Here is a wonderfully interesting post from Secret Ireland. I thought today would be a good one to share it with you.
Because [he] was so essential in Celtic society, the horse became a major figure in Irish folklore and mythology. In battle, in transportation, and in agriculture the horse played a vital role in the conduct of daily life.
Although we have no “white horses” like the Bronze Age giant at Uffington in England, our ancient tales illustrate the high regard in which they were held.
While archaeologically it has been shown that the arrival of the horse pre-dates that of the Celts, according to our legends the horse was introduced into Ireland by the greatest of our native gods, Lugh, the sun god.
Mannanan Mac Lir, the god of the sea, had a magical horse that could travel over land or sea; Cuchulainn had two magnificent chariot horses which came to him from lakes; many a rider emerged from the Otherworld astride a magnificent white horse, including the beautiful Niamh of the Golden Hair on her mission to tempt Oisin to leave the Fianna for Tir na nÓg.
I love this bit. So very Irish.
In our folklore, the importance of horses is reflected by the otherworldly powers assigned to them. They are credited, for example, with the ability to see ghosts, and there are many stories of horses refusing to ride past a haunted spot despite the exhortations of the riders.
Then there is the “fíorláir” or ‘true mare’ – the seventh consecutive filly foal born to a dam, which was safe from all evil and its rider safe from all harm. On the spot where a ‘true mare’ was birthed a four-leaved shamrock would grow which would itself have curative and protective powers.
There’s more. Continue reading »
Featured image: Irish horses, Secret Ireland.