I never really understood why everyone likes the Norse and Greek pantheon so much. The vast majority of the gods are arrogant, and the myths have been retold so many times that practically everyone knows the end to every story.
May I introduce to you, Irish mythology. And no, I don’t mean Catholic Christianity, although they do play a big part in this religion. You see, when Catholics rolled around in Ireland and started Christianizing anything they deemed pagan, they kind of messed with a lot of the books documenting the Irish mythology, which unfortunately means that many of the things we currently know about the original Irish religion is incredibly tinted with Christian influences. Despite all of that, the things we do know about the Irish mythology are very unique and interesting.
For example, the Irish “apocalypses” myth. Unlike most of end of the world myths, the Irish end of the world myth doesn’t have a climactic clash between good and evil, and arguably doesn’t even end the world. The world just gets a lot worse. Something causes all the humans everywhere to lose all their morals. Lawlessness, incest, wrath, and all that bad stuff becomes common place. The world doesn’t technically end, and neither does humanity. Its just not a world anyone would want to live in.
There’s also the Tuatha De Danann, the fairy god pantheon. to give a quick summary of the mythology we know about them, the fairy gods found Ireland and made a truce with the humans who already lived there to share the island in peace. Then the Fomorians (sea fairy’s) invaded, and the Tuatha de Danann and humans kicked them off the island. After that another human kingdom invaded and tricked the Tuatha De Danann into living under Ireland in the hills of Ireland, where they supposedly are to this day.
Of course, there are also the beings depicted in Irish mythology that are fascinating, and could provide some pretty cool plot devices. Sprigans, who steal human children and replace then with one of their own. The hero Cuchulain, who becomes a giant monster by turning himself inside out. Banshees, who are supposedly the souls of women who died in labor. Dulihans who are essentially headless horsemen. My personal favorite is the Dagda. The patriarch of the Irish pantheon, radiates cool dad energy, and is all around just a genuinely nice guy.
All of this stuff is nice and all, but the main reason I like Irish mythology so much is because of how open ended it is. There are so many unknown bits that we could fill with modern stories of our own. I’ll give a few nice prompts to fill below:
What caused humans to go crazy during the end of the world? What would the fairies do about it?
What happened to the humans who teamed up with the Tuatha De Danann? Did they move underwound with the furies? Do the Tuatha De Danann hold a grudge on them because their humans?
What would happen if a fairy woman died during labor? Would they turn into a banshee?
What do sprigans do with the human children they steal?
What happened to the remaining Famorians after the Tuatha De Danann defeated them?
This little essay has left out about 99.999% of the mythology, so I suggest you do your own research. I just wanted to make this blog about Irish mythology because I think one of the best stories humans have ever told are told through the apparatus of mythology, and it would be a criminal waist to not tell them through this ancient pagan religion.