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 Griwogs/ fairies

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Posts : 16
Join date : 2009-09-16

PostSubject: Griwogs/ fairies   Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:01 pm

Years ago people used to have a lot of faith in the little people where do ya think that went? We had our own faires and ghosts and now nothing. Cant help but feel thats an important part of being who we are. Our ways and spirit. My nan RIP used to leave milk out and never throw out water at night and all that. Where do ya think its gone and why? Can we get it back?
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PostSubject: Re: Griwogs/ fairies   Sat Oct 03, 2009 1:51 pm

Im sure we can reclaim it somehow
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Age : 32
Location : At the pc :)

PostSubject: Re: Griwogs/ fairies   Mon Oct 05, 2009 7:48 am

Of course we can reclaim it - but its something that we each alone must attempt to do - of course we can support each other but the actual acts of reclaiming are ours.

This is one of my favourite topics - like your own gran mine has a facination with the fairies - having a series of childhood experiences at the campsite has definetly lead to this but its one of the topics I'd love to see being honoured more.

In Shelta/kant/cant/gammon the term Fairy is known as Griwog, a name that is thought to arise from the Gaelic 'sīdheōg' also meaning ‘Fairy’ and according to Celtic mythology in which the Irish Pavee, like that the larger Irish community were exposed, to, the Griwog were thought to be the children of the Túatha Dé Dannan.

The Túatha Dé Dannan were thought to be the original gods of Ireland. According to legend and the book of Lebor Gabála Érenn they were defeated in battle by the Milesians - the mortal Sons of Míl Espáine. Due to their immortality they could not be slain so instead took retreat into the hills and valleys of the land. At times they were said to walk unseen among the living mortals and in the years that followed came to be known as the Fae, sidhe and griwog.

When dealing with this cultural aspect we must all be wary not to allow our own preconceptions, tinted by the modern material based living, to have a detrimental influence on the presence and beauty of such older beliefs. To do such a thing is not only ignorant to the teachings of the past but rests blindly in the assumption, that such erudition and lore is of little importance or significance within this, the new era of the Irish Travelling community.

The Griwog themselves can be seen as a personification of the natural forces, giving guise and form to the innate anxieties found within the bonds of living in unison with the harsh natural world. While encompassing a wide array of psychological archetypes to aspects of mythological lore, and the possibility of being sensitive to an unseen world, it providing a dynamic and living conduit to a greater personal and cultural understanding.

Regardless of the intricacies of their presence, the topic and treatment of Fairies was of a genuine and realistic importance to the elder generations of Pavee. For to work in harmony with nature brought the promises of survival, and to work against the regents of such embodiments was to quicken the path to demise and self destruction.

Such spiritual and cultural belief were in no way unique or limited to the Irish Pavee community, but were held in agreement with the larger Celtic consciousness. The lingering respect for such things was more prevalent due to the virtue of living within the embrace of nature for a time longer them most.

Below is a list of Traditional Griwogs:


Wanshee, Banshee or 'Bean-sidhe' is Irish for fairy woman. Her sharp, cries and wails are also called 'keening'. The English word 'Keen' is from the Irish 'Caoineadh' meaning lament.

There is no harm or evil in her mere presence, unless she is seen in the act of crying; but this is a fatal sign. The wail of a banshee pierces the night, it's notes rising and falling like the waves of the sea, it always announces a lovals's death. She is a solitary woman fairy, mourning and forewarning those only of the best families in Ireland, those with most ancient Celtic lineages.

When a member of the beloved race is dying, she paces the dark hills about his house or camp. She sharply contrasts against the night's blackness, her white figure emerges with silver-grey hair streaming to the ground and a grey-white cloak of a cobweb texture clinging to her tall thin body. Her face is pale, her eyes red with centuries of crying. But this is not the only way that the banshee appears, at other times she is seen as a beautiful young girl, with long, red-golden hair, and wearing a green kirtle and scarlet mantle, broached with gold, after the older Irish fashions. At times she will also appear shrouded and muffled in a dark, mist-like cloak.

White Lady of Sorrow some people name her, and Lady of Death. She is the Woman of Peace and the Spirit of the Air. For despite her wailing, she is somehow graced with a manner of peace.
Unseen, banshees attend the funerals of the beloved dead. Although, sometimes she can be heard wailing, her voice blending in with the mournful cries of others.

Even in the current age she is said to follow and watch many of the Pavee families that never forget their blood ties; for nor does she.

Lianhan shee

The lianhan shee, whose name means the 'love fairy' is a fairy mistress of darksome and dreadful power, for she seeks the love and dominion of mortal men, if they refuse her, she is their slave and if they consent they are hers. Most men find that they cannot refuse her.

Only one lianhan shee is said to exists and she is more a force than a woman. Each fairy woman who loves is said to becomes one with her; and for the mortal man who longs for her she is the one and only.

She does not play folly with emotions; all who love her, live for her and their desire for her frequently destroys them. The more suffering she inflicts the dearer she becomes to them. The more they desire her the more she eludes them.

An impatient mistress, the lianhan shee creates such desire in her lovers that they will overcome all obstacles to embrace her. She never yields to them in mortal lands, but insists on their meeting in the land of Tir-na-n-Og, so that men must pass through death to enjoy her.

It is said that no one has ever fully described the lianhan shee. Perhaps each stricken man jealously guards his love and fears the worlds knowledge of her. But more likely no mortal can describe her; for she is desire itself and she wishes to elude all attempts to limit her glory. She may select her lovers from our realm, but she never allows her story to remain long on their mortal lips.


Good or bad weather, the male merrow sits upon a rock, scanning the sea for cases of brandy lost from wrecked ships. He is a friendly fellow with a red nose and white piercing eyes, both lifeless and filled with curiosity

He is said to be a bringer of good luck. He wears a red cocked hat and has a green body, with green hair and teeth.

The female merrow, also called mulrruhgach, murúch or simply the sea-maiden, is a loving and graceful being. She has the tail of a fish and web-like scales between her fingers. She sometimes wears a gown as white as the sea foam glistening with the rising sun. Her hair is red, like the fresh hot ambers of a campfire and at times also wears a red hat, which suits her alluring face, with its mocking eyes.

In the open sea she is as wild as she is alluring, but on land she becomes shy and submissive to men, so much so her greatest emotions are said to be ones of a quiet caring.


The selkies, also called kelpies, or selchies are gentler creatures who are seals by day but men and women by night. In their mortal form the selkies are described as posessing an unearthly beauty with dark hair and eyes. Silently they emerge from the sea to shed their skins and frolic on the sand before returning to the silence of the sea before the sun rises.


Most leprechauns are said to be ugly, stunted creatures, not taller than boys of the age of five or six. They are broad and bulky, with faces like dried apples. They have a mischievous light in their eyes and their bodies, despite their stubbiness, usually move gracefully.

They possess all the earth's treasures, but prefer to dress drab to mislead others of their worth. When disturbed they have been know to be foul-mouthed and they smoke ill-smelling pipes called 'dudeens'.


Cluricanns are creatures of the road, shapeless like a gust of wind they are seen only in the drifting leaves and shaking bushes in which they hide. They are said to travel with lone Pavee's on the roads at night and while neither efficacious nor malignant they possessed a curiosity that often causes fright and worry for those unexperienced in their presence.


Most often it appears as a terrible black horse, huge and sleek, breathing blue flames, with eyes of yellow fire, a snort like thunder, a smell like sulphur, a stride that clears mountains and a human voice deep as a cave. With a sound sometimes like the ripping of trees from the earth, it haunts rivers and frightens fishermen and sailors so much so, that they are fearful of approaching land.

Yet for all its black deeds, the pooka to the Pavee was a tame creature compared to what it was for the larger community. In ancient days the pooka was said to be lord over all that went forth after dark, except those on missions of mercy and hungry for food. All roads belonged to it; and few who travelled them without respect for its nature lived to tell.

It is said to make its appearance at night, after a day when it rains while the sun still shines and that berries, killed in the frost of late spring were said to be

When it rains with the sun still shining, it is said to mean that it will be out that night. When berries are killed by frost in the days of later spring they should not be taken, for they belong to the pooka.


The dullahan also called the Gan Ceann rides a death carriage during the dead of night. Headless and clad in black he is sometimes seen with the grey-haired banshee shrieking by his side, driving the coach drawn by six black horses. Flickering candles set in the hollows of skulls are said to light the way.

Although called by the wails of the banshee or the spilling of innocent blood, the dullahan serves no master but that of death. Fearful only of the presence of gold and a cross few dared to share a road with such a being and often left the next morning after sights or sounds of his presence.

The Dark Man

The Dark Man or Far Dorocha was said to be the chief agent in Pavee abduction. A perfect servant to the fairy queen, he never betrays emotion nor wastes a movement in fulfilling her commands. Although, he never speaks, all understand his request and, unable to disobey, surrender their wills to his and mount up behind him on the silent but swift journey to the underworld.

The Grey Man

The Grey Man or Far Liath appears as a fog and covers land and sea with his mantle. He obscures the rocks so that ships crash upon them and darkens the road so that travellers unwittingly stumble over steep cliffs to their deaths.

The Man of Hunger

Since the times of famine, the Man of Hunger or Far Gorta is said to of travelled the roads, begging alms and charity from those he meets. Hardly a layer of flesh clings to his cheeks; and his arms, thin as striped sticks, barely have strength to hold his hands out in begging. To refuse him is said to refuse life itself as he had little pity for those that would prolong his suffering

Fairy Changelings

When a Traveller mother found a scrawny, ill-tempered, foul-mouthed yellow-faced little man in the cradle, she knows instantly that the fairies have traded her child for this thing.

Each fairy changeling has a distinctive personality; but ugliness, ill temper and unending hunger are generic traits. Fairies, in their immortal perfection, are repulsed by these creatures with their restless, coal-burnt eyes, puckered features and textured skin; that is why they eject them from their lands and trade them for especially beautiful children.

Boiling egg shells was a way of detecting the presence of a changeling. For in an old man's voice, the changeling is said to cackle with laughter at the notion of making dinner from egg shells.


The Sluagh were the spirits of the restless dead. Sometimes they were seen as sinners, or generally evil people who were welcome in neither heaven nor hell, and drifted above the ground as they were rejected by the earth itself. Some considered the Sluagh to also carry with them the souls of innocent people who were kidnapped by these destructive spirits for game in the wild hunt.

ill be back later to add a few more that come to mind - have you got any?
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