According to legend, the mortally wounded Cúchulainn bound himself to this 10 foot pillar stone, so he could stand tall and face his enemies until the moment of his death. These did not dare approach him until a raven landed upon his shoulder – a signal that he was dead. The story of the death of Cúchulainn has provided a metaphor for the resolve of the Irish nation. The 1911 sculpture ‘The Dying Cuchulain’ by Oliver Sheppard shows the hero bound to this standing stone now occupies a prominent spot at the General Post Office in Dublin, a hallowed scene of battle during the ill-fated Easter Rising of 1916. The various stories of Cúchulainn and the other tales of the Ulster Cycle come from manuscripts dating from the twelfth century or earlier and were the literature of the aristocracy and the clergy. It is likely that his character was probably invented in the early years of the Christian era so as to provide Ireland with a mythological analog for the classical Achilles.

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