dragons

Celtic Dragons

Dragons were an important part of Celtic lore and various types of dragon occur commonly in Celtic art.

The appeal of Celtic art is strong today and you can buy celtic dragon representations on posters, T-shirts and even jewelry.

Land & Water

The celts were highly attuned to the land and dragons were believed to influence the land, being connected with the rolling hills etc. Areas frequented by dragons were
believed to possess special power and regular dragon paths could become ley lines. There is a clear similarity here with the Chinese Feng Shui dragon.

As well as the earth, Celtic dragons were strongly associated with water. Many Celtic dragons are forms of sea serpent. They are often repesented as a huge winged serpent, however unlike many other other Western dragons they usually had no legs.

The Circle of Life

In Celtic art and legend dragons are often pictured with their tails in their mouths, similar to the Norse Jormungandr. This circular symbolism is believed to represent the cyclic nature of the world and immortality.

Power

Dragons are, of course, powerful creatures. The dragon was therefore often used as a symbol of power with the local chief. An example of this can be found in the name
Pendragon (most famously the king of England Uther Pendragon, father of King Arthur).

Irish Dragons

Dragons were extremely important in Irish mythology, however most of the legends were affected by the arrival of Christianity. Irish dragons were almost universally portrayed as evil satanic beasts and it is difficult to get to the original stories.

When Saint Patrick reached Ireland, according to Christian mythology, he began by ridding the country of snakes then went on to imprisoning the serpents and dragons.

One of the last dragons in Ireland was Paiste (Lig-na-Baste), a fire-breathing serpent from the beginning of time. He was still around when St Patrick died and was eventually subdued by the trickery of Saint Murrough. He still lives in the waters of Lough Foyle.