The Irish Celtic Gods and Goddesses / Celtic deities played a key part in Celtic mythology.
And, while they don’t attract as much attention as the various Irish mythological creatures, the legends tied to each of them make for interesting reading.
The Celts practiced a Polytheistic religion, sometimes referred to as ‘Celtic Paganism’ – in a nutshell, they believed in and worshiped more than one God.
Below, you’ll get an insight into the most notable Celtic Gods and Goddesses, from Lugh and Dagda to Cernunnos and more.
A quick overview of the major Celtic Gods and Goddesses
The list below gives a quick overview of the different Celtic mythology Gods and Goddesses that we’re going to cover in this guide.
Is this all of them? Absolutely not! But it’s the main body of Celtic Gods that tend to crop up again and again in Irish mythology.
- The Celtic Goddess Danu
- The Morrigan
- Cú Chulainn
- Medb Queen of Connacht
- The Celtic God Aengus
- The Cailleach
The best known Celtic Mythology Gods and Goddesses
Section one of our guide tackles the major Celtic Mythology Gods and Goddesses, from the likes of the mighty Dagda to the powerful Danu.
Each Celtic God and Goddess has a colourful tale attached to them, with stories of battles, sorrow and magical powers all part of the package.
An important father-figure in Celtic mythology, Dagda is one of the ‘good’ Celtic Mythology Gods. He is the father of Aengus, Bodb Derg, Cermait, Midir and Brigit.
Dagda was also the leader of the mighty Tuatha Dé Danann tribe of Celtic Gods that roamed Ireland back in the day.
Dagda had several powerful weapons and it’s said that his large club could slay 10 men with a single blow and that it had the power to resurrect the dead.
He also had a harp that was used to summon the seasons, as well as a cauldron for producing food. Dagda had many lovers and one of them was the Celtic goddess of war and fate – the Morrigan.
2. The Celtic Goddess Danu
Danu is one of the oldest mythical beings in Ireland. Often portrayed as a beautiful woman, this Celtic Goddess is commonly associated with nature.
Danu is considered as the divine mother of people of Dana (tribe of Celtic Gods).
She also represents aspects of regeneration, wisdom, death, and prosperity.
As for the historical side of affairs, Danu was not just a major Celtic God in Ireland – her reputation earned her recognition in Britain and further afield.
The Celtic Mythology God Lugh was rarely mentioned in inscriptions, but this sun god of all crafts and arts was actually an important deity among the Celtic gods and goddesses.
Associated with ravens and thunderstorms, Lugh was often portrayed with his magic spear Gae Assail, helmet, and armour.
He was a warrior and killed the one-eyed chief of the Formorii, the famous Balor (whom you’ll read about in our guide to Celtic mythological creatures).
The Celtic Goddess Badb was the daughter of Ernmas and was also known to be a supernatural demon.
In Celtic eschatology, Badb is the person who will cause the end of the earth.
The legend says how she prophesied the downfall of the deities, as well as the Great Famine in the 19th century.
Badb was also the Celtic Goddess of enlightenment, inspiration, life, and wisdom and in Celtic mythology, her name means “Crow”.
5. The Morrigan
Known as the Celtic Goddess of war, the Morrigan is also known as the “Phantom Queen” or the “Queen of Demons”.
According to legend, she hovered over the battlefield in the form of a crow or a raven.
The Morrigan could also predict who was going to reign supreme in a battle.
One notable story tells of a time that she appeared in front of Cú Chulainn, but he failed to recognize her.
Cú Chulainn died in a battle soon after. Once he died, the Morrigan settled on his shoulder in the form of a crow.
6. Cú Chulainn
Cú Chulainn is arguably better suited to a list of Irish Gods, but we’ve added him here as he features so prominently in Irish legends.
Originally named Setanta, Cú Chulainn was the hero of the famous Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology.
Many will remember Cú Chulainn as a heroic fighter, thanks to the countless stories of his many battles.
Cú Chulainn was the defender of the Ulster and to this day, he remains the best-known folk Hero in Ireland.
His actions were heroic, but as mentioned before, Cú Chulainn died after failing to recognise the goddess of war.
Next on our list is the Cernunnos, who is arguably the more unusual of the many Celtic Gods and Goddesses in our guide.
Cernunnos was a horned God who is associated with nature, grain, wealth, and horned animals.
The Druids called him the Honoured God and Julius Caesar associated this mythical being with the Roman Underworld God Dis Pater.
Many animals were sacred to Cernunnos including horned serpents, bull, stag, and ran.
An interesting fact is that ancient Celtic images portrait him seated in a lotus position with either horns or antlers on his head.
8. Medb Queen of Connacht
Mebd was the Queen of Connacht in Celtic mythology and she is buried at the top of Knocknarea in Sligo.
Powerful both physically and mentally, Medb was a fierce and respected leader who led armies into battle on numerous occasions.
The Tain bo Cuailnge is arguably the most captivating battle that this Celtic Goddess was involved in (yes, this was the battle for the bull!).
9. The Celtic God Aengus
Aengus was the son of the Dagda and river goddess Bionn. Also known as Angus or Oengus of the Bruig, he was the almighty God of youth and love.
The story of Aengus tells us how he searched all over the country for a beautiful maiden. Fortunately, he found one and she was called Caer.
Together with the other 150 maidens, she was destined to turn into a swan, so Aengus decided to transform into a swan so he could unite with the love of his life.
10. The Cailleach
Also known as the Hag of Béara, Cailleach had the ability to control the weather and the seasons.
She was one of the most powerful and oldest mythical beings in Ireland and her legend is linked to the countries of Cork and Kerry.
Cailleach appeared as an old hag and, according to the legend, she was responsible for the formations of many mountain landmarks like the Cliffs of Moher and Hag’s Head in Ireland.
Brigid was the Celtic Goddess of poetry, prophecy, healing, agriculture, and fire.
She was actually the daughter of Dagda and a member of the Tuatha De Danann.
It is believed that Brigid had a couple of domesticated animals including sheep, critters, and oxen.
Brigid was known for three aspects: the smith, the healer, and the poet. Some believe that Brigid was a triple deity.
FAQs about Celtic Goddesses and Gods
Since writing a guide to the Celts some time ago, we’ve seen an influx of queries about Celtic mythology Gods and Scottish Gods.
I’ve done my best to answer the FAQ below, but if you have a question please ask away in the comments section.
Who are the best known Celtic Mythology Gods?
Brigid, Queen Mebh, Lugh, Badb and Dagda are some of the best known.
Is there a Celtic Gods and Goddesses list?
Brigid, The Cailleach, Aengus, Queen Medb, Cernunnos, Cu Chulainn, The Morrigan, Badb, Lugh, Danu and Dagda.
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.