I’ve been reading a bit in Irish folklore and legend as part of the research for my current Work In Progress. In that WIP, the Tuatha de Danaan are aliens who crash-landed among those “barbaric” people and have to make the best of it. However, that’s backstory. The actual story is set in the current day, and focuses on events after the “second invasion” by the extraterrestrial relatives of the original Tuatha de Danaan.
So, I thought it would be nice to share a little of what I’ve learned in my research.
The Gods of Ireland
When you read about the “history” (*cough, cough*) of Ireland in the Book of Invasions, the Tuatha de Danaan immediately stand out. Others come from various parts of the world, wandering here and there at times. And, in a sense, the Tuatha de Danaan aren’t any different, since they come from Nemed (descended from the Greeks) who went into the north. But the arrival of the Tuatha de Danaan isn’t just a matter of sailing to the shore.
In this wise they came, in dark clouds. They landed on the mountains of Conmaicne Rein in Connachta; and they brought a darkness over the sun for three days and three nights. – Book of Leinster
They were gods, and yet not gods. And their intention became very clear, very quickly. They wanted to rule Ireland, and sent a challenge to the rulers of the time, the Fir Bolg, who met them in battle.
The Fir Bolg lost. Badly. But the Tuatha de Danaan also sustained losses, including the severe wounding of their king.
Among the Tuatha de Danaan are many characters who have been referred to as gods, including the Dagda. It was said that they knew all the incantations of “druids, and charioteers, and trappers, and cupbearers.” They also brought with them the Four Treasures of Ireland: the Dagda’s Cauldron, the Spear of Lugh, the Stone of Fal, and the Sword of Light of Nuada.
And I think that’s enough for the intro. Next time, I’ll write a bit about some of the gods/heroes of the Tuatha de Danaan.
Wikipedia Entry: Tuatha de Danaan
Wikipedia Entry: Book of Invasions
The Book of Invasions (as found in the Book of Leinster and the Book of Fermoy)