On the Isle of Man, up until fairly recent times, the summer solstice was marked by carrying bundles of straw to the top of certain hills as a gift to Manannan Mac Lir, god of the sea. One of the reasons being that Samhain was the time chosen by the Fomori for demanding their onerous taxes of the subjugated Tuatha. She responded by cutting his ear off, whereupon he killed her. An old servant called Bairnech bewailed the fact that a woman of the Sidhe left the cave each November eve and whisked away nine of the best animals in every herd. No sooner was this problem dealt with, than the old man complained of three female werewolves who also appeared out of the cave and mangled the local sheep population. If you have a favourite animal, you could mark some event in their life cycle such as the breeding season, the time when their young are born, etc.

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Lesson Eight ~ The Four Major Gaelic Festivals

On a stranger level the burly deity Dagda is described as having sex with the Morrighan, by mounting her when she had one ankle on either bank of the River Unius! The dust-coloured cuckoo calls aloud: The leader of the warrior bands of Laigin gets to see not just inside the mounds, but also witnesses their inhabitants riding forth. Developers of the teaching material.

Pre-service and In-service education for teachers teaching in immersion settings. The battles in Samhain myths might just reflect the desire of hardened fighters to have one last good punch-up before sheathing their swords for the winter holidays.

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King Aillil and his mistress engaged is some suitably licentious behaviour at Beltane. It might be conjectured that, despite the physical harshness of winter, that season was not perceived in a negative manner at all, but seen as a time of release. We must again bear in mind that most of these myths were being committed to writing in the 9th to 12th centuries, and it may be argued that the medieval notion as to what a festival was about is not necessarily an accurate reflection of how people years beforehand saw those same celebrations.


Modern Druids might wish networrk pause a while at this feast and think of the countless mothers, wives, sisters etc who have worked themselves into an early grave caring for families, or by professionally caring as nurses, doctors, soldiers, etc.

Gelix bard of the Sidhe called Aillen mac Midgna stalks out of the hill of Finnachaid and casts a sleep-spell over the inhabitants of Tara using a musical instrument.

Bizarrely, Nera allowed it to climb on to his back and carried it to a house, around which flames sprang up. There are very late recorded Scottish myths set at this time in which an elderly goddess, the Cailleach, either drinks netowrk a magical well and becomes young, or in which she battles against and loses her fight with the goddess Brigit. Sadly for them, the warrior Conall leapt out and killed them both. One of the kennings for the ogham letter Tinne is a third part, perhaps a link between that few and sacrifice.

Normally the magical nature of these hillocks is concealed by the presence of a veil, the fe-fiada. He was then networ, to eat and imbibe all the magical powers of the fish.

We know that a number of the neolithic stone circles and monuments were aligned with the winter and summer solstices. Some questions for you to think about: Early February is not a pleasant time for travel being cold and wetand there are no surviving records of big feasts or fairs at Imbolc. The Sidhe, eager for vengeance, created a magical yew tree.

Availability of the teaching material. The major, defining battle though was the Second Conflict on the Plain of Pillars. Perhaps Imbolc may have been seen as a time for renewal of body and soul.


If they were, then the neteork riding forth were probably seen as ghosts of some sort. The desire to possess this tree was such that a great battle was fought between vying factions from local tribes.

Obviously there is absolutely no basis for any of this within the Christian religion, so we can but assume that these practices went back to pagan times and were simply absorbed into the Church. There are a variety of caves around Scotland and the province of Munster which are said to be inhabited by the Cailleach when she hibernates over the warmer months.

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To add insult to injury, the king then raped one of the Sidhe women, Aine, who had cursed the field. Total number of pupils. This may well be connected to a festival held to the wintery goddess Cailleach on or near the solstice.

Nera rushed to the Cave of Cruachan, jetwork in County Roscommon, in search of the severed heads. If they were unaware of the original purpose of the mounds, then they might well have conceived of this as a festival of land-spirits, rather than of the returning dead though, of course, those two concepts are not mutually exclusive.

In a culture where magic was seen as heavily oral in nature, it may also be that he gained their magical powers for himself. Clearly these dates had a big enough importance to warrant major building projects.