In ancient Irish folklore, the werewolf is known as faoladh or conroicht. The faoladh (Irish werewolf) is similar to the werewolf you may be familiar with – it is a man or woman that shapeshifts into a wolf. Unlike North American werewolf legends however, the faoladh is considered a creature of good – in fact it is known as a “protector” and as a “guardian”. Some of the most famous Irish werewolf folklore can be traced to ancient writings in the Historia Brittonum and the Topographia Hibernica…
Historical Irish Writings that talk of the Werewolves in Ossory Ireland
1. Tales of Irish werewolves were recorded in the Historia Brittonum. The Historia Brittonum is a record of the very earliest times in Britain by a Welsh monk named Nennius who lived in the 9th century. The Irish version of the Historia Brittonum (which is different from the British version) states that “The Descendants of the Wolf are in Ossory“. The “werewolves” of Ossory Ireland are shapeshifters that transform into wolves and kill cattle. The tales say that if their bodies were moved while their spirits were out they would not be able to return to their bodies.
2. Werewolf legends were also recorded by Giraldus Cambrensis or Gerald of Wales in the Topographia Hibernica in the 12th century. The writings were of the landscape and people of Ireland as per his observations and eye witness accounts. In it, he recounts the tale of a priest who met a wolf who spoke to him and told him he was a native of Ossory, Ireland. The wolf stated that the people in Ossory were cursed such that every seven years a man and woman from Ossory were transformed into a wolf. The wolf asked for the priest’s help.