The Ulster Cycle


The Ulster Cycle in Irish Mythology has at its centre the epic tale, Táin Bó Cúailnge (Cattle Raid of Cooley) where Queen Meachbh gathers the men of Ireland to march against Conchubhar Mac Neassa’s army in Ulster. Her reason was to capture the brown bull of Cooley that will make her the equal of her husband Ailill in all things. 

The Táin also spans the life of the great hero Cú Chulainn who defended the province of Ulster against Meachbh’s army singlehandedly. 

In this great epic there are many tributary tales of intrigue, love, betrayal, sojourns with the otherworld, great battles and of course great tragedy. 

I have tried to tell most of the Táin Bó Cúailnge from the perspectives of the women and to put them into a sequence that shows how the story is told from beginning to end. However it is a labyrinth that hosts many connecting tales.


Drawings by Kathy Tynan