Stories, Myths & Legends 

The Naming of Mag Mucraime

A herd of magical swine came to Ailill and Medb out of the Cave of Cruachu, and they used to blight corn and milk wheresoever they were, nor could the men of Erin in any place count on them or look them over.  So to set their hunt afoot Ailill and Medb came to Fraechmag 'Heatherfield', and chased the swine as far as Belach na Fert 'The Pass of the Graves',  and there Medb caught one of them by the leg; but it left its skin in her hand, and thereupon they were counted in that plain.  Whence Mag Muc-ríme 'Plain of Pig numbering.

Mag Mucraime is a plain west of Athenry in County Galway.  There are many Celtic stories about magical pigs from the world of the Sidhe who run riot in the mortal realm causing havoc and destruction, although sometimes the story is more benign and they bring an end to hunger.  Pig-keeping was the lowest occupation to the Celts and stories about pigs usually relate to earlier races than the Celts such as the Tuatha Dé Danann

Note: The early hunter-gatherers relied heavily on wild pig during the winter months, whereas the later Iron Age Celts were farmers and could lay by stores of grain.


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