The fourth hard enamel pin from Visions of the Past is now in the etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/ie/shop/VisionsofthePastShop
Visions of the Past is a heritage/history website started in 2012 and to date has covered almost 400 monuments of a mainly Irish historical interest. Earlier this year with a view to creating and bringing Irish heritage, art and folklore to a wider audience I collaborated with Irish artists to design hard enamel pins with a strong link to the culture and mythology of Ireland. The fourth badge has just been released, designed by the superb Sean Fitzgerald, working out of north Donegal. The badge depicts Balor of the Evil Eye, the king of the mythological race of supernatural beings know as the Fomorians, who occupied the north west of the Island. Balor was also known as Balor of the Mighty Blows and was revered in battle, his base was on Tory Island, Donegal. The pin serves to showcase the craftsmanship of Irish artists, and also to give a nod to our ancient past.
Also please check out the previous three badges, depicting a Sheela-na-Gig, a hawthorn tree and a stone circle, all designed by Irish artists.
This pin was designed by Irish artist and designer Sean Fitzgerald
Made in the EU by Made By Cooper
‘Balor of the Evil Eye (aka Balor of the Mighty Blows) was the giant king of the Fomorians, an ancient group of supernatural beings who predate the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Fir Bolg. The Fomorians were considered a supernatural race of beings who came from the otherworld, their base was on Tory island off the North coast of Donegal. Balor is said to have been the son of Buarainech and husband of Ceithleann. The origin of his evil eye occurred one day when he spied upon his father’s druids performing a ritual in his castle, the fumes generated from the brewed poisons entered his eye and changing it forever. Balor’s eye had to remain covered when around his fellow Fomorians, but was highly effective and feared in battle. Balor grew anxious after hearing of a prophecy that he was to be killed by his grandson, to avoid his fate Balor locked his only daughter Eithne, then only an infant, in a tower on Tory Island with matrons to keep her occupied and prevent her becoming pregnant, however this did not prevent Eithne of dreaming of the face of her beloved.
One day Balor was told of the ‘Glas Gaibhleann‘, a magical cow of abundance in the possession of Cian of the Dé Danann. One day while Cian was visiting the forge of his brother, a smith named Gavida he left the cow in the care of his brother Sawan while he entered the forge. Sawan was soon approached by a red-haired boy who convinced him his brothers were plotting against him leading Sawan to run to the forge to confront them, leaving the Glas with the red-haired boy. As soon as he got there Cian noticed the Glas was gone and ran outside to see the mighty cow tied behind Balor’s ship as it sailed towards Tory. Cian called on the help of a wise woman named Biróg who transported both of them to Balor’s tower in disguise as noble women on the run from a tyrant. They gained entry to the top of Balor’s tower where Eithne recognised him as the fair faced man from her dreams, and led him to her bedroom. Biróg enchanted the matrons into a deep sleep. Cian awoke the next day home in Drumnatinny wondering if it had all been a dream. Eithne soon gave birth to triplets, two were drowned by Balor’s men but the third escaped thanks to Biróg, and was raised in the fosterage of his uncle Gavida, the infant’s name was Lugh. Balor had Cian murdered before Lugh was even a child.
Lugh became the leader of the Tuatha Dé Danann and eventually faced Balor and the Fomorians in the 2nd battle of Moytura. During the battle Balor began to expose his eye but Lugh pierced right through it with a slingshot. Balor’s eye fell from his head and faced the Fomorian army, killing a thousand of his own men before it faded, Lugh then beheaded Balor. Legend states that Balor’s eye burned a hole into the earth where he fell and it later filled with water, the lake became known as Loch na Súil (Lake of the Eye) and is situated in County Sligo. The Lake of the Eye is an unusual geological phenomenon whose waters rise and fall intermittently, one legend states that the lake runs dry every hundred years on the anniversary of the second battle of Moytura. Lugh reigned for forty years and became known as the good God of summer and plenty. In the modern Irish calendar, the name for the month of August is Lughnasa, Lughnasa is also a festival held on the first of the month marking the beginning of the harvest’.