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Elves and the Thuatha de Danann: The legendary story of Ireland

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

Danu’s children

Thousand years ago, the cosmic waters of Danu dried up and Earth took the form as we know it today. Two oaks from the Big Tree brought light to god Dagda and Brigid. Their mission was to shape and give spirit to others. Danu’s children (Thuath de Danann) were increasing and their children respectively were traveling around the lands of Ireland enjoying the gift of their blessings. During that time they constructed four major cities at the mouth of the Danuvius river. The cities were: Falias, Goirias, Findias and Muirias. God Dagda and Brigit passed their knowledge and wisdom to Danu’s children. Brigid taught them poetry, health treatments, and metalworking. She showed them how to construct weapons and detect gold and silver. Each of the cities had one magical object in their possession. In Falias there was the Stone of Fál. Legend has it that the stone cried out beneath the king who took the sovereignty of Ireland. In Goirias, there was the Spear of Lugh. No battle was ever sustained against it, or against the man who held it. In Findias, there was the Sword of Light, which belonged to the first King of Ireland Núada. No one ever escaped from it once it was drawn from its sheath, and no one could resist it. The sword was also described to have a glowing bright torch. Finally, in Muirias, there was the Cauldron of god Dagda. No one, ever went away from it unsatisfied. Thuatha de Danann, lived in the four cities until they had to abandon them to seek for Inis-Fail, the Island of Destiny.

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The Balgatan Battle

Lebor Gabála Érenn known in English as The Book of Invasions is an Irish collection of poems and narratives about the history of Ireland. Thuatha de Danann represent the main pagan gods of Ireland and the book describes that they came to Ireland in dark clouds and landed on the Conmaicne Rein mountain in Connachta. After their landing, the sun did not rise for three whole days. Thuatha de Dananns were not the first who landed on this land as Fir Bolg, a mysterious tribe, lived there at that moment. Contemporary historians and anthropologists believe that this tribe arrived in Ireland from Spain. Nuada, the leader of Thuatha de Danann, fought against Fir Bolg in the passage of Balgatan. The battle lasted for four days. As both groups were very powerful, none of them had won until that point. As a result, they decided that Sreg, the strongest warrior of Fir Bolg would call Nuada in duels. During the battle, Sreg cut the right arm of Nuada but that was soon noticed by Dian Cecht, the god of healing, who replaced it with a silver one at an instant. Following the incident, Nuada became also known as Argetlahn, meaning the “silver hand”. Fir Bolgs were defeated and had to abandon their land. Nuada was soon replaced by the half-Fomorian, Bres. Bres belonged to Fomorians, a race of monstrous beings who came from under the sea or earth according to Irish mythology. The new king lasted for seven years, as he turned out to be a tyrant and had to go away. Dian Cecht took pity of Thuatha de Danann and decided to replace Nuada’s silver arm with a real one. After that, Nuada was reinstated as king 

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The Prophecy 

Tuatha Dé Danann and Fomorians fought a battle in Magh Tuireadh, during the night of the winter solstice. Danu’s children were holding the Sword of Light from their homeland and an “Avenger” that only Nuada could control. The battle of Moytura, as it is known, was very rough. It is said, that the valley flooded with blood and the river Unius stopped running as the large number of dead bodies blocked the water’s flow. Another version of the myth, claims that god Dagda himself took part in that battle. Fomorians tried to test the abilities of the god and asked him to eat an enormous amount of roasted meat. If he failed they would kill him and consequently they would win the battle. God Dagda not only ate the whole amount, but it is said that he even licked the suet from his fingers. Due to the abilities of Thuatha’s warriors and the contribution of a mysterious spring that could cure every trauma and bring the dead back to life, Thuatha Dé Danann won Fomorians and made them return to their kingdom underseas. Before their exodus, Domnu, the goddess of the Fomorians, released her crow, which stood in front of the winners. The crow sang the ominous prophecy in which the winners would soon lose their power and will be defeated by another race. It was not long before, the sons of Mil arrived in Ireland, from a northern country, and they defeated Tuatha Dé Dananns. The sons of Mil agreed to occupy the overground world while Tuatha de Dananns would occupy the underworld. Danu’s children hid in the kingdom under the hills and marked their gates with a symbol.

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The Passage

In Dinnsvhencha, an old Celtic book, one may find documentation of Ireland’s mythological geography. According to tradition, there are certain points within the human world, which form entrances to the underground kingdom of the elves. It is believed that the kingdom of the elves is the renown empire of the Tuatha Dé Dananns. The book depicts the magical symbols, which reveal the entry points of the gates. The hieroglyphic of Sidhe, symbolizes “those who live under the hills”. The spirals represent the glory of the five Elven Kingdoms. North of Sligo city in Ireland, close to Ben Bulben, there is a small squared stone on which, one may find engraved the bizarre symbol. Locals argue that humans have never touched the stone and that animals are not even getting close to it. It is said, that this is the gate to the Gentry world. There is another location, in Cottingley’s forest where there is a similar stone. John Mathews found it many years ago in an attempt to unravel the mysteries of the Celtic tradition.

A Strange Testimony

In his book “The Great Glyph of the Sidhe: Wisdom of the Celtic Otherworld”, John Mathews claims that while he was in the forest, close to the specified location where the symbol was found, he had the chance to come in contact with an elf. In his book, one may find a statement from the writer who spoke to the otherworldly creature. The elf informed him, that both the human race and his own one have coexisted for many centuries and that there is both contact and interaction between the two races. The elf continued by saying that there were moments in history that some people left the human world to live with the elves and the ones who chose to do that are now immortal. Throughout the centuries the two species have been loved and it is believed that some progenies on earth carry the blood of both races. On one hand, many people reject that testimony. On the other hand, though, there are a lot of Mathew’s readers who claim that the specific book has a different writing tone from his other works. As argued, that might have occurred due to the contact with the elf.

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