THE LITTLE PEOPLE
Here in Ireland, we have our own magical creatures. Irish folklore is full of mythical fairies, leprechauns, and banshees. They are regarded as mischievous and can bring good or bad fortune.
Tuatha De Danann, Sidhe
The Tuatha De Danann, the people of the Goddess Danu, were one of the great ancient tribes of Ireland, they ruled Ireland from 1897 B.C. to 1700 B.C. They became the "'Little People'" of Ireland and gave rise to the leprechaun legend.
IN OTHER CULTURES
Little people have been part of the folklore of many cultures in human history, from Europe, through Asia and the Americas.
This picture above is from Native American Folklore - where little people were said to like to play pranks on people, and rescue children from bad situations.
It varied from tribe to tribe where these little people were helpful or harmful.
THE LITTLE PEOPLE - THEIR ORIGINS and CHARACTERISTICS
The Little People of Irish Legend are essentially the defeated Tuatha Dé Danann. Once an all powerful force in Ireland, as myth would have it - they were the Gods of Ireland. The arrival of the tribe was the stuff of legend. They landed on the Connacht coastline and emerged from a great mist. It is speculated that they burned their boats to ensure that they settled down in their new land. The Tuatha Dé Danann were eventually defeated by the Milesians and rather than be banished abroad they were allowed to stay in Ireland but sent to the Otherworld, an almost heavenly place under the earth. They became the 'Little People' of Ireland, the people of the fairy mounds.
For hundreds of years, the average Irish person held strong beliefs that fairies or the 'Little People', also known as the Sidhe, (pronounced shee), were everywhere. Stories helped explain natural phenomena and disaster. The places, plants and objects associated with the 'Little People' commanded respect.
Today particularly in the countryside, Irish people still hold dear the traditions and beliefs of their ancestors about supernatural or other worldly happenings. Still possessing such relevance that modern infrastructure projects have been designed so as not to bother them. Just 20 years ago, a motorway project in Co. Clare was altered to avoid disturbing a fairy hawthorn bush after a local folklorist warned that removing the bush would bring the wrath of the 'Little People'. Irish folklore often depicts a close relationship with geographical landmarks such as trees, stones, forts, wells, and hills, having significant roles in stories.
The 'Little People' are best left alone, they are powerful and respected mystical beings.