Myths and legends make up a lot of a country's culture and Ireland is one of those nations that have preserved countless ancient myths and legends. The tales of Tuatha De Danann might be disregarded by scholars but one thing is for certain - ancient historians had a reason to write about this mythical race.
We all know countless myths about giants, elves, and numerous other beings but few have heard of Tuatha De Danann, one of the greatest mythical tribes of Ireland. According to ancient historical accounts, this was an ancient Irish God-like race that lived and ruled over these lands more than 4000 years ago.
Albeit denied by modern historians and scholars, we cannot deny the importance of myths like this one for the culture of a country, and Irish culture is one of the richest in this respect. Plus, every legend starts with some truth. Why did ancient historians write so much about the Tuatha de Danann, if such a civilization did not really exist?
1. The name Tuatha De Danann translates as “Tribe of Danu”
Scholars have not reached a consensus about where the name comes from. There are two main theories – one suggests that this was the name of an ancient Irish goddess called Danu while the second one suggests that this was the name of the founding ruler of the tribe.
2. A Medieval manuscript suggests that Tuatha De Danann ruled the Irish lands between 1900 BC and 1700 BC
The Annals of the Four Masters is a Medieval manuscript dated to the 17th century that collected ancient Irish chronicles in one large compilation. It addresses the Tuatha De Danann tribe and suggests an approximate time at which they ruled over the Irish lands.
3. The ancient God-like race had supernatural powers
It is said that the race of Tuatha de Danann was gifted with divine powers and wisdom that were later worshiped by the people of Ireland. Based on the legends, they brought prosperity to these lands.
4. Legends say they appeared from the clouds (sometimes also described as mist)
Different historical sources tell several variants of the arrival. The most ancient ones suggest that Tuatha De Danann appeared on flying ships surrounded by clouds. In later texts, however, the flying ships were changed to regular ships.
As for the mist or clouds, in particular, it is considered that the race burned down its ships to ensure that there is no turning back.
5. Tuatha De Danann originated from 4 flourishing Norse cities
According to the ancient myths, the God-like race came from four cities, presumably located somewhere in Norway. These cities were called Murias, Finias, Gorias, and Falias. These are all mythical cities that have not been discovered by archaeologists.
6. The race brought one magical talisman from each of their cities
It is said that the race gained its magical powers from four wizards (druids) from their original cities. Each one also gave them a single magical talisman to carry to their new home.
- Stone of Fal – a magical stone that could reveal the true king of Ireland once he stepped on it
- Spear of Lugh – an almighty weapon that could win any battle or war, famous for its accuracy
- Sword of Light – belonging to king Nuada, it was an almighty sword that shinned with light and could not be defeated
- Cauldron of the Dagda – a talisman that belonged to the mythical ancient god Dagda that gave Tuatha De Danann and endless source of food and fortune
7. Tuatha De Danann allowed the native Fir Bolg people to live peacefully in the province of Connaught
The native Fir bold civilization was not happy when Tuatha De Danann arrived in Ireland and fought several important battles with them until the invaders came victorious. Nevertheless, they allowed the natives to keep a province for themselves to live peacefully while Tuatha De Danann took all other regions.
8. Tuatha De Danann were defeated by the mighty Melesians
According to the ancient manuscripts, the end of the rule of Tuatha De Danann came with the invasion of the Melesians. They were a Gaelic civilization that according to ancient sources, spent hundreds of years sailing before they finally settled in Ireland.
Scholars theorize that they could be the reason why Tuatha De Danann disappeared from the face of the earth, either completely demolished by the invaders or integrated into their community. Some legends suggest that Tuatha De Danann lived peacefully with the Melesians while the more mythical text claim that they used their magical powers to hide and live in an invisible world.
9. In the mythical version, Tuatha De Danna became immortal
Since there is no trustworthy evidence to support the existence of this race, why not discuss the most mythical side of the story. As mentioned above, Tuatha De Danann moved to an invisible world once they were invaded. According to the legends, it was called the Otherworld.
Another curious myth is that they became immortal to a certain extent. It is said that they could literally not age although they seemed normal.
10. The God-like race had countless interactions with the mortal world
It is said that the Tuatha de Danann did not stick to their invisible world but on the contrary, they interacted with the mortals on many occasions. There were times when they wanted vengeance and brought destruction upon the Melesians.
There were other times when they helped them survive, either by aiding them in battle or with food. Legends tell of marriages between the two races. Sometimes citizens of the Otherworld would get accepted and live among the mortals while in other cases, mortals were allowed in the invisible world.