How Cuchulainn got his Name

When Setanta was small he lived with his mother in Dundalk. When he was still very small he said he was going to join the Red Branch Knights, the army of the king of Ulster Conor Mac Nessa. But he had to get into the boys army called the Macra first, so one day he set off on foot to Eamhain Macha, where the king lived. While he was on his way, he would hit the ball, run as it was landing and then he would hit again.

When he got there the Macra boys were playing a game of hurling so he joined in. He was the best and he was always getting goals. He was the best so everybody turned on him. But he was able to fight them off. The King said to Setanta, "I am putting you into the Macra". One day, Culann who was the king's blacksmith, was holding a great feast, and Setanta was invited. The King was going but Setanta was playing hurling. He said he would follow him there. So when the game was over he went to the feast.

When he got there the Culann's hound attacked him. Setanta hit the ball at the hound with his hurley and it went right down his throat and he was nearly dead. So he hit the hound's head off the pillar. When the guests heard the noise they vame out to see what was happening. They were surprised to see Setanta had killed the hound. Culann said, " Who will mind my house?". So Setanta said, "I will guard your house", so he was called Cuchulainn which means the hound of Culann.

Story by Nicola Kelly 3rd class
Pictures by Ciara O'Donahue and Fiona Duffy 3rd class

Irish Myths and Legends