July 2017 – Heroes From Celtic Myths and Legends

By | September 17, 2017

The session covered:

A recap of some of the information about hero Conor Mac Nessa – the mythological King of Ulster.   Conor possessed all the most desirable qualities in a king- skilled warrior and wise and fair in his judgements, but there was also another less positive side to his character.

The legend of Deirdre and the Sons of Uisnech.  In this legend there was a beautiful girl called Deirdre, a nurse, a Druid, Conor Mac Nessa, a young handsome warrior called Naoise who was one of the sons if Uisnech and a prophecy concerning the future of Ulster.  All did not end well for Ulster via a very complicated narrative involving duty, symbolism, betrayal, and conflicting and unresolvable loyalties.

There were a large cast of characters including Ferghus Mas Rioch a Red Branch champion who was a complex character of prodigious appetites but a strong moral code.  It was suggested in earlier mythology that he was a fertility god who then morphed into a warrior hero.  Ferghus is also featured in the epic tale of the Cattle Raid of Cooley along with Queen Medb of Connacht.

These myths are very early, for example The Book of the Dun Cow was written in the 12th century using language seen in the 8th century.

References:-

Proinsias Mac Cana , “Celtic Mythology”,  Littlehampton Book Services Ltd, 1969

Michael Dames, “Ireland A Sacred Journey”, Element Books; New edition, 2000

Miranda J Green, “Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend”, Thames & Hudson; 2nd Edition,1997

As at September 2017, these are available on the internet.