The Last Act

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  • Táin Bó Cúailnge: The Cattle Raid of Cooley

The Fate of the Bulls

On the journey back to Connacht, the Donn Cuailnge, or brown bull, met Ailill's famous Finnbennach, or white bull, on a hill called Tarbga, the place of 'bull-grief'.

The people chose a man called Bricriu to judge the fight between the two bulls, because he was seen to be no fairer to his friend than to his enemy. The bulls pawed the ground, their eyes blazing in their heads like fire and their cheeks and nostrils swelling. When they charged, their hooves trampled Bricriu, who met his end.

The two great animals engaged in a brutal fight, which lasted all day and all night. In the morning, the men of Ireland saw Donn Cuailnge going towards his own land with the mangled remains of Finnbennach hanging from his horns.

For two days, the brown bull dropped the entrails of the white bull all over Ireland. Finally, he returned to Ulster and died.

The End

Ailill and Medb then made peace with Ulster and Cúchulainn. For seven years afterwards, nobody was killed in battle between the two sides. The men of Connacht returned to their own lands, and the men of Ulster returned to Emain Macha, full of great triumph.

So ends the story of the Táin Bó Cúailnge.