According to Irish legend, more than 4,000 years ago, from somewhere in the north, a tribe came to Ireland, whose representatives possessed miraculous abilities and brought with them many magical artifacts.
Information about this tribe, which was called Danu or Tuatha de Danann, is contained in the ancient document “Annals of the Four Masters”, written by Franciscan friars somewhere in the middle of the 17th century on the basis of earlier texts. The Danes are also mentioned in the Book of Invasions, written around 1150.
The Irish, at the time of the Danish invasion, were dark-haired people of short stature. The intruders were very different from them. They were tall people with blond or red hair, blue or green eyes, and very fair skin.
Having landed on the shores of Ireland, the Danes entered into battle with the local tribe. According to legend, during one of the battles, the king of the Danes, Nuada Argetlam, lost his arm. However, according to legend, the Danu doctor immediately construct for him a fully functioning arm of silver. Another doctor “grew skin on his arm.”
According to legend, the Danes arrived in Ireland in flying ships surrounded by dark clouds. In the later texts written by the monks, the flying ships turned into ordinary sailing ships, and the dark clouds into columns of smoke. According to the chronicles, by setting fire to their own ships, they “warned the local residents that they were here for a long time and were not going to sail back.”
The Danes came from the northern country of Tir na Nog, which in translation means the Land of the Eternally Young. One could reach this land by passing through the gates of the sidhe mounds. In this place, according to legend, it was easy to cross the border between the worlds, which was very thin.
The country of the Danes was rich. In the Land of the Forever Young, beautiful people lived in luxury and joy, who never grew old. According to legend, time stopped in Tir na Nog and according to one of the legends, Prince Oisin fell in love with a resident of the Land of the Forever Young Niam.
Niam invited him to her place, and the prince lived in the Land of the Forever Young for three happy years. When Oisin came back, he found that three hundred years had already passed at home. As soon as the prince set foot on his native land, he immediately grew old and died.
The inhabitants of Tir na Nog, according to legend, did not age, but were not entirely immortal either. They could be killed by enemies or diseases.
Danes in Ireland
They ruled Ireland for a long time and the last local people with whom they had to fight were the Milesians, the ancestors of the modern Irish.
According to legend, the Danes were noble and honest people. Therefore, with the help of deceit and cunning, the Miltese still managed to win several victories over them. The result of the war was the division of Ireland into two parts – ground and underground.
On earth, the Milesians remained to rule, and the Danes went underground through the mounds of the sidhe. As soon as the Danes disappeared underground, Manannon, the god of the sea, protected all the entrances to their kingdom by raising a magical fog from the ocean.
What artifacts did the Danes bring?
The Danes are said to have brought four magical artifacts with them to Ireland:
- sword of light;
- Lugh’s spear;
- cauldron of abundance;
- the stone of Destiny.
The sword of light, according to legend, could hit any enemy and no one could evade this enchanted weapon.
Lugh’s spear was fiery and emitted sparks “the size of an egg”. To prevent its shaft from catching fire, according to legend, it was periodically dipped into some kind of magical liquid. Like the sword of light, Lugh’s spear was capable of striking anyone.
The properties of the cauldron of abundance can be judged by its name. From this container, any person could get any item he needed, as well as any food. The cauldron of abundance, for example, is reflected in the tale of the magic pot. Also, this artifact, according to legend, was able to resurrect the dead. Some researchers believe that in later times the cauldron of abundance in the legends was transformed into the Holy Grail.
The stone of fate brought by the Danes is also known as the stone of coronation. The Danes placed this stone on Mount Tara in the Irish province of Meath. According to legend, the coronation of any king of Ireland was confirmed by a terrible cry that was heard all over the world.
One of the kings, when the stone did not confirm his coronation, broke it in two in their hearts. Later, one of the halves was taken to Scotland and eventually ended up on the throne of England, where it remains to this day. But there is a legend that the real artifact was hidden in the Tay River and has not been found so far.