Anu (Irish goddess)

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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 offence, 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 from 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 Archived February 11, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  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