Cormac mac Airt

Irish - A high-king of Ireland and a sage. Son of Art and Achtan. Father of Ailb(h)e, Cairbre, Ce(a)llach and Grania. He was born when his father, Art, en route to the Battle of Mucramha where he was killed, slept with Achtan, the daughter of a druid. The child was taken and suckled by a wolf until he was found by Luighne who took him back to his mother. He was later fostered with Art's foster-father, Fiachna Casan, and, at the age of thirty, he set out to recover the throne of Ireland which had been taken by Lugaid mac Con, the man who had killed Cormac's father at Magh Mucramha. Lugaid handed over the throne without a fight. Eochu Gunnat, king of Ulster, defeated Cormac in battle and captured Tara, but Cormac later gathered his forces and reversed the defeat. Other accounts say that he was the son of Art and his legal wife, Eachhach, born as she drove a chariot to seek the protection after Art was killed. Some say that he was married to Maev, others that he married Eithne, daughter of Cathaoir Mor. He was the owner of a magic cup that broke if three lies were uttered, and became whole again if three true things were said. He also had a silver branch that bore three golden apples and that made music to soothe the sick. Both were gifts from Manannan, who had stolen his wife and children, and vanished when Cormac died. His son, Cellach, was speared by Angus for abducting a girl of his, Desi sept. In withdrawing the spear, Angus knocked out one of Cormac's eyes. This defect made him unsuitable to be king and he handed over the throne to his son, Cairbre Lifeachear. He died soon afterwards when the druid Maelcen caused a fish bone to stick in the king's throat at a great feast given by the noble, Spealan. After his death, his soul spoke from some rushes to St Patrick who then baptised him so that, finally, he could go to heaven. Occasionally identified as Cormac mac Airt, Cormac ua Cuinn or Cormac ua Cuinn.

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