The direct translation of Tir na nÓg is "land of eternal youth". It refers to a mystical land in Gaelic mythology where the trees are always in bloom and there is always a bard to sing for you, where the food is always bountiful and the drink is always flowing, and, most of all, a place where you'll never grow a day older. You may live for blissful eternity in this enchanted land.
The favorite legend of Tir nanÓg is that of the love between Niamh (pronounced Neeve) and Ossian (O-Sheen),a goddess and a Celtic warrior, whose love story takes them across the ocean,through the ages, and into legend.
One day while out hunting, Oisin was approached by a beautiful maiden, Niamh. The couple fell in love and traveled on Niamh’s magic white horse to live in Tir na nOg. They married and lived a long and happy life together in this enchanted land.
300 years had passed and Oisin still looked exactly the same as when he arrived to Tir na nOg. But even the land of eternal youth couldn’t banish memories and he began to miss his people and his home terribly. Niamh understood his need to visit the mortal world again and see his friends and she provided him with a fairy horse to take him there. She warned him however that he must not set foot on the earth – if he did, he would never be able to return.
Oisin arrived back in Ireland to see that much had changed over 300 years! Fionn andhis men were long dead and the Fianna were by now the stuff of legends. Oisin didn’t like what he saw and decided to return to Tir Na nOg and his beloved Niamh.On his way back he came across some men trying to lift a heavy rock and bent down to help them. Tragedy struck when he slipped from the saddle and fell to the ground. Oisin fell on mortal soil and was instantly transformed into an old blind man.
He wandered Ireland for many years before St. Patrick took him into his house and tried to convert him to Christianity. Oisin told St. Patrick everything about Fionn and the warriors of ancient Ireland and Tir Na nOg. He eventually died without ever again setting eyes upon Niamh and Tir Na nOg.