21 Dec 2015

Man Cuts Down Fairy Tree, Man Dies from Curse (1964 News Report)

Remarkable piece of Irish archival TV footage which demonstrates the power which belief in fairies once held over rural Irish communities. 

In this particular case, a sacred Fairy Thorn (Hawthorn) is removed to make way for a new road construction project in County Down. The man who cut the tree down dies (according to a woman in the report), and then the community gives the Fairy Thorn tree a funeral in its honour. Nothing is reported of how they felt about the sacrilegious ad hoc lumberjack.

The purpose of the funeral was to give respect to the fairy folk whom Irish people lived in dire fear of, and it was not until Walt Disney that fairies were transformed into loveable sprites. Our Gaelic, Nordic, Anglo-Saxon and Teutonic ancestors took fairies very seriously and did not want them to come anywhere near us. Which is why the woman in the story explains how her mother - as a little girl - hid in fear from a fairy when she saw one.

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