Mythical Creatures and Spirits: Irish

kelpieIn Irish and Scottish myths, the merrow appears as a hybrid comprised of
a human and a fish , much like a mermaid or mermen. From the waist up,
the creature looks like a human but from the waist down, they have the
body of a fish. In this article, you will also encounter creatures from
Irish myths, including one so hideous , it brings on instant attacks on
the heart.


The merrow are described as being affectionate, gentle and with a kind disposition. Because of this, the merrow were said to create attachments to humans , even claiming some as their husband or wife. Some tales state that the merrow have lived among humans for many years. Other stories see the merrow eventually returning to where they once lived under the sea.

Tales say that merrows wear a specialized hat that allows them to dive beneath the waves. However, if this headgear is lost, they will have no power to return under the water. Merrows resemble the selkies (seal shapeshifters), as they have been known to shed their outer skins so that they can take on a more attractive form. Irish tales describe merrow-maidens as tempting young men to follow them into the waves of the water, where they enter an enchanted state.


In Irish and Scottish myths, the Fachen is a monster that only has half of a body. Its appearance is described as so hideous that it has the power to cause instant heart attacks. Some of the features of the Fachen include a mane full of black feathers and a wide mouth. Other names that the Fachen is called in tales are “Direach Ghlinn Eitidh” or “Dwarf of Glen Etive.”


The Irish and Scottish mentioned the Kelpie in their folktales , a malevolent supernatural horse associated with the water. Oroginating from Celtic folklore, the horse is thought to haunt the rivers and lochs of Ireland and Scotland. The stories surrounding the Kelpie differs from region to region. One version sees the horse as the color of grass with a black mane and tail that curves in such a way that it looks like a wheel. Some tales claim that the horse can take on the form of a human.

Far Darrig

In Irish mythology, the Far Darrig are little creatures known as jokesters playing pranks , much like a leprechaun. Some tales call the creatures ‘Red Men’ as they are often described as wearing a red coat and cap. It is mischievous and has a habit of playing gruesome practical jokes.

Fear Gorta

A phantom associated with hunger may be called a Fear Gorta in Irish myth. Resembling an emaciated human, the Fear Gorta is thought to walk the earth during times of famine. It is described as asking for alms from those it passes by. It is said that if you give the phantom food or money, you may enjoy good luck as a result. Some people believe the Fear Gorta is simply a sign that famine is approaching, which is often linked to the Great Irish Famine that took place during the 1840s. This legendary spirit was mentioned in Yeats’ “Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry.”