Saturday, July 23, 2005


UI's Celtic Mythology - Cormac Mac Art

Cormac Mac Art was the High King of Ireland during the period that Finn Mac Cool led the Fenian warrior band. He was the most famous of the early rulers of Ireland, his reign being tentatively dated from 227 to 266. Cormac Mac Art was the Irish Solomon, a wise and powerful king, who was served by the brave exploits of Finn Mac Cool. His wisdom seems to have impressed the Tuatha de Danann. These gods and goddesses invited Cormac Mac Art to their home in the otherworld, where they gave him wonderful presents. One of these was a silver branch that bore golden apples, and when shaken produced music that could cure the sick and wounded. On his own death Cormac Mac Art had to hand back this incredible talisman.
One of Cormac's sons, Cellach, raped the niece of Aonghus of the Terrible Spear. In the ensuing fight, Cellach was slain and Cormac lost an eye. As a High King could have no imperfection Cormac had to step down and his son Cairbe took his place. The reputation of the High King remained so strong that later the Irish Christians also adopted him. It was claimed that Cormac Mac Art learned of the Christian faith before it was actually preached in Ireland by St Patrick, with the result that he ordered that he should not be buried at the royal cemetery because of its pagan associations.


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