Secrets Learned from Daoine Maithe – What We Gathered about Irish Fairies

Alexander Truong and I have wedded at last! And after enjoying our honeymoon on the USA’s West Coast, the new Mary Truong returns to recount the mystifying tales from her unexpected adventures…and the fairies she found there.

“Hold on. What does North America’s coast have to do with Mary Loves the UK?” ask the readers as they turn away.

Wait, wait! Don’t leave just yet! This particular adventure in mind relates very closely with the United Kingdom. The British may think me silly through and through, but their Irish neighbors will inwardly smile at this post, albeit while tsk, tsking the tale.

Fairies Found in Fort Bragg, California

Alex and I had started our adventures on the Oregon coast. Circumstances and spontaneity drove us South into the great California Redwoods, and we landed in a small, coastal town called Fort Bragg.

Alex entering the woodland.

The dull and uninspired creatures inside us had us roaming the tourist shops, spending money on unnecessary items. Back at our shelter for the night, Alex mentioned a botanical garden located just down the road.

Though he expected little beauty in a botanical garden compared to the great Redwoods surrounding the town, the place piqued my interest. We arrived at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden at half-past nine the next morning.

Passing through the dark shadows.

Investigating the small gift shop at the location’s front encouraged us to go ahead and buy the day passes for the garden. We had done well to enter the garden before the many others who came later in the day.

Provided with a map, Alex tried to lead me down the widest, most solid path available. However, the shadows and flowers beneath the overhanging pines and furs drew me in, and I soon went off the well-traveled path.

Asphalt paths and dirt trails ran through and provided views to the most beautiful 47 acres that I had ever seen. A place so beautiful as to impress every literary person with its ties to mystery, mystic, and myth.

We found the trail.

Alex and I headed toward the ocean’s coast. Along the way, we found a sign indicating a pine trail. The trail ran along a bubbling stream, and on either side were ferns, vines, and pines. Various birds chirped over our heads, and we crossed paths more than once with busy bumblebees.

Eventually the trail widened. And when I looked over the stream, I suddenly knew why the Irish believed in fairies. The beauty surrounding the fallen pines over the stream, the plants growing over them to provide shade underneath, and the vines crawling over it all were a piece of paradise.

We found the fairy’s home.

Common Beliefs about Irish Fairies

Fast-forwarding a few days, I went to my bookshelf and cracked open the Barnes & Noble collector’s edition to A Treasury of Irish Fairy and Folk Tales. The introduction and the first chapter are what inspired me to write about the fairies today.

Expecting something dry and boring, I found myself pleasantly surprised at the lighthearted and humorous writing. At the same time, I found the tales forbidding and sinister. Although, they did explain why Tinkerbell could be so evil and cunning. Let me clarify:

  • Fairies dislike being spoken about, and will attack those who talk too much.
  • They do favors for the kind people, but give trouble to the bad people.
  • Irish fairies can grow and shrink to any size.
  • Fairies sing beautifully, attracting young girls to their deaths.
  • They have three holidays in the human year.
  • Irish fairies fight like a whirlwind and love like there’s no tomorrow.

When the Irish people do refer to these magical creatures, they refer to them as the good folk (a.k.a. daoine maithe). This way everyone can live peaceably together.

Why the English Fairies Went Away

Once upon a time – in a time that I have yet to learn – the English people would speak about fairy tales. The place that people would eventually call Great Britain created the tale about leaving milk outside on the windowsills for the fairies.

“So, where did the English fairies go? What made the British people stop talking about them?”

Study and reason, said the Irish book on folk tales. According to the book’s introduction, the English turned toward religion and reason and forgot about fairies, for the churchmen called the beliefs heretical.

Irish literature harshly and humorously mimicked the Protestant pastors, telling of churchmen who questioned their congregations about how many “gods” were in the land. The old Irish answered honestly – many gods, if you include the good folk. Only the Irish remained true to the fairies’s realm in myth and lore.

Mary Loves the Fairies Too

One day, when Alex and I have saved all our pennies, we will visit Great Britain and make a side trip over to the great green land of Ireland. There we shall truly learn if the children know and believe anything about the fairies in the surrounding woods.

Like many American millennial women and our daughters, we remain true to our wish to believe in fairies, even the mean ones. For in every girl’s heart is the desire for something beyond the common, something mystical and magical. Fairies fit the ticket.