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    Irish Mythology


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    Irish Mythology

    Post  Horselover1289 on Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:47 pm

    I thought this might be a good idea considering that we're also doing a mythology RPG and most of what I reference in it is stuff that only people who know at least some Celtic Mythology would get. So, here's a crash course in Celtic Mythology, since Greek, Egyptian, and even, to some extent, Norse Mythology are fairly well known while Celtic is just...not. I'll post more as I see fit. I would also like you to keep in mind that unlike the Greeks, the Celts favored oral communication. The result is the kid's game "Telephone" in mythological format. Luckily enough, it's not quite as bad as Egyptian. You will see, however, that there are plenty of blank spaces due to lack of time on my part to complete all of this. Please remember I'm doing this purely by memory and have merged several sources together at times to create a coherent plot. Eventually, it'll hopefully be nicely divided into alphabetical order, but until then, it's disorganized. For the most part, I'm using the Mythological Cycle and the Ulster Cycle.


    To begin with, there are five important peoples to have invaded Ireland: Some early invaders led by a guy called Net, The Fir Bolg, the Tuatha De Danann, the Fomorians, and the Milesians.  

    Fir Bolg- Mortals. When they were defeated by the Tuatha de Danann, they took the province of Connacht.

    The Tuatha De Danann- Powerful...guys...who did...stuff. That's pretty much the only solid description of the TUatha De Danann that I can provide. When going against the Fomorians and the Fir Bolg, they are supposed to be the good guys. When going up against the Milesians, they're the bad guys. They are also known as "Sidhe," coming from the dwelling mounds that they made after losing Ireland.

    The Fomorians- A race originating from the sea and known to be pirates. They would set up raids on Ireland throughout history up into around the time when Augustus ruled Rome (I'd guess 20 B.C, which is rather firmly in his reign)  Were known to be malformed with a few notable exceptions.

    Milesians- The ancestors of the modern Irish, they were mortal. This fact didn't stop them from taking the land from the Tuatha De Danann, who had wronged them.

    Lugh- He's one of the most important things to know, really. Lugh is the grandson of Balor, a king of the Fomorians, who received a prophecy that his grandson would kill him. Being the kind, caring, and wise father he was, he locked his daughter Ethniu in a tower. Obviously the man had never taken any classes on "self fulfilling prophecy." Through some dealings involving a cow, he managed to tick off Cian, son of Dian Cecht (I'll get to that later. From now on, I'm just going to abbreviate.) Cian enlisted the help of the druid woman Birog who made him dress up like a woman and flew them both to Eithnu's tower. Birog put Ethniu's servants to sleep and Eithniu and Cian fell in love and she gave birth to Lugh. In some versions of this story, the two of them simply got married as part of a political truce, but this is the exciting version. Balor wasn't pleased, so he ordered Lugh and his two siblings (Eithniu produced triplets, poor girl  affraid ) to be dropped into a whirlpool. This didn't work out well, since Lugh was dropped prematurely. Birog saved him and gave him into fosterage (a common practice back then) to Manannan Mac Lir. (IGTIL) Lugh grew to be a great leader and came to save the Tuatha De Danann from the Fomorians. He was set to a test by King Nuada (IGTIL) and succeeded. Nuada laid down his kingship and Lugh succeeded him. In one battle, he defeated King Bres of the Fomorians (IGTIL) but noticed his father was absent. He let Bres go on the condition that Bres brought back the rest of the Fomorian Army and set out to find his father. He found out then that his father had been brutally stoned to death by the sons of Tuireann, who had a blood feud with Cian. Instead of Lugh outright killing them and causing himself further difficulties, however, he set them to get seven magical items and then shout three times on top of a hill that was guarded by men who were loyal to Cian. They got the items, but Lugh denied them treatment for the wounds they'd received and they died, shortly followed by their father. That's one way to end a feud.  Shocked To put a long story short, Lugh and the Tuatha fought a vicious battle with the Fomorians which ended with Lugh killing Balor. The Tuatha De Danann ruled Ireland for a while, until... the sons of Cermait appeared. Normally, I try not to be biased (I even was able not to mention most of Lugh's awesomeness. For example,he got into Nuada's Court because no one knew all of the skills he knew. And when he heard Nuada had been killed by Balor, he GLOWED. Like a radioactive meteorite charging toward the Fomorians,) but they were idiots. Lugh killed their father because he'd caught his wife cheating on him with the father. They then killed Lugh. When the Milesians (ancestors of the modern day Irish,) came, they weren't able to fight them back. Perhaps if they'd kept the guy who'd mastered at least nine skills, they would have won? Weirdly enough, he's reported siring children several hundred years after his apparent demise, one of them being Cu Chulainn, one of the greatest heroes in Irish Mythology. An entire cycle (think Lord of the Rings length plot arc) was mostly devoted to him beating people up. Lugh even makes a cameo appearance in it wherein he knocks his son out, heals him, and guards him until he wakes up. They then never meet again. Lugh scored 110 points on a Mary Sue calculator, making him "irredeemable."

    Cian- Lugh's father. As mentioned before, there are two versions of the story of how he became Lugh's father: one they made to be "exciting" and seemed to be inspired by Greek Mythology and involved a cow and another, "boring" one that simply had them marry as a political truce.This is the cow story. Cian had a magical cow that Balor desired. Balor, apparently either having some shapeshifting ability or was better at disguising himself than a cartoon, disguised himself as a young boy when one of Cian's brothers was watching said cow. He told the brother that his brothers were planning to swindle him, so he, being the intelligent, cool-headed man that he was, went out to confront his brothers and asked Balor to watch the cow. Sure, ask some random kid to watch the valuable cow that's worth a mint; what can go wrong?  Evil or Very Mad  The result was obvious, with Balor stealing Cian's cow and Cian getting ticked over it (If that were my brother, he would get an earful. Or a Gibbs-Slap.) Nonetheless, Cian was more determined to get his cow back. However, it was said that the cow would only be able to be retrieved from Balor's slimy grasp by Balor's death. Since Cian knew of the prophecy (which begs the question of why Balor would let it get out,) he decided to meet Ethniu for himself. He enlisted the help of Birog, a druidess, to gain access. Birog, apparently having Balor's ability to disguise herself and others, disguised him as a woman so they could go. The plan worked and Cian and Ethniu fell in love at first sight. Cian had to leave soon, though Lugh was born nine months later. Balor (who shall, from now on, be represented by a  cyclops  ,) winning the award for World's Worst Grandparent, ordered Lugh and his two siblings to be thrown off of a pier. Lugh landed in a shallow part, though, and was spared. Birog, who is never mentioned after this, then saves him and gives him to Manannan Mac Lir (Once again, IGTIL) in fosterage.

    Cian doesn't really play much of a role until later on, when he's mentioned in the First Battle of Magh Tuireadh, where he and his brothers were mentioned in the (meticulous) description of those fighting against the Fir Bolg..

    His next major role, however, was when he was killed by the sons of Tuireann. They, for some reason, hated him and the feeling was mutual. One day, when he was recruiting troops for his son's cause, he realized that they were nearby. He turned into a pig and tried to blend in with other pigs. The sons of Tuireann, however, suspected something was up and so gave chase in the form of hunting hounds. They caught him and, turning back into the form of humans, stabbed him with a spear. Cian asked them to spare him, and when they refused, asked them to let him die in his own form, which they allowed. Cian then told them that since he would now die in the form of a human, they would have to pay the blood price for him in his human form as opposed to his pig form (among the Celts, there was no capital punishment as we'd know it, instead the killer would pay the family of the victim.) He also said that any weapons they used to kill him would then speak to Lugh about who killed him. They considered this and then stoned him to alleviate the difficulty. Nonetheless, even the stones told Lugh what happened and the ground was unable to hold the body (which begs the question of why they didn't poison Cian and then cremate him.) As mentioned before, Lugh got revenge and was later able to become King of the Tuatha De Danann. He rescued his mother, who he then married off to some guy named Tadg who was apparently the son of Nuada, but who you never really hear about until that point. She then had a daughter who would become the mother of Finn Mac Cool, one of the greatest heroes in the Irish Epics. He won't be covered here, though.

    Bres- Bres is...complicated. The first mention found of him is in a compilation of the various oral traditions surrounding the First Battle of Moytura. ("Moytura" is anglicized, however it's what I can remember easiest.) In it, he appeared as a nobleman of the Tuatha De Danann sent to negotiate with Sreng, a champion of the Fir Bolg. The two of them went back and forth about how much they liked the other's weapons and then swapped them to show their peoples what they were up against. Both of them advised their peoples not to go to war, however neither really cared. 

    He was next seen making the (presumably) unanimous decision with Nuada and the Dagda to fight the Fir Bolg with equal numbers on both sides so as to be fair. 

    In the battle itself, he was shown to fight well, taking out 150 Fir Bolgs when he got ticked off over his brother getting his arm chopped off. He went against the high king of the Fir Bolg twice, though he died the second time. For some reason, though, he's mentioned becoming king of the Tuatha De Danann. This can't be a different Bres than the one we all know and...don't feel apathy for, because the one stated to have died was said to be Bres Mac Elatha and the one who traditionally became king of the Tuatha was Bres Mac Elatha. Unless Elatha was terribly uncreative when it came to naming his children (which is, admittedly, a possibility,) then it's impossible for the Bresii (Latinized plural for foreign names at its best here,) to be different. Strangely enough, he was said to have died while hunting.  

    For some very, very odd reason, Bres is possibly one of my favorite characters in Celtic Mythology, despite being set up to be an irredeemable sleazebag. Perhaps it's because he has the most counted death for any character (that I know of,) totaling at three, two of which occur in the same story. It almost makes me wonder if the poets enjoyed killing him off. 

    Here's how I imagine it (translated into modern language):

    Poet One: I want to write about death and destruction! Who should I kill off?
    Poet Two: Lugh?
    Poet One: Nah! Too awesome!
    Poet Two: The Dagda?
    Poet One: Nah! We need comic relief! 
    Poet Two: How about Bres?
    Poet One: Yeah, sure! It's not like anyone would miss that jerk! Look how horrible he was to that poor poet!

    Either that, or he was a pre-Whovian Timelord. It seems, though, like Bres changed over time. In some versions, he's a great hero while in others he's a complete coward. I'm not sure which predates the other or even if they're contemporary, albeit in different regions of Ireland. 

    *More to be filled in later*



    Aengus Og-  

    The Dagda-  

    The Morrigan-



    cyclops- The cow stealer himself. I could reiterate the entire story, however I myself feel that that would be pointless. Instead, I'm just going to explain the parts that I've not got to.  cyclops  was one of the kings of the Fomorians (the Ancient Celts had a system where there was one high king, several kings of the provinces, and many petty kings.) His father had these druids who were doing some sort of dark magic and  cyclops , who didn't think that it might be a very bad idea, peered in on them. The smoke from their magic got in his eye, making it an Ancient Irish death ray. As a point of trivia, those druids were never heard from again. All the stuff with Cian, the Cow, and Lugh happened, and then  cyclops  learned that his tax collectors had been killed and that the one who killed them was his not-dead grandson. He sent Bres to kill Lugh, however instead, Bres had to get the entire Fomorian army because he, predictably, was soundly defeated.


    Bodb Dearg-  


    Cethlenn-  cyclops 's wife. Known by the charming epithet "Of the Crooked Teeth." I can only assume that the reason she married Balor was because his eye was closed all of the time so he couldn't see her. That, and the whole "One of the Kings of the Fomorians" business. She was the one who told him that Ethniu's son would be the one to kill him, which is rendered moot in some versions where Ethniu also had the Dagda, Ogma, Dian Cecht, Goibniu, Nuada, and Lir. She's later also the one to identify Lugh based on his ability to kill Fomorians and his appearance. Her last appearance is when she maims the Dagda with a poisoned spear, a wound which he succumbs to 80 years later. I can only presume that it was slow acting.




    Dian Cecht-  


    Cairpre -

    Last edited by Horselover1289 on Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:41 am; edited 1 time in total

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