Corpse candles and other related phenomena
A Corpse candle or light is a flame or ball of light that is seen to travel just above the ground on the route from the cemetery to the dying person's house and back again. A Corpse Fire is very similar as the name comes from lights appearing specifically within graveyards where it was believed the lights were an omen of death or coming tragedy and would mark the route of a future funeral, from the victim's house to the graveyard.
Sailors dreaded the melancholy cry of a curlew, for they believed that it was a warning from a drowned friend. In parts of Scotland the bird is called a whaup, and it is associated with a long beaked goblin who carries of evil doers at night.
Book of Invasions
The Irish book of Invasions was compiled in the 12th century and alludes to several successful waves of mythical invasions of Ireland The narrative assembled under the title "Lebor Gabala Erenn" meaning The Book of the Taking of Ireland or the Book of Invasions are the literary embodiment of Ireland's own impressions regarding the history of her population. For the early Irish they served somewhat the same functions as the accounts of the wandering of Aeneas did for the Romans.
This is considered by some to be older than the tales of the Ultonian (Ulster / Red Branch) cycle, as the main occupation is that of hunting. The Fenian Cycle, or Ossianic cycle, recounts the exploits of Finn Mac Cumhail , whose name means 'the Fair One', and his companions and deals with the cult and institution of warriors, The Fenians, or Fianna.
Ó hÓgáin gives an account of the Mythological Cycle, a collective term applied to the stories in Irish literature which describe the doings of otherworld characters. The central theme was concerned with the successive invasions of Ireland by supernatural clans. These series of invasions are described in the Lebor Gabála or Book of Invasions.These stories do not form as strong or cohesive a narrative tradition as do the Ulster and Fenian Cycles, but they all center on the Túatha Dé Danan
On a certain day when Finn mac Cumaill rose at early morn in Almu, in Leinster, and sat upon the grass-green plain, having neither servant nor attendant with him, there followed him two of his people; that is, Oisin the son of Minn, and Diorruing the son of Dobar O' Baoiscne. Oisin Spoke, and what he said was:
"What is the cause of this early rising of thine, O Finn?" said he.
Ancient Irish history and legends have come down to us through history thanks to the diligent chronicling of the early Christian monks. The best record of the rich Celtic mythological tradition is contained in the four cycles drawn up by twelfth century Christian scribes:
He was also a poet and seer, who received his training from an old bard named Finnegas on the banks of the river Boyne. During this time we are told Fionn received the wisdom of the great salmon of knowledge that swam in the river. Fionn also received the gift of wisdom from a sacred well of the goddess. The three daughters who guarded the well threw some of the well water at Fionn to prevent him approaching. In doing so the water went into his mouth and so he gained the knowledge of the well. Fionn was the keeper of many weapons, each of them having some magical quality, in true Celtic style. His banner was called the Dealb Greine ('sun shape') for it had the likeness of the sun.
CUCHULAIN, THE BOYHOOD DEEDS OF
Among the most striking of the many narratives dealing with CuChulain is a group of episodes from his childhood. The incidents in the selection brought in Cross and Slover's ANCIENT IRISH TALES not only serve to illustrate his precocity, a trait which is widespread among heroes of the folk, but also to exemplify the conditions of child-fosterage among the ancient Irish. This and other tales of CuChu-lain's youth are incorporated in the great Ulster epic 'The Cattle-Raid of Cooley', where they are represented as told to King Ailill and Queen Medb of Connacht by several of the Ulster exiles enlisted in the Connacht army. They form a body of tradition which was probably old at the time when the epic was composed.
Cú Chulainn is confronted by swans once again as a man, at the great feast of Samhain, which is being celebrated by the Ulster men beside a loch. A flock of beautiful birds alights on the water, Cú Chulainn demonstrates his skill by capturing all of them and giving them to the women, who desire to wear a bird on each shoulder. Only Cú Chulainn’s wife does not get any birds and she is greatly incensed by this. Her husband promises her two of the finest swans he can find.
Tir Nan Og is the land to which the Irish faeries known as Tuatha de Danann fled when their lands were taken by the Milesians. In Tir Nan Og they spend their days feasting, gaming, love-making and partaking of beautiful music. The faeries can even enjoy the thrill of battle, for anyone slain is resurected the following day. It is the paradise that mortals can only dream of.
(Unblessed Court) The Unsellie Court contains the most malicious, malevolent and evil of the faeries, and a number of monsters of horrible appearance and fearsome abilities as well. The Unseelie Court are the malignant Faery of the negative polarity, made up of Solitary Faery. It is one of the only groups of faeries which is known for being thouroughly evil without exception. They are either solitary evil faeries or bands of faeries called the Sluagh, or The Host, that is, the band of the unsanctified dead. Every night around twilight 'The Host' emerge fly above the earth, stealing mortals they find and take great pleasure in harming humans. The unfortunates who are brought back to their realm are rarely heard from again.
"Amergin" is the word as it has been written in English, but the actual spelling of this name is "Amhairghin". It means "Birth of Song". According to legend, Amhairghin was one of the leaders of the "Men of Míl", who battled the Tuatha Dé Danann (or the Faery Clan) for possession of Ireland. As you can see for yourself, the Song of Amergin is, in itself, a self-claiming by Amergin of this island, as well as a challenge to the Tuatha Dé Danann, who were considered to be the gods.