January 27th is the feast day of Saint Li Ban Muirgen of Ireland. She is a lesser-known mermaid Saint of Ireland and her story is miraculous and mystifying.
Saint Li Ban Muirgen’s story dates back to the 6th century and passed down generation to generation with the oral tradition of scéalaíocht or storytelling. It was also was preserved in the medieval manuscript of Annals of the Four Masters, which isa compilation of medieval Irish legends written by Irish monks in the 17th century.
So, who was this mermaid Saint?
Our story begins in the year 558. Li Ban (meaning beautiful woman in old Irish) was the daughter of Eochaidh, King of Ulster. When her father’s kingdom flooded, drowning all its inhabitants except for Li Ban and her dog, forming the Lough Neagh Lake.
Li Ban spent the next year, living under the lough with her dog. She would pray to the goddess Danu, asking to be turned into a salmon, so she could swim with the fish for company. Danu, did grant Li Ban’s wish, but only half of it. Li Ban’s dog became an otter and she was transformed into a mermaid.
Li Ban swam out of the lough and out into the sea. She lived in an underwater cave and like most mermaids, had the most beautiful singing voice. Li Ban drifted for three-hundred years, fulfilling a prophecy:
Liban will swim eastwards, westwards, hither, thither, over each sea.
300 years had passed, when Comgall had founded the monastery in Bangor, that is known as the Bangor Mor. The Bangor Mor was revered throughout all of Ireland and became a place, where many young men came to study.
One day, Comgall sent Beoan and the monks to Rome with a message for Pope Gregory. While they were out at sea, Beoan caught Li Ban in his fishing net and she promised to return to them in a year.
A year had passed, Li Ban came ashore as promised, and Comgall baptized her with the name Muirgen. Li Ban passed away not long after her baptism. Comgall had promised Li Ban a heavenly reward and she became known as the Mermaid Saint.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Saint Li Ban Muirgen’s story is that there are remnants of it today. If you journey to Bangor, there is an abbey that remembers Comgall and the mermaid with a quilt, hanging on the transept wall, depicting the story of the mermaid.
Yasu Matsuoka is a self-taught Japanese artist, who creates beautiful mermaid and mythology-themed art. He creates art for a variety of spaces varying from private collectors to art galleries to interior design installations.
Yasu Matsuoka’s digital illustrations are so unique, because they tell a story of his own imagination. His passion for fantasy worlds, mermaids, and stories is apparent in his work.
You’re instantly drawn to the world he’s created with its vivid colors and exquisite details. The juxtaposition of his pieces are reminiscent of classical paintings.
Yasu Matsouka also known as Yasu Art Studio on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter has gained a large following for his awe-inspiring fantasy art.
I highly recommend that you follow him. You won’t shell-gretic it!
Alfred Lord Tennyson had written a poem titled The Mermaid that was included in his 1893 novel, The Works of Alfred Lord Tennyson. The poem below:
Who would be
A mermaid fair,
Combing her hair
Under the sea,
In a golden curl
With a comb of pearl,
On a throne?
I would be a mermaid fair;
I would sing to myself the whole of the day;
With a comb of pearl I would comb my hair;
And still as I comb’d I would sing and say, Who is it loves me? who loves not me?
I would comb my hair till my ringlets would fall
Low adown, low adown,
From under my starry sea-bud crown
Low adown and around,
And I should look like a fountain of gold
With a shrill inner sound,
Over the throne
In the midst of the hall;
Till that great sea-snake under the sea
From his coiled sleeps in the central deeps
Would slowly trail himself sevenfold
Round the hall where I sate, and look in at the gate
With his large calm eyes for the love of me.
And all the mermen under the sea
Would feel their immortality
Die in their hearts for the love of me.
But at night I would wander away, away,
I would fling on each side my low-flowing locks,
And lightly vault from the throne and play
With the mermen in and out of the rocks;
We would run to and fro, and hide and seek,
On the broad sea-wolds in the crimson shells,
Whose silvery spikes are nighest the sea.
But if any came near I would call, and shriek,
And adown the steep like a wave I would leap
From the diamond-ledges that jut from the dells;
For I would not be kiss’d by all who would list,
Of the bold merry mermen under the sea;
They would sue me, and woo me, and flatter me,
In the purple twilights under the sea;
But the king of them all would carry me,
Woo me, and win me, and marry me,
In the branching jaspers under the sea;
Then all the dry pied things that be
In the hueless mosses under the sea
Would curl round my silver feet silently,
All looking up for the love of me.
And if I should carol aloud, from aloft
All things that are forked, and horned, and soft
Would lean out from the hollow sphere of the sea,
All looking down for the love of me.
Aquamarine is a fun, light-hearted, warm, romantic, spirited comedy for all ages. Aquamarine is based on the Young Adult best-selling novel written by Alice Hoffman.
The screenplay for Aquamarine was written by John Quaintance and Jessica Bendinger. The film was was directed by Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum (credited as Elizabeth Allen).
Aquamarine is about two pre-teens girls named Claire (Emma Roberts) and Hailey (JoJo) whose friendship is put to the test, when Hailey is making the final preparations for her move to Australia with her marine biologist mother.
They have a slumber party and pray to the sea god that Hailey’s mom will change her mind about the move. Seconds later, a violent storm erupts and the girls think nothing of it. The next morning, the girls go to the beach club pool, where they see the destruction from the storm. Hailey, falls into the pool and sees a mysterious blue hair and silver tail in the water. They decide to explore later that night and astonished to discover a mermaid in the beach club pool.
The mermaid, introduces herself as Aquamarine (Sara Paxton) and she becomes fast friends with Hailey and Claire. Aquamarine conveys to the girls that she must prove to her father that love exists or she’ll be forced to marry a merman that she’s never met.Aquamarine seamlessly transforms into a human girl during the day and can remain that way, as long as she doesn’t get wet. At night, she reverts back to her mermaid form.
When Aquamarine meets Raymond (Jake McDorman), he rejects her advances. Hailey and Claire see how devastated Aquamarine is and makes it their mission for Raymond to fall in love with her. But their plans are thwarted by mean girl Cecilia (Arielle Kebbel), who also has a crush on Raymond and is constantly standing in the girl’s way.
At the street fair, Raymond spends some time with Aquamarine and asks her to go to The Last Splash party with him. Aquamarine is flattered, but leaves abruptly, not giving him an answer because it’s almost sunset and her legs will transform into a tail. Claire and Hailey find a water tower for Aquamarine to spend the night in, excited for Aquamarine’s date with Raymond the following night.
But Cecilia has other plans. She goes to Raymond and tells him, that Aquamarine has a boyfriend in another town and invites Cecilia to the party instead. Hailey and Claire find Raymond and tell him that Cecilia is lying about Aquamarine, so he gets back together with Aquamarine.
Aquamarine and Raymond dance at the party and they become incredibly close. Unfortunately, Aquamarine can’t stay for long, since it’s almost sunset and she’ll transform back into a mermaid. She flees the party, leaving Raymond baffled about her abrupt departures.
Cecilia follows Aquamarine to the water tower and discovers that she’s a mermaid. Cecilia seeks out the press to expose Aquamarine and her secret to the world. Aquamarine, however, is one step ahead of her, the handyman Leonard helps Aquamarine and she grants him a wish.
Cecilia is humiliated when she takes the press to the water tower and Aquamarine isn’t there. She swears that Aquamarine is a mermaid and will prove it.
The following day, Aquamarine asks Raymond if he loves her. He tells her that he likes her, but he doesn’t her. She’s devastated by his answer, and as luck would have it, Cecilia is nearby. She pushes Aquamarine into the sea and she turns into a mermaid. It doesn’t take long, for Aquamarine’s father to call her home with a great big storm. Hailey and Claire jump into the water, not wanting Aquamarine to leave. They find her on a buoy, clearly defying her father’s orders to return home. Aquamarine tells Claire and Hailey that she had learned that love exists from their friendship and that she’s learned so much from them. This answer, is enough to prove to Aquamarine’s father, that love in fact exists.
As a form of gratitude, Aquamarine hands Hailey and Claire a starfish, so they could make a wish. Hailey changes her mind about using her wish to not move to Australia, knowing how hard her mother worked to get the new job. So instead, Claire, Hailey, and Aquamarine promise to always visit each other and to love one another forever. Aquamarine swims up to Raymond, in her mermaid form and he asks her when she’ll surface again. She tells him that she has to talk to her father about a few things and then she’ll return to him.
And finally, Aquamarine and Raymond share their happily ever after with a tender kiss.
Kaysha Siemens was born and raised in Canada, and currently resides in the state of North Carolina, USA. She is a very talented artist and illustrator, whose main mediums are graphite and oil.
Her style is unique and full of exquisite detail. Kaysha’s figures are flowing and fluid, while her backgrounds are linear and structured. This style gives Kaysha’s art balance and pulls you into her work!
Kaysha’s main source of inspiration is Greek Mythology. Her MNEMOSYNE collection is a compilation of all of her works inspired by the Greek Mythologies. MNEMOSYNE is the Greek Goddess of memory and the Mother of the Greek Muses. The Greek Muses were connected to the arts and to knowledge.
Kaysha’s art and illustrations showcases an array of monsters, gods, goddess, NEREIDS (mermaids), and TRITONS (mermen).
According to Greek Mythology, the water nymphs were subcategorized into three kinds of species. The OCEANIDS resided in the sea, NEREIDS lived in freshwater and seawater, and the NAIADS lived in springs, lakes, and rivers.
Kaysha’s mermaids are straight out of a fairy tale. In fact, none of her mermaids are identical. They’re unique and have their own personality in their own little under the sea havens. Each mermaid is full of elaborate details, such as their hair and intricate tails. Her work is as compelling as a mermaid luring a sailor out at sea, singing her euphoric song!
Kaysha Siemens is definitely an artist to follow and she’s currently open for commissions!
Siren premiered on FreeForm on March 29th, 2018 to rave reviews for showcasing the first polyamorous mermaid romance on the small screen.
Siren tells the story of young mermaid, Ryn (Eline Powell) who is searching for her sister Donna (Sibongile Mlambo) in the coastal town Bristol Cove. Bristol Cove is the mermaid capital of the world for its strong connections to the mythical creature.
Upon Ryn’s arrival, she meets Ben Pownall (Alex Roe) and his girlfriend Maddie Bishop (Fola Evans-Akingbola), who are marine biologists. They find Ryn enthralling and want to help Ryn find her sister.
Ben’s friends Xander (Ian Verdum) and Calvin (Curtis Lum) tell him about how they had caught a mermaid on their fishing boat and believe that the US Government stole her from them. At first, Ben thinks their talk is gibberish and doesn’t believe their story, yet
It doesn’t take long for Ben to discover that Ryn is a mermaid and seeks the help of town historian and mermaid enthusiast Helen Hawkins (Rena Owen). Helen warns Ben that even though Ryn is very beautiful, she is also very dangerous and her instinct is to kill her prey.
Helen also takes the liberty to tell Ben that his family history in Bristol Cove is connected to mermaids and that it’s not all good. The Pownall family was responsible for a mass genocide of mermaids centuries ago and hints that she, herself, might be related to him. Ben leaves Helen’s with more questions then answers.
Ben and Maddie, soon find themselves falling for Ryn in ways that they had never imagined before.
Siren explores the dark secrets of the Pownall family and how it’s connection to mermaids. The show also pushes the envelope, when it comes to the traditional mermaid mythologies. The mermaids on Siren may look sweet, but they are dangerous, predatory creatures who are much smarter then the average human.
Siren was a compelling show that had 3 very successful seasons. The show officially marked it’s end in Spring 2020.
The Walt Disney Studios have always had a long time fascination with mermaids and Disneyland is no exception. The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California opened it’s gates on July 17th, 1955. It was the only park to be designed and built to completion, with direct supervision, by the company’s founder Walt E. Disney.
In 1959, when the Submarine Voyage opened at the Disneyland, there were two attractions, there were eight mermaids selected to be apart of the festive celebration.
So how did Disney find such beautiful mermaids for their lagoon?
Prior, to the opening in June, there was an open casting call to find female swimmers with long hair. The auditions were held at the Disneyland Hotel swimming pool.
The lucky girls, who got hired as mermaids, practiced at the Disneyland Hotel pool, before they were given their tails and were allowed access to swim in the park. They were also paid $45 a week, which was a lot for that time.
A few weeks, prior to the June opening, the girls selected to be mermaids at the park, practiced in Submarine Lagoon. They were surrounded by construction, as the Matterhorn was being constructed, as well as the final touches for Submarine Lagoon. They were warned, to keep their distance from the submarine, since there was no barrier.
When the Submarine Lagoon did open in June, the mermaids would safely swim around the submarine, giving guests a jaw dropping and memorable experience underwater and above the surface. The mermaids would perform tricks, such as flips and turns with their tails. Their costumes consisted of a starfish top and a beautiful neoprene tail.
Guests, could also see the mermaids aboard the monorail, that transported park guests from the Disneyland Hotel to Disneyland.
As part of the design of the lagoon, there was rock, that would provide warmth for the mermaids, since the water was 55-degrees and was freezing cold. The rock, became the hangout spot for the mermaids to warm up in the sun and chat amongst themselves. It was also a great spot for guests to see a breathtaking scene of mermaids lounging in the sun.
Unfortunately, the mermaids at the lagoon, were shut down, due to ongoing safety concerns and regulations.
As someone, whose a Disney Parks enthusiasts and a lover of all things mermaids, it must’ve been so magical to witness those mermaids at Disneyland.
On the Faroe Island of Kalsoy, a territory of Denmark, there is a small village, called Mikladalur. In Mikladalur, there is a legend about a young farmer who falls for a Kópakonan or selkie and how he tricks her to be his wife.
Legend has it, that a young farmer grew up listening to stories about the selkies, so he decided to wait for them to come to land, to see if the stories were true.
Every year, on the 13th night of the year, the selkies are permitted one night on land, where are permitted to go to land and have fun.
The young man watched in astonishment, as the selkies swam in a large group towards the rocks in a great magnitude. They shed their skin (sealskin/pelts) on the rocks, and they appeared to be normal human beings. The selkies frolicked and danced on the shore and the young farmer was mesmerized, by what he was seeing. The selkies, did in fact exist, and they were enchanting.
For a selkie, their sealskin or pelt, was what made them what they were. It was apart of them, as much as the ocean was. Steal or possess their skin and you possessed them.
One beautiful selkie, in particular, caught the young farmer’s attention, so he snuck up, and stole her sealskin.
As the sun, began to rise, the selkies began to gather their sealskins and retreated back to the sea. That is, all for one. The selkie, whose skin was stolen by the young farmer, couldn’t find hers and she panicked, since she could smell it, but couldn’t find it. It was then, that the young farmer, came out from where he was hiding, holding her skin. She begged and pleaded for him to give her her sealskin back, but he refused and made her return to his farm with him.
He married the selkie and she had several children with him. To guarantee that the selkie would be his forever, he locked away her sealskin in a chest, so she couldn’t return to the sea. The chest was locked with a key, which he kept on him at all times, on his belt.
One day, the man forgot his key, when he went on a fishing trip with his friends. He was devastated, at the realization, that his selkie wife would return to the sea. He cried to his fellow fishermen, “Today my wife shall lose my wife!”-the man explained the story to the men, and they took him back to shore. He was distraught to see that his children were abandoned and that his wife was gone.
His wife went to the shore, with her sealskin and dove into the water. In the water, waiting for her, was a bull seal, who had waited many years for her return, for he had loved her very much. The children, she had with the Mikladalur man, went to the shore and a seal prevented them from entering the water. It is believed that the seal who stopped them, was their mother.
Many years had passed, since the Mikladalur man had seen his selkie wife. He was planning to go with the other Mikladalur men on a seal hunting excursion in the caverns. One night, his selkie wife, came to him, in his dreams. She warned him, not to kill the large bull seal for he was her husband and not to kill two seal pups for they were her sons. She described their skins to the man, so he would know, what they looked like and know not to harm them. The man woke up, not taking the warnings in the dream seriously and went to the caverns with his friends to hunt seals. They killed the bull seal and the two seal pups and divided the bounty amongst themselves.
That evening, as the man cooked head of the bull seal and the flippers of the seal pups over a large fire, the seal woman appeared in the form of a terrifying troll. She was mortified when she saw the head of her husband and limbs of her children. She yelled and cursed to the farmer in her grief, “Here lie the head of my husband with his broad nostrils, the hand of Hárek and the foot of Fredrik! Now there shall be revenge, revenge on the men of Mikladalur, and some will die at sea and others fall from the mountain tops, until there be as many dead as can link hands all round the shores of the isle of Kalsoy!”
Shortly after placing her petrifying curse, she vanished, and there was thunder. She was never seen again. The eerie part though, is that every once in a while, men of Mikladalur are drowned at sea or fall of the cliffs. It is unknown, if this is related to the curse of the selkie, but its an eerie coincidence to say the least.
In August 2014, a statue of Kópakonan or Selkie was raised in Mikladalur, on the Faroe Island of Kalsoy, in honor of the legend. The statue can withstand 13 meters of waves.
Remarkably, in 2015, there was a terrible storm and the statue was able to withstand a 11.5 meter wave. The statue remained firm and there was no damage whatsoever.
The statue of Kópakonan is as strong as the Kópakonan herself.