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Grianán of Aileach (Bruno Biancardi / Adobe Stock)

Ireland’s Tuatha Dé Danann: Descendants Of The Fallen Angels From Canaan


Rebellious, fallen angels, who were expelled from heaven to earth populate the mythologies and religious texts of the three main Abrahamic religions. However, the term ‘fallen angel’ appears neither in Abrahamic scriptures or in the Bible, even though it is commonly used to describe angels that sinned in heaven and were subsequently cast to earth to practice their malevolent magic.

Gundestrup Cauldron depicting Dagda of the Tuatha Dé Danann (150 BC) Art of the Celts, Historic Museum of Bern. (Public Domain)

Gundestrup Cauldron depicting Dagda of the Tuatha Dé Danann (150 BC) Art of the Celts, Historic Museum of Bern. (Public Domain)

For most Christians, the Devil was once the angel Lucifer who defied God and fell from grace and this is why he is remembered as ‘fallen angel’. According to historian Lester L. Grabbe’s book, A History of the Jews and Judaism in the Second Temple Period, in Jewish religious mythology during the late Second Temple period (516 BC - 70 AD), the Sons of God, known as the Nephilim, were the Biblical giants who were considered the monstrous offspring of fallen angels who bred with human women. Furthermore, The Book of Daniel 4 refers to heavenly beings called ‘watchers’ who fell for human women.

The Fall of the Rebel Angels by Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1508) Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. (Public License).

The Fall of the Rebel Angels by Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1508) Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. (Public License).

To rid the world of the troublesome Nephilim, God caused the great flood, but while they physically drowned, ten percent of the disembodied spirits of the Nephilim remained after the flood, their souls bound to torment life on earth as demons. Later Christian theology argued that the sins of fallen angels occurred before the beginning of human history and that fallen angels were associated with the armies of Satan in rebellion against God, but all religious systems ultimately fought fallen angels as demonic entities. While the so-called fallen angels in Christian and pagan mythology included Belial, Beelzebub Moloch, Chemosh and Satan himself, the 1984 book  The Qur'an and Its Interpreters, Volume 1 explains that it has always been a point of great debate among historians as to whether or not the Quranic jinn of Islamic traditions are the same entities as the Biblical fallen angels.

The Fallen Angels by Salvatore Albano (1893) Brooklyn Museum in New York City. (Public Domain).

The Fallen Angels by Salvatore Albano (1893) Brooklyn Museum in New York City. (Public Domain).

The Sidhe - Ancient Ireland’s Fallen Angels

Mostly everyone, no matter where they were born, and generally from a very young age, has heard of demons and most religious people have come across the term ‘fallen angel’. However, in pre-Christian Ireland and Scotland the terms ‘fallen angels’ and ‘demons’ were not used so much as the terms ‘fae-folk’ and ‘faeries /fairies’.


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Ashley Cowie is a Scottish historian, author and documentary filmmaker presenting original perspectives on historical problems, in accessible and exciting ways. His books, articles and television shows explore lost cultures and kingdoms, ancient crafts and artifacts, symbols and architecture, myths and legends telling thought-provoking stories which together offer insights into our shared social history.

Top Image: Grianán of Aileach (Bruno Biancardi / Adobe Stock)

By Ashley Cowie



Ali Usman's picture

When you talk about the three Abrahamic faiths, obviously you’re counting Islam as well. Please note that there’s no concept of “Fallen Angels” in Islam as such. Per Islamic teachings, Lucifer was made of fire and was a Jinn (Giant). But due to his continuous committment and obedience to God, he had received a very high rank amongst the angels. In Islam, an angel can’t err as God hasn’t given any freewill to angels. Only humans and jinns (giants) can err. That’s why, Lucifer went against God’s command when God ordered the angels to bow before Adam. There upon, God cursed Lucifer and gave him time till the day of Judgement. Because angele can’t err, as per Islam, this directly negates the possibility of any angels fighting alongside Lucifer against God and then any angels falling to earth as a punishment from the God. Not sure how much Judaism agrees with the concept of fallen angels but your article is mostly in the light of Christianity only.

ashley cowie's picture


Ashley is a Scottish historian, author, and documentary filmmaker presenting original perspectives on historical problems in accessible and exciting ways.

He was raised in Wick, a small fishing village in the county of Caithness on the north east coast of... Read More

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