Fergus mac Roth

Irish - One of the champions of the Red Branch. King of Ulster. Son of Ros Ruadh and Roch. Half-brother of Fachtna. Husband of Flidhais and Nessa. Father of Buino and Illus. Father of Ferdia, some say. Foster-father of Cuchulainn. He came to the throne on the death of Fachtna and married Fachtna's widow, Nessa, who stipulated that he must allow her son, Conor, to rule for one year. At the end of the year, Conor refused to relinquish the throne and banished Fergus to Connaught with Dubhthach and his son Cormac. Some say that he fell in love with Flidhais, wife of Ailill Fionn, and attacked his rival's castle, killing Ailill and taking Flidhais for his wife. In this story, he was killed by a giant, the Fool of Barr Uisce, as he was driving his wife's great herd of cattle. Another version of this story substitutes Muinchinn for Flidhais and Donal for Ailill and Fergus, worried in case his newly-acquired wife should betray him as she had betrayed Donal, drowned her. Another story says that he was in the party that escorted Deirdre and the sons of Usna back from Scotland to Conor's court and after Conor's treachery he went into exile with Cormac and Dubhthach in Connaught. As herald to Maev, he went to Ulster to try to persuade the king, Daire, to lend Maev the famous Brown Bull of Cooley for one year. Daire refused and Fergus later fought with Maev and Ailill against Ulster in the Cattle Raid of Cooley but refused to fight Cuchulainn, his friend and pupil, in single combat. He became Maev's lover and was killed by a spear thrown by Lugaid, a blind poet, when Ailill caught them bathing together in a pool. He is said to be the author of the first account of the Cattle Raid of Cooley by virtue of a legend saying that the original story was lost and the poet, Seanchan, raised the dead Fergus who recited the whole story before going back to the grave. In some accounts, he is the same as Fergus mac Leda. Occasionally referred to as Fergus mac Roth, Fergus mac Rogh, Fergus mac Rogh, Fergus mac Roich, Fergus mac Roich, Fergus mac Roigh, Fergus mac Roigh, Fergus mac Rosa, Fergus mac Rosa, Fergus mac Roy, Fergus mac Roy, Mac Roth, Mac Roth, Fe(a)rg(h)us mac Ro(i)gh, Fe(a)rg(h)us mac Ro(i)gh, Fearg(h)us mac Rioch or Fearg(h)us mac Rioch.

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