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The Legend of Cu Chulainn Part 2

(cont.) The wise Morann speaks up and decides that more than one noble will play a role in the fostering of the child , Conchobar being one of them. In this article, you will learn the well-rounded influences Chulainn received as a young boy, as well as information regarding his childhood and training.

Sencha mac Ailella would teach the boy the gifts of eloquent speech and judgment, while Blai Briugu (a rather wealthy man) would give the boy protection and provide for him. Fergus mac Roich (known as a noble warrior, would also care for the boy, as well as teach him on how to protect the weak. The boy would be brought up in the house of Amergin, where the man of the house (a poet) was responsible for giving the boy his education. His wife, Findchoem, was responsible for nursing the boy. His new home was to be on Muirthemne Plain, which was at the time, a part of Ulster. Their son Conall Cernach would provide the boy with a foster sibling.

Later in life, Conall Cernach swears that if Chulainn dies before him, he would take revenge on the offender before sunset. When Chulainn loses his life, it is Lugaid that Conall goes after. In previous combat, Lugaid lost one hand so when Conall fights him; he places one of his own hands into his belt. If it weren’t for his horse taking a bite out of Lugaid’s side, Conall probably would have not defeated the man that took the life of his foster brother.

His Childhood

As a child, Setanta earned his more recognizable name of Chulainn after slaying the Culann’s intimidating guard-dog , an act that was in self-defense. He even offered to take the place of the dog until a suitable replacement was available. When he turned 17 years old, he defended Ulster on his own, fighting against armies belonging to queen Medb of Connacht. This tale was told in the epic Tain Bo Cuailnge (which translates in ‘Cattle Raid of Cooley’).

A prophecy associated with Chulainn was that his good deeds would lead to a legacy of lasting fame, but unfortunately, it was predicted that he would live a short life. This is why in many literary circles, Chulainn is compared to Achilles , a well known Greek mythological hero.

Training  

The youthful Chulainn possessed a striking appearance that frightened the Ulstermen. They feared that without a wife to call his own, he would probably steal their wives and ‘ruin’ their daughters. To appease their fears, they spent their time searching all over Ireland for a suitable wife for Chulainn.

He is not interested in any other woman that is found for him, as he only has eyes for Emer , the daughter of Forgall Monarch. Unfortunately, Forgall is not in agreement with the affection Chulainn expresses for his offspring. He instead suggests that Chulainn begin training in arms with a well-known female warrior who lives in Scotland (known as the land of Alba at the time). Forgall hopes that the young man will ultimately die in the process. He also offers his daughter to Lugaid mac Nois, a king of Munster, but when he hears that the woman is in love with Chulainn, he does not take her hand in marriage.

Obtaining the Love of his Life

After learning all there was concerning the art of war, Chulainn finally gets a chance to return to his love interest, but Forgall still denies his permission for a marriage with his daughter to take place. Breaching his fortress, Chulainn storms Forgall’s property and kills 24 of his men. He abducts Emer and then steals Forgall’s treasure in the process. Falling from the ramparts, Forgall plummets to his death.