From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Mugain, daughter of Eochaid Feidlech, (Irish: Mugain Etanchaitrech ingen Echach Feidlig) (sugg. pron. /Moógen Ait-en-hai-rech/ (Leahy)[1]; mod. pron. /MOO-in/[citation needed]), is a legendary queen in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology; characterized as the "Strumpet wife of Conchobar mac Nessa",[2] the king of Ulster. Also styled Mumain, she bore him a son named Glaisne.[3] She was also a sister of Medb by paternity.

Her epithet, Aitinchairchech, literally means "having gorse-like body hair",[4] or perhaps more specifically pubic hair.[5][6]

When Cúchulainn returned to Emain Macha after his first foray, his fury was so great the Ulstermen feared he would destroy them. Mugain led her maidens out, and they bared their breasts in front of him. Cúchulainn averted his eyes, and the Ulstermen were able to wrestle him into a barrel of cold water, which exploded from the heat of his body.[7] They put him in a second barrel, and the water boiled; and finally a third barrel, which merely warmed up to a pleasant temperature.

Her affair with Áed, Conchobar's poet, led to the death of Lóegaire Búadach.[8] The Ulstermen took her life, out of the love of her, though they seldom engaged in femicide.[9]



  1. ^ Leahy, Courtship of Ferb, pronunciation guide, p.xxvi
  2. ^ Mackillop, Dict. of Celtic Mythology, under "Mugin(2)"
  3. ^ Cath Boinde. O'Neill ed. tr.
  4. ^ caithir "hair (except that of the head), body-hair (DIL)" + aitenn "furze; gorse (DIL)" (cf. caithrech)
  5. ^ Meyer, Contribb. to Irish Lex. (1906), cathrech "(1) hairy about the pudenda"; aittenda "furzy"
  6. ^ R. Thurneysen (1921), p.93: '"Um König Conchobor,.., und als dessen Frau meist Mugain Aitenc(h)aithrech („mit den Ginster- Schamhaaren")'
  7. ^ TBC, "Boyhood Deeds of Cuchulainn", Kinsella tr., p.92
  8. ^ Aided Lóegairi (see primary sources)
  9. ^ "The host of Emania, the host of Ulster, Have never committed woman-slaughter, Excepting in the case of Mughain, through love of her, And the hateful, but illustrious Medhbh." (The Banquet of Dun na n-Gedh, inserted verse, O'Donovan ed., p.213)

Primary Sources[edit]

  • Joseph O'Neill, "Cath Boinde", Ériu 2 (1905), pp. 173-185
  • Tochmarc Ferbe (remscél to the TBC)
    • Windisch ed., tr.(German), "Tochmarc Ferbe", Irische Texte III/2, 1897, pp. 445–556
    • Leahy, A. H. tr., The courtship of Ferbe, (ills. by Caroline Watts), David Nutt, London 1902 pp. XXXII + 102, (p.xxvi pron. guide; appears in p. 12). From Windisch's tr., IArchive
  • Macgnimrada Conculainn “The boyhood deeds of Cú Chulainn” (this remscél is incorporated into TBC proper)
    • Kinsella, tr., chapter headed "Cúchulainn's Boyhood Deeds", The Táin (1969), pp. 76–92; (Mugain appears on p. 92)
  • Aided Loegairi
    • Meyer, Kuno, ed., tr. “The Death of Lóegaire Búadach" in: The Death-Tales of the Ulster Heroes,Todd Lecture Series 14 (1906)

Secondary Sources[edit]

  • Thurneysen, R., Irische Helden- und Konigsage (Halle, 1921), p. 93
  • Quiggin, A Dialect of Donegal (1906) wikisource