Conall Cearnach

Irish - A warrior of Ulster. One of the 12 champions of the Red Branch. Son of Finchoom and Amergin, foster. Brother of Cuchulainn. Husband of Fiebh, Lendar or Niam. His neck was damaged when he was a baby when Cet placed his foot on his neck, but was prevented from breaking it by his mother. As a result, Conall grew up with a crooked walk. In a contest with Loaghaire Buadhach, Winner of Battles, and Cuchulainn for the title of Champion of All Ireland, he and Loaghaire ran from the wildcats put in the room with them, while Cuchulainn faced them with his sword. They were also tested by Ercol who attacked them first with witches and then fought them himself, losing only to Cuchulainn. In a beheading contest with a giant, all three decapitated the giant but only Cuchulainn was prepared to offer his own neck to the axe. He helped Fraoch rescue his family and cattle when they were carried off by raiders. In some accounts, they rescued the hostages from a castle in the Alps that was guarded by a huge snake, detroying the building in the process of rescue. He fought alongside Conary at the siege of the hostel of Da Derga. In some versions it was he who brought a drink to the thirsty king but found him already dead and decapitated. He gave the head a drink and it thanked him for fetching the water. In other stories it was the giant Mac Cecht who brought the drink. At Mac Da Tho's feast he outfaced Cet for the right to carve the famous boar when he produced from his bag the still-bloody head of Anluan of Connaught, Cet's brother, whom Conall had killed in combat. When Conor mac Nessa reneged on his promise of safe conduct given to Naisi and Deirdre, he was in the party attacking the hostel at Emain Macha. When he learned of Conor's treachery he killed Conor's son Fiachra. His two brothers had been killed by Meas Geaghra, king of Leinster, and Conall took his revenge. He killed Meas in single combat, fighting with one hand tied behind his back, because his opponent had only one arm, and killed him. Buan, the king's wife, fell dead when she saw her husband's body. Conall then crushed the dead king's brain and mixed it with lime to make a missile called a brain-ball. He fired this from his sling and it struck Conor mac Nessa in the forehead, from where it could not be removed. It exploded seven years later and killed Conor. In other stories Conall deposited the ball at Emain Macha from where it was stolen by Cet. Some say that it was Mac Da Tho's brain that was used in this way. In some accounts he was one of the Ulstermen who were exiled to Connaught and fought for Maev and Ailill against their own countrymen in the Cattle Raid of Cooley, while others say that he fought for Ulster in support of Conor mac Nessa, father of his wife Feibh. After a raid led by Cet, Conall followed the raiders and killed Cet in single combat at a ford. He was wounded and cared for by Bealchu who wanted to get him well again just so that he could kill him. A plan to kill Conall in bed misfired and Conall forced Bealchu to occupy the bed so that Bealchu was killed by his own three sons. Conall then killed all three of them. Some say that Conall was the sole survivor of the battle at Da Derga's hostel. It was said that Conall never allowed a day to pass without killing a man from Connaught and that he slept with that man's decapitated head under his pillow. When Cuchulainn was killed by Lugaid, Conall killed him and then sought out and killed Cunlaid, Erc and Fergus and the three witch-daughters of Calatin. In some accounts Conall then went to the court of Maev, where Maev, jealous of her husband's affair with another woman, persuaded Conall to kill Ailill. The king's angry subjects then killed Conall. In other stories he was killed by Connla, the son of Cuchulainn, when they met in single combat when Connla arrived by boat to search for his father whom he had never seen. In some lore, occasionally called Conall Cearnach, Conall of the Victories, Conall of the Victories, Coinall Cearneac, Coinall Cearneac, Conal(l) of the Victories or Conal(l) of the Victories.

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