When I was little I often stayed with my grandparents in Dublin, and for years they schooled me in Irish myth and legend, and the folklore of this country. While my grandfather stuck to the more traditional, well known stories- the Children of Lir, the Salmon of Knowledge, my Granny would (and still does) tell me stories of her childhood in the Glencree.
In the Wicklow Mountains, the fact that banshees, changelings and fairies existed was simply taken for granted.
When she was a child one of the neighbours’ golden haired babies was switched for a sullen, dark haired child. People who wandered into fairy rings disappeared. Hawthorn trees could not be chopped down, farmers simply worked around them.
Her family had a banshee that would warn of any forthcoming deaths in the family. This was the story that stuck in my mind, and still scares me a wee bit…
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