About the Book
The Boys' Cuchulain: Heroic Legends of Ireland is a perfect introduction for those wishing to gain a knowledge and understanding of the legends around the Irish mythological hero Cuchulain, the ‘ancient defender of Ireland’ and that nation’s greatest warrior, as contained in the myths of the Ulster Cycle. The son of the god Lugh and Deichtine (sister of the equally legendary Irish king Conchobar mac Nessa), Cuchulain gained his name as a child after he killed the blacksmith Culann's fierce guard-dog in self-defence and offered to take its place until a replacement could be reared. For this he was renamed Cú Chulainn — "Culann's hound." The tale then follows the rest of Cuchulain’s life, telling of his great deeds such as the time when as a youngster he single-handedly defended Ulster against the armies of Queen Meave of Connacht, of how he was sent on a training mission to Alba (Scotland), his deadly Gáe Bolga, also known as the “Bellows Spear”, the fairy swan maidens, and of his great tragedies such as the time he slew his own son, Conla. The Ulster Cycle is a series of tales revolving around the heroes of the kingdom of Ulster in the early first century AD, and one of them, the Táin Bó Cúailnge (Cattle Raid of Cooley) is the oldest vernacular tale in western Europe. Woven into these magical stories are hints at real persons and events, so that the legend of Cuchulain came to be a major part of Irish folklore and history. Although originally geared at younger readers, the text is eminently readable by adults as well, and is possibly one of the best overviews of this wonderful tale.