Chapter

Cú Chulainn in Late Medieval Wales

Patrick Sims‐Williams

in Irish Influence on Medieval Welsh Literature

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199588657
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595431 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588657.003.0011
Cú Chulainn in Late Medieval Wales

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This chapter discusses a legendary Irish musical council at Glendalough and then a reference to Cú Chulainn in a sixteenth‐century Welsh tune‐name. Allusions to this hero by the poets Lewys Glyn Cothi and Gwilym ab Ieuan Hen may refer to this tune or to the Elegy on Cú Roí mac Dáiri in the Book of Taliesin, available in Radnorshire. The name Cú Chulainn also seems to have been used as a nickname for Irish immigrants at Ystumgwern in the Extent of Merioneth of 1420 and in Llyn in a subsidy roll for 1292–3, The status of other Irish immigrants such as the Twrllachied of Anglesey and Osbwrn Wyddel of Llanaber are discussed. In Appendix I it is argued that Cuhelyn is an unrelated name and that allusions to ‘Cuhelyn's shield’ are more likely to refer to the Welsh Cuhelyn Fardd than to the Irish story about the shield of Cú Chulainn. In Appendix II it is argued that allusions to ‘nyf’ by Casnodyn, Dafydd ap Gwilym, Gruffudd ap Maredudd and other Welsh poets are not to an Irish heroine Niamh, but to the Welsh word nyf meaning ‘snow’.

Keywords: Glendalough; Cú Chulainn; Lewys Glyn Cothi; Gwilym ab Ieuan Hen; Elegy on Cú Roí mac Dáiri; Book of Taliesin; Radnorshire; Irish immigrants; Ystumgwern; Extent of Merioneth; Llyn subsidy roll; Twrllachied; Osbwrn Wyddel; Cuhelyn Casnodyn; Dafydd ap Gwilym; Gruffudd ap Maredudd; Niamh; nyf ‘snow’

Chapter.  14176 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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