Irish folk tales

More focused on Fairies, I guess. I’m reading a book by Jeremiah Curtin, who’s supposed to be a rather famous guy on Irish folk tales and such, and it’s a really good book. The thing is, he basically just went to a small Irish town, and spent a few nights having drinks with some of the locals and wrote the stories down, so there’s a few things I was wondering if someone could clarrify for me.

  1. What exactly is a “fairy fort”? Obviously, it’s a place where fairies reside, but how does one recognize it? Some people talk of children ruining them, so I originally figured that they were kinda like mounds, but for people to be brought inside, some of them sound like big wooded areas hidden in the trees. Is there any specific look to them, or are both right/wrong?

  2. Why is it bad to eat or drink anything if taken into a fairy fort?

  3. What is meant by “took his ears?” I’m sure this is just an expression to mean “kicked his ass,” because one story tells of a man who walks in on a bunch of knights mistreating his made, so he closes the doors and “takes their ears.” But then he goes and “takes the tails and ears of the horses and sends them away.” Is it more literal, or expressive?

  4. Is there anyway to survive a “blow” from a fairy? It seems everytime someone receives one, they end up swelling and dying.

  5. What’s your favorite tale?

Fairy food has a bad reputation in Norse folklore as well. The effects differ from tale to tale. But, they are always harmful in some way.

   -The food changes humans into mindless slaves.
   -The food takes the humans into the fairies world. When they return, they find that while a few days have passed for them decades have passed in the human world
   -The food turns the humans into fairies. While there is an upside to this, it also means never seeing your friends, or family again.
 Fairy breath not always fatal. In some cases, it only renders the person unable to see fairies. In others the person loses all sight, not just fairy-sight. I've read no defense.

I like stories of Nuckelavee the skinless. Bogies and Leprechauns could be helpful and friendly. Nuckelavee was a monster pure and simple. Plus, I love the desciption-skinless, thin, with a great lolling head, and riding a horse that may or may not be part of him

Don’t know much fairy lore.
But there is a Yeats poem, The Stolen Child, with the familiar theme of a human child being kidnapped by fairies. I believe that Yeats’ poem does not have a happy ending. But in other versions of the story, the child is a young man who escapes from the Queen of the Fairies with the help of a girl, either his girlfriend or his sister.

Faerie stories were my food and drink growing up. I still make an effort to collect stories from around the world so I can pass the books on to my children.
As to the OP:

  1. Faerie Forts are usually mounds that have either a Holy Tree (Yew, Oak, etc.) or a stone structure (think Stonhenge on a smaller scale) on their tops. These hills are usually burial mounds.
    The hill would open a hidden door/passage or remove a glamour in order for the humans to enter the sub-terranean halls.

2)DocCathode summed it up perfectly.

3)What you wrote

  1. I’ve never heard of “Faerie Breath”. Not to say that it dosen’t exist. (all things are possible in the world of Faerie!) I always thought that a “blow” referred to actually being struck by the fairy itself or by elf-shot. The spell can be lifted by various methods. Sprinkling Holy Water, the touch of iron, turning an article of clothing inside out and making some sort of offering are popular, thought not the only ones.

  2. Anything with the Bean-Sidhe. Faerie/Human romance is good too.
    How do I know this stuff? I’m still talking about faeries at my age? I am such a geek.