Tír na nÓg is the fabled
island off the west coast of Ireland "The land of perpetual youth" where the
Tuatha de Danann (the Sidhe) resided.
It also was home to a few mortals
who were carried there by the Sidhe such as the Celtic hero Oisín who
loved the ban-sidhe (fairy woman) Niamh and lived on the island for what he perceived to be a
Time on Tír na nÓg seemed to pass at a different rate to time on earth.
Hence when Oisín returned to his homeland to visit his family and friends he
discovered that they were all long dead and three hundred years had passed by.
Other names for Tír na nÓg
are Oilean na mBeo - the Island of the Living, Tír na mBuadha - the
land of Virtues, Hy na Beatha - the island of Life, Tír na mBeo - the
land of the Living and Hy Brasail - Brasil's Island, The Land of Promise,
and the Land of Youth. Also known as the Land Over Sea, and the Land
Time stopped still on Tír na
nÓg, one never grew old or suffered from any illness, it was always of a temperate
climate neither too hot nor too cold. The flowers bloomed perpetually and never
died. There was no sorrow or pain, love was eternal it was without wars or famine or any
of the ills of the earth.
To get to Tír na nÓg it was
necessary to cross a stretch of water and then to go under the waves for a time before
coming again to dry land. The 'horses' of the sidhe crossed the waves as if
they were a solid surface.
People have been fascinated by
the legend of Tír na nÓg for countless generations. During the twelfth century
Giraldus Cambrensis tells the story of how an island appeared suddenly off the west coast
of Ireland but when people tried to approach and land it immediately vanished. A
group of people went out again in search of the island and having steered within bowshot
of it struck the island with a red-hot arrow in consequence the island immediately
It has long been the subject
of poetry and bardic literature.
In 1853 the Ossianic Society was founded by Mr.
Hardiman and Mr. O' Flanagan and others to preserve and collect all literature and poems
regarding the legendary heroes Fionn mac
Cumhaill, Oisín and Oscar and the land of Tír
Further Reading: O'Hanlon,
rev. John (Lageniensis), Irish Folklore: Traditions and Superstitions of the
country. first published 1870, republished E.P publishing Ltd., 1973.
and Legends associated with Tir na nÓg
in Tir na nÓg
Adventures of Art son of Conn
Son of Dremen