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Posted on 2 февраля, 2021 by minini

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Since it’s Halloween week I decided to look at Ireland’s best known and most feared spirit, the banshee following on from our article on Did Halloween originate in ireland? The banshee is a female spirit and is considered to be an omen of death. The banshee roams the countryside and can be heard wailing when she predicts a death. She can appear in a number of guises, as a young beautiful woman, a stately matron or as an ugly frightening hag. She is usually dressed in a grey or white hooded cloak. While not always seen, her mourning cries can be heard usually at night when someone is about to die. It is believed by many that she only appears to select number of families, namely the main Irish families the O’ Neills, O’ Connors, O’ Briens,O’ Gradys and Kavanaghs although this list varies depending on who is telling the story!

Coincidentally, I heard of an O’ Connor who had a brush with the banshee. He was cycling between Ballylongford and Tarbert in Co. Kerry when he heard the cries of the banshee by the ruins of Lislaughtin Abbey. While the banshee will not harm the person she encounters there is another Irish female spirit who isn’t nearly as benign! The fairy lives on their life, and they waste away. Death is no escape from her. She is the Gaelic muse, for she gives inspiration to those she persecutes.

Mythology is a complex and fascinating part of Irish culture that has always been of interest to us. Some of the fairy stories and legends are so complicated they’re practically a historical dynasty! There are leprechauns, púcas and fairies that make up countless children’s stories as well as a host of more sinister creatures. The Banshee is one of the more intimidating fairies. She is a fairy woman who appears at the site of an imminent death in the middle of the night and lets out a chilling, high pitched wail. As with all mythological stories and figures, she also appears in Scottish, Welsh, Norse and even American folklore in many different forms and doing many different death related things. The origin of the Banshee is really quite ordinary compared to the tales that surround her.

There was good business to be made as a keener, as families would pay very well for a talented one. Originally the Banshee appeared to people who were about to suffer a violent and painful death, such as murder. Cynics and realists who claim the story to be nothing more than an old wives’ tale say that the wails are actually just barn owls or vixens calling in the night. The Banshee comes in three possible guises depending on who you talk to or where the stories come from. More often that not she is a crouching hag with a horrible wrinkly face, although in other stories she is a beautiful, ethereal young woman or a stately matron type. In yet more stories she is referred to as the ghost of a murdered woman or a woman who died in childbirth.

In almost all cases, the Banshee has long silver hair that she is sometimes seen brushing with a comb. For this reason, some people would never pick up a comb lying on the ground for fear of being taken away by fairies. She wears a grey hooded cloak or the white sheet or grave robe of the dead, and her eyes are red from crying. Many believe that she can in fact take on any of the above forms and change from one to the other as she pleases. Leinster, it is said to be so shrill that it shatters glass. Whatever she sounds like, everyone agrees that she can be heard from a great distance. There have been alleged incidents when the Banshee cried for a person who was in perfect health, but was found dead within a week from some freak accident.

The majority of her visits are paid at night, with a small few taking place at noon. The Banshee was usually thought to have once been a normal woman who enjoyed life, was incredibly beautiful and radiated happiness, but some great sorrow overcame her at some point in her life and she became a haggard old woman. When the Banshee moved from place to place, witnesses have heard a fluttering sound similar to birds flying. When she disappeared, all that would be left behind was a cloud of mist. Apart from the dread people felt at hearing her cry, the only other fearsome activities she seemed to get up to were knocking on doors or windows. She sought the love of mortal men, and their desire for her was so intense that they were driven to madness and ultimately destroyed. Instead of wailing and crying at night to warn someone of a death, she would instead wash the bloody clothes of the person about to meet their doom in a local water source.

Many books on Irish fairy stories say that Banshees were particularly associated with families who’s names had Ó or Mac at the start. However, this doesn’t tell us much since practically every family name in Ireland at that time was an Ó or a Mac! O’Neills, O’Briens, O’Connors, O’Gradys and Kavanaghs. 25 other banshees that followed her wherever she went. This gave rise to the belief that if several banshees were heard at once, it meant the imminent death of someone very powerful. The O’Donnell family’s Banshee apparently lived on a rock overlooking the sea at Dunluce Castle. She cried not specifically for one death, but for all the misfortunes the family had ever had and ever will have.

Lough Neagh, where their castle stood. Her name was Maeveen and she even had a special room set aside for her in the castle. As well as warning families of an upcoming death, the Banshee also liked to cry at the crowning of a true king. One reported case of this happening was at the crowning of legendary Brian Boru who overthrew the O’Neills and began the O’Brien dynasty. In 1801 the Banshee paid a visit to the Commander in Chief of the British forces in Ireland. He had attended a party at Dublin Castle and invited a few guests back to his home in Mount Kennedy, Co. These guests, Sir Jonah Barrington and his wife, woke up at 2.

Have a listen to this barn owl screeching, and tell us if you believe the Banshee myth or not. Clare County Library has also posted some first hand accounts of supposed Banshee incidents, which you can find here. Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Paula’s customer service is second to none.

Company info

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Moylan Works Limited trading as «Claddagh Design». Registered in the Republic of Ireland. Irish gifts in the United States, including authentic Irish Aran sweaters and cardigans for the whole family. Our pieces are rooted in tradition, symbolism and connection. Choose your pieces today and feel an inner beat. Is it a feeling of belonging?

Others say it feels like the truth. We’ll also let you know about special offers and latest designs. We’ll assume you’re ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Irish Bracelets  Find the perfect gift from Ireland with our gorgeous range of Celtic bracelets. Treat her to one of our Irish charm bracelets by the renowned Tara’s diary or browse our great selection of beautifully crafted Irish leather bracelets-the perfect gift for him. Ireland’s ancient treasure, The Ardagh Chalice.

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For a more contemporary feel, we have a stunning selection of beautifully designed Irish bracelets from the design legend that is Newbridge Silverware. Irish silver bracelets with a distinctly modern look. Irish Charms When someone owns a charm bracelet, an Irish charm is a perfect gift to send to a loved one. Or why not treat yourself to an Irish charm bracelet and start your collection of Irish charms today! We have a stunning collection of Celtic charms for bracelets from the much loved Tara’s Diary. Beautifully crafted Celtic charms featuring Trinity Knots, thatched cottages and the Claddagh. Thank you to all those who participated and donated to this years celebrity golf tournament!

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In almost all cases, the Banshee has long silver hair that she is sometimes seen brushing with a comb. For this reason, some people would never pick up a comb lying on the ground for fear of being taken away by fairies. She wears a grey hooded cloak or the white sheet or grave robe of the dead, and her eyes are red from crying. Many believe that she can in fact take on any of the above forms and change from one to the other as she pleases. Leinster, it is said to be so shrill that it shatters glass. Whatever she sounds like, everyone agrees that she can be heard from a great distance.

There have been alleged incidents when the Banshee cried for a person who was in perfect health, but was found dead within a week from some freak accident. The majority of her visits are paid at night, with a small few taking place at noon. The Banshee was usually thought to have once been a normal woman who enjoyed life, was incredibly beautiful and radiated happiness, but some great sorrow overcame her at some point in her life and she became a haggard old woman. When the Banshee moved from place to place, witnesses have heard a fluttering sound similar to birds flying. When she disappeared, all that would be left behind was a cloud of mist. Apart from the dread people felt at hearing her cry, the only other fearsome activities she seemed to get up to were knocking on doors or windows.

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