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  • Writer's pictureSheila R. Lamb

Ruadan: The Lost Son of Brigid and Bres

It’s a sad story, Ruadan. A child half Danann and Fomorian, he never quite fit in either world. His name – ruad – means the “Red One” so we can only assume he was a red-head. Some tales say Brigid and Bres had three sons, others one. In my version, Ruadan was the only child Brigid bore, in all three of her mythical incarnations. His presence and subsequent loss was so powerful that it’s said Brigid introduced the practice of keening and lament at funerals.

Ruadan was killed by Gobhinu, the Danann smith. Some tales say he died in battle. Other stories tell he was sent to kill the smith. To kill off the battlefield would have been a horrible dishonor, and I can only imagine Bres had manipulated his son to do his will.

Not only does Brigid keen (caoine) because her son his gone, she laments because of the manner of his death. Would Ruadan be known as a brave warrior who was killed heroically in battle? Or would it be known forever that he was killed by Gobhinu, the smith god, who had defended himself from an assassin?

Source: Timeless Myths


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