Irish Mythology – Balor of the Evil Eye

Learning about Irish mythology is a perfect way to connect with the culture of your Gaelic ancestors.

In these supernatural tales, God, Goddesses, giants and faeries roamed the earth and underworld, using their powers for good or ill .

Sometimes, these legendary creatures would do almost anything to avoid death, and this is definitely the case with Balor of the Evil Eye…

Known as the King of the Formorians, this fearsome giant was sired by Buarainech; his mother was named Cethlenn.

Inhabiting Tory Island, Balor of the Evil Eye inspired dread in his enemies, primarily due to his frightening appearance.

Born with an eye in the middle of his forehead and another on the back of his head, he had the power to detect any foes before they could attack him.

However, Balor had a vision that he was to be murdered by his own grandson, and he became very paranoid.

Balor Would Do Anything to Save Himself

To save himself, Balor of the Evil Eye was willing to sacrifice another. He decided to stave off his death by locking his own daughter, Ethlinn, in a tower composed of shining crystal.

He believed that this would shield his child from becoming pregnant, and that her chastity would protect him from the demise that he foresaw.

If she could not produce a grandson, Balor would surely live…

However, a crafty Irishman, known as Cian, was determined to lie with Balor’s daughter. He snuck into the tower, assisted by a Druid priestess named Birog.

After his clandestine encounter with Balor of the Evil Eye’s daughter, she did become pregnant, and then carried triplets to term.

After the three babies were born, Balor tossed them into the sea in a fit of rage.

Again, the Druid priestess intervened, saving just one child, and then handing him over to Mannannan mac Lir, who fostered the newborn boy until he matured.

This little babe, whose life was spared in such a dramatic fashion, grew to be known as Lugh Lamhfada.

As a grown man, he joined with the Tuatha De Danna faction, becoming a fierce Celtic warrior.

Lugh masterminded the Battle of Magh Tuiredg, against Balor and his fellow Fomorians.

Lugh’s comrade, Ogma, took away Balor’s weapons during the melee; still, Balor managed to fight on, taking out another Fomorian, Nuada, with his magic eye.

Lugh regrouped, using a sling-shot to push Balor’s evil eye through the back of his head.

Balor met his fate as Lugh killed him with a spear, and then used the evil eye of Balor against Balor’s own Formorian army.

According to the myths, Balor’s eye eventually burned a crater into the dirt of the battlefield.

Afterwards, this hole filled up with water, becoming a lake known as Loch na Sul (Lake of the Eye). Today, this waterway is located in County Sligo, Ireland.

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