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Story entitled 'Torrac na Taine', 17 April 1866 to 18 April 1866

Identifier: Coll-97/CW104/19

Scope and Contents

Story entitled 'Torrac na Taine' collected from Padraig Morristan [Peter Morrison] Bailevanaich [Baile a Mhanaich/Balivanich, Beinn na Faoghla/Benbecula], who heard it 'bho Dhoul rua Du'allach ann na Aird Bh. faola' [from Domhnall Ruadh Dhughaill/Donald MacDougall, Aird, Beinn na Faoghla/Benbecula]. The story tells how an Irish nobleman is invited to a wedding and unknown to him his nine year old son Cuchullain [Cuchulain] follows him. At the castle, Cuchulain is playing shinty and hits the ball into the guard dog's mouth. In retrieving the ball he kills the dog. As a punishment the Earl makes him guard the castle for seven years until another dog has been trained up to replace the one Cuchulain killed. After this Cuchulain is sent to train as a warrior. On his return home to Grianan, he and his companion Laoghaire mac Neart find that they are not using their warrior skills and decide to go hunting and happen upon a castle inhabited by a giant. They kill the giant, feast and drink and then return home. Soon after, Cuchalain's father dies and he takes over. Meanwhile, two people of high birth marry and the woman sees that she has one less bull than her new husband. She is told by Murchadh mac Brian said that Cuchulain has the best bull, which is called 'Donn-guailean' and so sends him along with army to get it. Despite their numbers and several attempts they are outwitted by Cuchulain and are unable to get the bull. In the end, Cuchulain’s friend Fear Diag mac Diamhain, with whom he had trained as a warrior, is sent on pain of death to get 'Donn-guailean' and they end up in a fierce fight, involving spears and the damming and unblocking of the river across which they are fighting. Eventually Cuchulain kills Fear Diag and buries him by the river. Next the noblewoman sends Gara mac Starin to get the bull. Gara's daughter had disappeared and ended up marrying Cuchulain so Gara on discovering this is happy to settle the score but he is similarly unsuccessful. Lastly, the noblewoman sends three sorcerers to get the bull from Cuchulainn and eventually they kill him by putting poison in his helmet. He is buried next to Fear Diag as Gara mac Stairn's daughter gives birth to Cuchulain's son 'Droi-aiche na Beinne-bige'.


  • Creation: 17 April 1866 to 18 April 1866

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This material is unrestricted.


From the Series: 91 folios ; 20 x 16.5 cm

Physical Location


Physical Location

folio 42v, line 1 to folio 61r, line 12

Related Materials

Coll-97/CW154/2 - contains a fair copy of this story.


MacGilleathain, Calum Iain, 'An Donn Ghuailleann', Gairm, 29 (Am Foghar, 1959), pp67-71.
MacLean, Calum, 'A Folk-Variant of Táin Bó Cúailnge from Uist', ARV: Journal of Scandinavian Studies, vol. 15 (1959), pp160-181.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

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