Lá Fhéile Bríde, marked the official launch of the ‘Táin Bó Fliodhaise – The Cattle Raid of Mayo’ project in Ballina Arts Centre.
The event brought to fruition the ongoing efforts of a voluntary committee, which was set up over two years ago (under the auspices of Comhar Dún Chaocháin Teo ), whose members are Anthony Brogan, Jim Henry, Treasa Ní Ghearraigh, Niall King, Diana Taylor, Micheál Ó'Seighin, Caitlín Uí Sheighin, P.J. Lynn, Jim Gilvarry, Uinsíonn Mac Graith, Pat Mc Loughlin and Billy Lyons.
The aim is to highlight and create an awareness of the Mayo Táin and bring this epic story to a wider audience. To date, the committee has organized festivals and created links with the community of Argyll in Scotland, where the story was written by Medieval scribes in the 15th century Glenmasan Manuscript, which is held in the Advocates Library in Edinburgh, the National Library of Scotland.
This is thought to be a transcript from an earlier 12th century manuscript of the same name. During the early years of the 20th century, the entire story was translated from Gaelic into English by Professor Donald MacKinnon and published over four volumes of a Scottish historical publication, known as The Celtic Review.
The Táin Bó Fliodhaise (a réamhscéal or prequel to the great Irish saga Táin Bó Cuailnge ) is an exciting and adventurous Celtic mythology saga, which takes place in Mayo, primarily the Erris area in the north-west of the county. It describes how a cattle raid brought Queen Meadhbh and her army from Ráth Chruacháin in County Roscommon on a journey through Mayo, to reach their final destination at Rath Muireagáin near Glencastle in Erris. The purpose of the raid was to steal away the prized Maol or hummel cow, which was reputed to supply enough milk daily for three hundred men, their wives and children, as well as the herds and wealth of the resident Gamhanraidh tribe. Many of the events in this epic story were driven by power, greed, vengeance, deceit and lust.
The exhibition runs until March 2 and the book is on sale in Ballina Arts Centre, Easons in Ballina, Castle Bookshop in Castlebar, Westcoast Rare Books and Seamus Duffy’s Bookshop in Westport, Hiney’s in Crossmolina, Leonard’s in Lahardaun, Cruachán Ali Visitor Centre in Tulsk, Carey’s Newsagents in Belmullet and An tSeanscoil in Ceathrú Thaidhg. The book will also be launched in the Seanscoil, Ceathrú Thaidhg by Áine Ní Chiaráin on March 15 at 8pm as part of Seachtain na Gaeilge.