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18 June 2014
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Legacies - Cuchulain

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Myths and Legends

Clip Title: How Setanta became Cuchulain
© BBC 2003
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King Conor was invited to a banquet at the house of Culain, a blacksmith and he asked Setanta to accompany him. Setanta was playing a game of hurling at the time and said he would follow his uncle shortly. When the guests were seated at the feast, Culain asked the King if all the expected guests had arrived and King Conor replied that they had, forgetting about Setanta. Culain unchained his huge hound to guard the house.

Unaware of the danger ahead the young boy arrived at Culain`s house .The vicious dog leapt at Setanta, who had only his hurling stick and ball with him. Undaunted by the ferocious beast the boy flung the ball down the animal’s throat. The hound was forced back by the blow and Setanta was able to grab the hound by its legs and smash its head on the stone courtyard.

When Conor heard the hound howling he remembered Setanta and ran outside expecting to find him torn to pieces. He was amazed to see him unharmed, standing above the dead hound. The blacksmith, Culain was distraught on the sight of his fallen dog. Setanta, although without blame in the duel, vowed to take the place of the dog, protecting the pass into Ulster, and became the hound of Culain – CuCuhulain, pronounced ‘Koo hu lin’.

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