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Baby names

23rd Apr 2024

This Irish baby boy’s name has an interesting mythical connection

Anna Martin

irish baby name

Irish baby names are having a moment

Why wouldn’t they? With their rich history and often mythical connections, there’s something just a bit magic about them.

When it comes to naming your baby, oftentimes people want to go for something different or unique but it can feel like we always hear the same Irish monikers over and over.

So if you’re looking for inspiration for naming your future baby boy why not turn to a bit of mythology for some inspiration?

Setanta is a name you probably haven’t heard since back in your primary school days when you were learning about the legends of the Emerald Isle.

Or maybe your first thought was the old TV channel Setanta Sports, but never mind that for a second.

The name has two debated meanings the first being ‘one who knows the way,’ and the other, ‘Mythical son of Sualtam.’

irish baby name
Credit: Canva

So how does it link back to Irish legend? Time for a quick history lesson.

Setanta was the nephew of King Conor of Ulster, son of his sister Dechtire, and it is said that his father was the sky god Lugh.

He was raised by King Conor at Emain Macha, which we now call Armagh, and while he was still a child he became known across the country as an incredible young warrior.

On day King Conor was invited to a banquet at the house of Culain, a blacksmith and he asked Setanta to accompany him.

Setanta was playing a game of hurling at the time and said he would later join his uncle for the meal.

When the guests were seated at the feast, Culain asked the King if all the expected guests had arrived and King Conor replied that they had, forgetting his nephew.

Culain unchained his huge hound to guard the house.

When he arrived vicious dog leapt at Setanta, who had only his hurling stick and ball with him.

Credit: Canva

He flung the ball down the animal’s throat. The hound was forced back by the blow and Setanta was able to grab the hound by its legs and smash its head on the stone courtyard.

When Conor heard the hound howling he remembered Setanta and ran outside expecting to find him dead.

He was amazed to see him unharmed, standing above the dead hound.

The blacksmith, Culain was heartbroken by the death of his dog.

Setanta, although without blame in the duel, vowed to take the place of the dog and became the hound of Culain and so changed his name to Cú Chulainn.

So there you go!