Women in Celtic Myths and Legends

Today, March 8th, is International Women's Day and in this article we take a look at some of the famous female characters that feature in Celtic stories; legends of powerful leaders and brave warriors, goddesses with magical powers and women who showed great strength, integrity, resilience, empathy and kindness. Celtic mythology is rich with compelling female figures who played significant roles in shaping the stories and beliefs of the ancient Celts.

The Morrigan

The Morrigan was the name given to a shape-shifting goddess of war and fertility from Irish mythology. Most commonly associated with transforming herself into a raven, she is also said to have attacked Cú Chulainn in the form of a heifer, an eel and a female wolf. The Morrigan was believed to have the power to inspire warriors to call upon their own inner strength in order to achieve greatness. Some have said that the Morrigan and Dana, the mother goddess of the Daghda, are one and the same.


Brigid or Brigit, is a goddess of health, fertility, poetry, prophecy, learning, hearth fire and smithcraft. Brigid is featured in many Irish myths and legends. She was said to have been a daughter of the Daghda, the wife of Bres, the mother of Ruadan and stories often tell of her having two sisters. Brigid represents the creative and nurturing aspects of femininity, embodying the qualities of inspiration and protection. The Celtic festival of Imbolc is the feast day of Brigid and is traditionally celebrated on the first of February through to sunset on the second. Falling between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, Imbolc marks the halfway point in the dark side of the year and welcomes the start of Spring. It is a celebration filled with hope for the longer, brighter days ahead. The name itself, "Imbolc" is said to be derived from the old Irish for "in the belly" or "ewe's milk" and it marked the time of year when the milking of the ewes would start. Rituals involved in celebrating Imbolc included lighting fires to symbolise the growing strength of the sun after months of cold and darkness. 

Another ritual involves the St Brigid's cross, a symbol of good fortune which was often made of woven straw or rushes. The cross would traditionally be displayed over doorways, windows or stables during Imbolc. This would bring blessing and protection for the year ahead. 

Queen Medb of Connaught

Queen Mebd of Connaught was a goddess queen associated with war and strength in battle. She is famous for leading the famous Cattle Raid of Cooley in an attempt to capture Donn Cuailgne, the mighty Brown Bull of Ulster. Stories tell of Queen Medb and her armies going into battle with unwavering courage and fierce determination. 


Other stories told of women who possessed great strength of character, grace and kindness. Melangell was a Celtic princess who escaped an unwanted arranged marriage. She took refuge in the Pennant Valley, a sacred place in the Bronze Age, and created a peaceful sanctuary for animals and people in need. Melangell became the abbess of a small religious community and passed the rest of her days in this place. Many were the miracles she wrought for those who sought shelter. Later a Christian church was built on the site, surrounded by ancient yew trees. Pennant Melangell has been a place of peace and pilgrimage for centuries. The hare was a sacred animal for the Celts, a symbol of abundance, prosperity and good fortune and Melangell remains the Patron Saint of hares to this day.

Her story was the inspiration for our bronze sculpture entitled "Melangell and the Hare"

The concept of the mother goddess is central to Celtic mythology, with figures like Danu and Anu representing the nurturing and life-giving aspects of the divine feminine. Danu is considered the mother of the Tuatha Dé Danann, a race of supernatural beings in Celtic mythology.

Anu, also known as the Earth Mother, is associated with fertility, abundance, and the cycles of nature. She is revered as a protector of the land and a source of sustenance for all living beings.

Irish legends tell of Eriu, Banbha and Fódla, the three goddesses who protected the sovereignty of Ireland. The name Eire is derived from Eriu. 

Women in Celtic myths embody a diverse range of roles and attributes, from goddesses of war and magic to warrior queens and mother figures. Their stories offer insight into the values, beliefs, and cultural practices of the ancient Celts, highlighting the importance of female power and influence in shaping the mythological landscape.

Older Post
Newer Post
Close (esc)


Use this popup to embed a mailing list sign up form. Alternatively use it as a simple call to action with a link to a product or a page.

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol.


Main menu


Your cart is currently empty.