The Children of Lir
Once upon a time there was four children, Fionnuala, Aodh, Fiachra and Conn. They lived with their mother and father whose name was Lir. Sadly their mother died and eventually their father married a women called Eva. Eva was a wicked women who didn't like the children at all. One day she took the children for a spin in her chariot down to Lough Derravaragh. When they were swimming Eva cast a spell and turned them into swans.
Eva said "you will spend three hundred years on each of these places, Lough Derravaragh, Sea of Moyle and the Western Sea. And when you hear the sound of a Christian bell you will be people again."
Eventually their father came looking for them and Fionnuala told him what Eva had done. Lir turned Eva into a demon of the air because of what she had done.
The children spent all the years in all the places they were supposed to.
One morning while they were on the western sea the noise of a mass bell woke them up. St. Patrick had brought the Christian faith to Ireland. The children went up to a holy man and he blessed them and they turned into feeble old people. Then the holy man baptised them. Not long after they died but they were all buried together.
They did not have a very nice life.
The children of Lir.
Long, long ago there was a man who had four children. Their names were Fionnuala, Aodh, Fiachra and Conn. Then he married a woman called Eva. Lir loved the children very much and Eva was jealous of them. She turned them into four beautiful white swans.
Eva said, " you will spend three hundred years on Lough Derravaragh , three hundred years on the Sea of Moyle and three hundred years on the Western Sea". Then she said "when you hear the sound of a Christian bell in Ireland you will become people again". Eva went home and left the swans alone on the lake.
When the father heard about it he was furious. He changed
her into a demon of the air. The swans spent nine hundred long years on
the different seas. One morning they heard the Mass-bells.
St.Patrick had brought the Christian faith to Ireland. Suddenly they were people again. The next day they died. They had a hard life and a happy death.
Oisín in Tír na nÓg.
One morning Fionn and the Fianna were out hunting. With them was Fionn's son Oisín. Out of the mist came Niamh, daughter of the king of Tír na nÓg.
Tír na nÓg is a special place where people
never grow old. Oisín went with her to Tír na nÓg
and they got married there. He was very happy there. He was there for
He wanted to see Ireland and his father. Niamh told him
to go but not to stand on land or he would never see Tír na nÓg
again. When he got home everybody he knew was dead and he wanted to return
to Tír na nÓg.
On the way home he saw two men trying to lift a heavy
rock. He went to help them but the straps of the saddle broke and he fell
on the ground. When he touched the ground he turned into an old man.
The men brought him to a holy man. Before he died he told him about Fionn and the Fianna and about Tír na nÓg where nobody grows old.
Maeve and Ailill
One morning Maeve and Ailill were walking hand in hand in their garden. Then Ailill said "isn't it wonderful to be married to the richest man in all of Ireland". "What do you mean", cried Maeve."Everybody knows I am the richest in the land". After a while they decided to bring all their riches to the garden to count them and see who was the richest.
First they counted their flocks and their herds but they found that they were equal. Then they counted their sheep and among Maeve's sheep was a famous ram but Ailill was able to show one that compared well with him.
Maeve had a prize boar but Ailill had another. Then when they were counting their cattle Ailill had a white bull but Maeve had no bull to match it.
She sent for Mac Roth, her servant to look for a bull to match Ailell's. Mac Roth said " I know of such a bull, he lives in Ulster. He is the Brown Bull of Cooley". "Who owns him?", cried Maeve. "Daire Mac Fiachniu owns him", replied Mac Roth. "What are you waiting for?",Maeve said to Mac Roth. "Tell Daire I will give him many riches if he will lend me his bull".So Mac Roth was sent off with eight other servants carrying riches to give to Daire. When he got there Daire agreed to part with his bull until later that night when he heard Maeve's men boasting that they would take the bull even if Daire hadn't agreed to it. Daire hid his bull and that was the beginning of the battle.
The Brown Bull of Cooley.
Maeve and Ailill were rulers of Connaught. They wanted
to see who was the richest. Ailill had a white bull. Maeve did not. The
only other bull was the Brown Bull of Cooley. She wanted it.
She took her army to Ulster to capture it. The army
in Ulster were under a spell. Only Cúchulainn was not. He made
a bargain. He would fight a champion every day. He killed them all. Maeve
only had one who would match him. It was Ferdia. He did not want to fight
Cúchulainn because he was his friend. But they had to fight.
They threw spears across the river. At the end of the
day they crossed the river and put their arms around each other. Then
they shared food. They fought for four days and they both died.
Maeve got the bull and bought it home. It killed Ailill's bull and then ran into a mountain and killed himself.
THE SALMON OF KNOWLEDGE
Long ago there lived some warriors called the Fianna. Their leader was Fionn Mac Cumhaill. Fionn went to visit Finneigeas when he was young. Finneigeas was an old poet and lived near the River Boyne.
There was a famous salmon at that time in the River Boyne.
This fish was huge and its skin shone like silver. The first person to
taste the flesh of this fish would have great power. Many people tried
to cath it but they all failed. Finneigeas wanted to catch it too. He
wanted to be the first to receive its great power.
One day he did catch it. He asked Fionn to cook it while
he went out to get more firewood . He warned Fionn not to taste the fish.
Fionn cooked the fish and noticed a blister rising on the side of the
fish. He pressed his thumb on the blister and he burned himself. Fionn
quickly put his thumb into his mouth.
Finneigeas had just come back and Fionn told him what
had happened. Fionn had received great powers. Then Fionn went on to become
leader of the Fianna.
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