Kings & Queens

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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