Dún Dealgan, Home of Cuchulainn

Living on the edge of Táin territory, Dún Dealgan is a place I’ve long wanted to visit. A couple of weeks ago, I got my chance, as I was writing a piece about his long-suffering wife, Emer.

If this was where Cuchulainn was based during his heroic escapades of the Cattle Raid of Cooley, this is where he must have brought her after they were married, although it seems from the tales that she spent much of her time at the ‘Royal Site’ of Emain Macha.

Dún Dealgan means ‘the stronghold of Dalgan’ in Irish. According to legend, long before it became the home of Ulster’s hero, Cuchulainn, it was originally the site of a fortress constructed by a Fir Bolg chieftain by the name of Delga.

This legendary and historic site is situated on a ridge just outside of Dundalk, overlooking the Castletown River, known also as Abhainn Chaisleán Dhún. It is a lovely location with a fine view of the surrounding rolling countryside, and would have served well as a defensive structure.

Approaching the site, you have to step over a stone stile (I do love stone stiles!), and gravitate along a path which winds up through trees around the side of the motte. This is a pleasant walk which allows those stunning views over the landscape whilst at the same time showing just how deep the ditch is.

Dún Dealgan, a drawing by Thomas Wright, 1758.

Dún Dealgan, a drawing by Thomas Wright, 1758.

The mound itself rises to 10m high. As the path curves to the right, it opens out into a wide flat circular enclosure surrounded by an earthen bank.

After the Anglo-Norman invasion, a motte and bailey (earthern mound crowned with a wooden palisade) was constructed on the site by Bertram III de Verdun during the mid twelfth century. In 1210, it was appropriated for a time by Hugh de Lacy, 1st Earl of Ulster, and then abandoned.

The tower, known as ‘Byrne’s Folly’, which is still standing today was built by a local landowner named Patrick Byrne. He was quite a character by all accounts, as he was reputed to have made his fortune by smuggling. Sadly, his legacy was partially destroyed during the 1798 Rebellion.

The structure was rebuilt as a country home in 1850 by Thomas Vesey Dawson, but soon fell into disrepair, and was further damaged following the 1916 Rising.

Today, it is evident that the local community take great pride in this monument; other than some graffiti on a few of the lovely old trees in the ditch surrounding the site, it is well looked after, and the grounds are very well kept.

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10 Comments on “Dún Dealgan, Home of Cuchulainn

  1. Fascinating place, and packed with history and/or legend. I love how Ireland looks after these places with a light touch so that visitors feel like they’re discovering it anew.

    John, as to Scrivener I used it for a couple of books but have given up the battle, retreating to Word which I mostly understand 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agreed, Roy. They do feel like new discoveries every time you find one. The light touch, yes, that’s it… undeveloped, not commercialised into a fake packaged product, it still has its old magic.

      I’m with you re Scrivenor. Word does what I need it to. 😊


    • Thanks for the feedback Re. Scrivener Roy. to be honest I would not be able to use it with any efficiency only for that online course that I still have access too. I do like it..so far… however, technologies can become a master rather that a servant, in the sense that the take up valuable time and it becomes more about the tool than the craft..perhaps there is that danger with scrivener. again thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. we have such a rich tapestry of history & folklore to write about. that can possibly mixed with the contemporary to put a new twist on an old tail…perhaps….out of curiosity do you use scrivener?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi John, I love the old tales but enjoy seeing them used in a contemporary context too. Many writers are pulling on world mythologies for inspiration these days, which is interesting to see. 😊 In answer to your question, no, I don’t. Too many gimmicks I found I never used. Perhaps I’m old fashioned, but I just like a nice clean page with no distractions when I’m writing. 😄

      Liked by 1 person

      • i believe the contemporary can be mixed with the old, im thinking in terms of stories from this are regarding fairy lights, (I suppose people call them orbs these days) so there is potential there. lots of sightings here down through the years. i see your point regarding writers using world mythologies for inspiration. i suppose that’s the think..one can use almost anything for inspiration, and a vivid imagination is also essential.

        Yes, Scrivener has a lot of bells and whistles which can be a distraction. they don’t do themselves any favours with their instructions! But having said that i do see the potential for their product, its affordable and useful as everything including research is in the one area ..if you like. i did some online tutorials with Scrivener unleashed which were very useful and affordable too. i can still log in and look at how he uses it if needs be, it does not appear to have a time limit.

        Anyway im not trying to sell you something, i was just curious to know are there many people using it. spelling lessons would be more useful for me..lol

        i enjoy your blog, take care.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I know a lot of people who use it and love it! I guess it just takes some getting used to. Do you follow Circle Stories on Facebook? David has many posts you might find interesting. I went to one of his talks recently which was about contact or encounters with the fairy folk, many involving lights, or orbs. 😊


          • Thanks Ali, i must get back on facebook and take a look at circle of stones. it sounds like something i would be interested in. also i must do some research on fairy folklore in this area. i have heard of sightings from people who swear they seen them. (orbs & fairies) i did see what i perceived as an orb once years back…who knows. if it was nowadays i would say it was someone with a LED flashlight. i have been out late alone working loads of nights and never seen anything..but on three occasions in my life i have had ‘soft encounters’ with the supernatural or unexplained none of them were what i would call bad or frightening.

            was it budda who said ‘do no harm’ That’s all we can strive to do.
            oh and thanks for the feedback on Scrivener. and perhaps you’re right, word is more than adequate for most projects. im playing around with Evernote too. ‘l probably get tired of these two programs and delete them..lol
            Take care.


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