'The Destruction of the Hostel' - Heritage Week 2020

Poster for Heritage Week 2020 Event - The Destruction of the Hostel
The Medieval Bray Project

As part of Heritage Week 2020, the Medieval Bray Project organised a lecture on the Togail Bruidne Dá Derga or the ‘Destruction of Dá Derga’s Hostel’.  This is one of a series of tales set in pre-Christian Ireland and recorded by the monks in early medieval Irish monasteries.  The earliest version we have now is probably from the 10th century but appears to be based on earlier written sources.

It is similar in some respects to the more famous Táin Bó Cuailgne saga, the Cattle Raid of Cooley, which features Queen Meabh.  Unlike the Táin, however, the location of the Togail’s action is not entirely clear, but there is a strong case that it was set in or around Bray, as explained in a separate post on this site.

The Heritage Week event was originally to be held outdoors at Raheenacluig, but changes in Covid-19 guidance meant that the central part of the event, a lecture by David McIlreavy, was held online.  The slides for the lecture are available for download at the link below.  The slides are divided into two parts.  The first part gives an outline of the saga and the second, beginning at slide 16, deals with the context of the saga, as well as the possible origin of some of its passages and its underlying message.  David gave a similar lecture on this topic to the University of the Third Age on 11 November 2020.


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