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The Ireland List
Irish Legends

Legends, Myths, and Folktales -- What are they?

When one looks up the Meanings of the words Legend, Myth and Folktale, they find:

the word "Legend" to mean a story coming down from the past; especially : one popularly regarded as historical although not verifiable

the word "Myth" to mean a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon

and the word "Folktale" to mean a characteristically anonymous, timeless, and placeless tale circulated orally among a people

Upon analyzing the definitions, a person first notices that in none of the definitions does it say the stories told as Myths, Legends or Folktales have to be false -- or true for that matter. It only says they are unverifiable. Unverifiable means that not enough proof is found to substantiate the story.

So when reading the stories on this Page, keep in mind that it is not being said that the stories are true... or false. The stories are place here only because they don't really fit in with the proven historical stories, nor do they fit in with the more fictional stories posted on this site.

It is left up to you as to whether you wish to believe in what is said here, or if you wish to disbelieve them. :)

The Black Irish

According to rumors and legends, these Black Irish are the descendants of a few surviving ill-fated Spanish sailors who sailed with the Felícima Armada from Spain to invade England but were ultimately shipwrecked on the northern and western coasts of Ireland in the autumn of 1588. A very small number of the more than seven hundred Spanish men who made it alive to the Irish coast survived, and a few of those who did allegedly became intimate with enough Irish women so as to engender a new inter-racial strain of progeny whose "dark hair and eyes and soft brown Southern skin testifies to its remote Spanish ancestry."

This story has been retold by a number of Irish and Irish-Americans of this decade by way of explaining their own "dark hair and eyes" -- although from personal experience these facial characteristics have never been matched by a "brown Southern skin."

For more on the Black Irish, please click the Link below:

the myth of the Black Irish: Spanish syntagonism and prethetical salvation

The Black Rose

No true black roses exist. Some roses sold as black roses are actually dark red or maroon. The petals of many of these dark red roses tend to sunburn easily. To see that a rose is not truly black, hold it up next to a piece of black construction paper. To make a dark red rose appear blacker, put its stem in water that has black ink in it.

Below is an incomplete list of some roses that have been mentioned when black roses are discussed. Next to some of the roses a very subjective description of the color is given.

Black Jade: dark red miniature
Cardinal de Richelieu: dark purple Gallica
Chateau de Clos-Vougeot: HT, deep red blossoms, blackish highlights, poor growth
Francis Dubreuil: Tea rose
Guinee: very, very dark red
Ink Spots:
Mr. Lincoln: HT, dark red
Nuits de Young: purple Moss rose
Oklahoma: HT, deep crimson
Souvenir du Dr Jamain: Hybrid Perpetual, dark red/maroon
Sympathie: deep red climber
Taboo: Popular dark rose that has deep red flowers with darker edges. It reportedly has nearly black buds.
The Prince: English rose, very, very dark red/purple
Tuscany Superb: Gallica, deep maroon velvet

The legend of Róisín Dubh
By Theo Stoof

Many score years after the greatest hero of the western hemisphere, Cú Chulaind, son of the god Lug, made his last stand before the army of Medb the queen of Connachta, there lived in Ériu near Briug na Bóinde a council of Druids. Apart from the common knowledge of Druids, these Druids had a vast amount of forbidden knowledge of the Ways of Nature, that earned them an almost godlike reverence from the common people and an envious attitude from their peer Druids. It was whispered that even Síde, the people of the otherworld, who were also known as the Túatha Dé Danand, marvelled at their deeds and feared their wrath.

These Druids wore black and red robes on which their symbol, the Róisín Dubh, the Black Rose, was visible. They lived in a small mansion which none other than they ever entered. At night an eery light wich slowly varied from one unnatural colour to another shone through the few windows of the house, but this never flickered like that of a candle or fire. Sometimes loud noises such as supernatural songs and ecstatic screams were heard coming from the mansion, and in surrounding villages it was rumoured that the Druids feasted upon the bodies of the dead at night.

The council of the Róisín Dubh numbered ten Druids and only the following was known about them. There was Íain the Silent who spoke only scant words during the day and who seemed to do so only very reluctantly. Secondly there was Fréot the Bright Eyed who was believed to be able to reflect the sun with his eyes in any direction he chose to and who seemed to like the presence of dire straits. Thirdly there was Béoirt the Nasty of whom it was whispered that his thoughts were solely devoted to filthy subjects too horrendous to mention and who was sometimes seen throwing orange fireballs into baskets attached to walls. Fourthly there was Páill the Cursing who was said to have turned various innocent villagers into unamable things only by means of his terrible, carefully woven spells. Fifthly there was Lláeonn the Pigherd of whom it was said that he did things of such abomination with his herd that no healthy man would ever be able to remain sane at the sheer thought of them, and who was invariably seen with an instrument that was able to send shivers down the bravest man's spine with its ghastly sounds.

Sixthly there was Stéif the Rude who was widely known for his complete lack of any form of elementary politeness and good manners and who was supposed to have knowledge of any Geiss. Of him it was said that he had once been cursed so that it was now impossible for him to give his tongue a moment's rest. Seventhly there was Mbairc the Balding of whom it was rumoured that he was born with his head fully covered with hair but that his hairline had been receding from the moment of his birth. He was seen extremely often waving long shiny sticks towards the ground in order to hit small white crystal balls that in the end invariably disappeared into the earth.

Eighthly there was Haíllíui the Sorceress who was the only woman in the council. She was sometimes observed around noon eating the most revolting combinations of food her wicked and twisted mind could conceive of and was regularly seen trying to lead little girls into the realms of her forbidden knowledge. Ninthly there was Ttwaind the Wild who was believed to be the son of a dragon because of the fact that he exhaled smoke on every occasion. His appearance was mostly feared by worried parents who feared for their daughter's virtues. Tenthly there was Táeói the Foul Tempered who was feared much for his sharp tongue, his rapidly changing moods and his negative attitudes. He was known to be able to call up without incantations a body-paralysing, mind-wasting and senses-numbing breeze with an odour that no smell from a rotting corpse of a bubonic plague victim could surpass.

The only further thing known about the council of the Róisín Dubh is the fact that after terrorising the country for more than fourscore years the mansion in which the council had lived for all those years was attacked by inhabitants of the surrounding villages who were helped by envious Druids. In the following battle the mansion and all the forbidden knowledge of the council was destroyed. Less is known about the fate of the Druids of the council. Some boldly proclaim them to be mercilessly slaughtered by the enraged mob, but bodies were never found and therefore others more carefully whisper that the Druids of the Black Rose are not dead but lie asleep in a place only known to them and that they will rise from their tombs in the distant future to scourge the face of the earth once again ...

Little Black Rose (17th to 19th centuries)
[this is actually about Ireland, but could be used for a person]

Roisin, have no sorrow for all that has happened to you
the Friars are out on the brine,. they are travelling the sea
your pardon from the Pope will come, from Rome in the East
and we won't spare the Spanish wine for my Roisin Dubh

Far have we journeyed together, since days gone by.
I've crossed over mountains with her, and sailed the sea
I have cleared the Erne, though in spate, at a single leap
and like music of the strings all about me, my Roisin Dubh

You have driven me mad, fickle girl- may it do you no good!
My soul is in thrall, not just yesterday nor today
You have left me weary and weak in body and mind
O deceive not the one who loves you, my Roisin Dubh

I would walk in the dew beside you, or the bitter desert
in hopes I might have your affection, or part of your love
Fragrant small branch, you have given your word you love me
the choicest flower of Munster, my Roisin Dubh

If I had six horses, I would plough against the hill-
I'd make Roisin Dubh my Gospel in the middle of Mass-
I'd kiss the young girl who would grant me her maidenhead
and do deeds behind the lios with my Roisin Dubh!

The Erne will be strong in flood, the hills be torn
the ocean will be all red waves, the sky all blood,
every mountain and bog in Ireland will shake
one day, before she shall perish, my Roisin Dubh.

Sites:

Róisín Dubh

Irish Love Poems

Rose Glossary

Thanks to Trevor for his query about the Black Rose, which resulted in this story being compiled.

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