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The Merrow Of Celtic Mythology

Updated on December 24, 2011
female merrow
female merrow | Source
another female merrow
another female merrow | Source


This creature is of the Celtic origin, Irish to be exact. I only recently stumbled upon it and decided to write about the Merrow. This creature is much like the mermaid and as aspects like others from different mythologies upon reading further you will discover why I say this.

In this hub you will discover what the Merrow are exactly, what they do, and little bits of stories that includes these creatures of Irish Lore. After all there isn't anything better than a good old story.


The Merrow are often depicted as mermaid like creatures so imagine fish like body from waist down and human from waist up. The female versions of this creature were down right beautiful and alluring to both the male Merrow and the humans.

On the other hand the male Merrow weren't so great looking. Yes, there are male Merrows. They actually are more of a monster than anything. Their hair was said to be green, they were said to be more monster like and very ugly.

What Are They?

The Merrow, as mentioned before were considered to be mermaid like creatures. Oftentimes they were considered to be sea fairies. The male Merrow would hold sailors against their will deep below the sea, enslaving them. While it is said that the female counterpart of this creature enjoyed the company of human men rather than their own kind. Perhaps that's why the male Merrow would kidnap sailors.

They wear these caps that would allow them to swim deep into the sea and live there safely. If a Merrow lost their cap it's said that they'd never be able to return to the sea.

These creatures would sing songs, beautiful songs. These songs would lure men in to follow them into the waves of the sea. They would live together as husband and wife, he would always be in an enchanted state however, it would never be a true love. The Merrow would actually sometimes join the humans on the land, marrying them if it was true love. However if this was the case most of the time they'd end up returning to the sea.

Did The Irish Fear Them?

The Irish didn't necessarily fear these sea fairies. Some found them to be very suspicious. Some of the people viewed the Merrow as creatures that be both violent and friendly, depending. They could make great friends or the worst of foes. Often times stories would be heard among the people of the Merrow being violent. Some people did find them to be frightening, while others did not. If one thing is clear it is that you did not want to be their enemy.


There's one story that mentions a king of the Fomorians. This king had been sailing over the Ictean sea and could hear some music. He became enchanted by this music he could hear, music he said came from these mermaids. It was up until he came with in reach of one of them that he stopped being so enchanted by their songs. At one point this king came into reach of a Merrow and this Merrow tore his limbs off and threw them out into the sea.

Another tale mentions a mermaid like creature. This tale comes out of a Dr. O'Donovan's "Annals of The Four Masters". It was entered in the year of 887 A.D. This tale takes place on the Scottish coast Alba. This Mermaid like creature is described as being 195 feet in length and had hair 18 feet long. In this tale her fingers were 7 feet long as her nose and her skin was as white as a swan. Isn't that an interesting depiction?


Upon doing research on this creature I find them to be fascinating. That yet, another culture has a creature that is "siren like". This is also yet another one too that is part human and fish, another one that can live in the sea. I'm not sure if the tales that went around about these creatures are true or not but if I had been around during those times when those stories were going around I'd probably fear them. However, I am an oddball. I am the one that likes to stick out and not follow a crowd. So maybe I wouldn't fear them. One thing is absolutely for certain, you wouldn't want to make a Merrow mad, lest they tare your limbs off!


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    • profile image

      true merrow 18 months ago

      being a Merrow myself, I find this truly interesting.

    • Cresentmoon2007 profile image

      Cresentmoon2007 6 years ago from Caledonia, MI

      Well now you know a little bit stephaniedas.

    • stephaniedas profile image

      Stephanie Das 6 years ago from Miami, US

      Very interesting! I don't know anything about Celtic mythology, so this is a good read!

    • Cresentmoon2007 profile image

      Cresentmoon2007 6 years ago from Caledonia, MI

      Thank you Kitty. It was actually recently that I stumbled upon the merrows. I didn't really know about them prior.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from the Ether

      I love reading about the merrows. All celtic mythology is so intriguing to me. Voted up and awesome.