6]

Works cited[edit]

  1. ^ a b MacKillop, James (1998) Dictionary of Celtic Mythology Oxford: Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-280120-1 pp.10, 16, 128
  2. ^ a b R. A. Stewart Macalister. Lebor Gabála Érenn. Part IV. Irish Texts Society, Dublin, 1941. § VII, First Redaction.
  3. ^ Black Annis, Gentle Annie
  4. ^ Proto-Celtic—English lexicon and English—Proto-Celtic lexicon. University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies. (See also this page for background and disclaimers.) Cf. also the University of Leiden database.
  5. ^ The Paps of Anu - Prehistoric and Early Ireland
  6. ^


  • MacKillop, James. Dictionary of Celtic Mythology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998: ISBN 0-19-280120-1.
  • Wood, Juliette, The Celts: Life, Myth, and Art, Thorsons Publishers (2002): ISBN 0-00-764059-5