Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

The Cattle-Raid of Cualnge (Tain Bo Cualnge) : An Old Irish Prose-Epic   By: (1872-)

Book cover

First Page:


E text prepared by Nicole Apostola


An Old Irish Prose Epic

Translated for the first time from Leabhar na h Uidhri and the Yellow Book of Lecan by



Published by David Nutt At the Sign of the Phoenix Long Acre



INTRODUCTION THE CATTLE RAID OF CUALNGE (from Leabhar na h Uidhri) Cuchulainn's Boyish Deeds The Death of Fraech The Death of Orlam The Death of the Meic Garach The Death of the Squirrel The Death of Lethan The Death of Lochu The Harrying of Cualnge (first version) The Harrying of Cualnge (second version) Mac Roth's Embassy The Death of Etarcomol The Death of Nadcrantail The Finding of the Bull The Death of Redg The Meeting of Cuchulainn and Findabair The Combat of Munremar and Curoi The Death of the Boys (first version) The Woman fight of Rochad The Death of the Princes The Death of Cur The Number of the Feats The Death of Ferbaeth The Combat of Larine Mac Nois The Conversation of the Morrigan with Cuchulainn The Death of Long Mac Emonis The Healing of the Morrigan The Coming of Lug Mac Ethlend The Death of the Boys (second version) The Arming of Cuchulainn CONTINUATION (from the Yellow Book of Lecan) The Combat of Fer Diad and Cuchulainn The Long Warning of Sualtaim The Muster of the Ulstermen The Vision of Dubthach The March of the Companies The Muster of the Men of Ireland The Battle on Garach and Irgarach The Meeting of the Bulls The Peace


The Cattle Raid of Cualnge [Note: Pronounce Cooley ] is the chief story belonging to the heroic cycle of Ulster, which had its centre in the deeds of the Ulster king, Conchobar Mac Nessa, and his nephew and chief warrior, Cuchulainn Mac Sualtaim. Tradition places their date at the beginning of the Christian era.

The events leading up to this tale, the most famous of Irish mythical stories, may be shortly summarised here from the Book of Leinster introduction to the Tain , and from the other tales belonging to the Ulster cycle.

It is elsewhere narrated that the Dun Bull of Cualnge, for whose sake Ailill and Medb [Note: Pronounce Maive .], the king and queen of Connaught, undertook this expedition, was one of two bulls in whom two rival swineherds, belonging to the supernatural race known as the people of the Sid , or fairy mounds, were re incarnated, after passing through various other forms. The other bull, Findbennach, the White horned, was in the herd of Medb at Cruachan Ai, the Connaught capital, but left it to join Ailill's herd. This caused Ailill's possessions to exceed Medb's, and to equalise matters she determined to secure the great Dun Bull, who alone equalled the White horned. An embassy to the owner of the Dun Bull failed, and Ailill and Medb therefore began preparations for an invasion of Ulster, in which province (then ruled by Conchobar Mac Nessa) Cualnge was situated. A number of smaller Tana , or cattle raids, prefatory to the great Tain Bo Cuailnge , relate some of their efforts to procure allies and provisions.

Medb chose for the expedition the time when Conchobar and all the warriors of Ulster, except Cuchulainn and Sualtaim, were at their capital, Emain Macha, in a sickness which fell on them periodically, making them powerless for action; another story relates the cause of this sickness, the effect of a curse laid on them by a fairy woman. Ulster was therefore defended only by the seventeen year old Cuchulainn, for Sualtaim's appearance is only spasmodic. Cuchulainn (Culann's Hound) was the son of Dechtire, the king's sister, his father being, in different accounts, either Sualtaim, an Ulster warrior; Lug Mac Ethlend, one of the divine heroes from the Sid , or fairy mound; or Conchobar himself... Continue reading book >>

eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book

Popular Genres
More Genres
Paid Books