Fairy forts – also called fairy mounds and fairy raths – can be found scattered across Ireland and Scotland, and in the folklore of the British Isles, they're the home of the sidhe – the ancient gods of those nations, who diminished and became the Good Folk or Fair Folk, the Celtic equivalent of the French fae (which is the root of the English “faerie” or “fairy”).
In Irish and Scottish mythology, these folk variously were said to live underground in fairy mounds (or forts), across the western sea, or in an invisible world that coexists with the world of humans.
In JRR Tolkien's Middle Earth mythos, the lands of the elves are in the West – and it is to these lands that the elves retreat, as described in Tolkien's epic Lord of the Rings, at the end of the Third Age when the elves and their power in Middle Earth diminish.
For my Portals urban fantasy/suspense books, I've borrowed from the Irish/Scottish concept that the fae are native to a realm separate from our own. In the Portals mythos, this land is the Realms of Magic, a parallel world that contains all of the creatures of our human mythologies and folklore – elves, wizards, pixies, dragons, ogres, trolls …
In the Portals universe, as I've envisioned it, the fairy mounds are gateways between the Realms of Magic and our human world.
Tradition holds that the mounds in particular are imbued with the powerful magic of the druids, and that to disturb them is to invite disaster. Folklore offers many tales of people who suffered bad luck, illness, injury or even death because they disturbed a fairy mound.
That, says a one-time neighbor of Quinn's in the town of Ballyconnell, is what happened to Quinn.
In 1992, Quinn Concrete, one of Quinn's business ventures, moved the Wedge Tomb, a megalithic burial tomb that had stood for 4,000 years in Ireland's Aughrim townland, two miles from Ballyconnell. The goal for the concrete company was to expand a quarry.
Financial experts said the loss of his $8 billion business empire was due to Quinn's decision to gamble on Anglo Irish Bank shares.
But the Fair Folk work in most mysterious ways, and who's to say whether Sean Quinn staked his empire on bank shares because he thought, at the time, it would be a good idea …
Or whether it came, perhaps through dreams in the middle of the night, from some one or some thing that resented having its ancient home disturbed ...