Art mac Cuinn

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Conn Cétchathach legendary high-king of Ireland

Cormac mac Airt (197—267) legendary king and sage

Echtra Airt meic Cuinn


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More often known in English contexts as Art Son of Conn; also as Art Óenfher [Ir., the lone one, the lonely]. Irish hero, he was the son of Conn Cétchathach [Ir., of the Hundred Battles] and a principal figure of the adventure story Echtrae Airt meic Cuinn. Art was initially the object of the affections of the evil Bé Chuma, who chose instead to live with Art's father Conn, sending the boy into exile for a year. Some time later, Art had returned and was playing a game of fidchell with his stepmother. When he lost, she sent him in quest of the beautiful Delbcháem. He won her and took possession of the Land of Wonder, only after slaying the girl's monstrous brother, mother, and father. On his return to Tara, Art's bride, Delbcháem, obliged Bé Chuma to leave the palace.

Art became the father of the illustrious Cormac mac Airt through unusual circumstances. As he was travelling through Ireland, Art was the guest of Olc Acha the smith, who said he would be honoured if Art would lie with his daughter, Étaín (2). Because he knew he would die in the battle at Mag Mucruma, Art asked that the girl take the child to his friend Lugna in Connacht for fosterage. When she knew her time was near, Étaín set out for Lugna's residence, but delivered Cormac on the way, after which he was suckled by wolves. Art was called Óenfher or ‘the Lonely’ after the death of his only brother Connla. In variant texts Art is married to Medb Lethderg. Art was slain by Lugaid Lága at the Battle of Mag Mucrama; see CATH MAIGE MUCRAMA.

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