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IRISH FOMOR

The fomor is one of a group of Celtic sea demons sometimes associated with the hostile power of nature.   Their name means the 'dark of the sea,' and they were thought to be the opposite of all that is good in the world. For the most part, they inhabited an underwater island, known as Lochlan. They often terrorized the coast of Donegal with their monstrous appearance. All the fomor were different from each other, not appearing alike at all. The usual fomor was of enormous stature and sported deformed limbs.

The Fomorians were an ancient sea-faring race it is thought that they originally came from Northern Africa or Asia as they are described as having dark hair and dark skin in the original accounts. The name 'Fomor' literally means 'beneath the sea' from the Gaelic faoi-mhuir. Today scholars believe that 'Mor' means 'phantom' or 'spirit' and therefore proves that the Fomorians were considered to be Gods with magical powers.

Conaing is one of the first of these Fomorians to have settled and they seem to have settled on all the Northern Islands along the coast of Ireland and across to Scotland and Norway. They were reputed to have great magical powers. Some accounts have them living beneath the waves. It would seem that they split up into different tribes and that some did decide to reside in the Underworld such as Tethra the Fomorian faery king. They were certainly renowned Sea-farers and their ships were important to them. An account from the Second Battle of Magh Tuiredh says that their fleet stretched from Norway to the North-east coast of Ireland.


 

 

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Most Fomorians are described as dark-haired but there are exceptions Elatha the father of Bres being described as having 'golden-hair and being the handsomest man in sight'. He also seems to have been less blood-thirsty and more interested in justice. He refused to go to war with his son Bres against the Tuatha Dé because it was an 'unjust cause'.

According to the ancient accounts in the Lebor Gabala Erenn the tribes of the Nemedians, Fir-Bolg, and Tuatha Dé all spoke the same tongue and were supposed to be descended from the same family, the Fomorians were a completely separate race. With separate language and customs. Although they do intermarry with the Tuatha De Danann in some accounts.

In some accounts the Fomorians are described as one-eyed, one armed, one legged monsters with vast magical powers. In ancient times a curse was always pronounced on someone using this one-eyed, one armed, one legged stance as it was deemed to have great magical power, Lugh uses this method to cast a curse at his enemies in the Second Battle of Magh Tuiredh. 

Variants: Fomorian, Fomhoire, Formorian, Fomoraig, Faoi_mhuir.

The men of Erin were all at the battle,
After the Fomorians came
All of them the sea engulphed,
Save only three times ten.


Eochy O'Flann, circa. A.D. 960.


 

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