One of the great things about folklore and mythology is that various life experiences beyond generations are passed down either through print or word of mouth. These stories are a true embodiment of practices done way before we even existed. Then again, if you think about it, their lives are no different from ours. Therefore it becomes relatable and exciting.
The thing about love stories is that they would always end with a "happily ever after," which we portray in our everyday lives. The beauty of the stories we are about to share is that they may not have the perfect ending. However, it will help you realize the true essence of unconditional and eternal love in different shapes and forms.
Let's jump right into it!
1. CLÍODHNA & CIABHAN
Clíodhna is one of the mythical races of gods and goddesses known as the Tuatha Dé Danann in Irish myth. She was identified with the banshees as the queen and was also linked to love and beauty. Clíodhna kept three birds on the mainland of Tir Tairngire, where she held a magical fruit-bearing tree, which ate from the branches she would daily cut small portions. The proper diet for these birds allowed them to sing songs so beautifully that they could heal any illness imaginable.
One day, Clíodhna faced a man named Ciabhan who lived in Ireland across the sea. In a blink of an eye, Clíodhna fell head over heels in love. Despite the supposed perfect, timeless human existence in Tir Tairngire, she ultimately decided to leave to pursue an earthly existence with her beloved. During her journey to be by his side, she stopped in the bay of Glandore, County Cork, to rest for the night.
The sea deity, Manannán Mac Lir, had one of his troubadours play beautiful songs, which lured Cliona to sleep so that the other old Irish gods could voice their opinion on her transgression. And because she was defenseless, she was drowned by a powerful wave, never to join Ciabhan.
Clíodhna, or "Cliona's Wave," remains Glandore's most powerful and most potent tide to this day, to remind us of the powerful force that separated these two lovers.
2. FIONN & SADHBH
The Fenian Cycle of Irish myths recounts Fionn mac Cumhaill, a renowned warrior and poet who roamed the land as part of an elite band of warriors and adventurers known as the Fianna.
He had been hunting in the woods when he came across a doe who was stunningly beautiful. Bran and Sceólang, the hounds belonging to Fionn, who was the product of a woman turned into a dog, instantly recognized this person as a human lady. It was told that she had been transformed by black magic due to rejecting the druid who sought to marry her.
The dog had been traveling for quite some time, so Fionn decided to take it to his home. This act broke the curse the moment they set foot within their threshold. The dog transformed and introduced herself as Sadhbh. She admittedly shared that the curse is lifted as long as she is within the premises and property of Fionn. A little while after the pair married, Sadhbh became pregnant.
For quite some time, things were going well, until one day when Fionn went away to fight with his group (Fianna). This Dark Man (also known as Fear Doirich), the druid with black magic, had returned and transformed Sadhbh into a deer. Fionn's wife had mysteriously disappeared after he returned from battle.
Fionn was heartbroken for years until he discovered that the doe he must have stumbled across on his first day on the hunt was his lost love. But on one hunting trip, his hounds were roaming in a forest when they discovered a soft newborn fawn. Upon first laying eyes on the fawn, Fionn knew this was their child. He took the baby home, where it soon grew into a son. He was named Oisín, which means "little deer" in the Celtic language.
3. DOISÍN & NIAMH
As Doisín's story goes in one of the versions we know, the couple meets as Niamh (A goddess of black magic) is on vacation in Ireland. She is entranced with Doisín, so she takes him back to her native land, and they get married, the land of eternal youth and magic. Doisín tries to convince Niamh to go back to Ireland and visit his father since Doisín is mortal. After three years of convincing, Niamh finally agrees.
While Niamh is willing to accept Doisín's request, she has one condition: the animal never allows him to touch the ground. She even made it inevitable that he is warned with the lines: If you do not listen to me, you will never return to the land of Tír na nÓg. He agrees.
Doisín was in shock and mortified to return to Ireland. Losing track of time in Tír na nÓg is like having lived 300 years in Ireland. He realizes only after years have passed that his father has been deceased for centuries. Shuddered by his loss, Doisín travels the length and breadth of Ireland on his horse. His travel and journey to the country of his ancestors speed up his aging process and amplify the moment he lays his body on Irish soil. Doisín is blind and crippled in seconds, and as a result, he dies of natural causes. Niamh will never know that her love died an eternal death.
This story features an alternate telling in which Niamh's father, the King, becomes insane with power and forces her to bear the face of a pig so that he can stay on the throne for eternity.
Luckily, Doisín is a kindhearted person and has already grown to love Niamh regardless of the dark magic that she is under. When they tie the knot, the curse is shattered, and together they revert to the land of eternal youth to reclaim their rightful rule.
These stories have shown that love is pure, unconditional, and eternal. All the characters have portrayed the role of choosing their partner despite curses and obstructions. They are the true embodiment of ensuring that love is not a feeling but a choice.
With all that being said, we are all capable of feeling and acting on love, and admittedly, one of the most significant gestures we can come up with is to tie the knot. What would be better than a ring that can seal the union than a ring that showcases the true meaning of eternal partnership and love through the symbol of the Celtic Knot. Irish practices, roots, and heritage believe that the Celtic Knot is an embodiment of Love, Loyalty, and Unity.
Traits that we believe should be the center of every relationship. Show your partner how much they mean to you through Celtic Keepsakes that speak the truth. Visit our website today at Celtic Knot Jewelry.
If you know more Irish folklore and Mythology that embody the entirety of eternal and true love, feel free to comment down below and share them with us!