Thursday, July 28, 2005


UI's Celtic Mythology - Cuchulainn

Yesterday I wrote about Cuchulainn's efforts to attain Emer's hand in marriage so today I will detail his last campaign which involved the death of his lifelong friend Ferdia.

Acclaimed as the champion of Ireland in a beheading contest, Cuchulainn was soon unbeatable in combat, a skill he was to need dearly in his last campaign, which was a single handed defence of Ulster against the invading army of Queen Medb of Connacht. The main reason for this raid was a famous brown bull which was kept in Cuailgne. But the tyrannical king of Ulster, King Conchobar Mac Nessa, also played a big part in gathering rebellious Ulstermen and others from many parts of Ireland to Queen Medb's side.

One man who fought on Queen Medb's side was Ferdia. Ferdia was son of Daman the Firbolg, and was a lifelong friend and comrade of Cuchulainn. As young men, they were both taught to fight by Scathach. During the war of the brown bull of Cuailgne, Ferdia did his best to avoid coming up against his friend, but eventually Medb taunted him into fighting the great hero in single combat and the two fought grimly to the death with Ferdia being killed by Cuchulainn.
At Ferdia's death, Cuchulainn fell exhausted, lamenting, "Why should I rise again now he that lies here has fallen by my hand?"

This story is another I remember reading about in school and is another one of my favourites with Cuchulainn forced to square off against his friend. It further cements Cuchulainn as a great but tragic figure.

Tomorrow I will detail the events which lead to Cuchulainn's death in the war of the brown bull of Cuailgne.


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