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MYTH AND LEGEND COLLECTION

Fionn Mac Cumhaill

Merlin Awakes

Ferdia

Lugh

Cuchulainn

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Aengus and Caer

Dagda’s Harp

Tir na nOg

Lugh and Dectire



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Crowning Of The High King

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Merlin The Immortal

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Taliesin

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Celtic mythology refers to the gods and goddesses worshipped by the Celts living in modern-day Ireland, Scotland, and Wales from roughly 800 BCE to 100 CE. Close contact with the Roman Empire and the conversion to Christianity led to the destruction of many manuscripts; we know of Celtic mythology today mainly through early Christian monks. Celtic myths can be divided into two main groups: those of the Goidelic languages (Irish and Scottish) and those of the Brythonic languages (Welsh).  The Brythonic myths also include those from Cornwall (insular along with Wales) and Brittany (continental). The Irish myths are usually the better known and include four major “cycles.” Each concentrates on the deeds of a certain god, heroic figure, or king.

The Mythological cycle is a collection of stories that describe the actions and lives of Otherworld characters. Many of these characters are Irish manifestations of an Irish pantheon of divine beings, i.e. the Tuatha Dé Danann.  These stories include: the Book of Invasions (a text which details the successive invasions of Ireland by Cesair, Partholanians, Fomorians, Nemedians, the Tuatha Dé Danann, and finally the Gaels), the Second Battle of Magh Turedh (talks about a battle between the Tuatha Dé Danann led by Lugh and the Fomarians led by Bres, which resulted in the victory of the Tuatha Dé Danann), the Fate of the Children of Tureen, the Fate of the Children of Lír, the Dream of Oengus, the Wooing of Etain, the Destruction of Da Derga’s Hostel, the Fosterage of the House of Two Milk-pails, and the Story of Tuan mac Carill.   The Ulster Cycle, on the heroic demigod Cuchulain; the Fenian Cycle, on the wise and heroic hunter Fionn mac Cumhaill and his sons Fergus and Ossian; and the Historical Cycle, heroic tales based on the Uliadh, the ancient people from whom the province of Ulster got its name and who controlled the center of that province. The Ulster cycle was known as the Red Branch cycle at a previous time.

 The Ulster cycle is set around the beginning of the Christian era and takes place in the provinces of Ulster and Connacht. The cycle deals with the lives of Conchobar mac Nessa, King of Ulster, the great hero Cú Chulainn and their friends, lovers and enemies. The Ulster cycle includes tales of births, wooings and elopements, feasts, battles, cattle raids, violent deaths and some other miscellaneous tales. The Fenian cycle is a large body of verse and prose romances about the adventures of Fionn mac Cumhaill and his band of warriors called the Fianna Éireann. This cycle is the most popular, extensive and long lived of the four Irish cycles. Some of the stories in this cycle are: the Cause of the Battle of Cnucha, the Boyhood Deeds of Fionn, How Fionn Found Knowledge, Fionn and the Man in the Tree, the Pursuit of Diarmuid and Grainne, the Hiding of the Hill of Howth, the Little Brawl at the Hill of Allen, the Fairy-Palace of the Rowan Trees, the Battle of Fionntragha (Ventry), the Battle of Gabhra, the Feast at Conan’s House, the Adventure of the Churlish Clown in the Grey-Drab Coat, the Pursuit of the Hard Gilly, the Death of Fionn, Oisin in the Land of Youth, and the Colloquy of the Old Men.

The cycles of the Kings, otherwise known as the Historical cycle, is the fourth cycle of Irish mythology. This cycle is distinguished from the other cycles of Irish mythology by its focus on provincial and lesser kings, both legendary and historical, from the third to the seventh centuries. The cycle is concerned not only with kings but also with kingship. The primary text of Welsh mythology, on the other hand, is called the Mabinogion, which itself contains four branches of myths. The first focuses on the hero Pwyll’s journey to Annwn or the underworld; the second, on the marriage of Branwen and the resulting war it causes; the third, on Manawydan’s saving Pryderi and Rhiannon from an enchantment; and the fourth, on the conflicts surrounding Math, who requires his feet to be continuously held by a virgin. Although the extremely popular legends of King Arthur are often associated with British and French sources,  earliest written evidence for Arthur is in Welsh sources: Gildas, who wrote the Latin history De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae before 547 CE

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