The Irish Goddess Clíodhna, Queen of the Banshees, is said to have been the most beautiful woman in the world, and her tales show us a complicated woman with the potential of doing great goodness, and also great darkness.
She lived in the divine realm of Tír na n’Óg, and had three magical birds that surrounded her at all times. These colourful birds had the power to heal any ailment by singing the afflicted person to sleep. Upon awakening, the ailments would be cured. I chose to represent these birds as colourful little songbirds from the Irish countryside in my artwork.
Clíodhna’s most famous story is the creation of the Blarney Stone. When Cormac McCarthy was building his castle, he ran into trouble with the courts. Clíodhna told him to kiss the first stone he saw on his way to court, and he would talk his way out of the situation. Of course, it worked, and to this day thousands of people visit every year to kiss the Blarney Stone and get the ‘gift of the gab’.
Clíodhna left Tír na n’Óg when she fell in love with a mortal man named Ciabhán. Sadly, this is how she met her end, when the King of the Tuatha Dé Danann, Manannán Mac Lir, summoned a huge wave that swept her out to sea. The incoming tide at Glandore in Cork is still known as ‘Clíodhna’s Wave’.
Her association with the sea as a result of this is very strong. She is said to use her great beauty to lure young men down to the sea shore, where they meet their untimely end.