Cormac mac Airt mac Conn Céad Cathach

High King of Ireland ca. 227-266, ruled 257-266 AD, son of King Art, grandson of Conn of the Hundred Battles, king of Connacht. Though an authentic historical figure, like his British counterpart King Arthur, there is much about Cormac which is purely legendary.

What is historical is this:

  • That he brought the glory back to Tara Hill in Meath, re-fortifying the hill into the captial of Ireland
  • That he helped codify Brehon Law
  • That his royal armed force was called the Fianna.

Meanwhile, there are many legends surrounding Cormac:

  • That at birth he was stolen and raised by wolves (similar to the Romulus and Remus myth)
  • That he went to the Land of Promise, ruled by Manannan mac Lir, and there recieved a magic cup of truth (the story is a precursor to the Grail legend)
  • That he was recognized as the true king by stepping on the Lia Fail (Stone of Destiny) {Goes back to ancient Irish myths about the Tuatha de Dananns}
  • That he was recognized as the true king by making a correct judgement, whereas the false king made an incorrect judgement, causing the collapse of his house
  • That he put Finn mac Cumhail in charge of the Fianna
  • That he was the father of Grainne, who was to marry Finn mac Cumhail, but instead ran off with Diarmud
  • That he lost his throne when he lost an eye in battle (reminicent of Nuada's lost of his throne when he lost an arm in battle; this is related to the story of the Fisher King)
  • That he was the first Christian king of Ireland

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