Fráech

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Fráech (Fróech, Fraích, Fraoch) is a Connacht hero in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology. He is the nephew of Boann, goddess of the river Boyne, and son of Idath of the men of Connaught and Befind of the sidhe[1], and is renowned for his handsomeness.[2] He belongs to the Fir Domnann.

He seduces Findabair, daughter of Ailill and Medb. When he refuses to pay an exorbitant bride-price for her, however, her parents send the unsuspecting young man on an errand near the dwelling place of a water monster (often referred to as a dragon[3]). He slays the monster with the help of Findabair, but is himself severely wounded. A hundred and fifty maidens of the Sidhe, all dressed in green, carry him off and bear him back the following morning, fully healed. Fráech is then sent to retrieve a ring from the belly of a salmon.[3] He then agrees to fight for Medb against the Ulstermen in the Táin Bó Cuailnge (Cattle Raid of Cooley).[2]

When his cattle are stolen and his wife abducted, Fráech tracks them down to the Alps and recovers them with the help of Conall Cernach.[2]

In the Táin Bó Cuailnge, he is drowned in a river in single combat with Cúchulainn. His body is borne away by a hundred and fifty maidens of the Sidhe, all dressed in green.[4]

Entrance into the souterain Oweynagcat - the cave of Cruachan. The inside of the lintel stone has the ogham inscription

The mound of Carnfree (Irish Carn Fraoich, Fráech's Cairn) near Tulsk in County Roscommon, which was used for the inauguration of the O'Connor kings of Connacht, preserves his name. The cave of Cruachan (Oweynagat meaning "cave of the cats") nearby contains an ogham inscription in primitive Irish reading VRACCI MAQI MEDVVI, (the cave) of Fráech son of Medb.[5]

Fraoch is also the celtic name of heather.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.maryjones.us/ctexts/fraech.html
  2. ^ a b c Táin Bó Fraích. English translation from Heroic Romances of Ireland vol. II. trans. and ed. by A.H. Leahy. London: David Nutt, 1906. Cf. also Old Irish version from the Corpus of Electronic Texts.
  3. ^ a b Matson, Gienna: Celtic Mythology A to Z, page 56. Chelsea House, 2004. ISBN 978-1-60413-413-1
  4. ^ Táin Bó Cuailnge. English translation of Recension 1 from Corpus of Electronic Texts.
  5. ^ Titus Oghamica Database