Cliodhna was a Munster goddess whose especial domain was Glandore in Co. Cork. She presided over the Celtic Otherworld, which was a happy place for feasting and hunting, without death or aging. It was also a place full of beauty, and Cliodhna herself is supposed to have been extremely beautiful.
Stories of Cliodhna:
She possessed three magic birds, the song of which was so sweet that any of the sick who heard it were lulled to sleep and cured. However, legend also tells of a harder edge to the goddess Cliodhna. It is said that she used to employ her beauty in order to seduce men and to lure them to their deaths by the sea shore. This is supposedly what gave rise to the old Irish superstition that it is unlucky to see a woman before you put to sea. One young mortal is said to have learnt her magic and plotted to kill her, but she took the form of a wren and escaped. She is said to have drowned in the harbour of Glandore and the noise of the waves entering cliff caves near that spot has since been called Tonn Cliodhna – Cliodhna’s wave. Its noise is loud and sudden and is said to foretell the death of a king or noble man in Ulster. Cliodhna foretold, that because of the way she was treated by mortals, a great wave sent by her, would one day engulf all of Munster.
Cliodhna is another of the beautiful feminine Irish goddesses. Her responsibility is the Celtic heaven and so she is associated with light and happiness. There is a colder edge to her character however, and she is often depicted as stealing or causing the death of mortals, not necessarily from malice, but more out of cold disregard for insignificant mortal life.
Herstory is delighted to partner with Bard Mythologies, master storytellers and keepers of ancient wisdom. The primary purpose of the Bard is the re-engagement with a unique traditional heritage in order to help us reflect on where we are today. At the very start in August 1995 in the Pearse Museum, was Sandy Dunlop, his wife, Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop and Bill Felton, the creative talent who created all the wonderful images at the beginning of each story. Since then, Clare Island, Co. Mayo has been the location for the Bard Summer School week in July, and The Civic Theatre, Tallaght, plays host to monthly workshops. CandleLit Tales also host incredible nights of mythic storytelling and music around Ireland. Discover more: bardmythologies.com.