We’ve all heard of the leprechaun and the banshee, but have you heard of these mythical Irish monsters? They can all be found in the book Mythical Irish Beasts, written and illustrated by Mark Joyce.
The Dobhar-Chú is the father of all otters and is also known as the “King of the Lakes”. Quite unlike your everyday cuddly mammal, the Dobhar-Chú is in fact a vicious beast who murders both people and animals and drinks their blood after his kill. The beast is eventually finished off by the husband of it’s last victim, Gráinne Ni Conalai.
Unlike the evil otter, the Clobhair-Ceann is a much more harmless creature, interested primarily in the cellars of the rich, where he pillages and downs all of the alcohol he can find. This fairy would not cause anyone physical harm, but would indeed bring the owner of any wine cellar to complete ruin!
The Leanhaun Shee
The Leanhaun Shee, or “faerie mistress” spends her time seeking out men to attach herself to. If she makes advances on a man and he refuses her, she becomes enslaved to him. If, however, he succumbs to her seduction, the opposite happens and the only means of escape is to find another man to replace the first. Her love is poison, and her lovers all die young.
Faeries certainly can be quite the trouble-makers in Irish mythology! Similar to the Leanhaun Shee, the Gancanach, meaning ‘love talker’, offers partners a future of heartbreak and suffering. He often snoops around country fields where he seduces shepherdesses and milkmaids, stringing them along before ultimately abandoning them and moving on to his next unsuspecting victim!
The Éis Énchenn
The Éis Énchenn is a bird-headed woman who is the commander of a group of similarly-headed beasts. The hero Cúchulann almost gets defeated by the beast when she attempts to push him off a cliff. However he manages to leap back to safety and chops off her head for good measure!
If you would like to read more about our very own Mythical Irish Beasts and see more of Mark Joyce’s wonderful illustrations, you can purchase your copy here.