Tuatha Dé Danann

“Tuatha Dé Danann” is translated a few ways. The most well-known translation is “Tribe of the Gods of Danu”, but I (Allec) prefer the translation “Tribe of the Skillful Gods.” Tuatha means either “tribe” or “people”, and  means “Gods”, but it is “Danann” that creates confusion. This tribe was originally called “Tuatha Dé”, but when Christianity came to Ireland “Israelite” were translated into Irish as “Tuatha Dé”, and therefore the “Danann” was added to distinguish the two groups.

Regardless, the term is used to refer to the group of invaders in the Lebor Gabála Érenn or Book of Invasions who came before the last group, the Milesians. This last group, the Milesians, drove the Tuatha Dé Danann into the hills of Ireland.

The Tuatha Dé Danann are said to come from four different cities: Murias, Finias, Gorias, and Falias. They also came bearing four magical treasures which came from those four cities. They are, respectively: the Undri, Inexhausible Cauldron of the Dagda, fashioned by Semias the Druid; Cliamh Solais, Nuada’s Sword of Light, fashioned by Uscias the Druid; Sleá Bua, Lugh’s Spear of Victory, fashioned by Esras the Druid; and Lia Fail, the Stone of Destiny at Tara, originally protected by Morfessa the Druid.

Perhaps one of the most important stories involving the entire group of the Tuatha Dé Danann is the Cath Maige Tuired or Second Battle of Moytura. This story tells of the battle between the Tuatha Dé Danann against the Fomorians, in which the Tuatha Dé Danann are victorious.

It’s important to note that not every deity in Ireland is part of the Tuatha Dé Danann. For example, Manannan mac Lir is most likely not part of this tuatha though he is certainly a deity. There are several notable deities that are part of the Tuatha Dé Danann, though, such as Lugh, Nuada, Brighid, Boann, and Anand/the Morrígan.

Further reading:

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2 thoughts on “Tuatha Dé Danann

  1. Pingback: T – Guide to Gaelic Polytheism

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