Wednesday, August 17, 2005


UI's Celtic Mythology - Emer

Emer, in Irish mythology, was the daughter of Fogall and the wife of Cuchulainn, who first saw her when he was at the court of the High King of Ireland at Tara. She appeared "dark-haired almost as himself, and her skin white as mare's milk, and her eyes wide and proud and brilliant like the eyes of Fedelma, his favourite falcon". Emer's father was a chieftain from Meath and was against the match. Emer was blessed with the six gifts of womanhood: beauty, chastity, wisdom, sweet speech, song and needlecraft. When the hero courted her, she smiled at his youth, and said he had "deeds to do".
Fogall told Cuchulainn to travel to improve his fighting skills and only then would he consider him as a son-in-law. Cuchulainn survived and returned to claim his bride. Indeed, Cuchulainn was forced to attack the reluctant Fogall's fortress before the wedding could take place. Although Emer was totally enraptured by her handsome husband, their marriage was not without its troubles, not least because many other women also found the Ulster hero attractive. Just before his final battle, when he fought the army of Queen Medb alone, Emer tried to persuade him to remain in the fortress of Emain Macha, the seat of Conchobar Mac Nessa. However, he got on his chariot when it was brought around to the front of the house. Even then, he thought of Emer's request, but his enemies the witches of Calatin cast a spell to harden his resolve to fight single-handed.


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