January 22, 2016

The Táin Bó Cuailgne is the Irish for The Cattle Raid of Cooley. The Táin is part of the Ulster Cycle of mythological stories known as the Rúraíocht. It is one of the most entertaining stories of all early Irish literature. Above is a fragment from the Táin Bó Cuailgne from a 16th Century manuscript.

Much of the story is based in the Cooley peninsula. Cooley is a mountainous area. It is near Carlingford in Co. Louth. According to the story it was home to the bull called Donn Cuailgne or Brown Bull of Cooley. The Brown Bull was owned by Dáire Mac Fiachna.

This bull was the object of Queen Maeve of Connacht’s envy. Her home was a place called Cruachan in Tulsk in County Roscommon. The story concerns Queen Maeve of Connacht and her plan to steal the bull Donn Cuailnge from Ulster. The Táin is particularly interesting because of the sub story about fight between the hero Cuchulainn and his best friend Ferdia. It is a story full of emotion with jealousy, anger, love, pride and revenge. Interestingly both of these locations are significant archaeological sites.