According to the story Comracc Liadain i Cuirithir, which dates to the 9th century, Liadain of Corkaguiney was an Irish woman poet on a tour into the territory of the inhabitants of Connacht when she met Cuirithir mac Doborchu, a poet native to the area.
Cuirithir proposed to her at an ale-feast, asking "Why do we not make a union, o Liadain? Brilliant would be our son whom you would beget." Liadain replied "Let us not do so, so that my tour is not spoiled for me. If you might come for me again, to my house, I shall come with you." They slept together that night, and parted the following day.
However, before she and Cuirithir met again, Liadain became a nun. It is uncertain if this is a conflict between love and religion [or if] Liadain postpones the marriage to Cuirithir because of her professional interests as a travelling poetess.
The couple seek the spiritual aid of St. Cummine (Cumméne Fota. However Cuirithir breaks the vow of chastity and is banished to another monastery by Cummine, being also forced to renounce his love of Liadain. He later crosses the sea while Liadain endures penance and prayer before dying of a broken heart.
Cuirithir and Laidain are believed to have been historical figures alive in 7th-century Ireland, and the basic facts of the story are believed to be true.
Translation of part of the tale, as told by Liadain:
- No pleasure
- in deed done to loving-one;
- tormenting without measure.
- What madness
- not to give him happiness,
- though fear of God feed sadness.
- No ruin,
- his affair desirable
- through pain heaven pursuing.
- Cause slender
- through me troubled Cuirithir,
- though I was gentle, tender.
- I'm Liadan;
- it is I loved Cuirithir;
- truly, though said by heathen.
- Brief hour
- together with Cuirithir;
- our closeness then a dower.
- Woods singing
to me beside Cuirithir with somber sea-sounds dinning.
- I wonder
- it would trouble Cuirithir,
- any deal made asunder.
- No hiding:
- he was my heart's true lover,
- though I loved all beside him.
- Flames flowing
burst my heart, now desperate, dead without him - this knowing. No.
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