Irish mythological Creatures: An A-Z guide

An A-Z guide to Irish mythological creatures

Ireland is laden with tall tales, ancient myths, and spell-binding folklore. It is a land of magic and enchantment, deeply rooted in tradition and customs.

Throughout centuries, Irish mythological creatures have peppered the stories passed on from generation to generation.

Whether you’re a writer looking for inspiration for your fiction, a lover of myths and folklore, or someone who’s just curious, you’ll find plenty of interesting beasts in this A-Z list of Irish mythological creatures.

Abarta

This mythological creature was considered to be one of the Tuatha Dé Danann—a mythical Irish race who possessed supernatural powers.

Abcán

Like Abarta, Abcán was a member of the Tuatha Dé Danann. He was depicted as a dwarf poet and musician.

Abhartach

Abhartach was another dwarf immortalised in Irish legend.

Aibell

This Irish mythological creature was considered a guardian over the powerful Irish mortal clan, the Dál gCais.

Aos Sí

This is the collective term for the supernatural fairy race in Ireland. They’re generally said to live in fairy mounds and frequent enchanting woodlands.

Bánánach

In early folklore, the bánánach were otherworldly beings that haunted battlefields.

Irish mythological creatures include the banshee
A banshee

Banshee

This female spirit in Irish folklore heralds the death of a family member by wailing at nightfall.

Bodach

This mythological creature in Irish folklore is the equivalent of a boogeyman.

Caoránach

According to ancient Irish folklore, a Caoránach is the mother of demons and deathly spirits.

Cat sìth

This mythological creature is seen mainly in Scottish folklore, although does make an appearance in Irish. It is a fairy creature said to often resemble a black cat.

Changeling

This mythical creature is present in Irish folklore, as well as tales throughout Europe. The story tells of a fairy child who has been swapped with a human baby.

Clíodhna

Clíodhna is, in Irish folklore, the Queen of the Banshees. In some tales, she is also the goddess of love and beauty.

Irish mythological creatures include a clurichan
A clurichaun

Clurichaun

This Irish mythological creature is a mischevious fairy. In tales, he tends to enjoy alcohol a bit too much and is often depicted heisting breweries in search of liquor!

Crom Cruach

Prior to Christianity in Ireland, Crom Cruach was, according to ancient Irish folklore, a god.

Cù-sìth

This mythological hound can be seen across Irish and Scottish folklore.

Daoine maithe

This is a collective term used to describe fairies in Ireland. Daoine maithe means “good people”.

Dobhar-chú

This deadly Irish mythological creature can be found widely in Irish folklore. The half-dog, half-otter is a land- and water-dwelling creature that feasts on human flesh.

Donn Cúailnge

Donn Cúailnge is a bull that features in Irish ancient folklore.

Dullahan

This is a type of fairy in ancient mythology. The term refers to a sort of headless mythic creature.

Ellén Trechend

In Irish mythology, Ellén Trechend is a three-headed beast.

Enbarr

According to ancient Irish myth, Enbarr was a mythological horse who could take to both land and water.

Failinis

Failinis was an unstoppable hound who fought in battles, according to Irish legend.

Irish mythological creatures include fairies
A fairy

Fairies

Fairies are seen heavily through Irish folklore. Generally, they are broken into two categories. Seelie fairies are ones which are generally happy and helpful, Unseelie fairies have darker agendas and can be mischievous and troublesome.

Fairy Queen

Seen across Celtic folklore, the Fairy Queen was the ruler of all fairies.

Far darrig

Far darrig is a type of fairy. The term means “red man” and this fairy is usually depicted in solitude.

Fear gorta

According to Irish folklore, this spirit is the starvation and it appears as a dying, emaciated human body.

Fetch

In Irish folklore, a fetch is essentially a doppelgänger, when living people see an apparition of themselves. This usually heralds death.

Finnbhennach

This mythological creature appears in text as bull owned by King Ailill of Connacht.

The Fomorians are a supernatural race from Irish mythology
The Fomorians

Fomorians

The Fomorians are another supernatural race in Irish mythology. They are depicted as hostile and come from the sea or from underground dwellings.

Fuath

The word quite literally translates to “hate”. Fuath are deadly creatures who inhabit the sea and other waterways.

Gancanagh

This male fairy is known in Irish mythology for seducing women.

Glaistig

According to folklore, this Irish mythological creature appears as half beautiful woman, half goat.

Glas Gaibhnenn

In old folk tales, Glas Gaibhnenn was a virile cow who produced endless bounty.

Joint-eater

As far as folk tales go a joint-eater is an invisible fairy who sits alongside someone and eats half their food.

Leanan sídhe

This term refers to the Irish fairy lover who takes a human lover.

Leprechauns are popular figures in folklore from Ireland

Leprechaun

A leprechaun is perhaps the commonly known Irish mythological creature. It is a type of fairy in folklore and leprechauns are generally depicted as solitary creatures in green garb. They are also known to be shoemakers who hide pots of gold at the end of rainbows.

Liath Macha and Dub Sainglend

In ancient Irish folklore, Liath Macha and Dub Sainglend are two chariot horses.

Merrow

According to Irish myth, Merrow refers to a mermaid or merman.

Muckie

This refers to a supernatural creature that is said to inhabit the lakes of Killarney in County Kerry. Contrary to other entries on this list, Muckie did not originate in folklore but in the 21st century.

Oilliphéist

According to Irish myth, Oilliphéist is a dragon-like monster.

Pig-faced women

This ancient tale can be seen across Europe, but it was particularly prevalent in Dublin in the 19th century. The tale tells of a woman with a human body but the head of a pig.

Púca

This Irish mythological creature is said to bring both good and bad fortune. It can change appearance to resemble anything it desires (a human, dog, cat).

Sluagh

According to ancient folk tales, Sluagh are restless spirits of the dead!

Werewolves of Ossory

Tales of the Werewolves of Ossory date back generations, and they can usually be seen as descendants ofLaignech Fáelad, a legendary figure.

White Lady

There are countless stories of a spirit lady dressed in white across ancient Irish text. It is usually said that she lost her husband and roams the earth in search of her beloved.

Avatar
Paris Donnatella is an avid writer and traveller. From a young age, nomadic parents placed a strong emphasis on education in real experience and the outdoors - a trait which has carried through her life and into her career. She has travelled Europe, Africa, America, Asia and Australia and still claims that wanderlust tempts her daily. Saying that she believes Ireland - her homeland - is the most enchanting place she has ever been and is passionate about documenting the Emerald Isle. Chances are, you can find her drinking coffee in some hidden gem cafe in Dublin, planning her next big trip.