the Celtic Twilight Presents
The Legends and Myths of Ireland

   Around the 12th century, the filidh of Ireland organized and classified the tales and sagas according to the first words in their titles. The tales were then designated prem-sceil (chief tales) or fo-sceil (minor tales). Several different lists exist. Modern scholars have organized the tales and sagas into the following cycles.

  • Mythological Cycle consists of ales concerning myths and stories of the gods and invasions of mythical races
  • Heroic Cycle, also called the Ulster Cycle contains the heroic tales of the Red Branch of the Ulaid; Cuchulain, Conchobar, Fergus, etc. The Tain bo Cuailnge (Cattle Raid of Cuailnge or Cooley) is the key work of this cycle
  • Kings Cycle also called the Historic Cycle contain the tales about historical or semi-historical kings of Ireland, generally from early CE to the middle ages.
  • Ossianic Cycle also called the Finian Cycle consists of the  Tales of Finn and his band. Many are Late Middle Irish and Early Modern in composition.
  • Romantic Cycle consist of Early Modern tales of magic and romantic adventure.

Prem-Sceil (chief tales)

  • Togail, Togla (Destruction): Togail Bruidne Da Derga ("Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel").
  • Tain, Tana (Cattle Raid): Tain bo Cuailnge (Cattle Raid of Cuailgne or Cooley), sometimes refered to as "The Tain" or the "Great Tain."
  • Tochmarc, Tochmarca (Wooing or Courtship): Tochmarc Etaine (Wooing of Etain).
  • Cath, Catha (Battle): Cath Maig Tuired (The [Second] Battle of Mag Tuired).
  • Uath, Uatha (Cave): Uath Beinne Etair (Cave of Ben Etar)
  • Imram, Imrama (Voyage): Imram Brain (Voyage of Bran).
  • Aided, Aite (Death): Aided Fergusa (Death of Fergus).
  • Fies, Fessa (Feast): Bricriu's Feast
  • Forbais, Forbasa (Siege): Forbais Etair (Siege of Etar).
  • Echtrae, Echrai (Adventure): Echtrae Airt Mhaic Cuinn (Adventure of Art Son of Conn).
  • Aithed, Aitheda (Elopement)
  • Argain, Airgne (Slaughter)
  • Sluagaid, Sluagaida (Expedition)
  • Serc, Serca (Love Story)
Fo-sceil (minor tales)
  • Toraighecht (Pursuit or Rescue)
  • Fis, Fisi (Vision)
  • Tomadmann, Tomadma (Eruption) floods and disasters
  • Tochomlad, Tochomlada (Progress, often means Immigration or Exile): Tochomlad na nDesi o Themair (Progress of the Desi from Tara)
  • Aislinge (Dream): Aslinge Oenguso (Dream of Aengus)
  • Compert, Coimperta (Conception or Birth Tale): Compert Mongain (Conception of Mongan)
  • Macnimranda (Boyhood or Youthful Tale)
  • Geineamain (Birth): Geineamain Cormaic (Birth of Cormac), Birth of Bran

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