Immrama

Voyages from I to Thou.

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Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Friday, February 04, 2005

Harm and Boon

Mugain, the Munster queen, seems to be the same person as Mor of Munster. The story goes that the Kings of Ireland were seeking Mor. Her "house" is pointed out at the western extremity of Corco Duibne (off the southwest coast of Ireland), and when the sun is shining on it is said that "Mor is on her throne." Fintan changes his form, and the Old Woman of Beare renews her youth, time and time again.

A similar metamorphosis appears in a Fenian story in which Finn's destiny is revealed by a visitant from the Other World. This stranger is Cronanach -- his name is suggestive -- from Sid ar Femuin, the sid of Munster, and he appeared, an enormous, black, misshapen churl, upon Finn's hunting-mound. He brought out two pipes and played "so that wounded men and women in travail would have fallen asleep at the exquisite music which he made." Later, "As the light of day came there came upon the churl a beautiful form and shapeliness and radiance so that there was a delightful beauty upon him ... and he had the demeanor of a high-king, and there was the charm of a youth in his figure.

-- Rees and Rees, Celtic Heritage

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December 13, 2005 at 11:47:00 PM PST  

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