Telling stories is a huge part of Irish tradition, and with many of these tales based around real places throughout the country, there is a fantastic opportunity to uncover myths in Ireland during your holiday in this fascinating destination.
Whether you want to hunt down giants, get the ‘gift of the gab’, or find magical gateways to mystical places, you’re sure to have an enchanting time when you explore Ireland and its myths for yourself.
Located just over an hour from Larne port by car, the Giant’s Causeway is one of Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, and when you see how unique it is you’ll definitely understand why!
Despite the scientific reasoning behind how the Giant’s Causeway came to be, it is far more fun to believe the myth that has been passed through the generations for years, which is centred around famous Irish giant, and man of many myths, Finn McCool.
The legend states that Finn McCool was having an argument with Scottish giant Bennandonnar, who was trying to make a claim for Finn’s area of Ireland. In anger, Finn threw boulders from Antrim into the sea, and the way that they landed inspired him to build a causeway from Ireland to Scotland so that he could challenge Bennandonnar face-to-face.
When Finn crossed the causeway, he discovered how large his enemy was and ran home to think up a clever plan. Later, Bennandonnar made his way to Ireland where he found Finn’s wife with a massive baby, and quickly ran away in fear of how huge its father must be, destroying parts of the causeway as he went. Little did he know, the baby was actually Finn in disguise – he had been tricked!
Built into Blarney Castle in 1446, legend has it that those who kiss the Blarney Stone will receive the ‘gift of the gab’, meaning that they will be able to speak with both eloquence and persuasiveness going forward, making it one of the most well-known myths in Ireland.
Whether people are still kissing the stone today because they believe the myth, or if they just want to give the adrenaline inducing activity a go, no one knows, but the fact that you have to lean backwards over the parapet with a 100ft drop beneath you in order to kiss the stone means that it’s not for the fainthearted!
There are loads of different stories surrounding how the Blarney Stone came to Ireland, and tales of its history. These include how Blarney castle owner Cormac Laidir McCarthy was told to kiss a stone in a dream by goddess Clíodhna so that he could win a court case, and how Cormac Teige McCarthy was sarcastically told to kiss a stone in order to talk Queen Elizabeth I out of taking his castle.
After climbing 127 steep steps, and hanging over the edge of the castle upside down, we suggest taking a relaxing walk around the gardens to lower your heart rate, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
The symbolic centre of Ireland, Uisneach is known to be the gateway to a magical ‘otherworld’, the fifth province of Mide. Boasting a range of monuments and relics that span thousands of years and come from a number of eras, including the early Bronze Age and medieval times, there is plenty to see during a visit here, making it a great place to uncover myths in Ireland.
Irish legend states that the Earth Goddess and Sun God are buried on Uisneach hill, and that it is the former seat of the High Kings. From the top of the hill, you can see across 20 different counties, so it is unsurprising that people think that magical things happen here. The hill’s most famous feature is the ‘Stone of Divisions’ as it is thought that the Earth Goddess is buried beneath it, and it is the entrance to Mide too.
If you visit Uisneach in May you will be able to enjoy its annual Fire Festival. With a giant bonfire, plenty to eat and drink, live music, and the opportunity to dance, this offers the perfect chance to immerse yourself in tradition.
With so many great destinations where you can uncover myths in Ireland to choose from, book your Irish Sea ferry crossing today and discover these fascinating stories for yourself.