There is A LOT of mythology surrounding Ireland and the Irish and they are probably as well known for this as for their Guinness! However, Irish Fairies are probably among the most well known and well loved of all of them.
The Dullahan is one of these fairies and is particularly well known in the counties of Sligo and Down. Legend has it that at around midnight at times of Irish festivals this black hooded horseman can be seen riding a dark horse across the countryside. It is said that this fairy has a head that is not joined to its body and as such as only limited powers of speech. It is allowed to speak once on each journey it makes and then it is only to state the name of the person whose death it is foretelling. The Dullahan will go to the door of the person that this is and call their soul to him when he states there name. It was also said that he may stop on the exact spot the person was going to die.
The Pooka is another Irish fairy and one of the most feared! He may have many guises and will go around after nightfall creating havoc and mischief. It is said that one if his more usual forms is that of a black horse with bright yellow eyes and a flowing mane. In this form he will break down fences, scaring livestock and trampling crops. In county down he takes the form of a goblin and is said to demand a share of the crops from farmers. For this reason in this area there will often be a strip of the crop left after harvest and this is known as the 'pooka's share'.
The leprechaun is probably the best known of the Irish fairies and takes the form of a small and wizened old man. He is the guarder of any ancient treasure which he keeps hidden well away from human grasp. If he is caught by a human he is said to offer a lot of wealth in turn for his release. The leprechaun carries to leather pouches, in one a silver coin and in the other a gold one. The silver coin will always return to the pouch even when paid out, but the gold one will turn to leaves of dust once it leaves the leprechauns grasp. It is said that you should never take your eye off of a leprechaun as they can vanish in an instant!