Popular on the islands and rural coastlines of Ireland and Scotland, the legend of the Selkie has long been told and retold over the ages, and although less now, Selkie sightings are supposed even today.
The Selkie or sea people are thought to be the precursor to the mermaid who gives gifts of pearls and bits of sea glass among other ocean treasures to humans they favorite.
Legend has it that in order to come ashore the Selkie must first shed their seal skin and once removed they cannot return to the sea without it. Celtic legends tell of land dwellers finding the skin of a Selkie and hiding it and then marrying the Selkie woman who is of extraordinary beauty, or the Selkie man who is handsome and of great strength.
There is much folklore that revolves around Selkies in the Celtic Isles. One story is that of Thady Rua O’Dowd, a clan chieftain who was tasked with finding himself a bride.
One morning while walking on the seashore Thady stumbled upon a beautiful maiden combing her hair. laying naked with a magical cape beside her. He knew of the sea people, the Selkies, and he quickly snatched up her Selkie cloak and after hiding it he professed his love at first sight. Without her seal skin, the Selkie named Eve had no choice but to return his love and marry him. Together they ruled the lands and happily raised their seven children. But Eve always longed for the sea.
The legend continues that Eve’s Selkie cloak was well hidden but one of her children spotted their father Thady checking on it and told his mother of the “bag of gold.” When Thady was away from home Eve went to the spot and behold there was her sealskin and by reclaiming it Eve was free. She could not resist the strong pull of the sea and returned from which she came, once again a Selkie in the Wild Celtic Sea.