Tuesday, December 14, 2010

An Impressive Looking Lady - Queen Maedhbh (Queen Maeve) - A Bronze Statue by Patrick O'Reilly

Here is an impressive looking woman and she can be found on Burlington Road around the corner from Dublin’s famous Burlington Hotel.

I have seen three different spellings - Maeve, Mebh and Maedhbh but the modern pronunciation of this name is 'Mave' to rhyme with 'save'.

Queen Maedhbh is a mythological figure from the old tales of Ireland. She was Queen of Connaught, the westernmost of the five provinces of Ireland (note: there are currently only four).

She was a warrior queen, and led her people into battle. The most famous story about Maedhbh is how she was annoyed to find that her husband owned a better bull than she did, so she decided to lead a raid to steal the best bull in Ireland, and in doing so started a war between Ulster and the other four provinces. The hero CĂșchulainn was given the task of single-handedly defending Ulster against the rest of Ireland because the other men of Ulster had been cursed.

This huge statue depicts Maedhbh as a giant woman with a spear in one hand, the head of a bull in the other and a crow on her shoulder. The statue is naked to represent her enormous sexual appetite.

The Bull’s head that she holds aloft is a reference to the story of her battle with the King of Ulster over possesion of the bull Donn CĂșailnge.

Legend has it that she is buried under a large cairn at the summit of Knocknaree in Co Sligo. After her own wishes, she is buried standing up and facing her enemies to the north.

No comments:

Post a Comment