Merrow Picture

Merrow (from Gaelic murúch) or Murrough (Galloway) is the Scottish and Irish Gaelic equivalent of the mermaid and mermen of other cultures. These beings are said to appear as human from the waist up but have the body of a fish from the waist down. They have a gentle, modest, affectionate and benevolent disposition.
There are other names pertaining to them in Gaelic: Muir-gheilt, Samhghubha, Muidhuachán, and Suire. They would seem to have been around for millennia because according to the bardic chroniclers, when the Milesians first landed on Irish shores the Suire, or sea-nymphs, played around them on their passage.
The merrow were capable of attachment to human beings and there are reports of them inter-marrying and living among humans for many years. However, most times they eventually return to their former homes beneath the sea.
Merrow-maidens are reputed to lure young men to follow them beneath the waves where afterwards they live in an enchanted state. Merrows wear a special hat called a cohuleen druith which enables them to dive beneath the waves. If they lose this cap, it is said they have no power to return beneath the water.[1] Sometimes they are said to leave their outer skins behind, to assume others more magical and beautiful. The merrow has soft white webs between her fingers, she is often seen with a comb parting her long green hair on either side. Merrow music is often heard coming from beneath the waves.
An old tract found in the Book of Lecain states that a king of the Fomorians, when sailing over the Ictean sea, had been enchanted by the music of mermaids until he came within reach of these sirens .... then they tore his limbs asunder and scattered them on the sea. From Dr. O'Donovan's Annals of the Four Masters - entered in the year 887 A.D. there is a curious tale of a mermaid cast on the Scottish coast - Alba - She was 195 feet (59 m) in length and had hair 18 feet (5.5 m) long, her fingers were 7 feet (2.1 m) long as was her nose, while she was as white as a swan.
Most of the stories are about female beings; however, there are some about mer-men who capture the souls of drowned sailors and keep them in soul cages under the sea.[2] Female Merrows were considered very beautiful, but the mermen were basically ugly, another reason why Merrow women sought out human men. [1] In most cases, the female Merrow had a cap or cape, normally red, and if a human could capture and hide either so the Merrow never found it, then she would remain on land without a fuss. But if the Merrow should ever find her cap or cape, she would feel compelled to return forever to the ocean, leaving entire families behind
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