a students' magazine

Ryder on two Irish myths

Hi there! This week we are getting to know Ireland and I want to introduce you to some nice curiosities about this country… let’s start with two Irish myths, Cu Chulainn and Finn Mc Cool…

Cù Chulainn

(in Italian it would sound like “Cucullino”) is the most important Celtic Irish hero, who is also present in Scottish mythology and in that of the Isle of Man (in the Irish Sea). The son of a god (Lugh), he was originally named Sétanta. According to a prophesy, he would acquire great fame for his great deeds, but his life would be short.

But how did he get the strange name of  Cù Chulainn?

In ancient Ireland a very famous game was Huling, played with sticks and a leather ball. The best player in Ireland was Setanta: it was told that he could hit the ball and catch it before it fell to the ground. One day a lord called Culan saw Setana playing and invited him to dinner to his castle and Setana accepted.  The lord had a hound to guard his castle, but he forgot to lock it before Setana’s arrival. So when Setana arrived at the castle, the hound attacked him and the lord was desperate but fortunately Setana threw his leather ball into the mouth of the hound and killed it. Having killed the lord’s hound, he offered to substitute the hound in guarding the castle until the lord had found another hound. In the Irish language hound is said “Cu”, so Setanta became Cu Chulainn (Culan´s hound).

Finn Mc Cool

He was a good giant. He had an army of giants that defended ancient Ireland. One day a Scottish giant attacked Ireland and Finn, to defend his country, took a whole piece of ground, threw it to the Scottish giant and killed him. If you now look at the map of Ireland you can see a very big hole where Finn took the ground from: it is now called Lough Neagh and is the biggest lake in Ireland! And exactly where the ground  knocked down and crushed the Scottish giant, in the Irish sea, you can see an isle, called the “Isle of Man”.

However, the name of Finn Mc Cool is mostly remembered for “The Giant´s Causeway”, a natural wonder probably due to a volcanic eruption, included among UNESCO’s world heritage’s sites.
the Giant Causeway
But, according to the legend, the Giant’s Causeway was created by Finn,who  wanted to fight the Scottish giant Benandonner, and built the causewayin order to get to Scotland from Ireland.

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