Irish folklore is teeming with mythical creatures of all shapes, sizes and varieties, some of which aren’t as friendly as their name or form suggests. That is part of what makes this beautiful slice of Great Britain so appealing though, not to mention popular when it comes to Northern Ireland tours!
From the infamous headless horseman, known as The Dullahan, to the Banshee whose three wails are said to be followed by death, the tales tucked away in this destination are more than intriguing.
So, we will be taking a look at a couple of mythical creatures native to Ireland, as well as their whereabouts and why their presence makes the nation’s spines rattle in fear.
In today’s article, we will be discussing just one mythical creature that is said to haunt Ireland and bring disaster to the nation; the Sluagh.
Though not technically classed as ‘demons’ by Irish folklore, Sluagh are nonetheless terrifying beings that exist only to seek souls. Often cited as past sinners that have died, it is said that they rise again, only to come back as wicked beings.
They hunt by travelling in groups and are said to originate from Western Ireland. Some versions of the tale say they seek only those who are close to dying, in order to steal their souls. Word of mouth tells us that they will attempt to enter a house where the close-to-dead rest. Others, however, speak of them carrying around all of the innocent souls they previously snatched.
Some of those who believe in these creatures will shut their west-facing windows, to keep them away from their properties.
So, why do they continue to walk the Earth? Well, some versions of this legend say that they were rejected by both Heaven and Hell, due to the life they led before they became destructive creatures.
When it comes to stealing a soul though, the nature of the Sluagh’s practices is equally as spine-chilling as their name suggests. Creeping up on the dying like shadows, it is said that a room would be occupied by a choir of unnerving whispers before the group sucked and captured the soul.
So, next time you’re exploring Western Ireland, be sure to keep an eye out for dark shadows lurking in the corner. If, however, you’d rather brave seeing a different mythical creature on one of our Northern Ireland tours, be sure to keep an eye on our blog for our next mythical creature profile!