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Daoine Sidhe

by Micha F. Lindemans
The divine folk of Old Irish folklore. After the Tuatha Dé Danann were defeated by the Milesians (Gaels), those members who decided to stay in Ireland formed the Daoine Sidhe. They live in hollow mounds, hence the name sidhe which literally means "people of the (fairy) mounds". In Connaught they are ruled by Finbheara, who holds court beneath the fairy hill of Knockma. His wife is the fair Oonagh. In Munster, there are three fairy queens: Cliodna, Aine (said to be the mother of Earl Gerald, who sleeps under the castle of Mullaghmast), and Aoibhill.

The Daoine Sidhe are fond of battles, hurling (a kind of field hockey) and are skilled chess players. Many a mortal challenged Finvarra to a game and lost all his possessions, for the king has never been beaten. These fairies are small and this is responsible for the name of daoine beaga, "little folk". They may ride out to hunt, or stir up an eddy of dust, or engage in battles, or steal children, or prevent butter from forming in the churn.

Finbheara is pronounced as Finvarra, Cliodna as Cleena, and Aoibhill as Eevil.


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