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The god Lugh whose name means "shining one" was a Celtic sun god. He was handsome, perpetually youthful, and full of life and energy. This energy manifests itself especially in the number of skills he had, according to legend, mastered. He was the patron god of Lugdunum (cur: Lyon, France) and a solar deity.

According to a prophecy, Balor, the god of the underworld was to be killed by his grandson. He locked his daughter, Ethlinn, in a tower made of crystal to keep her from becoming pregnant. However, Cian, one of the Tuatha de Danaan, with the help of the druidess Birog, managed to enter the tower. She gave birth to a son, Lugh, by him, but Balor threw him into the ocean. Birog saved him and gave him to Manannan mac Lir, who became his foster father. He was then nursed by Tailtiu.

Lugh was also sometimes considered a son of Danu and Beli.

Lugh was ingenious. One Irish tale relates of how the god travelled to Tara, and arrived during a feast for the royal court. Lugh was met by the gatekeeper, and was asked what talent he had, for it was a tradition there that only those who had a special ability could enter the palace. The god said: "I am a wright", to which the gatekeeper replied "We already have a wright, your services aren't needed here". Lugh persisted "I am a smith". Again, the guard said the court had a smith that was quite adequate; but the god was not to be dissuaded. Lugh then noted that he was also a champion, a swordsman nonpareil, a harpist, a hero, a poet, an historian, a sorcerer, and a craftsman. The gatekeeper merely nodded his head, and stated bluntly that all these trades were represented in the court by other members of the Tuatha de Danaan. "Ah, but you do have an individual who possesses all of them simultaneously?", was Lugh's clever reply. The guard was forced to admit his defeat, and so Lugh entered and joined the festivities.

Lugh Lamhfada led the Tuatha in the Second Battle of Mag Tuireadh against the Fomorians. During this battle, Balor killed King Nuada with his eye, but Lugh ripped the fatal eye out with a sling, killing Balor.

Lugh was husband of Rosmerta. After the god Nuada lost an arm in the Second Battle of Magh Tuiredh and was forced to abdicate his kingship since he was no longer perfect, Lugh became the leader of the Tuatha De Danaan.

Lugh's name is the origin of that of the Pagan festival Lughnasadh (which is also the Irish Gaelic name for the month of August).

He was the father of Cuchulainn by Dechtere. His daughter was Ebliu, she married Fintan.

Alternative forms: Lug (Old Irish), Lugos (Gaulish).

Epithets/Cognomens: Lamfhada ("of the long arm" in Irish), Samildanach ("versatile in every art" in Irish)

Lugos is also a commune in the Gironde département, in France.

Among the places named after him are:

  • France: Lugdunum (cur: Lyon), Lugdunum Clavatum (cur: Laon), Lusignan, Loudun, Montlucon
  • Switzerland: Lugano, Locarno, Lugarus
  • Russia: Luga, Lugansk
  • Holland: Leiden
  • Sweden: Luggude
  • Romania: Lugoj
  • Italy+Spain: Logo

Lug handles are a kind of flattened knob attached to the side of pottery. Lugs may have small perforations to take a cord. They are sometimes found on prehistoric ceramics such as Hembury ware.

Suggested Reading

Treasury of Irish Myth, Legend & Folklore
by William Butler Yeats

Book Description
Introduce yourself to the noble heroes and magical creatures of Irish mythology. Includes the two definitive works on the subject by the giants of the Irish Renaissance. W.B. Yeates' Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry and Lady Gregory's Cuchulain of Muirthemne.


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