alskuefhaih
asoiefh

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Do you believe?

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This is Eddie Lenihan, folklorist and storyteller of Irish stories. He has collected and recorded more than 20,000 personal stories from Irish men and women, stories of their own first-hand experiences. What stories? Well, among them, fairy stories.



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Are fairies real? If you talk with many Irish people, they will not answer that question "yes" or "no." Their answer will be related to someone they know whose life has seemingly been affected by fairies. Eddie told us a few, and our bus driver to Killarney Monday told us some more.

We heard a lot about "fairy forts."

"A Fairy Fort, also known as raths, are the ruins of old houses where the ancient Celts lived. It is believed that the Druids’ magic surroundings these raths. Although a superstition, many Irish believe that misfortune will come to anyone who disturbs these raths. These raths are located throughout Ireland." (found at http://www.romanceeverafter.com/Fairy%20Forts,%20Music%20&%20Language%20of%20Ireland.htm)

We heard story after story of people who had bulldozed a fairy fort and suffered early deaths or disease in themselves and loved ones. Every Irish man or woman we asked knew just where the local fairy forts were.

After hearing Eddie's stories, next day we travelled to Killarney, a 25,000-acre national park that felt like a fairy land. We rode in boats, horse-drawn carts, and listened to the wind through the heather and mountain gorse.


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On the bus ride back to Cork, the driver stopped for us to show us this fairy fort! You can see (through the window, sorry) the trees are in a ring.

Whether or not they believe, the Irish respect fairies and don't ever want to meet them.

17 comments:

Heather said...

Oh, fairies and sheepies! Excellent. I believe in 'em--fairies, that is. That dude that tells the fairy stories rocks! He looks so cool. I'll be your students were charmed by him!

Ginnie said...

But but but...why don't they want to MEET the fairies? Aren't they supposed to be good and kind? I think I would like to meet them but maybe I don't know anything. I do remember seeing a movie around 10 years ago...about fairies (what was the name of it??). I wanted to see fairies so badly back then. I agree, I would not dare hurt their forts for anything in the world.

These photos are incredible, Ruth! What a great experience you are having!

(You're not gonna believe this but the word verification for this comment is 'yarns.')

Ruth said...

Heather, did you see the heather photo too? Just for you. (second one) I think the students were charmed, but they were also sleepy, so some of them were charmed right to sleep. :)

Ruth said...

Ginnie, from what I hear, people don't have "good" fairy stories. If you disturb a fort (including walking there) you are likely to encounter misfortunate. I don't know where else you'd come across fairies.

Yes, I've been trying to remember that movie as well. With Sherlock Holmes, yes? Or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle maybe.

So cool about the "yarns" word verification!

Heather said...

Ruth, how could I have missed the heather! It's right there in front of my face. Excellent. Tiny bell-shaped flowers, yes? I sometimes wonder if the sheepies eat the heather? Heather is basically a weed, so I'm not sure if the sheepies would find it tasty. You are one lucky duck being in Ireland with sheepies, fairies, and heather--the real deal!

Don said...

I always wanted to see fairies, until Eddy told us what they do and what they look like. I asked him under what conditions is someone most likely to meet a fairie and he replied "only people who have had two pints too many are in the right neighborhood."
Now I just want to hear the stories!

Ruth said...

Heather, the heather in the photo was pretty subtle, so I'm not surprised you missed it. Don't know if sheep eat it, good question.

Ruth said...

Don, as you know I got pretty freaked out about fairies and banshies the night Eddie spoke. I'm pretty sure I don't want to meet them. Apparently some who have lost their minds.

Ruth said...

Another interesting thing is that there is a lot of similarity between stories of alien abductions and fairy abductions. Are aliens fairies? Are fairies aliens?

thehealingroom said...

Have you heard of Findhorn?
I think its in Scotland, not Ireland, but I bring it up because I thought that they consulted the fairies for growing their famous gardens......anyway, fairies sounded helpful.
Maybe the stories are about lack of respect. (?)

Rauf said...

Irish are great story tellers Ruth.
Hostile climate forced them to stay indoors for long periods and as a result we have some of the best literature in the world coming from Ireland.

Lovely landscape Ruth, still looks like Sir Walter Raleigh's Ireland, please don't ask an Irish what he thinks of him

Ruth said...

Healing Room, yes, I've heard of Findhorn, but only in the context of Eckhart Tolle's talk there. I will look into this, because I'm interested.

Ruth said...

Rauf, every taxi driver wants to tell us a story, it's wonderful. They love to talk and share their lore. We watched the new film "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" last night, a wrenching account of the Black and Tans who terrorized the Irish in 1920. Fantastic filmmaking, terrible story. But the Irish now seem so happy, so eager to live, I wonder if the young people have a clue what they have been given by those who fought so hard.

Rauf said...

Ruth, I have never been outside India, heard and read a lot about the Irish. They all seem to be so talented. Like Homer they hold the attention of the listner.
Their slang is very musical. When they talk they seem to sing. I have an Irish friend married an Indian, who doesn't give me a chance to open my mouth, she has so much to say. I am so glad that you and don are having such a wonderful experience.

Peter said...

Those pictures are amazing!

Ruth said...

Thanks so much, Rauf. I love to hear the Irish speak, as you say, full of music.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Bo. I miss you and can't wait to see you soon. love.