Irish Folktale: Children of Lir

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*Folklore, poetry & fiction writer

The Children of Lir is an Irish Folktale, Lir was the lord of the sea. His first wife conceived four children with him. Later she died and Lir married his wife’s sister Aoife.

Unfortunately for his four children, Aoife was green with envy of them and concocted a magical spell transforming the 4 youngsters into 4 large white Swans. The children stayed as swans for 900 years until St. Patrick arrived in Ireland. According to Irish legend St. Patrick rang a Church bell and it miraculously broke the curse and returned the spellbound youngsters back to their former selves as children.

Source & Reference:

  • MacKillop, James, ed. (2004), “Oidheadh Chlainne Lir”, A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology, doi:10.1093/acref/9780198609674.001.0001

  • Featured Art: The Children of Lir(1914) by John Duncan

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