Clíodhna – hammered by waves and ‘waves’

One tale about Cliona – the female figure from Irish literary and oral tradition – tells how she ended up landing on the beach of Trá Théite (close to modern day Glandore) after fleeing from Tír Tairngire with her lover Ciabhán.

There, desperate for food, Ciabhán left her sleeping on the beach while he took the boat out and went further along the coast to catch some fish. While he was absent, a mysterious wave swept in and washed the sleeping Clíodhna away. Known as ‘Tonn Clíodhna’, this ‘wave’ is actually believed to have been some kind of waterline marker for the local shore.

Sadly, although Clíodhna has long been known to be a land goddess – a figurative representation of nature and the land – she continues to get misrepresented online, predominantly through recurring waves of a strange ‘Chinese Whispers’ style of misinformation, predominantly spread via English language ‘mythology’ sites.

Wikipedia, probably one of the major sites of such misinformation (its ‘Irish’ content is mostly entered by people who have a limited understanding of Irish language and culture) not only suggests that Clíodhna is ‘Cleena’ in English (it’s not – that sounds more like a cheap brand of manufactured tissues) but claims that she’s ‘Queen of the Banshees’.


A few years back, it was revealed that almost all of Wikipedia’s ‘Scottish’ language content had bene entered by an eighteen-year-old American who’d “read some books” on the subject. I think its probably safe to assume a similar standard of quality assurance has been applied for Irish cultural entries.