Caoineag (Scottish Gaelic pronunciation: [kʰɯːɲak]) is a Scottish spirit, her name meaning ‘the weeper’ and one of the names given to the Highland Banshee, Caointeach is another.

Within Celtic mythology, she is a variant of the Bean-Nighe, known as the 'Washer at the Ford' and belonged to the class of Fuath, evil water spirits. Unlike the Bean Nighe, she is heard but never seen, and cannot be approached to grant wishes. She is closer to the Irish banshee, Bean Sidhe and a possible transitional phase of the stories. The Caoineag is heard wailing in the night near a waterfall before a catastrophe happens within her clan, and it is said that those who hear the sound of the Caoineag’s mourning are doomed to face death or great sorrow.

Caoineag in mythology and folklore

Scottish folklorist Alexander Carmichael in Carmina Gadelica, says that before the Massacre of Glencoe, the Caoineag of the MacDonalds was heard to wail night after night.[1]


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.