Many times man lives and dies, between his two eternities, that of race and that of soul, and ancient Ireland knew it all – W B Yeats.
Who are the Faerie of Ireland?
This question is almost impossible to answer.
Irish Faerie Folklore is as old and rich and beautiful and diverse as the hills. So diverse that it is a very many things to a very many people.
Some favour the Lore of the Mythological Cycle, the Tuatha De Danann, Fomorians, or Milesians. Others believe Faerie are the Ancestors of modern day Humans or even that they are fallen Angels.
It is not for me to say that one belief is right or another is wrong. Faith is Faith after all. For the purpose of this project, I will approach the Faerie of Ireland from the same perspective as Joe.
It was Joe’s contention that the world is filled with things we do not yet understand.
He believed most sincerely that Faerie of Ireland are real, no more mythical than you or I. “And so it goes” he would say “they must have been here for at least as long as us, probably longer. If we accept this, it must follow that they are intelligent and spiritually aware and live in harmony with the natural world”.
Joe believed that Faerie, or the Good People, or the Wee Folk, or Themselves or whichever name you choose to use, have lived freely in Ireland since earliest of days, that they are very similar to us in appearance and mingle among us, and meddle in our daily affairs whenever it pleases them to do it.
“I think” Joe said, “they want to like us, but the majority of us do not make it easy for them, forever ridiculing or offending or disrespecting them or harming the natural world“.
He believed this is why their behaviour is often unpredictable, and why we must always be wary of them.
Joe was insistent that we must never speak of, or act toward, the Faerie disrespectfully and indeed, said the Faerie prefer we do not speak of them at all! But of course, Joe did talk about them, every day to anyone who would bend their ear. I think he felt, as long as he was respectful and kindly toward the Faerie, and encouraged others to do the same, they might forgive him his work.
I wonder, how would you describe the Faerie of Ireland?
The brilliant Dr Jenny Butler, Department of Study of Religions, University College Cork, gives a thorough and articulate account of Irish Faerie Folklore in this audio interview.
Another interesting audio interview with Dr Butler regarding Mythology.
For more information on Dr Butler, you can visit her website.