Here are the five best places to spot fairies in Ireland.
Fairies are an intrinsic part of Irish folklore and mythology. In Irish tradition, tall tales are as essential to everyday life as living and breathing fresh air.
Anyone from the Emerald Isle is sure to know all too well a steady stream of local myths—most of which are likely to include fairies or pixies.
Irish fairies – where did they come from?
These mythical beings are often thought to have descended from either angels or demons, giving further explanation to their kind or mischievous nature.
While local myth is not quite as central to society as it used to be, belief in (and more so, respect for) Irish folklore is still a large part of the culture.
With this in mind, Ireland remains a sacred land for impish creatures. Sightings of these mysterious, mythological beings are not uncommon.
And while several “fairy trails” have been found to direct those who wish to find a spectacular fairy, there are also some off-the-beaten-track locations, such as mountain ranges and ring forts, where these legendary creatures are said to reside.
Certain locations are known to offer the best chance of glimpsing a fairy, so keep your eyes peeled. Here are the five best places to spot fairies in Ireland.
5. Brigid’s Celtic Garden − one of the most likely places to spot fairies in Ireland
If you’re in pursuit of a “fairy trail” with the family, mythical creatures have supposedly been spotted in Brigid’s Celtic Garden in County Galway.
This purpose-made fairy and folklore community offers wonder and adventure for the entire family, as children and adults can roam the grounds in pursuit of the most wondrous forest dwellers.
There are also tonnes of interactive activities for all ages, and the theme of the entire garden is Irish Celtic history and mythology; it’s no wonder that fairies and pixies have decided to call it home.
Address: Brigit’s Garden & Café, Pollagh, Rosscahill, Co. Galway
4. Grianan of Aileach − one of the most famous fairy forts in Ireland
Grianan of Aileach is a preserved ring fort (also known as a fairy fort) in Donegal in the north of the country. Ringforts are common additions to the Irish landscape. In fact, it is said that up to 60,000 of them exist in varying states of ruin.
A ring fort is a circular stone settlement that dates back to ancient Ireland. They can vary drastically in size, but Grianan of Aileach is quite large.
It would have been the “grand palace,” so to speak, for the powerful O’Neill clan during the 5th through 12th centuries. However, the fairy fort itself probably came around the time of the birth of Christ.
The fort is known today to be a site of dense supernatural occurrence, and people are said to travel far to experience Grianan of Aileach in the hopes of coming face to face with a fairy.
Address: Grianan of Aileach, Carrowreagh, Co. Donegal
3. Hill of Tara − Ireland’s oldest ring fort
The Hill of Tara is possibly Ireland’s most famous and oldest ring fort. It is older than the Pyramids of Egypt or Stonehenge in England and dates back to the Neolithic Period. It is also one of the best places to spot fairies in Ireland.
Today, a much-visited fairy tree stands on the Hill of Tara’s sacred grounds. Visitors come from all over the world to make a wish or leave a gift for the land’s mythical residents, and sightings of fairies are not unheard of either.
Address: Hill of Tara, Castleboy, Co. Meath
2. Knockainey Hill − a hotspot for pixie activity
This fairy hill located in County Limerick has been a hotspot for those seeking to see a fairy or pixie for decades. The hill itself is named after the pagan goddess Áine, who was often depicted as a fairy.
Áine was also the Irish goddess of summer, love, protection, fertility, wealth, and sovereignty. There are endless myths involving this powerful goddess.
She is remembered for her illicit relationships with mortal men and for having spun a magical Faerie-Human race from the birth of a child.
Her faery magic lives on in Knockainey, and legend says that there have been sightings of mysterious mischief in the area time and again.
Address: Knockainey Hill, Knockainy West, Co. Limerick
1. Benbulbin − it’s no wonder fairies roam here
Topping our list of places where you’re most likely to spot fairies in Ireland is this mountain range (also spelt Ben Bulbin, Ben Bulben, or Benbulben) in County Sligo.
Its rare, remote backdrop may merely be a postcard-worthy snapshot for tourists on their way through the county, but little did you know it is also a popular site for fairy sightings.
Well known by locals to the area, this impressive mountain range has been a site of fairy and folklore activity for generations.
Even the esteemed American anthropologist Walter Yeeling Evans-Wentz travelled to the site when researching these mythical beings around the beginning of the 20th century.
Address: Benbulbin, Cloyragh, Co. Sligo
Other notable mentions
Templemore Park Fairy Trail: The fairy trail at Templemore Park in County Limerick is popular with kids searching for resident fairies.
Wells House and Gardens: There are fairy gardens all over Ireland, and Wells House and Gardens is one of the most magical.
Tuatha de Danann: Tuatha de Danann are a supernatural race with magical powers in Irish mythology who we often associate with fairies.
Sheridan Le Fanu: Sheridan Le Fanu was a 19th-century Irish writer who wrote gothic mystery tales such as The Child that Went with the Fairies.
FAQs about fairies in Ireland
Do you Irish people believe in fairies?
The Irish belief in fairies started when people in Ireland attributed anything pagan in origin to fairies and fairy folklore. Irish people didn’t believe fairies were ghosts or spirits but rather natural magical creatures with supernatural powers.
Where can I find fairies in Ireland?
Fairies in Ireland became known as ‘daoine sídhe’, meaning ‘people of the mounds’ in Irish lore. They can be found all over the country.
Above is a great list of the best places to spot these mystical creatures using their fairy magic. You might just spot them if they leave behind a trail of magic fairy dust.
What are fairy trees?
Fairies trees in Ireland are those that fairy folk associate with fairies. Fairy trees are usually found alone in the middle of a field at the side of the road, especially in rural Ireland. You can also find them at ancient sites and holy wells around the country.