CAHSS Faculty Articles

Title

Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh as Craftsman and Trickster

Department

Department of Literature and Modern Languages

Publication Date

1982

Publication Title

Béaloideas

ISSN

0332-270X

Volume

50

Issue/No.

1982

First Page

54

Last Page

89

Abstract

In the romance, Bás Chearbhaill agus Farbhlaidhe [BCF] ('The Death of Cearbhall and Fearbhlaidh'), because of his harp-playing, of Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh is called ioldánach ('many skilled'), the same epithet used for the god Lugh.1 In two poems by Pádraigín Haicéad written c. 1630, another Cearbhall possibly from Co. Wexford, is described as a poet, magincian, smith, fuller, fool, and weaver.2 In folk tradition, Cearbhall possesses a multitude of talents, appearing at various times as a fisherman, cowherd, poet and singer, harpist and piper, comb-, sieve- and basket-maker, shoemaker, weaver, tailor, smith, mason, carpenter, cooper, shipwright, bridgebuilder, saddle-maker, hurling- and backgammon-player, fuller, fool, lover, physician, scribe, sailor and soldier. Moreover, Cearbhall is often depicted as a trickster within those roles, and it is undoubtedly this aspect of Cearbhall's persona which led Proinsias MacCana to describe the Cearbhall who figures in BCF as 'the legendary poet, lover and trickster figure'.3

ORCID ID

0000-0002-4966-1251

DOI

10.2307/20522186

Peer Reviewed

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