“…in the stories of today he has shrunk to eel or worm”
-Lady Gregory commenting on the Irish dragon.
The Celtic bestiary contained a colorful ark of animals both common and strange. Some of the more peculiar members of this menagerie could be accounted for as stray marine fauna such as the walrus and others may be outright dismissed as a product of superstition and imagination. However certain participants lingered in a gray area where they appeared to have been well believed in and even well recorded but otherwise are lacking in any modern inventory. Some of these puzzling configurations have echoed into 20th century sightings and reports of strange water monsters. Could these sightings yet authenticate what’s otherwise been interpreted as mythical animals?
Horse-Eel, hair-eels, peistes, piast,
Stories of eel-like monsters are perhaps as old as Ireland itself. Considering the enduring length of time these animals were known about from bog residents its almost a mystery that such animals should remain a mystery.
Tarbh’Usige, water-bull, water-cow, Irish Hippopotamus
The Celts who spoke of Each’Usiage (water-horse) also told of a separate kind of beast: Tarbh’Usiage, the water-bull. A missing link perhaps, to three very unusual reports.
Irish Crocodile, Master-Otter, Dobhar-Chu, water-dog, anchu
A slain woman’s grave is still visible today depicting an engraving of the creature that emerged from the water and killed her. Possibly a larger species of otter that’s been over looked by zoology? Or something entirely new?
Each’Usige, Sea-Horse, Water-horse, Kelpie
An animal whose enigmatic existence has been long accepted yet often dismissed. The original “lake monster” known throughout Europe but persistent within modern sightings of the British Isles and Scandinavia.