The Cattle Raid of Cooley

It is said that a years protection is given on those to whom it is recited;

That Those who hear The Tain shall be blessed with health;

And that those who do not sleep or converse during the telling, shall obtain their hearts desire.


Cúchulainn is most celebrated in his pivotal role in the epic Táin Bó Cuailnge, the cattle raid of Cooley.  The Cattle-Raid of Cooley (in Irish Táin Bó Cuailnge, pronounced – Tawn Bow Coole-in-ya) written more than 1,200 years ago, is Ireland’s greatest legend and one of Europe’s oldest epics.

 

In this saga Queen Maeve of Connacht and her husband Ailill decide one night to compare their possessions.  After much discussion, it becomes evident that Ailill owns a great white bull, Finnbennach, of which Maeve has no equal.  There is only one bull in Ireland of equal to Finbennach, the great brown bull of Cooley, Cooley is a peninsula in modern day Co. Louth.
Maeve decides she must have the Brown Bull and so begins the story of the Tain, Maeve and her armies set off from the Royal Palace at Rathcroghan, Co. Roscommon in pursuit of the Brown Bull.  The only thing that stands in her way is Cuchulainn, the greatest of all Celtic heroes, who defends the Brown Bull and the lands of Ulster, as his fellow warriors lie asleep under a spell.
Maeve lines up a formidable army against Ulster and invokes a magic spell against the Ulstermen. Since Cúchulainn is not a born Ulsterman he is unaffected by the spell, and is the only warrior able to defend the land.  Single-handedly our hero takes on Maeve’s army. Cute and cunning Maeve uses her wiles to make another great  warrior, Ferdia, jealous of Cú Chulainn.  Against his better judgement Ferdia is lured into facing his friend and foster brother Cúchulainn.

 

For days they battle it out and by night they assist and nurse each other. They pledge always to be brothers but eventually Cú Chulainn kills Ferdia.  Maeve gets her bull but it is a short lived victory for she loses him soon after.  Sadly Cúchulainn dies of his battle wounds.


The Burren, The Fertile Rock


Cavan Town


Mulranny & The Great Western Greenway


Loop Head Peninsula


Sheep's Head Peninsula


Carlingford & The Cooley Peninsula


Clonakilty District, West Cork