Cú Chulainn

A well known figure in Celtic mythology, Cú Chulainn features in The Cattle Raid of Cooley (Táin Bó Cúailnge), a battle between Ulster and Connaught. 

Cú Chulainn's real name was originally Setanta but he became known as Cú Chulainn after killing a wolfhound belonging to Culann. Remorseful, Setanta offered to protect Culann in place of the dog and thereafter adopted the new name which means "Hound of Culann". 

Cú Chulainn was renowned as a fearsome warrior who went into battle with superhuman powers and magical weapons. It was said he would go into a terrifying frenzy, attacking anything in his path.

The Morrigan was the name given to a shape-shifting goddess of war and fertility from Irish mythology. Most commonly associated with transforming herself into a raven, she is also said to have chased and attacked Cú Chulainn in the form of a heifer, an eel and a female wolf. When Cú Chulainn knew that he had been mortally wounded, he tied himself to a large stone so that he could die standing up, facing his enemies. There he remained for three days and no one dared approach him. Many stories tell how the Morrigan, in the form of a raven, perched on Cú Chulainn's shoulder. It was only then that his enemies knew that he had finally passed away.

Cú Chulainn is also associated with horses. Irish folklore tells of two foals being born at exactly the same time as Cú Chulainn. When fully grown, they pulled his chariot and it was said that on the day of Cú Chulainn's final battle, one of the horses wept tears of blood.

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