Irish Mythology: HISTORICAL CYCLE
Irish mythology is made up of four cycles. After the Ulster cycle and the Fennian cycle comes the Historical Cycle. The historical cycle is known as the cycle of the kings, and talks about the stories and histories of Irish kings. It is not as mystical, romantic, heroic and magical as the mythological, Ulster and Fennian cycles, but it is more of a chronicle of the histories for old Irish kings.
Historians consider these stories as part of early and middle Irish literature. These stories tell the tale of Cormac mac Airt, and his ancestors and descendants. Apart from these stories, the historical cycle tells the story of other real Irish kings who are semi-legend. The legend of Niall is the first legendary yet historical story of Ireland, because this king existed.
The time period starts from about 200 AD to 465 AD. This is where the introduction of Christianity came in, in a transition from native pagan Celtic beliefs to the feeling of Christianity. Gods do not come into the equation any more now, as they interfered during the mythological, Ulster and Fennian sagas. This is a story of a king, who was the employer of Fionn mac Cumhaill of the Fennian sagas.
His name is Cormac mac Airt. Apart from the attention paid to him, the historical cycle is also filled with the births, deaths, murder, marriages, and the life stories of all the figure is, who are now part of legend. Cormac mac Airt can be compared to King Arthur, who happens to be a legendary figure in him and whose story was romanticised by Mallory.