Sinnann is the spirit of the Shannon River. The surviving vestiges of her myth are similar to that of Boann and the birth of the Boyne River. Sinnann—granddaughter of Lir, King of the Sea, and Manannan’s niece—is described as the most accomplished maiden of her time, but she wanted more. Like Odin, Sinnann wished for wisdom. Whereas Odin only had to sacrifice an eye to drink from the Well of Mimir, Sinnann lost her life.

It is unclear exactly what Sinnann sought from the Well of Connla, whether to sip from the water, to eat a hazelnut from the nine trees that grew beside the well, or to eat the salmon that fed on the nuts. Any or all of these would allegedly grant extraordinary knowledge, wisdom, insight, and eloquence. Unfortunately, the precinct around the well was forbidden to women. Sinnann sneaked in, but the water responded to her approach by rising up violently and bursting its banks. (An alternative version suggests that the great salmon of the well commanded the waters to rise and engulf Sinnann.) She was swept away and drowned but became the spirit of the river.

That’s the most well-known version of her myth. It’s possible that Sinnann’s presence at the well preexists the legend and the ban on women. She may be the original goddess of the river and the story serves to explain the undeniable female presence at the well after it was officially forbidden to that sex. Sinnann is the Shannon River. She is the ancestral spirit of Clan O’Shaughnessy.





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.