Celtic mythology and folklore

Abarta (Abartach, Abhartach) Irish god. This minor figure in Irish mythology—one of the fomorians, an ancient and monstrous race— appears in texts devoted to the band of heroes called the fianna. Ambitious to join the warrior elite, Abarta came to them pretending to be a lazy man in search of a job. fionn mac cumhaill, […]

Angwish (Anwisance) To Away (Celtic mythology and folklore)

Angwish (Anwisance) Arthurian hero. A king of Ireland and father of the fair iseult around whom one of the greatest Arthurian romances centers, Angwish was the enemy of king arthur but later became his ally. His brother, the fierce morholt, caused the battle that brought the fated lover tristan to Angwish’s court, where he first […]

Ba’al (Baal) To Bile (bele; pl., bili) (Celtic mythology and folklore)

Ba’al (Baal) Non-Celtic divinity. This title, meaning "the lord," was given to various gods of the Phoenicians, the sea-trading ancient people of the eastern Mediterranean; Ba’al was parallel to, and perhaps consort of, the goddess named Ba’alat, "the lady." Ba’al is sometimes mistakenly described as the Celtic corollary to a hypothesized seasonal god named Bel, […]

Billy To Buxenus (Celtic mythology and folklore)

Billy Blind British folkloric figure. In northern England, this name was sometimes given to a male form of the banshee, the fairy who predicts death; he also sometimes helped around the house like a brownie. Birch Symbolic plant. One of the Celtic sacred trees, the birch (species betula) stands for the second letter of the […]

Cabyll-Ushtey To Charm (Celtic mythology and folklore)

Cabyll-Ushtey Manx mythological creature. On the Isle of Man, this variety of the water horse was a monster that stole cattle (and sometimes people) from the safety of land and drowned them in lakes or in the sea. Cado Breton mythological figure. A sea god or sea monster of Brittany, he came to force the […]

Celtic mythology and folklore

Who Were the Celts? The terms Celt and Celtic seem familiar today— familiar enough that many people assume that they are ethnic descriptions, words that define a people related by blood and culture. Such people are imagined as fair-skinned, possibly red-haired, often freckled. More important, it is presumed they share an inborn mystical inclination. They […]

Children of Lir To Cynan (Celtic mythology and folklore)

Children of Lir Irish heroine and heroes. Their story is called one of the three sorrows of ireland. Happily married to king lir, the magician’s daughter aeb gave birth first to a twin son and daughter, Aed and fionnuala. Her next pregnancy was less fortunate however, and she died giving birth to a pair of […]

Da Derga (Da Dearga, Ua Dergae) To Dfgne (Dige, Dighe, Duibne) (Celtic mythology and folklore)

Da Derga (Da Dearga, Ua Dergae) Irish god or hero. One of the most significant Irish narratives dealing with the ancient Celtic vision of kingship is set in the hostel or inn of this obscure character. When the king of tara, conaire, arrived at Da Derga’s hostel on the magical feast of samhain (November 1) […]

Dfl To Dyfr (Dynwir) (Celtic mythology and folklore)

Dfl Irish heroine. This obscure figure is known only from the book of invasions, which says that she was the wife of the equally mysterious DONN; she drowned as her people, the MILESIANS, arrived in Ireland. Dinadan (Dinaden) Arthurian hero. The satirist of the ROUND TABLE, Dinadan is a relatively obscure figure who appears as […]

Eachlach Urlair To Eye (Celtic mythology and folklore)

Eachlach Urlair (Eclock Urleer, Eachrais urlair, Creeper on the Floor, Trouble-the-House) Scottish folkloric figure. This feminine spirit—a BOGIE or WITCH—was believed to live near castles and to provide unspecified, even mysterious, service to their residents. Her name came to mean any domestic servant, but in Highland folklore she is described as having originated not in […]