Stories, Myths and Legends

Cúchulainn and Emer

Because of Cúchulainn's divine birth, he developed much faster than other boys his age and it was not long before he had the appearance of a young man and attracted the attentions of many young women.  The other warriors became jealous and demanded that his youthful ardour be tamed by his taking of a wife.  Cúchulainn was not easy to please in the choice of a bride he wanted the most beautiful, most talented woman in all of Ireland.  He claimed that Emer the daughter of Forgal the Wily lord of Lusk was the woman that he wanted.  When he went to woo Emer however she mocked him claiming he was but a boy without beard or deeds to his name.  Cúchulainn promised to prove himself in battle and warrior deeds, so Emer said she would consider marrying him if he went and got the proper warrior training.

So Cúchulainn went to train with the warrior woman Scathach on the Isle of Skye.  He learnt many skills and gained much experience there.  He conquered the Warrior Queen Aoife and her army and claimed the gae bulga as his prize from her.  He also fathered a son on her.

When Cúchulainn returned to Ireland after his years of training, he attacked the stronghold of Forgal the Wily, (Emer's father) with his scythed chariot.  The fortress had triple walls so it was a great challenge to any attackers.  Cúchulainn slew all the defenders of the stronghold and finally killed Forgal, then he captured Emer and rode off with her to Emain Macha with the remaining  warriors giving chase, Cúchulainn killing them whenever they drew too close.  They arrived in Emain Macha and were treated with great respect, and were married according to the custom of the time.

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