What is it about the Emerald Isle that lends itself to so many legends? Could it be the story-telling culture of Ireland has romanticized their paranormal creatures and events? Or could it be the people there are more open-minded to these types of things? Maybe because they discuss it so freely, creatures like leprechauns and fae folk have become part of the global lexicon.
Could it be that they’ve had millennia of beliefs and legends steeped into their DNA? The Druids, the Celts, they left a mark that can still be seen, and its effects ripple outward to the world like dropping a stone in a still pond. Of course there’s also the distinct possibility that something real and profound happened there. That these things are more than just stories, which is why their legends spread.
I recall an evening at Kells Irish Pub in Seattle a few years ago. The bar and restaurant was built in a former funeral home and is a well-known Seattle haunt. As we checked out the building, I also took the opportunity to check out the bar (in the interest of being a thorough investigator). While pondering the afterlife over a pint, the matriarch of the owner’s family came over to me to tell me about her encounter with the banshee. This kind old lady was from Ireland originally, as were her children. With a no-nonsense attitude, she told me that when she was a child, one evening she heard the scream of the banshee outside. Of course she knew this meant something bad would happen soon, and sure enough, a family member died within the next few days.
She wasn’t concerned with whether or not I believed her. She told the story the same way you might describe something mundane, like picking up groceries before heading home to cook dinner. For this woman, the event was real, and not up for debate. I love that.
I’m not Irish, but I embrace the culture. Their legends and history are rich, and these good folk gave us the precursor to Halloween, so for that, I’ll be eternally grateful. As St. Patrick’s Day closes in on us, and as I stock my fridge with beer, don the green to honor nature, and get my crockpot ready to embrace corned beef and cabbage, I can’t help but think if we could all be as open as the Irish with our stories and legends year-round, we would connect with our fellow humans on a deeper level.
Tell the stories that stir you, my friends!