Charles Squire writes, "The most common antagonists of Finn and his heroes are tribes of invaders from oversea, called in the stories the Lochlannach. These "Men of Lochlann" are usually identified, by those who look for history in the stories of the Fenian cycle, with the invading bands of Norsemen who harried the Irish coasts in the ninth century. But the nucleus of the Fenian tales antedates these Scandinavian raids, and mortal foes have probably merely stepped into the place of those immortal enemies of the gods whose "Lochlann" was a country, not over the sea -- but under it."

It's hard to believe that these "Men of Lochlann," from whom the tales of selkies are born, would ever be associated with the violent nature of the Vikings, or with any aggressive invading tribe. But as stated earlier, the Irish cultivated a healthy respect -- and often fear -- of anything that came from under the ocean, because those who lived beneath its waves were familiar with the mysterious lands beyond what mortals could fathom or understand.