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Legendary Irish king. Son of Elatha, a prince of Fomoire, a race with single arms and legs, and Eriu, a woman of Tuatha De Danann, ‘the peoples of the goddess Danann’. Their son was called Eochaid, ‘the beautiful’, and he grew twice as rapidly as other boys. Bres had another name, Gormac, ‘dutiful son’, but he did not live up to it. The Tuatha gave him the kingship of Ireland in the hope that his reign would ensure peace and good will between themselves and the Fomoire. But Bres proved unworthy; he humiliated the warriors with menial tasks and oppressed the common people. Deposed, he fled and raised a formidable army from the Fomoire. At the Second Battle of Mag Tuired, a scene of fearful slaughter, the Tuatha won the day. The war between these mythical peoples is most likely an echo of early struggles for ascendancy between migrant tribes. When the Tuatha first landed, they resolutely burned their boats in order that they themselves should not have to flee therein from Ireland’.

Subjects: Religion.

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