CAHSS Faculty Articles

Title

Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh as Lover and Tragic Hero

Department

Department of Literature and Modern Languages

Publication Date

1983

Publication Title

Béaloideas

ISSN

0332-270X

Volume

51

First Page

11

Last Page

30

Abstract

In the several versions of the folktale, Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh possesses a ball seirce, or 'love spot', which causes women to fall in love with him. As Dáithí Ó hÓgáin has pointed out, this tradition links Cearbhall with such figures as Diarmaid Ó Duibhne, the hero of the Early Modern Irish romance, Tóruigheacht Dhiarmada agus Ghráinne [TDG] ('The Pursuit of Dhiarmaid and Gráinne').1 In TDG, Diarmaid is described as: 'the white-toothed, bright-countenanced,...the best beloved of women and maidens in the whole of Ireland.'2 In the 17th-century tale, Eachtra Lomnochtáin an tSéibhe Riffe ('The Adventure with the Naked Savage from the Riffe Mountains'), he is referred to as 'Diarmaid na mBan' ('of the women'), an epithet also frequently applied to him in Irish folk tradition. The same epithet is applied to Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh in the headnotes to several manuscripts of the poem beginning, 'Im leaba araoir do shileas féin ag teacht.'3

ORCID ID

0000-0002-4966-1251

DOI

10.2307/20522210

Peer Reviewed

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