Tuatha Dé

It means tribe or folk or people

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Tuatha Dé Danann and Tuatha Dé are common enough terms in a lot of Irish related folklore.

Tuatha Dé This term has been used by Irish monks to refer to Israelites meant to translate as "People of God" Tuatha Dé Danann This term appears in a few pseudo-historical works and translates as "Peoples of the goddess Danann". The oldest references to this term appear to be from 1,100 CE bringing the relevance of the term in question with regards to the indigenous Irish folklore. Many figures said to be members of the Tuatha Dé Danann are represented in multiple sources and likely have some roots in the underlying folklore though the term its self seem to be a more modern structure and many of the members of the Tuatha Dé Danann are clearly pseudo-historical additions for political means.

As to Danann this name is debated and is only seen in later medieval works suggesting it may be a complete fabrication of the time. Alternatively this may be related to a figure "Anu" however this figure is also confused. Part of the problem comes from medieval Christian monks who assume similar sound equates to etymological link and of course the active attempt to obscure the underlying non-Christian roots of this folklore.

No greater harm was ever done to a culture than to be Christianised it would seem.


Tuath (singular) or Tuatha (plural) means "tribe, folk, people"

(genitive) of Día and generally means a supernatural or spiritual being or object such as a god, gods, goddess or similar

You will see Tuatha Dé translated as "Tribes of gods" suggesting more than 1 group of peoples. Note I say peoples here, for a Christian centric view "god" or "gods" has a very different meaning in context to "Dé" or "Díe" see the article on Gods and Goddesses for more information.

In short we feel a more literal translation might be "the tribes of venerable peoples" or simply "ancestors" in the since of honour and veneration we see in other tribal cultures for those who came before.

An interesting note would be to look at eastern cultural traditions in particular Japan and its shrines and concepts of spirts. Eastern cultures didn't have the mass erasure of the older tribal traditions until much later and never in quite as complete a way.

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