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Dunscaith


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[ScG Dùn Scàith, Dùn Sgàthaich].

Ruined fortress on the Isle of Skye, 6 miles W of Isleornsay on the coast of Sleat; named for Sgàthach (see SCÁTHACH), the tutor and lover of Cúchulainn, who lived on Skye. In local oral tradition it was built in one night by the fairies. Used in late medieval times by the MacDonalds of Sleat. Once known as Down Skayth. See also DÚN SCÁTHAIG(E).

2 [Ir., Fort of Shadow, of Fear]. Another name for the Otherworld, sometimes located on the Isle of Man. When Cúchulainn and his companions landed here they met with a series of challenges. First the men had to fend off odious serpents who swarmed from a pit at the centre of the fortress. Next they faced toads with sharp beaks who turned into dragons. Vanquishing these, the men procured an enchanted cauldron along with gold, silver, a limitless supply of meat, and three magical crows who could pull their ship back to Ireland. The evil gods who protected Dúnscáith called up a storm that caused the Irish ship to founder. Although the men lost their treasure, they swam back to Ireland and lived to tell the tale.

Subjects: Religion.


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