By Dana Michelle Burnett
As a writer, I try to include a grain of truth even in my fiction tales. I love looking at ancient superstitions and mythology for my inspiration. While researching my Gypsy Fairy Tale series, I came across stories of the Tuatha De Danann, the supernatural creatures that were the first to rule Ireland. So who was this supernatural group? Read on to learn about them and their surprising connection to the modern day.
The name Tuatha De Danann is usually translated as "the tribe of the goddess Danu" or the earlier name Tuath De translates as "tribe of the gods". By either name, this group of people are said to be a supernaturally-gifted race that represented the main deities of pre-Christian Gaelic Ireland. They were the cornerstone of Irish mythology and usually depicted as kings, queens, and heros of the distant past. It was said that they were the first rulers of Ireland and were once even worshiped as gods.
They were descended from Nemed, leader of the previous inhabitants of Ireland. They came to Ireland in dark clouds and landed on the mountains, other stories have them arriving in boats that they burned so that it would be believed that they arrived in a cloud of mist.
Following their king, Nuada, the they fought many battles to secure their reign of Ireland including the First Battle of Magh Tuireadh where Nuada lost an arm. The arm was replaced by a working silver one and he was declared king. A spell was recieted and over the course of nine days and nine nights, flesh grew over the prosthesis. Alas, Nuada was killed in the Second Battle of Magh Tuireadh by the Fomorian king's poisonous eye, but the Tuatha De were still victorious and the champion Lugh took over as king.
It was the third battle, against invaders called the Milesians (or sons of Mil), that sealed their fate. The three kings of the Tuathe De Danann asked for a truce of three days between themselves and the invaders and asked that the Milesians would anchor nine waves' distance from the shore. They complied. The Tuathe De Danann created a magical storm in hopes of driving them away, but the Milesian poet Amergin calmed the sea and the invaders were able to return to shore and defeat the great Tuatha De Danann. The poet then divided the land between the two forces, allotting the portion above the ground to the Milesians and the portion underground to the Tuatha De Danann.
So, condemed to roam the underground, they retreated under the Sidhe mounds. Over the centuries they were closely tied to stories of fairies and other enchantments. They were said to be the keepers of the four treasures which were The Dagda's Cauldron, The Spear of Lugh, The Stone of Fal, and The Sword of Light. They also make an appearance in Catholicism as Brigid, one of the original Tuatha De Danann, went on to become Saint Brigid in the Catholic religion and is still celebrated to this day in Ireland.
Now that you know a little more about the Tuatha De Danann, does it make you want to take a deeper look at Gaelic mythology?
Dana Michelle Burnett is the author of several paranormal romance and romantic horror novels. Her next book, The Soul of the Witch, is scheduled for a Summer 2014 release.
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