Shocking Fairy Horse Encounter In Ireland

Written by:John CarlsonParanormal Experiencer

John Carlson (A.K.A. The Paranormalist) is a bipedal hominoid who can sometimes be found stalking the sidewalks of New Jersey USA or lurking at his favorite neighborhood watering hole. His wife and sons have put up with his interest in and occasional confrontations with the paranormal. John encourages readers of this website to share any personal experiences, if they wish to do so. You are not alone.

The following is the absolutely fascinating true account from bestselling author Herbie Brennan. He and a friend witnessed a startling sight at a Bronze Age Irish megalith known as Longstone Rath: the legendary "faerie horses" of Celtic folklore.

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In 2007, in the very first broadcast of the now-defunct The Paranomalists podcast, my co-hosts and I had the pleasure of speaking with Irish author Herbie Brennan.  Herbie penned the very successful Faerie Wars series of books, which I’ve read and enjoyed very much. Most recently, Mr. Brennan wrote The Shadow Project and The Doomsday Box. In the course of our conversation, Mr. Brennan mentioned a creature that I had never before heard: a fairy horse.

We spoke with Mr. Brennan by phone from his home in Ireland and found him to be a delightful gentleman with a wonderful sense of humor.  We talked at length about a number of subjects, including Bronze Age megalithic structures, stone circles,  and Celtic mythology, and the fairy lore of Ireland.  I eventually asked Herbie his opinion of the possibility of the existence of a “Faerie Realm” where the beings of Irish folklore reside.

Herbie replied by saying that he was reluctant to believe in fairy legend, but he had several experiences in his life that changed his opinion of the reality of fairies. One of those experiences occurred when he was a young man living on a country estate in County Kildare, Ireland. On this property was a Bronze Age earthen ring which stood roughly fifteen feet high and surrounded a megalith, or standing stone, of about eighteen feet in height. This particular megalith, called Longstone Rath,  is a fairly well-known structure and one of many that are found throughout Ireland and the British Islands.

On Halloween of 1971, Mr. Brennan was visited by an old friend named Jim Henry.  Later that evening, sometime “well after eleven o’clock at night”, according to Herbie, Jim asked to see this rath. Shortly after arriving at the site of the ancient structure, Herbie reports that his friend had a distinct feeling that his presence there was unwelcome, remarking “I don’t think this place likes me.”

Longstone Rath
Longstone Rath, County Kildare, Ireland

Shortly thereafter, as Herbie and Jim turned to leave the rath, along the top of the earthen ring, there suddenly appeared a herd of approximately twenty to twenty-five tiny, white horses “no bigger than cocker spaniels”, in the words of Mr. Brennan. The tiny horses galloped along the top of the earthwork, disappearing down the opposite side. Herbie and Jim ran out of the rath and to the other side to see what had happened to the tiny horses, but they had vanished. Neither man had any explanation for what they had just seen.

Some years later, Herbie told the story of the white horses to his good friend, the late author Desmond Leslie.  Leslie had a fascination with mythology and was quite knowledgeable about the subject.  Upon hearing Herbie’s account of the tiny horses, Leslie replied, “Dear boy, don’t you know what those were?”. Herbie replied that he had no idea whatsoever what they were, only that he’d seen them.  “Those were faerie horses,” Mr. Leslie continued. “They’re associated with the megaliths of Ireland, and there are also reports of them in Japan.”

Fairy Horses in Mythology

Longstone Rath - County Kildare
Longstone Rath – another view

Of course, stories of fairy horses and mythological steeds abound in Celtic folklore, as well as in many other cultures. Some of the more common names known to most of us are the Pegasus, Unicorn, and Centaur. In Norse mythology, the god Odin rode an eight-legged horse named Sleipnir, the greatest of all horses. Among the Celts, there are the Scottish Kelpie or water-horse; the Phooka, a shape-shifting creature that often appears in horse form (the Welsh tell of a similar creature they call the Pwca); and on the Isle of Man, the Manx Glashtyn is a goblin that appears in the shape of a horse and rises at night from the banks of the isle’s lakes.

An interesting aside…

Shortly after publishing my article A Gnome by Any Other Name, I received a comment from a man from Nigeria who claimed to have heard “little men” in his ceiling and seen their tiny footprints on the ceiling boards. He goes on to say “they” (I assume he means he and his family) have heard the sound of sweeping and “once, the sound of a horse galloping“. He concluded his comment by mentioning that they lived “very close to the rocks”.

The idea of rocks being nearby is also rather intriguing to me. I recently received another comment in response to the Gnome article from a man named Charles Yancey who claims to have seen a small man-like figure in his bedroom late one evening while he and his wife lived in Colorado. He too mentioned the fact that there were large rocks and boulders in and around his property, which brings me back to the idea of these fairy creatures being associated with these stone megaliths. Is there a common connection here? Is the close approximation of the ancient megalithic structure and natural rock formations and boulders somehow linked with the appearance of these tiny entities, both humanoid and in equine form?  Honestly, I don’t have an answer for this, but it’s an idea that I plan to research and explore in future posts on The Paranormalist.

Sincere thanks…

A sincere thank-you goes to Mr. Herbie Brennan for allowing me to re-tell his description of his sighting of the fairy horses. For those who would like to view Mr. Brennan recounting this tale just about verbatim as he told it to me in our interview, please see the following YouTube video titled Belief in Faires:

Herbie Brennan – Belief in Fairies:

Herbie Brennan’s account of witnessing the faerie horses of Celtic legend.

38 thoughts on “Shocking Fairy Horse Encounter In Ireland”

  1. Nice piece, John. I’ve told the story many times since the original incident and been offered a great many possible explanations, most of which ignored the fact of the second witness and concentrated on questioning my sobriety, drug abuse, overactive imagination and so forth. A rather more logical critic pointed out that a breed of tiny horses actually exists and suggested I must have seen a herd of them. While the suggestion satisfies Occam’s Razor, it fails to explain how such a novelty herd might have been smuggled into the district unnoticed, nor how they reached the rath. On balance, after all these years, I still tend to accept this was an anomalous experience.

    • Thanks, Herbie! Great to hear from you again, and please let me know if there’s ever anything you’d like to discuss on the blog. I always found your account of seeing these fairy horses fascinating, and I’ve been meaning to write about it for quite some time. I hear so many inexplicable stories from people who comment on this blog and email me, that I have to accept that there are aspects of our reality that we don’t fully grasp; or perhaps we only occasionally get glimpses of an alternate reality that may exist all around us our in parallel with our world. Of course the skeptical point of view would be to immediately dismiss all of these tales as fiction or misconception, but that’s an unfair, knee-jerk reaction taken by many skeptics. I’ve had enough of my own bizarre experiences to know otherwise.

  2. cool, if u catchta paif u’d hav bonnie paira horse shoes, toby sure skets a rolln to anne begorrahs he’s a rockn.

  3. Thank you Mr. Brennan for sharing what you saw. I have never heard of fairy horses but my own sister insists that she saw several 4-6 inch fairies appear from behind her refrigerator one day in Kingman Arizona! She is serious about what she saw. Just like you, she knows what she saw but has no answer as to what these little people were. Isn’t this world a wonderful mystery and just awe inspiring? I think it was Jerome Clark or maybe Loren Coleman that calls such things as this ; The incredibles! I have no doubt that you saw what you saw but how and why is the real question isn’t it? Thanks again sir.

  4. I just wanted to say that I was born and raised in Massachusetts and around the time that I was about 8-9 years old, I had an experience in which I witnessed tiny (faery) horses under my bed. I know how this sounds, but I am 33 now and still recall, quite vividly, seeing them hiding in my shoes. I have never heard anyone else speak of a similar experience and I study the paranormal. Needless to say, my mother owned it all up to a confused memory about a rat infestation. Thanks for the article. Glad I’m not the only wierdo.

  5. I have never seen fairy horses but my daughter used to talk and play with unicorns, from the time she was about 3yrs old up until about 8. She had three friends in particular and even told me their names but I could never quite get what she was saying.

    I agree with Robert Pollock above, isn’t this world a wonderful mystery?

  6. wow, thats pretty freaky, but an amazing storie.
    most people (me included until recently) simply dismiss faeirie stories as just that, stories. i didnt realize until recent just how many credible encounters have been had yet i think most just can not fetch themselves to believe because quite rightly the very notion that little people exist sounds silly and is against everything we’ve been taught to believe, yet here we are thousands of reliable, credible people seeing and having encounters with these beings… i love it. The truth sure is stranger than fiction 🙂

  7. Thanks for the info on tiny horses. A tiny (about 8″ tall) silvery white horselike creature with either patterned wings or embroidered cape came to visit recently. My natural lava flow garden is full of fairy folk but the horse was a new one.

  8. The UFO literature is riddled with accounts of ET or Ultra T races of tiny beings. Considering high tech’s love affair with miniaturization it would not at all be surprising to discover that certain technologically advanced races has miniaturized themselves.

  9. Hello, John –

    a very nice website you have here! It’s been duly bookmarked. 🙂

    Regarding the rock formations: it is not unusual for large rocks, not to mention mountains, to be the source of all sorts of magnetic anomalies, due to their mineral contents. And we know that magnetic forces can wreak havoc on our perception of “reality”.

    • Thank you, V. Definitely — I don’t think many people would argue the effect of EM phenomena in relation to paranormal or supernatural experiences. That’s not to suggest that Herbie’s experience was some sort of hallucination. The fact that his friend witnessed the same thing supports his story, bizarre as it might sound. But then, I receive bizarre stories from people all day long (and I have a few of my own too) so who am I to doubt?

      Thanks for reading. Look out for the new version of the site soon, which will be accompanied by a slew of new articles. — John

  10. “The fact that his friend witnessed the same thing supports his story, bizarre as it might sound. ”

    No, of course not.
    And that’s another interesting point: what ARE “hallucinations”?
    Yes, some can be the product of a diseased brain; but how de we know that some other “hallucinations” aren’t simply things that ARE there all the time, only people don’t see them?

    BTW, here is an article that you might enjoy, as it is somewhat pertinent to this topic. 🙂

    (Oh, and while it is totally off topic… I am very, very sorry to read about your father’s passing.
    But you wrote a very beautiful farewell for him.)

    • I think that perhaps some people are more sensitive and can sometimes see, or at least glimpse, realities that surround us. So yes, I’d agree with your thoughts on that V. Through the many emails that people have sent to me and the comments that they’ve posted on this site, I see a pattern emerging. It seems to me that people who claim to have an encounter with strange — such as Herbie’s sighting — very rarely have had a single, isolated incident. When prodded a bit, they’ll often say, “Well, I have had this or that happen on occasion…”. A lifelong pattern of unusual happenings and experiences usual becomes evident. I don’t know if these people have been “selected” somehow or for some purpose, or if these people are just predisposed to being able to pick up other realities — just as my mother was predisposed to having very accurate premonitions and precognitive dreams. It could be an innate ability.

      Thank you for the condolences. It’s been six weeks since my father passed on. His last few years were tough for him, emotionally (since losing my mom) and physically. I’m glad he’s no longer suffering, but it feels strange not to see him and speak with him. He was a good guy and I was luck to have him and my mom for parents.

      Thanks too for the link. Very interesting article!

  11. I just reread my last comment, and noticed that the quote makes no sense…
    Serves me right for copying and pasting without my contacts! 🙂

    What I MEANT to quote was this:

    “That’s not to suggest that Herbie’s experience was some sort of hallucination. ”

    And of course, my comment was in reply to this quote.

  12. John, as someone who has had to suffer extremely painful losses – such as yours – I can tell you this: the one thing, the only thing, that keeps me going – I mean really and truly alive, not just surviving as a broken shadow of my former self – is the realisation that what we call “reality” is much more malleable and mutable than anyone, and I mean ANYONE, could imagine.
    My own experiences, and the experiences of other people, leave no doubt about that.

    I know you know this – this great place here proves it, amply so – but sometimes, I find, it’s good to remember it with extra force. : -)

    An there is something else one should always remember: anything and anyone that existed at one point never can cease to exist. Ever. And I don’ mean figuratively, in other people’s memories. : -)

  13. On at least three occasions as a small child of maybe 4 or 5 I awoke to see a small white horse. The first time it was galloping up the stem of some narcissus in a vase by my bedside. The memory of it is still very clear. This would be classified as a hypnopompic experience in psychiatry/medicine, a product of waking out of sleep. SO vivid.
    On and off over the years very occasionally a white Andalusion stallion appears in my dream, it is always like a warning and also protection at least that is how it feels.
    At very least a powerful symbolic image, I have adopted the white horse as my animal spirit protection as I suspect it more than this.

    I tried to tell my Mum…”You’re letting your imagination run away with you again”

    • Anne — Your mum’s response is a typical one. Strange and unexplained events happen to normal, sane people all the time, but most people don’t want to deal with them so they dismiss any and all such claims when they hear of them. Also, in all fairness, it’s difficult to believe in these incidents of high strangeness if you’ve never encountered anything like that.

      I wonder if the white horse has some symbolic meaning? I think I’m going to have to look into that. Thanks for submitting your experience! — John

    • Hi Anne. Your mum’s response is a typical one. It’s difficult for people to believe in this sort of thing if they’ve never experienced it, and hard for most people to accept that our view of the universe and perception of reality may not be correct. For people like you and I, we can believe because I think on some deep, intuitive level, we know that it’s true. More than likely, most of us human beings have separated ourselves from this other aspect of our nature, the one that was once in touch with this reality. We’ve effectively cut ourselves off from it and we’re uncomfortable when we’re confronted with the possibility that it exists and may even be a part of who we are. I can see that you’re still in touch with that part of yourself, and I think that’s a very good thing. Nurture it, don’t turn away or deny it.

      Thanks for submitting your experience to the blog! — John

  14. very nice piece..we have a fairy here in our house who always surrounds my son when he is singing..we have placed a video on youtube called what is son also came in contact with a small fairy man who sat on my sons hand while he was strolling along rocks near a bridge..he said the fairy was old..wearing a white suit and just sat in his hand ..then the fairy just flew we dont do drugs and no we are not crazy…thankyou brenda

    • There’s not an actual video of the fairy horses (that would be pretty cool if there was), but Herbie talks about his experiences in a number of videos. Just search on YouTube for herbie brennan.

  15. Hi, I stumbled on this site looking for something else but having read the comments I feel the need to tell my story. I lived in rural Dorset all through my childhood. Several times as a very young child I would be awakened by the sound of horses hooves cantering by during the night – typically between midnight and 3 am. The first time this happened I was only three years old. I remember that it didn’t wake my sister who shared a room with me although they were very noises. There were horn calls and a jingling noise which years later I’d come to associate with horse harnesses. I went to the window and saw a great rushing body of mounted horses passing by. They were mostly dark coloured or grey. Some had red eyes. The figures on their backs were strange and repellantly beautiful. One horse was so close I could have reached out of the window and touched it. It rolled it’s red eyes up at me. It’s breath felt hot on my hand. There were indistinct shadowy shapes around the horses feet that I thought then and still think, were dogs. One horse at the rear was always white. Some occasions it had a rider, sometimes it didn’t. I did not understand the language being spoken. I was never afraid, although I knew I shouldn’t be seeing this because it was forbidden and that I must keep very still. They were always gone within a minute or so and wind would blow back into my face smelling like the sea and tree sap. This happened half a dozen times up until the age of eight. I’ve never forgotten it, it’s remained extremely vivid. I believe now, having read more widely that I saw the wild hunt. I never told my parents exactly what I saw but for years I confused the word ‘nightmare’ with these occurrences, thinking as a child that these night horses were different from bad dreams. Only when I asked my dad about that years later was I told ‘what a load of rubbish night-mares were!’ Make of that what you will.

    • Jilly — Thanks for sharing your experience. That’s a great story. I believe that this is one more instance of parallel realities intersecting with ours. Not whether these worlds exist, but why certain people are allowed a glimpse into them is the question that fascinates me. Most of my own encounters with the unknown happened in childhood through early adolescence, which leads me to think that our minds might be more receptive to these phenomena when we’re younger. I also have no doubt that some people have a greater ability to sense the unknown.

      Thanks again,


    • This reminds me of the Fairport Convention’s version of the old ballad Tam Lin. It would have scarred me for life if I’d seen such a thing!

  16. I love your blog. Thank you so much for the open dialog. I have seen fairies (just within the last few months, actually) but I didn’t know about the horses. This is fascinating!

    • Thanks so much, Karen. Herbie is a very smart and interesting guy and I believe he’s completely truthful in relating his experiences. Thank you for reading and sharing your experiences with me.

  17. c1975, Blackpool, Lancs. One of our neighbours called round early one morning looking pale and frightened. She was a middle aged single mother of one and after putting her son to bed at about 7.30pm the night before had gone to bed herself soon after to read. She said she’d just got in and was rearranging the pillows when a cat-sized horse and rider ran through the door (I don’t know if it was open or closed), across the room and disappeared into the wall. She’d sat there stunned and then felt a presence at her side. When she looked there was a normal sized man wearing a turban standing next to the bed, staring at her. She thought she must have fainted with fright and after regaining consciousness sat in the sitting room for the rest of the night.

    As far as I’m aware it was a one-off incident.

  18. It’s been several years since I first stumbled upon Herbie Brennan’s account of “THE FAIRIE HORSES OF LONGSTONE RATH”.

    And I come back to re-read it again and again.

    In the 1973 film, THE PAPER CHASE John Houseman (as the crusty but benign law professor) said, “Truth has a vibration of its own.”

    I embraced these words of wisdom despite their shallow, film-dialogue-source because I trust my instincts, including the ability to read the non verbal signals of people who offer incredible testimony.

    And I believe that truth does indeed vibrate, at least for those who are tuned as receivers.

    I don’t know if the horses were actually there at LONGSTONE RATH on Halloween of 1971. But, I’d bet anything I have that Herbie Brennan is of sound mind and character and that HE believes it.

    The refusniks who burrow into the cowardly and stupid retreat that there are no undiscovered dimensions, life forms or realities irritate me to the use of profanity, and we owe it to ourselves to underscore their resemblance to creatures incapable of moving anywhere but where the currents sweep them.

    I admit that I’d like nothing more than the existence of fairies and other phenomena to be proven, just to watch as the naysayers jump up and shout, “WE WON! WE PROVED IT!”

    But, unlike the slithering invertebrates I don’t allow this desire to influence my belief that certain witnesses are indeed truthful. I either believe or I don’t, and I believe Herbie Brennan.

  19. The question of diminutive horses arose arises a number of times in my book “The Fairy Realm”. There are reports of tiny horse other than this one. One might also remember that Eohippus, the earliest horse known from the fossil record, was in fact very small.

  20. I was born and bred in Northern Ireland, aware of both traditions, and the Fée folk have similar stories here in my new home in the north of France. As in Ireland the French Fées are often tricksters, and not always the “Good Folk” of many myths from the British Isles, and can be quite vindictive, as in the Irish tradition. Fairie horses here tend to be full size, through magical processes, of course. Appearance, and disappearance? Simple, they are of another world, and time is different to ours, and also all the legends point to a secret subterranean life, so they emerge, and disappear into their subterranean kingdoms, via hidden entrances. Connecting the dots isn’t too hard (although I prefer colouring in myself). The similarity in Celtic cultures of the tales of the fée folk, and phantoms for that matter are all very similar. The Breton supernatural histories in particular have great similarities to Cornwall, in south western England, for example, and the vestagages of the Celtic language/dialect, are very evident. There is even a Cornuaille (Cornwall) in Bretagne. Korrigans – Kerrigans, etc. The forest (pretty much reduced to several tracts of woodland now) of Pampinol, is claimed to be the Forest of Broceliande of Arthurian legend, and the surrounding area full of stories of fairies, place names like (using English translations here) the fairys’ mirror, the fairys’ wood, the fairys’ table, etc, stc, as well as the Arthurian names. Bon weekend from Chez les Ch’tis in the wild north borderlands of France. 4 days and off to the In- Laws in the Vendée to discover more stories, and a little more chez the sis in law in the Morbihan.

    • Thank you, Paul. I believe that these legends all share a common thread. Many of the modern accounts of little people that I’ve read and have received are very similar to those of the Fée folk. If you discover more stories, feel free to share them!

  21. Something compelled me to continue my reading into this ‘horse issue’ as I refer to it, after my non fruitful search of the internet yesterday. After many hours of searching, I was about to concede that my encounter must have been nothing more than a dream (notwithstanding I was not alone when it occurred). I live in Maryland now, but grew up in Yorkshire. I must have been under ten as I was in primary school at the time, when my friend and I went wondering through the countryside as we often did. There was a stream, well more of a beck, as we called it. This stream was not idyllic as you may imagine, it ran adjacent to an old Victorian factory that had long since been abandoned, so must have been used industrially many years prior. On this particular summer day, Wendy and I were walking along side the stream, when we saw a group (about 15 or so), of small ponies. The ponies were on a grassy mote like island in the middle of the stream. We had walked this same route many many times before, and the mote was just an overgrown grassy circle that was inhabited only by weeds. We had, once or twice, waded in the stream (about shin deep) onto the grassy patch. Nothing unusual about this, I hear you say. Well, I would agree, apart from the fact that the ponies were not of any shade I had encountered before (or since). These creatures were of vivid colours, red, blue, green and lilac in various shades. They were grazing on what looked like a cabbage type plant, that was purple in color (not like the red cabbage in the supermarket), this was like a very loose leafed cabbage not the compacted variety that is dark purple, but a more mauve violet colour with a green underbelly. The animals were oblivious to our presence (some 50 feet away), we stood and watched them. We did not attempt to go onto the mote, and it there was an amazing sense of peace to the moment, our usual girlish chatter silent. After about ten minutes or so of watching, we carried on our journey to a local farm. On our way back, the mote was once again empty. This experience has stayed with me for many years, (about 30 to be exact!). I have told it to my children, who sadly, dismiss it as wild imaginings (apart from my 5yr old who simply relishes the idea!). Until I found this site, I too was ready to file the encounter to the dream realm. While pottering around the kitchen this morning and reheating my coffee, I felt an urge to come back into my office and try one last time. Well, hence my typing this. Thank you. I would dearly love to chat with Mr. Brennan. As an attorney, I deal with truth (or lack of it), on a daily basis. I believe we do ourselves a great disservice, when we dismiss our experiences as flights of fancy, before exploring the remote possibility that they indeed might be just as real as the world around us.

    • Hello Shereen. Thank you for sharing that wonderful story. I fully believe that there is a spiritual realm that surrounds us, and that we (generally obtuse) human beings sometimes get a glimpse of it, or it interacts with us. I believe in Herbie Brennan’s recounting of his experience as I do yours. I’m sure he would be very happy to hear from you if you wish to reach out to him. He posted a comment at the bottom of this post and so I have his email, although I’m not certain if it is current. I don’t think he would object to me giving it out to you. It is Herbie is also on Facebook at

  22. Hi John, I’ve written a response to your “A gnome by any other name” post as well, so I thought I’d comment on this one too.

    I just wanted to share that since I began having visions of beings approximately 1 1/2 years ago after recovering from a lengthy illness, one of those visions involved a being that was half-man half-horse, I believe called a Centaur.
    I saw him in profile view, and it only lasted a moment. He was brown I believe.

    Unlike the others on here who see beings in their waking life, I see them in my mind’s eye – either as a vision as I’m falling asleep, or during the early morning hours when I’m sleeping. When it happens, I typically wake up immediately and write down what I saw and any accompanying words or text I see as well. In the morning I decipher what I had written during the night and then I look it up online.

    To date, I have seen gnomes, giants, dwarves, the Centaur, and other beings too. Many are similar to animals we find on earth like chipmunks, rabbits, dogs, etc. but they are often standing up and speaking like we would be.

    One thing is for sure, they all have personalities, just like us.

    Of course I am one of those former so-called rational people that didn’t believe in any of this until I was having visions of things I had never heard of before, over and over again.

    Anyhow it’s great to see I’m in good company. I hope to see one of these beings in the material world one of these days!



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