Gemma Grant continues her series on Irish Myths & Legends


Never before in the history of the Dé Danann, had such demands been made of any warrior, than those demanded of the Sons of Tureen, by Lugh of the Long Arm.
Ireland was teetering on the brink of war. The Fomorians, under the leadership of Balor of the Poison Eye, were planning a full scale invasion from their base on Tory Island. To counter the attack, the Tuatha Dé Danann travelled from various parts of Ireland to assemble in the Great Hall of Tara.

On route, the three Sons of Tureen, Brian and his younger twin brothers, Urchar and Iuchar, encounter a fellow Dé Danann. A sworn enemy. Cian, father of Lugh of the Long Arm, a man of status and power hesitated on seeing the three young warriors. On his own, he had no chance against the brothers, so he turned himself into a boar and hid among a herd of swine.

Brian, saw through Cian’s disguise. Drawing his spear, he plunged it into the chest of the boar. Cian let out a yell. “You can not kill me in the form of an animal. I am of the Dé Danann and I must be allowed to die as a man.” Brian agreed and Cian resumed human form.

A smile of cunning spread across the face of the older warrior. “In my human form, your weapons can not kill me. As a lord of the Dé Danann my body will cry out for vengeance.”
“He is right,” Urchar said. “Our weapons will seal our fate.” “Maybe so,” Brian replied, firing a stone with such accuracy that it penetrated the skull of Cian, killing him dead. “A stone,” Brian informed his brothers, “is not made from steel.”

The impetuous youth, satisfied that a family feud had been righted, buried the body of Cian, and made their way to the High King’s court at Tara. The assembled warriors were feasting and planning battle. Lugh of the Long Arm, son of Cian, sat near the head of the table scanning the great hall for his father. His uncles, Cu and Ceithne, also felt a foreboding that something was amiss.

Lugh, a great warrior, was skilled in the arcane arts. Casting a spell over a large goblet of water, a sea of blood rose up in the goblet. “Harm has befallen my father,” Lugh’s voice boomed around the chamber. “A foul deed has been committed this day by one assembled here.”

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own