Mentioned in legends and oral traditions from the earliest days of Ireland, this hidden land of the fairies was a place where time moved very slowly. People lucky enough to stumble into Tir Na Nog, noticed that the seasons were only spring and summer, no rain or snow fell, and the “people” seemed to be always young. If the humans ever made their way out of this land, they would be shocked to discover that years and years had flown by and their families and friends no longer knew them. A magical place indeed, steeped in legend and lore.
One of these legends, first written down by an anonymous Irish writer, tells the story of how the poet Oisin fell in love with a fay from this magical land and spent his years in Tir Na Nog with her. However, as in most myths, there is a cautionary lesson to be learned, one that can provide a great deal of thought provoking class discussion and writing assignments with your students.
First however, you must introduce your class to this land. Use the downloadable power point which gives an overview and even a quick burst of insight as to how these fay stayed so young; once again showing that not all fairies are sweet! Once students have learned about Tir Na Nog, ask them to read the legend, answer the questions and complete the writing in the assessment. Then, have a discussion on the theme and moral of the story.
Finally, for some hands on fun, have students recreate Tir Na Nog on your classroom or hall bulletin board for the month of March. It makes for a striking display of student work and will surely give your colleagues, school leaders and other students a reason to visit your room to learn more about this Irish legend. I’ve included photographs of a Tir Na Nog bulletin board designed by 6th grade students in 2012 to inspire your own creative ideas.
This post is part of the series: Exploring the Myths of Ireland
Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, March is a great time to explore myths and folktales of Ireland with your students!