I just got back from my second trip to Dublin in March. If there's anything I learned about Celtic fairies on this trip, it's that they're dark and fairly sinister. And they do not like humans. As a diminutive, prehistoric race of "fallen angel spirits," they were driven underground by humans long ago.
As a reporter in my regular life, I was searching for origin stories for real fairies, not the stereotypical "Tinkerbell" kind. The kind that made adults (even today!) superstitious and genuinely afraid to tangle with these creatures.
The aos sí refers to the supernatural race and there are rules to engaging with them.
I explored two venues, the Leprechaun Museum and An Evening of Food, Folklore and Fairies at Brazen Head pub (Dublin's oldest pub built in 1198) both packed with superb storytelling and local secrets. I asked an Irish waiter what a good Irish slang word for "cool" or "fabulous" was and he said "class." These two events were class.
Here is a traveler tip if you go to Ireland. Don't go looking for the Wee Folk, or The Good People, particularly during their most powerful time, in November. If you should see a Hawthorne tree or a fairy rath (a visible ring around a built up mound of land, usually on a farm), for fook's sake, stay away from it and never, never cut it down or destroy it to build your own human structures upon it. Those who have (according to modern legend) have been cursed with terrible luck and have died.
If you should be drawn down below into their netherworld, you may never come out. For more information on my Wee Folk dresses and the sprites they belong to, visit my gallery.
Tonic of the Woods
the inspiration behind the creations
Photos, stories and concept ©Kay Stephens
Look up the story behind a fairy dress by clicking on the name below