The Tuatha dé Danann, the fifth group to inhabit Ireland, defeated the Firblog between 3.500 and 4,000 years ago. They ruled Ireland for many years. In turn, they were conquered by the Milesians. They agreed to abandon the surface of the land and retreat into mounds called "sidhe". In time the word "Sidhe" came to mean a variety of very powerful folk such as the Bean Sidhe (popularly spelled banshee), Daoine Sidhe, Leanan Sidhe and others who are supposed descendants of the Tuatha. As we can see by the architectural interior shot above, life underground is not all bad.

It is an honour to be invited to sit at The Table. Issues are settled here and when the decisions are announced, they are in the form "The Table Hereby Decrees..." Since time is of little importance, the discussion on any issue may go on for centuries over vast draughts of fine spiced mead and ample joints of mutton. Such serious discussions are curtailed frequently with tales of the latest practical jokes. The Tuatha take rich delight in the perpetrating and savoring of such pranks - the more elaborate and ribald the better. The recipient of the joke is oblivious to the concept of being a victim, and is equally delighted at the concept and the experience. If the the joke is at the expense of humankind, it may be discussed and appreciated for decades.

Click on above image for QTVR panoramic movie. You must have QuickTime (available free from Apple) installed. It works on either a Mac or PC.

Closeup detail on the Minstrels Gallery.

The great frieze over the Throne of Nuada was carved on a single fine grained plank taken from a ancient tree in the vast forest a short way north of Eádargoil, The throne itself was also carved from the same tree. It sees limited use now, with the three brothers who rotate as king, mostly using it to declare "Let's feast!", prior to taking their places at the table. Téthur (also known as Mac Cecht) is currently enthroned, with Éthur (also known as Mac Cuill) on deck, to be followed by Céthur (also known as Mac Gréine) a few centuries later. Things are pretty relaxed now, without a whole lot of royal formality.

At The Table, Mac Cuill/Éthur sits opposite the Throne of Nuada, giving him an excellent view of the bountiful serving wenches as they bring the mutton and mead to the table. It is a view that never tires him. Ferrous metals are little appreciated by the Tuatha, but gold is much in favour. Any bit of gold lost by an Irish person is likely to end up here. It is gathered by the various tribes of surface folk and used to buy favour from the Sidhe - which it does.

Compared to the carving and gold inlay of the wood, the plates, mead bowl and mead jugs are of rather simple design. The lovely grain of the table is revealed by highly polishing it until the gold is reflected in its finish. Though time is of little relevance, it does pass and the Tuatha do age. The once lithe Luanan Sidhe reveal their human roots by growing more ample over the millennia - and are considered extremely attractive by the Tuatha in general.

The table is first coated with a thin polish of bees wax and aromamtic thinners, smoothed and let dry. Then the great women enter the Chamber of The Table, with hands clasped behind their backs. Their great breasts are swaddled in virgin linen of the finest and smoothest weave. As they dance and chant the ancient song of Tír na nÓg, they sway over the table, the weight of their breasts along with the softness creating this fine luster as they sweep over the wood. It is said to be among the most pleasant of Tuatha traditions, both to watch and to perform.

©2006 Larry N.Bolch