Yesterday's Myths & Mysteries

The Otherworlds Of Ireland

They say time passes differently in the Otherworlds of Ireland.

These are the paradises that exist on Earth in Celtic mythology, inhabited by faeries, demons, spirits and other supernatural creatures, as well as the Tuatha De Danann.

They are said, perhaps, to exist underground, or on islands west of Ireland. Or maybe they’re all around us, inhabiting another dimension or plane of existence.

They have many names, as well: Tír na nÓg, the Land of the Ever-Young. Tir na mBeo, the Land of the Living. Mag Mell, the Delightful Plain. And then there’s Tech Duinn, not quite a paradise — the Celtic realm of the dead. But each are hidden, invisible to human detection.

However, lucky (or perhaps unlucky) humans have found their ways into the Otherworlds, through hills, faerie mounds and deep caverns, and often by invitation from mischievous faerie maidens.

Time After Time

Image: Flickr/Anathea Utley via CC by 2.0

Take, for example, the story of Oisin, the Irish poet.

One day, Oisin crossed paths with a fairy named Níamh Chinn Óir. She confessed her love, and together they ventured to Tír na nÓg. There, they had children, and for three hundred years they lived happily in that land of fruits, feasts, and enchantment.

But it had only felt like days.

Eventually, Oisin became homesick. Niamh, understanding his feelings, granted him her white horse, but cautioned him not to touch the ground.

So Oisin left Tír na nÓg, riding carefully on his horse, certain not to touch the ground as Niamh had warned. When he arrived home, however, everyone was gone. His friends. His family. His old home was abandoned, and the passing of three hundred years had left him nothing. His new life, then, was in the Otherworld.

Unfortunately, on his way back to Tír na nÓg, he accidently fell off his horse and touched the ground of Ireland. In that instant, all that time caught up with him, and he aged to his death.

It is said that Niamh, to this day, still wanders Ireland upon her white horse, searching for Oisin.

But she will never find him.

An Otherworld Faerie?
If a faerie invites you into the Otherworld, perhaps you should think twice…for you will be forever changed. (Image: Flickr/hobvias sudoneighm via CC by 2.0)

Coincidentally, the Otherworlds of Celtic mythology, including Tír na nÓg, are very similar to the concept of Shambhala and Agharta in Tibetan Buddhism — all places located on Earth, either beneath the surface or hidden away in an etheric plane, inaccessible to humans except under specific circumstances.

It’s curious how these myths and legends seem to overlap…


Rob Schwarz

Writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. Editor-in-chief of Stranger Dimensions.

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