Celtic King


Ailill of Connaught

1st Century B.C.



Name: Ailill Mac Ross


Province:  Connaught


Father:  Ross the Red / Ruad


Mother:  Mata of Muresc


Matrilineal Grandparent:  Mago


Brothers:    Find  Cairpre Nia Fer


Wife:  Medb


Sons: Orlám,  and Twelve sons called Maine:

Maine Mathremail - like his mother

Maine Athremail - like his father

Maine Mo Epert - the talker

Maine Milscothach - the honey worded

Maine Andoe - the quick

Maine Mingor - the gently dutiful

Maine Morgor - the very dutiful


Daughters: Findabair, Faife


Associated Sites:  Cruachain


Associated Deities: Aengus Mac Óg

Ailill is probably better known as the husband of Queen Medb than as much of a personality in his own right. 

His father was Ross the Red, his brothers were Find, King of Leinster and Cairpre Nia Fer, King of Tara. He gave his reason for marrying Medb as the fact that because his two brothers had these kingdoms being older than him he came to Connaught as successor of his mother Mata of Muresc, daughter of Mago thus he was willing to use the matrilineal line when it suited him.

The story of the Táin Bó Cuailnge (The Cattle Raid of Cooley) started because of a dispute between Ailill and Medb over which of them had the most property.  It was important to Medb that there was complete equality between herself and Ailill and that none should have precedence over the other.  In Irish Law (Senchas Mór) at that time whoever had the most possessions in a marriage was its head partner and the other must acquiesce to the wishes of this partner.  

It was discovered that Ailill had a magical white-horned bull called Findbennach in his herd which made his herd superior to that of Medb.  Thus he would have been the chief partner in marriage.  Medb could not allow this to happen and set out to capture the twin of the White Bull which was called the Brown Bull and was staying in a place called Cualgne (pronounced Cooley) in Armagh in the province of Ulaid (modern day Ulster) and was under the care of Daire Mac Fiachna.

Stories, Myths and Legends associated with Ailill Mac Ross:

The Birth of the Bulls


The Death of the Bulls


The Naming of Mag Mucraime


The Cattle Raid of Cooley


The Feast of Bricriu


The Pillow talk of Medb and Ailill


The Combat of Ferdiad and Cúchulainn (full version)


Aengus Óg and Caer Ibormeith


The Awakening of Ulster




Cúchulainn slays Finnabair


The Fair of Tailtiu


The Boyhood Deeds of Cuchulain


Bricriu's Feast and the War of Words


The Fir Bolg


Scél Muicce Mac Dathó


The Story of Mac Dathó's Pig


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