Banshees, fairies and wakes – old Irish death folklore


PODCAST: The wail of the banshee, unexpected interventions of fairies and farm animals sharing in the sorrows of death – learning about death folklore in Ireland.

Director of the National Folklore Collection, Dr Críostóir Mac Cárthaigh (pictured) shares some of the fascinating stories about old death traditions in Ireland. From the banshee to fairies to the ancient practices of wakes and keening – he explains how the collection was put together and the incredible first-hand accounts gathered from an Ireland very different from the one we live in today. Ireland has a unique folk religion with practices that evolved from a combination of Catholicism and something much more ancient.


National Folklore Collection