Fomorians In Irish Myths And Legends: Race Of Demonic Giants Who Inhabited Ireland And Scotland

A. Sutherland - - Celtic tradition describes the Fomorians as terrifying giant creatures, horribly deformed and often mistaken for demons.

It is said that this race of ugly beings descended from Noah's son Ham, whom Noah had cursed, and on account of this terrible curse, the Fomorians became one-legged and one-armed monstrous beings.

The Fomorians were superstitious and tyrannical; the people they conquered were either enslaved or forced, a crippling tribute of two-thirds of all children and cattle born.

Fomorians In Irish Myths And Legends: Race Of Demonic Giants Who Inhabited Ireland And Scotland


Credit: Adobe Stock - tsuneomp

One Fomorian with stubby legs and long arms did not resemble another with a dwarfish right arm and a standard left arm or another with two or even three heads and only one eye or three on his head.

According to Fomorian beliefs, a child without any mutation is born without a noticeable personality. They were only accustomed to seeing their own mutated bodies, and a child born "normal" with all fingers and toes was doomed to be killed as a monster.

The Fomorians (Old Irish: 'Fomoire') is a supernatural race in Irish myths. These giants were associated with the powers of nature, such as fog, storms, winter, and disease.

They were said to have come from the sea or under its surface and were some of the earliest inhabitants of the British Isles, occupying both Scotland and Ireland.

Ireland had never seen anything more terrifying than the army of prehistoric Fomorians, who mercilessly raided and plundered Ireland from the sea.

The term 'Fomorian' was analogous to - disease, plague, and disaster.

The king of the Fomorians was Balor, a giant with an eye in the middle of his forehead.

According to tradition, they conquered the first invaders of Ireland - the Partholón (or "Parthalán") people who invaded Ireland and settled there, introducing cattle, building houses, and making all four plains cleared and habitable. After some years, they all died of the plague in a week.

Thirty years later came the Nemeds, who, like those who settled Ireland before him, had a genealogy going back to the biblical Noah. The Nemeds managed to win four battles with the Fomorians, but after nine years, thousands of the Nemeds died of the plague.

The mysterious Fomorians were again victorious until the Firbolgs, the third group of invaders, arrived and subdued the Fomorians. Firbolgs were the earliest historic race in Ireland. They were pastoral people of Greek or Eastern origin. Researchers believe they originated from a branch of the great Celtic race, which passed through Europe, rounded the continent's shores, and finally, made Ireland their resting place.

Fomorians In Irish Myths And Legends: Race Of Demonic Giants Who Inhabited Ireland And Scotland

Credit: Adobe Stock - Digital Storm

The  Firbolgs (from "Fir Bholg" – the "Men of Bags or Sacks") had a name given to them during their Greek exile. They lived peacefully with the Fomorians and most probably focused their lives on agriculture. They were forced to make arable land by covering rocks with earth, which they carried in bags.

They also preferred to avoid contact with other sentient races. They were both the most intelligent and powerful of the giant race.

The Tuatha De Danann defeated the Irish giants and attempted to forge a ceasefire with the Fomorians.

This attempt failed due to treachery from one side that resulted in a terrible war between the two races that ended in the Fomorians' downfall.

Written by – A. Sutherland Senior Staff Writer

Updated on May 24, 2023

Copyright © All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of

Expand for references


Duald Mac Firbis,On the Fomorians and the Norsemen

Old Irish Kingdoms and Clans