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Cu Chulainn was a mythical Irish warrior and champion of Ulster, also referred to as Cúchulainn, Cuchullain and Setanta.
The great Irish hero Cu Chulainn is to Irish Mythology, what Achilles is to Greek Mythology. Both brave warriors were undefeatable in battle and both were demi-gods. Cu Chulainn was the most prominent of Hero of Ulster and his story is told largely in within the Ulster Cycle of Irish Mythology.
The legend of Cu Chulainn tells how he was the son of the God Lugh and was born at Newgrange, Ireland's most prominent Neolithic monument. The most famous of Cu Chulainn's legends is the Cattle Raid of Cooley as told in the Tain. In this tale Cu Chulainn, single-handed fought the armies of Queen Mebh of Connacht. After the army of Ulster had been put to sleep by Queen Mebh's magic, Cu Chulainn was left to defend Ulster's lands taking on champions after champion one in single combat that lasted months.
Cu Chulainn was eventually killed after Queen Mebh contrived with his enemies to bring him to battle. She put a spell on the mighty warrior and he became mortally wounded by the spear of Lugaid. But Cuchulainn fought on causing his enemies to retreat. Cu Chulainn then tied himself to a rock to keep himself standing so that his enemies wouldn't think he was wounded. The ploy almost worked, when a raven landed on his shoulder. Cu Chulainn's enemies returned to finish him off but not before Cu Chulainn was able to deliver a fatal blow to Lugaid.
Today Cu Chulainn is still hailed as one of Ireland's great heroes. In Ulster he is hailed as a hero by both Irish Nationalists and Ulster Unionists and is regularly depicted in poetry, literature and other art forms in Ireland.
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