Banshee. It's not just a job. It's a Calling.


The Banshee is one of the most commonly known figures of Irish folk lore, but at the same time one of the most misrepresented.

The modern word comes from the Irish term Bean Sídhe, which translates as "woman of the sidhe", Sidhe being the folk who exist in the Irish Otherworld. These beings are connected to death, but they are not the source, nor a guide for the dead or dying. They are connected to Irish families and their function is a service to the living. It is said that the bean sídhe would come to the family and play laments, or wail and keen so that they would know that there has been a death in the family.

There are many nights where the call if the banshee would chill the blood of those who heard it, leaving them shivering because of its chill power, but also in grief for new would soon arrive of the death.

There are many other functions that are fulfilled by these women of the Otherworld, many of them linked with sovereignty of the land or the success of a family line.
These women are bound to their own purposes and some of the oldest family claim a lineage that includes the, such as Cliodhan and the MacCarthy family or Aoibhail and the O'Brien family.

It might be fair to say that choosing to be a Banshee, is not just a job. It's a Calling. 

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1 comment

  • Hey, would you say that another function of the Bean Sídhe is to “carry the pain” of the family members? Almost like they feel the pain and sorrow in their wailing so the living don’t need to so heavily?

    A very close indigenous friend said this as a thing of intuition when we were speaking about the mythology.


    M. Lynch

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