Tuatha de Danaan

Justin McCarthy
Chapter I | Start of Chapter

Other legends describe the settlement in Ireland of a race who came from Greece, and are known to Irish story as the Tuatha de Danaan. Their leader is said among his other triumphs to have given his name to Britain itself. The chosen home of this race is believed to have been Ireland, where the story goes that they led a stormy existence for many centuries. We are not bound to examine closely these various legends of the race which created the Irish people. But we may probably accept the theory that some people from a country far-off to the East, whether Greece or Syria, became the first settlers in Ireland. Certainly there is much in the character and in the ways of the Irish, even in our own times, which favours the belief that they owe the birth of their civilization to settlers coming from a far-off Eastern or Southern home. The most ordinary observer can see in the habits of the Irish people indications of such an origin. The ways of the Irish peasantry are still such as might belong to a race whose progenitors lived under skies more favourable to out-door life than those usual in the misty and melancholy climate of Ireland. The Irish peasant lives as much as he can in the open air, using his cottage chiefly as a sleeping-place, and thereby suggests the conditions of a people originally accustomed to a very different atmosphere.