The Coming of the Tuatha De Danaan

The Tuatha De Danaan arrived in Ireland on a cloud from the four great cities of fairyland. While in their homelands, they had learned the arts of poetry and science. They brought these gifts, plus great treasures from the fairy cities, to their new home. The treasures included a stone that confirmed the rightful king by roaring when he stood upon it, a sword that could never be broken, a magic spear, and a pot that could feed an army without ever going empty. After three days, the cloud on...

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Amairgin plays a crucial role in the Milesians' defeat of the Danaans. In that way, he illustrates the importance of the druid in ancient Celtic culture. Druids were much more than magicians or poets, however. According to Peter Berresford Ellis, druids were accounted philosophers, natural scientists, and teachers and, more importantly, were able to give legal, political, and even military judgments. They were trained in international law as well as tribal law. They could prevent warfare...

Celtic Mythology

Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922 Hants GU12 6BP For the Cunningham, Daley, and Collins clans Enslow Publishers, Inc., wishes to thank Professor Daniel Melia of the University of California Celtic Studies Program for his invaluable assistance with the pronunciation guide. Copyright 2003 by Catherine Bernard All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means without the written permission of the publisher. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Celtic mythology...

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Long after Cuchulainn and his followers died, a new group of heroes emerged in Ireland. In this next cycle of myths, supposedly set in the third century a.d., the central character is a man named Fionn Mac Cumaill. The Anglicized version of his name, which is slightly more well known, is Finn Mac Cool. The stories surrounding Finn and the Fianna, a band of warriors who followed Finn, are collectively called the Fenian cycle. Like Cuchulainn and the Champions of the Red Branch, Finn and the men...

The Milesian Invasion

In Spain, a man named Bregon built a very tall watchtower. Bregon's son, Ith, liked to climb the tower and look out over the sea. One very clear winter's day, he noticed a land he had never seen before. Ith decided he wanted to explore it further, so he set sail with ninety warriors for the strange new land. The land Ith had seen was, of course, Ireland. At that time, there were three Danaan kings Mac Cuill, Mac Cecht, and Mac Greine who ruled Ireland. As Ith landed, he noticed the three rulers...

Pwyll Head of Hades

Pwyll Arawn

Pwyll was ruler of Dyfed, located in the southwest corner of what is now Wales. One day, Pwyll left his capital with a group of his men to go hunting in a far-off region called Glynn Cuch. Pwyll blew his horn and released his hounds to begin the hunt. In a short time, he got separated from his companions. The lord followed the sound of his hounds. As he did so, he heard another pack of hounds, not his own, advancing toward him. At a clearing in the forest, Pwyll saw his hounds chasing the other...

Custennins Treasure

Mabinogion Yspaddaden

Perhaps the best-known legacy that Celtic mythology has left the world is the body of literature surrounding the great King Arthur. Stories of Arthur and his famous knights have fascinated audiences for centuries. The sagas have served as the inspiration for countless poems, books, plays, and even movies. The Arthurian legends with which most people are familiar, however, bear little resemblance to the original Welsh myths. The Celtic Arthurian stories are generally considered to have...

Questions And Answers

Q Why did Setanta become known as Cuchulainn A After killing Culann's prized hound, Setanta not only offered to train a puppy to replace the dog, but to fulfill the dog's role himself until the pup was ready. From then on, he was known as Cuchulainn, which means Culann's hound. Q What were the six gifts that women were judged by and how many of these did Emer possess A The gifts women were judged by were beauty, voice, sweet speech, needlework, wisdom, and chastity. Emer possessed all six of...

Gwydion And Aranrhod

Mabinogi Welsh

The other tradition of Celtic mythology stems not from Irish roots, but from Welsh ones. The name Welsh was given to the British Celts by the Anglo-Saxons who first invaded the area in the fifth century. The word means foreigners, which is ironic considering the Welsh were the native inhabitants.1 Sadly, fewer stories from the Welsh tradition have survived than from that of the Irish. The majority of the Welsh literature has been preserved in two fourteenth-century manuscripts The White Book of...

Setanta Mythology

Chulainn Salmon Leap

Like most countries, ancient Ireland was divided into different geographical areas, in this case known as provinces. One of the more famous of these provinces is Ulster, located on the northernmost end of the island. Ulster still exists in Ireland today and comprises part of what is known as Northern Ireland. The stories surrounding this province are known collectively as the Red Branch or Ulster Cycle. The Red Branch myths were recorded sometime in the twelfth century, but it is believed that...