A Conversation for The Fianna

The Chill Of Midnight Ice

Post 1


Indicating there's nothing new under the sun, weren't the Fianna implicated in the War of the Dun Cow? (Tain bo Cuilagne)

Didn't this turn out to be a case of Ulster versus The Rest of Ireland (dismally and depressingly familiar)where the Fianna came up against their opposite numbers, the Red Branch of Ulster, and great smitings were smitten in mortal combat. Something to do with the Ulster hero Cuchullain defending a ford single-handed and entering three days of terrible mortal combat with his boyhood friend Ferdia, who alas was batting for the other side (the Fianna).

Cuchullain finally slays Ferdia with the dreaded Gae Bolga, the terrible spear which is one of the Four Treasures of Ireland, and W.B. Yeats gets material for a heroic poem....

grand article, btw, even though I'm more at home with the ethnically suitable and far more pronunciable Mabinogion!

The Chill Of Midnight Ice

Post 2

Apollyon - Grammar Fascist

Also I think this is a greta entry!

Are you sure Ferdia was in the Fianna? From what I remember, it was the Red Branch Knights (led by Cúchullain) vs another army commanded by someone else. The common legend gives Queen Méabh as this leader, but she was not added until Christiality had well taken hold in Ireland - according to my sister, Méabh originally was a personification of Ireland itself.

Anyway, Cúchullain had three spears, and it was said that each would kill a king. Moving on, the Red Branch Knights were defeated by the other army, but Cúchullain single-handedly kept them out of Ulster. Eventually three champions were sent to defeat him in a duel, and he won all three, the last one a battle against Ferdia which lasted several days if not years. Cúchullain then threw his three spears into the other army, but they had no effect because there were no kings. The enemy then threw them back and one hit Cúchullain's chariot driver, because he was considered the king of drivers. The second hit Cúchullain's horse, who was the king of horses. The third hit Cúchullain himself, because he was king of warriors. He knew he was going to die, but he tied himself to a tree so that he would die facing the enemy; only when the ravens swooped down to feast on his flesh did the other army decide to advance.

I somehow doubt the other army was the Fianna, since they would have scooped up Cúchullain right away.

The Chill Of Midnight Ice

Post 3


Wasn't there also a geas on the warriors of Ulster that meant Cuchullain had to do it all by himself - something about the men of Ulster having to suffer with the pains and agonies as though they were women giving birth. Possibly flawed memory also suggests that the Morrigan, in her aspect as Goddess of Bloody-Minded Women with PMT, laid this on the Ulstermen for not showing sufficient respect, but left her current mortal squeeze (Cuchullain) out of it.

Thinking about it, the War of the Bulls was Connaught versus Ulster, at least to begin with, but according to myth, didn't it suck in the rest of Ireland eventually?

As I say I'm more familar with the Mabinogion (and I'm better able to pronounce the names)but my Nearly Beloved comes of Galway/Mayo parents. I have been in the situation of reading Irish Mythology For Children to nieces, and having both Nearly Beloved AND her mother wincing, and corecting my pronunciation of the Gaelic. Even the nieces correct me now, and THEY only ever see Ireland on family trips home once or twice a year... (well, if it LOOKS like a Welsh word, what do they expect?)

BTW, is there a "Tain Bo Cuilagne" entry on the Guide anywhere?

The Chill Of Midnight Ice

Post 4

Lash LeRue

Connaught had mercenaries from all over Ireland, so it was a little bit like the rest of Ireland against Ulster.

Cuculainn had to defend Ulster because of a curse made by a young woman of the Dé Dannan, she fell in love with the ulster king, they got married, she got pregnant. Meanwhile the kings horse lost a race, he was very,very pissed so he bet the owner of the winning horse that his wife could out pace it. He forced her to do it even though she was nine months pregnant. Lo and behold she won and had her baby there, just before she died, she uttered a curse that when ulster was in its greatest danger, all the men would be struk down by the pangs of birth, but eventually they would arise like a woman from child birth.

Typical legendary stuff.

I think Echo started one abot the Táin, at one stage.

Key: Complain about this post

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more