History Main / CelticMythology

10th Sep '14 12:38:37 PM StFan
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15th Jun '14 1:27:34 PM MarkLungo
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[[quoteright:282:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/The_Children_of_Lir.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:282:''The Children of Lir'' by Jim Fitzpatrick]]

You have probably heard some stories influenced by these myths, although you might not realize it. These are the tales that TheFairFolk come from.

There are two main (surviving) strands of Celtic mythology: Goidelic (Irish/Scots/Manx) and [[{{Mabinogion}} Brythonic]] (Welsh/Cornish/Breton). While they share many tropes and have certain figures in common, they do not really overlap; each has its own unique stories. They are further split into 'Cycles' (Ireland) and 'Branches' (Wales). Mainland Europe's Celtic traditions were mostly lost due to invasion and assimilation of Celtic populations in their conquerors' own societies (mainly TheRomanEmpire and Germanic tribes). The cultural taboo against consigning knowledge to writing certainly didn't help.

In a nutshell: before people came to the archipelago we now call the British Isles, a race of intelligent magical non-humans calling themselves (in Irish, anyway) the ''Tuatha Dé Danann'' ("the children of the goddess Danu") lived there. With the arrival of people and their permanent settlements, the Tuatha Dé Danann continued to muck about in the lives of people, but retreated to the Otherworld, their [[AnotherDimension home world]], a world still reachable through places such as fairy forts or fairy burrows. (Interestingly, the "gateways" identified in Celtic stories would not infrequently turn out to be archaeologically significant sites dating to the Neolithic period.)

Celtic mythology also includes Scottish, Breton, and Cornish stories.

See IrishNames for pronunciation help.

!! Works that are part of Celtic mythology that have their own pages:

[[AC:Irish]]
* ''Literature/TheBattleOfMaghTuireadh''
* ''Literature/TheChildrenOfLir''
* ''Literature/TheChildrenOfTuireann''
* ''Literature/TheExileOfTheSonsOfUisnech''
* ''Literature/TainBoCuailnge''
* ''Literature/TheVoyageOfBranMacFebail''
* ''Literature/TheVoyageOfMaelDuin''
* ''Literature/TheWooingOfEtain''

[[AC:Welsh]]
* ''Literature/HistoriaBrittonum'' and ''Literature/HistoriaRegumBritanniae'', written as history, but considered psuedo-history today and include a great deal of legendary material.
* ''Literature/{{Mabinogion}}'', actually a collection of a number of Welsh legendary narratives and epic poems.

----
!!Tropes found in Celtic mythology:

* TheAce: Irish god Lugh, who was called Samildanach or "long-handed"--both of which mean "good at everything."
* ActionGirl: Scáthach, the woman who trained Cuchulainn, her sister Aoife, Queen Medb . . . The Irish did not shy away from the idea of women being competent fighters.
* AfterlifeExpress: The ''cóiste-bodhar'', the black coach that comes for the dead, as famously seen in ''Film/DarbyOGillAndTheLittlePeople''.
* {{Animorphism}}: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuan_mac_Cairill Tuan mac Cairill]] survived a plague (and several centuries) by being transformed/reincarnated into various animals.
* AnotherDimension: The Otherworld, home to spirits. Irish "Tír na nÓg" (country of the young); Welsh "Gwlâd yr Hâv" (land of summer).
* ArtificialLimbs: King Nuada of the Tuatha Dé Danann lost an arm in combat, but received a functional replacement crafted of silver later.
* AntiHero: Efnysien, of the SociopathicHero variety. On the one hand, he's a seemingly motiveless BloodKnight psychopath, but he ''does'' end up saving the Welsh army with a [[{{RedemptionEqualsDeath}} heroic sacrifice]].
* AwesomeButImpractical: The Gae Bolg, a spear owned by Cú Chulainn, which pretty much guaranteed victory against any enemy. However, it had to be blessed in a stream before use and thrown from the ''foot''. On impact it would extend barbs down every blood vessel of the target's body, killing them... and making it impossible to use again without cleaning the corpse off first. This made it entirely useless in large-scale combat, though Cú Chulainn sometimes used it in duels.
** Also the Spear of Lugh, one of the Four Treasures. While incredibly powerful, it had to be kept in a bath of blood to avoid it bursting into flames and draining the blood of everything around it. Imagine how that would have affected the household where it was kept. Fortunately poppy juice could keep it sedated, and ''another'' of the Four Treasures was a cauldron which could "satisfy any hunger".
* AwesomeMcCoolName: Cu Chulainn means "Hound of Culann" (explained under Martial Arts and Crafts below).
** And nowadays, there's Fionn [=MacCumhail=]. How do you pronounce that? Finn ''[=McCool=].''
* BalefulPolymorph: ''Very'' common. ''Literature/TheChildrenOfLir'' is probably the best known story.
* BadAss: Several, with Cú Chulainn being the best example.
* BadassArmy: The Fianna, famously lead by Fionn [=MacCumhail=].
* BadassTransplant: Nuada Airgetlam. Airgetlam means ''silver hand.'' It was a literal title.
* BecauseDestinySaysSo: When Cú Chullain was still a child of six he overheard a druid prophesying that anyone who took up arms on that day would become the mightiest hero of Ireland. So he immediately rushed off to the king and asked for a sword... But also, see TheChosenOne below.
* TheBerserker: Cú Chullain. After one battle they tried to calm him down by mobbing him with naked women. Didn't work. The women threw him into a barrel of water. The barrel ''exploded''. They tried it again and the water boiled away. Third time was the charm, since the water only became somewhat warm.
* {{Bishonen}}/MrFanservice:
** Cú Chullain, when he's not CrazyAwesome or outright terrifying. He was so insanely attractive that the men of Ulster wanted him married off as soon as possible to keep him from stealing their wives and seducing their daughters.
** Diarmuid.
** There's also Naoise (who is described to Deirdre, his eventual lover, with the "hair as black as ebony, skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood" description familiar from "Literature/SnowWhite"), Midir, Taliesin, Gwydion... The Celts sure like their pretty guys.
* BloodKnight: Efnysien.
* BodyHorror: Cú Chullain's "warp-spasm" causes his legs to turn backwards, his temples to swell, one of his eyes to fall out of its socket while the other is sucked down into his head, his mouth to split open, and his hair to twist into spikes. There's a ''reason'' people were scared of this guy.
* CameBackWrong: Cerridwen's cauldron.
* CharacterDevelopment: Quite a bit of it, especially in the Ulster cycle.
* TheChosenOne: Cú Chullain was a preternaturally strong berserker from early childhood, surrounded by prophesies and ''geasa''. His actions in taking arms (see BecauseDestinySaysSo above) was his statement that he was perfectly OK with being the Chosen One.
* ContinuitySnarl: Lots of little snarls crop up when you get past the general idea, what with the lack of written records for about a thousand years, the constant invasion by the Romans/English/Norse, and the replacing of pagan beliefs with Christianity.
* CoolAndUnusualPunishment: One version of the curse upon Ulster's men came about when a pregnant woman on the road was going into labor, but none of the men passing by would offer any assistance, so she cursed the whole land so that the men would experience the pains of labor every year. In the ''Táin Bó Cúailnge'', Connaught times its raid for when the warriors of Ulster were crippled by that time of the year.
** When Rhiannon is accused of eating her newborn baby (the maids framed her), Pwyll doesn't want to kill her. So instead, she has to carry visitors from the courtyard to the castle hall on her back. For seven years.
* CoolHorse: Grey of Macha and Black of Saingliu, the twin steeds of Cúchulainn, and Morvarc'h, the coal-black steed of the Breton king Gradlon.
** Pryderi and Rhiannon's horses.
** Embarr, the white horse that belong to Niamh (and later lent to Oisín) which could run over the land and water.
* CranialProcessingUnit: The Celts saw the head as the location of the soul. Which is closer to the truth than a lot of religions managed - the [[EgyptianMythology Egyptians]] saw the brain as mush to be disposed of while they preserved your more important organs.
* DarkActionGirl: Aoife, Medb, Macha, and ''especially'' the Morrigan. They're wrathful, petty bitches, but like hell if they aren't {{Badass}}.
* DarkerAndEdgier: You probably don't want to tell THESE fairy tales to your kids. Unjust punishment, scary-ass imagery, lots of {{Tear Jerker}}s, and [[HotterAndSexier an awful lot of sex]].
** It's easy to find bowdlerised versions of the stories aimed at younger readers. Probably the most commonly heard child-friendly story is Fionn's building of the Giant's Causeway, and subsequent outsmarting the Giant that came to fight him. Not a drop of blood spilled, and Fionn dresses up as a baby as part of the trick.
* DeadlyDecadentCourt: The Otherworld, when they're NOT amusing themselves by annoying humans.
* DeadlyGaze and EyeBeams: The monster Balor, whose gaze withered everything it touched.
* DeadpanSnarker: Diarmuid occasionally shows himself to be one in his [[BelligerentSexualTension interactions with Grainne]]. At one point, Grainne stabs Diarmuid in the thigh after they have a tiff. When Grainne later asks for a knife to cut some meat, Diarmuid tells her to search the sheath she last put it in, casually pointing to his ''still impaled thigh''.
* DeathAmnesia: Cerridwen's cauldron brings back the dead but, because it's forbidden for the living to know anything about the afterlife, the reanimated dead cannot speak.
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: The Tuatha Dé Danann didn't leave this world and make way for humans by choice. Mankind went to war against them, won, and drove them out so that they could claim their land. It is the only time in any mythology where humanity kicked the gods' collective butts.
** Actually [[JustifiedTrope justified]] due to several reasons: One, in Celtic mythology, mankind was descended from the god of death, and they have a powerful set of mages themselves. Two, due to the fact that the Celts had long [[HijackedByJesus become Christians when the myths were wrote]], The Tuatha Dé Danann aren't described as [[OurGodsAreGreater divine ''per se'']], only as a [[FairFolk supernatural clan of persons]]. So, the difference of power between gods and humans isn't as substantial as it looks.
*** It's also worth noticing that in later myths that humans, while still fearsome, [[BadassDecay aren't as powerful as their ancestors used to be]]. Later, it would be necessary a large army and/or a demigod to face a ''single'' Tuatha dé Danann
** Also, the Thuata De Dannan are exclusive to the ''Irish'' Portion of the Celtic mythology. The Welshes, for example, have the Children of Lyr and Dôn as their [[FairFolk supernatural clans]]. That's what you get when your myths [[CanonDiscontinuity varies from place and people in the "same" culture set]].
* DivineConflict: The conflict between the Tuatha De Danann and the Fomorians over the ownership and right to settle the island of Ireland from Irish Legends.
* DroitDuSeigneur: Conchobar was actually ''obligated'' to sleep with Emer before Cu Chulainn. He was understandably too scared to actually sleep with the wife of a man known to go into [[TheBerserker crazy, murderous rages]], so he simply shared a bed with her while Fergus and Cathbad stayed in the room to confirm that nothing actually happened.
* EngagingConversation: Lots of them, with Cu Chulainn and Emer's conversation overlapping with GeekyTurnOn (see NerdsAreSexy below).
* TheFairFolk: Bleeding through into British folk tales.
* FauxDeath: Precursor of ''Literature/SleepingBeauty''.
* FoodChains: Do '''not''' eat fairy food.
* ForTheEvulz: Efnysien mutilates all of the Irish horses, seemingly for this, and then crushes the skulls (described in [[{{squick}}graphic detail]]) of the soldier's hiding in bags with little to no provocation.
* {{Geas}}: Trope namer. Unlike in modern times, it wasn't really seen as entirely a bad thing. If you were under a geas and fulfilled its terms, it made you stronger spiritually. It was still the downfall of numerous heroes, though.
* GenderBender: Gwydion
* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: [[SpellMyNameWithAThe The]] Morrígan ("Phantom queen" or "Big Queen" or "Queen of Death" or "The Queen"), Irish goddess of war, death, and other fun pastimes. Overall, her morality falls under BlueAndOrangeMorality rather than outright evil, but for humans they don't notice the difference.
** Medb/Maeve of Connaught, who raised an army and invaded Ulster just so that she could steal a magic bull to match the one her husband owned.
*** It's about the primacy of female or male lines of inheritance. Although some say it's about Medb and Ailill being irresponsible jerks.
* TheHecateSisters: The Celtic goddess of war known as the Morrigan was often (but not always) depicted as a triple entity; the most common combination is the Badb, Macha and Nemain, but other accounts name Fea, Anann, and even Erinn (lit. Ireland). They can be shown as Mother, Maiden and Crone, or all one facet.
* HijackedByJesus: The myths were not written down until after most Celts had converted to Christianity -- as a result, gods were converted to kings and heroes, and millennia-long curses are [[DeusExMachina broken by priests]]. It's all pretty muddy.
** For instance, it's unknown exactly how much of what we know of St. Brigid was an actual historical figure, and how much was stories originally from the Celtic goddess Brigid.
** TheFairFolk went from... [[ShapedLikeItself the Fair Folk]], who were all right if you didn't offend them, to evil spirits who couldn't stand church bells/crosses/a priest.
* HulkingOut: Cúchulainn did this a lot- possibly the UrExample.
* InfinityPlusOneSword[=/=][[StockWeaponNames Stock Weapon Origins]]: The Spear of Lugh, which spouted gouts of flame and was so thirsty for blood that it wielded itself with little help from the owner. Lugh had to keep it submerged (in either milk of the poppy or blood, depending on the telling) to keep it under control.
** Ditto the Claíomh Solais or "Sword of Light" (not [[{{Slayers}} that one]]), the sword of Nuada before he was slain. Excalibur on crack is a decent way to describe it. It made a reappearance in The King of Ireland's Son.
** Tritto Caladbolg (possibly an earlier version of Excalibur), the sword of Fergus Mac Róich, which even Cú Chullain was afraid of. Literally "Hard/Solid Lightning," it made a pretty rainbow trail when swung... and could kill gods. No, seriously, [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu it COULD kill GODS]]. He missed hitting an enemy once and ''the ensuing strike lopped the top off of three adjacent mountains''!!!
** [[OverlyLongGag Tetritto]] Fragarach ("Answerer"), the sword of Manannan mac Lir and Lugh Lamfada, which could [[AbsurdlySharpBlade cut through anything]], inflict [[WoundThatWillNotHeal untreatable wounds]], give the wielder [[RazorWind control]] [[SwordBeam over wind]], and, when pressed against a person's throat, [[TruthSerums prevent them from lying]].
** Finally, [[PublicDomainArtifact Excalibur]], i.e. the bar-none most famous sword [[strike: in Welsh-Celtic Mythology]] '''IN THE WORLD'''. Not a whole lot is consistent about it, but two things are always present: one, when drawn, it'll burn out the eyes of anyone in line of sight of the blade besides the wielder; two, it could basically cut through god-on-anything like a lightsaber through half-melted butter that wasn't magical as well - and even then, it'd better be damn strong, like the Grail Sword. Finally, its scabbard had defensive powers varying between "the bearer's wounds don't bleed" to "the bearer becomes [[NighInvulnerability completely invulnerable]]".
* [[InformedAbility Informed Awesomeness]]: Fand. She's the ONE person that Cuchulainn almost leaves Emer for, despite her intelligence and beauty being largely TakeOurWordForIt. Doesn't help that Fand [[LateCharacterSyndrome makes her entrance three-fourths into the Ulster Cycle]], ''after'' Emer's done bitch-slapping Cuchulainn out of his AngstComa.
* KickTheDog: To get back at Cuchulainn for knocking her up and then marrying Emer instead, Aoife sent her son out into the world with two conditions: Challenge every warrior he meets, and never ever ''ever'' reveal his name. Naturally, when Cuchulainn gets challenged by some kid, cue the CurbStompBattle. Then Cuchulainn notices a [[OrphansPlotTrinket really familiar-looking ring...]]
* [[LawOfInverseFertility Law Of Inverse Child Mortality]]: Medb, queen of [[TheChessmaster playing]] [[MagnificentBastard mind games]], has about eight kids and only cares about the youngest daughter as a living bargaining chip. Her seven sons all (presumably) survive. Cu Chulainn, despite wanting any children at all to continue his legacy, sleeps with dozens of women and has a total of ''one son'' (and not by his wife, who wants children as much as he does). He accidentally kills said son when the boy's pissed-off mother sends him off with the convenient ''geasa'' of [[ShmuckBait challenging every man he comes across, but never revealing his name.]]
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: Everyone mentioned here? They're only the ''famous'' ones.
* LosingYourHead: Bran the Blessed's head stayed alive after his allies struck it off his dying body at his instruction. It was buried in the White Hill of London, supposedly the spot where the Tower of London now stands, and the story goes that Britain can never be conquered as long as the head is there. Though a tradition says that Bran's head was dug up by King Arthur, who wanted to be solely responsible for protecting Britain from invasions, and [[NiceJobBreakingItHero that would explain]] why there are so many Anglo-Saxons in Britain, let alone the Norman invasion.
* MadEye: Cu Chullain
* MartialArtsAndCrafts: Cu Chullain (childhood name "Setanta") as a child killed a massive guard dog belonging to the smith Culann by smashing a sliotar (a ball used in hurling, which is like a cross between hockey and rugby)) down its throat with his hurley. He repaid the smith by acting as his guard dog until the original dog's puppies were fully grown. This is where he gets his name--Cu Chullain means "Hound of Culann".
* MisterSeahorse: Gwydion and Gilfaethwy, the brothers in the {{Mabinogion}} who impregnate each other, [[UnbuiltTrope though they are first transformed into animals, one male and one female, to make it biologically possible]].
* MysteriousMist: The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F%C3%A9th_f%C3%ADada féth fíada]] or fairy mist (also ''ceo druidechta'', druid mist), which was used by the Tuatha Dé Danann to conceal themselves from observers. According to the ''Lebor Gabála Érenn'', the Tuatha first arrived in Ireland wrapped in this mist, after travelling over the sea in it. In stories set in later times, druids and even Christian saints are reported to make themselves invisible with magic mist.
* NerdsAreSexy[=/=]HollywoodNerd: Cú Chullain married Emer because she was the only one who could figure out [[SecretTestOfCharacter his cryptic answers to her questions.]] [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome While making up her own for]] ''[[CrowningMomentOfAwesome him]]'' [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome to solve.]]
** He then has to explain the entire thing to his charioteer Loeg (and by extension, the audience).
-->'''Loeg:''' Now, the words which thou and the maiden Emer spoke, what did you mean by them?\\
'''Cú Chulainn:''' Dost thou not know that I am wooing Emer? And it is for this reason that [[MultitaskedConversation we disguised our words lest the girls should understand that I am wooing her,]] for if Forgall knew it, we should not meet with his consent.
-->[[CrowningMomentOfFunny Cú Chulainn then repeated the conversation from the beginning]].
* NoManOfWomanBorn: Cú Chullain was the sole defender of Ulster owing to a curse which stated that all fighting men of Ulster would be crippled for nine days and nine nights when they were needed most. While Cú Chullain was the champion of Ulster, he was not an Ulsterman (and, technically, still a boy), and was thus exempt from the conditions of the curse when Medb invaded.
* NumerologicalMotif: The number three tends to show up a lot, from the above mentioned triple goddess to the famous symbols you see on various Celtic paraphernalia. Seven and nine are also common.
* OneSteveLimit: Medb obliterates this trope, spectacularly. A druid tells her that one of her sons will one day kill Conchobar (one of Medb's '''many''' ex-husbands and king of Ulster). When Medb asks which one will do the deed, the druid simply responds, "Maine". Though she had seven sons, none of them were named Maine, so she hedged her bets and renamed all of them Maine. One of them eventually does kill Conchobar, though it turns out to be [[ProphecyTwist a different Conchobar than the one she was hoping for]].
* OneWingedAngel: Cu Chulainn's Warp Spasms, which granted him BerserkerRage and a terrifying appearance.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: Cú Chullain's birth name was "Setanta." Presumably most people know it, but there's a lot more stuff named after Cú Chullain.
** The other famous Irish hero, Fionn MacCumhaill, was given his first name after his hair turned white (Fionn means "Blond" or "fair"). His birth name was Deimne.
* OverlyLongName: Fer Benn Bruach Brogaill Broumide Cerbad Caic Rolaig Builc Labair Cerrce Di Brig Oldathair Boith Athgen mBethai Brightere Tri Carboid Roth Rimaire Riog Scotbe Obthe Olaithbe, better known as the Dagda.
* PaperThinDisguise: Cú Chullain, pursuing Connaught's warriors to retrieve the white bull of Ulster, challenges one to a duel. When he refuses to fight a "beardless boy," Cú Chullain (being only seventeen at the time) runs off, finds a goat, shaves some of its hair, and weaves a fake beard to wear before making the challenge again.
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy: Emphasis on Proud.
* PsychicDreamsForEveryone: ''Very'' common.
* {{Psychopomp}}: Gwyn ap Nudd in Wales, [[TheGrimReaper Ankou]] in Brittany.
* RapeAsDrama: The Earl Of Desmond raped Aine, the goddess of midsummer. [[BalefulPolymorph She gets]] [[BodyHorror him back for it though.]]
* SadlyMythtaken: The supernatural beings of the Otherworld (''Sidhe'', deities, or spirits), are often called ''fairies''--without the modern connotation of "adorable tiny winged people". ''That'' innovation came from the Victorians. Some modern fantasy authors use [[PhantasySpelling alternate spellings]] such as "faery/faerie" to convey that they mean the DarkerAndEdgier version of TheFairFolk.
* SeriousBusiness: Storytelling. The humble bard had incredible power in the Celtic tradition, because of his ability to tell stories. The worst thing that can happen to a mighty warrior is not to be defeated in battle, but to have a bard [[MundaneMadeAwesome compose a satirical poem about him]]. A superior opponent can merely kill you. A well-written story about how much of a loser you are will be told and re-told until the end of time.
* ShapeShifterShowdown: Taliesin vs. Cerridwen.
* SoBeautifulItsACurse: Deirdre, whose life sucked so much that she has the epithet "Deirdre of the Sorrows."
* SlapSlapKiss: Diarmuid and Grainne have this initially after eloping: they fled from Fionn and the Fianna and were on the run for weeks, but despite them being madly in love, Diarmuid refuses to have sex with her, out of loyalty to Fionn, who was to be married to Grainne before she fell in love with Diarmuid. One day, while on the run Grainne steps into a puddle and water splashes between her thighs. She mocks Diarmuid, saying how even water in a ''puddle'' is braver than he is. His noble pride hurt, [[TheyDo Diarmuid finally makes love to Grainne.]]
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: There are at least three alternate spellings for ''every name in this article.''
* [[{{Atlantis}} Sunken Lands]]: There are a number of kingdoms and cities drowned underneath the waves: the Welsh kingdom of Cantre'r Gwaelod, the Breton city of Ys (or Ker-Ys), the Cornish kingdom of Lyonesse, and--in some versions of the Arthurian legend--Avalon.
* TalkingInBed: The beginning of the Irish story ''Táin Bó Cúailnge'', "The Cattle Raid of Cooley."
* UnusualEuphemism: Lots of people refer to "The/a garden of the Morrigan" or "the Morrigan's harvest." While she IS a fertility goddess, her "garden" and "harvest" are actually battlefields and the [[SoulEater souls]] / [[OffWithHisHead heads]] / [[EyeScream eyes]] of the dead. This possibly refers to her sacred birds, the corvids, who eat carrion.
** It might also refer to the fact that battlefields become quite verdant after a few years.
** Also, "Macha's Acorn Crop" is a poetic way to describe the piled-up heads after a battle.
** If ''The Wooing of Emer'' is to go by, the Creator/MontyPython crew was far from the first to refer to breasts as tracts of land.
--->'''Cu Chulainn:''' When I said, "Fair is this plain, the plain of the noble yoke," it was not the plain of Bray that I praised then, but the shape of the maiden. For I beheld the yoke of her two breasts through the opening of her smock, and it is of that I said, "plain of the noble yoke," of the breasts of the maiden.
* VoluntaryShapeshifting
* WaveMotionSword: The Caladbolg, which shot rainbow-colored energy beams that could destroy mountains.
* WhenTreesAttack: [[MagicKnight Gwydion]] the magician enchants the trees to fight as warriors against the forces of the Otherworld. They do a bloody good job, too.
* TheWildHunt
* YearInsideHourOutside (inverted): A common problem when one spends time in the Otherworld.
** In Tir na nÓg you experience time normally, but don't age it until you leave. Which isn't a pretty sight.

----
!!Works substantially derived from (or outright retellings of) Celtic mythology:

[[AC:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'' contains some references to Celtic Myths, such as the Geass (derived from the geis/geas). It also heavily references [[KingArthur Arthurian Legend]], as well as [[spoiler:Lelouch's death having shades of KingInTheMountain, due to WildMassGuessing over his death/possible survival]]. It helps that TheEmpire refers to itself as Britannia and makes heavy use of the legends and actual history of the British Isles.
* ''[[LightNovel/{{Durarara}} Durarara!!]]'' also derives significant plot points from Celtic mythology, such as [[HeadlessHorseman Dullahan]] Celty.
* Cu Chulainn and Diarmuid un Duibhne appear in ''[[VisualNovel/{{FateStayNight}} Fate/stay night]]'' and ''[[LightNovel/{{Fate Zero}} Fate/Zero]]'' respectively.

[[AC:ComicBooks]]
* The eponymous character of Pat Mill's ''ComicBook/{{Slaine}}'' comics is almost a straight expy of Cú Chullain. Same battles with Queen Medb, same barbed death spear, same horrible body-warping berserker rage. The whole series mixes Celtic Mythology with some ConanTheBarbarian, some [[EldritchAbomination Lovecraftian horror]] and a titch of Neo-pagan spirituality. Season with a punk rock aesthetic and serve.
* In a MarvelComics ''[[ComicBook/TheMightyThor Thor]]'' miniseries ''Thor: Blood Oath'', Thor and the Warriors Three are tasked with retrieving a spear called Slaughter from the Irish gods. The spear appears to be a combination of the Spear of Lugh and Gae Bolg. It's kept in a cauldron of blood to prevent it from killing anyone who happens to be nearby and is wielded by Chulain, though it doesn't have any extending barbs.
* FrancoBelgianComics have had a large influx of Celtic Myth and Folklore-inspired titles in the TurnOfTheMillennium that is still going strong; in fact, one of the largest "bandes dessinées" publishers, Soleil, [[http://soleilceltic.com/ has a whole sub-imprint just for those]]. This is hardly surprising given that before Roman conquest France and Belgium were Gaul, the largest and most populous of the celtic lands, so it can be seen as going back to their roots (also a ready-made source of inspiration to help stay competitive in the face of {{manga}}, which is [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff extremely successful there]]).

[[AC:Film - Animated]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSecretOfKells'', being a film made and set in Ireland, is naturally filled with Celtic mythological elements as well as Christian ones. Aisling is stated by WordOfGod to be one of the Tuatha Dé Danann.

[[AC:{{Literature}}]]
* Creator/LloydAlexander's ''Literature/ChroniclesOfPrydain'' are inspired by Welsh mythology.
* Julian May's ''[[Literature/SagaOfTheExiles Saga of Pliocene Exile]]''
* ''Franchise/HarryPotter'': Wormtail's silver hand bears an interesting resemblance to Nuada's silver arm.
* ''Literature/TheHoundsOfTheMorrigan'' overflows with references to Irish mythology, including some very obscure bits and bobs of it.
* Mark Chabourn's ''Literature/TheAgeOfMisrule'' cycle of novels posits Celtic Mythology crashing into modern life in a TheMagicComesBack plot.
* Traci Harding's ''Ancient Future Trilogy'', and its sequel trilogies.
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' being a FantasyKitchenSink, involves the Fae (make no deals and eat none of their food, just like the legends, as well as changelings, being the child of a fae and a mortal), Excalibur, and Merlin has been brought up on several occasions.
* Creator/CSLewis' ''Literature/TheVoyageOfTheDawnTreader'' takes much inspiration from the ancient Irish genre of ''immrama'', "sea-voyages" -- stories about fantastical seafaring expeditions into the unknown Western ocean, beyond which lies the paradisical ''Tír na nÓg'', or Land of the Young; only in ''Voyage of the Dawn Treader'', it's the Eastern sea, at the end of which lies Aslan's Country.
* ''Literature/ArtemisFowl'', written by the Irish EoinColfer features fairies, who, like in the myths, retreated underground and built a highly technologically advanced civilization that fears humanity and - wait...
** The Goddess Danu's protection of the Earth and fairies is a major plot element in the last book.
* Patricia Kennealy-Morrison's ''Keltiad'' series is CelticMythology [[RecycledInSpace IN SPACE!!]] -- St. Brendan led his people on a great migration to another planet.
* Fiona Patton's ''Literature/TalesOfTheBranionRealm'' series has elements of Celtic Christianity, particularly the Kingdom's founders, who are named Bran Bendigeid and his sister Braniana after characters in Welsh mythology.
* ''Literature/TheSevenwatersTrilogy'' is set in history but draws much of inspiration from Celtic Mythology. Interestingly though, the plot line is based on a German fairy tale.
* ''Literature/AtSwimTwoBirds'' by Flann O'Brien has Finn Mac Cool and Mad King Sweeney appear as characters.
* ''The Wanderings of Oisin'', a narrative poem by Creator/WilliamButlerYeats, is an retelling of Oisin's adventures in Tir nan oge.
* Salvatore Doni and Duke Voban have both received Authorities from figures mentioned on this page in {{LightNovel/Campione}}. Nuada and Balor respectively.

[[AC:LiveActionTV]]
* The 1998 miniseries ''Film/{{Merlin}}'', which includes many elements of Celtic Mythology rarely seen in retellings of ArthurianLegend.

[[AC:Multimedia Franchises]]
* ''Franchise/DotHack'' features [[TragicMonster Macha]] and [[BigBad Morganna]] (The Morrigan) [[spoiler: as [[AIIsACrapshoot digital]] [[DeusEstMachina goddesses]]]]. Lia Fail, the Tuatha Dé Danann's stone of destiny is one of the Root Towns of The World. Three characters are known collectively as the "Descendants of Fianna". And Crennuos is also used by [[MegaCorp CC Corp]] for the The World's backstory in ''.hack//G.U.''

[[AC:{{Music}}]]
* Music/TheDecemberists's epic song/EP (clocking in at 18:35 for one track) ''The Tain'' is a retelling of the ''Literature/TainBoCuailnge''.
* Irish 1970's band Music/{{Horslips}} did a version of 'The Táin'' on an early album.
* Music/NataliaOShea combines this with SlavicMythology in her music.

[[AC:TabletopGames]]
* ''TabletopGame/ChangelingTheDreaming'', where the Fae's predecessors were the Tuatha de Danaan, and the Fomorians are {{Eldritch Abomination}}s.
* ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse'' has a Celtic werewolf tribe called the Fianna, whose legends borrow heavily from Irish mythology.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Gurps}} [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Celtic Myth]]''
* A substantial portion of the [[BlackKnight Shadow Paladin clan]] of ''TabletopGame/CardfightVanguard'' are named after Celtic mythological characters, such as: Cursed Spear Revenger, Diarmuid; Darkness Maiden, Macha; Skull Witch, Nemain; Dark Mage, Badabh Caar; and Witch of Cursed Talisman, Etain. Interestingly, Macha, Nemain, and Badabh Caar are clasically the three sisters of the Morrigan, and in-game all have effects based around incresing your card advantage, probably so you can simply use it up to pay the costs of powerful effects.

[[AC:{{Theatre}}]]
* Creator/{{Shakespeare}}'s ''Theatre/AMidsummerNightsDream''

[[AC:VideoGames]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Nethergate}}''
* ''VideoGame/{{Mabinogi}}'' uses many elements from Celtic mythology.
* ''VideoGame/{{Folklore}}'', true to name, incorporates quite a bit of Celtic Mythology and Fairy Lore. Though mostly within it's own cosmology, for example [[strike: Balor]] [[SpellMyNameWithAnS Baral]] is literally an evil eye.
* Koei's ''VideoGame/CelticTales: Balor of the Evil Eye'', a strategy game similar to ''VideoGame/RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms'', is set in what appears to be ancient Ireland.
* The FetchQuest video game ''Rhiannon: Curse of the Four Branches''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Albion}}'' is what happens when you bring Celtic Mythology [[RecycledInSpace IN SPACE!]]
* Cu Chulain and Diarmuid both appear in TypeMoon 's Nasuverse. They're both of Lancer class.
* Celtic beasts occasionally appear in ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'', such as Balor (or [[SpellMyNameWithAnS Balore]], in this case) in ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaChroniclesOfSorrow'' and ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaPortraitOfRuin''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Kingdoms Of Amalur}}'' has a world heavily inspired by Celtic Mythology. The villains are called Tuatha de Ohn.
* The ''Videogame/ShinMegamiTensei'' metaseries allows you to create Cu Chulainn in some games, most notably in Persona 3, in which you can also create Gae Bolg as a BladeOnAStick that the Protagonist and [[CreepyChild Ken]] can use. Due to its special properties of hitting for [[BlowYouAway Wind element]] damage at no [[{{Mana}} SP cost]], it's a borderline GameBreaker.

[[AC:WesternAnimation]]
* ''{{WesternAnimation/Gargoyles}}'' episode ''The Hound of Ulster'' attempted to tell the story of Cú Chulainn

----

to:

[[quoteright:282:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/The_Children_of_Lir.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:282:''The Children of Lir'' by Jim Fitzpatrick]]

You have probably heard some stories influenced by these myths, although you might not realize it. These are the tales that TheFairFolk come from.

There are two main (surviving) strands of Celtic mythology: Goidelic (Irish/Scots/Manx) and [[{{Mabinogion}} Brythonic]] (Welsh/Cornish/Breton). While they share many tropes and have certain figures in common, they do not really overlap; each has its own unique stories. They are further split into 'Cycles' (Ireland) and 'Branches' (Wales). Mainland Europe's Celtic traditions were mostly lost due to invasion and assimilation of Celtic populations in their conquerors' own societies (mainly TheRomanEmpire and Germanic tribes). The cultural taboo against consigning knowledge to writing certainly didn't help.

In a nutshell: before people came to the archipelago we now call the British Isles, a race of intelligent magical non-humans calling themselves (in Irish, anyway) the ''Tuatha Dé Danann'' ("the children of the goddess Danu") lived there. With the arrival of people and their permanent settlements, the Tuatha Dé Danann continued to muck about in the lives of people, but retreated to the Otherworld, their [[AnotherDimension home world]], a world still reachable through places such as fairy forts or fairy burrows. (Interestingly, the "gateways" identified in Celtic stories would not infrequently turn out to be archaeologically significant sites dating to the Neolithic period.)

Celtic mythology also includes Scottish, Breton, and Cornish stories.

See IrishNames for pronunciation help.

!! Works that are part of Celtic mythology that have their own pages:

[[AC:Irish]]
* ''Literature/TheBattleOfMaghTuireadh''
* ''Literature/TheChildrenOfLir''
* ''Literature/TheChildrenOfTuireann''
* ''Literature/TheExileOfTheSonsOfUisnech''
* ''Literature/TainBoCuailnge''
* ''Literature/TheVoyageOfBranMacFebail''
* ''Literature/TheVoyageOfMaelDuin''
* ''Literature/TheWooingOfEtain''

[[AC:Welsh]]
* ''Literature/HistoriaBrittonum'' and ''Literature/HistoriaRegumBritanniae'', written as history, but considered psuedo-history today and include a great deal of legendary material.
* ''Literature/{{Mabinogion}}'', actually a collection of a number of Welsh legendary narratives and epic poems.

----
!!Tropes found in Celtic mythology:

* TheAce: Irish god Lugh, who was called Samildanach or "long-handed"--both of which mean "good at everything."
* ActionGirl: Scáthach, the woman who trained Cuchulainn, her sister Aoife, Queen Medb . . . The Irish did not shy away from the idea of women being competent fighters.
* AfterlifeExpress: The ''cóiste-bodhar'', the black coach that comes for the dead, as famously seen in ''Film/DarbyOGillAndTheLittlePeople''.
* {{Animorphism}}: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuan_mac_Cairill Tuan mac Cairill]] survived a plague (and several centuries) by being transformed/reincarnated into various animals.
* AnotherDimension: The Otherworld, home to spirits. Irish "Tír na nÓg" (country of the young); Welsh "Gwlâd yr Hâv" (land of summer).
* ArtificialLimbs: King Nuada of the Tuatha Dé Danann lost an arm in combat, but received a functional replacement crafted of silver later.
* AntiHero: Efnysien, of the SociopathicHero variety. On the one hand, he's a seemingly motiveless BloodKnight psychopath, but he ''does'' end up saving the Welsh army with a [[{{RedemptionEqualsDeath}} heroic sacrifice]].
* AwesomeButImpractical: The Gae Bolg, a spear owned by Cú Chulainn, which pretty much guaranteed victory against any enemy. However, it had to be blessed in a stream before use and thrown from the ''foot''. On impact it would extend barbs down every blood vessel of the target's body, killing them... and making it impossible to use again without cleaning the corpse off first. This made it entirely useless in large-scale combat, though Cú Chulainn sometimes used it in duels.
** Also the Spear of Lugh, one of the Four Treasures. While incredibly powerful, it had to be kept in a bath of blood to avoid it bursting into flames and draining the blood of everything around it. Imagine how that would have affected the household where it was kept. Fortunately poppy juice could keep it sedated, and ''another'' of the Four Treasures was a cauldron which could "satisfy any hunger".
* AwesomeMcCoolName: Cu Chulainn means "Hound of Culann" (explained under Martial Arts and Crafts below).
** And nowadays, there's Fionn [=MacCumhail=]. How do you pronounce that? Finn ''[=McCool=].''
* BalefulPolymorph: ''Very'' common. ''Literature/TheChildrenOfLir'' is probably the best known story.
* BadAss: Several, with Cú Chulainn being the best example.
* BadassArmy: The Fianna, famously lead by Fionn [=MacCumhail=].
* BadassTransplant: Nuada Airgetlam. Airgetlam means ''silver hand.'' It was a literal title.
* BecauseDestinySaysSo: When Cú Chullain was still a child of six he overheard a druid prophesying that anyone who took up arms on that day would become the mightiest hero of Ireland. So he immediately rushed off to the king and asked for a sword... But also, see TheChosenOne below.
* TheBerserker: Cú Chullain. After one battle they tried to calm him down by mobbing him with naked women. Didn't work. The women threw him into a barrel of water. The barrel ''exploded''. They tried it again and the water boiled away. Third time was the charm, since the water only became somewhat warm.
* {{Bishonen}}/MrFanservice:
** Cú Chullain, when he's not CrazyAwesome or outright terrifying. He was so insanely attractive that the men of Ulster wanted him married off as soon as possible to keep him from stealing their wives and seducing their daughters.
** Diarmuid.
** There's also Naoise (who is described to Deirdre, his eventual lover, with the "hair as black as ebony, skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood" description familiar from "Literature/SnowWhite"), Midir, Taliesin, Gwydion... The Celts sure like their pretty guys.
* BloodKnight: Efnysien.
* BodyHorror: Cú Chullain's "warp-spasm" causes his legs to turn backwards, his temples to swell, one of his eyes to fall out of its socket while the other is sucked down into his head, his mouth to split open, and his hair to twist into spikes. There's a ''reason'' people were scared of this guy.
* CameBackWrong: Cerridwen's cauldron.
* CharacterDevelopment: Quite a bit of it, especially in the Ulster cycle.
* TheChosenOne: Cú Chullain was a preternaturally strong berserker from early childhood, surrounded by prophesies and ''geasa''. His actions in taking arms (see BecauseDestinySaysSo above) was his statement that he was perfectly OK with being the Chosen One.
* ContinuitySnarl: Lots of little snarls crop up when you get past the general idea, what with the lack of written records for about a thousand years, the constant invasion by the Romans/English/Norse, and the replacing of pagan beliefs with Christianity.
* CoolAndUnusualPunishment: One version of the curse upon Ulster's men came about when a pregnant woman on the road was going into labor, but none of the men passing by would offer any assistance, so she cursed the whole land so that the men would experience the pains of labor every year. In the ''Táin Bó Cúailnge'', Connaught times its raid for when the warriors of Ulster were crippled by that time of the year.
** When Rhiannon is accused of eating her newborn baby (the maids framed her), Pwyll doesn't want to kill her. So instead, she has to carry visitors from the courtyard to the castle hall on her back. For seven years.
* CoolHorse: Grey of Macha and Black of Saingliu, the twin steeds of Cúchulainn, and Morvarc'h, the coal-black steed of the Breton king Gradlon.
** Pryderi and Rhiannon's horses.
** Embarr, the white horse that belong to Niamh (and later lent to Oisín) which could run over the land and water.
* CranialProcessingUnit: The Celts saw the head as the location of the soul. Which is closer to the truth than a lot of religions managed - the [[EgyptianMythology Egyptians]] saw the brain as mush to be disposed of while they preserved your more important organs.
* DarkActionGirl: Aoife, Medb, Macha, and ''especially'' the Morrigan. They're wrathful, petty bitches, but like hell if they aren't {{Badass}}.
* DarkerAndEdgier: You probably don't want to tell THESE fairy tales to your kids. Unjust punishment, scary-ass imagery, lots of {{Tear Jerker}}s, and [[HotterAndSexier an awful lot of sex]].
** It's easy to find bowdlerised versions of the stories aimed at younger readers. Probably the most commonly heard child-friendly story is Fionn's building of the Giant's Causeway, and subsequent outsmarting the Giant that came to fight him. Not a drop of blood spilled, and Fionn dresses up as a baby as part of the trick.
* DeadlyDecadentCourt: The Otherworld, when they're NOT amusing themselves by annoying humans.
* DeadlyGaze and EyeBeams: The monster Balor, whose gaze withered everything it touched.
* DeadpanSnarker: Diarmuid occasionally shows himself to be one in his [[BelligerentSexualTension interactions with Grainne]]. At one point, Grainne stabs Diarmuid in the thigh after they have a tiff. When Grainne later asks for a knife to cut some meat, Diarmuid tells her to search the sheath she last put it in, casually pointing to his ''still impaled thigh''.
* DeathAmnesia: Cerridwen's cauldron brings back the dead but, because it's forbidden for the living to know anything about the afterlife, the reanimated dead cannot speak.
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: The Tuatha Dé Danann didn't leave this world and make way for humans by choice. Mankind went to war against them, won, and drove them out so that they could claim their land. It is the only time in any mythology where humanity kicked the gods' collective butts.
** Actually [[JustifiedTrope justified]] due to several reasons: One, in Celtic mythology, mankind was descended from the god of death, and they have a powerful set of mages themselves. Two, due to the fact that the Celts had long [[HijackedByJesus become Christians when the myths were wrote]], The Tuatha Dé Danann aren't described as [[OurGodsAreGreater divine ''per se'']], only as a [[FairFolk supernatural clan of persons]]. So, the difference of power between gods and humans isn't as substantial as it looks.
*** It's also worth noticing that in later myths that humans, while still fearsome, [[BadassDecay aren't as powerful as their ancestors used to be]]. Later, it would be necessary a large army and/or a demigod to face a ''single'' Tuatha dé Danann
** Also, the Thuata De Dannan are exclusive to the ''Irish'' Portion of the Celtic mythology. The Welshes, for example, have the Children of Lyr and Dôn as their [[FairFolk supernatural clans]]. That's what you get when your myths [[CanonDiscontinuity varies from place and people in the "same" culture set]].
* DivineConflict: The conflict between the Tuatha De Danann and the Fomorians over the ownership and right to settle the island of Ireland from Irish Legends.
* DroitDuSeigneur: Conchobar was actually ''obligated'' to sleep with Emer before Cu Chulainn. He was understandably too scared to actually sleep with the wife of a man known to go into [[TheBerserker crazy, murderous rages]], so he simply shared a bed with her while Fergus and Cathbad stayed in the room to confirm that nothing actually happened.
* EngagingConversation: Lots of them, with Cu Chulainn and Emer's conversation overlapping with GeekyTurnOn (see NerdsAreSexy below).
* TheFairFolk: Bleeding through into British folk tales.
* FauxDeath: Precursor of ''Literature/SleepingBeauty''.
* FoodChains: Do '''not''' eat fairy food.
* ForTheEvulz: Efnysien mutilates all of the Irish horses, seemingly for this, and then crushes the skulls (described in [[{{squick}}graphic detail]]) of the soldier's hiding in bags with little to no provocation.
* {{Geas}}: Trope namer. Unlike in modern times, it wasn't really seen as entirely a bad thing. If you were under a geas and fulfilled its terms, it made you stronger spiritually. It was still the downfall of numerous heroes, though.
* GenderBender: Gwydion
* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: [[SpellMyNameWithAThe The]] Morrígan ("Phantom queen" or "Big Queen" or "Queen of Death" or "The Queen"), Irish goddess of war, death, and other fun pastimes. Overall, her morality falls under BlueAndOrangeMorality rather than outright evil, but for humans they don't notice the difference.
** Medb/Maeve of Connaught, who raised an army and invaded Ulster just so that she could steal a magic bull to match the one her husband owned.
*** It's about the primacy of female or male lines of inheritance. Although some say it's about Medb and Ailill being irresponsible jerks.
* TheHecateSisters: The Celtic goddess of war known as the Morrigan was often (but not always) depicted as a triple entity; the most common combination is the Badb, Macha and Nemain, but other accounts name Fea, Anann, and even Erinn (lit. Ireland). They can be shown as Mother, Maiden and Crone, or all one facet.
* HijackedByJesus: The myths were not written down until after most Celts had converted to Christianity -- as a result, gods were converted to kings and heroes, and millennia-long curses are [[DeusExMachina broken by priests]]. It's all pretty muddy.
** For instance, it's unknown exactly how much of what we know of St. Brigid was an actual historical figure, and how much was stories originally from the Celtic goddess Brigid.
** TheFairFolk went from... [[ShapedLikeItself the Fair Folk]], who were all right if you didn't offend them, to evil spirits who couldn't stand church bells/crosses/a priest.
* HulkingOut: Cúchulainn did this a lot- possibly the UrExample.
* InfinityPlusOneSword[=/=][[StockWeaponNames Stock Weapon Origins]]: The Spear of Lugh, which spouted gouts of flame and was so thirsty for blood that it wielded itself with little help from the owner. Lugh had to keep it submerged (in either milk of the poppy or blood, depending on the telling) to keep it under control.
** Ditto the Claíomh Solais or "Sword of Light" (not [[{{Slayers}} that one]]), the sword of Nuada before he was slain. Excalibur on crack is a decent way to describe it. It made a reappearance in The King of Ireland's Son.
** Tritto Caladbolg (possibly an earlier version of Excalibur), the sword of Fergus Mac Róich, which even Cú Chullain was afraid of. Literally "Hard/Solid Lightning," it made a pretty rainbow trail when swung... and could kill gods. No, seriously, [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu it COULD kill GODS]]. He missed hitting an enemy once and ''the ensuing strike lopped the top off of three adjacent mountains''!!!
** [[OverlyLongGag Tetritto]] Fragarach ("Answerer"), the sword of Manannan mac Lir and Lugh Lamfada, which could [[AbsurdlySharpBlade cut through anything]], inflict [[WoundThatWillNotHeal untreatable wounds]], give the wielder [[RazorWind control]] [[SwordBeam over wind]], and, when pressed against a person's throat, [[TruthSerums prevent them from lying]].
** Finally, [[PublicDomainArtifact Excalibur]], i.e. the bar-none most famous sword [[strike: in Welsh-Celtic Mythology]] '''IN THE WORLD'''. Not a whole lot is consistent about it, but two things are always present: one, when drawn, it'll burn out the eyes of anyone in line of sight of the blade besides the wielder; two, it could basically cut through god-on-anything like a lightsaber through half-melted butter that wasn't magical as well - and even then, it'd better be damn strong, like the Grail Sword. Finally, its scabbard had defensive powers varying between "the bearer's wounds don't bleed" to "the bearer becomes [[NighInvulnerability completely invulnerable]]".
* [[InformedAbility Informed Awesomeness]]: Fand. She's the ONE person that Cuchulainn almost leaves Emer for, despite her intelligence and beauty being largely TakeOurWordForIt. Doesn't help that Fand [[LateCharacterSyndrome makes her entrance three-fourths into the Ulster Cycle]], ''after'' Emer's done bitch-slapping Cuchulainn out of his AngstComa.
* KickTheDog: To get back at Cuchulainn for knocking her up and then marrying Emer instead, Aoife sent her son out into the world with two conditions: Challenge every warrior he meets, and never ever ''ever'' reveal his name. Naturally, when Cuchulainn gets challenged by some kid, cue the CurbStompBattle. Then Cuchulainn notices a [[OrphansPlotTrinket really familiar-looking ring...]]
* [[LawOfInverseFertility Law Of Inverse Child Mortality]]: Medb, queen of [[TheChessmaster playing]] [[MagnificentBastard mind games]], has about eight kids and only cares about the youngest daughter as a living bargaining chip. Her seven sons all (presumably) survive. Cu Chulainn, despite wanting any children at all to continue his legacy, sleeps with dozens of women and has a total of ''one son'' (and not by his wife, who wants children as much as he does). He accidentally kills said son when the boy's pissed-off mother sends him off with the convenient ''geasa'' of [[ShmuckBait challenging every man he comes across, but never revealing his name.]]
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: Everyone mentioned here? They're only the ''famous'' ones.
* LosingYourHead: Bran the Blessed's head stayed alive after his allies struck it off his dying body at his instruction. It was buried in the White Hill of London, supposedly the spot where the Tower of London now stands, and the story goes that Britain can never be conquered as long as the head is there. Though a tradition says that Bran's head was dug up by King Arthur, who wanted to be solely responsible for protecting Britain from invasions, and [[NiceJobBreakingItHero that would explain]] why there are so many Anglo-Saxons in Britain, let alone the Norman invasion.
* MadEye: Cu Chullain
* MartialArtsAndCrafts: Cu Chullain (childhood name "Setanta") as a child killed a massive guard dog belonging to the smith Culann by smashing a sliotar (a ball used in hurling, which is like a cross between hockey and rugby)) down its throat with his hurley. He repaid the smith by acting as his guard dog until the original dog's puppies were fully grown. This is where he gets his name--Cu Chullain means "Hound of Culann".
* MisterSeahorse: Gwydion and Gilfaethwy, the brothers in the {{Mabinogion}} who impregnate each other, [[UnbuiltTrope though they are first transformed into animals, one male and one female, to make it biologically possible]].
* MysteriousMist: The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F%C3%A9th_f%C3%ADada féth fíada]] or fairy mist (also ''ceo druidechta'', druid mist), which was used by the Tuatha Dé Danann to conceal themselves from observers. According to the ''Lebor Gabála Érenn'', the Tuatha first arrived in Ireland wrapped in this mist, after travelling over the sea in it. In stories set in later times, druids and even Christian saints are reported to make themselves invisible with magic mist.
* NerdsAreSexy[=/=]HollywoodNerd: Cú Chullain married Emer because she was the only one who could figure out [[SecretTestOfCharacter his cryptic answers to her questions.]] [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome While making up her own for]] ''[[CrowningMomentOfAwesome him]]'' [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome to solve.]]
** He then has to explain the entire thing to his charioteer Loeg (and by extension, the audience).
-->'''Loeg:''' Now, the words which thou and the maiden Emer spoke, what did you mean by them?\\
'''Cú Chulainn:''' Dost thou not know that I am wooing Emer? And it is for this reason that [[MultitaskedConversation we disguised our words lest the girls should understand that I am wooing her,]] for if Forgall knew it, we should not meet with his consent.
-->[[CrowningMomentOfFunny Cú Chulainn then repeated the conversation from the beginning]].
* NoManOfWomanBorn: Cú Chullain was the sole defender of Ulster owing to a curse which stated that all fighting men of Ulster would be crippled for nine days and nine nights when they were needed most. While Cú Chullain was the champion of Ulster, he was not an Ulsterman (and, technically, still a boy), and was thus exempt from the conditions of the curse when Medb invaded.
* NumerologicalMotif: The number three tends to show up a lot, from the above mentioned triple goddess to the famous symbols you see on various Celtic paraphernalia. Seven and nine are also common.
* OneSteveLimit: Medb obliterates this trope, spectacularly. A druid tells her that one of her sons will one day kill Conchobar (one of Medb's '''many''' ex-husbands and king of Ulster). When Medb asks which one will do the deed, the druid simply responds, "Maine". Though she had seven sons, none of them were named Maine, so she hedged her bets and renamed all of them Maine. One of them eventually does kill Conchobar, though it turns out to be [[ProphecyTwist a different Conchobar than the one she was hoping for]].
* OneWingedAngel: Cu Chulainn's Warp Spasms, which granted him BerserkerRage and a terrifying appearance.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: Cú Chullain's birth name was "Setanta." Presumably most people know it, but there's a lot more stuff named after Cú Chullain.
** The other famous Irish hero, Fionn MacCumhaill, was given his first name after his hair turned white (Fionn means "Blond" or "fair"). His birth name was Deimne.
* OverlyLongName: Fer Benn Bruach Brogaill Broumide Cerbad Caic Rolaig Builc Labair Cerrce Di Brig Oldathair Boith Athgen mBethai Brightere Tri Carboid Roth Rimaire Riog Scotbe Obthe Olaithbe, better known as the Dagda.
* PaperThinDisguise: Cú Chullain, pursuing Connaught's warriors to retrieve the white bull of Ulster, challenges one to a duel. When he refuses to fight a "beardless boy," Cú Chullain (being only seventeen at the time) runs off, finds a goat, shaves some of its hair, and weaves a fake beard to wear before making the challenge again.
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy: Emphasis on Proud.
* PsychicDreamsForEveryone: ''Very'' common.
* {{Psychopomp}}: Gwyn ap Nudd in Wales, [[TheGrimReaper Ankou]] in Brittany.
* RapeAsDrama: The Earl Of Desmond raped Aine, the goddess of midsummer. [[BalefulPolymorph She gets]] [[BodyHorror him back for it though.]]
* SadlyMythtaken: The supernatural beings of the Otherworld (''Sidhe'', deities, or spirits), are often called ''fairies''--without the modern connotation of "adorable tiny winged people". ''That'' innovation came from the Victorians. Some modern fantasy authors use [[PhantasySpelling alternate spellings]] such as "faery/faerie" to convey that they mean the DarkerAndEdgier version of TheFairFolk.
* SeriousBusiness: Storytelling. The humble bard had incredible power in the Celtic tradition, because of his ability to tell stories. The worst thing that can happen to a mighty warrior is not to be defeated in battle, but to have a bard [[MundaneMadeAwesome compose a satirical poem about him]]. A superior opponent can merely kill you. A well-written story about how much of a loser you are will be told and re-told until the end of time.
* ShapeShifterShowdown: Taliesin vs. Cerridwen.
* SoBeautifulItsACurse: Deirdre, whose life sucked so much that she has the epithet "Deirdre of the Sorrows."
* SlapSlapKiss: Diarmuid and Grainne have this initially after eloping: they fled from Fionn and the Fianna and were on the run for weeks, but despite them being madly in love, Diarmuid refuses to have sex with her, out of loyalty to Fionn, who was to be married to Grainne before she fell in love with Diarmuid. One day, while on the run Grainne steps into a puddle and water splashes between her thighs. She mocks Diarmuid, saying how even water in a ''puddle'' is braver than he is. His noble pride hurt, [[TheyDo Diarmuid finally makes love to Grainne.]]
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: There are at least three alternate spellings for ''every name in this article.''
* [[{{Atlantis}} Sunken Lands]]: There are a number of kingdoms and cities drowned underneath the waves: the Welsh kingdom of Cantre'r Gwaelod, the Breton city of Ys (or Ker-Ys), the Cornish kingdom of Lyonesse, and--in some versions of the Arthurian legend--Avalon.
* TalkingInBed: The beginning of the Irish story ''Táin Bó Cúailnge'', "The Cattle Raid of Cooley."
* UnusualEuphemism: Lots of people refer to "The/a garden of the Morrigan" or "the Morrigan's harvest." While she IS a fertility goddess, her "garden" and "harvest" are actually battlefields and the [[SoulEater souls]] / [[OffWithHisHead heads]] / [[EyeScream eyes]] of the dead. This possibly refers to her sacred birds, the corvids, who eat carrion.
** It might also refer to the fact that battlefields become quite verdant after a few years.
** Also, "Macha's Acorn Crop" is a poetic way to describe the piled-up heads after a battle.
** If ''The Wooing of Emer'' is to go by, the Creator/MontyPython crew was far from the first to refer to breasts as tracts of land.
--->'''Cu Chulainn:''' When I said, "Fair is this plain, the plain of the noble yoke," it was not the plain of Bray that I praised then, but the shape of the maiden. For I beheld the yoke of her two breasts through the opening of her smock, and it is of that I said, "plain of the noble yoke," of the breasts of the maiden.
* VoluntaryShapeshifting
* WaveMotionSword: The Caladbolg, which shot rainbow-colored energy beams that could destroy mountains.
* WhenTreesAttack: [[MagicKnight Gwydion]] the magician enchants the trees to fight as warriors against the forces of the Otherworld. They do a bloody good job, too.
* TheWildHunt
* YearInsideHourOutside (inverted): A common problem when one spends time in the Otherworld.
** In Tir na nÓg you experience time normally, but don't age it until you leave. Which isn't a pretty sight.

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!!Works substantially derived from (or outright retellings of) Celtic mythology:

[[AC:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'' contains some references to Celtic Myths, such as the Geass (derived from the geis/geas). It also heavily references [[KingArthur Arthurian Legend]], as well as [[spoiler:Lelouch's death having shades of KingInTheMountain, due to WildMassGuessing over his death/possible survival]]. It helps that TheEmpire refers to itself as Britannia and makes heavy use of the legends and actual history of the British Isles.
* ''[[LightNovel/{{Durarara}} Durarara!!]]'' also derives significant plot points from Celtic mythology, such as [[HeadlessHorseman Dullahan]] Celty.
* Cu Chulainn and Diarmuid un Duibhne appear in ''[[VisualNovel/{{FateStayNight}} Fate/stay night]]'' and ''[[LightNovel/{{Fate Zero}} Fate/Zero]]'' respectively.

[[AC:ComicBooks]]
* The eponymous character of Pat Mill's ''ComicBook/{{Slaine}}'' comics is almost a straight expy of Cú Chullain. Same battles with Queen Medb, same barbed death spear, same horrible body-warping berserker rage. The whole series mixes Celtic Mythology with some ConanTheBarbarian, some [[EldritchAbomination Lovecraftian horror]] and a titch of Neo-pagan spirituality. Season with a punk rock aesthetic and serve.
* In a MarvelComics ''[[ComicBook/TheMightyThor Thor]]'' miniseries ''Thor: Blood Oath'', Thor and the Warriors Three are tasked with retrieving a spear called Slaughter from the Irish gods. The spear appears to be a combination of the Spear of Lugh and Gae Bolg. It's kept in a cauldron of blood to prevent it from killing anyone who happens to be nearby and is wielded by Chulain, though it doesn't have any extending barbs.
* FrancoBelgianComics have had a large influx of Celtic Myth and Folklore-inspired titles in the TurnOfTheMillennium that is still going strong; in fact, one of the largest "bandes dessinées" publishers, Soleil, [[http://soleilceltic.com/ has a whole sub-imprint just for those]]. This is hardly surprising given that before Roman conquest France and Belgium were Gaul, the largest and most populous of the celtic lands, so it can be seen as going back to their roots (also a ready-made source of inspiration to help stay competitive in the face of {{manga}}, which is [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff extremely successful there]]).

[[AC:Film - Animated]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSecretOfKells'', being a film made and set in Ireland, is naturally filled with Celtic mythological elements as well as Christian ones. Aisling is stated by WordOfGod to be one of the Tuatha Dé Danann.

[[AC:{{Literature}}]]
* Creator/LloydAlexander's ''Literature/ChroniclesOfPrydain'' are inspired by Welsh mythology.
* Julian May's ''[[Literature/SagaOfTheExiles Saga of Pliocene Exile]]''
* ''Franchise/HarryPotter'': Wormtail's silver hand bears an interesting resemblance to Nuada's silver arm.
* ''Literature/TheHoundsOfTheMorrigan'' overflows with references to Irish mythology, including some very obscure bits and bobs of it.
* Mark Chabourn's ''Literature/TheAgeOfMisrule'' cycle of novels posits Celtic Mythology crashing into modern life in a TheMagicComesBack plot.
* Traci Harding's ''Ancient Future Trilogy'', and its sequel trilogies.
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' being a FantasyKitchenSink, involves the Fae (make no deals and eat none of their food, just like the legends, as well as changelings, being the child of a fae and a mortal), Excalibur, and Merlin has been brought up on several occasions.
* Creator/CSLewis' ''Literature/TheVoyageOfTheDawnTreader'' takes much inspiration from the ancient Irish genre of ''immrama'', "sea-voyages" -- stories about fantastical seafaring expeditions into the unknown Western ocean, beyond which lies the paradisical ''Tír na nÓg'', or Land of the Young; only in ''Voyage of the Dawn Treader'', it's the Eastern sea, at the end of which lies Aslan's Country.
* ''Literature/ArtemisFowl'', written by the Irish EoinColfer features fairies, who, like in the myths, retreated underground and built a highly technologically advanced civilization that fears humanity and - wait...
** The Goddess Danu's protection of the Earth and fairies is a major plot element in the last book.
* Patricia Kennealy-Morrison's ''Keltiad'' series is CelticMythology [[RecycledInSpace IN SPACE!!]] -- St. Brendan led his people on a great migration to another planet.
* Fiona Patton's ''Literature/TalesOfTheBranionRealm'' series has elements of Celtic Christianity, particularly the Kingdom's founders, who are named Bran Bendigeid and his sister Braniana after characters in Welsh mythology.
* ''Literature/TheSevenwatersTrilogy'' is set in history but draws much of inspiration from Celtic Mythology. Interestingly though, the plot line is based on a German fairy tale.
* ''Literature/AtSwimTwoBirds'' by Flann O'Brien has Finn Mac Cool and Mad King Sweeney appear as characters.
* ''The Wanderings of Oisin'', a narrative poem by Creator/WilliamButlerYeats, is an retelling of Oisin's adventures in Tir nan oge.
* Salvatore Doni and Duke Voban have both received Authorities from figures mentioned on this page in {{LightNovel/Campione}}. Nuada and Balor respectively.

[[AC:LiveActionTV]]
* The 1998 miniseries ''Film/{{Merlin}}'', which includes many elements of Celtic Mythology rarely seen in retellings of ArthurianLegend.

[[AC:Multimedia Franchises]]
* ''Franchise/DotHack'' features [[TragicMonster Macha]] and [[BigBad Morganna]] (The Morrigan) [[spoiler: as [[AIIsACrapshoot digital]] [[DeusEstMachina goddesses]]]]. Lia Fail, the Tuatha Dé Danann's stone of destiny is one of the Root Towns of The World. Three characters are known collectively as the "Descendants of Fianna". And Crennuos is also used by [[MegaCorp CC Corp]] for the The World's backstory in ''.hack//G.U.''

[[AC:{{Music}}]]
* Music/TheDecemberists's epic song/EP (clocking in at 18:35 for one track) ''The Tain'' is a retelling of the ''Literature/TainBoCuailnge''.
* Irish 1970's band Music/{{Horslips}} did a version of 'The Táin'' on an early album.
* Music/NataliaOShea combines this with SlavicMythology in her music.

[[AC:TabletopGames]]
* ''TabletopGame/ChangelingTheDreaming'', where the Fae's predecessors were the Tuatha de Danaan, and the Fomorians are {{Eldritch Abomination}}s.
* ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse'' has a Celtic werewolf tribe called the Fianna, whose legends borrow heavily from Irish mythology.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Gurps}} [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Celtic Myth]]''
* A substantial portion of the [[BlackKnight Shadow Paladin clan]] of ''TabletopGame/CardfightVanguard'' are named after Celtic mythological characters, such as: Cursed Spear Revenger, Diarmuid; Darkness Maiden, Macha; Skull Witch, Nemain; Dark Mage, Badabh Caar; and Witch of Cursed Talisman, Etain. Interestingly, Macha, Nemain, and Badabh Caar are clasically the three sisters of the Morrigan, and in-game all have effects based around incresing your card advantage, probably so you can simply use it up to pay the costs of powerful effects.

[[AC:{{Theatre}}]]
* Creator/{{Shakespeare}}'s ''Theatre/AMidsummerNightsDream''

[[AC:VideoGames]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Nethergate}}''
* ''VideoGame/{{Mabinogi}}'' uses many elements from Celtic mythology.
* ''VideoGame/{{Folklore}}'', true to name, incorporates quite a bit of Celtic Mythology and Fairy Lore. Though mostly within it's own cosmology, for example [[strike: Balor]] [[SpellMyNameWithAnS Baral]] is literally an evil eye.
* Koei's ''VideoGame/CelticTales: Balor of the Evil Eye'', a strategy game similar to ''VideoGame/RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms'', is set in what appears to be ancient Ireland.
* The FetchQuest video game ''Rhiannon: Curse of the Four Branches''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Albion}}'' is what happens when you bring Celtic Mythology [[RecycledInSpace IN SPACE!]]
* Cu Chulain and Diarmuid both appear in TypeMoon 's Nasuverse. They're both of Lancer class.
* Celtic beasts occasionally appear in ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'', such as Balor (or [[SpellMyNameWithAnS Balore]], in this case) in ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaChroniclesOfSorrow'' and ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaPortraitOfRuin''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Kingdoms Of Amalur}}'' has a world heavily inspired by Celtic Mythology. The villains are called Tuatha de Ohn.
* The ''Videogame/ShinMegamiTensei'' metaseries allows you to create Cu Chulainn in some games, most notably in Persona 3, in which you can also create Gae Bolg as a BladeOnAStick that the Protagonist and [[CreepyChild Ken]] can use. Due to its special properties of hitting for [[BlowYouAway Wind element]] damage at no [[{{Mana}} SP cost]], it's a borderline GameBreaker.

[[AC:WesternAnimation]]
* ''{{WesternAnimation/Gargoyles}}'' episode ''The Hound of Ulster'' attempted to tell the story of Cú Chulainn

----
[[redirect:UsefulNotes/CelticMythology]]
19th May '14 6:21:12 AM LentilSandEater
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* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: [[SpellMyNameWithAThe The]] Morrígan ("Phantom queen" or "Big Queen" or "Queen of Death" or "The Queen"), Irish goddess of war, death, and other fun pastimes.
** It's not that she's ''evil'', more that her priorities are not the same as anyone else's priorities.
*** Really? It sounds as if her priorities are [[SarcasmMode pretty much the same]] as everyone else's.

to:

* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: [[SpellMyNameWithAThe The]] Morrígan ("Phantom queen" or "Big Queen" or "Queen of Death" or "The Queen"), Irish goddess of war, death, and other fun pastimes.
** It's not that she's ''evil'', more that
pastimes. Overall, her priorities are not morality falls under BlueAndOrangeMorality rather than outright evil, but for humans they don't notice the same as anyone else's priorities.
*** Really? It sounds as if her priorities are [[SarcasmMode pretty much the same]] as everyone else's.
difference.
25th Apr '14 12:30:05 PM Catbert
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* RavensAndCrows: Quite a few of them. For one thing, "[[OurGiantsAreBigger Bran]]" means Raven.
7th Apr '14 10:11:26 AM lordGacek
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There are two main (surviving) strands of Celtic mythology: Goidelic (Irish/Scots/Manx) and [[{{Mabinogion}} Brythonic]] (Welsh/Cornish/Breton). While they share many tropes and have certain figures in common, they do not really overlap; each has its own unique stories. They are further split into 'Cycles' (Ireland) and 'Branches' (Wales). Mainland Europe's Celtic traditions were mostly lost due to invasion and assimilation of Celtic populations in their conquerors' own societies (mainly TheRomanEmpire and Germanic tribes). The cultural taboo against consigning knowledge to writing certainly didn't help.



There are two main (surviving) strands of Celtic mythology: Goidelic (Irish/Scots/Manx) and [[{{Mabinogion}} Brythonic]] (Welsh/Cornish/Breton). While they share many tropes and have certain figures in common, they do not really overlap; each has its own unique stories. They are further split into 'Cycles' (Ireland) and 'Branches' (Wales). Mainland Europe's Celtic traditions were mostly lost due to invasion and assimilation of Celtic populations in their conquerors' own societies (mainly TheRomanEmpire and Germanic tribes). The cultural taboo against consigning knowledge to writing certainly didn't help.
15th Mar '14 5:12:09 PM morenohijazo
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Added DiffLines:



Added DiffLines:

* DivineConflict: The conflict between the Tuatha De Danann and the Fomorians over the ownership and right to settle the island of Ireland from Irish Legends.
1st Mar '14 12:16:18 AM KnightofLsama
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to:

* Salvatore Doni and Duke Voban have both received Authorities from figures mentioned on this page in {{LightNovel/Campione}}. Nuada and Balor respectively.
16th Feb '14 7:05:36 AM Kiereth
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to:

* A substantial portion of the [[BlackKnight Shadow Paladin clan]] of ''TabletopGame/CardfightVanguard'' are named after Celtic mythological characters, such as: Cursed Spear Revenger, Diarmuid; Darkness Maiden, Macha; Skull Witch, Nemain; Dark Mage, Badabh Caar; and Witch of Cursed Talisman, Etain. Interestingly, Macha, Nemain, and Badabh Caar are clasically the three sisters of the Morrigan, and in-game all have effects based around incresing your card advantage, probably so you can simply use it up to pay the costs of powerful effects.




to:

* The ''Videogame/ShinMegamiTensei'' metaseries allows you to create Cu Chulainn in some games, most notably in Persona 3, in which you can also create Gae Bolg as a BladeOnAStick that the Protagonist and [[CreepyChild Ken]] can use. Due to its special properties of hitting for [[BlowYouAway Wind element]] damage at no [[{{Mana}} SP cost]], it's a borderline GameBreaker.
14th Feb '14 6:34:22 AM erforce
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* Celtic beasts occasionally appear in ''VideoGame/{{Castlevania}}'', such as Balor (or [[SpellMyNameWithAnS Balore]], in this case).

to:

* Celtic beasts occasionally appear in ''VideoGame/{{Castlevania}}'', ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'', such as Balor (or [[SpellMyNameWithAnS Balore]], in this case).case) in ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaChroniclesOfSorrow'' and ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaPortraitOfRuin''.
28th Jan '14 12:36:08 PM LordGro
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Added DiffLines:

* ''Literature/TheVoyageOfMaelDuin''
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.CelticMythology