Donn Cuailnge

Quick Reference

[Ir., brown bull].

The famous Brown Bull in the Táin Bó Cuailnge [Cattle Raid of Cooley], over whom the central conflict takes place. Originally a pig-keeper of Bodb Derg named Friuch [boar's bristle (?)] who contended bitterly with Rucht [boar's grunt (?)], the pig-keeper of Ochall. Their ferocious conflicts took them through various manifestations: as ravens, water beasts, stags, warriors, phantoms, dragons, and water worms, until they became transformed into the Brown Bull of Cuailnge and the White Bull of Connacht. They take different names through each shift of shape, and are known ultimately as Donn Cuailnge and Finnbennach. The coveting of Donn Cuailnge by Medb, queen of Connacht, sets the action of the Táin in motion, provoking war with Ulster. At the end Donn Cuailnge meets and kills Finnbennach, but departs from the battle mortally wounded himself. Note also the possible Continental parallel in Donnotaurus.

Subjects: Religion.

Reference entries