A Little on the Fomoire

100_1266The ‘story that never ends’, the one that’s gone from one book to a trilogy, is loosely based on Celtic/Irish mythology.  Since my primary antagonists are the Fomoire (Fomor, Fomorians), I thought I’d toss out a little information on them.

There are at least two versions of the physical appearance of the Fomoire.  In most legends they are said to be monstrous creatures with one leg and one arm.  Some were said to have lips on their stomachs or animal heads.  In other stories, they were said to be beautiful, rivals to the beauty of the Tuatha De Danann.  In fact, one child of the Fomoire and the Tuatha De Danann was Bres, who was, for a short while, king of the Tuatha De Danann.

That the Fomoire were evil is not, however, in dispute.  They were ‘the powers of darkness, winter, evil, and death.’ (Celtic Myth and Legend Charles Squire).  This idea, that the first gods were evil, is found in most mythologies.  We see it in Cronus and the Titans in Greek mythology and in the Jotuns of Norse, just to name a couple.

Each group that came to Ireland ran across the Fomoire:

The first group was the people of Partholon, who arrived on May 1st.  When they first came to Ireland it was a small place, treeless and grassless, but it was watered by lakes and rivers.  The island soon grew, but the Fomoire objected to Partholon’s presence, and Partholon killed Cichol, the leader of the Fomoire.  There were three hundred years of peace, then Partholon’s people were killed by a plague.

The second group to arrive was the race of Nemed.  These, too, died by illness, and those who survived were oppressed by the Fomoire.  Supposedly, the Fomoire built a tower on Tory Island and imposed a tax that consisted of two-thirds of the children born.  The people of Nemed attacked the Fomoire, and one of the kings was killed, but the other revenged the death, and most of the people of Nemed were killed.

It seems that nothing permanently obliterated the Fomoire, and some of the writers, some titles and links below, suggest that these gods were actually early, aboriginal inhabitants.  This is definitely possible, though the Fomoire are also linked to more primal forces of nature, those that mankind’s walls and social structure can’t defeat.  There is an equal body of work that I have read over the years that suggests, not just in Celtic mythology, that these older gods that keep recurring are simply the forces of nature that ancient man feared so much.  Personally, I think it would be nice if someone would invent a time machine so I could just go look.

The above is a very brief look at the Fomoire.  The following links and books offer more information on these early inhabitants of Ireland.

Celtic Myth and Legend,  Charles Squire

Myths and Legends of the Celtic Race, T.W. Rolleston

Gods and Fighting Men, Lady Gregory

Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland, Lady Gregory

Fomorians – Wikipedia

Fomoire – Timeless Myths

Frontiers of Anthropology


Best wishes!


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