In Ireland two distinct fairy types exist---the trooping fairies and the solitary fairies. The trooping fairies can be found in merry bans about the hawthorn tree or at feasts in gilded fairy palaces. They delight in company, while the solitary fairies avoid large gatherings, preferring to be left by themselves and separate from one another.

The trooping faeries are the major and presiding residents of fairyland; but the solitary ones (leprechauns, selkies, banshees, merrows, etc...) have greater interest in mortal affairs and therefore are generally more familiar to us.

Fairies exist all over the world. In Ireland they are the 'sidhe' (pronounced shee), a name they have retained from the ancient days.

The trooping faeries are found living in the bushes and circles of stones that crop up all over Ireland--the fairy raths. The fairy raths crop up in pastures all over Ireland, and the farmers never plow them up for fear of disturbing the faires who live there and bringing down some bad luck upon themselves.

The fairies are said to be very beautiful, with long yellow hair and perfect delicate forms. They love milk and honey and drink flower nectar as their fairy wine. The fairies can assume any form and can make horses out of straw. They have the power to affect human life, especially unbaptized children. The fairies also love music, often luring mortals into an eternal dance with their piping and singing.

Some information on this page was taken from "A History of Irish Fairies" by Carolyn White, Copyright 1976, Published by Mercier Press.

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