Manannan Mac Lir

Manannan Mac Lir

King of the Land of Promise


Isle of Man

Manannan, son of the ancient sea deity Lir, is a sea spirit, too. Ocean waves are his horses. The sea is his cloak. He is a trickster, a master of true magic, illusion, and sleight of hand. He controls the weather. Manannan presides over an Other-world realm named Mag Mell, a joyous paradise populated by dead souls and other members of the Tuatha Dé Danaan. He serves as a psychopomp, ferrying souls to his realm. Although Manannan is classified among the Tuatha Dé Danaan, it is widely acknowledged that he is older than that family of spirits. He may be among the primordial spirits of Earth.

Manannan possesses a magical crane-bag filled with treasures:

• He owns a boat that requires no sails or oars but obeys the thoughts of its captain.

• He owns a horse that rides equally well on land or water.

• He owns a magic sword named Fragarach (“The Answerer”) that penetrates any armor.

• He owns pigs that are slaughtered and consumed but are then reborn, fully grown the next day so that they can be eaten over and over again.


His cloak of mist enables him to be invisible when he chooses. He wears a flaming helmet. Often envisioned as an older man with long, flowing white hair and beard, he is a master shape-shifter and full of surprises.

Emblem: Some scholars think the Triskelion, the three-legged wheel which is the emblem of the Isle of Man, represents Manannan.




He was the first king of the Isle of Man, named in his honor and still serves as the island’s spirit guardian. In addition, the spirit realm Manannan rules lies beneath the waves.

Day: Midsummer’s Eve or the summer solstice


Decorate his altar with marine imagery


Flowers, bundles of reeds and/or alcoholic beverages including Okell’s Mac Lir wheat beer, which features his image on the label.


  • Aoife (2);
  • Cliodna;
  • Fand;
  • Lir;
  • Llyr;
  • Manawydan;
  • Psychopomp


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.