Cú Chulainn

My informant is a 23 year old student who is heavily interested in mythology and myths of other cultures.

“Okay, so the big bad of Irish mythology is a guy called Cú Chulainn, and he is the Irish equivalent of Hercules. He actually shares a lot of similarities with Hercules too. Um, first off, he’s a demigod. I can’t remember the name of the Irish god that he was born to. But, kind of like Jesus, he’s considered the son of the god while at the same time kind of being an incarnation of him. Anyway, so, he’s a half-god. Um, he was born Setanta, I think is his … born-name. But, um, he became known as Cú Chulainn because he killed the dog – the guard-dog of a king called Chulainn. Cú means hound. So he became known as the hound of Chulainn because, like, by his young honor – ‘cause he was only like, toddler or something at the time – he’s like ‘I’ll replace your guard-dog for you until you get a new one.’ And so he became known as the hound of Chulainn because he spent like ten years of his life guarding that king… as like, a child, essentially. But um, kind of like Hercules also, he can go into a mad rage. Like Hercules is cursed by Hera and when he went into a mad rage he killed his wife and children. That’s a big aspect of the Herculean mythology. But um, Cú Chulainn goes into, like, a madness that’s known as “warp spasm” – and it’s such a weird fucking name for it. The, ‘cause it’s an Irish word and there’s not like a perfect translation in English. So, warp spasm, where he kind of – he Hulks out – he turns into literally a giant, muscly beast, and fucking kills everything around him, like a boss. Um, which he used that ability in like – his biggest thing was that he single-handedly fought off an entire invading army. Like um, I mean this is Irish mythology, so it’d be like, it’d be a couple hundred to a few hundred men. That’s still, like single-handedly fighting off an army. So, yeah, that’s Cú Chulainn. He’s the big… uh, hero. He’d be equivalent to, like, uh – Hercules is the biggest equivalency that you can see. Um also, another good example of an equivalent would be Roland for French mythology, or Lancelot for English mythology. He’s the big hero.”


In his own words, the informant explains why this mythology is important to him: “My knowledge of Irish folklore is important because although I’m not mainly ethnically Irish, I am partly. Ireland also has one of the most unique european mythologies due to their relative isolation.”

He learned this myth through research of his own volition.


My informant uses this mythology to connect himself to the culture he partly grew up in. His grandmother is completely Irish and tried to impart certain traditions and my informant and his relatives. He uses this folklore to further connect back to his ethnicity and he is heavily intrigued by mythologies of all kinds.


More on this myth can be found here.