Manannán mac Lir

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{god, call, give}
{son, year, death}
{language, word, form}
{island, water, area}
{war, force, army}
{land, century, early}

Manannán mac Lir is a sea deity in Irish mythology. He is the son of the obscure Lir (in Irish the name is "Lear", meaning "Sea"; "Lir" is the genitive form of the word). He is often seen as a psychopomp, and has strong affiliations with the Otherworld, the weather and the mists between the worlds. He is usually associated with the Tuatha Dé Danann, although most scholars consider him to be of an older race of deities. Manannán figures widely in Irish literature, and appears also in Scottish and Manx legend. He is cognate with the Welsh figure Manawydan fab Llŷr.

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In mythology and folklore

Manannán appears in many Celtic myths and tales, although he only plays a prominent role in some of them.

In the tale "His Three Calls to Cormac", Manannán tempts the Irish King Cormac mac Airt with treasure in exchange for his family. Cormac is led into the Otherworld and taught a harsh lesson by Manannán, but in the end his wife and children are restored to him. Also, Manannán rewards him with a magic cup which breaks if three lies are spoken over it and is made whole again if three truths are spoken.[1]

The tale "Manannan at Play" features the god as a clown and beggar who turns out to be a harper. Manannán, here in his trickster guise, plays a number of pranks, some of which resulting in serious trouble; by the end of the tale, he compensates for the pranks that got him in trouble.[2]

In the Ulster Cycle tale, Serglige Con Culainn ("The Sickbed of Cúchulainn") Manannán's wife, Fand, has an ill-fated affair with the Irish warrior Cúchulainn. When Fand sees that Cúchulainn's jealous wife, Emer is worthy of him (and accompanied by a troop of armed women), she decides to return to Manannán, who then shakes his magical cloak of mists between Fand and Cúchulainn so that they may never meet again.[3][4]

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