Dundalk is situated in one of the most historical parts of Ireland with Louth known as the ‘land of legends’. Rich in heritage, many of the famous Irish legends and epics were based in the wonderful landscape here.
Ancestors from years gone by, including Saint Patrick, Fionn MacCumhaill, the mythical Cúchulainn, the Vikings, the Normans and Cromwell have left indelible marks on the local landscape. Medieval castles and ruined monasteries, high crosses, dolmens and cairns, are aplenty ensuring the past lives on to allow us to relive Louth’s turbulent and glorious history.
With many historic sites and visitor attractions located in Dundalk, the town also serves as a great base to explore all of Louth’s folklore, legends and history with all attractions within easy reach from the town.
The story of the Táin is about Queen Maeve of Connaught’s jealousy on hearing that a chieftan in Cooley had a more superior bull than the one her husband had. Maeve planned to steal the bull and set off from Connaught. The Táin follows the path of this raid and the various battles where she fought with Cú Chulainn and the warriors of Ulster who were defending the Brown Bull of Cooley.
The Battle of Cú Chulainn and Ferdia
As young men, Cú Chulainn and Ferdia were great friends, training and fighting together in the great army of Ulster. However, Ferdia came under a geás (spell) of Queen Maeve who ordered him to go into battle on her behalf to avenge any wrongs done against the Kingdom of Connaught and to fight against his good friend Cú Chulainn. After several days of battle at the town of Ardee, just outside Dundalk, Cú Chulainn finally slew his great friend in the waters of the River Dee, where the waters ran red with the blood and tears of the two great friends.
The Death of Cú Chulainn
Cú Chulainn was a great soldier and amassed many enemies however it was the children of a soldier whom he had killed at the Táin who eventually killed the great warrior. Aided by Queen Maeve, these children were sent to Egypt to learn sorcery and the dark arts and used this black magic to weaken the great Cú Chulainn. He was killed by a deadly spear cast by his enemy but, proud in the face of death, Cú Chulainn dragged himself to a standing stone outside the village of Knockbridge, 8 km from Dundalk. Here, he bound himself upright to the stone where he died like a warrior, on his feet, facing the sun.
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