When we were given this brief to make a multimedia animation for a museum installation i was really happy and excited about the theme we were given ..The Celts!
To be fair i can understand why this may not be as exciting a subject for other class members but i have always had a huge fascination and love for whats come before us, especially the celts. This is where our heritage comes from, our stories and legends, weather they themselves would have considered or called themselves "celts" is another thing, since the name "celt" was first mentioned by Greek Historian Herodotus in 500bc. These celts at the time were living in Heungeburg, Germany. This was the first known Celtic settlement. The greeks at the time were doing a rawing trade with these Savages and Barbarians as they described them, exporting crops and iron in exchange for luxury items like textiles and of course copious amounts of wine!The Celts from there expanded their own territory all over Europe and as far away as Turkey.
The Irish celts living on these shores are surround with myth and legend and have remained that way for longer then the celts survived in many other countries in mainland Europe, with the invasion of Julius Caesar and his Roman army, who wiped out most of the celtic tribes living there, only leaving those on the fringes of the Atlantic remained. Since the Romans never got to invade the Scottish highlands, who's savage "pick" celts were never defeated on their own soil the roman's built a wall (adrian's wall) to keep the savages out of their expanding empire. They also spared the shores of this tiny island and they never tried invaded Ireland.
when we were given our topics to research, such as Celtic Gods, goddesses, hero's and monsters i was happy to try and discover maybe some lesser known legends of hero's from the Celtic world.
The first hero i wanted to introduce as part of this museum installation, is not one of our own Irish celts, but a French.His name is VERCINGETORIX (82BC-52BC) and was the leader of the Arvemi Tribe. The reason for choosing someone from a different Celtic background was because this hero was one of the last Celts in mainland Europe to try and defend themselves from the invading Roman's. This was a decisive battle in the creation of the roman empire. Vercingetorix made and alliance with the tribes from the Gaul region in France and then began the battle of Gergovia were 46 Centurions and 700 Legionnaires died and over 6,000 injured. Then in the battle of Alesia, Vercingetorix was besieged and captured. He was taken back to Rome, where he was paraded around the city before being held captive for 5 years before being executed.
Napoleon III erected a 7 meter tall statue of him on the site of Alesia in 1865.
CU CHULAINN is another legendary hero of the Celtic world. Having grown up in Dundalk and lived all my childhood about 10 minutes walk away from his castle and standing stone so he has become someone i grew up hearing about and having an interest in. His legends are one's i am familiar with and would enjoy writing about.
i thought it would be interesting for people to learn about hero's from not only our own country but of Celts from other parts of Europe who had an influence and a part to play in the ancient Celtic world.
AINE OF KNOCKAINE (FAIRY QUEEN)she is the goddess related to the moon, love and fertility.
she was apparently the goddess of fertility but was demoted to a mear fay with the introduction of Christianity. Her fairy fort Cnoc Aine (aine's hill) is located three miles south of Lough Gur, its known as Knock Aine. Upon the hilltop ancient sacrifices and rites were preformed. Born the daughter of King Egobagal, one of the ancient Tuatha de Dannan order, when she was taken by the fay. She was still part human but she had a magical ring that could challenge any fairies.
(Encyclopedia of Fairies in World Folklore and Mythology [ebook] )
AIRMIDGoddess of herbal lore , reincarnation and witchcraft. The daughter of renowned Physician Dian Cecht who was also a member of the ancient Tuatha de Dannan order, she assisted her father in protecting his healing spring.
Lore states after the death of her brother, she would mourn at his graveside so deeply that all the herbs inthe universe grew upon it and told her of their secrets.
(Encyclopedia of Fairies in World Folklore and Mythology [ebook] )
Known as " The Father figure" or also known as "The Good God". He was the god of abundance and fecundity, for the protection of warriors, knowledge,fire and music.He owned a magic cauldron that would never go empty and a mallet so huge it had to be carried in a cart.
(THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CELTIC MYTHOLOGY AND FOLKLORE By Patricia Monaghan )
ANGUS MACOGIs the God of love, youth and beauty, patron deity of the young people and also shape-shifter! He was the son of The Dagda (Tuatha de Danann) and river goddess, Boann.His tale is of Magic, Music and Romance. It is told that he played a golden harp which was enchanted and all who listened fell under his spell. Its is told he slept through winter and arose in the spring dawn. He also had a more sinester side after he encased his brothers wife Etain in a glass case and kept her with him all the time.
(Encyclopedia of Ancient DeitiesEDITED BY CHARLES RUSSELL COULTER, PATRICIA TURNER )
DEARG DUE - translated as "red blood sucker". She is a celtic myth about a female Vampire.
The legend tells that she was so beautiful that men would come from all over the land to look upon her. Her heart was given to a peasant boy much to the dismay of her father, who arranged for her to be married to someone more suitable. She would never forgive him and took her own life, only to return to this earth to seek out her father and husband and drain them of all their blood. Legend says she returns to this earth once a year to lure a young boy and drain him of his blood. Tradition says if you place rocks over her grave by Strongbow tree in Waterford, she will be unable to return from the earth and remain buried undead for ever.
i thought this was an interesting monster to choose as Vampires have risen in popularity over the last couple of years, so this might appeal to a wider audience who maybe unaware of our own Vampire legends.
BANSHEE"The Wailing ghost" is a legend we have all grown up with and is a big part of ancient culture.There are several versions of the Banshee legend that say the feared ghost would rode alongside the Dullahan in a black cart drawn by six black horses. The pair is said to whip the horses with a human spinal cord. If you hear her wailing outside your house it foretells a death in the house.
WOMEN OF CELTIC MYTHOLOGY
QUEEN MEdb - is Queen of Connacht, She ruled from her home in Roscommon. she was renowned for taking lovers and had several husbands, including the King of Ulster, Conchobar Mac Nessa, with whom she started the Cattle raid of cooley when she tried to steal his prized bull. She fought against Cu Chulainn in the battle raid of cooley, where she was forced to retreat.She was killed by Furbaide after he sought revenge for the death of his mother,she used a sling shot and killed Queen medb with a piece of cheese while she bath in Lough ree. she is buried in a 40 feet high stone cairn, where she is supposedly buried standing up so she can face her enemies. She has been used as an image of strong female sexuality and power and i think an interesting character for people to learn about.
SC THACH - She is a legendary scottish warrior women who trains the legendary Cu Chulainn to fight in combat.CChulainn and his friend ferdiad travel to D n Sc ith, where Sc thach teaches them use of arms, and gives CChulainn her deadly spear, the Gae Bulg. When her rival, the warrior woman Aife, threatens her territory, CChulainn defeats her in battle and forces her to make peace.
she is another strong female character, showing strength and power. Although she comes from Scotland she has a strong affiliation to the Ulster cycle of Irish Celtic mythology. I tried to pick characters and monsters that people would find interesting and would want to learn about in further detail. I also tried to keep characters that are from the same clan or cycle in history so they are linked and people can begin to see the full story by learning about important key characters.