A dip in a road in Ireland is not due to an underlying problem with the earth, but is instead caused by the disruption of “fairy forts” that cause “bad luck,” according to one lawmaker.
Danny Healy-Rae, an independent member of Ireland’s Parliament, says the recurring road issue can only be the result of people disturbing fairy lairs.
These supposedly sacred spots are actually the circular remains of ringforts and hillforts and other temporary dwellings built by people thousands of years ago, but the Irish superstition links them to supernatural forces.
According to the Irish Times, the politician said:
There are numerous fairy forts in that area… I know that they are linked. Anyone that tampered with them back over the years paid a high price and had bad luck… there was something in these places you shouldn’t touch… I have a machine standing in the yard right now. And if someone told me to go out and knock a fairy fort or touch it, I would starve first.
This isn’t the first time Healy-Rae has blamed fairies for the problem with the road, which was fixed but reappeared after some time. The official explanation from authorities has been that the dip was caused by “a deeper underlying subsoil/geotechnical problem.” But if that’s too many syllables to wrestle with, I guess “magic” is the next best option. Healy-Rae first raised the possibility 10 years ago.
According to Newsweek:
Back in 2007, when a dip first occurred in the road, Healy-Rae asked about the supernatural at a meeting of Kerry council. “Is it fairies at work?” he asked, in a formal motion authored when he was a councillor… In traditional Irish folklore, disturbing places associated with fairies is thought to bring bad luck or a fairy curse. Such places include so-called fairy forts, also known as ráths or lios, which are the remains of ancient structures.
This is a pretty crazy belief, but let’s be honest: is it really all that much crazier than what “mainstream” religions still teach today? Is it crazier than giants and flying horses and men who live to be almost 1,000 years old? Not really. The fact is all these ancient myths survive for the same reasons: people are gullible, imaginative, and crave easy answers to difficult questions.
The quotation from Douglas Adams seems particularly relevant here:
“Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”
(Image via Shutterstock)