Thursday, October 8, 2009

Werewolves in Ireland

Wolves no longer exist in Ireland, but this wasn’t always the case. Wolves once overran the island, causing all sorts of mischief. The Irish refer to the werewolf as faoladh or conriocht. The Irish legends aren’t based off the German myths. The werewolves weren’t man-eating creatures, but rather protectors. The wolves protect children, guard wounded men and have also guided a lost person to safety. Even today a wolf talisman is still believed to ward off evil.

In 1185, Giraldus Cambrensis wrote down the first werewolf tale, believing the story to be true. Serious, no lie, he believed every word. Giraldus spoke to Bishop of Ossory, giving his views about the incident. The Bishop then sends the information to Pope Urban III.

As the story goes...A priest was traveling from Ulter to Meath on an important mission with his assistant. The two stopped for the night in the woods where they come across a huge wolf. They’re frightened and would have run in fear, but the wolf speaks to them in a human voice. The wolf proceeds to tell them how St. Natalia, who was known to be ill-tempered, cursed the Ossorian people for sins they’d committed. Two Ossorians, a man and a woman would live in the shape of wolves for seven years. After they completed the cycle, they would return home and another couple would take their place. This wolf told the priest his wife was dying and wished the priest to give her the last rites. The priest does so and the wife dies peacefully. The wolf then tells the priest several prophecies about the English in Ireland. The priest promises to meet the wolf at a later date, but he never sees the wolf again.

Another legend tells how the Ossory people can change into wolves whenever they wanted. When an Ossorian became a wolf he would leave his body at home as if he were dead. He would leave strict orders with at trusted friend not to move the body. If someone moved the body and the wolf couldn’t find it, he would remain a wolf for the rest of his life. In his wolf form, he lost all human aspects and would attack sheep and cattle, as any other wolf would do. If surprised or attacked while eating, the wolf would run home to resume his human form.

In Irish folklore the werewolf motif is found throughout history. There are tales about wolf-men tribes that lived in County Tipperary. The ancient kings of Ireland would ask for their help when threatened by war. There are other tales about half-men, half-wolves living in the mountain regions.

In my story, Moon Shifter, the werewolves are the Mac Tíre, a clan who escaped being hunted down and killed under Cromwell’s rule.

I hope you enjoyed the tidbit about Werewolves in Ireland. If you’d like to learn more about my books, please visit me at my website: KMN Books. Of course, I’m known to frequent Facebook and Myspace and Twitter.

I’ll leave you with a sneak peek of Moon Shifter. May you have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Available Dec. 9, 2009 at The Wild Rose Press


  1. Hi Karen!

    Great post! I love learning something new! What awesome information!

    Moon Shifter sounds like a sure-to-please read. I'm adding it to my TBR!

  2. Hi Karen,
    I really enjoyed the blog. I love wolves. So glad to see they were thought to be protectors instead of demons at some point. Many Native American tribes also believed they are Spirit guides and protectors.
    Love your shifters.

  3. Very interesting, Karen! And I love the trailer -- intriguing and sexy!

  4. Hi Karen:
    Fascinating. I didn't know werewolves were ever considered friendly to humans. Your book is undoubtedly just as fascinating as the folk lore.

    Thanks for the great article.

  5. Hi, Karen... wow, what a fantastic trailer. I look forward to reading your story.

  6. Fascinating. I didn't realize there was such a different culture around werewolves in olde Ireland.

  7. Great information. I also agree the trailer is wonderful. Another must read attacks me with excitement. Good sales!

  8. That's very interesting. I love reading Wolf shifter stories. This trailer is really cool.

  9. A very interesting post. Great information. Best of luck with sales.

  10. Hi Karen,

    I really enjoyed reading your post about werewolves in Ireland. It was fascinating info!


  11. Thank you everyone for stopping by today. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post and trailer. I appreciate the good wishes, too. :)

    Take Care

  12. This is a piece of Irish folklore I hadn't read yet, Karen, and I enjoyed it immensely! Looking forward to reading Moon Shifter.

  13. Hi Karen!!
    That is GREAT info! I would love to know more, you should do a class!
    So when did Ireland eradicate wolves and why? (Sorry, not trying to be nosy but now I'm really curious!!)
    Congrats on 'Moon Shifter', I've added it to my list!
    Autumn Shelley
    "Blood Moon"

  14. Hi Autumn,

    Most of the wolves in Ireland were hunted and killed during the sixteenth century. The forests had been depleted and the wolves no longer had a food supply or a home. They moved closer to the farms and people, hunting the livestock. The farmers did what they had to do to survive. They hunted and killed the packs to keep their family and livestock safe. Then in 1652, Oliver Cromwell issued an order to have wolves exterminated. Though some survived moving to remote areas. About 1773 was when the last wolves died out.

    Thanks for coming by today.
    Willie, I'm glad you enjoyed the piece. :)

  15. There are so many stories there!!! Thanks!

  16. As a wolf and werewolf lore presenter I really enjoyed your blog. Sad how the wolves were wiped out from Great Britain and Ireland.

    Such exterminations happened everywhere and we are so lucky we still have wolves. I'm active in stopping wolf hunts,which are sadly still happening.

  17. Better later than never! Someone might've told me you were posting, KAREN!!! Aw, the gorgeous Sydney and equally as gorgeous Grayson — in wolf or human form, I might add. What an exciting and deeply touching love story — and I happen to know that for a fact!

    Joelle Walker,the proud editor of Karen's "Moon Shifter."

    Terrific trailer, as well!

  18. Thanks so much, Joelle for stopping by.

    I thank you for your expertise and guidance as an editor in making Moon Shifter the best it could be!

  19. Great post... I hadn't heard that tale before and I love all things Irish and werewolfy. Moon Shifter looks wonderful, can't wait to read it.

  20. A great post I'll use for reference later.


  21. hey...!!!
    really nice one article.... i love reading about supernatural creatures....

  22. I'm curious where the notion of werewolves as protectors appears in folklore, many blogs and articles mention this but only provide the christian stories. Is it something clearly stated in the stories or is it a romantic notion we read into the past with maybe some plausibility?