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Cu ChuLainn

Cuchulan's Fight With The Sea
A man came slowly from the setting sun,
To Emer, raddling raiment in her dun,
And said, "I am that swineherd whom you bid
Go watch the road between the wood and tide,
But now I have no need to watch it more.'
Then Emer cast the web upon the floor,
And raising arms all raddled with the dye,
Parted her lips with a loud sudden cry.
That swineherd stared upon her face and said,
"No man alive, no man among the dead,
Has won the gold his cars of battle bring.'
"But if your master comes home triumphing
Why must you blench and shake from foot to crown?'
Thereon he shook the more and cast him down
Upon the web-heaped floor, and cried his word:
"With him is one sweet-throated like a bird.'
"You dare me to my face,' and thereupon
She smote with raddled fist, and where her son
Herded the cattle came with stumbling feet,
And cried with angry voice, "It is not meet
To ide life away, a common herd.'
"I have long waited, mother, for that word:
But wherefore now?' "There is a man to die;
You have the heaviest arm under the sky.'
"Whether under its daylight or its stars
My father stands amid his battle-cars.'
"But you have grown to be the taller man.'
"Yet somewhere under starlight or the sun
My father stands.'
"Aged, worn out with wars
On foot. on horseback or in battle-cars.'
"I only ask what way my journey lies,
For He who made you bitter made you wise.'
"The Red Branch camp in a great company
Between wood's rim and the horses of the sea.
Go there, and light a camp-fire at wood's rim;
But tell your name and lineage to him
Whose blade compels, and wait till they have found
Some feasting man that the same oath has bound.'
Among those feasting men Cuchulain dwelt,
And his young sweetheart close beside him knelt,
Stared on the mournful wonder of his eyes,
Even as Spring upon the ancient skies,
And pondered on the glory of his days;
And all around the harp-string told his praise,
And Conchubar, the Red Branch king of kings,
With his own fingers touched the brazen strings.
At last Cuchulain spake, "Some man has made
His evening fire amid the leafy shade.
I have often heard him singing to and fro,
I have often heard the sweet sound of his bow.
Seek out what man he is.'
One went and came.
"He bade me let all know he gives his name
At the sword-point, and waits till we have found
Some feasting man that the same oath has bound.'
Cuchulain cried, "I am the only man
Of all this host so bound from childhood on.
After short fighting in the leafy shade,
He spake to the young man, 'Is there no maid
Who loves you, no white arms to wrap you round,
Or do you long for the dim sleepy ground,
That you have come and dared me to my face?"
"The dooms of men are in God's hidden place,'
"Your head a while seemed like a woman's head
That I loved once.'
Again the fighting sped,
But now the war-rage in Cuchulain woke,
And through that new blade's guard the old blade broke,
And pierced him.
"Speak before your breath is done.'
"Cuchulain I, mighty Cuchulain's son.'
"I put you from your pain. I can no more.'
While day its burden on to evening bore,
With head bowed on his knees Cuchulain stayed;
Then Conchubar sent that sweet-throated maid,
And she, to win him, his grey hair caressed;
In vain her arms, in vain her soft white breast.
Then Conchubar, the subtlest of all men,
Ranking his Druids round him ten by ten,
Spake thus: "Cuchulain will dwell there and brood
For three days more in dreadful quietude,
And then arise, and raving slay us all.
Chaunt in his ear delusions magical,
That he may fight the horses of the sea.'
The Druids took them to their mystery,
And chaunted for three days.
Cuchulain stirred,
Stared on the horses of the sea, and heard
The cars of battle and his own name cried;
And fought with the invulnerable tide.
(William Butler Yeats)

"Fair, of deeds, the man I see;
Wounded sore is his fair skin;
On his brow shines hero's light;
Victory's seat is in his face!
"Seven gems of champions brave
Deck the centre of his orbs;
Naked are the spears he bears
And he hooks a red cloak round!
Noblest face is his, I see;
He respects all womankind.
Young the lad and fresh his hue,
With a dragon's form in fight!
I know not who is the Hound,
Culann's hight, of fairest fame;
But I know full well this host
Will be smitten red by him!
Four small swords--a brilliant feat--
He supports in either hand;
These he'll ply upon the host,
Each to do its special deed!
His Gae Bulga, too, he wields,
With his sword and javelin.
Lo, the man in red cloak girt
Sets his foot on every hill!
Two spears from the chariot's left
He casts forth in orgy wild.
And his form I saw till now
Well I know will change its guise!
On to battle now he comes;
If ye watch not, ye are doomed.
This is he seeks ye in fight
Brave Cuchulain, Sualtaim's son!
All your host he'll smite in twain,
Till he works your utter ruin.
All your heads ye'll leave with him.
Fedelm, prophet-maid, hides not!
Long 'twill live in memory.
Bodies hacked and wives in tears,
Through the Smith's Hound whom I see

) From The The Cattle-Raid of Cooley(Táin Bó Cúalnge)

by Ryan Tuccinardi The heroic tales of Cuchulainn are so old that they were almost forgotten when they were revived by 7th century bard named Sechan Torpeist. Cuchulainn was born Setanta, but changed his name when he placed a geis upon himself after accidentily killing the watchdog of the smith Culann. He vowed to take the place of the dog, guarding the pass into Ulster, and thus became known as the Hound of Culann.
Several women in Celtic myth are said to be his mother, some human and other divine. The god Lugh is sometimes also mentioned as his father, but this relationship appears to be more of a spiritual link than a biological one. Cuchulainn's human father is Sualtam.
He studied under the warrior goddess Scathach on the Isle of Shadow and returned to Ulster to be a great warrior and leader of the Red Branch, a semi-chivalrous order of warriors of Ulster whose exploits make up an entire cycle in Irish mythology. He became semi-divine himself through his adventures and is now honored as a pagan god.
Many of his stories are recorded at length in The Book of the Dun Cow. A statue in Dublin portrays his dramatic demise in battle when, while his men were asleep, he held off Maeve's armies single-handedly by being tied to a tree to remain standing. Cuchlainn's image may have once been that of a minor sun or sacrificial god. His great enemy, the sovereign Queen Maeve of Connacht, seemed ready to replace her husband with Cuchulainn who resisted the sacrificial role and battled her instead. Predictably, she won the war and his blood was spilled on the earth in the manner of the sacrificial gods. During his death battle he failed to recognize the Morrigan flying over him, and many believe that was what really killed him -- failure to realize the role he was born to play as symbolized by the death-bird in ages of the triple crone.
He had many lovers including Aife, Emer, and 'the faery woman' Fand.

Other names
Cú Chulainn
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Cu Chulainn

Cu CHulainn(The Hound of Culann) is the epitome of the superhuman war-hero of the mythological tradition. Cu'(hound) is a common title for a great war-hero. Typically,he is destined to have a short,brilliant life covered with glory. He is unserpassed in battle, young, valorous, of superhuman strenghth and beautiful.
He is closely associated witht he gods,and he himself is of supernatural origin.
The oldest literature pertaining to Cu Chulainn is the part of the Ulster Cycle known as the "Tain Bow' Cuailnge"(The Cattle Raid of Cooley.)
His introduction into the narrative probably dates back from the 7th C. AD. His identity may derive from a warrior cult,and he like Medb, was euhemerized into a 'historical figure'"

One characteristic of Cu Chulainn in battle is his habit of going berserk or into 'warp spasm'. On these occasions, he becomes a monster: His body revolves within it's skin;his hair stands out from his head;one eye sinks into his head,the other bulges out onto his cheek; his muscles swell into enourmous size,and a hero-light rises from his head."
(Dictionary of Celtic Myth and legend:Miranda Green:Thames and Hudson 1992)

Cuchulain Comforted

A MAN that had six mortal wounds, a man
Violent and famous, strode among the dead;
Eyes stared out of the branches and were gone.
Then certain Shrouds that muttered head to head
Came and were gone. He leant upon a tree
As though to meditate on wounds and blood.
A Shroud that seemed to have authority
Among those bird-like things came, and let fall
A bundle of linen. Shrouds by two and thrce
Came creeping up because the man was still.
And thereupon that linen-carrier said:
"Your life can grow much sweeter if you will
"Obey our ancient rule and make a shroud;
Mainly because of what we only know
The rattle of those arms makes us afraid.
"We thread the needles' eyes, and all we do
All must together do.' That done, the man
Took up the nearest and began to sew.
"Now must we sing and sing the best we can,
But first you must be told our character:
Convicted cowards all, by kindred slain
"Or driven from home and left to dic in fear.'
They sang, but had nor human tunes nor words,
Though all was done in common as before;
They had changed their thtoats and had the throats of birds.
(William Butler Yeats)

"He came upon the armies of Ireland in his chariot and slew them by the hundred. They fell like the leaves from the trees in the fall, and stained the plain red with their blood. But at last Lugaid, son of Curoi, drove a spear through Cuchulain's belly, and Cuchulain knew that he had received his death-wound.
He asked leave to go down to the lake and take a mouthful of water, and Lugaid granted his wish. Cuchulain went down to the water and drank and washed himself. Then he turned back to face his death.
In the middle of the battle plain there was a great standing stone, and Cuchulain tied himself to that stone with his breast-belt so that he would die on his feet."

FromThe Death of Cuchulain

The Story of Cu Chulainn

A Story of Cu Chulainn in Gaelic & English:
The Birth of Cu Chulainn:
Boyhood deeds of Cu Chulainn:
The Setind:A Childrens Project about Cu Chulainn:
Cu ChuLainn's Initiation:
The Story of Cu Chulainn:
The Death of Chuchualinn:
The Cattle Raid of Cooley
Cu Chulainn, 1984JIM FITZPATRICK
1.Animating Cu Chulainn
2.Animating Cu Chulainn
Representations of Cu Chulainn
A BABY IS BORN, A HERO TO BE By Hugh Mulqueeney
Fianna ChatMessage board with infoInteresting info.
Other Resources
John McCloskey, 1994, 5 mins, Beta.
An animated series telling of the story of Cu Chulainn, made for RTE