Friday, April 13, 2007

Are There Fairies In Ireland?

Today I would like to share a dialogue I have just had on the “My Writer’s Circle” social site.


Charlie:


We are in thinking of going to Ireland at some point this year. My grandad is from Northern Ireland. When I told him the story i'm working on was about fearys, he said I have got to go to Ireland to learn about the hidden folk.


My reply:


Well, Charlie our Bréifne region is well and truly for you. Four of Ireland's Seven Fairy Hills are here, Sidhe Beg and Sidhe Mor are perhaps the most popular but I love Knockninny in Co. Fermanagh best of all.

The main popular legend, as you may know, is that the warriors of the Sons Of Mil, the Milesians (the Kelts, the Celts) drove the Tuatha De Dannan into the otherworld where they lived as the Sidhe, the "fairy folk". After some time of starvation the Celts formed a treaty with these "fairy folk" and since then to upset them would ruin the farming and bring famine. Most of this legend is centred around our Bréifne region.

However, there is another story I tell here of what "really happened" that most people find much more plausible, especially when they see the sites that connect the story - but you still do not upset the "fairies", that I describe as something a bit different.

I am sure it would be wonderful for you to explore Northern Ireland and your family's past and then travel south to see how it all connects together.


Charlie:


I'll research some of those places you suggested. I think the hardest part about visiting Ireland is that there are so many places to choose from.

Feary is not my spelling, but I like it. I first read it in a book when I was doing some research the Author of that book her name escapes me now. said that feary's is used if referring to fearys as real beings. Fairys suggests a fable. She is from Cornwall so maybe it's a local thing?


My reply:


I thought "Feary" was appropriate because for 100s of years the folks here were "afeared", afraid, of the fairies and would honour and respect them for fear of losing their crops and farm animals. Much of my life, and where I raised my family, was on the Isle of Mull in Scotland where fairies are "faeries" so we are getting towards your spelling there. 

Even today, in our area where it seems almost every field has a "fairy ring", when a farmer gathers cattle or sheep for market if any animals enter a "fairy ring" the farmer will not go into, or even send dogs into, the "ring" to get the animals out. They still believe these animals are being saved by the "fairies".

My own writing and guide work focuses on ancient spirituality in Ireland. Through this I attempt to show how the unseen was personified with imagery to give it some kind of recognition. Of course, this imagery became seen and believed of as real entities hence the belief in fairies as being real angelic small people of another world.

As we know, these images have also been the best resource for writers to create wonderful surreal stories from characters and settings we do not see in day to day life.

If it takes a belief in fairies to inspire a person to honour and respect the land and living things then I'm all for it. With myself I enjoy the fables of fairies and all other fantasy personifications because, perhaps, as writers we can write and explain things that we find hard to do with real people as our story characters. 


If you are a writer I am sure you will find participating in the My Writer’s Circle social site for writers very rewarding.


 

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