Mogh Ruith – mercenary Druid warrior

The Atlantic Religion

Of all of the accounts of magical battles fought in the hallowed mythology of Ireland, one of the most impressive occurs in an early written story from the Book of Lismore known variously as ‘The Siege of Druim Damhgaire’ (Druim Damhgaire = ‘Ridge of the Ox-?bellow’) or using its modern Co. Limerick name: the ‘Siege of Knocklong’, and the main player is the wizard known variously as Mug Ruith or Mogh Roith (Ruith/roith = ‘Wheel’!). It was called by 19thC scholar and Celticist Eugene O’Curry the

‘…most important story full of information on topography manners customs and Druidism…’ (‘Lectures on the Manuscript Materials of Ancient Irish History’)

Mogh Ruith seems in many ways similar to the character of Manannan (the shapeshifting magician) or his Otherworld Lord equivalents – Lugh the active warrior, Donn Lord of the Dead, etc. He was said to come from Dairbre (Valentia) Island off Co. Kerry, so like the Cailleach…

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