Cycle 1 – The Mythological

Ó hÓgáin gives an account of the Mythological Cycle, a collective term applied to the stories in Irish literature which describe the doings of otherworld characters. The central theme was concerned with the successive invasions of Ireland by supernatural clans. These series of invasions are described in the Lebor Gabála or Book of Invasions.These stories do not form as strong or cohesive a narrative tradition as do the Ulster and Fenian Cycles, but they all center on the Túatha Dé Danan

Mythological Cycle comprises the following:

1. The Fomhóire
2. The coming of Partholonians into Ireland.
3. The coming of Nemedians into Ireland.
4. The coming of the Firbolgs into Ireland.
5. The invasion of the TUATHA DE DANANN, or People of the god Dana.
6. The invasion of the Milesians (Sons of Miled) from Spain, and their conquest of the People of Dana.

To start with the first people to come to ireland were the people of Cesair. Cesair was the granddaughter of Noah and the daughter of Bith. So here is a direct link with the biblical Noah. Cesair came with a company of fifty women and three men, Fintan son of Bochra and (wife to Cesair), Bith son of Noah (Cesair’s father) and the pilot Ladra. The women were divided among the men, Fintan took Cesair and sixteen women; Bith took Cesair`s companion Bairrfhind and sixteen women; Ladra was left with the remaining sixteen women. Incidentally it is said that Ladra died of an excess of women “or it was the shaft of the oar that penetrated his buttock.” When Ladra died the remaining women were shared between Fintan and Bith, twenty five each.Cesair was said to have been the first to bring sheep into Ireland.

Bith went north and died leaving only Fintan and Cesair and the remaining women. Fintan escaped “afleeing before all the women”. Fintan escaped to the Hill of the Wave (Tul Tuinde). Cesair was now left, her husband had abandoned her and her father had died, and heartbroken she died too. Forty days after their arrival in Ireland came the Flood. Fintan survived by spending a year under the waters in a cave called “Fintan`s Grave” above Tul Tuinde.  Fintan, who in the form of a salmon, eagle, or hawk witnesses all of the later settlements.

(Fo-vor-ee-an) In the days before the five waves of invaders occurred, Ireland was inhabited by a horrid, gruesome and disfigured race known as the Fomorians (also: Fomorii, Fo-Moir and Fomorach). Fomhóire means ‘from the sea’ and is the name given to the devine powers, or gods of night, death and cold (sons of Chaos and Old Night). They are said to have lived in the sea where their base was Tory Island and are the evil gods of Irish myth. There is no mention of when the Fomorians arrived. Their leaders consisted of Balor of the Evil Eye, Conann, Morc and Cical. They were usually depicted as having only one eye, hand or foot (and these grew out of the middle of their chests) and one of them named Cenchos ‘The Footless’ was absent of hands and feet. They were generally human-shaped, but terribly ugly and believed to have the heads of goats and bulls.The Formorians  are sometimes said to have been the first inhabitants of Ireland, but their origins are unknown.  Some belive they were there in the time of Cessair, and gained power later, others belive that they came from the sea after the flood receeded. Formorians were very powerful and terrible to behold.

The sons of Uar the Cruel, were named “Destruction”, “Ill-Fated” and “Want”, they had venom oozing from their hands and feet which would poison and ruin anything they touched. Most Formorians were both ill-tempered and stupid. Although sometimes considered to be an early faerie race, the Formorians are usually portrayed as demons or sea monsters, where their patron goddess is Domnu, whose name means “The Deep” in reference to their banishment into the sea.