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New Cúchúchulainn Book: Ulster’s Greatest Hero

New Cúchúchulainn Book: Ulster’s Greatest Hero

The stories in this book come from an extensive corpus called the Ulster Cycle. Cúchulainn: Ulster’s Greatest Hero tells the life story of Ulster’s foremost hero. This authentic retelling is based on the modern Ulster Irish language version, Laoch na Laochra, by the same author, and contains both réamhscéalta, the scenesetting stories, and sections from the Táin Bó Cuailgne, the Cattle Raid of Cooley, itself. The story is told in a powerful and flowing style. As early as the seventh century, Christian monks committed this ancient folklore to vellum manuscript for the first time. These scribes were creative with their material, which was originally transmitted orally, and they knew the geographical background in which these epic events unfolded intimately. Like the learned monks the author of Cúchulainn: Ulster’s Greatest Hero, Réamonn Ó Ciaráin, along with the artist, Dara Vallely, have a special affinity with the ancient territory of Ulster. They are both native to the area.


‘It is a tremendous achievement on the part of Réamonn and Dara. The book is beautifully produced. It captures the spirit of the original Irish. It is terse and pithy on the one hand and expansive enough elsewhere to portray the full grandure of these epics.’

(Professor Séamus Mac Mathúna speaking a book launch)


Cúchulainn is a potent symbol of bravery, loyalty, martial prowess, beauty and wisdom. The spirit of Cúchulainn has inspired revolutionaries, artists, sports men and women and Irish leaders for at least a millennium. Although male characters are to the fore in these heroic stories, there are also powerful and influential women: Queen Méabh of Connaught, Scáthach and Aoife from Scotland and, of course, Eimhear, Cúchulainn’s great love. The paintings of Dara Vallely instil a new vitality and depth to these ancient stories. The imagery is original, bold, vibrant and even tribal. The paintings will undoubtedly capture the reader’s imagination and represent a unique window on the heroic era of Iron Age Ireland. Cúchulainn: Ulster’s Greatest Hero portrays Cúchulainn not only as the finest warrior from the elite Red Branch heroes in Ulster but also as the foremost champion in all Ireland. Cúchulainn’s stories have secured a primary place in the mythology of Ireland and have travelled throughout the globe. This book will certainly generate a fresh interest in the events that guaranteed Cúchulainn’s lasting pre-eminence as Ulster’s greatest hero.


RÉAMONN Ó CIARÁIN has spent more than twenty years working with Gael Linn in the promotion of the Irish language and is author of Laoch na Laochra: Scéal Chúchulainn. Réamonn was born in Crossmaglen and now lives in Milford near Navan Fort. After leaving the Abbey Grammar School in Newry, he took a degree in education with Celtic studies at St Mary’s University College, Belfast. Following this, he successfully completed postgraduate studies at Queen’s University Belfast and later at the University of Ulster, Jordanstown. Réamonn is involved in the monthly production of An tUltach, Ireland’s oldest literary magazine. He has held the position of Public Relations Officer and Irish Language Officer with Armagh County Board of the GAA and was a member of the GAA’s national committee for the Irish language. Réamonn is an active member of Cairde Teo and Aonach Mhacha, Irish language social enterprises based in Armagh City.


DARA VALLELY is a musician and an exceptional artist. He was born in Armagh City and lives there today. He has worked with various educational, artistic, musical, historical and cultural organisations over the past forty years. He is Artistic Director with The Armagh Rhymers. Over the years, Dara’s art has frequently explored the world of Irish Mythology. He has held exhibitions in The Ulster Museum, Belfast, The Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, and in Chicago, Dallas, Milwaukee and New York in the United States. His work can be seen in public and private collections in Ireland and in many other collections throughout the world.

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