Tailtiu

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{son, year, death}
{god, call, give}
{language, word, form}
{land, century, early}
{day, year, event}
{town, population, incorporate}
{mi², represent, 1st}
{game, team, player}

Tailtiu (Old Irish pronunciation: [ˈtalʲtʲu]; also written Tailltiu, Taillte) is the name of a presumed goddess from Irish mythology. Telltown (also known as Taillten) in County Meath, was named for her.

In Irish mythology

According to the Book of Invasions, Tailtiu was the daughter of the king of Spain and the wife of Eochaid mac Eirc, last Fir Bolg High King of Ireland, who named his capital after her (Telltown, between Navan and Kells). She survived the invasion of the Tuatha Dé Danann and became the foster mother of Lugh.[1]

Tailtiu is said to have died of exhaustion after clearing the plains of Ireland for agriculture. Lugh established a harvest festival and funeral games, Áenach Tailteann, in her honour, which continued to be celebrated as late as the 18th century.[1]

In Irish history

The first Áenach Tailteann, later the Taillten Fair, was held at Telltown. Historically, the Áenach Tailteann was a time for contests of strength and skill, and a favored time for contracting marriages and winter lodgings. A peace was declared at the festival, and religious celebrations were also held. Aspects of the festival survive in the celebrations of Lughnasadh, and were revived as the Telltown Games for a period in the twentieth century.[1]

A similar Lughnasadh festival was held at Carmun (whose exact location is under dispute). Carmun is also believed to have been a goddess of the Celts, perhaps one with a similar story as Tailtiu.[1]

In historical times the town of Tailtiu was where the principal assembly of the early Uí Néill dynasties was held.

From the Locus Project at CELT, Tailte had one or two raths [residence(s)] in Munster:

  • ráith canann: a ráith of queen Tailte, LL 201; cf. Rathcannon tl., Co. Limerick
  • ráith con: rath of queen Tailte, LL 201; in Tuath Tailten, UM 165b, Lec. 514, Stowe D ii 2, 656; cf. Rathcon, in dry. and d. Cashel, Tax

Rathcanann and Rath Con may or may not be identical.

References



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