The Red Thirst, the Dearg Due, was these thousand years gone by a young maiden of surpassing fairness. Bards sang songs of her skin as fair as springtime snow and her lips as red as rubies in the light of the setting sun, men came from far and wide to seek her hand in marriage. And yet pretty as she was, he true beauty shone from within, as kindly and gentle as she was.
She fell deeply in love with a local peasant boy, and dreamed of his kisses day and night, but her father would have none of it. He married her off instead to a cruel man of great wealth, who was older yet than her father but he paid a handsome bride price for her hand. Stories tell that he abused her terribly for his own amusement, and would do her harm just to watch the blood flow on her pale skin, and all the while her father sat counting his wealth gleefully.
Confined to a tower, she pined sadly for her lost love, wondering when he would come to her rescue, but he could not and did not. Realising this at long last, her heart broke and she resolved to end it all, so she put away and hid those small morsels of food that were given to her until her body failed and she died.
The villagers knew what had to be done - they were to take the body and bury it under a tall pile of stones under what people now call Strongbow's tree - but perhaps out of pity for the poor thing, they didn't and simply let her lie in the earth. I'll tell you this much though - their pity was misplaced! For it was not the fair lost lass who arose from the earth that dark and wind-haunted night but a soulless monster from the underworld, with only the vaguest memories of who and what she had been.
She went to her father's house and asked to be let in, and he, appalled, did so of his own free will, which in the way of things grants the revenant power over those within, and she sucked all the air from his body. Then she came upon her former husband, staggering home from the tavern with three sheets to the wind, and did the same to him, except she drank not only the air from his chest but the blood from his veins as well!
Invigorated by this ill-gotten life force, the dread spectre now walks the land of Ireland, enticing young men from their beds with enchanting dances and swirling mists before enfolding them in her grasp and draining them to the last drop. Those who go missing or fall mysteriously ill, those troubled by night fevers, all should suspect the Dearg Due as a culprit for their woes. The only cure is to find the grave of the beast and pile stones atop it as should have been done in the first place, and it will hold the Red Thirst at bay for a time.
You can find Strongbow's tree marked out below. If you'd like to visit you can find a good list of hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation here. While you're enjoying this site you might also enjoy a little Celtic and Irish music to set the mood, or just the one or two songs if you're not interested in the whole albums. Don't forget you can get some very nice Irish jewelry for yourself or someone else as well, or for the craftier maybe make your own!
Although some haven't the nerve for it, more legends of vampires can be seen here.
More Irish Gods and Monsters
||Fergus and the Demon Wind|
Of all the different kinds of goblins that haunted the lonely places of Ireland in days of old, air-demons were most dreaded by the people. They lived among clouds, and mists, and rocks, and they hated the human race with the utmost malignity. In those times lived in the north of Desmond (the present county of Cork) a man man named Fergus O'Mar ... [more]
||The Man-Wolves of Ossory|
Ancient Ireland was said by some to have been plagued by a particularly large and fierce breed of wolf, and men would sometimes go to war with them, or call them to war alongside heroes and champions! They would even make so bold as to attack villages and towns, and a great pack of them assailed Coleraine in the year 1650.
To battle these fierce ... [more]
An Cailleach or the veiled woman is among the most ancient deities venerated in Ireland, she whose realm lies in the ice and cold of winter. Once it was said that she ruled all the world, when the green things slept for untold aeons beneath her thick icy cloak, until she was given cause for great sorrow and wept floods of tears across the land, her ... [more]
||Abhartach the Dwarf King|
They do say that good things come in small parcels, but often forget to add that not all small parcels are filled with good things! And so it was in the little village of Slaughtaverty in the distant past, ruled as it was by a fearsome dwarf-tyrant known as Abhartach.
Stature and size were much prized in ancient Ireland, as well they might be fo ... [more]
||Balor of the Evil Eye|
In ancient times, even before the Tuatha De Dannan and the Fir Bolg went to war over the green land of Ireland, the land was ruled by a powerful sorcerous race called the Fomors.
Warped and strange they were in appearance, some say dark of skin while others claim they dwelt at the bottom of deep lakes and in the turbulent depths of the ocean' ... [more]
The Banshee or woman of the fairy folk as she is known in Ireland has many names, the Little Washerwoman, Hag of the Mist and the Hag of the Black Head. She takes three forms, that of a young and comely maiden, a matron of full and generous figure, or that of a wretched old crone, and is dressed in red or white or as the occasion calls for it, in t ... [more]
||The Fall of Crom Cruach|
Crom Cruach was one of the old gods of Ireland, one of the few mentioned as a god in the Annals of the Four Masters, an ancient Irish codex telling of the times before Christianity came to Ireland. His name may have many meanings, but he was most commonly known to the people as Crom Dubh, or the crouching darkness. his worshippers are said to have ... [more]
Of all the wonders and terrors in Irish folklore there are few quite so terrifying as the Sluagh. Tales were told of their wild hunt long before the coming of Christianity to Ireland, and even today old folk in the countryside will keep the windows on the west side of the house fastened tight at all times, but most especially during wakes or if som ... [more]
The Red Thirst, the Dearg Due, was these thousand years gone by a young maiden of surpassing fairness. Bards sang songs of her skin as fair as springtime snow and her lips as red as rubies in the light of the setting sun, men came from far and wide to seek her hand in marriage. And yet pretty as she was, he true beauty shone from within, as kindly ... [more]