Tuatha Dé Danann

Tuatha Dé Danann
Tuatha Dé Danann

Tuatha Dé Danann – who were they?

The Tuatha Dé Danann were a legendary supernatural race of beings in Irish mythology.

Their mythology is known due to the Book of Invasions, known in Irish as Lebor Gabála Érenn. This book lays out the pre-Celtic history and mythology of Ireland and references numerous different races of beings who were said to inhabit Ireland.

Their arrival time in Ireland was said to be during ancient times. According to the legends, they brought with them great knowledge and technology that far exceeded anything the indigenous peoples had ever seen.

Crafting was also a well known skill of theirs. They were believed to have created many of the magical artifacts that were said to exist in Irish mythology.

Tuatha Dé Danann Meaning

The meaning of their name translates in Irish to ‘people of the goddess Danaan. Danaan is referring to the goddess Danu, a Celtic Irish goddess who was considered to be the mother of all other Irish gods.

Danu is a goddess found all across Celtic cultures. As they were considered to be descended from the goddess Danu, the tuatha were considered divine beings with incredible powers. These powers varied from magical arts, healing, shapeshifting, and the ability to control their environment.


Their name can be quite a difficult name to pronounciate due to it being in Irish. It is pronounced (to-ah di dan-awn). 

Please check out this video below if you want to hear an audio version of the correct pronunciation.

Tuatha Dé Danann Gods

They were led by four powerful gods, who were siblings: Nuada, the king of the gods, his wife, Macha, and their two brothers, Lir and Manannán.

Other important members of their god class included Dagda, the god of fertility and agriculture, Brigid, the goddess of poetry, healing, and smithcraft, and Lugh, the god of the sun and the harvest. As mentioned previously, Danu was considered to be the mother off all of their gods.

Major Conflicts

The Tuatha Dé Danann were said to have fought against the Fir Bolg and the Formorians, two other ancient peoples in Irish mythology, for control of Ireland.

In the first battle of Mag Tuireadh, they defeated the Formorians and established themselves as the rulers of Ireland.

However, they later faced a challenge from the FirBolg, who attempted to retake control of the land in the second battle of Mag Tuireadh. The Tuatha Dé Danann emerged victorious once again, cementing their control over Ireland.

Despite their supposed divine powers and knowledge, they were not invincible, and they faced many challenges over the following centuries.

Eventually they were said to have retreated to an underground realm known as the Sidhe, where they could live out their days in relative peace and seclusion. The Book of Invasions does predict however that one day they would return.

Want to learn more about Celtic Mythology?

There are a number of great books available on Celtic Mythology. This is one of our favourites. It is from a series on Mythology of 8 great race of peoples (Egypt, Celts etc.).

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