lunes, 2 de febrero de 2015


The Tuatha Dé Danann are Celtic pre-Christian gods with supernatural ability and were of great importance to Gaelic people. They belong to the Otherworld community whose world was reached through mists, hills, lakes, ponds, wetland areas, caves, ancient burial sites, cairns and mounds. Their association with ancient Neolithic and Bronze Age burial mounds is probably linked to the importance these sites had for the people of pre-history. They were places of communal interment for the ancestors of the Celts of northwest Europe who are descended from the native Neolithic peoples of these lands. Their story was passed on for many centuries in oral tradition.

The name Tuatha Dé is thought to derive from old Irish Gaelic meaning ‘people of the gods’.
The Dagda was a very important leader of the Tuatha Dé Danann. His brothers included Ogma and according to some sources Lir. Lir was known as the God of the Sea and is said to be the father of the children in the " Irish legend of the Children of Lir ". He is also said to be the father of Manannán mac Lir, heavily associated with the Isle of Man where he is seen as the Islands first ruler. Manannán is also a significant feature in Scottish and Irish mythology. He is also cognate with the Welsh Manawydan fab Llŷr. Within these old beliefs other entities of the Otherworld are also mentioned. They include the Aos Si, sometimes suggested as separate from the Tuatha Dé Danann, and the Fomhóraigh. The Fomhóraigh have been seen by some as a darker more ominous relative. The distinctions between the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Fomhóraigh are however, blurred, with many interconnections and shared ancestry between the two. The idea of fairies and the old burial mounds as "fairy hills" seem to be a later anglicised invention/interpretation of the old stories.
The Tuatha Dé (Danann) formed an important part of the Gaelic peoples understanding of the world in which they lived. The myths and stories of these supernatural entities were handed down in oral tradition for centuries. Over time these stories varied and developed. The ancient tales were further altered and adapted by monastic scribes in order to adhere to their Christian belief whilst at the same time seeking to ease the people’s transition toward Christian conversion. In understanding this it needs to be acknowledged that the monastic scholars provided a valuable written account of elements of these ancient myths. They present some evidence to modern researchers who seek to unravel our ancestor’s beliefs and gain an understanding of the gods they worshipped.
Many of the Tuatha Dé Danann are mentioned in the Book of Leinster, compiled in the mid twelfth century but comprising of older texts, themselves based on age-old oral tradition.

Important figures which have been linked by various sources to the Tuatha Dé Danann.

  • Dagda (The Dagda) : The leader and father figure and druid of the Tuatha Dé and symbol of life and death. Also known as Ruadh Rofhessa (Red One Great in Knowledge). He is said to have had a bottomless cauldron and to have been very powerful, wielding a mighty club. Dagda was seen to be a wise leader with abundant skills and is known as "the good god". Amongst his many lovers he is noted for his relationship with Boann, a river goddess from whom the River Boyne takes its name. Among Dagda’s offspring is Brigid and he is a brother of Ogma.
  • Lir : God of the Sea. Father of Manannán mac Lir. Also seen as the father of the Children of Lir renowned in Irish Legend. He is cognate with the Welsh God Llŷr. 
  • Ogma : Brother of The Dagda, associated with learning and credited with creating Ogham script.
  • Lugh : God of the sun and light, harvests and associated with arts and crafts. A great warrior and according to the Ulster Cycle father of the legendary Cú Chulainn. Linked to a number of sites in Ireland he spent part of his childhood in the Isle of Man where he was trained by Manannán mac Lir who loaned him his horse Enbarr who could travel over land and sea. 
  • Nuada (of the Silver Arm) : Once King of the Danaans. His hand lost in battle it was replaced with one made of silver. Lugh was said to have fought on behalf of the Tuatha Dé Danann whilst Nuada was having his new silver arm made. 
  • Dian Cécht : Grandfather of Lugh. He is the god of medicine and made the arm of silver for Nuada.
  • Brigid : Daughter of The Dagda. Goddess and also origin of the Christian Saint Brigid. She was a fertility goddess and is associated with the feast of Imbolg. Imbolg is the second of the four ancient yearly Celtic festivals ( Imbolg : start of spring on 1st February ).
  • Dana : Described by some as an Irish mother goddess and the mother of the Danaans.
  • Aengus Óg : Son of Dagda and Boann and associated with love. He is said to have taken possession of Brú na Bóinne (Boyne Valley), which is the location of the ancient monuments of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. 
  • Morrigan : Irish Goddess associated with war, prophesy and the ability to enchant. In the Ulster Cycle she is depicted changing her form into a wolf, eel and cow in her entanglement with Cú Chulainn. Sometimes described as forming one of three sister goddesses. 
  • Áine : Associated with sovereignty and a number of sites around Ireland bare her name. She is seen as linked to summer and the sun and therefore also to good harvests.
  • Macha : One of a number of figures named Macha in Celtic mythology. Macha wife of Cruinniac is associated with the curse of the warriors of Ulster. Cruinniuc boasted that his wife could run faster than the king’s horses; the king then ordered she race against them. Macha was forced to do this even though in the later stages of pregnancy. Although she won the race she gave birth to twins directly afterwards and she cursed the men of Ulster for the ordeal she had been put through. The nature of the curse was that at the time they were needed the most they were laid low.
  • Sionna : Granddaughter of Lir - associated with Spring water. She goes to Cóelrind Well to gain knowledge but is drowned when not adhering to established protocols. She is swept along the waters of the flooding well which form the River Shannon which is named after Sionna.
  • Manannán mac Lir : Son of Lir and associated with islands, magical mists and the sea. Said to be first ruler of the Isle of Man, he fostered and trained Lugh there before being sent back to Ireland to engage in battle. Manannán's wife was Fand who sought to lure Cú Chulainn from Emer.

  • Tre Dee' Dana : The three brothers of Art and Craftsmanship: Gobniu - the smith. Credne - the goldsmith. Luchtaine - the carpenter. They forged the weapons that the Tuatha Dé Danann used in battle.

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