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bruiden


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The Old and Modern Irish forms of this word signify different meanings. Bruiden, bruidne (pl.) may denote a hostel, large banqueting hall, or a house or mansion, which may or may not imply the Otherworld. A second Old Irish word, bruiden, almost certainly the same as the first, means ‘fight, contest, or quarrel’. The ModIr. bruidhean, bruidnea (pl.) and ScG Bruighean are often used to denote the residence of the fairies, but they may also means ‘hostel, caravanserai; castle or royal residence’. Anne Ross has asserted that the fear associated with the bruiden/bruidhean/bruighean may derive from the burning of human sacrifices in wickerwork images in pre-Christian times. See the following entries using bruiden/bruidhean in titles of Irish narratives as well as Togail Bruidne Da Derga and Mesca Ulad. See also BRUIG.

There were, in different narratives, five or six bruidne in early Ireland, including: (1) Of Da Derga among the men of Cualu in Leinster; it is usually placed along the River Dodder in Co. Dublin but is also identified with ruins at Stackallan Bridge, Co. Meath, in the Boyne valley. See TOGAIL BRUIDNE DA DERGA. (2) Of Forgall Manach beside Lusk, north of Dublin. (3) Of Da Réo in Bréifne; also known as Bruiden Mic Cecht Da Réo. (4) Of Da Choca or Choga at Breenmore Hill, near Athlone, Co. Westmeath, where Cormac met his death in Togail Bruidne Da Choca [The Destruction of Da Choca's Hostel]. (5) Of Mac Da Thó after the character in Scéla Mucce meic Da Thó [The Story of Mac Da Thó's Pig]. In the latter we read a description of the bruiden: ‘There were seven doors in each hall, seven roads through it, and seven fireplaces therein. There were seven cauldrons, with an ox and a salted pig in each. The person who came that way would thrust the fleshfork into the cauldron, and whatever he obtained with the first thrust he ate, and if he did not obtain anything with the first thrust he ate nothing’.

(1) Of Da Derga among the men of Cualu in Leinster; it is usually placed along the River Dodder in Co. Dublin but is also identified with ruins at Stackallan Bridge, Co. Meath, in the Boyne valley. See TOGAIL BRUIDNE DA DERGA. (2) Of Forgall Manach beside Lusk, north of Dublin. (3) Of Da Réo in Bréifne; also known as Bruiden Mic Cecht Da Réo. (4) Of Da Choca or Choga at Breenmore Hill, near Athlone, Co. Westmeath, where Cormac met his death in Togail Bruidne Da Choca [The Destruction of Da Choca's Hostel]. (5) Of Mac Da Thó after the character in Scéla Mucce meic Da Thó [The Story of Mac Da Thó's Pig]


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