The Creatures of Irish Mythology

Denis Mardesich, Staff Writer

Saint Patrick’s Day is coming soon and I hope that everyone enjoys it. Saint Patrick’s day has been around for a very long time, since 461 A.D. to be specific and many symbols have been adapted to represent the holiday. One of the most known symbols being the Leprechaun, which I’m sure that you all have heard of.

The Leprechaun is often seen as a mischievous race of very short men with wide brimmed, buckled hats and green clothing. They also are commonly seen as cobblers who enjoy practical jokes and riches. They are a type of “fairy folk,” which is a classification of fairy in Irish mythology.

Besides leprechauns, there are many other creatures that derive from Irish mythology, and many of them are much more interesting then it.

However, in order to go more in depth in Irish mythology and folklore, you have to first talk about the celts. The celts were early citizens of Europe that inhabited many areas of Europe. One of these regions was of course, Ireland. Celtic civilization was soon overrun by the Romans however many elements of Celtic mythology still exist in the countries that they had inhabited, including Ireland.    

The celts had many tales and stories depicting creatures, many of which were faeries, which are basically just fairies with an alternate spelling. However many faeries did not look like the fairies we know today, in fact a faerie was often seen as any kind of mythical being that was abstract or strange, faeries were also considered to be metaphysical.

One of the many creatures that are seen often in Irish mythology is the banshee. Not to be confused with the bird-like creature known as the mountain banshee from James Cameron’s Avatar, the banshees of Irish and Celtic myth are female spirits that appears to warn people of the death of a family member by screaming or yelling.

Another female creature of Irish and Celtic mythology is the Selkie. Selkies are a race of creatures that travel the sea as seals however they can shed their skin and become a human female. Tales say that selkies would lure sailors to their death by hypnotically singing songs that would brainwash them. Selkies seem to originate from a legend of Celtic mythology that states that angels that fell from the heavens landed in the sea, and became seals and the angels that fell on the land became the faeries.

As well as the many female fairies and creatures in Celtic and Irish folklore and mythology were often depicted as mischievous creatures that would cause problems for humans by playing practical jokes, one of these creatures being the Leprechaun and another being the Clurichaun.

The Clurichaun and the Leprechaun are very similar creatures both of them are often seen as cobblers or shoemakers with a love for riches and pranks. However Clurichauns are different from the Leprechaun in the fact that they have a love for alcohol and are often seen haunting wine cellars, constantly disturbing their owners with pranks and jokes. Besides this one difference the Leprechaun is even believed to be a regional variant of the Clurichaun, or vice versa.

There are many other creatures from Irish mythology, each one different from the last in their own interesting ways. In fact many myths are seen as the origin of various common monsters and creatures such as the vampire, changeling, and even mermaids, and every single one of these creatures have awesome designs and origins.