A new book on Cúchulainn has been launched by author Réamonn Ó Ciaráin.

Cúchulainn: Ulster’s Greatest Hero tells the life story of Ulster’s foremost hero. This authentic retelling is based on the modern Ulster Irish language version, Laoch na Laochra, by the same author, and contains both réamhscéalta, the scenesetting stories, and sections from the Táin Bó Cuailgne, the Cattle Raid of Cooley, itself. The story is told in a powerful and flowing style. As early as the seventh century, Christian monks committed this ancient folklore to vellum manuscript for the first time. These scribes were creative with their material, which was originally transmitted orally, and they knew the geographical background in which these epic events unfolded intimately. Like the learned monks the author of Cúchulainn: Ulster’s Greatest Hero, Réamonn Ó Ciaráin, along with the artist, Dara Vallely, have a special affinity with the ancient territory of Ulster. They are both native to the area.

Launch of
Launch of "Cúchulainn Ulster's Greatest Hero" - The new book by Réamonn Ó Ciaráin. Photograph:

The paintings of Dara Vallely instil a new vitality and depth to these ancient stories. The imagery is original, bold, vibrant and even tribal. The paintings will undoubtedly capture the reader’s imagination and represent a unique window on the heroic era of Iron Age Ireland.

Cúchulainn is not only the finest warrior from the elite Red Branch heroes in Ulster but also is the foremost champion in all Ireland. Cúchulainn’s stories have secured a primary place in the mythology of Ireland and have travelled throughout the globe. This book will certainly generate a fresh interest in the events that guaranteed Cúchulainn’s lasting pre-eminence as Ulster’s greatest hero.


Professor Séamus Mac Mathúna.

'It is a tremendous achievement on the part of Réamonn and Dara. The book is beautifully produced. It captures the spirit of the original Irish. It is terse and pithy on the one hand and expansive enough elsewhere to portray the full grandure of these epics.' 

Risteard Mac Gabhann

'With regards to the modern day, however, when Crom Dearóil announces the arrival of a band of men as being ‘neither Fir Éireann nor foreigners. They must be Men of Ulster’, to Queen Méabh, he is giving expression to a view that is alive and well today. The Ulster Cycle has certainly given us a symbol, which is more potent and widespread than anything to come from the Fiannaíocht or any other corpus of stories. Cúchulainn has been adopted by the Republican tradition of Ireland as a symbol of heroic self-sacrifice for his people. To the Loyalist people of the North, he is the heroic defender of his people. Both images, of course, come from the same source, which means they are not too different from each other.' 

Antoine Ó Coileáin – CEO Gael Linn

Cúchulainn is a potent symbol of bravery, loyalty, martial prowess, beauty and wisdom. The spirit of Cúchulainn has inspired revolutionaries, artists, sports men and women and Irish leaders for at least a millennium. Although male characters are to the fore in these heroic stories, there are also powerful and influential women: Queen Méabh of Connaught, Scáthach and Aoife from Scotland and, of course, Eimhear, Cúchulainn’s great love.


The book is available from And local shops

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