About Once Upon a Word: We're a large group of multi-talented authors working together, to bring you the best romances.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Irish Merfolk Tribe @KMNbooks @RebeccaJVickery #mermaids

In my tale, HEART OF THE SEA, which is featured in the Be My Everything, 2016 Valentine Collection, my research consisted of reading about some of the legends regarding the merfolk. Who knew there were so many different legends? Some of the merfolk were vicious creatures and yet some were gentle and even wanted to live among the humans. However, one thing seemed to be a factor: The merman or mermaid always wanted to return to the sea, as if the call was too strong to ignore. 

The Merrow tribe is the merfolk of my story...

Merrow Legends

Irish Folklore describes Merrows as being a gentle race of merfolk. The word is from the Gaelic muiroighe. Muir means sea and oigh means young woman. The male of the species would be referred to as murĂșch. Merrow lore is similar to the typical mermaid legends, where when the Merrow is in the water, he or she possesses a beautiful human torso and a fishtail for the lower half of the body. 

The stories also claim these merefolk will assume legs and live on land for long periods of time.
Sometimes, they even marry human beings and raise a family. They are known to have unusual and beautiful singing voices and webbed fingers, but other than that, most would not suspect their true identity. However, even though they can live on land, in the end Merrows cannot resist the call to the sea and eventually return to their watery world.

The Merrows also possess an unusual trait. They have a cohuleen druith, a magical red hat that gives them the ability to live beneath the sea. If they lose the red hat, they cannot return to their underwater world. Though most of the stories never paint the Merrows as malicious creatures, they have been known to take humans and bring them to their underwater world to become like them. The legends state these humans turned Merrow live happily ever after in their new existence.

The inspiration for the Smuggler's Den in Grimm Nitch

Like all stories the characters must live somewhere. Though Grimm Nitch is not a real seaside village
my inspiration for the place came from a day trip my husband and I took.
We visited La Jolla, California where we came across the historic Cave Store, where tourists can make their way down 145 steps to the fascinating Sunny Jim Sea Cave. Frank Baum, the author of The Wizard of Oz, is said
to have named the cave for the cartoon character Sunny Jim who was the 1920s mascot for the British Force Wheat cereal products. It's one of seven ocean-carved caves one can visit, but Sunny Jim Sea Cave is the only one that can be accessed without renting a kayak.

I hope you enjoyed the behind the scenes look at Heart of the Sea. If you like mermaids and mermen, look for Tears of the Sea (Summer 2016), a full length mer-tale of murder and mystery in the quaint seaside village of Echo Cove.

What legends do you know about the mer-folk? Were you a fan of The Little Mermaid? If so, which tale did you like most, the Disney version or The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen (1836)? Or maybe you preferred the mermaids in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

About the Author
Karen Michelle Nutt resides in California with her husband, three fascinating children, and houseful of demanding pets. Jack, her Chorkie, is her writing buddy and sits long hours with her at the computer.

When she's not time traveling, fighting outlaws, or otherworldly creatures, she creates pre-made book covers to order at Gillian's Book Covers, "Judge Your Book By Its Cover". You can also check out her published cover art designs at Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery and Highland Press.

Whether your reading fancy is paranormal, historical or time travel, all her stories capture the rich array of emotions that accompany the most fabulous human phenomena—falling in love.




  1. I read and saw the original animated one as a child; I saw the Disney version as an adult. I love both versions of The Little Mermaid.

    Love that you did research to find out.


  2. Thanks for stopping by. It was fun reading about the legends as well as interesting to learn how many different legends there were.

    I have to say I like both versions of the Little Mermaid, too. Though I tend to like the happy ending just a little more. :)

    Really liked the mermaids in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie. They were alluring, dangerously vicious and yet the one they captured showed compassion as well. I enjoyed the little romance with the mermaid and the preacher as much as the pirate movie as a whole. :)

  3. If every mythic creature is supposed to have mundane roots, I wonder where the beautiful mermaid got its start? I've never bought into the speculation that its from seals or some such basking on rocks in the distance.

  4. Gerald,

    I can't buy into it either. How could the sailor or pirate think manatees, walruses or seals were beautiful mermaids? Perhaps, they had too much rum. Everyone and everything is beautiful, if they consume enough. lol

    In some of the legends, the mermen were the beautiful creatures but vicious and stole humans and forced them into slavery, and the mermaids were haggard and ugly. Maybe if the mermen were nicer,(just saying) those maids would want to take good care of themselves. :)

    Thanks for dropping by.

  5. What a wonderful trip for inspiration, Karen. It's so interesting learning the legends and folklore generated in different places. I can easily see why you were inspired. I like the idea of mermen. All the best to you.

    1. Sarah,
      It is fun to learn about the different legends. Thanks so much for the best wishes. Same to you, too. :)

  6. I know "zip" about mermaids, and even less about mermen. So this was an education for me. We saw the statue in the sea of a mermaid--where was that? Norway, maybe? It's been so long ago, I've forgotten, but I have a snapshot of it in one of my many travel albums. Thanks, Karen!

    1. Celia,
      I didn't know much about mermaids and mermen until I started the research. Didn't realize there were so many mermen tales, too. lol But if we think about it, if there are mermaids, there would have to be mermen. lol

  7. Then again, I can imagine back when a bath meant heading out to the local lake, if a young lass discovered a young lad spying on her bath and asked why he was there, "I thought you were a mermaid!" might be a good excuse. Tickles me to think it might be a guy in the water and giggling girl on land instead.

  8. Karen, I'm late reading your post but I'm here at last. I found the legend fascinating and I admire your talent for weaving these well-researched legends into your own fiction. I've read some of your stories and they are always "page-turners."


Comments relevant to the blog post are welcome as long as they are noninflammatory and appropriate for everyone of all ages to read.
Thank you for your interest and input.