Morgan Daimler’s Pagan Portal Aos Sidhe is a small but substantial introduction to Irish fairy folklore and myth. Morgan’s knowledge in this area is immense, and this has enabled them to get a great deal of valuable detail into a small space in a highly readable way.
Folklore is a complicated issue, because it changes over time, and people ‘contribute’ to it by making stuff up. Where the people bringing in new content are deeply immersed in the existing traditions, I don’t think this is much of a problem, it’s just the folk process. Where people come in from outside of a tradition, misunderstand it, misrepresent it and make up bits that suit them that they then pass off as traditional… that causes all kinds of problems. Irish fairy lore seems especially prone to this treatment, and this has been happening since the nineteenth century.
Morgan highlights the things we know from older writing, and traces the origins of the most visible modern additions. Traditional fairy lore is complex and often relates to specific places. Modern interpretations tend to be simpler and more generalised. Not only is this a guide to understanding what’s ancient and what is modern, it also gives a person tools to approach things that claim to be ancient Irish folklore in a productive way.
It was a fascinating read and I very much enjoyed it. I am no sort of Irish fairy expert, but I am a longstanding dabbler in folk traditions, so for me this book was a mix of familiar things and entirely new content. It was interesting to see how my perceptions squared with the traditional material, and I was happy to find that I haven’t acquired any pop culture fairy content and mistaken it for older stuff!
I can very much recommend this book as an interesting, and engaging piece of work, likely to be appreciated by anyone interested in fairies specifically or folklore more generally. For anyone starting out exploring fairy lore, I think it would be invaluable both in its own right and as a prompt for what else to explore.
You can find more on the publisher’s website –