Legendary hero warrior of Irish romance, son of the solar
god Lugh and Dectera. His name means ‘‘Hound of Cullan,’’
and his mighty deeds dominate Ulster lore. In order to marry
Emer, daughter of Forgall, he was obliged to pass through the
ordeals of the Land of Shadow and the warrior goddess Skatha,
cross the Bridge of Leaps, learn the arts of war, and slay 100
men. Cuchulain also featured in the great Cattle Raid of Quelgny,
described in the Book of Leinster of Finn MacGorman, bishop
of Kildare, recorded in 1150.
In the twelfth century Book of the Dun Cow, Cuchulain is summoned
from hell by St. Patrick to describe the terrors of hell
to the pagan king of Ireland Laery MacNeill. As a result, the
King was converted to Christianity and Cuchulain allowed to
enter heaven. The deeds of Cuchulain as related in the Ulster
Cycle of the Knights of the Red Branch are thought to have influenced
the development of traditions of King Arthur in Wales
and England.

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