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Eochaid


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1 Pre-Christian sun-god of the ancient Irish, horseman of the heavens, and god of lightning; his sword is a lightning bolt. He is usually described as one-eyed, and sometimes carries the epithet Deirgderc [Ir., red eye], which is also borne by the Dagda. This epithet may link him with Lough Derg on the Shannon. Euhemerizing medieval historians created Eochaid mac Luchta from him and confused him with Eochaid Ollathair (another name for the Dagda).

2 King of Dún Sobairche [Dunseverick] who betrothed his daughter to Rónán (1), a king of Leinster. The story of the daughter's thwarted adultery with Rónán's son Máel Fothartaig and the subsequent havoc is told in Fingal Rónáin [How Rónán Slew His Son]. In revenge, Donn (2), Máel Fothartaig's foster-brother, murdered Eochaid, his wife, and son.

3 Sometimes named as the foster-father of Lug Lámfhota instead of Manannán mac Lir.

4 Father of the warrior Conall (1), who gave his name to Carn Conaill, Co. Tipperary.

5 Father of Lí Ban in some stories, displacing her usual father, Áed Abrat.

6 A king from the midlands of Ireland tormented by the satirist Athairne Áilgesach; the poet demanded and received in tribute Eochaid's one remaining eye. Possibly identical with Eochaid mac Luchta.

7 The son of Sál, a character in Echtrae Lóegairi [The Adventure of Lóegaire]. Lóegaire learns that although Fiachna mac Rétach has killed Eochaid, his wife's abductor, she still yearns for him; because of this she abandons her husband for Eochaid's nephew Goll.

8 Shadowy but perhaps historical king of Leinster whose treachery with the daughters of Tuathal Techtmar, the ard rí [high king], caused his countrymen to pay the Bórama, a heavy tribute. Eochaid desired Dáirine, but could not have her until her elder sister Fithir was married. Feigning love, Eochaid married the elder sister and took her back to his palace at Ráth Imil. In time Eochaid returned to Tara and said that Fithir had died, allowing him to have Dáirine as his own. But when she returned with him she found Fithir still alive, and both girls died of shame; in some texts Fithir dies first of shame and Dáirine dies of grief. Tuathal sought revenge, first by making war upon Leinster, in which Eochaid was killed, and secondly by levying the Bórama, an annual payment of 5,000 cows, 5,000 sheep, 5,000 hogs, 5,000 cloaks, 5,000 bronze vessels, and 5,000 ounces of silver. Although it was not usually paid without military threat, the Bórama is recorded until the early 8th century, or for more than 500 years.

9 Legendary, probably historical Irish king who led an Irish migration to south-west Wales in the third century. In Irish stories, Eochaid is seen doing battle with Cormac mac Airt seven times, resisting the attempts of the ard rí [high king] to expel Eochaid's people, the Déisi. While an Irish migration to Dyfed certainly took place, historical records like Historia Brittonum (9th cent.) and Sanas Cormaic [Cormac's Glossary] (9th cent.) attribute it to the ‘sons of Liathán’, or Uí Liatháin, of nearby east Co. Cork. Sometimes known as Eochaid Allmuir.

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Subjects: Religion.


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