Diarmuid Ua Duibhne
Diarmuid Ua Duibhne is a warrior from the Fenian cycle of Irish mythology, and described as one of the most renowned warriors in service of the high king of Ireland Cormac mac Airt. Diarmuid was raised by Aengus who was a lesser celtic god, who gave Diarmuid a heroic arsenal. A great sword, Moralltach (the Great Fury), and two spears the Gae Buide (Yellow shaft) and the Gae Derg (Red Javelin) rounded out Diarmuid’s armaments. The spears were said to inflict wounds impossible to recover from which strikes me as an odd gift from father to son, as my dad wouldn’t even let me have a swiss army knife until I was thirteen.
Diarmuid’s troubles started when he was out hunting one night and encountered a magical woman in the woods. The details of how it happened are varied, but the consensus is that sex happened. The woman was so taken with Diarmuid that she placed a magical “love spot” on his forehead that caused any woman that looked upon it to fall instantly in love with Diarmuid. Ladies love mystical skin conditions.
When the high king’s daughter Grainne spotted Diarmuid training with her father’s soldiers, she was smitten. The problem here was that Grainne was already promised to the ageing military leader Fionn mac Cumhaill (sometimes awesomely translated as “Finn MacCool”) so in order to be with her new crush, Grainne doused her father and his warriors with a sleeping potion, and placed a “geis" (an Irish mix of a binding-oath and a hex) on Diarmuid to compel him to run away with her.
The two escaped Fionn and his warriors for long enough to settle down together and have five children. It seemed to be a happy ending, for Cormac eventually pardoned his daughter and new husband allowing them to stay married in peace. Fionn however, was the type to hold a grudge. Fionn invited Diarmuid along with him on a hunting trip during which Diarmuid was severely gored by a giant boar. Fionn proves himself an even bigger dick when he denies Diarmuid a drink of water from his hands that had the power of healing.
In a weird twist to finish this Irish tragedy, Diarmuid’s mystical foster-father Aengus brings his body back home where he would breathe some life into Diarmuid whenever he felt like having a conversation with his dead son. Diarmuid is also said to be the founder of the Scottish clan Campbell, who carry a boar’s head on their crest in remembrance of his death.
Hey myth fans! For another take on the character Diarmuid, check out Guy Gavriel Kay’s “The Fionavar Tapestry” series! If you enjoy fantasy you should make time for this excellent trilogy.