Welcome to the Order of the Sacred Star! This Pagan/Wiccan group, based in Winnipeg, Canada, is committed to teaching the Craft to all those who wish to learn. Our goal is to provide a complete and fulfulling learning experience. Our public classes are offered through the Winnipeg Pagan Teaching Circle.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Mythology of Ancient Ireland — The Historical Cycle

Traditionally, there are four cycles that make up Irish historical mythology. These cycles are the very basis of the Irish Faery Faith, and are the origin of the Irish Pantheon of gods and goddesses. The four Irish mythological cycles are:
  • The Mythological Cycle;
  • The Ulster Cycle;
  • The Fenian Cycle;
  • The Historical Cycle.
The Timeline of the Historical Cycle

Tales from the Historical Cycle are ascribed dates ranging from the 3rd century all the way to the 8th century. Most of these dates revolve around various high-kings of Ireland, and occasionally on some provincial kings. Many of the dates regarding the Irish kings of this cycle can be measured against known historical events. This makes the Historical Cycle the easiest of the four cycles to accurately date.

What is the Historical Cycle of Ireland?

The Historical Cycle is one of kingship and kings. In fact, most of the surviving tales from the Historical Cycle feature the three most influential kings of the Historical Cycle. These three kings are:
  • Conaire Mor to Conn of the Hundred Battles;
  • Niall of the Nine Hostages;
  • Domnall, son of Aed.
Niall of the Nine Hostages is particularly significant. He was the greatest king in Ireland between Cormac mac Airt and the arrival of St. Patrick. His reign was truly inspiring to all warriors of the time. He ruled Ireland with strength, and carried the name and fear of Ireland into all nearby nations. He founded the longest, most important, and most powerful of all Irish dynasties. His descendants ruled Ireland, almost without interruption, for almost six hundred years.

This cycle, sometimes known as the Cycle of Kings, is less than all other cycles. It is less magical than the Mythological Cycle. Less heroic than the Ulster Cycle. Less romantic than the Fenian Cycle. Instead, the tales of the Historical Cycle are about kings, kingship, dynasties, and succession. They also abound with stories of the royal houses and the many royals of all Ireland during this time.

The most distinctive features of this cycle and its legends are kingship and the nature of the bond between a king and his country. The characters of this cycle are loyal and committed, and would lay down their lives for their king or their country.

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