Dr Elizabeth Baldwin, independent researcher

The literature of Ireland is the oldest non-classical literature in Europe. It provides a window on Celtic life in a country which, because it never came under the control of the Roman Empire, preserved the traditional warrior society much longer than other Celtic areas. This course will look at texts from the Irish Heroic Age which clustered around its central epic, the Táin Bó Cúailnge, or Cattle-Raid of Cooley, and the heroic and doomed figure of Cúchulainn, the great Ulster hero.



  1. The provinces and Irish culture: The Story of Mac Da Thó’s Pig, Bricriu’s Feast
  2. Stories related to the Táin: The Pangs of Ulster, The Exile of the Sons of Uisliu, How the Bulls Were Begotten
  3. The Ulster superhero: How Cúchulainn Was Begotten, The Boyhood Deeds, The Courtship of Emer and Cúchulainn’s Training with Scáthath, The Death of Aife’s One Son
  4. Táin Bó Cuailnge: how it started
  5. Táin Bó Cuailnge: single combats, conflicting loyalties, and how it ended


Recommended reading

Gantz, J. (translator). 1981. Early Irish Myths and Sagas. London: Penguin.

Kinsella, T. (translator).1970. The Tain from the Irish epic Táin Bó Cuailnge. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Date: 15–19 January     Venue: LT2, Kramer Law Building
Time: 9.15 am
COURSE  FEES  Full: R510,00  Staff: R255,00  Reduced: R130,00