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A Fragment of the Tain Bo Cuailnge

A Fragment of the Tain Bo Cuailnge

Date: 1550

Shelfmark: Egerton MS 93

Item number: f.29r

Length: 28

Width: 20

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Manuscript

The Tain Bo Cuailnge, 'The Cattle Raid of Cooley', presents one of the most entertaining stories of all early Irish literature. Daire, a chieftain in Ulster, owns a celebrated bull, but Queen Medb of Connaught raises an army to take the animal from him. The young hero, Cuchulain, must single-handedly defend Ulster because all the other men have been immobilised by a curse.

This fragment of the story is bound with a 'Life of St Patrick' and some hymns and prayers which were copied in the late 15th century. Originally all the parts belonged to separate books. The fragment of 'The Cattle Raid of Cooley' is thought to have been copied in the 16th century, based on its handwriting style, but it presents nothing to tell us where. The version of the story it presents is known as 'Recension III'.

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