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Top 5 Scariest Irish Myths

Top 5 Scariest Irish Myths 

With Halloween on the horizon, it’s only right we go over some of the spookiest Irish folklore stories to get you in the spirit! Ireland is well known for wicked witches, frightening fables and scary fairies. Here are our top 5 most horrifying Irish myths.

The Banshee 

The Banshee is a well-recognised horror that is one of Ireland’s most well-known myths. The Banshee is a spirit that takes the form of a woman with a deathly screech.

Usually depicted as an old witch, the Banshee is a demon that wails when she foresees death. Legend has it that if you catch a glimpse of her or hear her screams, doom is impending, and you and your family should probably put any dangerous adventures on hold.

The Legend of the Banshee dates back to as far as the 1380s and is famous in literature. Old stories report soldiers would flee before going into battle due to claiming to hear the shrieks of the Banshee.

While this sounds terrifying, some believe the Banshee is a protector of Irish families. Some Irish mythology reports each family gets their own Banshee that watches closely over them and screeches when danger is near to warn. Some also believe if a family member dies, the Banshee escorts them to the next realm. There are even reports from the Middle Ages that a Banshee would actually protect individuals that were pure or noble if death were to claim them. We think we’d prefer to go with that version.

The Dullahan

 The Dullahan is one of the most chilling myths, depicted as a Horseman and the embodiment of the Celtic God Crom Dubh.

 Legend has it this rider carries his head in his hands, usually smiling in a haunting grin with eyes rapidly moving, seeking out victims in the dark countryside. The Dullahan is depicted as using a human spine to whip his horse, carrying a wagon showered with funeral decor and skulls. Does it get any spookier than that?

The “dark man” is said the embodiment of Crom Dubh, a god who demanded sacrifice in the form of decapitation. His rein ended with the Christianity rising in Ireland. Frustrated by the loss of his gifts, he still haunts Ireland, calling the names of those doomed to die and carrying his head under his arm.

Carman – The Celtic Witch

The Carman witch is the goddess of evil magic that goes back to before 600 B.C. and has three sons named after darkness, violence and evil.

The Carman witch put a dark spell over Ireland, causing crops to wilt and harsh winters to batter Ireland for centuries. Legend has the goddess of good defeated the Carman witch and drove her and her wicked family out of Ireland forever. It is believed Carman died of grief after the defeat of her sons.

Leanan Sidhe – The Evil Fairy 

The Leanan Sidhe is known as demonic evil fairies that lure men in with their beautiful looks and slowly drive them mad.

 The men of Lean Sidhe’s lure are always struggling artists craving inspiration and are enchanted by the evil fairies’ seduction. The men are said to be obsessed with the Sidhe until they drain them of all energy and control, fuelling their captors’ life force. The victims are drove mad, slaves to the fairies, and eventually, die of desperation.


To break the spell, Legend says the man must fall in love with another woman and stop his obsession with the evil fairy. Or, if they have enough willpower, they can reject the Sidhe at first sight, which is famously very difficult to do.

Dearg Due – The Irish Vampire

 Most countries have a vampire origin story, but Ireland’s is one of the spookiest. The Irish vampire is known as the Dearg Due and takes the form of a woman who seduces men and drains the blood from them.

Legend tells the vampire came to life as a beautiful woman who rose from the dead and haunting revenge. A beautiful Irish woman wished to marry a local farm boy; however, her father disapproved of the marriage, leading her to commit suicide.

Once a year, she rises from the dead to seek revenge on her father and subsequently terrorise the men in her local town of Waterford. Locals believe putting a pile of stones on her grave will prevent her from rising from the dead every year. Better safe than sorry!