A long time ago, there lived two kings in what is now known as Ireland. These were the kings of Connacht and Munster, and each of these kings had an especially favored pig keeper. The Irish are an Indo-European people, and like many peoples who were sprung from that nomad race, they treated cattle as being sacred, as the ultimate unit of personal wealth. As such, the Irish of that time didn’t keep cattle for their meat. Cattle were for power and status. Their preferred meat was pork, and so the King’s pig keeper would have been an important man indeed.
The two pig keepers of Connacht and Munster lived on amicable terms for a long time. When fodder was fair in the north, they both kept their swine in the north. Likewise, when it was fairer in the south, they shared the fare of the south. But the friendship these men enjoyed was disrupted, as is so often the case, by a dispute of honor. Honor, in a society regulated by honor, isn’t only the domain of warriors and royalty. Every man in an honor culture would have been conscious of his reputation, esteem, and social value relative to his people. So to insult a man’s honor, even a pig keeper’s, perhaps especially a pig keeper’s, was courting great danger. For in that noble and proud society, every man had a clear idea of his own worth and would defend his honor if it were called into question, often by the most extreme means.
Thus, the people of Munster and the people of Connacht began to sow strife between the two friends. They each said that their pig keeper had greater skill. One day, when the two men met, the question of who had the greater power arose.
“They say your power is greater than mine,” said the one.
“It’s certainly no less,” said the other, and this innocuous response was what began the conflict.
You see, the Irish of this age had a custom. Once a man’s skill was called into question, it had to be put to the test. Anyone who claimed even the faintest superiority had to prove it. If the second pig keeper had admitted that they were equal in skill, the quarrel would likely have been avoided. But, although he didn’t claim superiority, he implied the potential for superiority, and that was enough to call the first man’s skill into question. A question that had to be answered if honor was to be upheld.
It must be said that these two pig-keepers were no ordinary men, for they served two kings of the Síd, the burial mounds which are so prevalent in this country. These kings were Ochall Ochne, and Bodb, both great and influential members of the otherworldly tribe which also came to be known as Síd because they were said to live in the Síd mounds. And so, being servants of the otherworld, the two pig-keepers possessed a fair amount of otherworldly power themselves. It was in their power to cast spells and, when the need arose, to transform themselves into any form they wished to take. So they played a trick on each other and cast a spell so that each of the other man’s pigs would never fatten no matter how much they ate. This was done, and the pigs became lean and wretched looking. Seeing that each of the pig-herds was in an equally deplorable state, the people declared that the two men were, in fact, equal in power, and neither was the other’s superior. But the two Kings they served were not well pleased when they surveyed their herds of swine and saw the poor job the pig keepers had been doing, and so both men were dismissed from their positions.
Thus, landless and outcast, they traveled the country in the shape of animals. First, they spent two years as birds and squawked and cawed all day and night in argument, so much so that the people of Connacht and Munster began to complain that they were being harassed. Next, they transformed into two water creatures. One of them dwelt in the River Suir while the other lived in the River Shannon, but anytime they met, they argued and fought and bit at each other such as no fish or water-fowl had ever done before. Next, they became two stags crashing horns. Then, two warriors trading blows. Then, two phantoms of terror. Then, two fierce dragons pouring forth snow on the other man’s lands. Finally, they became two maggots and fell from the sky. One of them fell into Connacht near the plain of Cruachán Aí, while the other was blown far east into the land of Cuailgne in Ulster. They were swallowed up then by cattle, and in time they were born again in the shape of bulls. They changed their shape no more then, perhaps having lost their power in the womb of the cattle, but were bulls from that day until the day of their deaths. The one was named Finbennach Aí, the White Horn of Aí plain, while the other was named Donn Cuailgne, the Dark of Cuailgne, and this now, at long last, is the tale of the bulls themselves.
One day Medb, Queen of Connacht, lay in bed with her husband Aillil, who was originally a man of Leinster. Aillil made the mistake of insulting Medb’s pride by saying how much better off she was since she had married him, now that she had great wealth and neighboring tribes were no longer raiding her land. But Medb wasn’t going to let that statement slide without retort. She argued that her power, wealth, and possessions were the equal of Aillil’s and that she was a powerful woman in her own right, not merely so because she had married Aillil. This quarrel echoes the quarrel between the two pig keepers over who had the greater power. But Aillil was a clever man and knew that to argue with a woman when she was incensed would be a fight with no hope of victory. So he tried to placate her, but Medb was not one to be placated.
She summoned her servants and ordered them to bring all of her possessions out of storage, all her flocks down from their hills, all her cattle in from their pastures, and all her warriors lined up in formation outside of her fort of Cruachán. Once this was done, the same was done with all of Aillil’s possessions, herds, flocks, and men. The contest was then judged, and Medb measured her possessions against her husbands. Of her possessions, her flocks, her warriors, all were found to be equal to Aillil’s.
“Enough of this now, Medb. You are correct in saying you are my equal in all things.”
“Wait,” said Medb, “We are just now reckoning the value of our cattle herds. And look, I am your superior in head of cattle, for I have in the herds of Connacht the great White Horn of Aí, Finbennach.”
“Well…” said Aillil.
“… well, what?” said Medb.
“Nothing. You are clearly the greater of us two. Now let us return home and satisfy our hunger.”
“No,” said Medb, “What were you going to say?”
“Well,” he said, “Finbennach was yours, yes. But do you not remember, when I married you and moved my herds onto the plain of Aí alongside yours, how Finbennach left your herds and joined mine, for that bull has the mind and will of a human, and he would not consent to be ruled by a woman? Do you not remember that?”
She ruefully consented that she did remember how Finbennach had wilfully gone over to Aillil’s herds, and bitter were the words on her tongue, for it was that bull which made Aillil’s herds superior to hers.
Later, when her temper had cooled, but not her pride, she devised a plan. She summoned to her chamber Mac Roth, one of the finest emissaries and messengers in the land, and she gave him the following mission.
“Go to the house of Dáire Mac Fíachna on Cuailgne peninsula in the land of the Ulaid, and ask him for the loan of his great dark bull, the Donn Cuailgne, who is the equal of Finbennach. I want his bull for one year, after which time he will be rewarded with the return of Donn Cuailgne and fifty fat heifers, and if that isn’t enough, he’ll have the pleasure of my own thighs too.”
So Mac Roth took nine men and went to Dáire Mac Fíachna, where he was warmly received. He told Dáire about the contest between Medb and Aillil, about the issue of Finbennach, and about Medb’s generous offer to Dáire for the loan of Donn Cuailgne. Dáire, as you might expect, was overjoyed by Medb’s bargain.
“Forget the men of Ulster,” he said, “I’ll send my Donn to Connacht and enjoy the riches of Cruachán and the comfort of Medb’s bed.”
Then they feasted and were well content until the time came for each to retire to their rooms. In the rooms of the Connachtmen, the messengers discussed Dáire.
“Is he not the most generous of all the men of the Ulaid?” said the one.
“He is indeed,” said another, “and is it not fortunate for us that he gave so freely what the four provinces of Érin would struggle to take by force?”
“Nonsense,” said the third messenger, “If Dáire had not given what we required of him, we would have taken it by force, and there’s little he could do to prevent it.”
But just then, a servant entered the room carrying food, heard what they were saying about his master, and turned to tell what he had heard. Dáire Mac Fíachna was understandably enraged at having his honor so insulted by the Connachtmen. Mac Roth tried to calm his anger to no avail.
“Nothing leaves my land,” said Dáire, “unless I permit it! And only that it isn’t my habit to murder messengers I might have you all killed for this insult.”
So the men of Connacht returned to Cruachán, and Mac Roth told Medb what had happened in the house of Dáire.
“No matter,” said Medb, “The bull was always going to be taken by force if it were not given freely.”
Thus began the preparations for war. But war in Ireland at that time was not the same as war in other parts of the world. The Irish did not wage what has become known as Bellum Romanum, which means “war in the way the Romans waged it.” This was total war, to the death, last man standing, and it usually devastated the population of those who fought this mode of war, often including the Romans themselves. So, to avoid total devastation and depopulation on their sparsely populated island, the Irish fought wars of Champions. The best of men would meet, usually in a river ford, and they would fight according to the predetermined rules of single combat. Indeed, you could hardly call them wars at all. Instead, the Irish engaged in raids, or to use the Irish word, Táin.
A Táin Bó was a raid that was explicitly conducted to steal cattle from other people. The object of a Táin Bó was not conquest, colonization, or depopulation. The Táin Bó was fought solely for the plunder of cows, which among the Irish and other Indo-European peoples were both sacred and the foremost unit of wealth. An object’s value was recorded in the number of cattle you could trade for it. A sword was worth so many cattle. A cumal or female slave was worth three or four cows. So anyone who had a lot of cows lived in constant danger of having them stolen by passing Táin.
This is why the war waged by Connacht to steal the Donn Cuailgne from the men of Ulster is known as the Táin Bó Cuailgne, the Cattle Raid on Cuailgne. I won’t discuss the entire body of The Táin in this essay, though it’s a long and worthy tale. It’s a tale in which the armies of Ireland march on Ulster under the command of Medb, a powerful and vengeful woman, and her husband Aillil, guided by Fergus Mac Róich, who was an Ulsterman in exile. They were repelled almost single-handedly by a young man waging a fierce guerrilla campaign. Cúchulain was that young champion’s name, but we shall speak of him another time.
The outcome of the great raid into Ulster by Medb and Aillil’s forces was thus: many men were slain, women were taken into slavery, the young sons of the warriors of Ulster fell dead in defense of their weakened fathers, Cúchulain was half dead from exhaustion and combat, and the Donn Cuailgne was taken and brought away to Connacht in the west.
The men of Connacht had a hard time bringing their prize bull back to Cruachán, but when they finally brought him on to the plain of Aí, they saw that worse was yet to come. There on the pastures, watching their approach, stood Finbennach, White Horned and huge, proud and erect like a king of the plain. Finbennach saw Donn Cuailgne, and for a moment the two bulls, who had once been men, had once been friends, recognized each other in their new forms. Just as it had been when they were men, fish, birds, and phantoms, they eyed each other and prepared to demonstrate their greater power, to settle the score once and for all. Finbennach stood with his head raised, his bright horns towering up into the sky, casting a shadow on the brown back of Donn Cuailgne, so the Donn lifted his hoof, placed it on Finbennach’s horn, and forced his head down to the ground in a posture of submission.
Then the combat erupted between them. The frenzy of common bulls was nothing compared to the dynamism and fury these two creatures, not really bulls at all, wrought upon one another’s bodies. They fought all day long on the plains of Connacht as the men of that province watched them, goaded them, taunted each bull when they showed signs of weakening. The combat was so drawn out and yet so far from being decided that the Connachtmen elected one called Bricriu Bittertongue to stand as judge between the bulls. Bricriu was swiftly trampled under their hooves and got his death. The combat continued.
Eventually, the bulls brought their fight out of Connacht and waged their war in every corner of the land, and all the men of Ireland could do was listen to the noise of their battle in the night.
When morning dawned, and I imagine it dawned crimson red, the men of Connacht saw the Donn Cuailgne returning into the plain of Aí, and on his great horns he carried the mangled corpse of Finbennach like a trophy. He shook his great head to ease himself of his burden, and the mangled body parts of the White Horn were flung out to all parts of Érin, and wherever a piece of the bull fell, that place was known forever afterward by the name of that piece. The loins fell in the land of Ath Luain, which means Loin Ford. The Liver fell in Ath Troim, Liver Ford. The thigh sunk into the river Suir in the land of Port Lairge, Thighbone Port, and it was in the city of Port Lairge that I was born and raised to manhood.
Eventually, exhausted, worn out, and bleeding profusely, Donn Cuailgne turned his head to the north and made his way back into the land of Cuailgne. The people there were struck with great terror when they saw him returning home covered in gore and slime, so they fled from him, but so great was his fury that he ran them down and speared them with his great horns. Women and boys and children, he wrought terrible slaughter upon them all. Then at long last, his ancient enemy having been defeated, his superior power proved at last, he sat down on the plain, and his heart burst like a nut in his breast.
This is the story of the two bulls of the Táin Bó Cuailgne, two of the most monstrous creatures to have ever roamed the land of Érin. But the bull-strife related in this tale can be analyzed on a deeper level. We must consider now what this tale has to tell us, what it “means.” Possibly it doesn’t “mean” anything at all. Perhaps those storytellers who passed on the tale orally for centuries did so merely because it was a thrilling way to entertain their audience, the Iron Age Irish, by speaking of things they would have clearly understood: cattle and battle. But I doubt it wa only that and nothing more. I’ve spent a few years picking apart old stories such as this one to find the meaning contained within. I’m quite sure that this tale has been preserved down through the mists of the ages because it has something important to say. The fact that it was preserved by Christian scribes who had a vested interest in the destruction of this tale only lends weight to my theory. Here is what I think this tale “means.”
First, consider the fact that the Irish are an Indo-European people. The Indo-Europeans universally held cattle in reverence, and this tradition has been passed down to the many and varied cultures that ancient migrating people birthed. In his essay “The Indo-European Cattle Raiding Myth,” Bruce Lincoln describes how many cattle-rearing cultures of Indo-European descent feature myths that make specific mention of cattle raids. By studying various mythologies of different Indo-European cultures, Lincoln has reconstructed a type of Proto-Indo-European creation myth based on commonly occurring themes of story and commonly occurring language features. In Lincoln’s reconstructed mythology, a priest called Manu (Man) sacrifices a king called Yemo (Twin) and a cow, then uses their remains to create the world and the three classes of mankind: Kings, Commoners, and Warriors. The reconstructed myth shows the common characteristics of Indo-European peoples according to the stories they tell, including the related but separate roles of King and Priest, the tripartite nature of humanity, cattle as a valuable companion to mankind, and the necessity of great sacrifice in the act of creation.
But Lincoln later added another character to his reconstructed myth in Trito (Third), a warrior who slays a three-headed serpent and recovers stolen cattle. Trito faces a serpent who was perhaps analogous to the aboriginal peoples in the areas which the migrating Indo-Europeans occupied. The serpent, the enemy, stole cattle, and the hero Trito goes out with the specific purpose of killing the enemy and recovering the cattle. Mythically speaking, the serpent crawls on its belly. Therefore it’s close to the earth; a low creature, uncivilized, bound to the land, and this serpent, in the form of the aboriginal or native inhabitant of newly occupied land, opposes the invader, the Indo-European peoples telling the story. No matter who the people in question are, humans always tell stories that vilify and sometimes dehumanize those who oppose their way of life. Three-headed gods are common among pre-Indo-European peoples in the East and the Mediterranean, but not amongst the Indo-Europeans themselves. In slaying the three-headed serpent and recovering the cattle, the young hero Trito guarantees his people’s future prosperity and wealth at the expense of the groups they conquered.
The reason why the object of so many Indo-European hero myths is the taking of cattle is that the cow was the basis of Indo-European economies. The cow provided numerous resources to these nomads, including meat, milk, bone, horn, glue, sterile urine, teeth, hide, and hair, all of which could be put to some practical or artistic use. Indo-European culture was therefore defined in large part by a man’s relationship to the cattle in his control. When he saw another man’s cattle, he coveted them because they represented the potential for furthering his own prosperity if they could be brought under his control. Therefore, the cattle raid embodies the Indo-European desire for advancement through the acquisition of new herds, or the recovering of previously stolen herds, in the same way that modern people covet and pursue money.
The Trito reconstruction myth embodies this ideal as being the very first cattle raid carried out in mythic time, as a ceremonial event for the sake of one’s people. According to” The Horse, the Wheel, and Language,” by David W. Anthony, in Proto-Indo-European cultures there was a requirement that young boys being initiated into manhood had to go out into the wild to live as wolves and raid the enemies of their people, presumably for cattle and other livestock. In doing this, they were emulating the first raider, which Lincoln has called Trito, in the very first raid, thereby engaging in a ritualized act of religious plunder for the benefit of their tribe. Thus, the Trito character establishes the archetypal role and responsibilities of the non-royal, non-priestly warrior class of Indo-European cultures, whose great deed was to be emulated by his descendants.
However, we must be cautious that we don’t confuse the very worthy reconstruction myth which Lincoln has built for a historical tale itself. Lincoln has done great work in studying various myths of Indo-European descent, linking their common linguistic characteristics and themes, and unifying them into his “reconstruction” in the attempt to build the source of those surviving myths which share a common ancestry. The Trito cattle raid myth is not something which we know to have been told by Proto-Indo-European peoples, but it certainly does paint a convincing picture of what tale they might have told based on the various other bodies of myth that Lincoln studied, which he outlines in great detail in his essay.
And so we come full circle to the subject of this essay, to our chosen myth, the Cattle Raid for the Donn Cuailgne. We know that the cattle raid is a feature of many Indo-European myths, and we know that the Irish are a people of Indo-European descent. We know that the Irish used cattle as the basis for their economy and that Irish warriors raided their neighbors regularly with the sole purpose of stealing cattle. Such was the prevalence of transporting cattle in ancient Ireland that the modern Irish word for a road, bothar, is derived from a Proto-Celtic word which means “Cow’s Way.” But there’s another aspect of the symbolism in this tale of cattle theft worth considering: the relevance of color symbolism.
In “Light is Life, Dark is Death,” Georgios K. Giannakis argues that the portrayal of light and dark in Indo-European myth is typically used to convey an understanding of that people’s view of life and death. Like the essay’s title very neatly summarises, light colors represent life whereas dark colors represent death. The experience of being alive is often compared to being able to see, specifically to see the light of the sun, which is the source of all life on our planet. The dead, however, are defined by the fact that they are deprived of their ability to see the sun’s light. They live in a land of shadow, a dark land. The Greeks called the spirits of the dead “Shades,” and the blind prophet Teiresias asks Odysseus why he left the light of the sun to journey down into dim Hades. In “The Sacred Isle: Belief and Religion in Pre-Christian Ireland,” Dáithí Ó hÓgáin describes a belief in Ireland that the spirits of the dead passed away into the west at the exact moment that the sun was setting.
It may be a leap too far to say that this color symbolism illuminates the meaning of the opposing characteristics of our two magical bulls in the Táin Bó Cuailgne, the one being light and the other being dark. However, the two bulls are not explicitly referred to as being light and dark in the color of their hides. Finbennach means “White Horned,” not merely “White,” and Donn Cuailgne means “Dark or Brown of Cuailgne.” But in Thomas Kinsella’s translation of the text, the Donn Cuailgne is first referred to as “Dubh” when he is born into the body of a bull after having been a man. Dubh, in Irish, means “Black.” So, the color symbolism in the tale as it survives to us is ambiguous. We do not know if the bulls themselves were meant to represent Light and Darkness, White and Black, perhaps a kind of Yin and Yang, but we can assume that they are color-coded for a reason. If we agree with Giannakis’ assertion that Indo-European stories about Light and Dark are specifically intended to refer to Life and Death, then the myth of the bulls opens up for even further interpretation.
Although I have not discussed it here, we know that the events of the cattle raid for the Donn Cuailgne by the confederation of peoples united under Medb and Aillil resulted in great slaughter and the loss of countless lives. Many great champions were slain, including Ferdia, who was said to be the equal of Cúchulain in all things except for the use of Cúchulain’s magical spear. Ferdia died by this magical spear at Cúchulain’s hands after a contest in which both men were sorely tested, and Ireland lost a grand champion. Consider the fact the Cúchulain is often considered to be the greatest warrior this island has ever produced, perhaps the son of the multi-skilled god Lugh, and consider the fact that he was not the only one who possessed such skill. Ferdia was a great warrior, and his death was a significant loss for Ireland. As well as the many fine heroes like Ferdia who died in the raid, the entire Boy Troop of Ulster’s warriors were slain. The men of Ulster were a warlike society who lost an entire generation of warriors, their young sons, in the space of a single battle. The boys died because their fathers were in labor (long story) and so, rather than allow an invading force to march on unchallenged, the boys went out and fought in their fathers’ stead. The boys died, and their deaths were a tragic loss for Ulster and Ireland. When the Donn Cuailgne finally arrived home onto the Cuailgne peninsula, he lay waste to all the lands and slaughtered all the women, boys, and children of that land. Many innocent lives were ended by a single act of frenzy, and it was another great loss for the land of Ulster. And finally, the two bulls themselves, beasts unmatched in their prowess, with the potential to sire countless head of cattle of good stock for the benefit of their people for years to come. These two bulls, immeasurably valuable prizes to an Indo-European people’s culture, slew each other because they were caught up in a domestic dispute of pride. A great loss for Ireland.
This story is infused throughout with the themes of Life and Death. The Boy Troop of Ulster, the women and children of Cuailgne, the warriors of Ireland like Ferdia, these all represent life and the future and potential. Imagine if Ferdia and Cúchulain had united, as they had been when they were friends, and led the men and boys of Ulster and Connacht to launch an expansion beyond the borders of Ireland. Who could have stopped such heroes? But their lives were ended either by the Dark Bull directly or by others in the pursuit of that bull, and Ireland was thrown into a state of division and death for years to come. Perhaps it’s too much of a leap to say that the two opposing bulls are representations of death triumphing over life in wars that are born out of greed, but the more I think about it, the more this story speaks to me of this exact theme. Before Medb initiated her pursuit of the Dark Bull, there was life and potential in Ireland. It was a land full of heroes. Conversely, when the raid was over, after she gained her object of desire, there was so much death that it would have taken generations to recover.
So, this story is one of my very favorites and has been since I was taught it as a schoolboy. Of course, as a child, I thought it was just an entertaining story of war and magic and conflict, and my carefree boy’s heart was content. But now that I’m a man and have thought a little about what a man’s role in the world ought to be, I find that this tale opens up to me in ways my childish mind could never have understood. The pursuit of the Dark Bull leads to so much death and destruction that the damage could never truly be undone after no amount of mythic or historical time. All this destruction because of a woman’s pride and desire, which was so fierce that it could not be checked. Aillil tried to placate Medb’s greed, perhaps knowing where things would end up, but he was too weak to stop her. Fergus outright admitted that the raid was doomed from the very beginning, but he participated regardless, perhaps because as her lover he couldn’t resist Medb’s charms. Medb was a warrior Queen who took great pride in playing up to traditionally male characteristics such as pride, daring, greed, and the pursuit of glory in war. As a Queen, Medb may have been very effective, I cannot say, but as someone attempting to play the part of a King, Medb failed utterly, and many people suffered for it. Medb’s name has been said to mean “the Intoxicator,” because of a linguistic relation to the word for mead. It’s easy to see how she, like a strong intoxicating drink, lures men in with her sweetness, convinces them that a foul plan is a good one, and leaves them to suffer when the damage is done.
The role of the King is to bring protection and prosperity to his people. He is the link between his people and the divine. The King ought to bring down the blessings of the divine into himself, through his crown which is linked with the sun, and radiate those blessings outward to benefit his people. But the King, like Yemo in Lincoln’s reconstructed myth, must be both the sacrificer and the sacrifice for his people’s benefit. He must not sacrifice his people for his own benefit, as Medb does when she plays King, but rather he must give everything he has for their sake. This is the true and noble kingship as it ought to be, though it is so rarely the case in fact. The King’s will is law, as the law is derived from the King himself, and so Aillil fails as King when he allows himself to be bullied by his wife, just as Medb fails when she tries to act out the role of the King.
The common man today, like me and, probably, like you, cannot become a King. But every man can be Kingly in his acts. We should all strive to be regal in deed, if not regal in station. We must not give in to our pride, greed, ambition, and selfish desires at the expense of those who depend on us; our families, our children, our people, our colleagues. We must embrace the act of self-sacrifice so that others might benefit. To do this requires great strength and endurance. It requires that we suffer and strive but do not complain or cry off the task. We must tame our childish urges, our reckless and destructive desires, and cultivate those aspects of ourselves which are life-affirming, which enable us and those we care about to see the light of the sun, perhaps to take the light into themselves, so that our children, our Tuath, our people, whoever they are, might carry on the sun’s light into the future and bestow it on the next generation. This is how progress is made, not by retarding the advancement of the strong and noble so that the lame and unwilling might catch up, but by following the example of those who show us the true path, the path which orients and advances us towards the light of the sun. Doubt and division lead to uncertainty and darkness which, according to Indo-European tradition, is the very essence of death.
This is a tale that speaks of a great many things; Life and Death, War and Peace, Honor and Pride, Men and Women, Kings and Non-Kings, Light and Dark. Two pig-keepers engage in a contest of honor, which escalates into an inter-tribal conflict of greed, which leads to the loss of many valuable lives and widespread death throughout the land, and thus calls into question the behavior of some very unworthy monarchs. All wrapped up in a simple story about the theft of a cow. Yet this simple story speaks to us from out of the dim misty ages of antiquity about the very nature of our culture as inheritors of the great Indo-European legacy.
If you found this article interesting, consider checking out my book “Unchaining The Titan” for many more essays, which also analyze old myths and make them relevant to modern life. Click this link to learn more about how the old tales can improve your life.
• “Aryan Cows,” by Tom Rowsell – https://youtu.be/BS4D95ejpl0
• “The Indo-European Cattle Myth,” by Bruce Lincoln – https://www.jstor.org/stable/1062296?read-now=1&refreqid=excelsior%3Afdff7f28067b538c37236a423221bd25&seq=12#page_scan_tab_contents
• “An Táin,” translated by Thomas Kinsella
• “Cuchulain of Muirthemne,” by Lady Gregory
• “The Horse, the Wheel, and Language…”, by David W. Anthony
• “Light is Life, Dark is Death,” by Georgios K. Giannakis – http://22.214.171.124/jspui/bitstream/123456789/6414/1/5.%20Light%20is%20Life%2C%20Dark%20is%20Death.pdf
• “The Sacred Isle: Belief and Religion in Pre-Christian Ireland,” by Dáithí Ó hÓgáin