Demonic Sídhe: The Fabrication of Christian Hell in Medieval Pagan Irish Texts




Connelly, Kaitlin

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All extant records of Irish pagan beliefs pre-Catholicism were written by Catholic monks, which has led to unreliable and conflicting tales that paint a fuzzy picture of what was believed. This paper aims to clarify this confusion on the topic of hell and the demonization of the sídhe (Irish fae) within several original texts including Lebor Gábala Érenn, Lebor na hUidre, and the Book of Leinster. Through a combination of cultural, textual, and linguistic analysis, I argue these tales were altered, presenting the sídhe as demonic, the Otherworld as hellish, and rewriting the sídhe as the Tuatha Dé Danann, a race of magical humans. The intention behind these alterations was to bring Irish beliefs within the sacred canopy of Catholicism, fitting them into contemporary Catholic history and theology to encourage conversion.



Irish, hell, demonic, Fae, Catholic, medieval, pagan, Honors College


Connelly, K. (2022). Demonic Sídhe: The fabrication of Christian hell in medieval pagan Irish texts (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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