Festival Of Lúgh


It’s a rather overcast and muggy day in BÁC but I’ve still followed my own little traditions for Lúghnasa, the festival of Lúgh that marks the harvest time in the Irish and Celtic calendars. A climb to the summit of Binn Éadair to watch yesterday’s sunset over the capital that marks the commencement of the … Continue reading

About these ads

Oíche Sheanchais, The First Irish Language Sound Film

Mian Ní Cheallaigh, An Cladach, Contae na Gaillimhe, Éire, 26ú Bealtaine 1913

From a report by the Galway Advertiser: “The first Irish language ‘talkie’ ever made has premiered at a renowned Italian festival of rediscovered and restored film… Oidhche Sheanchais, an 11-minute film featuring Aran islanders from the Man of Aran cast listening to a story told by seanchaí Seáinín Tom Ó Dioráin, was the first ‘talkie’ … Continue reading

Electronic Irish

A lot of people seem unaware of the two best online resources for historical texts relating to Ireland, both of which are entirely free to use. The first is “CELT, the Corpus of Electronic Texts”, a collection of hundreds of manuscripts and books in digitised form mainly written in Irish and English (of various periods) … Continue reading

The Lia Fáil Desecrated Once Again

Two years ago I featured a report on the act of vandalism carried out against the Lia Fáil, the ancient granite monument on Teamahir na Rí that symbolises Ireland’s sovereignty in our native traditions. During that attack one or more individuals smashed the ancient standing stone with a sledgehammer, some of the broken pieces being removed … Continue reading

Féile na Bealtaine

Some appropiate links for Lá Bealtaine, traditionally the first day of summer by the indigenous calendars of the Irish, Scots and Manx (and probably for the Celtic peoples as a whole). The Dos Bhealtaine or May Bush is up already, the branches and flowers cut from the caorthann or rowan tree in my garden. The ribbons are red and … Continue reading

An Irish Equivalent For Geek Or Otaku?

I was recently asked if there is an Irish word that is the equivalent of the Anglo-American term Geek or its Japanese near-equivalent Otaku (おたく/オタクおたく/オタク). I couldn’t think of anything unless one went for something like a crude Gaelicisation of the originals in the form of Geic (?) or Odacú (?). Then I remembered the … Continue reading

186. Imbolc

Originally posted on ancroiait:
Imbolc shona daoibh Tá an geimreadh ag iompar an samhradh Lá Fhéile Bríde/Là Fhèill Brìghde/ Laa’l Breeshey Shona daoibh Bain taitneamh as an lá. Téigh go tobar naofa ag breacadh an lae is ól uisce ann, déan Brídeóg sa bhaile is téigh ó theach go teach léi ag bailiú bia is…

Gremlin, Gruaimín

Over on his OUP blog the Russian-born etymologist and author Anatoly Liberman speculates at length on the origin of the Anglo-American word gremlin and comes up with a somewhat surprising source: “Our last demon for today is the gremlin. The noun has been around only since 1941 and is one of the war words that … Continue reading

Lá An Dreoilín Shona Daoibh Go Léir!

Happy hunting to all those who join the Lucht an Dreoilín today.

Wolfing Around

Given the importance of wolves in the traditions of the Indo-European peoples as far back as one can go into the archaeological, literary or linguistic records the claim that the first domesticated dogs evolved from an ancient species of wolves found in Europe some 10,000 to 30,000 years ago is somewhat appropriate. From Britain’s Independent … Continue reading

Oíche Shamhna Shona Daoibh

A pale yellow sun has sunk below the grey horizon here in Baile Átha Cliath and the Feis Shamhna is upon us, the sunset-to-sunrise festival of Samhain which marks the start of the winter in the ancient Celtic calendars of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man (and probably the rest of the Celtic world too). The event gives us the Christianized All Saints’ … Continue reading

Monocultural Ireland – Conform Or Die

After sunset this evening we will officially be in the period of the Feis Shamhna, the Festival of Samhain, from which is derived in large part the Western World’s celebration of All Hallow’s Eve or Halloween. Under the indigenous Irish, Scottish and Manx calendars Samhain was the great festival marking the commencement of winter and … Continue reading

The Fatal Strain: Cultism

I’ve always been interested in clandestine military, political or religious groups, be they revolutionary movements, secret societies or arcane cults. Growing up in Ireland one is imbued in a culture where such organisations are integral to the social history of the nation, at least from the 18th century onwards (and arguably much earlier if one … Continue reading

New Monument Discovered At Brú Na Bóinne

Ireland’s Brú na Bóinne (“Palace of the Bóinn”) is generally regarded as holding north-western Europe’s greatest concentration of intact prehistoric monuments with the main burial mound of Sí an Bhrú (“Otherworld Residence of the Palace”) dating to 3200 CE. It has been poured over by antiquarians, historians and archaeologists for centuries so it is a bit of … Continue reading

Death Of The Irish Harp

For those interested in the psychology of art symbolism there is a great study by Mary Louise O’Donnell, of the University of Limerick, examining the slow dilution of the Irish Harp as the recognised emblem of the modern nation-state of Ireland. In particular since the sudden growth and equally sudden demise of the country’s so-called … Continue reading

An Creideamh Sí

Militant atheist and secularist though I am I still respect religious beliefs as a vital component to the cultural heritage and identity of countless peoples and nations around the globe. Far too often non-believers find it necessary to denigrate the practices of faith adhered to by believers. This is simply a form philistine atheism. There … Continue reading

Fionn And The Man In The Tree

One of the more mysterious mentions of the legendary hunter-warrior Fionn mac Cumhaill in the indigenous literatures of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man is “Finn and the Man in the Tree”, a short 8th century Old Irish text containing several Latin words or phrases. It is found in the Seanchas Mhór, an important … Continue reading

Steampunk In Ireland

Because there is far too little Steampunk in Ireland, here are some links: Steampunk Collective Ireland Steampunk Ireland The Josie Baggley Company Talking to a friend a few days ago who is a sean scoil Steampunker I found him frustrated by the way the movement in Ireland is subsumed into the cod-Victoriana of the Pax … Continue reading

Féile Lúghnasa

Lá Fhéile Lúghnasa Sona Daoibh! Tuatha Dé Danann Na Fomhóraigh Lucharacháin An Sí Na Fathaigh Na Bocánaigh, Na Bánánaigh Na Púcaí Na Péisteanna Na Murúcha Seanchas Agus Litríocht na nGael Na Fianna An Gal Gréine

Scottish Mythology And Folklore

Some of the most popular (and visited) pages on An Sionnach Fionn are dedicated to the core elements of the Seanchas or indigenous mythology and folklore of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. I have several lengthy articles discussing the likes of the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Fomhóraigh (not to mention the Lucharacháin … Continue reading

Seanchas – Irish, Scottish And Manx Mythology And Folklore

For those of you with an interest in early, middle and early modern indigenous Irish literature and post-Medieval folklore (Irish and Anglicised-Irish), here is a collection of my articles, long and short (though two are unfinished). Naturally it covers the national traditions of Scotland and the Isle of Man too. Tuatha Dé Danann Na Fomhóraigh Lucharacháin An … Continue reading

Two Great Articles From “Come Here To Me”

One of the current buzzwords of the contemporary internet is “hyperlocal”. The term refers to the belief that small, regionally-based websites can best achieve success by focusing on the minutiae of the area they are located in. This can cover many types of internet media, from local current affairs to business reporting. While the viability of the theory is debatable (and to me, … Continue reading

Some New Arrivals

In recent months I have been somewhat remiss in posting no new book reviews on An Sionnach Fionn. This is not for a lack of book purchases but rather a lack of time. The chill winds of recession have well and truly caught up with me and they are cold indeed. Like most people in Ireland … Continue reading


Well the sunset in Baile Átha Cliath is less than half-an-hour away and with it comes Samhain or the great festival marking the end of summer and the start of winter in the Celtic calendars of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man (and probably the rest of the Celtic world). The event gives us the (barely) Christianized All Saints’ Day or Halloween … Continue reading

Na Fianna – A Rough Edit

Something that might interest a few of you, a rough draft of a piece on the Fianna, the early Irish and Scottish version that is. I have lots to add in here, not least some of the information to be drawn from a couple of new fianna and Fionn-related academic titles I’ve read recently. As I … Continue reading

Irish National Heritage Park – No Irish?

A great post from the Irish Archaeology blog on a recent visit to the Irish National Heritage Park at Caladh na Carraige (Ferrycarrig) in Contae Loch Garman (County Wexford). The INHP website has loads of information and is available in several languages. Unfortunately when I clicked on the Irish flag for a translation Irish wasn’t … Continue reading

The Vandalism Of The Lia Fáil

I didn’t get a chance to post on this last week but the Lia Fáil or Stone of Destiny at Teamhair, the Hill of Tara, was severely damaged in an attack by at least one person armed with a large hammer in the days leading up to the 13th of June 2012. Eleven blows were … Continue reading

Binn Éadair, Cúige Laighean, Éire, Meitheamh 2012

Uaigh Éadaoine, Diméin Bhinn Éadair, Caisléan Bhinn Éadair “Éadaoin’s Grave, Howth Demesne, Howth Castle”.

In Praise Of An Hobad – But Why The Awful Gaelicisations?

The J.R.R. Tolkien fansite, TheOneRing.net, carries some news on the release of An Hobad, the Irish language version of Tolkien’s children’s classic the Hobbit. Very interesting it is, including details on some of the issues around finding a suitable word to translate the term Elf as Tolkien employs it. “Part of the evening was taken … Continue reading

Lá Fhéile Bríde Shona Daoibh!

Its the first of February and the first day of Spring in the Irish calendar so happy Lá Fhéile Bríde to you all. Or as some of us prefer to say, happy Iombolg! Above is the image of a Crosóg Bríde, “Bríd’s Cross”, a traditional Christianised Iombolg symbol formed from rushes or more rarely straw. Below is a slightly less Christianised symbol that may have been associated with the goddess-turned-saint, Bríd. … Continue reading

Dáithí Ó hÓgáin – Ar Dheis Dé Go Raibh A Anam

A brief post to mark the passing of Professor Dáithí Ó hÓgáin, a man who brought academic rigour to the popular promotion of Early Irish Literature, Mythology and Folklore. From the Irish Times: “The funeral takes place today of folklorist and UCD emeritus professor Dáithí Ó hÓgáin. Prof Ó hÓgáin, originally from Bruff, Co Limerick, but living in Bray, Co Wicklow, was a professor … Continue reading

Binn Éadair – Lúghnasa, 2011

In celebration of the Féile Lúghnasa, a climb to the summit of Binn Éadair (Howth) ‘The Summit of Éadar’, and the Suí Finn ‘Seat of Fionn’, one of the elevated sites where Fionn mac Cumhaill and Na Fianna kept watch in days of yore (if you believe the Fiannaíocht and Dinnsheanchas). A ritual climb to a hill or mountain … Continue reading

An Fomhórach – The Fomorian

  • blog awards ireland Nominated: Best Politics Blog 2013, Best Personal Blog 2013, Best Blog Post 2013
  • blog awards ireland

    Nominated: Best News/Current Affairs/Political Blog 2014, Best Mobile Blog 2014, Best Blog Post 2014