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Táin March News

The annual reenactment of An Táin Bó Cúaligne has announced that it will begin in Tulsk, Co. Roscommon this year.

Every year The Táin March colourfully retraces the footsteps of Queen Maeve and her army, in her quest to capture the strongest bull in Ireland – the Brown Bull of Cooley.

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The historic event occurs as a result of a domestic dispute with her husband King Alill as they compared possessions but he attained victory with his magnificent White Bull which could only be matched by Cooley’s Brown Bull. However the prized bull was guarded by the mighty warrior Cúchulainn and the tale covers the tricks, fierce battles and ruthlessness of the Irish woman to get what she wants.

The story which is the national epic of Ireland, stretches from Cruachan in Co. Roscommon to The Cooley Peninsula in Co Louth and was first translated in the early 12th century providing the Irish equivalent to the Greek mythology tales which feature figures such as Athena and Achilles

Up until now, the event only took place across Louth but this year it is embarking from the Rathcroghan Visitor Centre in Roscommon and will be virtually walking in every footstep of Queen Maeve herself!

The March will set off from Cruachan Ai (Rathcroghan) the ancient capital of the Connachta on Sunday 24th of May, accompanied by the 27th Infantry battalion of the Irish Army from Dundalk's Aiken Barracks and the national Táin expert Mr Paul Gosling. The Parents Association from Ardaghy School in Omeath will also be marching the 230km route, in a bid to raise funds for their school. All walkers will dress as Celtic warriors as they walk across the country, where towns and villages along the route will host celebrations at their arrival. The March will finish on the Bank Holiday Monday at Omeath in County Louth, where Maeve’s last camp is located.

A Celtic feast will welcome them alongside a reenactment of Maeve’s arrival and her first face to face confrontation with Cúchulainn.

To join Maeve’s army or for further information log on to:www.tainmarch.net

Táin March Re-enactments of yesteryear

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The Táin Epic has over the years inspired local communities (especially along it's route) to celebrate it's richness and the ancient Irish mythological connections the story has with their own locations. Over the years the the Táin and the staging of re-enactments of events contained in the epic including the march itself (from west to east and vice versa) have been the inspiration for communnities to raise funding for their community projects.

Many places in Ireland from County Roscommon west of the Shannon to County Louth on the east coast are mentioned in the Táin, especially along Queen Maeve's route from Rathcroghan (Cruachan) to the Cooley Peninsula (Cúalnge) and her return route with the Brown Bull. View the placenames of the route from the Táin passage - "This is the route of the Táin".
The battle of the two bulls have also left their mark on the placemanes of many towns and villages throughout the midlands of Ireland. View the placenames associated with the Brown Bull's return to Cooley in the Táin passage "The account of the Brown Bull of Cooley" Although some may not be immediately recognisable in the current anglicised versions which we use today many of the places can still be identified by the translation of the Irish placenames.

One of the earliest photos we have found is from a Táin pageant, a re-enactment which took place in Dundalk in County Louth in 1911. (Photo above). 


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In recent times there have been re-enactments of Queen Maeve's march from Tulsk to Cooley in order to covet the brown bull once again while two decades later the warriors of Cooley have gone to Tulsk to take back the Brown Bull! 

In 1982 in Tulsk (the place of Cruachan), Lord Edward's GAA club organised a Táin March from the Cooley Peninsula having recaptured the Brown Bull (on this occassion there was no bloodshed). The re-enactment was a fund raiser for the building of the new GAA club house.
Noel Sheerin, the then secretary of Lord Edward's GAA Club recounts the event in the 1983 Roscommon GAA yearbook which is downloadable here "How the Bull returned to Tulsk"

Noel Sheerin (phographed 2nd from left with wife Anne 2nd from right flanked by Paul Gosling and Mel O'Loan Táin March 2015 organising committee). Below is a photo from 1982 of the Brown Bull being taken back to Tulsk.

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In 2003 the Cooley Kickhams GAA Club on the Cooley Peninsula organised their own Táin March in order to retrieve the Brown Bull, we have but a few photos of this event at present.

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Members of Cooley Kickhams GAA in Tulsk reclaiming the Brown Bull of Cooley in 2003 and safely back in Cooley.

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Táin March 2015 - Route and Events Rathcroghan to Omeath 24th May to 1st June

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