Elements of Irish
have appeared many times in popular
- The characters of the movie Erik
the Viking visit the island, spelled Hy-Brasil in the
film's literature, during their quest to find Valhalla and end Ragnarok.
- Jack Vance's Lyonesse Trilogy of fantasy novels is
set in the mythical Elder Isles, situated southwest of Cornwall and
west of Brittany, consisting of a large island called Hybras, "the
Hy-Brasil of ancient Irish legend," surrounded by numerous smaller
islands of various sizes.
- Hy-Brasil is the title of the 2002 novel by Scottish
writer Margaret Elphinstone.
She creates an island-nation somewhere between Newfoundland and
Ireland as a thought-experiment.
- Hy Brasil is featured in the Promethea comic series by Alan Moore.
- In the novel Engelbrecht Again! by Rhys Hughes the main characters meet a mermaid
on the island of Brasil while on their way to the country of
- In the Saga of Pliocene
Exile, a series of science-fiction novels by Julian May, "High Vrazel" is the seat of the
Firvulag, an alien race based on the Fir
Bolg of Irish mythology.
- In the Artemis
Fowl series, Hybras is an island, situated off the coast
of Ireland, on which demons live.
- Kenneth C. Flint wrote a novel called Cromm
about modern human sacrifice in Cavan, published by Doubleday
- The Merry Gentry series by Laurell K. Hamilton features a character, Rhys, who
was once the death deity Cromm Cruach.
- An episode of series 3 of Robin of
Sherwood (1986) is titled Cromm Cruac and refers to
the legend of the deity.
- The radio program Hall of
Fantasy had an episode named The Idol of Cromm Cruac,
about a hidden Crom Cruac cult in the 20th century United
- Conan the Cimmerian's patron
deity is named Crom, though whether this reference is derived from
the gaelic deity is uncertain.
- Michael Moorcock wrote a second
trilogy of novels, Bull and the Spear, Oak and the
Ram and Sword and the Stallion about Prince Corum where he travels to a Celtic themed realm, of
his world's far future, where Corum has become Cremm Croich
(Cremm/Corum of the Silver Hand), The Lord of the Mound.
- Crom Cruach appears as a dark snake-like presence who must be
overcome in the film The Secret of
- In the devCat game Mabinogi , the boss for the 3rd
generation storyline is Cromm Cruaich.
- Crom Cruach appears as a monstrous "time worm" feeding on human
misery in Pat Mills' fantasy series
- Crom Crauch is also mentioned as "lord worm" in Grant
Morrison's 'The Invisibles'.
- Crom Cruach, "the bloody, bent one" appeared as a bloated
dragon in Matt Wagner's Mage.
- In the Disney animated TV series Gargoyles, during the "Avalon
World Tour" story arc's episode entitled "The Hound of Ulster" in
the series' second season, Goliath, his daughter Angela, their
human friend Elisa Maza, and Goliath's
gargoyle beast Bronx encounter a young Irishman named Rory Dugan,
who turns out to be the re-incarnation of Cu Chulainn, and for a
time Bronx accompanies the reincarnated Cu Chulainn as the titular
"hound" of the legend, with the Banshee as
Cu Chulainn's antagonist.
- In the anime Fate/stay Nigh, he is featured as one of the
servants, specifically, Servant Lancer
- Cuchulainn, the Irish
Wolfhound, has appeared in Marvel
Comics' Guardians of the
Táin, Colmán Ó Raghallaigh and Barry Reynolds' Irish language graphic novel adaptation of Táin Bó
Cúailnge, was published by Cló Mhaigh Eó of County Mayo in 2006.
- Patrick Brown's webcomic adaptation of
the Táin, The Cattle Raid of Cooley, began
serialisation in August 2008.
- Type-moons visual novel, Fate/Stay
night, features Cuchulain as the servant "Lancer". He also
appears in the anime, video games, and manga based on the visual
- Oghme Comics are in the process of adapting the story of
Cúchulainn in graphic novel
format, as a series of webcomics, as well as Illustrations of
Characters from the Ulster cycle.
- Scottish composer Ronald Center
wrote a symphony called The Coming of Cuchulain, first
performed by the Scottish
Orchestra, conducted by Warwick
Braithwaite, in 1944.
- The tale of Cú Chulainn's wasting sickness provides the title
of the Pogues's song "The Sickbed of
Cuchulainn" from their album Rum, Sodomy, and the
- Jeff Danna's opening theme for the
1999 film Boondock Saints
is named "The Blood of Cuchulainn".
- French-Celtic rapper Manau sings Le
Chien du Forgeron ("the smith's hound").
- The first track on the album "The
Eternal Knot", written by Karl
Jenkins for his Adiemus project, is
called "Cú Chullain".
- The second verse of the Thin Lizzy
song "Róisín Dubh (Black Rose): A Rock Legend" starts with the
phrase "pray tell me the story of young Cuchulainn, how his eyes
were dark, his expression sullen".
- Irish rock band Horslips' 1973 second
album was titled "The Táin", featuring Cú Chulainn's exploits,
originally conceived as music for a stage adaptation of the
- Cuchulainn is mentioned in or the subject of a few songs by the
Celtic metal band Cruachan including "Cuchulainn (The Hound of
Culan)", "Cattle Raid Of Cooley" and "The Brown Bull of
- The songs "Seven Fingers" and "When They Come to Murder Me"
from the Black Francis mini-album
SVN FNGRS are about Cú Chulainn.
- There is a song from the show
[[Riverdance named "Caoineadh Cú Chulainn", meaning "The Lament
of Cú Chulainn". It is played by Davy
Spillane on the uilleann
- Cú Chulainn's name is popular in Gaelic
games. A number of Gaelic Athletic Association
clubs are named after him, including Dunloy Cúchullains
in County Antrim, Cúchulainn G.A.A
Hurling club, Mullaghbawn Cúchulainn G.A.A club in County Armagh, Cúchulainn Gaels in Omeath, County Louth, Setanta Hurling Club in Killygordon, Co.
Donegal, Setanta Hurling Club in Ballymun, Co.
Dublin, and Cúchulainns GFC based in Mullagh, County Cavan.
Cuchulainn is also the name of a brand of Gaelic sportswear.
Setanta Sports is the name an Irish
broadcasting company specialising in sport, broadcasting in
Ireland, U.S.A, Canada and Australia, and formerly in Great
- Finn MacCool appears in the fiction novel The Drawing of the Dark by author
Tim Powers. In the novel he is buried in
Vienna, Austria with a cistern of beer directly above his grave.
His essence gives the oldest of the beer supernatural powers.
- Mary Tannen has written two children's novels where Finn
features as a major character, The Wizard Children of Finn
(1982) and "The Lost Legend of Finn" (1983).
- He is also featured as a character in filmmaker Matthew Barney's film Cremaster 3 (2002).
- Fionn mac Cumhaill was featured as a protagonist and ally in
the first published adventure for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer
RPG, The Dark Druid. The adventure features Fionn and
his battle with the druid Fer Doirich in the modern age and posits that
the witches Willow and Tara are the reincarnations of his foster
mothers Bodhmall and Liath respectively.
- The song The Giant by the Canadian singer-songwriter
Stan Rogers, features Fionn mac
Cumhaill as 'the giant' Fingal.
- Dropkick Murphys play a song
titled The Legend of Finn Maccumhail.
- "The youth of Finn MacCool" is a song featuring on Doomsword's Resound
the Horn which retells of the story of how Finn spared the deer
that turned out to be Sadbh. On the same album the song "Onward
into battle" is dedicated to Finn and the Fianna.
McCool's is the name of the Westhampton Beach, New York, restaurant that was the
subject of the November 14, 2007, episode of the American reality
television series Kitchen
- In the Discworld novel Sourcery, the great Hero "Nijel the Destroyer"
claims to have a geis, which Rincewind mistakes for a type of
bird. In A Hat Full of
Sky, Rob Anybody
is put under a geis by his wife Jeannie, the kelda, to protect
Tiffany Aching from the Hiver.
- In the novel Operation
Chaos by Poul Anderson, every
military recruit is put under a geis which prevents panic
and assures loyalty. It can be broken only if the individual gives
free consent, and is removed when the person returns to civilian
- In The Jennifer
Morgue by Charles Stross,
members of an occult branch of British intelligence can cast
- In Geis of the
Gargoyle by Piers Anthony,
Gary Gargoyle, being a gargoyle, has a geis on him since Xanth
began, and it is a magical compulsion to protect the purity of the
Swan Knee River. However, the pollution from Mundania (the 'real
world') has gotten out of hand, and it is up to Gary to place his
geis on the philter to keep all of Xanth's water clean.
- Some role-playing games
mention geasa as "spells" or "powers", though these
"geasa" are often only loosely inspired by the historical
concept. For instance, in Dungeons and Dragons there are two
such "spells": "lesser geas", which forces the victim to obey a
command issued by the caster, and "geas/quest", which is much the
same but with more severe penalties.
- In the anime series Code
Geass the main character, Lelouch, obtains an ability
called Geass that allows him to make anyone who gazes into his left
eye obey any single order unquestioningly, though it cannot work on
the same person twice.
- In a 1964 short fantasy story "A case of Identity" by Randall Garrett, one of the characters, a
homicidal psychopath by nature, is mentally restrained by a spell
called geas "which forces him to limit his activities to
those which are not dangerous to his fellow man".
- Kenneth C. Flint retells this story in his
- In the 2004 console game The Bard's Tale, Lugh is one of
the three guardians.
- In Diane Duane's A Wizard Abroad and later stories, Lugh is
considered one of the Powers That Be, also known as the One's
Champion, and is incarnated within an Irish Wizard (after spending
some time as a macaw named Machu Picchu with a penchant for
traditional of offering bundles of reeds on the Isle of Man is
still practised as an opening ceremony of Tynwald.
is a museum in the town of Peel on the Isle of Man named the House of
Manannan as well as an annual celebration of the arts The
- The Isle of Man
Steam Packet Company vessel, which entered service in May 2009
on the Liverpool/Douglas sailings, is named Manannan.
- Okells Brewery on the Isle of Man produces a wheat beer
dedicated to and named after Manannan Mac Lir.
- On his Human History CD, Ken
Theriot includes a song he wrote from the point of view of
Manannan called Son of the Sea.
- The figure is also referred to in songs by metal bands. The
Gaelic doom band Mael Mórdha last album's (Gealtacht Mael Mordha) closing track
is called Minions of Manannan, telling of his revenge on the
fleeing Vikings from the battle of
Cluain Tarb. Track 4 on black metal band Absu's album Tara is called
- Manannan features as the first guardian boss in the 2004
console game The Bard's
- The fictional Star Wars galaxy
features an oceanic planet called Manaan,
possibly a homage to the Celtic god.
- In the film Trick 'r Treat,
Samhain, "The Spirit of Halloween" takes the form of a
trick-or-treater in orange footie pajamas and a burlap sack mask.
At the film's climax, Sam is unmasked and his demonic, pumpkin-like
face is revealed. Sam is considered the "horror hero" of the story,
as punishes those who break the rules of Halloween.
- In The Real Ghostbusters,
Samhain is the living incarnation of Halloween. In this
incarnation, Samhain is a spindly figure with a brown robe and a
jack-o-lantern for a head.
- In Supernatural, Samhain is a demon
who inspired the Celtic rituals that eventually became Halloween customs, as the ancient Celts
alternately worshipped and attempted to ward the demon away.
- Samhain, Glenn Danzig's gothic
metal/punk rock band, was named after the festival.
- One of the main supporting characters in Jane Johnson's Eidolon trilogy is a
young girl selkie called She Who Swims the Silver Path of The Moon
(Silver for short) who becomes close with the main hero, Ben
Arnold, when he rescues her from the evil Doddman's pet shop.
- In the fifth book of The Last
Apprentice series, the protagonist is forced to separate a
beautiful selkie from her aging husband. In the series, selkies age
very slowly, and are considered bad luck or are taught to be
prostitutes by the women.
- Seal Child is a children's novel by Sylvia Peck which
details a modern telling of the selkie myth.
- The Folk Keeper, a "young readers" novel by Franny
Billingsley CACA also uses this myth powerfully.
- At least one tale about selkies is included in Scottish Folk Tales by Ruth Manning-Sanders.
- Terry Farley, known for her books about horses that are written
for children, broke from that style in 2005 to write Seven
Tears into the Sea, a modern and slightly different selkie
tale for teenagers. It is a teen romance novel following the story
of a young girl who returns to her hometown in search of a selkie
she encountered seven years earlier.
- In science-fiction the Petaybee
Series by Anne McCaffrey and
Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
employs the selkie myth in a futuristic setting. A. E. van
Vogt's novel The Silkie imagines a race of creatures
who can change between aquatic, human, and space-traveling
- Selkies also appear as one of many varieties of "changed" human
in Ken MacLeod's Engines of
- In the third in the "Council Wars"
series by John Ringo, "Against the Tide",
selkies are used with tongue-in-cheek humor, referring to the
real-life U.S. Navy SEALs in a fantasy setting. In the
book, selkies performed commando-style beach infiltrations highly
reminiscent of how SEALs are often portrayed
in popular media.
- The book Water Shaper by Laura Williams McCaffrey is
based on some myths about selkies.
- British fantasy author Susan Cooper
has written both a picture book and a novel featuring selkies. The
picture book, Selkie Girl, recounts a traditional selkie
legend from Ireland. The novel, Seaward, features
characters who turn out to be selkies.
- In the first Meredith Gentry novel, A Kiss of Shadows, by
Laurell K. Hamilton, a selkie named Roane Finn is
the lover of Merry Gentry, who is a part human part fey princess
who is hiding in Los Angeles in self-imposed exile from the
Unseelie Kingdom due to political plots against her. Merry and
Roane are both paranormal detectives working for the Grey Detective
Agency. Roane had been trapped in human form when a fisherman had
found his seal skin and burned it. When the latent magic in Merry
is awakened, it first manifests itself by miraculously regenerating
Roane's shape shifting ability. He immediately returns to his life
in the sea for which he had been pining.
- George Mackay Brown's novel
Beside the Ocean of
Time also involves a young man falling love with a Selkie,
and the hiding of her sealskin to keep her from returning to the
- In Tom Clancy's 1998 novel Net Force, a female
assassin uses the name "The Selkie" as her underground cover name.
In the novel, she is of Irish heritage.
- In 1998, American author Christina
Dodd published a romance novel entitled A Well Favored
Gentleman about Ian Fairchild. His character made his first
appearance in the first book of the Well Pleasured series,
A Well Pleasured Lady (1997). Ian is the son of a selkie
and has powers due to that legacy.
- In Anne Bishop's Tir Alainne trilogy selkies are a
member of the Fae race who must help witches avoid the mass
murdering black inquisitors in order to stay alive.
- Juliet Marillier wrote several
trilogies, mixing folklore with history. In Child of the
Prophecy (2001) Darragh is turned into a selkie by the Fae,
while Watcher in Foxmask (2003) is a descendant of a
selkie mother and a human father.
- Mollie Hunter's novel,
A Stranger Came
Ashore, has a character who turns out to be the Great
Selkie, lord of all the other selkies.
- Robert Holdstock's novel
Merlin's Wood, contains a
fantasy short story, The Silvering,
in which the human protagonist is transformed into a selkie.
- James A. Hetley's books, Dragon's Eye and Dragon's
Teeth, have a family of characters with the hereditary ability to
transform into seals.
- The Torchwood comic Captain Jack and the
Selkie features a Selkie.
- In 1982 David Bischoff and
Charles Sheffield wrote the novel
"The Selkie", a modern treatment of the selkie legend.
- In 2008, William Meikle's short story,
The First Silkie appears in the Celtic Myth Podshow's
Midsummer Holiday Special.
- In the last of the five short stories in the anthology Love
Is Hell entitled Love Struck by Melissa Marr a teenage girl walking
along a beach accidentally steps upon a pelt of a selchie. The
selchie falls in love the girl but at first she doesn't return his
love. The girl must ultimately make the decision to free the
selchie because if his increasing longing for the sea or to keep
close the selkie she now loves.
- The Catherynne M. Valente book The Orphan's Tales: In
the Night Garden includes a story of a female satyr who
acquires a male selkie's skin, and then acquires the selkie as a
- The Star Trek: Titan novels
include a Selkie character, Aili Lavena, who was a former lover of
Captain William Riker.
- Selkies, and their home-world of Pacifica, are key in the 2009
novel Star Trek The
Next Generation: Losing the Peace
- Uist Skerrie: The
Inheritance, by Ellen S.
Cartwright involves an island in
the Chesapeake Bay where ancestors of the Uist Islands in the
Hebrides off Scotland live on in both Selkie and peacekeeper roles
as an young doctor receives her birthright in a legacy filled with
mystery, romance, and suspense. Selkie legend and modern science
coexist with a constant struggle for protection against mainland
intrusions and curiosity.
- The Progressive Metalcore
band Between the Buried and
Me released their Alaska album in
2005 with a song called "Selkies: The Endless Obsession."
- The album Honeycomb
by former Pixies front-man Frank Black includes a tune called "Selkie
Bride", which alludes to the Selkie legend.
- The poet Jane Yolen wrote a poem entitled "The Ballad of the
White Seal Maid", that is a sad story of a fisherman and his selkie
wife. This poem was set to music by the folk musician Lui Collins,
and recorded by her and also by Mike Agranoff
Faroese ballad " Kópakvæði" (the seal-ballad) by Faroese writer
Joen Danielsen is based on the story
about the Seal-Wife from Kalsoy
island. The ballad is in Faroese and consists of 68 verses.
- The song "Sælkvinden" (the seal-woman) by Danish singer
Lars Lilholt is a sad story about a
young fisherman and a selkie.
- In December 1991, the British folk artist Talis Kimberley wrote
"Still Catch the Tide," a song written from the perspective of the
selkie's lover, upon returning to find the selkie (which is of
indeterminate gender) packing their things to return to the sea.
The song has been covered by several other folk artists, including
Rika Körte & Kerstin 'Katy' Dröge (on FilkCONtinental
Definitely), Minstrel (on Boy in a Room), and
Seanan McGuire (on Stars Fall
Home). Talis's own recording of the song appears on her album
Talis (Almost Live at Dracon).
- The US folk artist Gordon Bok wrote
"Peter Kagan and the Wind" a cantefable
(in which spoken narrative is blended with sudden song-phrasings)
about the fisherman Cagan who married a selkie, and how his selkie
wife saved him from a terrible storm, even though this meant she
could never return to her human body and hence her happy home. This
interpretation was also often performed live by The Clancy Brothers
and (the late) Tommy Makem.
- In May 2007, Californian filk artist Seanan McGuire released
the song "In This Sea," a song from the perspective of a selkie's
lover letting her willingly go, on the CD Stars Fall
- Folk singer Joan Baez included a song
called "Silkie" on her second album in 1961.
Australian folk band Spiral Dance, in their 1999 CD titled
, includes a song titled "Song for a Selkie".
- Singer Mary McLaughlin sings a beautiful song entitled
"Sealwoman/Yundah" on the "Celtic Voices: Women of Song" CD ~ 1995
- Singer Méav Ní
Mhaolchatha (an original soloist of the group Celtic Woman), opens her solo album Silver
Sea with the song "You Brought Me Up", a Selkie woman captured
then abandoned on land.
- The Irish-American musical group, Solas, have a song called
"The Grey Selchie" on their "The Words That Remain" CD.
- US singer Alexander James
Adams sings "First Rising Tide", about a selkie man, on his
2008 CD "A Familiar Promise".
- Druid folk singer Damh the Bard's first album Herne's
Apprentice features a song titled "The Selkie" about these
- Singer/songwriter S.J. Tucker created a song "Seafaring Satyr" based on
Catherynne M. Valente's story about a female satyr
and a male selkie.
- Selkie are monsters in the Dungeons & Dragons
roleplaying game. They resemble seals with human-like hands and
facial features, who have the ability to transform into
- The first of the "Crystal Chronicles" sub-serie (of the Final
Fantasy serie- Final Fantasy Crystal
Chronicles), features Selkies as a race. Unlike mythical
Selkies, the ones in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles are
simply a humanoid race, with body paint, such as stripes, or arrows
on even the youngest children in the game. The Selkies in the game
usually have blue-green hair, probably referring to the mythical
Selkie's origin in the sea. One reference to them, however, is in
their town, there is a selkie who says something along the lines
of, "We Selkies came from the sea, and one day we will return
there." Also, this same main town of the Selkies, Leuda, is set on
an island far out at sea.
- In the collectable card game Magic: The Gathering there are
three cards in the Eventide set of
the Shadowmoor block with the
name selkie in them. They are classified as a merfolk, are all
green/blue hybrid-mana creatures, and pictured as half seal, half
human. The quote for the card says, "Selkies call to a sea they
never swam, in a tongue they never spoke, with a song they never
learned." The other two cards are and .
- In the RPG MUD Lensmooor (found at www.Lensmoor.org) the Selkie
is featured as a race on the continent Lensmoor. The scaled aquatic
race of Xorrto are their racial enemies as whole settlements have
been wiped out by them. No longer able to shift in and out of
wearing their fur they appear as a cross between both. Their skin
locked away beneath their fur for safety forever.
- The game Star
Wars: Knight of the Old Republic writers may have derived their
race of aquatic peoples, the Selkath, from the Selkie legends.
- The 1994 John Sayles movie,
The Secret of Roan
Inish, tells the story of a family descended from selkies.
It is based on the novel The Secret of Ron Mor
Skerry by Rosalie K. Fry.
- In 2000, the Australian film titled Selkie,
starring Shimon Moore of the Australian rock band, Sick Puppies, depicted a young teenage male
moving to a coastal town with his family and after he starts
growing webbing between his fingers, having dreams of the water in
the bathtub and becoming a seal after diving into the sea to save a
friend, he learns that he is a Selkie. The majority of the film
depicts him coming to terms with his identity and even attempting
to give up his Selkie powers at which point he accepts them. The
film was shot at Port Noarlunga Jetty.
- In an episode of Catscratch,
the banshee that was haunting the Highland
Quid Clan was in fact a selkie (called a "seal woman" in the show)
under a curse. Gordon freed the selkie by vocalizing in high tones
- Hallmark made a movie in 2001 titled "The Seventh Stream" ~ A
grieving Irishman falls for a stranger with a special gift
reminiscent of a Celtic legend. It was a sad movie of a man and a
selkie falling in love, but unable to remain together.
Finnish progressive metal
featured Usnech on their first
album "The Karelian Isthmus" on a song "Exile Of The Sons Of