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Tain bo cuailnge

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a short background on the Tain

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Tain bo cuailnge

  1. 1. The Tain Bo Cuailnge The Cattle Raid of Cooley © Ms. Mohlere
  2. 2. What is the Tain?  The Tain is Irish Mythology. Much like the Romans and Greeks (and British, as we see from Beowulf), the Irish have many tales that explain the history and geography of their country.  The Tain is thought to have been written down in the 12th or 13th century, while the events take place in the first.  It’s the story of a great hero, Cuchulainn. The section you read this week is a short tale of him as a child.
  3. 3. Basic Story of the Tain  The story begins with “pillow talk” between Queen Maedb of Connacht and her husband, King Ailill. They are comparing their possessions, item for item. The only difference is that King Ailill has a beautiful white bull (Finnbennach), and Queen Maedb doesn’t have one. The only possible equivalent is a brown bull (Donn Cuailnge), owned by a man who lives in Ulster. In order to match her husband, she decides to raid Ulster & steal the bull.  (note: leaving quite a bit out…)  Cuchulainn, a great warrior from Ulster, confronts the armies and a great battle ensues…
  4. 4. Ulster Connacht Bike Trail Louth
  5. 5. The Vision Before the army sets off from Connacht, a fortune teller named Fedelm has a vision which frightens Queen Medb. 'I see him moving to the fray: take warning, watch him well, Cúchulainn, Sualdam's son! Now I see him in pursuit. Whole hosts he will destroy, making dense massacre. In thousands you will yield your heads. I am Fedelm. I hide nothing.'
  6. 6. Cuchulainn  A great warrior from Ulster, Cuchulainn’s exploits were legendary from the time he was a young boy.  It was said that he was stronger than any other man (remind you of anyone?)  Originally named Setanta. Earned his name “Cuchulainn” after killing a fierce hound (it took three chains to hold the dog, with three men holding each chain) when he was six years old.  Known as the “Hound of Ulster”
  7. 7. Important characters  King Ailill & Queen Medb (pronounced “Maeve”) – King & Queen of Connacht  Cuchulainn – a 17 year old warrior from Ulster  Fergus – Cuchulainn’s stepfather, and a braver warrior in his own right. Fights C. for Queen Medb.  Daire Mac Fiachna – the owner of the Brown Bull  Fedelm – the fortune teller  Ferdia – Cuchulainn’s foster brother, who has a coat that no ordinary weapon can pierce. Stabs Cuchulainn, but is ultimately killed.
  8. 8. Areas in Ireland related to the Tain  Mound of Queen Medb (Knocknarea, County Sligo) Note: It is said that Queen Madb was buried in her armour, standing up, facing her Ulster enemies.
  9. 9. Cuchulainn is a very important figure in Ireland, even today. This statue features Cuchulainn carrying his friend Ferdia, after he has been killed in battle with Queen Medb. This statue is in County Louth.
  10. 10. A statue of Cuchulainn at the General Post office in Dublin. This statue is in memory of the uprising of Easter 1916. When Cuchulainn died, he strapped himself upright to a pillar, so he could die upright, facing his enemies. No one dared to approach his body for 3 days, until they saw a bird land on him and peck at his eyes. Legacy of Cuchulainn
  11. 11. I was lucky enough to see the statue on the previous slide in person this summer. The statue was erected in memory of the men who died fighting for Irish independence in 1916. This plaque is underneath the statue. (Sorry about the glare and my legs! Ha) Why do you think that Cuchulainn, a mythological Irish figure, would have been imporant & inspiring during the fight for Irish Independence? Do we have someone similar? So why is Cuchulainn important? Text on the next slide…
  12. 12. On the plaque  We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of irish destinies. To be soverign and indefeasible. The long usurption of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In ever generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedome and soverignty; Six times during the past three hundered years they have asserted it in arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a soverign independent state, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades-in-arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations. – Thomas J. Clarke, Sean MacDiarmada, Thomas MacDonagh, P.H. Pearse, Eamonn Ceannt, James Connolly, Joseph Plunkett

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