The wood so softly singing
In a language strange to hear
And the song it sings will find you
As the twilight draws you near


Eibhlín Ní Ghuinníola

There are several stories in the Irish folklore record of a healing woman called Eibhlín Ní Ghuinníola. One of the things said about her was that she had a fairy lover who was seen with her when she was out gathering herbs.

In a commentary on the stories, Gearóid Ó Crualaoich says:

" … that a 'fairy lover' , a leannán sí was often seen with Eibhlín Ní Ghuinníola as she gathered plants. The Saol Sí, the fairy realm, is the ancestral cultural embodiment of that imaginative mythological and spiritual otherworld lying beyond the 'normal' ranges of human perception. It can, on occasion, manifest itself in figures like the leannán sí, as well as the Cailleach-goddess, or in the activities - and in the narrative of the activities - of those women who fulfilled the social roles of wise healer, keening-woman or country midwife. Such women, acting decisively in the face of affliction and life crisis, draw their autonomy and legitimacy from the tradition and the traditional narratives of the Cailleach-goddess and in the narratives of former occupiers of their own roles such as Eibhlín Ní Ghuinníola".

from The Book of the Cailleach

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