Irish Werewolf

The place to talk about where a lot of things started. Stories and history, references, etc.
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Re: Irish Werewolf

Post by Wingman »

Personally, I've never heard about this particular legend until now, but some googling has turned up some relevant articles.
This site wrote: In Ireland in 1182, a priest travelling from Ulster into Meath, and having to pass the night in a wood, was sitting by a fire which he had made, when a wolf accosted him in human speech.

He was, he said, a man of Ossory, on whose race lay an ancient curse, whereby every seven years a man and a woman were changed into wolves; at the end of seven years they recovered their proper form, and two others suffered a like transformation.
Emphasis on the Ossory mine.

This other site wrote: While an ancient Irish werewolf, sometimes called a Faoladh, was in his wolf-shape he laid waste to sheep-folds and demolished cattle, and was in every respect as ardent and ferocious as any natural-born wolf. If one surprised him and attacked him in the act of eating, he usually ran straight home and resumed his human form.
Emphasis on Faoladh mine.

So, looks like he wasn't making it up.

Another related site.
Wasn't really all that hard to find, just googled Irish Werewolves and Irish Werewolf Legends.
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Re: Irish Werewolf

Post by RedEye »

Going back even farther, in the Tain Bo Culange, (the main story of the Chucullan cycle) there was an entire clann of Werewolves who came to the aid of the men of Ulster against Queen Maeve's invading forces.
The men were all killed.
Oddly, the wives and children were never mentioned...

So perhaps that might be part of the Faolladah base story. This was a descendant of that clann who had the "Curse" laid on him.
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Re: Irish Werewolf

Post by Morkulv »

I think a lot of werewolf-stories in Europe have a relation to Germanic folklore and myths.
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Re: Irish Werewolf

Post by Kveldulf »

I'm pretty sure that Irish werewolves, as such, do *not* put in an appearance in the Táin bó Cúailgne (unless you count the Morrigan briefly shape-shifting into, among other things, a wolf to harass Cú Chulainn).

There are, however, a lot of fascinating Irish werewolf legends, including, indeed, the clan as described (except for the specific reference). They lived in rural Tipperary, not, in fact, far from where I live now. The prevalence of werewolf tales in Ireland is hardly surprising, given the strong tendency towards totemic identification in Celtic culture - and the emphasis on herding; I suspect that where-ever you get people herding animals and have wilderness with wolves, stories of lycanthropy are never going to be far away.

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