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The Fairy Pools of Skye

One of the highest of the Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye

Traditional Midsummer's Eve

Jun 23

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"The Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye are a cascade of clear blue pools on the River Brittle, as if nature herself crafted a hidden paradise for the fairies to dance and play."

Traditional Midsummer's Eve, observed on June 23, has its roots in ancient pagan celebrations of the summer solstice, the astronomically observed longest day of the year, which typically falls around June 21. With the spread of Christianity, many pagan festivals were incorporated into the Christian calendar. St. John's Day, celebrated on June 24, commemorates the birth of John the Baptist. Midsummer's Eve on June 23 became associated with the feast day. Though we can't confirm exactly when the fairies celebrate, best to be careful! Midsummer's Eve, a time steeped in traditions and folklore, is believed to be a night when the veil between the human world and the realm of fairies is at its thinnest. Across various cultures, this magical night is celebrated with bonfires, dances, and rituals intended to welcome and honor these mystical beings. According to legend, fairies come out to play, granting wishes or casting spells on those who stumble upon them. People often leave offerings of food and drink to appease the fairies and gain their favor. In some tales, fairies are said to dance in circles, and those who join or spy upon them might find themselves enchanted or blessed with extraordinary luck. On the Isle of Skye, the famous "Fairy Pools" are known for their ethereal beauty. The vivid colors of the water and the mystical surroundings contribute to this enchanting reputation as well as the histories of the Clan MacLeod and the Clan MacDonald, two prominent Scottish clans with deep roots on the Isle of Skye. This sprightly jig contains crossing and flitting about, meanwhiles to confuse dancers or fairies and a fairy chase in a magic circle at the end! 🧚 🧚 🧚

The Fairy Pools of Skye

Fairy myths are common all over Scotland but especially prevalent in Skye where one in particular, the Fairy Flag legend of Dunvegan Castle, is associated with the Fairy Pools. As the tale is told, the chieftain of Clan Macleod of Dunvegan was to marry a “bean sidhe” (fairy woman) who was princess of the Shining Folk i.e., fairies.

Despite being in love with one another, the King of the Fairies forbade their marriage which led to his daughter’s upset. In response, he permitted their union but only for one year as a trial. The pair had a son together but, once their year was up, the Fairy Princess was commanded to return to her original realm.

Distraught, one night she heard her baby in the human world weeping so she instantly returned to him, wrapped him in a silk shawl, and lulled him to sleep through song. This is why the tale is named the “Fairy Flag”.

To view the enchanting landscape where the fairies might dance, click the fairy pools below.

The Fairy Pools of Skye

Click the dance cribs or description below to link to a printable version of the dance!

The Fairy Pools of Skye

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