Far darrig

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A far darrig or fear dearg is a faerie of Irish mythology. The name far darrig is an Anglophone pronunciation of the Irish words fear dearg, meaning Red Man, as the far darrig is said to wear a red coat and cap. They are also sometimes known as Rat Boys as they are said to be rather fat, have dark, hairy skin, long snouts and skinny tails.[1] According to Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry, the far darrig is classified as a solitary fairy along with the leprechaun and the clurichaun, all of whom are "most sluttish, slouching, jeering, mischievous phantoms". The far darrig in particular is described as one who "busies himself with practical joking, especially with gruesome joking".[2] One example of this is replacing babies with changelings.[3] They are also said to have some connection to nightmares. [4]

In books[edit]

In Laurell K. Hamilton's Merry Gentry series, the fear dearg makes an appearance in the book Divine Misdemeanors, where he asks Merry to give him a proper name.

In the Callahan's Crosstime Saloon book series, The Callahan Touch introduces a character, Ernie "The Lucky Duck" Shea, who is the crossbreed son of a far darrig and a pooka. His strange heritage leaves him with an unusual effect on the probability of events around him – flip three coins simultaneously, for example, and they are likely to land stacked up on edge.

In Kevin Hearn's book Shattered, part of The Iron Druid Chronicles, Fir Darrigs attack the main character. They are described as follows, "Rat-face, red-coated, and only three feet tall, Fir Darrigs have a five-foot vertical leap and a quick hand with the shillelagh; their single-digit IQs couple with that to make them think they are eight feet tall and four times as fearsome."

The comic book series Jon Sable Freelance gave the title character a "day job" as a writer of children's stories about a group of Leprechauns living in Central Park. A guest issue mostly drawn by Sergio Aragonés revealed that a far darrig lives with them, and helps recruit multi-ethnic leprechauns (on the theory that everyone has a bit of Irish in them). His red clothing is trimmed with white fur, giving him something of the appearance of Santa Claus.

In video games[edit]

In the PlayStation 3 game Folklore (video game), a Far darrig appears with the alternate name Fir Darrig as an NPC who gives out quests.

In the text-based game Gemstone IV, there is a description of a boulder in one of the premium home neighborhoods that resembles a malicious gnome. The description ends with the words "The caricature has a mischievous expression, more evil than benign. Not surprisingly, the tales of Fir Darrig relate the creature to be a rather gruesome practical joker."

In the interactive fiction game The Harbinger's Head, three fear dearg appear, who are also referred to as Red Men or Rat Men. They offer to make a deal with the protagonist to aid them in finding a dullahan's head. There are multiple solutions to their demand, which may result in the deaths of the fear dearg or the protagonist.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-03-05. Retrieved 2015-06-25.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Yeats, W. B. (ed.) Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry. 1888.
  3. ^ Bardan, Patrick (1891). The Dead-watchers, and Other Folk-lore Tales of Westmeath. Westmeath Guardian Office. p. 82. ISBN 1277594635.
  4. ^ Catholic World, Volume 79. Paulist Fathers. 1901. p. 755. ISBN 9781149771518.