"Sea Serpent" © Bob Eggleton
"Along with the ancient gods, demigods, warriors, wizards, druids
and poets, numerous creatures great and small shared the
limelight in the myths and legends of ancient Ireland.
Ranging from giants in the Earth above, to fairies in the Earth
below — and everything in between — the fertile imaginations
of the ancient Irish conjured up creatures to suit
every fancy, and to explain every mystery that could not otherwise
be explained away as an act of the gods. And whether real
or imagined, even the rumor of the possible existence of these creatures
has had a tremendous impact on the worldview of the Irish, an
impact that has left deep impressions in the myths, legends, and ancient
monuments throughout the length and breadth of the blessed isle.
"Sea serpents are among the most common mythical creatures to be found
in the myths and legends of the world, and Ireland is no exception. In fact,
due to the large amount of lakes, rivers and shoreline, legends and sightings
of sea serpents far exceed those of dragons. However, in Ireland the
line between sea serpent and dragon is not at all clear, almost seeming at
times to be a mere formality as both beasts, whether of sea or of land, typically
are extremely greedy, ill-tempered and ruthless, concerned only
about guarding their vast treasure hoards, or acquiring their next meal."
Legends of sea serpents, giants, fairies and all the creatures described in this section populated the myths and legends of the ancient Irish, myths that have been handed down from generation to generation not only through the professional storytellers of the royal courts, but also through the lay storytellers, the seanachies, who told the tales around the turf fire at the end of the day.
WIZARDS, DRUIDS & POETS
FOLKLORE & MYTHOLOGY
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