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The Dullahan In Celtic Mythology

Updated on December 24, 2011
dullahan | Source
the dullahan
the dullahan | Source


Greek mythology, Roman mythology and Eygyptian Mythology are the most spoken and most heard mythologies. The Celtic people have their mythology as well. They have their Gods and Goddesses and their creatures. The Dullahan is one of their many creatures or as they call one of their many Fairies.

In this hub you will discover what the Dullahan is and you may just find out some interesting information about this creature as well. After all I'm pretty sure you probably haven't even heard of the Dullahan.

What Is The Dullahan

The Dullahan is the Ireland's own version of the headless horseman. That's the best and most easiest way to explain this creature. He is frightening. This creature is considered to be a unseelie fairy. Always see headless, the Dullahan is often times seen riding on a large black horse carrying his or even her head under one arm. A lot of times the Dullahan is seen being male but there are female versions.

The head of the Dullahan is large and the eyes move constantly. The mouth is usually in a large and frightening grin. The color of this head is compared to that of moldy cheese. As if this isn't frightening enough the Dullahan carries a whip that is made out of the human spine. This creature is associated with a wagon that is made out of funeral items such as candles, skulls, the wheels being made out of bones. According to the myth wherever this creature stops riding it is where someone is due to die. The creature will call out their name and then they will perish.

It's said that the Dullahan also holds a great sight. It's head can see across the countryside, even on the darkest night. He'll use this ability to spy on the one that is going to dye. He cannot talk much for he is only able to speak once and that is to speak the name of the person who is to die.

On Irish feast nights the people advise to stay at home with their curtains drawn. This is especially at the end of August and Early September. This is when the festival of Crom Dubh was said to have taken place. It's said that an artifact made out of gold may frighten him away but that there really is no defense again the Dullahan.

This myth is the one that may have sparked the idea for the headless horseman in "The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow".

Do The Irish Fear The Dullahan?

The answer is an easy one here. Yes and they have every right to. The Dullahan is one of the most terrifying spiritual creatures of Irish folklore/mythology. Wouldn't you be frightened too if you spotted a headless being carrying a head that had a hideous grin upon his/her face? I wouldn't deny it, I know I'd be down right terrified.

Not to mention that this being was a sign of death, something most people fear.


Whether or not the Dullahan inspired the idea behind the headless horseman in "The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow" there is no denying the horror yet curiosity there is behind this creature. If this Irish creature did create the headless horseman than it created a classic. I imagine the picture of the headless horseman in my mind and it is terrifying. Keep an eye out for the Dullahan. Perhaps he is spying on you across the countryside. Maybe he will stop by you next. Let's hope not. Muahahaha.


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    • Cresentmoon2007 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Caledonia, MI

      Singed I have not seen that movie but in ancient Celtic culture they do have such a creature involved in their believes, that is not to say that this being is not tied to Japan, I am just writing that this creature is said be be from Celtic beliefs. Perhaps you are correct. One may never really know. That is a movie I will have to watch, sounds like it'd be interesting. Thank you for pointing it out.

      May, what an interesting sir name to have, I wouldn't be quite so freaked out about it. Be proud that you can tie your sir name together with an ancient Celtic being.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      this is spooky, because my Sir name is Dullahan

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      so I'm guessing no one has watched Durarara. It's partially the story of a Dullahan who has lost its head and has tracked it to Japan.

    • Cresentmoon2007 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Caledonia, MI

      There are many stories of the Dullahan Ash and I'm sure a few of them are funny

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      they even have stories of people meeting the Dullahan, one is quite funny.

    • Cresentmoon2007 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Caledonia, MI

      Thank you stephaniedas, glad you liked it.

    • stephaniedas profile image

      Stephanie Das 

      8 years ago from Miami, US

      Never heard of it, but it is very frightening! I like to see common threads throughout world mythology and two stick out to me here- the use of someone's name as power over them, and the use of human body parts in things that are usually made of animal body parts, like the human spine as the whip. Great hub!

    • Cresentmoon2007 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Caledonia, MI

      Thank you kitty, finally one that you've never heard of lol. Glad you liked it.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Kitty Fields 

      8 years ago from Summerland

      In all my reading of Irish and faerie folklore, I've never hard of the Dullahan. Very interesting. Voted up and awesome!


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