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Tir na Nog, The Land of Youth

Updated on September 24, 2017
Linda BookLady profile image

I'm a book blogger, the Book Lady at YouTube, and a memoir writer.

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A mythical land of the young, far beyond the sea....

Tir na Nog is an island in ancient Irish mythology. Tir na Nog, in the Old Irish language, means Land of Youth.

The Irish had many legends, and Tir na Nog was in some of them. It is an island far to the west, beyond the Irish shoreline, and beyond the far-reaches of the maps.

This mystical island was the home of the fairies. Few human beings were invited to live there.


Oisin's adventure in Tir na Nog

...with a beautiful fairy!

A fairy woman named Niamh Chinn Oir (Niamh of the Golden Hair) fell in love with Oisin and took him with her to Tir na Nog.

They were married and she gave birth to a son, Oscar, and a daughter, Plor na mBan (Flower of Women).

After about three years Oisin decided to return to Ireland.

Niamh gave Oisin her white horse, Embarr. She warned him not to dismount from the horse or he would become instantly old.

When he arrived in Ireland he realized three hundred years had gone by. He returned to his home and found the hill of Almu in ruins.

He tried to help some men who were building a road by lifting a stone onto a wagon. Tragically, his girth broke and he fell to the ground, instantly aging into an extremely withered old man.

Embarr, the horse, returned to Tir na Nog, and Oisin passed away.

Was there any truth to this legend?

...the Irish used to think so.

In olden times many if not most of the Irish truly believed their ancient legends were based on truth, and perhaps some still do.

According to Alwyn and Brinley Rees, authors of Celtic Heritage:

"The old storytellers believed in all the marvels of the tales. Hector Maclean, writing in 1860, observed that the adventures of heroes such as Ossian were as true and real to the storytellers of Barra and those who listened to them as were the latest exploits of the British Army to the readers of newspapers. Even in our own day Professor Delargy speaks of the horrified dismay shown by a storyteller in Co. Kerry when one of his audience ventured to cast doubt upon the story of Oisín returning from the Land of Youth and to wonder whether Oisín ever existed."

Where do the souls of the dead go?

The Irish believed that on moonlit nights the souls of the dead could be seen over the Skellig rocks, traveling toward Tir na Nog.

Beautiful music inspired by the Irish legend of Tir Na Nog.

Tír na nÃg

Actually, Tír na nÃg is the correct spelling. I had to remove the accents for most of this page... sorry! Sometimes computers don't translate the accented letters right.

This Irish movie, Into the West (1993) is my favorite movie of all time. The beautiful white horse in the movie is named Tir na Nog.

In the movie a grandfather gypsy finds the horse near the ocean, then goes to Dublin to visit his son and grandchildren. The horse follows him and the grandsons fall in love with him. The father and sons, living in a tenement, allow the horse to move in with them. Of course the building superintendent cannot allow that.

I won't give any more information. No spoilers! I'm only saying, this is an awesome movie. The horse is gorgeous and the boys are precious.

Van Morrison singing about Tir Na Nog - ...beautiful song...

Any comments? - ...always welcome...

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  • mechanicaleye profile image

    Eda Škulj 4 years ago from Bosnia and Herzegvina

    Beautiful! Excellent lens, I enjoyed it very much.

  • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

    Nathalie Roy 5 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

    I love Irish legends too.