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Irish mythology in popular culture: Wikis


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Elements of Irish mythology have appeared many times in popular culture.




  • The characters of the movie Erik the Viking visit the island, spelled Hy-Brasil in the film's literature, during their quest to find Valhalla and end Ragnarok.
  • Jack Vance's Lyonesse Trilogy of fantasy novels is set in the mythical Elder Isles, situated southwest of Cornwall and west of Brittany, consisting of a large island called Hybras, "the Hy-Brasil of ancient Irish legend," surrounded by numerous smaller islands of various sizes.
  • Hy-Brasil is the title of the 2002 novel by Scottish writer Margaret Elphinstone. She creates an island-nation somewhere between Newfoundland and Ireland as a thought-experiment.
  • Hy Brasil is featured in the Promethea comic series by Alan Moore.
  • In the novel Engelbrecht Again! by Rhys Hughes the main characters meet a mermaid on the island of Brasil while on their way to the country of Brazil.
  • In the Saga of Pliocene Exile, a series of science-fiction novels by Julian May, "High Vrazel" is the seat of the Firvulag, an alien race based on the Fir Bolg of Irish mythology.
  • In the Artemis Fowl series, Hybras is an island, situated off the coast of Ireland, on which demons live.


Crom Cruach

  • Kenneth C. Flint wrote a novel called Cromm about modern human sacrifice in Cavan, published by Doubleday 1990.
  • The Merry Gentry series by Laurell K. Hamilton features a character, Rhys, who was once the death deity Cromm Cruach.
  • An episode of series 3 of Robin of Sherwood (1986) is titled Cromm Cruac and refers to the legend of the deity.
  • The radio program Hall of Fantasy had an episode named The Idol of Cromm Cruac, about a hidden Crom Cruac cult in the 20th century United States. The program identified the god as "Keltic" but not specifically as Irish.
  • Conan the Cimmerian's patron deity is named Crom, though whether this reference is derived from the gaelic deity is uncertain.
  • Michael Moorcock wrote a second trilogy of novels, Bull and the Spear, Oak and the Ram and Sword and the Stallion about Prince Corum where he travels to a Celtic themed realm, of his world's far future, where Corum has become Cremm Croich (Cremm/Corum of the Silver Hand), The Lord of the Mound.
  • Crom Cruach appears as a dark snake-like presence who must be overcome in the film The Secret of Kells.
  • In the devCat game Mabinogi (video game), the boss for the 3rd generation storyline is Cromm Cruaich.
  • Crom Cruach appears as a monstrous "time worm" feeding on human misery in Pat Mills' fantasy series Sláine.
  • Crom Crauch is also mentioned as "lord worm" in Grant Morrison's 'The Invisibles'.
  • Crom Cruach, "the bloody, bent one" appeared as a bloated dragon in Matt Wagner's Mage.

Cú Chulainn

  • In the Disney animated TV series Gargoyles, during the "Avalon World Tour" story arc's episode entitled "The Hound of Ulster" in the series' second season, Goliath, his daughter Angela, their human friend Elisa Maza, and Goliath's gargoyle beast Bronx encounter a young Irishman named Rory Dugan, who turns out to be the re-incarnation of Cu Chulainn, and for a time Bronx accompanies the reincarnated Cu Chulainn as the titular "hound" of the legend, with the Banshee as Cu Chulainn's antagonist. The Banshee also takes the form of a "death-worm" under the name of Crom(m)-Cruach to battle Cu Chulainn and the Gargoyles in the episode's climax.
  • Cuchulainn, the Irish Wolfhound, has appeared in Marvel Comics' Guardians of the Galaxy.[1]
  • An Táin, Colmán Ó Raghallaigh and Barry Reynolds' Irish language graphic novel adaptation of Táin Bó Cúailnge, was published by Cló Mhaigh Eó of County Mayo in 2006.[2]
  • Patrick Brown's webcomic adaptation of the Táin, The Cattle Raid of Cooley, began serialisation in August 2008.[3]
  • Type-moons visual novel, Fate/Stay night, features Cuchulain as the servant "Lancer". He also appears in the anime, video games, and manga based on the visual novel.
  • Oghme Comics are in the process of adapting the story of Cúchulainn in graphic novel format, as a series of webcomics[4], as well as Illustrations of Characters[5] from the Ulster cycle.
  • Scottish composer Ronald Center wrote a symphony called The Coming of Cuchulain, first performed by the Scottish Orchestra, conducted by Warwick Braithwaite, in 1944.
  • The tale of Cú Chulainn's wasting sickness provides the title of the Pogues's song "The Sickbed of Cuchulainn" from their album Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash
  • Jeff Danna's opening theme for the 1999 film Boondock Saints is named "The Blood of Cuchulainn".
  • French hip hop group Manau has a song about Cú Chulainn called Le Chien du Forgeron ("The Smith's Hound").
  • The first track on the album "The Eternal Knot", written by Karl Jenkins for his Adiemus project, is called "Cú Chullain".
  • The second verse of the Thin Lizzy song "Róisín Dubh (Black Rose): A Rock Legend" starts with the phrase "pray tell me the story of young Cuchulainn, how his eyes were dark, his expression sullen".
  • Irish rock band Horslips' 1973 second album was titled "The Táin", featuring Cú Chulainn's exploits, originally conceived as music for a stage adaptation of the poem.
  • Cuchulainn is mentioned in or the subject of a few songs by the Celtic metal band Cruachan including "Cuchulainn (The Hound of Culan)", "Cattle Raid Of Cooley" and "The Brown Bull of Cooley".
  • The songs "Seven Fingers" and "When They Come to Murder Me" from the Black Francis mini-album SVN FNGRS are about Cú Chulainn.
  • There is a song from the show Riverdance named "Caoineadh Cú Chulainn", meaning "The Lament of Cú Chulainn". It is played by Davy Spillane on the uilleann pipes.
  • In Final Fantasy XII, an esper is named Cúchulainn.
  • Cúchulainn appears in several Megami Tensei games as a recruitable demon capable of being summoned by player characters to fight other enemies.

Finn mac Cumaill


  • In her science fiction book Elphame's Choice, P.C. Cast describes the Fomorians and Cú Chulainn.
  • Bec's clan encounters Fomoiri attacks in Darren Shan's book Bec.
  • Within the MMORPG, "Mabinogi" which contains several other references to Irish and general celtic mythology,

the antagonist race is known as the 'Formors'

  • Within the video-game "Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia" there are enemies known as 'Formors' though they evoke

imagery associated with classical depiction of demons in appearance.


  • In the Discworld novel Sourcery, the great Hero "Nijel the Destroyer" claims to have a geis, which Rincewind mistakes for a type of bird. In A Hat Full of Sky, Rob Anybody is put under a geis by his wife Jeannie, the kelda, to protect Tiffany Aching from the Hiver.
  • In the novel Operation Chaos by Poul Anderson, every military recruit is put under a geis which prevents panic and assures loyalty. It can be broken only if the individual gives free consent, and is removed when the person returns to civilian life.
  • In The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross, members of an occult branch of British intelligence can cast geasa.
  • In Geis of the Gargoyle by Piers Anthony, Gary Gargoyle, being a gargoyle, has a geis on him since Xanth began, and it is a magical compulsion to protect the purity of the Swan Knee River. However, the pollution from Mundania (the 'real world') has gotten out of hand, and it is up to Gary to place his geis on the philter to keep all of Xanth's water clean.
  • Some role-playing games mention geasa as "spells" or "powers", though these "geasa" are often only loosely inspired by the historical concept. For instance, in Dungeons and Dragons there are two such "spells": "lesser geas", which forces the victim to obey a command issued by the caster, and "geas/quest", which is much the same but with more severe penalties.[14]
  • In the anime series Code Geass the main character, Lelouch, obtains an ability called Geass that allows him to make anyone who gazes into his left eye obey any single order unquestioningly, though it cannot work on the same person twice.
  • In a 1964 short fantasy story "A case of Identity" by Randall Garrett, one of the characters, a homicidal psychopath by nature, is mentally restrained by a spell called geas "which forces him to limit his activities to those which are not dangerous to his fellow man".


  • Kenneth C. Flint retells this story in his Sidhe series.
  • In the 2004 console game The Bard's Tale, Lugh is one of the three guardians.
  • In Diane Duane's A Wizard Abroad and later stories, Lugh is considered one of the Powers That Be, also known as the One's Champion, and is incarnated within an Irish Wizard (after spending some time as a macaw named Machu Picchu with a penchant for prophecy).


  • The 1990 play by Brian Friel entitled Dancing at Lughnasa takes place in early August and describes one family's bitter harvest. It has also been made into a 1998 film.
  • A traditional Irish folk music group, Lúnasa, is named after the festival.
  • The Dutch band Omnia have a song entitled "Lughnasadh" on their album Pagan Folk.
  • Áine Minogue, an Irish Celtic folk music artist, has a song entitled "Rosemary Faire (Song of Lughnasadh)" on her album Between Worlds.
  • In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Leonardo, an archer, receives a bow named "Lughnasadh".

Manannán mac Lir

  • The traditional of offering bundles of reeds on the Isle of Man is still practised as an opening ceremony of Tynwald.[15]
  • There is a museum in the town of Peel on the Isle of Man named the House of Manannan[16] as well as an annual celebration of the arts The Manannan Festival.
  • The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company vessel, which entered service in May 2009 on the Liverpool/Douglas sailings, is named Manannan.[17]
  • Okells Brewery on the Isle of Man produces a wheat beer dedicated to and named after Manannan Mac Lir.[18]
  • On his Human History CD, Ken Theriot includes a song he wrote from the point of view of Manannan called Son of the Sea.[19]
  • The figure is also referred to in songs by metal bands. The Gaelic doom band Mael Mórdha last album's (Gealtacht Mael Mordha) closing track is called Minions of Manannan, telling of his revenge on the fleeing Vikings from the battle of Cluain Tarb. Track 4 on black metal band Absu's album Tara is called Mannanan.
  • Manannan features as the first guardian boss in the 2004 console game The Bard's Tale.
  • The fictional Star Wars galaxy features an oceanic planet called Manaan, possibly a homage to the Celtic god.[citation needed]
  • In Laurell K. Hamilton's Merry Gentry series, the character of Barinthus used to be the sea god Manannán mac Lir before fairie began to lose its power and he was reduced to a shadow of his former self.
  • Texas Experimental Black Metal band, Absu, have a song called "Manannán" on their 2001 album, Tara.


  • Express steam locomotive Number 800 of the GSR Class B1a of 1939, the largest and most powerful of its type in Ireland, is named for her. This locomotive is preserved at the Ulster Transport Museum.
  • Queen Maeve is the name of a character inThe Boys comic series. She is a spoof of Wonder woman, who is based on Greek mythology.

The Morrígan

Salmon of Knowledge


  • In the film Trick 'r Treat, Samhain, "The Spirit of Halloween" takes the form of a trick-or-treater in orange footie pajamas and a burlap sack mask. At the film's climax, Sam is unmasked and his demonic, pumpkin-like face is revealed. Sam is considered the "horror hero" of the story, as punishes those who break the rules of Halloween.
  • In The Real Ghostbusters, Samhain is the living incarnation of Halloween. In this incarnation, Samhain is a spindly figure with a brown robe and a jack-o-lantern for a head.
  • In Supernatural, Samhain is a demon who inspired the Celtic rituals that eventually became Halloween customs, as the ancient Celts alternately worshipped and attempted to ward the demon away.
  • Samhain, Glenn Danzig's gothic metal/punk rock band, was named after the festival.
  • In the film Halloween 2, the killer Michael Myers writes Samhain on a school chalk board in blood.
  • Samhain and Óiche Samhne are very important days in modern Irish folklore as evidence in the Wiki discussion by Gary Chapman of The Lost Tales of Fionn Mac Cumhaill.



  • In Tessa Stone's online graphic novel series "Hanna is Not a Boy's Name", the character Veser is the son of a Selkie and the man who stole her skin.
  • One of the main supporting characters in Jane Johnson's Eidolon trilogy is a young girl selkie called She Who Swims the Silver Path of The Moon (Silver for short) who becomes close with the main hero, Ben Arnold, when he rescues her from the evil Doddman's pet shop.
  • In the fifth book of The Last Apprentice series, the protagonist is forced to separate a beautiful selkie from her aging husband. In the series, selkies age very slowly, and are considered bad luck or are taught to be prostitutes by the women.
  • Seal Child is a children's novel by Sylvia Peck which details a modern telling of the selkie myth.
  • The Folk Keeper, a "young readers" novel by Franny Billingsley CACA also uses this myth powerfully.
  • At least one tale about selkies is included in Scottish Folk Tales by Ruth Manning-Sanders.
  • Terry Farley, known for her books about horses that are written for children, broke from that style in 2005 to write Seven Tears into the Sea, a modern and slightly different selkie tale for teenagers. It is a teen romance novel following the story of a young girl who returns to her hometown in search of a selkie she encountered seven years earlier.
  • In science-fiction the Petaybee Series by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough employs the selkie myth in a futuristic setting.
  • A. E. van Vogt's novel The Silkie imagines a race of creatures who can change between aquatic, human, and space-traveling forms.
  • Selkies also appear as one of many varieties of "changed" human in Ken MacLeod's Engines of Light trilogy.
  • In the third in the "Council Wars" series by John Ringo, "Against the Tide", selkies are used with tongue-in-cheek humor, referring to the real-life U.S. Navy SEALs in a fantasy setting. In the book, selkies performed commando-style beach infiltrations highly reminiscent of how SEALs are often portrayed in popular media.
  • The book Water Shaper by Laura Williams McCaffrey is based on some myths about selkies.
  • British fantasy author Susan Cooper has written both a picture book and a novel featuring selkies. The picture book, Selkie Girl, recounts a traditional selkie legend from Ireland. The novel, Seaward, features characters who turn out to be selkies.
  • In the first Meredith Gentry novel, A Kiss of Shadows, by Laurell K. Hamilton, a selkie named Roane Finn is the lover of Merry Gentry, who is a part human part fey princess who is hiding in Los Angeles in self-imposed exile from the Unseelie Kingdom due to political plots against her. Merry and Roane are both paranormal detectives working for the Grey Detective Agency. Roane had been trapped in human form when a fisherman had found his seal skin and burned it. When the latent magic in Merry is awakened, it first manifests itself by miraculously regenerating Roane's shape shifting ability. He immediately returns to his life in the sea for which he had been pining.
  • George Mackay Brown's novel Beside the Ocean of Time also involves a young man falling love with a Selkie, and the hiding of her sealskin to keep her from returning to the sea.
  • In Tom Clancy's 1998 novel Net Force, a female assassin uses the name "The Selkie" as her underground cover name. In the novel, she is of Irish heritage.
  • In 1998, American author Christina Dodd published a romance novel entitled A Well Favored Gentleman about Ian Fairchild. His character made his first appearance in the first book of the Well Pleasured series, A Well Pleasured Lady (1997). Ian is the son of a selkie and has powers due to that legacy.
  • In Anne Bishop's Tir Alainne trilogy selkies are a member of the Fae race who must help witches avoid the mass murdering black inquisitors in order to stay alive.
  • Juliet Marillier wrote several trilogies, mixing folklore with history. In Child of the Prophecy (2001) Darragh is turned into a selkie by the Fae, while Watcher in Foxmask (2003) is a descendant of a selkie mother and a human father.
  • Mollie Hunter's novel, A Stranger Came Ashore, has a character who turns out to be the Great Selkie, lord of all the other selkies.
  • Robert Holdstock's novel Merlin's Wood, contains a fantasy short story, The Silvering, in which the human protagonist is transformed into a selkie.
  • James A. Hetley's books, Dragon's Eye and Dragon's Teeth, have a family of characters with the hereditary ability to transform into seals.
  • The Torchwood comic Captain Jack and the Selkie features a Selkie.
  • In 1982 David Bischoff and Charles Sheffield wrote the novel "The Selkie", a modern treatment of the selkie legend.
  • In 2008, William Meikle's short story, The First Silkie appears in the Celtic Myth Podshow's Midsummer Holiday Special.
  • In the last of the five short stories in the anthology Love Is Hell entitled Love Struck by Melissa Marr (author) a teenage girl walking along a beach accidentally steps upon a pelt of a selchie. The selchie falls in love the girl but at first she doesn't return his love. The girl must ultimately make the decision to free the selchie because if his increasing longing for the sea or to keep close the selkie she now loves.
  • The Catherynne M. Valente book The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden includes a story of a female satyr who acquires a male selkie's skin, and then acquires the selkie as a lover.
  • The Star Trek: Titan novels include a Selkie character, Aili Lavena, who was a former lover of Captain William Riker.
  • Selkies, and their home-world of Pacifica, are key in the 2009 novel Star Trek The Next Generation: Losing the Peace
  • Uist Skerrie: The Inheritance, by Ellen S. Cartwright involves an island in the Chesapeake Bay where ancestors of the Uist Islands in the Hebrides off Scotland live on in both Selkie and peacekeeper roles as an young doctor receives her birthright in a legacy filled with mystery, romance, and suspense. Selkie legend and modern science coexist with a constant struggle for protection against mainland intrusions and curiosity.
  • Sea Change, by Aimee Friedman is about a girl who comes to Selkie Island during the summer after a drama-filled year. She meets Leo, who is a selkie.
  • In Julia Golding's children's books The Companions Quartet, the minor character, Arran is a selkie.
  • JJ Beazley's short story When the Waves Call has a female selkie coming ashore on the west coast of Ireland at the time of the harvest moon, looking for a human male to help her move back to the land.
  • The Progressive Metalcore band Between the Buried and Me released their Alaska album in 2005 with a song called "Selkies: The Endless Obsession."
  • The album Honeycomb by former Pixies front-man Frank Black includes a tune called "Selkie Bride", which alludes to the Selkie legend.
  • The poet Jane Yolen wrote a poem entitled "The Ballad of the White Seal Maid", that is a sad story of a fisherman and his selkie wife. This poem was set to music by the folk musician Lui Collins, and recorded by her and also by Mike Agranoff
  • The Faroese ballad "Kópakvæði" (the seal-ballad) by Faroese writer Joen Danielsen is based on the story about the Seal-Wife from Kalsoy island. The ballad is in Faroese and consists of 68 verses.
  • The song "Sælkvinden" (the seal-woman) by Danish singer Lars Lilholt is a sad story about a young fisherman and a selkie.
  • In December 1991, the British folk artist Talis Kimberley wrote "Still Catch the Tide," a song written from the perspective of the selkie's lover, upon returning to find the selkie (which is of indeterminate gender) packing their things to return to the sea. The song has been covered by several other folk artists, including Rika Körte & Kerstin 'Katy' Dröge (on FilkCONtinental Definitely), Minstrel (on Boy in a Room), and Seanan McGuire (on Stars Fall Home). Talis's own recording of the song appears on her album Talis (Almost Live at Dracon).
  • The US folk artist Gordon Bok wrote "Peter Kagan and the Wind" a cantefable (in which spoken narrative is blended with sudden song-phrasings) about the fisherman Cagan who married a selkie, and how his selkie wife saved him from a terrible storm, even though this meant she could never return to her human body and hence her happy home. This interpretation was also often performed live by The Clancy Brothers and (the late) Tommy Makem.
  • In May 2007, Californian filk artist Seanan McGuire released the song "In This Sea," a song from the perspective of a selkie's lover letting her willingly go, on the CD Stars Fall Home.
  • Folk singer Joan Baez included a song called "Silkie" on her second album in 1961.

Australian folk band Spiral Dance, in their 1999 CD titled Magick, includes a song titled "Song for a Selkie".

  • Singer Mary McLaughlin sings a beautiful song entitled "Sealwoman/Yundah" on the "Celtic Voices: Women of Song" CD ~ 1995 Narada Media.
  • Singer Méav Ní Mhaolchatha (an original soloist of the group Celtic Woman), opens her solo album Silver Sea with the song "You Brought Me Up", a Selkie woman captured then abandoned on land.
  • The Irish-American musical group, Solas, have a song called "The Grey Selchie" on their "The Words That Remain" CD.
  • US singer Alexander James Adams sings "First Rising Tide", about a selkie man, on his 2008 CD "A Familiar Promise".
  • Druid folk singer Damh the Bard's first album Herne's Apprentice features a song titled "The Selkie" about these beings.
  • Singer/songwriter S.J. Tucker created a song "Seafaring Satyr" based on Catherynne M. Valente's story about a female satyr and a male selkie.
  • Selkie are monsters in the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. They resemble seals with human-like hands and facial features, who have the ability to transform into humans.
  • The first of the "Crystal Chronicles" sub-serie (of the Final Fantasy serie- Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles), features Selkies as a race. Unlike mythical Selkies, the ones in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles are simply a humanoid race, with body paint, such as stripes, or arrows on even the youngest children in the game. The Selkies in the game usually have blue-green hair, probably referring to the mythical Selkie's origin in the sea. One reference to them, however, is in their town, there is a selkie who says something along the lines of, "We Selkies came from the sea, and one day we will return there." Also, this same main town of the Selkies, Leuda, is set on an island far out at sea.
  • In the collectable card game Magic: The Gathering there are three cards in the Eventide set of the Shadowmoor block with the name selkie in them. They are classified as a merfolk, are all green/blue hybrid-mana creatures, and pictured as half seal, half human. The quote for the card Wistful Selkie says, "Selkies call to a sea they never swam, in a tongue they never spoke, with a song they never learned." The other two cards are Selkie Hedge-mage and Cold-Eyed Selkie.
  • In the RPG MUD Lensmooor (found at the Selkie is featured as a race on the continent Lensmoor. The scaled aquatic race of Xorrto are their racial enemies as whole settlements have been wiped out by them. No longer able to shift in and out of wearing their fur they appear as a cross between both. Their skin locked away beneath their fur for safety forever.
  • The game Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic writers may have derived their race of aquatic peoples, the Selkath, from the Selkie legends.
  • The 1994 John Sayles movie, The Secret of Roan Inish, tells the story of a family descended from selkies. It is based on the novel The Secret of Ron Mor Skerry by Rosalie K. Fry.
  • In 2000, the Australian film titled Selkie, starring Shimon Moore of the Australian rock band, Sick Puppies, depicted a young teenage male moving to a coastal town with his family and after he starts growing webbing between his fingers, having dreams of the water in the bathtub and becoming a seal after diving into the sea to save a friend, he learns that he is a Selkie. The majority of the film depicts him coming to terms with his identity and even attempting to give up his Selkie powers at which point he accepts them. The film was shot at Port Noarlunga Jetty.
  • In an episode of Catscratch, the banshee that was haunting the Highland Quid Clan was in fact a selkie (called a "seal woman" in the show) under a curse. Gordon freed the selkie by vocalizing in high tones and pitches.
  • Hallmark made a movie in 2001 titled "The Seventh Stream" ~ A grieving Irishman falls for a stranger with a special gift reminiscent of a Celtic legend. It was a sad movie of a man and a selkie falling in love, but unable to remain together.


Finnish progressive metal group Amorphis featured Usnech on their first album "The Karelian Isthmus" on a song "Exile Of The Sons Of Uisliu".




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