Fomorians In Irish Myths And Legends: Race Of Demonic Giants Who Inhabited Ireland And Scotland – Celtic tradition describes the Fomorians as rather terrifying giant creatures, horribly deformed and often mistaken for demons.

It is said that this race of ugly beings descended from Noah’s son Ham, whom Noah had cursed and on account of this terrible curse, the Fomorians became one-legged and one-armed monstrous beings.

The Fomorians were superstitious and tyrannical; people conquered by them were either enslaved or forced a crippling tribute of two-thirds of all children and cattle born.

One Fomorian with stubby legs and long arms did not resemble another with a dwarfish right arm and a normal left arm, or yet another with two or even three heads and only one eye or three on his head.

According to the Fomorian beliefs, a child without any mutation is born without any noticeable personality either. They were only accustomed to see their own mutated bodies and a child who was born – “normal” with all fingers and toes, was doomed to be killed as a monster.

Balor - king of the Fomorians

The Fomorians (Old Irish: ‘Fomoire’) are a supernatural race in Irish myths. These giants were associated with the powers of nature such as fog, storm, winter and disease.

They were said to have come from the sea or under its surface and they were some of the earliest inhabitants of the British Isles, who occupied occupying both Scotland and Ireland.

Ireland had never seen anything more terrifying than the army of prehistoric Fomorians, who mercilessly raided and plundered Ireland from the sea.

The Fomorians were superstitious and tyrannical; people conquered by them were either enslaved or forced a crippling tribute of two-thirds of all children and cattle born.

The term ‘Fomorian’ was analogous with – disease, plague, and disaster.

The king of the Fomorians was Balor, a giant with an eye in the middle of his forehead.

According to the tradition, they conquered the first invaders of Ireland – the Partholón (or “Parthalán”) people who invaded Ireland and settled there, introducing cattle, building of houses and made all four plains cleared and habitable. After some years, they all died of plague in a single week.

See also:

Dearg-Due Frightening Female Demon And Tyrannical Abhartach Of Irish Folklore

Pooka: Mythical And Not Entirely Benevolent Prankster In Irish Folklore

Leprechaun: One Of The Most Famous And Powerful Creatures Of The Irish Faerie Folk

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Thirty years later, came the Nemeds who like those who settled Ireland before him, had a genealogy going back to the biblical Noah. Nemeds managed to win four battles with the Fomorians but after nine years Nemed and thousands of his people died of plague.

The Fomorian - terrible giants of Ireland

The mysterious Fomorians were again victorious until the Firbolgs, the third group of invaders arrived and subdued the Fomorians. The  Firbolgs (from “Fir Bholg” – the “Men of Bags or Sacks”), had a name given to them because during their Greek exile.

They were forced to make arable land by covering rocks with earth, which they carried in bags.

The Firbolgs managed to live peacefully with  the Fomorians, who even decided to give them Ireland, but their hostility against the Tuatha de Danann remained forever.

The Tuatha De Dannan defeated the Irish giants and attempted to forge a ceasefire with the Fomorians. This attempt failed due to treachery from one side that resulted in a terrible war between the two races that ended in the Fomorians’ downfall.

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Expand for references


Duald Mac Firbis,On the Fomorians and the Norsemen

Old Irish Kingdoms and Clans