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Irish Mythology: ULSTER CYCLE

Irish mythology is made up of four cycles.  These cycles consist of Irish sagas and legends, and outlook than the Ulster cycle is one.  All these events took place in what is now known as Ulster.  These include the areas of Down Armagh and Louth.  They tell a story of an Irish king Conchobar Macnessa who rules over the Ulaid, who all those in conflict with the people are living in Connacht. 

A Queen Medb, who is aided and abetted in fighting with the Ulaid by her husband and another deposed king of the Ulaid who is known as Fergus Macroich, rules these people.  The hero of many of these stories is the young nephew of the King named Cuchulainn.  One of the most popular stories in the Ulster cycle is the raid of Cooley, when Queen Medb invaded the peninsula of Cooley to steal away the prize bull of the Ulaid.

 The 17-year-old Cuchulainn is the only person standing between her and the bull.  These stories are mostly about the characters, their lives, and the conflicts between them. Cuchulainn has an ancestry, which is half-divine, and that is why he has supernatural powers.  He also has the tendency to going into a Berserker when he is angry and does not recognize friend and foe at that time.  One could almost see the Viking touch in this particular behaviour. 

These stories talk about an Ireland, which is made of a large number of kingdoms.  Your prosperity and wealth is measured by the number of cattle that you have.  There are a number of high Kings, who rule the land.  Some people believe that these stories are based upon real historical events, while others believe that they are just myths.