A Field Guide to Irish Fairies by Bob Curran and illustrated by Andrew Whitson. ISBN 0-8118-2276-1.
This book is structured by summarizing members of the sidhe,(pronounce shee) or Irish faerie world, by chapter and each of the following types of faeries are reviewed: The Grogoch, The Grey Man, The Sheerie, Changelings, The Pooka, Merrows, The Banshee, The Leprechaun, The Dullahan and some lesser known Irish Fairies.
I enjoyed learning about the sidhe and one of my favourites within this family are merrows. They are considered to be mermaids in other cultures but in Irish lore, the differences between merrows and humans are that merrows have webbed fingers and their feet are flatter than their mortal counterpart. Naturally, they have an affinity for water, yet they are able to spend long periods of time on land.
There are tales of merrows being persuaded by fishermen to marry them. While a merrow may be wealthy and beautiful, she will remain aloof toward her husband and her children always desire to return to the sea.
Most of us are familiar with Leprecahuns, but did you know that there may two kinds? One kind of leprechaun or its distant cousin is the cluricaun. He is cheeery and wears garish coloured coats and is fond of spirits. Since he has no money, he goes around raiding wine cellars and drinking the entire contents of cocktail cabinets. This works up a tremendous appetite in him which drives him to eat the cupboards bare.
In contrast to the cheery personality of the cluricaun is a burly leprechaun who stands three feet high, dressed in a green coat, red breeches and a wide-brimmed hat. He smokes foul smelling pipes and is frequently found disheveled and intoxicated. He is both the faerie's banker and cobbler. When he is making Faerie Slippers he is heard hammer ing their soles from behind bushes, hedges or down in a sleugh (gully). Some stories tell of his wearing two leather pouches at his waist; one carrying a silver coin, the other a gold coin. The silver coin is magical because it returns to his pouch whenever it appears that he is paying for something. The gold coin is reserved for bribing himself out of shady situations!
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