The “Old McDonald Had a Farm” folk song

Legend and lore about the song will be posted soon.

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Loo-Wit, Mount Saint Helens

Photos and Tales to come – coming soon ….

Story of the Bridge of the Gods: Geologically this is one of the shortest crossing areas between Oregon and Washington over the Columbia River. It is believed that a thousand years ago there was a massive landslide from the north shore of the Columbia River that slid into the river and blocked the Gorge. It created a natural dam and inland sea that extended between Oregon, Washington, and into Idaho. As river pressures began carving out natural bridges and tunnels under this landslide to outlet into the Pacific, eventually the blockage dam was washed away. Some say it originally carved a large natural stone bridge that the Native Americans believed was created by the Gods. Legend has it this land bridge eventually collapsed back into the Columbia River, destroying the inland sea, and creating the Cascade rapids.

Native America legends tell a tale that the Great Spirit Manito created this bridge so his peoples of the Columbia River could cross the river from bank to bank, and it was so called the “Giant Crossover”. This Great Spirit assigned the Wise woman Guardian Loo-Wit to watch over it and protect the river, bridge, and peoples of the area. Out of fear and respect for the Great Spirit, the tribes would appeal for protection while crossing the river. It was eventually called the “Bridge of the Gods” translated and nicknamed as such from the white westerners who came through the area. Manito had sent his sons to earth – the three great mountains: Multnomah the Warrior (Mt. Rainier), Klickitat the totem maker (Mt. Adams), and Wyeast, the singer (Mt. Hood) who all presided over the river and the bridge peacefulling for many years until the beautiful Squaw Mountain moved into the valley between Klickitat and Wyeast. She fell in love with Wyeast while still flirting with Klickitat, causing rivalry and jealousy between the two causing the mountains to fight over her. Their arguing, growling, trembling, and feuds caused lava, ash, and earthquakes to form in their path – and each other hurling white hot rocks at each other. This destroyed the forests, environment, and beauty of the valley – and broke the bridge causing it to fall into the river never to be seen again. Manito was so upset by this, he formed huge rapids in the Columbia River to separate the feuding brothers. Klickitat won Squaw Mountain’s heart and Wyeast admitted defeat, much to the dismay of Squaw who loved him so, and although at the side of Klickitatt with a heavy broken heart, became depressed and fell into a deep permanent sleep and sits today as “Sleeping Beauty” lying just west of Mt. Adams. Klickitat under such shock from Squaw’s depression, once with a high straight head like Wyeast, fell with grief that he dropped his head in shame and never raised it again. Loo-Wit got caught up in the cross-fire during this battle, and fell with the bridge. the Great Spirit rewarded her with a wish, and she asked to be made young and beautiful again – but being old, she did not require companionship so chose a lonely location. She became the most beautiful of all mountains and made her home far west as the beautiful and powerful Mount Saint Helens.



The Blarney Witch: Her Kitchen and Stone in the Rock Close

The Witches’ Kitchen

Witches Kitchen
* The Rock Close * Blarney Castle, Blarney, Ireland * *

In the enchanted grounds of Rock Close in the fabled lands of Blarney Castle is the infamous Kitchen of the Blarney Witch. Archaeologically it is believed to have been a prehistoric dwelling potentially as old as the Neolithic (3,000-5,000 years old) if there is any connection of it to the The Rock Close Dolmen (Blarney Castle) or the Druid’s Cave and Circle. Atop her wishing steps is her kitchen. It has a chimney and fireplace within.

The Witches’ Kitchen

Offset from the kitchen is her stone. Apparently by legend she is bound and entrapped in the rock in servitude to bestow wishes upon those who walk up and down backwards the wishing steps while thinking only of their wishes and not letting any other thoughts drift in. In exchange, the Blarney guardians provide her firewood for this very kitchen so she can continue her spell craft and crazy brews while staying warm at night for when darkness falls she is magically released from the stone she is trapped within. Some say if you arrive early enough you can still see the dying embers of the fire as she lights a fire every night. Many believe that it was the Blarney Witch who really told McCarthy about the power of the Blarney Stone while others claim it was her who enchanted the stone as a “thank you” to McCarthy for saving her from drowning in the river. No one seems to know how she was entrapped into her rock. The Echoe Ghost Hunters investigated this area in 2010-2011 and claimed very strong EMP’s were recorded in the area of the Witches’ Kitchen. Most of the lore in this area is centered around the Witch of Blarney.

The Witches Stone




The Rock Close of Blarney

Rock Close

Rock Close
* Blarney Castle, Blarney, Ireland * *

A mystical portal in the heart of the castle grounds of Blarney Castle is Rock Close, a place where faeries dance, Witches’ bless and answer wishes, Druids weave magic, stone monuments made, and magic is alive. The Rock Close garden is not only a site of myths and legends, but of romance and art. A dolmen greets you as you walk along the river after walking through a weaved willow tunnel, with misty meadows, moss covered rocks, and waterfalls. As you walk up the Witches Wishing steps to the Witches Kitchen and where the Witch is trapped in the stone, overlooked by the Druid Cave and by the Druid Ceremonial circle where you can walk around where the faeries play. This is one of the most fun and condensed folklore heavy sites I’ve encountered in Ireland – of course its history is a mystery in of itself. It is also a great romantic getaway from the tourist heavy section of Blarney Castle. Prehistoric dwellings adapted by 10th, 13th, and 19th century adaptations lead a lot to the imagination in this garden. In 1824, Croften Croker wrote in his “Researches in the South of Ireland” about the mysteries of this spot.

    In this romantic spot nature and art (a combination rather uncommon in pleasure grounds) have gone hand in hand. Advantage has been taken of accidental circumstances to form tasteful and characteristic combinations; and it is really a matter of difficulty at first to determine what is primitive, and what the produce of design. The delusion is even heightened by the present total neglect. You come most unexpectedly into this little shaded nook, and stand upon a natural terrace above the river, which glides as calmly as possible beneath. Here, if you feel inclined for contemplation, a rustic couch of rock, all festooned with moss and ivy, is at your service; but if adventurous feelings urge you to explore farther, a discovery is made of an almost concealed, irregularly excavated passage through the solid rock, which is descended by a rude flight of stone steps, called the “Wishing Steps,” and you emerge sul margine d’un rio, over which depend some light and graceful trees. It is indeed a fairy scene, and I know of no place where I could sooner imagine these little elves holding their moon-light revelry. ~ Croften Croker, 1824


It was a highly popular in the early 19th century with antiquarians. The mysteries of the Blarney Witch, the Fairies, the Druids, and the Dolmen are sure to enchant you. Blarney Castle does document that this was a place for Druidic worship. The sacrificial altar of course is hearsay, the Druid’s circle is probably, the hermit’s cave or Druid’s cave is a mystery as is the Witches’ kitchen and wishing steps. It has been documented that in the late 1700’s C.E. (Common Era) that the Rock Close was made into the garden area upon which foundations are walked upon today. Apparently the castle owners landscaped around already existing prehistoric dwellings, stone monuments, and Druid circles to make the magical faerie glen it is today.





Binne the Giant and his grave

Binne’s Cairn, The Giant’s Grave, Curraghbinny Hill, Ireland

The Giant’s Grave: Binne’s Cairn
* Curraghbinny Woods, County Cork, Munster, Ireland * Latitude: 5148’41.35″ * Longitude: -817’52.72″ *

Atop the summit of Curraghbinny Hill in Curraghbinny Forest Recreation Area lies a mound of giant stones/ cairn that is locally called “The Giant’s Grave”. The grave overlooks Cork Harbour. It was excavated by an archaeological team in 1932 by archaeologist Sean P. O’Riordan. During this excavation, a large circle of giant boulders were uncovered beneath a spread of stones. Within the cairn was an arc of smaller stones closer to the center. In the center of the monument was a heap of stone and clay. That is all found within the cairn. Nearby however were found cattle teeth, cattle bone, charcoal, cremated human bone, a small bronze ring, and two collections of water-rolled pebbles imported from elsewhere. The cremated human bone found nearby was carbon dated roughly to be 4,000 years old. No one knows the exact date of the cairn, but it is estimate to be Bronze Age (2000 B.C.E. to 400 B.C.E.). The name of the woods “Curraghbinny” in Irish is “Corra Binne” named after the legendary giant called Binne. It is believed that this cairn is his burial chamber atop the hill (called a “Corra” in Irish). The stone most likely was deposited naturally during the Ice Age 20,000 years ago. The Giant’s Stone in Crosshaven went missing after the slob in the town center was filled in and was recently recovered and brought back to be displayed in the middle of Crosshaven.

Binne’s Cairn, The Giant’s Grave, Curraghbinny Hill, Ireland


The legend of the Giant named Binne
According to Robert Day who told the tale in 1892 about a giant named Mahain who threw two stones from Monkstown landing in Ringaskiddy and the other in Crosshaven. It is believed this was the Giant named Binne. Another local tale tells a similar tale, but this time the Giant was called Binne, and lived locally in Currabinny. He was the giant who cast the stones into Crosshaven years ago. The stone apparently has a set of fingerprints embedded into the stone leading viewers of it to believe they belonged to a giant.

Binne’s Cairn, The Giant’s Grave, Curraghbinny Hill, Ireland




Staurolite: Fairy crosses/stones

FC-005: Celtic Cross Fairy Cross from Taos, New Mexico.

Purchase one here

Fairy Stone / Fairy Cross / Staurolite

Localities: Fairy Stone State Park, Virginia, USA; North Georgia, USA; Little Falls, Minnesota, USA; Taos, New Mexico, USA; Switzerland; Russia; Australia; Brazil; France; Italy; Scotland.

Description: Popular to its folklore and legends, this stone has a State Park in Virginia named after it as it is home to its namesake “fairy stones”. It is also the official stone of the state of Georgia in the USA. Most commonly shaped like Celtic crosses or the St. Andrew’s cross, as an “X” or as a “T” shaped Roman cross, and square Maltese crosses. Color of the Staurolite varies to the region it comes from but can be dark brow, brownish black, grey, or reddish brown.

Geology:Staurolite are a combination of silica, iron, and aluminum. A silicate mineral, with the Chemical formula of Fe2+2Al9O6(SiO4)4(O,OH)2, and a Strunz classification of 9.AF.30, possessing a monclinic prismatic crystal symmetry. It’s H-M symbol is (2/m), with a Space group of C 2/m, and a unit cell a = 7.86, b = 16.6, c = 5.65; ? = 90.45; Z=2. Coloring ranges from yellowish brown, rarely blue, dark reddish brown to blackish brown, pale golden yellow in thin sections with a subvitreous to resinous luster, white to gray streaks, transparent to opague diaphaneity. Specific gravity is 3.74 – 3.83 meas. 3.686 calc. Twinning is commonly as 60 twins, less common as 90 cruciform twins. Subconchoidal fracture, brittle tenacity, mosh scale hardness of 7-7.5. Common to have penetration twinning, or a characteristic cross-shape. It occurs with almandine garnet, micas, kyanite; as well as albite, biotite, and sillimanite in gneiss and schist of regional metamorphic rocks. It is only found in rocks once subjected to great heat and pressure. A rare mineral occurrence in nature, it is only found in certain areas of the world in the fairy cross or Celtic cross shapes. Each are unique and never are identical. True Staurolite crosses are hard enough to scratch glass.

Folklore: Named after the Greek word “Stauros” for “cross”, they are commonly known as “fairy stones” or “fairy crosses”. According to European and Christianity influenced Native American legend on the state park website, “hundreds of years before Chief Powhatan’s reign, the fairies were dancing around a magical spring of water, playing with naiads and wood nymphs, when a elfin messenger arrived from a city far away bringing the news of the death of Christ. When these creatures of the forest heard the story of the crucifixion, they wept, as their tears fell upon the earth they crystallized into beautiful crosses”. During the first meeting of John Smith and Pocahontas, it is said the Indian princess gave John Smith a good luck charm made out of a “fairy cross”. Legend has it that Richard the Lionheart used them during the crusades to heal the wounded. Some say these are the tears of the Cherokee who wept over the loss of their homeland during the exodus on the “Trail of Tears”. Others talk of an ancient race of mountain faeries who were dancing at their favorite meeting places, and upon finding out that the “Great Creator” had died, shed tears, so moved, were crushed in heart and cried, as they wept their tears crystallized into the “fairy crosses”. Others say that during the defeat of the Tuatha de Danann and other faerie races when they were forced under-ground to live in the hills, the faeries around the world shed tears, made of Iron to represent the Iron Age destroying their race, in the shapes of crosses as an omen of the peopling that would destroy the planet next.

    Ay the charms of the fairy stone make you blessed
    through the days of labor and nights of rest
    Where ever you stay, where ever you go,
    May the beautiful flowers of the good Fairies Grow.
    ~ Little Falls Minnesota web page

Well known that Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Wilson, Thomas A. Edison, Colonel Charles Lindbergh, and other prominent people carried one of these on their person(s).

Magical uses: For centuries these were believed to protect the wearer from sickness, accidents, disaster, and witchcraft. Used to find lost objects. Placed under the pillow to help induce lucid dreaming and astral travel. Used as amulets for good luck. Used to aid stress, anxiety, fear, considered soothing energy, and helpful with grounding. Many believe they embody an energy that will help you make contact with faeries or nature spirits. Some believe wearing the stones will help one stop smoking. Astrologically associated with Pisces. Associated with the base chakra. Healing qualities, good luck, rituals, protection, fever, defeat of malaria, stress, depression, addictive personality traits, time management, smoking cessation.

By Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions and Research Facility.




Tiveragh Fairy Hill (Cushendall)

The Tiveragh Fairy Hill
Cushendall, Northern Ireland

Legend and lore has it that this very broad sided hill with steep sides overlooking the small village of Cushendall in Northern Ireland is the gateway to Tir na nOg. A place very well known locally to be haunted by faeries, leprechauns, elves, and pixies … this giant hill is a natural fortress all in its own and easily seen to be claimed as a stronghold by the fae. Fairy tales mention many stories about it rising up on pillars during the twilight evening with glimmering meriment of faeries frolicking and dining. Many believe that the wee folk live in this hill that is accessed by a nearby cave. As the warning goes, if ye are mortal, regardless of how appeasing the faerie music may sound, if you wander within, you’ll never be seen again on this plane of existence. Time holds a whole different rhythm in Faerieworlds.

We however, of fae persuasion, did venture up the hill at the turn of twilight just as the sun was going down. We spied the hill with visions of faerie impressions while across the valley atop Ossian’s Grave – the Megalithic tomb believed to be the burial spot of the fabled poet and bard Oisin. Now Oisin was lured into fae, into Tir na nOg where he lived until he requested to return to the land of mortals to visit his family. Of course due to faerie time, he came back several hundred years later to find them all gone and deceased. He fell off his faerie steed and became a blind old man wandering these fields eventually dying. If the faerie tale is true, this would be the hill he would have rode out of and across the valley would have been his grave overlooking it … curiouser and curiouser. Midway along the way up the base of the hill is one of the most magnificent Faerie Thorn Trees I’ve ever encountered. As usual with these faerie hills, I always find a wee hole just big enough for the Victorian sized fae to enter within, usually lined with heavy rocks, making it look peculiarly like its a miniature mine rather than a animal hole. We climbed atop as the sun was going down, empowered by the feelings of the ancient ones. Archaeologically though, this may be a massive hillfort. I’m looking for those records and will post my findings here.

    On Tiv-ra Hill near Cushendall,
    I heard a commotion behind a wall,
    I stopped and looked over, and boys-o-boys!

    Now what do you think was making the noise?
    Twas a Hurley match – and may I choke -
    It was two wee teams of the Fairy folk
    That was rippling’ and tearing’ and weltin’ away
    In the light of the moon was bright as day.

    And their playing pitch was hardly as big
    As my Uncle Barney’s potato rig;
    And me there watchin’ them puck and clout
    At the back o’ the wall with my eyes stuck out.

    When all at once, like the squeal of a hare,
    A wee voice shouted, “Who’s that up there?”
    And a bit off a thing about nine – inch tall
    Came climbing up to the top of the wall.

    And he stood there; he stood about pot -size
    With his two wee fingers up at my eyes,
    And its God’s own truth that I’m speakin’ mind ye,
    ”Get out o’ that,” says he, “or Ill blind ye!”

    Aye that’s what he said, “I’ll blind ye,” says he,
    And by Jing what he said was enough for me,
    Did I run? Aye surely; I didnt miss -
    And I haven’t seen Tiveragh from that to this.

    ~ H.Browne

    The Fairy Hill Tiveragh is a fairy hill and near to Cushendall,
    And nobody goes there at night, no nobody at all.
    The hill is small, the sides are steep.
    And I have heard it said That flickering lights go in and out While everyones in bed.
    And on the top two hawthorns grow, A white one and a red.
    ~ John Irvine Desmond

~ Yours truly, Leaf McGowan




Shakefest 2012: May 26th – Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Ireland

2012 Shake Fest: Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Ireland

Shakefest 2012
May 26-27th, 2012 * Charleville Castle * Tullamore * Ireland * *

This year will be Shakefest’s “7th” Annual Dance and multi-cultural festival held at the historic epic Charleville Castle. The festival grounds is starting to bustle with activity as preparations are in the flow to welcome local and international community, visitors, friends, and family to celebrate culture. Since 2006, Shakefest has been bringing together an eclectic mix of Middle Eastern, Cultural Dance, and Artistic Workshops ending with a multi-cultural evening of dance performances. This year, Shakefest is expanding into more folklore, diversity, performance art, crafts, and themes for all ages, sexes, and cultures. This year features numerous workshops, classes, performances, and activities such as a “Faerie Glen” to get lost in, A “Madhatter’s Tea Party”, A bouncy Pirate Ship, Indian Cuisine, Performances by Tullamore’s “The Red Embers”, Galway Bellydance, Appolonia Tribal Bellydance, Sheeoneh, Nicole Volmering, and Aoife Hardiman.

Joana Saahirah ~ photo courtesy of Shakefest

This year’s International Guest Instructor is Oriental Dancer Joana Saahirah of Cairo, Egypt providing authentic education on Egyptian History and Folklore as well as Oriental Dance instruction in Classical, Saiidi and Alexandria of Mellaya styles. Declan Kiely will host a special workshop on how to “Dance like Michael Jackson”. Hip Hop, Jazz, Poi & Ribbon Dancing, Bachata and Argentinian Tango classes are also offered. There will also be African dance, poetry, open-mic sessions, a kid’s gigantic Dragonfly and butterfly hunt, punch and judy, juggling & stiltwalking by Stagecraft Ireland, Drum Circles, and a magic show. This year will also be breaking ground on a live history section with the KHI Medieval Re-enactors treating audiences to combat simulations of the Crusader’s Knight’s Templar with medieval tents, a full try-on armoury and archery for all ages.

KHI Medieval Re-enactors ~ photo courtesy of Shakefest

Featured musical performances by 40’s Swinging The Bugle Babes, Our Annual Multi-cultural Hafla, daring fire show by The Red Embers & Babylon’s Inferno, The North Strand Kontra Band from North Dublin. Dazzling Romanian and Bulgarian instrumental band is expected to finish off the fest with explosive energy and lively dance accompanied by original and traditional tunes from clarinet, saxophone, trombone, keys, banjo, double bass, and drums. If you’re travelling through Ireland this weekend or live in the magical isles, this event is not to be missed. Gates open at Noon on Saturday the 26th with admission only 10 general entry, 10 camping, 20 family day pass or only 15 for evening entertainment. All proceeds will be going towards Charleville Castle Restoration Fund Operation Raise The Roof project in which money will be raised towards putting a protective roof on the castle chapel. We’ll be covering this event, so come back here for photos, review, and the stories we weave from the experience …

North Strand Kontra Band ~ photo courtesy of Shakefest



Visit us at the 2012 ShakeFest!

2012 Shake Fest: Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Ireland

Come visit us as the Tree Leaves Oracle and Pirate Relief will be teaming up to present a Faerie Glen on site as well as activities. We encourage you to dress up in your finest Faerie, fantasy, Medieval, and Pirate garb! Discounts for admission if in costume or fancy dress!



Irish Fairy Forts

Irish Faerie Forts

These intriguing fortresses of old has always fascinated me conceptually once I read about them in the many legends and folklore of the Irish Faeries. However, it wasn’t until the last two years that I’ve had the chance to explore these raths of myths and tales in-depth and personally wondering if they are truly gateways into the Land of the Young, Tir Na Nog or the Faerie Otherworld. “Fairy Forts” are the names given especially by the Irish, Cornish, and other residents of the Isles around Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Britain who strongly believe in the faerie folk. This is a localized term for the “raths”, “ringforts”, “lios”, “hillforts”, “rounds”, “earthen mounds”, or circular dwellings found in England, Ireland, Scotland, Isle of Man, and Wales.

Fairy Forts / Ring Forts

Fairy Forts / Ring Forts (People's Park, Ireland)

Archaeologists will tell you these came to be around the late Iron Age and used upwards to the domain of early Christianization of the land when the Island’s residents dwelled in circular structures (perhaps “roundhouses”) within earthen banks or ditches that were used for defense. These were believed to have been topped with wooden palisades, stone or wood buildings, roundhouses, or structures. Many archaeologists believe that these were primarily made of wooden structures that would have decayed and is the reason none of the structures remained leaving only vague circular marks in the landscape. These “fairy forts” or “raths” are simply large mounds of earth, clay, grass, hedges, bushes, gorse, and thorn that is circular in shape like that believed to be a round banked enclosure. Archaeology tells us the circular bank was formerly the base for a high fence or wall of sharpened logs sometimes with or without a moat filled with water. Inside the circular enclosure, more often than not, are round wooden thatched dwellings. Also within this enclosure was kept livestock during bad weather as well as to prevent raiding. There is believed to be over 40,000 ring forts in Ireland alone. In 2009 a team of four photographers supported by the Wales Arts International took a road trip across Western Ireland to record and photograph fairy forts. These can be seen at Actual “Sidhe” or Hills, are most commonly interpreted as burial mounds, passage tombs, or tumuli. Human remains have been found in these to support archaeology. ~ Some claim the Tuatha de Danann were actually the “Danes” who were legendary “fort builders”.

Passage Tomb - Slieve Gullion Forest Park

Passage Tomb – Slieve Gullion Forest Park

This however is disputed by many folklorists and archaeologist as most of the forts took on Gaelic names. According to Archaeology, the forts are attributed to all sorts of times and races. Legend even attributes them to belong to the Firbolgs, Tuatha De Danann, the Celts, the Vikings, as well as mythological individuals such as Aenghus, Eerish, Eir, Farvagh, Cuchuallain, Midir, Croaghan, ‘Lachtna (820-840 C.E.), Brian Boru (980-1014 C.E.), and King Conor (1242-1269 C.E.). Place names throughout the Isles are named after faeries, banshees, and other beings or myths surrounding them. tells a different story opposing the archaeologists’ perspective. The myths, legends, and lore of the land tell that these ring forts were “fairy forts” blessed and protected with Druidic prayers, spells, and magic to protect the “faeries” that lived within or under them. Those who believe in Faeries do not alter or trespass on them. Legend states that the Tuatha De Danann and Fir Bolg had originally inhabited Ireland as a mythical race of magical folk who dominated Ireland. Around the time of the Iron Age (oddly enough corresponding to archaeology’s dating of raths) when the Milesians came to Ireland and defeated the Tuatha De Danann, the Tuatha was forced to relocate to the Other World, A Faerie dimension, or down below the hills, to Middle Earth as a agreement that only the Milesians ~ the humans ~ could dwell above ground. The Faeries, the “Good Neighbours” had to move underground or to their “Faerie Isles”. They were to retreat into the hills or mounds called “sidhe” which became a word for the “faeries“. These were often described as circular barrows or ringforts. These “hollow hills” have traditionally become known as the home of Faeries. “Sidhe” in Gaelic means “people of the hills”. According to the Book of Armagh, they are the Gods of the Earth known as the Tuatha de Danann. Sometimes seen as God/desses, other times as Druids or sorcerers, and on an odd occasion as aliens, the Tuatha have a rich mythology and is strongly embedded into Irish lore. Some Irish call them the “Sidheog”. To many Christian groups, faeries are believed by some to be fallen angels who are too good to ever be allowed in Hell, and too devilish to ever be accepted into Heaven. It is from these myths, that these defensive forts, were seen to be the domain of the Tuatha De Danann as entrances to their world. Out of respect and fear of “war” taking place again between faeries and humans, they are to be respected and avoided. The actual mounds are also seen as potential burial mounds or sacred resting places. As Archaeology has found many burials within such mounds, such as at Newgrange and Tara, hillforts and mounds are avoided out of superstition. A good farmer wouldn’t even mess with the moat, the walls, cut brush from it, remove stones, or damage it in any way. If they did, hard luck and even death could follow. Most respected on these “fairy forts” were the white thorns, the ash, the gorse, or the “sceach” around its boundaries never to be cut for that would most likely lead to death. In MacCraith’s “Triumphs of Torlough” the “fairy forts” are labelled as the lodgings of appalling apparitions. There are many stories of the hills being lit up by strange lights at night. Sometimes this is described as the hill rising up on pillars, opening to the night sky, revealing brilliant lights of Faeries processing from one hill to another, especially during Lammas tide (August 2nd through 7th). November 11th, during Hollantide, is when the Manx fear their Hogmen or Hillmen the most as it is the time these particular Fae choose to move from one hill to another.

Hill of Tara

Irish lore and ghost stories tell much about the supernatural stature of “Fairy forts”. Many believe “leprechauns” live in them and hide their pots of gold within the mounds as has been expressed in Rudyard Kipling’s 1906 novel “Puck of Pook’s Hill”. In addition to the Ringforts, Dolmen reputedly were also believed to be faerie homes or dwellings. A legend tells of a lady who lived in one became deranged, thought her lover was a dragon, and jumped at him. Many unexplained phenomena takes place in or around the fairy forts. Local lore tells tales of a man who tried to blast down a dolmen resulting in a septic hand while the dolmen remained unscathed; the local astronomer who tried to blast the Inchiquin Barony dolmen was badly injured with his hand as well; a Templenaraha oratory demolition (which was in a ringfort) collapsed a calf shed onto its occupants for building the unstable structure; the 1840 tale of workmen at Dooneeva who were trying to level earthworks in a fairy fort had apparently turned up dead (though his mystic wife ran to a “fairy spot” to work magic to bring him back to life); The Lissardcarney and Ballyhee fairy forts in Templemaley Parish were always known to be faerie strongholds with troops of faeries garrisoned within them (1839 stories); Songs were reputedly heard from the Cahernanoorane in Inchiquin and Liskeentha near Noughaval; tales of faeries haunting the Tobersheefra holy well; the 1892 tale of Nihill a farmer who wrecked and removed the out wall of a triple stone fort near Quin leading to his father stricken with acute pain and only recovering from it when the work was stopped; a landlord losing the use of an eye from the dust of an explosion when blasting a rock in an earth fort being removed in northeast Clare; and in 2011 developer Sean Quinn found financial ruin after he moved a fairy fort. Another tale tells of a cow that grazed in a fairy fort was found with broken legs whose owner then ate its meat only to find the cow in the fairy fort a year later. The farmer was told by the faeries they substituted an old stray horse to make him believe it was his cow as they needed his cow’s milk, and they then let him take his cow home afterwhich he became very prosperous for the loan. Another tale tells of a another farmer who couldn’t understand why none of the cows would enter the fairy fort on their property, and upon investigation by his son, found an old fairy in the fort who asked the man to help him get a young human girl to become his wife. The farmer’s son would not give a young girl to the old fairy but instead married the girl himself, leading to rage from the old fairie who thereby destroyed the farmer’s property. Outraged, the farmer’s son and the girl rode to her parent’s house to tell her three brothers. Her brothers then went to the fort to dig for the old fairy’s house, upon finding his large flat stone, he begged for them to save him his home, which they did in exchange for restoring for what he had taken. There are some ringforts that are more dangerous than others, such as in the case of the Croaghateeaun stone ring wall near Lisdoonvarna. One of the most modern cases of faerie wraith for damaging faerie forts was believed to be the invocation of an ancient curse of the Hill of Tara when the government destroyed sites by construction of the M3 Motorway. In 2007 the Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche supposed befell against bad financial luck after signing a order to destroy the Lismullion Henge. By Faerie wraith, he lost his job, was demoted, and held up by an armed gang in the Druids Glen Hotel. The Minister for Transport, Martin Cullen afterwards nearly got sucked out of a helicopter when the door fell off. The Chief Health and Safety officer was seriously injured by a falling tree at Rath Lugh. A worker was killed while being trapped at Fairyhouse where there have been many accidents on that particular stretch of road. There is much concern about being taken by the faeries. Fears from stories such as these may be responsible for the incredible preservation of these forts, hills, raiths, and mounds across the countryside. In many areas, the raiths and fairy forts are protected by Irish law for reasons of heritage preservation, preventing construction or building within 30 meters of them. The Irish government and larger corporations however somehow skirt these laws often when they find need to destroy them for construction projects or building motorways.

Drumdowney Fairy Fort in Ireland

Drumdowney Fairy Fort in Ireland

Littering the landscape are also pathways that some call “fairy paths”. Some align these with what they believe to be mystical geo-magnetic gridlines called “leylines”. These are believed by many to connect together by means of faerie sites or faerie forts. Many old buildings in Ireland are missing parts of the structure out of belief that part is obstructing a faerie path. Other kind of faerie sites would be mounds, isles, wells, and faerie trees or bushes. These sites are often dressed and adorned with “rag” or “wishing trees” with offerings to faeries for blessings.

Today many believe that at these places the offerings of milk, butter, and/or honey would appease the Good Neighbours. Though not much histories or archaeological record make that proved to be true. This seems to come more from Swedish folklore in terms of “elf mills” where it is found in the covers of more than one of these structures as well as large bullauns or basins at others. Modern belief is to leave out food and drink for the faeries, often on plates and cups at the faerie forts. Evidence of this is found at Inchiquin and Moyarta Baronies as well as on the Shannon bank where the slopes were thrown out and clean plates, water, chairs, and a well swept hearth was left for the faerie guests. Fairy forts, isles, and mounds are not the only doorways to the land of Tir Na n’Og believed to exist. Cave entrances in Ireland are also believed to be passages as well. Two of the most famous ones are located a Lough Gur in County Limerick and at Rathcrogan in County Roscommon. One of Ireland’s famous fairy forts is at the Knocknashee mountain. Here it is believed, that if you make a wish, turn around 3 times with your eyes closed, and if you wind up facing Knocknashee when you open your eyes, the wish will come true. A “fairy” amusement park for kids is also at the base of this mountain dedicated to the “faeries”. Some say if you walk nine times clockwise around the fairy fort, mound, or isle during the full moon, the entrance to the Otherworld will appear. Invitations into the faerie domain can be prosperous or fateful. Such invitations should be taken carefully by humans especially of offers of food and drink. Some legends warn that partaking of food and drink will lead to perpetual enslavement and a loss of time, space, or continuum.

Some myths state that after the Tuatha de Danann lost the battle with the Milesians, in addition to being forced underground, they were shrunk in size and stature. They are often described to be “human-like” in appearance, sometimes with animal features, paler skin tone, with green eyes.Throughout the history of Ireland, faeries, especially as personified as belonging to the Tuatha, litters the landscape. Some families claim that their ancestors crossed the fae, and thereby invoked neverending hauntings by Banshees. The banshee are often depicted as a Irish female faerie that comes out at night drawing a comb through her long silvery hair screaming and wailing, especially when predicting the death of one of their family members. Some lore suggests that families with surnames preceded by an O’ are haunted by the Banshee. The earliest writer of describing faeries was in 1014 C.E. while describing the terrors of the battles between the Norse and Irish speaking of a “bird of valour and championship fluttering over Merchad’s head and flying on his breath” as well as flying dark and merciless bodbh screamingly fluttering over the combatants while the bannanaig or styrs, idiots, maniacs of the glens, witches, goblins, ancient birds, and destroying demons of the air and skies arose to accompany the warriors in combat. An 1350 C.E. writer wrote about the 1286 C.E. King Torlough returning from a successful raid ravaging the English lands round the mountains of eastern County Limerick and northern Tipperary where he was greeted by a lovely maiden in”modest, strange in aspect, glorious in form, rosy-lipped, soft-taper-handed, pliant-wavy-haired, white-bosomed” appearance as the “Sovereignty of Erin” to rebuke the chief for letting de Burgh dissuade him from attempting the reconquest of all Ireland thereby vanishing in a lustrous cloud within an area graced with fairy forts, dolmen, and tumuli. It is also here that it was written that the soldiers of Donchad were also disturbed by phantoms and delusive dreams of lights shining on the fairy forts. Poetry took over describing these battles and the soldiers witnessing the “waves of Erin” groaning “the deep plaint resounded from the woods and streams” as shades were seen and hollow groans heard while gazing at the hills and forts. I can speak from first hand while sleeping in homes near such forts, that the winds making noises through the shutters and windows, along the rocks and bushes, whisper and cry like a siren in angst. These are the same described in faerie tales of the forts and beings coming up from the underground caverns, streams, hills, and forts. Sightings of Faeries have dwindled from the 18th to the 20th centuries greatly. Though many Irish today still have stories of their parents and grandparents telling them of faerie abductions, sightings, or wrath. Some say the dusty whirlwinds along the roadside or in the fields are caused by movement of Faeries. Some places are still reputed to be “fairy hotspots” to this day.

Drumdowney Faerie Isle

Drumdowney Faerie Isle

One such is the low earth mound at Newmarket-on-Fergus where one apparition reliably manifests and has for the last 10 years. This one appears as a little old man dressed in green walking on Ennis road thought to perhaps be a leprechaun. Much of modern legend has mutated to actual individuals today who claim to have faerie blood, kindred, or to be faeries living amongst humans. This has led to many novels, books, and movies in the 20th century addressing this new lore. This however is not completely new, as many through history have claimed to be of Faerie lineage. A Faerie monarch in Clare was the “Donn of the Sandhills” near the Doogh castle near Lehinch is listed as a fairy prince named Donn within a list of the divine race of the Tuatha De Danann and family of the Dagda, lineal descendant of the ancient Ana, Mother of the Gods. He was addressed with a political petition in 1730 by Andrew MacCurtin, a well known Irish scholar and antiquarian for having neglected the gentry and praying for any menial post at his court. He was never answered, lived under the hospitality of the Kilkee MacDonnells and the Ennistymon O’Briens. Donn’s heartless conduct supposedly met poetic justice as he ever since lacked a sacred bard and thereby became forgotten through history.

Changelings are another case, and another type of faerie within the “Fae” races that are very commonly found in folklore and mythology. History throughout the world refer to them, or some derivative of the belief. Most of the folklore make faeries out to be extremely malevolient towards humans. Much of legend suggests that faeries are envious of humans, often wanting to steal the secrets of their magic, even to the point of changing out human infants with faerie children called “changelings”. The changeling would in all aspects look “identical” to the stolen child. The only way to tell if it wasn’t your child, is if the personality changed inexplicably all of a sudden. This led to a plethera of folk customs, beliefs, spells, and practices to protect children from faeries. Sometimes these were as simple as dressing up boys to look like girls, placing iron in the child’s bed, dropping a small drop of human urine on a child, keeping dirty water in the house, protective charms, and various woods, herbs, or stones.




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