Conn
After Álvarez Peña

CONN CED-CATHACH (CEAD CHATH): CONN OF THE HUNDRED BATTLES

Conn, "the Hundred-Battler", King of Ireland, was son of King Felimid the Lawgiver. He ascended the throne around 123 A.D. His greatest enemy was the King of Munster, Eoghan-Mor (Eugene or Owen More), also known as Mogh-Nuadhat. They fought bitterly, and finally Conn was obliged to yield Mor half of Ireland. The country was divided into two halves, the line extending from Dublin to Galway. Conn's northern half was called Leth-Chuinn (Conn's Half), Mor's southern half Leth-Mogha (Mogh's Half). After Eoghan's defeat by Goll Mac Morni at the battle of Magh Lena, Conn again ruled the whole country.

Conn was slain in 157 A. D. by Tiobraide Tireach, king of Uladh, at Tuath Amrois, near Tara, while preparing to celebrate the feis (festival) of Tara. He was buried at Brugh na Boinne, under a stone cairn, mentioned in the "Dinnsenchus."

Conn of the Hundred Battles was the ancestor of the families of O'Neill, O'Donnell, O'Kelly, O'Malley, O'Flaherty, Maguire, etc. He was succeeded by King Conaire II.



Citation:

Jokinen, Anniina. "Conn of the Hundred Battles." Luminarium.
       20 May 2007. [Date you accessed this page].
       <http://www.luminarium.org/mythology/ireland/100conn.htm>





Celtic Knotwork Peacock

CONN OF THE HUNDRED BATTLES

"After the heroic days of Concobar and Cuculain the Red Branch declined. Their great force was, as it were, spent and used up. Then Tara began to become great and conspicuous. Tara is a large green round hill on the southern bank of the Boyne. From its top one can see most of Meath. By slow degrees the kings of Tara and the surrounding rich plains began to rule far and wide, and gather under their authority many distant kings....

The first of these was Conn of the Hundred Battles, a huge and fierce warrior, red-haired, with mighty limbs, headlong and impetuous, a man blazing with ceaseless energy, who seldom or never was out of his battle harness. Of him the bards sang, "His march was the rush of a Spring tide, and his journeying the evacuation of territories, and the whole earth was filled with his glory."

But in his fiery soul there were springs too of sweet affection. Once he sent his foster-brothers on an embassy; they were slain by the king to whom he sent them. It was night when the tidings of that slaughter were brought to Conn. He sat down, and, in his wrath and grief, without uttering one word, chewed down the ashen haft of his great blade.

Such was Conn of the Hundred Battles, who exalted Tara over all cities, and from whose loins sprang innumerable kings powerful and famous. His name survives in the name of one of our provinces, Connaught or Conn-Acht means Children of Conn."


O'Grady, Standish. The Story of Ireland.
       London: Methuen & Co., 1894. 28-29.





Celtic Knotwork Peacock

CONN AND THE PHANTOM PRINCE.

"Of a morning, Conn of the Hundred Battles fared at sunrise to the ramparts of the Royal Fort at Tara, accompanied by his three Druids, and his three bards; for he was wont daily to repair thither to watch the firmament, so that no hostile aerial beings should descend upon Erinn, unknown to him. While standing in his wonted place, this morning, Conn trod upon a stone, and immediately it shrieked beneath his feet, so that it could be heard all over Tara and throughout all Bregia. His Druids, after many days, discovered and told him on the same spot that this was the Lia Fáil—the Stone of Fáil (whence Innis-fáil)—the number of its shrieks told the number of kings of his race who should succeed him on the throne.

Conn stood musing on the revelation, when suddenly a mist arose and inclosed them in such darkness, that they could not see each other. Then, in the deep silence, they heard the tramp of a Cavalier approach, and thrice a spear was cast rapidly towards them, coming each time closer. The Druid cried aloud in protest:"It is a violation of the sacred person of a King to cast at Conn in Tara."  The Cavalier disclosed himself, saluted the King, and invited all to his mansion. There, on a noble plain, they entered a royal court, and beheld a beautiful princess. Before her was a silver vat full of red ale, a golden ladle, and a golden cup.

The Cavalier, assuming the seat at the head of the table, bade all his guests be seated. The princess presented Conn with the bare ribs of a giant ox and giant boar, and the vessels of gold and silver. Then, filling the cup from the ladle, she asked the Knight (who was one who had returned from the Dead) to whom she should give the cup. He answered "To Conn": the question was then repeated time after time, and the Phantom-Prince named all the kings in succession who should after Conn inherit the sovereignty of Tara."


O'Curry, Eugene. "Conn of the Hundred Battles." Quoted in
       George Sigerson. Bards of the Gael and Gall.
       New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1907. 424-425.





Celtic Knotwork Peacock

CONN AND BECUMA.

"Becuma Cnes gel, or Becuma of the "fair body", wife of a celebrated Tuatha Dé Danann personage, Labrad of the "quick-hand-at-sword", having committed adultery with Gaiar, one of the sons of Manannan Mac Lir, is condemned by the latter to be burnt or banished. His council having recommended the more lenient alternative, Becuma is placed in a boat and sent adrift alone on the sea.

She succeeds, however, in reaching the Hill of Howth, where she finds the monarch of Eriu, Conn of the "Hundred Battles", in great grief for the loss of his wife Eithne, who had recently died. Assuming the name of Deilbh Caemh, or "the comely form", and representing herself as the daughter of a certain Morgan, a British prince, she induces Conn to marry her.

During her first year's residence at Tara a blight comes on the country, and there is dearth of corn and milk. The druids, on being consulted, assign as the cause of the blight the crime of Conn's wife, and that it could only be removed by slaying the son of an undefiled couple, or in other words the son of a virgin wife, and sprinkling his blood on the doorposts and land of Tara.

Conn accordingly goes in search of such a youth, and after wandering over the sea, he comes to an island where he finds one. By false representations he induces him to accompany him to Ireland, and his parents to sanction his journey. As the youth is about to be slain, a cow with two bellies, followed by the mother of the boy wailing, appears on the scene. The woman recommends that the cow should be killed instead of the boy, and its blood sprinkled on the doorposts of Tara, which was accordingly done."


Sullivan, W. K. "Introduction", in
O'Curry, Eugene. On the Manners and Customs of the Ancient Irish.
London: Williams and Norgate, 1873. cccxxxiii-cccxxxiv.







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