Folklore Mythology

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By Peter O'Connor

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Extra resources for Beyond the Mist: What Irish Mythology Can Teach Us About Ourselves

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The one aspect of Goibniu that differentiates him a little from the other two is that he supplies the magic ale that is served at otherworld feasts. The partaking of this ale bestowed invulnerability upon the gods, and here there would appear to be a parallel to the Greek blacksmith god Hephaestos, who also served drinks to the gods. Whilst Goibniu does not appear in later stories, his importance can be seen in the fact that his character survives in folklore where he is referred to as Goibhleann and is reputed to own a magical cow whose yield is inexhaustible.

It is to these invasions, the account of which is contained in the Lebor Gabala, or Book of Invasions, that we will now turn. The book places the settlement of Ireland within a quasi-biblical context, since the monastic scribes saw fit to establish some relatives of Noah as the first settlers of Ireland. QXD 2/21/02 12:38 PM B E YO N D Page 22 THE MIST order) Cessair, Partholón, Nemed, the Fir Bolg and the Tuatha Dé Danann. C ESSAIR These invaders represent a clear attempt on the part of the monastic scribes to link the initial settlement of Ireland with the Bible, since the time of the invasion is set just prior to the Great Flood.

Lucian regards him as the Celtic equivalent of the Greek god Hercules, presumably because of his abilities as a champion warrior. There is also a suggestion that, like the Greek Hermes, Ogma may well have been a psychopomp, that is, one who leads souls from one world to the other and travels freely between them. However it is quite possible that Lucian is simply projecting Greek divinities upon this Celtic figure. In some versions of the second battle of Mag Tuired, Ogma is married to the daughter of the physician Diancecht, and among their offspring was Tuireann, whose sons later murdered Lugh’s father.

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