Friday, August 05, 2005


UI's Celtic Mythology - Deirdre

Deirdre was the cause of Ulster's sorrows, according to Irish mythology. The druid Cathbad foretold this before she was born, as well as telling of how beautiful she would become. When she grew up, King Conchobar Mac Nessa wished to marry her, even though he was already advanced in years, but Deirdre would have none of this. She persuaded Naoise and his brothers to run away with her to Alba. After living for many years in their voluntary exile, they were tricked into returning to Ulster on the understanding that they would come to no harm. But Conchobar arranged to have Naoise killed and then forced Deirdre to agree to marry him. Once married, however, Deirdre remained sad and kept her distance from the king, with the result that he handed her over to the killer of Naoise. Rather than sleep with this man, she threw herself from his speeding chariot and smashed her brains out on a rock. From each of the graves of Naoise and Deirdre grew a pine, which eventually intertwined and grew as a single tree.

I can recall hearing this story in school but again, much like the way the story of Setanta dashing out the brains of Culann's hound was toned down, so too was Deirdre's brains being smashed on a rock. I don't recall that part and I think it's probably best that I don't!


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