Darby's Destinations Luxury Travel - Italy

Fairy Tales

Ireland's history of fairy tales

September 2, 2017

Celtic mythology is huge in Ireland.  Many of the Celtic stories have to do with honor, bravery, and romance.  The Irish told these stories many times to teach a lesson.  These Mythological Irish tales were read at bed time to children and are legends.  These legends are what kept the belief going when the children grew up to adults and then shared these stories with their children.  Many once believed in fairies, but not so much now, but they still love them.

The Irish believe there are certain things connected with fairies in the country that they do not like to mess with.  One example is the hedges you see all along the roads and fields in Ireland.  One of the principal vegetation in amongst the hedges is known as hawthorn or white thorn in the summer from the white flowers or black thorn in the winter.   Once in a while, something strange happens.  A bird will take one of the berries which are seeded, and the bird drops the berry and the seed plants itself in the middle of the field and the midst of a view.  Then it begins to grow, which is quite reasonable as to how it got there. However the Irish would not let it go like that.  The Irish people believe that if a hawthorn tree grows in the center of a field, no Irish farmer would ever consider cutting it down.  They believe it is a fairy tree and the fairies choose for it to grow there.  The belief is that this is the meeting place of the fairies or a marker of the route for the fairies as they travel along beside us in the parallel world. Legend believes that fairies are good people and will show you no harm unless you were to damage the fairy tree and then they would get you.  The Irish think bad luck befalls those for such an offense, your livestock may take sick that year, or your tractor may not start, or the roof may cave in.  They believe this is the fairies revenge since you damaged their tree.  So the truth of the matter is the Irish leave the fairy trees alone and do not touch them.

Mickey was interested in the fairy trees and started to inquire about them.  So he sought out an older woman that was a local historian and she told him one story behind the fairy trees.   Since Ireland has a very strong Catholic country, long ago the Catholic Bishops believe that when a child was stillborn and the baby had not been baptized before their death, and the baby’s soul would go to purgatory.  At that time, the Catholic hierarchy had an absolute rule that a stillborn baby could not be buried on holy ground, as in a grave yard, if the child had not been baptized.  The Irish had a solution; they would bury a stillborn child beneath a fairy tree.  There were two reasons, one practical, the hawthorn tree gives off a particular scent that is very distracting to wild animals, and the animals do not want to dig there.  The second reason is the fairies would take care of the spirit of these children.  Any time a stillborn child was buried beneath a fairy tree, a stone would be placed there.  Many times you will see a fairy tree with ten to twelve stones beneath the tree, and it signifies a burial site.  This was a common practice up until the 1970’s, which is really not that long ago.

Even in this day and age in the year 2017, they still leave the hawthorn trees alone even if they are in the middle of the fields and if it is of no benefit since the farmers are afraid to cut them down.  Now in 2008,they were building a brand new highway.  The route of the highway suddenly meet a fairy tree, and they decided after much debate that the highway would be built around the tree.

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