Lugh (also Lug, Luga) was among the most necessary Celtic gods, an especially in Ireland, and he stood for the sun and also light. Although originating together an all-wise and also all-seeing deity, Lugh was later on thought of as a historic figure, good warrior, and Irish social hero. Lugh often has an epithet such together Lugh Lámfada (or Lámfhota), definition long-armed or "of the long hand", which describes his prowess through throwing weapons, or Lugh Samildánach, definition "skilled in many arts and crafts". The is a prominent number in countless stories in irish mythology whereby he leads the Tuatha Dé Danann gyeongju to victory versus the seafaring Fomorians in ~ the fight of Mag Tuired. Lugh kills one-eyed Balor through his magic spear or sling and so develops a 40-year power of peace and prosperity. Lugh is similar in many ways to the Celtic god Lugus, the figure the Romans described as Gaulish Mercury.

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Names & Skills

The god Lugh"s name means "light" and also "brightness". His common epithets room Lugh Samildánach ("skilled in the arts, crafts, and also trades") and Lug Lámfada, Lámfhada, Lámhfhada or Lámfhota ("long-armed" or "long-handed"). The god"s most usual epithet that "long-armed" refers to his capacity to either litter a spear or a slingshot a very an excellent distance. Not only a great warrior, Lugh may have actually been taken into consideration a fili, that is a seer, diviner, and poet. This multi-skills make Lugh very comparable to the deity the Romans explained (without providing the aboriginal name) as Gaulish Mercury, now well-known to be referred to as as Lugos or Lugus through the Celts. The is additionally the equivalent of the Welsh hero Lleu Llaw Gyffes. In art, Lugh is practically always presented together a youthful and handsome athlete, and he regularly carries his well known spear called Gáe Assail.

Family & Descendants

Lugh is one of the three most necessary heroes in irish mythology. His mom is Eithne, the daughter the Balor (aka Balar), leader that the Fomorians (see below) and so the is sometimes called Lug mac Ethnenn. His dad is Cian, the kid of the healing god Dian Cécht. Lugh was born at the same time as two siblings, however these died shortly after the birth, probably explaining Lugh"s particularly powers as he was, in effect, three people, not one. In an additional version of the events, the deaths that the other two babies - this time by drown - is placed down come Balor who fears a prophecy that he will be eliminated by his grandson. However, in yet other versions, Lugh does have a sister, Ébliu.

Lugh"s foster mommy is Tailtiu, mam of the critical Fir Bolg king, Eochaid mac Eirc. In other versions, his foster-mother is the old queen Duach. Lugh"s foster-father is occasionally Manannán mac Lir, the main Irish-Celtic sea god, that teaches Lugh many skills. Alternatively, his foster-father is Goibniu, the god that smiths and also manufacturer of great weapons (including Lugh"s mighty spear), or Eochaid, the god the lightning and also the horseman of the heavens. The combination of all these figures with Lugh defines his plenty of varied powers and skills.

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The Fomorians by john Duncan
John Duncan (Public Domain)

Lugh"s wives room variously offered as Bui, Nás, Echtach, or Énglic, return in some resources he has actually all four. The Luigni, an ancient tribe inhabiting what is this particular day County Meath and County Sligo in the phibìc of Ireland, considered themselves descendants of Lugh, even if in countless sources he has actually no children. When he does have actually a son, the is Cú Chulainn, the good hero that the epos Ulster Cycle, whose mother is Deichtine. Deichtine either swallows a miniaturised version of Lugh while drink a cup the water or dreams of the god so the she miraculously becomes pregnant v Cú Chulainn. Finally, Lugh has s a faithful dog, Failinis.

The Tuatha Dé Danann

Lugh is the chef of the pre-Christian irish gods or superordinary race well-known as the Tuatha Dé Danann who brought facets of world in the Irish supernatural Cycle. Lugh"s story principally derives from the Cath Maige Tuired (aka The battle of Mag Tuired), an 11th-century CE text which collated previously sources. This text tells the story, prior to Lugh is born, of the intrusion of Ireland by the Tuatha Dé Danann who space victorious against the current inhabitants, the Fir Bolg at Mac Tuired, a plain in Connacht in northwest Ireland. The beat Fir Bolg then disperse to far islands and to Scotland.

Another fight at the exact same place complies with 27 years later, this time between the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Fomorians, who space either semi-divine us or demonic pirates relying on which resource one consults. In spite of being fierce fighters through a fearsome facet - they have actually one arm, one leg, and one eye in some versions - the Fomorians are beat by the Tuatha Dé Danann. Before the battle, the two teams had been at peace and also even intermarried so that Lugh is born the nephew of a Fomorian. It is Lugh that played the decisive role in the 2nd Battle that Mag Tuired.

First, to become the chef of the Tuatha Dé Danann, Lugh had actually to current his credentials come the present king, Nuadu, who has a mechanically silver eight which some think about a handicap that provides him unfit to be ruler. Lugh informs the king the he is multi-skilled since he has actually the ability of a carpenter, smith, physician, warrior, sorcerer, and historian, amongst many others. Lugh impresses the court through his strength by throw a vast flagstone and with his skill at play the harp. Lugh climate defeats Nuadu, and also anyone else who cares come play, in a board-game called fidchell - a contempt unfair match since Lugh was attributed with inventing it - and so he becomes the king.

In the fight with the Fomorians, Lugh offers his sorcery an abilities to offer his army special weapons and also the powers of magic. Lugh"s own spear, Gáe Assail, was fairly special since it always hit its target and could go back to his hand top top command. The spear was claimed to be so fearsome the it had to be kept in a cauldron that water throughout peacetime lest it collection its next site aflame.


Lugh end up fighting his own grandfather, Balor or the angry Eye. Balor has one large eye and also his eyelid is so hefty that the requires 4 men come lift it. If enemies ever look straight at the eye, climate they are rendered powerless. Lugh provides his mighty sling eight to fight his grand in the eye i beg your pardon then transforms backwards in his head (or simply falls to the ground). The consequence of this is that the Fomorians come to be the victims of bad luck and so lose the war. In other versions, Lugh blinds Balor through his spear or lops turn off his head and also puts the on a pole so that the eye shines top top the Fomorians and also makes them basic to defeat. The Fomorians space then driven back to whereby they come from: the sea. Lugh goes on to dominion his new kingdom for 40 years with which time the cows always give many of milk and also the harvests are always bountiful.


Lugh is connected in other minor illustration such as his vengeance top top the murderers the his dad Cian. The killers space Brian, Iuchair, and also Iucharba, 3 sons that Tuireann. Lugh discovers his father"s crushed body, and also the earth approximately it speak of his fate and also who did this destructive deed. Lugh to adjust the 3 killers a series of impossible tasks, and two of them dice in a battle while Brian is eliminated by Lugh. That is from this trio and their great labours that Lugh acquires his miracle spear and also his dog Failinis.

Lugh then himself becomes the victim that a trio the brothers. Lugh"s mam (here unnamed) was as soon as unfaithful through Cermait, son of the Dagda, the good all-embracing warrior god. In his fury, Lugh killed Cermait, yet his three magnificent sons Mac Cuill, Mac Cécht, and Mac Gréine seek revenge. Lugh is hunted down close to the hill the Uisnech in main Ireland yet escapes just to cancel in surrounding Loch Lugborta. Lugh"s body is recovered, and also he is buried beneath a cairn on the shores the the loch. Other versions point out multiple candidates for Lugh"s tomb, notably at Newgrange (Brug na Bóinne) in ar Meath. The 3 murdering brothers, meanwhile, divide Ireland between themselves.


Legacy: Lughnasa & Beyond

Lugh offered his surname to the vital festival held each very first day of august in Ireland, Lughnasa (or Lughnasadh). Linked to the beginning of the harvest, the festival was likewise celebrated in other Celtic cultures but went by other names. In the ireland version, Lugh dedicates the festival to his foster-mother Tailtiu as component of she funeral ceremony. Besides celebrating the ripening of grain and maturing the potatoes, the chance was marked by equine races, weapons contests, and other sports. Adherents often climbed hills where they gathered berries and also said prayers.

Lugh"s name additionally lived on in plenty of place names in Europe, especially Roman negotiations such as Lugdunum (Lyon) in France and Luguvallium (Carlisle) in the unified Kingdom. The was, too, the beginning of the name Lugaid, i m sorry was adopted by numerous heroic figures in later Irish history. Such to be his wide appeal, Lugh was even embraced by beforehand Christian writers who changed him into the archangel Michael. Lugh"s stature lessened over time till he was at some point transformed into Lugh-chromain, meaning "stooping Lugh" as he now occupied the underground human being of sidh wherein all the various other gods were relegated to together the people forgot your traditions and also embraced brand-new religions. From there, Lugh became "leprechaun", the diminutive fairy-goblin that guards covert treasure in ireland folklore.

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Mark is a background writer based in Italy. His one-of-a-kind interests encompass pottery, architecture, civilization mythology and also discovering the ideas that all civilizations share in common. That holds one MA in politics Philosophy and is the publishing Director in ~ WHE.