Friday, November 17, 2017

FAIRIE FRIDAY: Fairy Raths

Hello my Irish mythology loving friends! If this is the first post you're reading, you'll know that for the foreseeable future I'm devoting my Friday's to Irish Good Folk--the Tuath De Danann--, mythology, folklore, and even modern day accounting of those who have had a run in the with those Good Neighbors.

Basically I'm a really big geek, guys. 

A geek who loves Irish mythology too much and wants to fix the misconceptions about 'fairies'.


To read previous articles and catch up, you can read them here and here! If you'd like to join in, I also host a 1 hour live Q&A discussions on twitter on Fridays at 1 pm (California time)! Just use the hashtag #fairiefriday and ask questions or even provide answers! I don't care! The more the merrier!

TODAY'S TOPIC is going to be super fun and a little bit short! I figured you guys could use a break from all that heavy duty mythology!

So grab some tea (or whisky. OR BOTH) and lets talk:

FAIRIE RATHS (forts)

Katie, I hear you saying, everyone knows that fairie forts are really just adorable little homes that people make in pots or put doors in trees. You can even buy fairie homes in the garden section of Joann's. Everyone knows that!

Oh honey.

Oh my sweet little rainbowchild.

NO.

A fairie rath is not a little manufactured door, or rose petal tea cup sets made in China. Nor are those tinsy tiny homes you make out of twigs and bark and moss ever going fit a Good Folk. Pixies, sure. But Good Folk? HAHAHA.

Sorry, that was rude of me to laugh. But I'm not sorry.

A Fairie Rath (or Fairie Fort) is what some people in Ireland (who clearly aren't from Ireland) say are just 'weird bumps in the earth'. But Irish scholars and mythology students know better. Hell, the Irish PEOPLE know better. Those bumps in the earth that have no business being there are, in act, Fairie Raths, or 'homes'. They look like this: 


 



I TOOK THIS PHOTO IN IRELAND! IT WAS POINTED OUT TO ME BY A LOCAL! IT'S ACTUALLY HUGE.

Now, depending on how far back you want to go into mythology it's assumed that the entire mound itself is the 'home' and that the Good folk dwell in it. Some say that it's an entrance into their world, and you have to go at the right time (usually 'between' times, like right before dawn and right before sunset). 

But if you go back even further, what these odd mounds are actually supposed to be is the tops of the roofs--or some speculate pillars--that denote the top of the roof for palaces of the Tuath De Danann. And even funner fact, one of the great kings/rulers of the Tuath De Danann (the most famous), build such mounds while he was enslaved by the Fir Bolg.  

There is a lot of  folklore surrounding them. like...a LOT. And the main theme is: If you go near them, consider yourself dead.

NO REALLY. 

Now look, if people can believe that some invisible person in sky rules over us all, then I can damn well believe in Good Folk and them killing you for disturbing their homes. And if you think that they're not real and that real, life altering, deadly things can't happen for trying (or even succeeding) to bulldoze one down because you 'don't believe', then I present to you these cases:

-Ireland's wealthiest man going bankrupt after removing a fairie  fort. RUINED. (the point? The Good Folk don't just go up to you and stab you with a magical spear. They work in ways that look like 'bad timing' and 'freak accidents'. Really really scary 'freak accidents'.)

-The worker who died IN a fairie fort while working on a road that he'd recently help lay that destroyed another one.

There are more, but honestly, you have Google and you know how to use it. I believe in you.

So there you have it! That's what a fairie fort is!

Some people believe none of it is real. They're also the same people to 1000% not go near a Fairie fort.

For your enjoyment, a short story on how I almost got to go up to a Fairie Fort 
I was in Ireland doing research for the sequel to my book, Brenna Morgan and the Iron Key (what no I'm totally not plugging my book!......okay I am. sue me. I need to feed my cat, okay!?). My first stop was Dingle, where I stayed for four days. I ended up doing a really fun tour, where locals volunteer to drive you around the Dingle Peninsula. I was exceedingly lucky in that my local was a curmodgenly Irishmen with a great beard and piercing stare.

When he asked me what I was doing in Ireland, I of course said that I was doing research on the Good Folk. He scoffed at me, and said "you don't believe any of that nonsense d'you?" to which  I said "I do." He harumphed and didn't say anything more to me.

Clearly this was going to be a very fun rest of the tour.
About fifteen minutes later he pulls over to the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. NOWHERE. Cows and ocean to our left fields to our right, no houses. Just cows. The man has me and my companion get out of the car and as my companion is taking pictures on the other side of the road of the cows and the ocean (I got some pics too, not gonna lie!) the driver turns to me--who is resting against the car--and says:

"D'you see that there?" And he points behind us, to which I see a weird, massive, bump in the earth surrounded by gorse (f***ing gorse. I hate it. I hate it so much!) and other plant life.

"Yes." I say.

"That's a fairy rath."

"Oh wow, really!?" (It was surrounded by a poorly made fence)

"T'is." He said. "That belongs to my friend *name omitted*, a farmer who owns the land there."

Being that I sometimes don't THINK before I SPEAK (like the time I asked a cop who didn't know me if I could hold his gun), these words went flying out of my mouth from sheer astonishment and delight at seeing a legit fairi fort:

"Do you think he'd let me go in it!?" (it was surrounded by a poorly made fence).

"IN it?" Asks the old man, and he's look angrier. "Why would you want to go IN it?"

"No no, not IN it." I assured him. "Just, you know, AROUND it."

"Well why would you be wantin' to do that, then?"

And that was the end of our discussion. Clearly worried I was going to hop the fence and get myself cursed by the goodfolk--I wasn't--he ushered me and my companion into the car and zoomed off.

A lot of people will tell you they don't believe, but when push comes to shove, even they refuse to move something considered belonging to the Good Folk. For the most part.

Thank you for joining me today! If you have any questions please feel free to comment here, or join me today at 1 pm (California time) for a discussion on Fairie Forts and all things Irish Mythology!

Have you been to Ireland? Seen a fairie fort? BEEN INSIDE ONE AND LIVED TO TELL THE TALE or new someone who did!? SHARE YOUR STORY WE WANT TO KNOW!

Next week's topic is: FAIRIE DOCTORS! 
**********

IF YOU LIKE IRISH MYTHOLOGY OR YA BOOKS--OR BETTER YET BOTH--HAVE A LOOK AT MY YA BOOK DEDICATED TO STRICTLY IRISH MYTHOLOGY:

BRENNA MORGAN AND THE IRON KEY! Available for purchase here
And if that doesn't convince you because you're visual and you just don't have time to read the back of a book, CHECK OUT THIS AMAZING MOVIE BOOK TRAILER FOR IT TO CHANGE YOUR MIND! (it worked right?.....the caplocks yelling worked?)




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