Queen Méabh & The Brown Bull of Cooley Mural
Cranmore Rd, Sligo
This mural is based on the old Irish folktale of Queen Maebh and The Brown Bull of Cooley. Said to be one of the largest and finest bulls in Ireland, this mythical animal became the center of one of the most famous battles in Irish folklore. The battle, known as the Táin Bó Cúailnge or Cattle Raid of Cooley, took place after an argument between Queen Méabh of Connaught and her husband King Ailill mc Máta of Ulster. Queen Méabh was jealous that her husband possessed the famous white bull, known as Finn Bennach.
Therefore, she sought out her own, and was told of the equally impressive Brown Bull of Cooley. The King and Queen’s respective armies met in Cooley, Co Louth, but legend says that a curse was placed against King Ailill’s army and left only one soldier to defend them. This soldier, called Cúchullain, managed to hold off all of Méabh’s army until the Ulster men woke and managed to drive Méabh back. Queen Méabh still managed to capture the Brown Bull, but on their march home was confronted by the King’s White Bull. The two bulls fought for days, until eventually the White Bull of Ulster was defeated and ran back to Cooley where it would die. This folk story is said to be a warning about the futility of war and curse of possessions.