The lianhan shee is a fairy mistress of dreadful power,
for she seeks the love and dominion of mortal men--if they refuse her, she is their slave and if they consent they are hers. Most men find that they cannot refuse her. Only
one lianhan shee exists and she is more a force than a
woman. Each fairy woman who loves ('Lianhan Shee' means
the love fairy) becomes one with her; and for the
mortal man who longs for her she is the one and only.
She does not play with emotions; all who love her, live
for her and their desire for her frequently destroys
them. The more suffering she inflicts the dearer she
becomes to them. The more they desire her the more she
eludes them. Her absence is like a chain pulling them
An impatient mistress, the lianhan shee creates such
desire in her lovers that they will overcome all
obstacles to embrace her. She never yields to them in
mortal lands, but insists on their meeting in
Tir-na-n-Og, so that men must pass through death to
enjoy her. All the great poets and musicians loved her;
almost all died young. The more they sang the more
their bodies withered; until they sang for her forever.
No one has ever described the lianhan shee. Perhaps
each stricken man jealously guards his love and fears
the worlds knowledge of her. But more likely no mortal
can describe her; for she is desire itself and she
wishes to elude all attempts to limit her glory. She
may select her lovers from our realm, but she never
allows her story to remain long on their mortal lips.
Return to: Anna's Irish Folklore Page
The Gonconer (Ganconagh) whispers of love and is an
idler. He smokes a pipe and appears making love to
shepherdesses and milkmaids.
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