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Uirne


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Aunt of Fionn mac Cumhaill and mother, through magical transformation, of his favourite hounds, Bran (2) and Sceolang; in variant texts she is Fionn's sister instead of being the sister of Muirenn Muncháem, Fionn's mother. Uirne is accorded several different husbands in different texts. One of these husbands (sometimes a second as well) loves her imperfectly, even though Fionn had been promised by Lugaid Lága that she would be well treated. In the oldest versions he is Imchad, a prince of Dál nAraide (counties Antrim and Down); a first wife becomes jealous of Uirne and transforms her into a she-dog while pregnant, and she thus gives birth to Bran (2) and Sceolang. In later and folk variants, where her name is more likely to be Tuirn, she marries Iollan (2) or Iollann Éachtach [ModIr., wonderful, powerful], whose discarded mistress is Uchtdealb [ModIr., empty or mean-spirited breast]. Again, she gives birth to Bran (2) and Sceolang. Uirne then returns to human form and marries Lugaid Lága.

See John R. Reinhard and Vernam E. Hull, ‘Bran and Sceolang’, Speculum, 11 (1936), 42–58.

Subjects: Religion.


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