What does “Shining Ones” mean?

“Riders of the Sidhe” by John Duncan

The first Irish fairies were not small and winged, but tall, ageless and sometimes radiant. They were the Tuatha dé Danann (Clan of Danu), who possessed more-than-human abilities.

In Ireland, they encountered fierce, seafaring raiders called Formorians, also people with extraordinary talents but normal lifespans. The two groups clashed.

The TDD eventually defeated the Formorians, but were, themselves, vanquished by incoming Celts. Banished to the hills, the TDD gained the name People of the Hills (Daione Sidhe), which was shortened to Sidhe (pronounced Shee). The Sidhe fought against Viking with mortals at the Battle of Clontarf, 1014 C.E.

In later years, not everyone felt comfortable naming them. Just as characters in the Harry Potter series called Voldemort “You-Know-Who” or He-Who-MustNot-Be-Named, the Irish referred to these powerful beings as “Shining Ones”, “Gentry” or “Fair Folk.” Fair folk is the source of the word “fairy.”

Shining Ones: Legacy of the Sidhe explains what the ever-living ones and their descendants are doing today. And who knows? If you’re Irish, you might be part-Shining One, too. http://tinyurl.com/pqd2bnl




Another World

Tory Island–Balor’s Base

Scota gazed at rocky, treeless Tory Island, feeling a sense of homecoming as the launch made its way from the yacht Thoraígh to the island’s pier. Atop the fierce island cliffs, the great Balor’s fortress once stood. Her ancestors came back to the island after the defeat at Mag Tuired, vowing vengeance on Dananns forever. Scota would continue their mission.

—Excerpt from Shining Ones: Legacy of the Sidhe

For a beautiful view of the island and the story of Lugh’s birth, enjoy this video:

Tales of the Formorians, Tory Island


Another World


Who were the Formorians?

In my novel, Shining Ones: Legacy of the Sidhe, Formorians are the bad guys. They’re used to this role: they’ve been the villains of Irish mythology for thousands of years.

Fierce, seafaring people from the North (most likely Scandinavians), they were pirates and warlords who demanded tribute of food and slaves. In the Irish annals, they’re monstrous and grotesque, with body parts in all the wrong places (lips on breasts, eyes on backs, mouths in stomachs). Scottish legends describe them as giants.

It’s easy to imagine warriors maimed from battle and literally dressed to kill presenting a terrifying appearance, but how to account for the strange abilities they had? Balor, the war leader, was said to have a lethal, burning eye so large it took four men to open his eyelid. Balor’s wife, Cethlinn, exuded deadly venom. Formorians were more than fierce fighters; they had supernatural skills, as well.

When the Tuatha dé Danann first encountered Formorians in Ireland, they turned back to their four cities in Danu’s Land (Denmark) to rethink their plan of colonizing the island. Some Dananns must have remained because a future Danann king, Bres, was the son of a Danann woman and a Formorian leader named Elatha.

Elatha contradicts the image of ugly, misshapen Formorians. Seen landing his boat, he was so appealing to the Danann woman Eriu, she was smitten on the spot. Their brief encounter resulted in pregnancy and a bit of remorse on her part. To console her, Elatha gave her his ring, telling her to send his son to him when the boy grew to manhood. Elatha would acknowledge their child as his heir.

Fate had other plans for half-Formorian Bres, called “the beautiful.” In need of a king after their first battle on the island, the Dananns elected Bres. He was also wed to Brigid, daughter of the Dagda, Danann patriarch. These strategic moves, the Dananns hoped, would keep peace with Formorians.

The alliance didn’t work. Bres turned out to be a stingy king, violating the code of hospitality so important to Bronze Age peoples. He was deposed. Going to Elatha, whom he expected to help him fight his way back to kingship, Bres learned his father valued honor. Elatha told Bres he’d been a bad king and didn’t deserve the job.

Bres turned to other Formorian leaders for support. They agreed to fight the Dananns, and chose the plane near Moytura, Co. Sligo, for battle. The scene was set for the Second Battle of Mag Tuired.