Donn in Celtic Mythology

Donn was the god of the dead in Ireland. In this capacity, his house, Tech Duinn (the “House of Donn” - according to some sources, this island is located to the south-west of the Irish coast), served as a temporary resting place for the dead, before they made the crossing into the Otherworld. Some sources claim that he was one of the Sons of Mil, and therefore part of the group of mythological beings who overcame the Tuatha De Danaan and thereby became the new rulers of Ireland. Other sources, however, suggest that this is a conflation of myths. Whatever the case, there is a distinct story that emerges, and it is generally associated with the god Donn. The legend concerns Donn and Eriu, and is the subject of the next paragraph.

According to legend, when Donn and his band of Milesians (the aforementioned Sons of Mil) arrived on the shore of Ireland, they were greeted by the lovely goddess Eriu. She inquired of Donn whether she might have the honor of lending her name to the island that the Milesians planned to conquer. But Donn dismissed her and her request, scorning the goddess. This was a mistake, and Donn was made to pay for it. For as a result, the god of the sea, Manannan Mac Lir, caused a storm to engulf the Milesians, which, in some versions of the story, drowned Donn off the coast of Ireland. This area became his final resting place, and it is where Tech Duinn is said to exist.

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