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The setting sun picked out the Autumn colours along the pathway through the trees leading to the edge of one of the beautiful lakes of Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland.
The Lakes of Killarney have many legends and stories of magic and mystery attached to them. The Tuatha de Danaan or the Tribes of the Goddess Danu are thought to have been a sea-faring race called Pelasgians that lived near the Aegean Sea. The Danaans were a magical race, and possessed the knowledge of blacksmithing. They came to the British Isles after they were driven from their homes by invaders from the northeast and southeast.
According to the Book of Invasions, the Tuatha de Danaans were driven northward from Greece as a result of invasion from Syria, and eventually reached Ireland by way of Denmark, to which they gave their own name, Kingdom of the Danaans and North Britain. The date of their arrival in Britain is recorded as 1472 BC. According to Herodotus in History, the Syrian invasion of Greece may be the capture by Phoenicians of the Danaan shrine of the White Goddess Io at Argos, then the religious capitol of the Peloponnese. The Cretans colonized it in 1750 BC. Herodotus does not date the event except that it happened before the Argo expedition to Colchis, which the Greeks dated 1225 BC and before Europa went from Phoenicia to Crete, a tribal emigration, which probably took place some centuries earlier before the sack of Cnossos in 1400 BC.
According to legend, when the Danaans landed in Ireland, they arrived from the sky on a ship of dark clouds on the eve of Beltaine. The Tuatha de Danaans brought with them the stone of destiny called Lia Fail, which was placed on Tara and used to choose the rightful kings of Ireland. They also brought the spear of Lugh, which made whoever wielded it victorious in battle. The third gift they brought was The Sword of Nuada or the Sword of Light, which none could escape from. There was a fourth gift, the Cauldron of the Dagda, which would always be filled with food so that none would starve.
They had to fight the Firbolgs, which they defeated on the hill of Moytura, but the Danaan king, Nuada, lost his hand in this battle. Then, they had to fight the Formorians, a race of ugly giants. The Danaans won the fight with the help of their champion, Lugh, and the Formorians were sent to live under the sea.
200 years after arrival of the Danaans in Ireland, people sailing from Thrace through the
Mediterranean and out into the Atlantic, landed in Wexford Bay where they came into conflict with the Danaans, but were persuaded to pass out into Northern Britain, then called Albany. They were known as Picts, or Painted Ones.
The Milesians arrived soon after. Instead of fighting the Milesians, the Danaans chose to retreat into the hills and mounds, living in raths that were invisible to humans. Because of this, they were referred to as “Aes Sidhe,” which means the people of the sidhe. The Danaans became the faery folk of Ireland, also called ‘the gentry,’ ‘the grey ones’ or ‘the others.’ They are not tiny faeries but are of normal height and shapeshifters. They are the spirits of the wood, river, and mounds. They are immortals and the only thing that can harm them is iron. The fact that only iron can harm theTuatha de Danaans my have a deeper meaning. It is possible that the Danaans were a Bronze Age race that was defeated by an Iron Age race, the Milesians.