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 or Leprechauns). However a number of Scottish friends and readers have taken me to task for not examining in closer detail some of the more unique aspects of the Scottish tradition. They have also levelled (some gentle) criticism at me for not providing enough names and titles as Gàidhlig (in Scottish or Scottish Gaelic). In my defence the shortage of Scottish language names is largely due to the lack of an agreed spelling in Modern Scottish for many characters or groups from the indigenous literatures of the Gaelic peoples. So one naturally defaults to Modern Irish spelling, which I admit is somewhat unfair. I certainly hope to remedy this failing in the near future (time permitting).
However until then I can recommend no better place to start one’s study of Scottish mythology and folklore than Tairis, the website of Seren who describes herself as (in her own words) “…a Gaelic Reconstructionist Polytheist”. Okay. While that description might appeal to some of you to others it will be positively off-putting. It certainly was to me, hard-headed atheist that I am, when I first came across the site many years ago. However I – and you – could not be more wrong. Tairis is clearly based upon years of scholarly study into the known or surmised beliefs of the Celtic and Gaelic-speaking peoples. The academic foundations of the site are obvious and it contains some of the best (and most accessible) summaries of modern Celtic studies on the web. More importantly it does it all with a definite Scottish focus that should satisfy most of my Gaelic cousins o’er the sea. Related to the site is a regularly updated personal blog filled with lots of useful cultural notes and engaging speculations on all things historical from Scotland, Ireland and beyond.
Both come recommended.
Meanwhile I hope all of you are celebrating Lá Bealtaine (which of course began yesterday at sunset) in suitable fashion. For my sins I’m working, otherwise I would be joining you.
By the by, and related to this, is it not time that the four great festival days of the indigenous Irish calendar were designated national holidays in Ireland instead of the colonial hangover of the utterly meaningless bank holidays’ system?
Hmmm. I do believe I feel a campaign coming on…