after far too long a break from megalith hunting i decided to pop up to near the border to try and find Cú chulainn's stone.
this is one ive wanted to see since i was a kid and first learned there was an actual stone that is associated with the ould Setanta.
for those of you not familiar with the story. Cú chulainn the main character in the Táin bó cuaillgne (pronounced tawn bow cooley) or the cattle raid of cooley, alternatively called simply the táin.
basically the story is this. queen maeve of connaught and her blouse of a husband ailill have a bit of a row over who has the best stuff. they line all their posessions and it turns out that Ailill has a really pretty bull. maeve doesnt. so up comes a trouble making druid who tells her that king conor of ulster has a truely smashing bull and by happyness the men of ulster, though the best warriors in ireland are afflicted by birth pains that renders them incapable of doing pretty much anything (now thats a curse). so off they go to invade and steal the cow, but there was one thing they forgot.
cuchulainn is basically the predator of iron age ireland. young (about 17), beardless and completely unstopable. So cuchulainn is basically on his own against the whole army of connaght and her allies. being gentlemen they decide that single combat would be the way to go.....and promptly get the shit knocked out of them by cu chulainn. alls going well until Ferdia, cu chulainns foster brother has to fight him. after 3 days cu chulainn wins and that upsets him greatly. que more slughter. eventually cuchulainn is over come. so not one to give up a fight he straps himself to a standing stone, with his own entrails in some versions, and continues on fighting on his feet. the warriors will only go near him when they see a crow landing on him and they then know hes dead.
and this is the stone....
it was quite poiniant that upon entering the field there was a large flock of crows circling overhead.
me doing my best dieing cu chulainn stance.
ok. not quite, but it was cold
one more shot for the road.
I headed back into ardee town to try and find my way back and saw this statue of cuchulainn carrying ferdia after the battle which was just by the river
The Táin is really ignored as part of european literary history. in my opinion its up there with the illiad. its ignored i think because irish culture was no where as influential as greek ,it was oral until the medieval period and unlike the trogan war it was not fought over something romantic like love or freedom but over whos got the prettiest bull. and thats what i love about it, EVERY war is over whos got the prettiest bull!
slán go foil