Thursday, August 04, 2005


UI's Celtic Mythology - Dechtire

Dechtire, in Irish mythology, was the mother of Cuchulainn. She was a daughter of Maga, the child of the love god Aonghus and of the druid Cathbad, advisor to King Conchobar Mac Nessa of Ulster. When Dechtire married Sualtam Mac Roth, a fly flew into her cup during the wedding feast and she swallowed it. She fell into a deep sleep and dreamed that the sun god Lugh insisted that she and fifty of her kinswomen follow him to the otherworld as a flock of birds. Three years later a flock of brightly coloured birds reappeared at Emain Macha, the capital of Ulster. The Ulstermen went after them with slings, but were unable to hit any of them. It was decided, therefore, to surprise the birds at night as they rested. So it was that the warriors came upon Dechtire, her women and Lugh sleeping in a hut on a site renowned for its magical properties. When Conchobar was told this he sent for Dechtire at once, but she told her captors that she was too ill to be able to travel for another day. The next morning she showed them her new-born son Setanta, a gift to Ulster.

That must have been some three years!


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