Irish rebel fights his own double?
February 11, 2007 1:16 AM   Subscribe

Irishlorefilter: I once heard a brief reference to a fascinating irish legend/tale/fictionalized episode. This was many years ago, back when ask Metafilter didn't exist, so I don't know if everything I say is true or I made it up.

- An irish leader / rebel / revolutionary / independentist, etc; (don't know when)
- Probably drunk;
- Maybe in a raft going down by the river? (Liffey?);
- This is the interesting part, he FIGHTS with HIS OWN shadow / double / doppelganger
- Convincing him / her / it that VIOLENCE IS GOOD.

Again, some or many of this details may not be correct, but I think if someone knows that story they will probably recognize it. Is it a song? A novel? A legend? A movie? Does it exist? Please, hive mind, scratch this particular itch of mine!
posted by Baldons to Society & Culture (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sounds like it might be related to the legend of Cúchulainn and Scáthach, the "shadowy one." can't remember the details, but as she was supposed to live on Skye, he'd have had to cross water to train with her.
posted by Abiezer at 2:53 AM on February 11, 2007

I think Abiezer has it - if I've got the soap opera correctly, Cuchulainn trained under Scáthach on the isle of shadows, and slept with Scáthach's daughter Uathach, and battled with Scáthach's evil sister Aoife (also my evil sister's name!) despite being drugged. He certainly felt violence was a good thing at that point, he was being trained. But I don't remember any details about drunken river crossing.
posted by jamesonandwater at 7:50 AM on February 11, 2007

Scathach does mean shadow in Gaelic but the battle sounds like it could be Cuchulainn fighting his best friend Ferdiad at the ford, where they alternately engage in combat & collapse in each other's arms & get drunk together.
posted by scalefree at 1:15 AM on February 14, 2007

Good point scalefree, I seem to recall half the fights in the Tain happened at a ford. After my earlier comment, I started wondering if maybe there was something in, say, Flann O'Brien, which reworked one of the legends in a more modern setting, as he was wont, but nothing sprung to mind.
posted by Abiezer at 4:56 AM on February 14, 2007

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