Home In English Celtic Supernatural Creatures: A Journey into the Mythology of the Ancient Celts

Celtic Supernatural Creatures: A Journey into the Mythology of the Ancient Celts


The Celts, an ancient culture that lived in Europe before the spread of Christianity, believed in a rich pantheon of gods and supernatural creatures. They had a complex and rich mythology that included not only gods but also a variety of monsters and demons. These creatures were often used to explain natural phenomena and to scare people into obedience and good behavior.

Celtic monsters and demons included the fearsome Fomorians, sea monsters like the Kelpie, and the eternally hungry Chupacabra-like creature known as the Grindylow. Some creatures, like the Banshee and the Cwn Annwn, were associated with death and were said to herald the arrival of the dead.

In addition to frightening creatures, the Celts also believed in evil spirits and demons that were thought to cause harm and destruction. These included the Sluagh, who were said to be the spirits of the dead who had not received a proper burial, and the Pooka, a shape-shifting demon that was said to lure travelers to their doom.

The Celts believed that these monsters and demons could be appeased or driven away through the use of charms and spells, as well as through religious rituals. Today, these stories and legends still captivate audiences and serve as a fascinating glimpse into the beliefs and fears of the ancient Celtic people.

Now we are going to dive into the background of these creatures.

The Dearg Due, also referred to as the Irish vampire, is a female demon with a sinister reputation. According to legend, there was a stunningly beautiful young woman who lived centuries ago and fell in love with a peasant boy. However, her father forbade the union and instead forced her to marry a wealthy man who treated her cruelly. The constant abuse took a toll on her and ultimately drove her to take her own life. She was buried in Waterford, Ireland, but it is said that on the anniversary of her death, she rises from her grave to take revenge on the men who wronged her.

The story states that she seduces men and drains their blood as a means of revenge for her unhappy life. It is believed that by piling stones on her grave each year, she can be prevented from escaping and wreaking havoc. Despite this precautionary measure, some still believe that there is no stopping the vengeful spirit from punishing the male population.

This shapeshifting creature is often depicted as a horse and preys on women and children by disguising itself as a lost and innocent pony. However, if an unsuspecting victim mounts the creature, it will be taken to its underwater cave where it will be drowned and devoured. The Kelpie can be recognized by its distinctive feature of water dripping from its mane.

In another guise, the Kelpie appears as a handsome young man, using its charming appearance to lure women into the sea. This disguise is also revealed by a telltale sign – if the young man has seaweed in his hair, it is a sure sign to avoid him. Unfortunately, the end result is the same for any woman who falls for the monster’s seductive ways – she becomes its prey.

Dullalah is known as the bringer of death. Some tales describe the Dullahan as headless, while others depict him riding a black horse with red, glowing eyes, carrying his own head under his arm.

It is said that encountering the Dullahan signifies an impending death. Some stories claim that he throws buckets of blood at those he has marked, while others say that he simply speaks the name of the doomed individual.

However, it is believed that there is a way to outsmart the Dullahan. He is said to be deathly afraid of gold, and a small piece of gold jewelry or ornament can protect one from his wrath.

Considered to be the source of all evil by some, Caorthannach was a serpentine female demon who fought with Saint Patrick. According to legend, Saint Patrick stood on a hilltop and banished all snakes and demonic creatures from Ireland to the sea. Caorthannach was the only one who escaped death, and as she fled, Saint Patrick pursued her on horseback.

In an attempt to slow down the saint, Caorthannach spat fire and poison wherever she went. But Saint Patrick stopped to drink from the poisoned waters and prayed for guidance. He then had an idea: he cut across the path of the demon and hid behind a rock. When the evil serpent caught up, Saint Patrick jumped out and, with a single word, banished her from Ireland forever. She was lost to the sea and cast into the sky.

The Questing Beast is a mythical creature from Celtic folklore with the head of a snake, body of a leopard, back of a lion and hooves of a deer. It is characterized by a continuous, high-pitched wail, which has been described as being as loud as thirty dogs barking at once. Some say that the sound of trapped dogs can be heard from its stomach. Though it preys mainly on knights, it poses no threat to ordinary humans. With its incredible speed, it was difficult to catch and always emerged victorious.

The Questing Beast has appeared in various literary works and is a central figure in the classic Arthurian legend. According to one tale, it was born from a sinful human mother, a princess, who had slept with the devil to secure a spell. The devil tricked the princess into accusing her brother of rape, which led to his death by being torn apart by dogs. In his final moments, the prince cursed his sister and warned that the result of a night in hell would be the birth of a beast, whose cries would be as loud and terrible as the thirty dogs that killed him. Thus, the Questing Beast was born.

The Banshee, also known as the screaming spirit, is a widely recognized figure in Celtic folklore. This female demon was believed to announce death with her piercing wail that echoed for miles and sends shivers down the spines of those who hear it. If the Banshee visits your home, it’s said that the life of one of the inhabitants will soon come to an end.

The Banshee is often associated with the Dullahan, another harbinger of death in Celtic mythology. The two are said to travel the roads of the island together in a chariot pulled by six black horses and whipped with human spinal columns.

The appearance of the Banshee varies in descriptions, but she is often portrayed as either a wrinkled old hag or a stunning young woman. However, one thing remains constant – the Banshee always lets out her eerie scream three times in succession before death arrives.

Poochas, these shape-shifting creatures in folklore are said to be spirits of nature, with the power to bring either good or bad luck. They can take on various forms, with the most common being a black horse, goat, or rabbit, or even assume the shape of plants. A popular belief was that children should not pick overripe blackberries because the seeds were believed to contain a hump that would make the children sick after eating the fruit. Some sources also claim that these spirits were capable of preventing hens from laying eggs or cows from giving milk, leading to starvation.

The history of these creatures is known by Irish poet Jane Wilde who considered these beings evil. One night the son of a farmer called Phadraig woke up in his room and he saw a white floating shadowy mist in his room. Not knowing whether his intentions were good or bad, he offered his warm coat to the spirit.

From that day on, the Poocha visited the son every day and he helped the boy to grind the grain that accumulated in the mill. The boy was so grateful that he offered his most precious possession to the ghost, which was a silk cloak, which had been given years earlier by his relatives. The ghost was so delighted that he left the boy to see the world. The boy kept on working so hard that his father never needed to and his son could even go to school.

Another female demon Leanan Sidhe was both a muse and killer. She was a blood-sucking spirit who inspired poets, writers, and musicians but they had to pay a high price for it: when the magic is gone, the artists become depressed and unhappy, their inspiration goes away, and everything they lived for dissipates. As a result, they commit suicide and their body is taken by Leanan. She drains their blood in her cave in her bottomless pot and she gains creativity from this pot that she will use to charm her next victims.

In Celtic folklore, Carman is portrayed as a notorious female demon who frequently takes on the form of an evil entity. She was known as the goddess of malevolent spells and wreaked havoc wherever she went, leaving a path of destruction in her wake. Accompanied by her three wicked sons, Dub, Dother, and Dain (often translated as Darkness, Evil, and Violence), Carman annually caused crops to wilt or become infested with pests before harvest time.

The followers of Danu, the goddess of the people, eventually rose up against Carman and defeated her through their magical abilities. The sons of Carman were then thrown into the sea. According to legend, Carman’s tomb was dug by the king of Danu’s wizard followers in a forest near the village of Wexford in south-eastern Ireland. To this day, some believe that it is still unwise to enter the forest at night, as the wicked goddess’s magic is said to still linger, even after her death.

Leprechauns are one of the most well-known magical creatures associated with Ireland and medieval Celts. These tiny elves, often depicted in green or red hats and clothing, are not considered truly evil, but they cannot be left out of any list of Celtic mythical creatures.

These mischievous, bearded men spend most of their time crafting shoes and enjoying pranks on humans in their free time. The earliest reference to leprechauns is found in the medieval story “Fergus Mac Léti,” which tells of a king who was kidnapped by three leprechauns and granted three wishes in exchange for their freedom.

Leprechauns are known to keep their special gold coins in a small cauldron at the foot of a rainbow. These talismans are said to disappear into thin air after a few hours when they come into human hands. They are also notorious for playing tricks on merchants, buying valuable items with their magic currency only for it to vanish.

A subspecies of leprechauns known as clurichauns are mischievous elves who party at night after a day of work. They are known for riding on domestic animals, stealing food, and emptying wine barrels. However, if they are treated kindly, they are said to protect wine cellars from theft. If they are defied, they will destroy the wine and make life difficult for the inhabitants until they leave.

Leprechauns remain one of the world’s most popular mythical creatures, with reported sightings even today.

The Celtic mythology and lore are filled with mysterious creatures, and many of the legends of these magical people are believed to have a basis in reality. As one wanders through Ireland’s green forests or rocky shores, it is easy to feel as though one is experiencing something truly strange and magical.

Despite the passage of time, Celtic mythology and lore continue to be a source of fascination and inspiration. The legends and tales of the Celts have inspired countless books, movies, and other works of art, and they continue to capture the imagination of people around the world. Whether one is searching for a connection to their ancestral roots, or simply seeking to explore the mysteries of an ancient culture, Celtic mythology, and lore provide a rich and captivating world of magic, mystery, and adventure.