Anu (Irish goddess)

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Anu or Ana (sometimes given as Anann or Anand) is the name of a goddess mentioned briefly in Irish mythology. The 9th century Sanas Cormaic (Cormac's Glossary) says in its entry for her: "Ana - mother of the gods of Ireland; well did she feed the gods". She may be a goddess in her own right,[1] or another name for Danu. In the Lebor Gabála Érenn, Anand is given as another name for The Morrígan.[2] As her name is often conflated with a number of other goddesses, it is not always clear which figure is being referred to if the name is taken out of context.[1] The name may be derived from the Proto-Celtic theonym *Φanon-.[3]

Anu has particular associations with Munster: the pair of breast shaped hills known as the Paps of Anu (Dá Chích Anann or "the breasts of Anu")[4] in County Kerry are said to have been named after her.[2]

While an Irish goddess, in parts of Britain a similar figure is referred to as “Gentle Annie”, in an effort to avoid offence, a tactic which is similar to referring to the fairies as “The Good People”.[5]


  1. ^ a b MacKillop, James (1998) Dictionary of Celtic Mythology Oxford: Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-280120-1 pp.10, 16, 128
  2. ^ a b R. A. Stewart Macalister. Lebor Gabála Érenn. Part IV. Irish Texts Society, Dublin, 1941. § VII, First Redaction.
  3. ^ [1]. Cf. also the University of Leiden database Archived February 11, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "The Paps of Anu - Prehistoric and Early Ireland". Archived from the original on 2016-03-12. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
  5. ^ Black Annis, Gentle Annie


  • MacKillop, James. Dictionary of Celtic Mythology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998: ISBN 0-19-280120-1.
  • Wood, Juliette, The Celts: Life, Myth, and Art, Thorsons Publishers (2002): ISBN 0-00-764059-5

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