The puca (Irish for spirit/ghost), pooka, phouka, phooka, phooca, puca or puka is primarily a creature of Celtic folklore. Considered to be bringers of both good and bad fortune, they could either help or hinder rural and marine communities. The Puca can have dark or staunch white fur or hair. The creatures were said to be shape changers that could take the appearance of horses, goats, cats, dogs, and hares. They may also take a human form, which includes various animal features, such as ears or a tail.

What does an Irish Pooka look like?

A Pooka is a shapeshifter that can assume the appearance of whatever it wants. Typically, it takes the appearance of a horse, dog, rabbit, goat, goblin, or even an elderly man. However, it may also take the form of an old man. The traditional depiction of a Pooka is that of a black, svelte horse with a long, untamed mane that flows freely and golden eyes that shine brightly.

Where exactly may one come across a Pooka?

Pookas are ubiquitous throughout Ireland's rural landscape, and each of the country's counties is home to at least one. They like mountainous regions with plenty of open space so that they may roam freely when they are in horse shape.

There are a number of tiny mountain lakes and springs in Ireland that are known as "Pooka Pools" or "Pollaphuca," which may be translated to mean "Pooka hole." Some of them may be found in the headwaters of important rivers in Ireland, such as the River Liffey, which flows through Dublin, or the River Bann, which is the longest river in the north of Ireland and flows through the town of Coleraine. Both of these rivers pass through the city of Coleraine.

Some of the Pooka Pools were renamed St. Patrick's Wells during the process of Christianizing Ireland, which refers to the act of converting the indigenous inhabitants of Ireland from paganism to Christianity.

Pooka Superstitions & Irish Customs...

In Ireland, many of the beliefs and traditions surrounding Pookas are still practiced today. Some of them include: These beliefs might be rather different depending on whatever part of the world you happen to be in at the time. Even though there seems to be some kind of consensus when discussing a Pooka, many of the tales are quite similar; the primary differences lie in the specifics of the plot.

A talk with a Pooka 

Another thing the Pooka like doing, just like all of us Irish people, is chatting, and they will gladly stop and "shot the breeze" with you. During these conversations, they will sometimes provide excellent guidance and make remarkable forecasts.

In some rural locations, you could come across homes that have a bench on the right side of the entrance, and the gate post on the right will have a smooth surface, but the left side of the gate post might have a rockery or some other kind of unpleasant mound. This is due to the fact that a trustworthy Pooka will always choose to sit on the right, but a naughtier sprite would choose for the left.

They often begin by saying something along the lines of, "You are new here I guess. " when they are attempting to introduce themselves. When I was younger, I occupied this home on a regular basis. One of his favorite things to talk about is the way in which his family was conned out of their money and property when the family's wealth was gone.

When talking to a Pooka, it's possible that you'll sit and converse with him for an hour, but then all of a sudden, he'll go. This is a strange aspect of the interaction. Without saying goodbye, which they never do, you will be left wondering whether the previous hour was a dream or a nightmare. They never say goodbye. They won't ever leave behind any traces that they were ever there.

The Pookas Exchange

Mainly connected with Samhain (the 31st of October), and the first of November is celebrated as Pookas Day. This corresponds with the harvest as well as the customary norms that require the reaper to leave a few stalks behind while bringing in the crop. This is referred to as the Pooka's share, and it is imperative that we do not take it since we do not want to risk drawing the ire of the Pooka.

It is stated that if there is rain pouring on a bright day in Ireland, as it occurs often, then the Puca will undoubtedly show up that night. This is because rain falling on a sunny day is rather common in Ireland.

Also, berries that have been slain by a frosty overnight should never be eaten because the spit of a Pooka is on them, which makes them toxic, and you should never consume berries that have been killed by a frosty overnight.

The Drunken Horseman

When a Pooka is in horse shape, he will often try to amuse himself by asking a rider to get on his back and have some fun. In most cases, this occurs when the rider has had a little too much to drink and is attempting to make his way home from the bar while feeling exhausted. It is at this point that the rider will go on the most terrifying journey of his or her life since the Pooka takes great pleasure in terrifying the rider with its enormous prowess, which includes leaping over rocks and hedges and otherwise defying death. The rider is pushed from the horse as the dawning gray light approaches, and he is left terrified but otherwise unharmed by the events of the previous night to find his own way back home.

When they are having a wild night out like this, they have a tendency to dash across corn fields and smash down fences without any regard for the consequences. This may be when their reputation suffers a little bit.

Image from Faeries by Brian Froud and Alan Lee