Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six
This article covers love, sex, and homosexuality. Please be warned that of the content in the second part explores the symbolism of rape in one of the tales examined.
Loves, Liaisons and Lánamnas
The view we get from the early Irish law tracts is that love was not a primary concern for many marriages, especially in terms of the law and in terms of protecting assets and social status.1 As Bitel puts it, this was simply because:
“Free choice of mates carried all sorts of dangerous political implications in a society where elite unions were used as tools for crafting alliances, and deeply threatened a social order based on the orderly production of heirs and distribution of family property. As a result, rule makers idealized the married procreative couple formally approved by kin groups and other authorities.”
Love was not relevant, as far as the law was concerned, but this is not to say that love was never a consideration in practice – certainly the laws, in providing such protections, recognised that at times dangerous or undesirable unions were made – two people of vastly unequal status, for example, or of dubious character. Therefore, while recognition was given to these less desirable types of marriage, the law effectively discouraged them by favouring the more desirable types of marriage in terms of the protections and prestige they offered to the couple and families involved.2 In The Cattle Raid of Froech, then, Findabair could have allowed herself to be abducted by the hero of the tale, but she refuses because such a marriage would be beneath her. As the daughter of a king she should expect the most desirable form of marriage – a lánamnas comthinchuir ('union of equal contribution'), not a marriage that is number six on the list.3
While the laws preserve an ideal of what should have been, reality is likely to have been at least a little different to the rigid strictures set out in the legal texts. As much as love and passion could result in chaos from an unsuitable or illegal union (as in the case of Deirdriu and Noisiu, in The Exile of the Sons of Uisliu, for example), love that blossomed within marriage could have the added advantage of creating a lasting and stable bond between not just the husband and wife, but their families as well. In this sense, while looking at the laws alone may give the idea that women were simply chattel, to be married off to whoever her family decided she could benefit them the most, a little consideration and common sense must have come into play, at least. As far as the social order was concerned, an unhappy wife was arguably just as potentially volatile as an inappropriate union.
One such unhappy marriage reached a very pragmatic conclusion in an episode found in Acallam na Senórach, which explains how carn Manannáin ('the hill of Manannán) got is name:
“It was a warrior of the Tuatha Dé Danann, Aillén mac Eogabail, that fell in love with the wife of Manannán mac Lir; while Aillen's sister, Aine daughter of Eogabal, fell in love with Manannán, to whom she was dearer than the entire human race. Aine asked her brother Aillen: 'what has made your great, regal shape to diminish?' 'On my true oath, girl,' Aillen said, 'I wouldn't tell this to anyone in the world but to you alone,' and he told her: 'I am in love with Uchtdelbh [“Breast-shape”] Angus Finn's daughter and wife of Manannán.' 'I have in my hand the cure for that!' says Aine, 'for Manannán is in love with me and, if he gives you his wife, I will sleep with him in exchange for his helping you.' Aillen and Aine, came to this hill, and Manannán, along with his wife, also came here. Aine sat at Manannán's right hand, and gave him three loving passionate kisses; then they sought news from each other. But when Manannán's wife saw Aillen she loved him...so Manannán handed over his own wife to Eogabal's son Aillen, himself taking Aillen's sister Aine...”4
As MacQuarrie notes, this tale is not reflective of common practice in the real world, where divorce amongst those of high status, especially, was difficult because of its destabilising effects (in the sense that divorce would break political ties as much as it would marriage ties).5 But clearly, love and happiness was a concern, if not the primary concern, on a personal if not legal level.
In spite of the constraints that were set by law and social convention, the tales tell a very different story of early medieval Ireland's attitudes towards love and relationships. Unlike the laws that showed women to be relatively passive and of little overall concern, the women of the tales are often passionate, headstrong, articulate and independently minded.6 These factors may often be to their detriment – in the case of Deirdriu's ill-fated love affair and elopement with Noisiu, when she was already promised to Conchobar,7 or Medb's ill-fated cattle-raid and fruitless pursuit to find a suitable consort in the Táin, for example. For some, like Emer, who effectively engineered her marriage to Cú Chulainn herself in Tocmarc Emire, these characteristics are definitely an advantage. The difference is, whereas Deirdriu flies in the face of social convention and law, Emer works to manipulate them to her advantage. Deirdriu is ruled by her passions and ends in chaos; Emer channels them into matrimony.
These kinds of tales serve as moral lessons, for what is appropriate and desirable, or not, as the case may be. Deirdriu, struggling to break free from the constraints of her obligation to marry Conchobar – now an old man – is forced to use euphemisms in her conversations with the object of her desire. When Noisiu sees her for the first time he says, “A fine heifer that that is going by”. She replies, “The heifers are bound to be fine where there are no bulls,”8 - referring to the fact that her prospective husband is too old and past it.
Instead of stating matters plainly, they talk in the language of the farmyard and animals, outside of human concepts of society, morality and ownership, and so giving them the freedom to discuss what really matters to them. But ultimately livestock are property of people too, and when Deirdriu is finally caught by Conchobar, he turns her only means of freedom and escape – her language – against her: “...well Deirdriu, it is the eye of a ewe between two rams you make…”9 In the end, this language that gave her some freedom only serves to underscore the fact that Deirdriu and Noisiu are in the wrong, both morally and legally, and Conchobar's words are a quiet reminder that she is not free to choose a mate as animals are, but (effectively) property, who must go where she is told, since an arrangement of her marriage has already been made and must be honoured. Ultimately, Deirdriu chooses the only freedom she can, and with Noisiu dead, she kills herself rather than marry Conchobar.
This kind of language is echoed at the end of the Táin, where Fergus comments “We followed the rump of a misguiding woman…It is the usual thing for a herd led by a mare to be strayed and destroyed.”10 Again, Medb is dehumanised, a brainless mare, not a fearsome leader. In both cases, by allowing passion to rule their actions they damage their kin and tribe's reputation.
Emer, on the other hand, finds herself conspiring to make Cú Chulainn her husband in spite of the fact that social convention dictates that her sister should marry first. Cú Chulainn expresses his disdain for Emer's sister, saying she is unworthy as a wife on the grounds that she lacks virtue. Emer drives a hard bargain, to ensure that she makes as good a marriage as possible and to overcome the obstacles in their way11. The outcome for Emer is a good one, because she doesn't let her passion rule her, and she shows the virtue and patience of a good wife. In Emer's case, love is an added bonus, but making a good marriage is the best thing of all. Thus the moral of these tales is to abide by convention and law for the good of all, letting the head rule the heart in order to preserve the honour of one's kin, and people.
In the eyes of the Church, celibacy was a virtue and sex was for the purpose of reproduction, not for satisfying lust.12 As we've seen, polygyny was frowned upon by the early medieval Church, and as we will see later on, so was homosexuality. The early Irish sources tend take a different view of all this, and we get the idea that pre-Christian attitudes towards sex were far less stringent than the Church tried to impose once Christianity had become established. As Bitel puts it:
“Sex in and of itself was not a bad thing to the pre-Christian Irish. Celibacy never appears as a virtue in the secular literature. Almost all the heroes had wives – many more than one – and mistresses, as well as one-night stands. And sex for the sake of sex was without shame in the pagan Otherworld, as Mac Cana has shown.”13
In the Mythological and Historical Cycles, in particular, this is very true. Sex is often a tool to be wielded – through sex, a goddess may offer a man sovereignty, or else, in the case of the Dagda with Indech's daughter in The Second Battle of Mag Tured, he may use it to seduce a woman in order to secure her help.14
In The Voyage of Bran, Manannán casually tells the hero:
“Manannán mac Lir will have fruitful
sex with Caintigern: his son will be
summoned into the lovely land;
Fiachna will recognize him as his son.”15
The woman, Caintigern, that Manannán mentions is the wife of Fiachna. There is certainly no hint of dire consequences for Manannán sleeping with another man's wife, as he explicitly states that Caintigern's husband, Fiachna, will recognise Manannán's resulting son, Mongán, without hesitation. This is borne out by the story of Mongán's birth.16 Unlike the more cautionary tales we've seen above, adultery is all well and good when it results in a hero, it seems, when we see it in an Otherworldly setting where the rules are somewhat different.
In spite of the law and social convention, then, these tales sex and love show that things were not so black and white as the law would have it. Women were not passive objects, but people who desired and were desired by men. This is an important point: even in the tales that seem to flout conventions – casual sex, adultery, and so forth – these tales are between a man and woman, attractive, high-status individuals who either come together in an equal match or whose relationship falls apart because of the impediments of their status and prior engagements. Just like the law, these loves, liaisons and lánamnas were promoted between man and woman, not man and man, or woman and woman. What, then, of homosexual relationships?
Gae bolgae and 'playful mating'
There is frustratingly little to go on as far as homosexuality in the earliest sources are concerned, and what we do see is often problematic. For a start, while homosexuality is far more than the sum of the sex that can be enjoyed within those contexts, the main sources we have to look at are all preoccupied with the subject of sex and sex alone. Homosexual relationships are all but invisible.
Some of the earliest evidence can be found in the Irish penitentials, which laid out the types of penances that should be performed for admitting to certain sins. The Irish penitentials are relatively early in comparison to others found in Europe, dating from around the sixth century onwards, and so what we see in them can be taken to be both an explicit statement of encouraging proper Christian behaviour, and proscribing against that which wasn't – not necessarily pagan behaviour per se, but certainly the penitentials challenged some of the social norms that were otherwise prevalent at the time.
Many of the penitentials concerned themselves with proscribing against deviant sexual behaviour – fornication, bestiality, homosexuality, even heterosexual sex in the wrong position, or on holy days.17 Of the penances outlined regarding homosexual behaviour, we see varying degrees of severity depending on the kind of activity being engaged in, the age of the individuals involved, and whether or not the behaviour was a first time offence, or a repeat offence – a sort of sliding scale, if you will.
It has been claimed that the penalties regarding homosexuality were relatively low in early medieval Ireland compared to elsewhere, implying that they were common and not regarded as being particularly dangerous to the moral fabric of Christian society.18 Looking at the evidence, however, things are not so simple. The Columban penitential, dating to c600 C.E. gives a penance of up to ten years:
“But if one commits fornication as the Sodomites did, he shall do penance for ten years, the first three on bread and water; but in the other seven years he shall abstain from wine and meat, and [he shall] not be housed with another person forever.”19
This is a harsh penalty by any standards – putting it in perspective, adultery received a penance of three years in Irish penitentials,20 whereas in the Anglo-Saxon penitential of Theodore, sodomy incurred seven years of penance (although the 'effeminate man' did the same penance as an adulteress).21
Other Irish penitentials differ, however, and the penitential of Cummean (c650), for example, gives a more lenient penalty to those of young age. It advises that a boy “misused by an older boy, if he is ten years of age” should fast for ten days; twenty days if he consented. Boys (of around twenty or so) who engaged in mutual masturbation were required to do penance for up to forty days before they could take communion again, and the penance increased to a hundred days if they repeated the act. If they engaged in such behaviour “frequently,” the pair were meant to be separated and did penance for a full year. Men, on the other hand:
“Men guilty of homosexual practices, for the first offence, a year; if they repeat it, two years. If they are boys, two years, if men, three or four years; but if it has become a habit, seven years, and a method of penance shall be added according to the judgement of this priest.”22
Sometimes, different kinds of homosexual activity was proscribed against. While 'sodomy' can generally be taken to mean anal sex, femoral sex (penis between the thighs) usually resulted in a lighter penance of only one or two years, according to the Bigotanium penitential of the early eighth century.23 According to the penitential of Finnian, oral sex (homosexual or heterosexual) should incur the same penalty as anal sex, while the Anglo-Saxon penitential of Theodore referred to fellatio as “the worst evil”, with a penance of up to twenty-two years, to life.24
Clearly, then, homosexual sex between men was frowned upon by the Church – no surprises there. What might be unexpected, however, is the attitude towards boys (presumably unmarried men and youths, or those who had not yet formally taken orders): They received far lighter penances, with the implication that such youthful experimentation was relatively trivial and something that most would grow out of.25 The expectation, of course, was that they would eventually get married and settle down, regardless of their sexual orientation.
If we are to assume that the light penalties also indicate their relative commonality, then we must assume that such relationships were the result of either orientation, and/or opportunity. In other words, the men and boys engaging in homosexual acts weren't necessarily gay, but they had no other outlet available. Such behaviour might not be unexpected in a monastery, where men and boys lived closely together with only limited contact with women, but there is also evidence across medieval Europe that the culture of warrior elites and fosterage allowed homosexuality and homoerotic relationships to flourish without too much condemnation in secular spheres of influence. With close bonds forming between foster-brothers, or teacher and student, it's not surprising that pent up frustrations and sexual energies found an outlet in same sex relations.
Unlike the penitentials, the law had very little to say about homosexuality. We are told in the Cáin Lánamna that a woman has grounds for divorce if her husband forsakes the marriage bed in favour of boys;26 in other words, who the husband slept with wasn't such a legal concern, provided that he fulfilled his obligations towards his wife in the marriage bed, and the provision of heirs. The phrasing of the law itself offers no overt moral judgement on the circumstances of such a divorce, but because under those circumstances the husband is unlikely to ever produce offspring – with anyone – it is singled out. Otherwise, there is not much else to say, legally; since the laws concerning marriage, in particular, concentrate heavily on the provision of heirs, and inheritance rights, one can see why as obviously homosexual relationships would not have been a legal consideration at least: The basis of laws was to promote heterosexual couples who could procreate, and as such, homosexual relationships were irrelevant to this – neither desirable or encouraged, but not condemned either.27
Looking at the evidence from early medieval Irish literature, we see homo-eroticism is a recurring theme – not surprising, considering the above. Cú Chulainn and his foster-brother Fer Diad particularly illustrate this point, with Cú Chulainn referring to their sharing a bed in the Comrac Fir Diad episode of the Táin:
“We were loving friends. We were comrades in the wood. We were men who shared a bed. We would sleep a deep sleep after our weary fights in many strange lands. Together we would ride and range through every wood when we were taught by Scáthach.”28
The language is ambiguous, perhaps deliberately so – are they (were they) lovers? Or does their close relationship as foster-brothers and warriors who trained together bring them an added intimacy that isn't necessarily sexual?
The Celts, we are told by the Aristotle, “manifestly honoured sexual intercourse (synousia) among males.”29 Eusebius mentions that Gaulish men freely married amongst themselves, while Diodorus Siculus commented that, “Although they have lovely women, they scarcely pay attention to them, but strangely crave male embraces”30 – and notably, the criticism implied is not that they engaged in homosexual practices at all, but that they did so as a preference over their women. While it seems that there are some exaggerations at play in the commentary, the Gauls wouldn't have been the only people who freely engaged in homosexual acts under such circumstances at this period in time – the Greeks and Romans, to name two obvious examples, also did so. It would not be surprising, then, if Cú Chulainn and Fer Diad had indeed been lovers, but still it must remembered that the evidence is not explicit.
Later, Cú Chulainn praises Fer Diad's prowess as a warrior and extols his physical virtues as he might with a maiden:
“Dear to me was your splendid blush, dear your perfect and fair form, dear your bright clear eye, dear your bearing and your speech.
There never strode to flesh-rending fight, there never grew wrathful in his manliness, there never held shield upon the wide slope, one like unto you, warlike son of Damán.
I have never met such as you until now, since the only son of Aífe fell; your peer in deeds of battle I found not here, O Fer Diad.”31
Here, it should be said, Cú Chulainn is effectively performing an elegy, lamenting the death of his good friend, before he has to kill him (with the expectation that of course, it is Fer Diad who will die). In this sense, the subtle imagery that calls to mind the homoerotic overtones of their relationship – the whole episode could be seen as much as a painful break-up between two lovers, as it is a prelude to a fight to the death – and may call to mind a passionate clash of lovers that is about to happen, as much as a clash between two warriors with nothing left to lose.
In a way, that is exactly what happens – as equal a match as Cú Chulainn's ever met in battle, he is forced to employ the gae bolga, a weapon that Cú Chulainn is renowned in his skill with, against Fer Diad. Fer Diad, who is wearing his conganchnes, an impenetrable armour, thinks himself impervious to Cú Chulainn's gae bolga. However, as Cú Chulainn flings the weapon at Fer Diad, it finds its mark and enters Fer Diad through his anus before releasing barbs that permeate throughout Fer Diad's body, killing him.32 Again, the sexual implications are overt, but here such penetration by Cú Chulainn's gae bolga would arguably be more analogous to rape – a violent, sexual domination – than one final, passionate, fling.33
The point of entry for Cú Chulainn's gae bolga is explicitly stated in both recensions of the Táin, but whereas the first recension (the earlier version) has the exchanges between Cú Chulainn and Fer Diad shown as “a passionate articulation on a relatively small scale of heroic friendship,”34 it is the second recension that goes into more detail and ramps up the misogynistic elements of the tale, and as a result the homoerotic overtones become more overt in their feminising of Fer Diad – Cú Chulainn goes to greater lengths to emphasise Fer Diad's physical beauty, uses intimate terms of endearment, and so on, as he might in his empassioned praise of a maiden. In penetrating Fer Diad with the gae bolga, Sheehan sees Fer Diad taking on 'the woman's role' – passive, being penetrated rather than penetrating – a common view in societies that have (or had) sharply defined gender roles.35 Tied in with the way in which Fer Diad dies (as does Cú Chulainn's only son, Connla, in a different tale, and another warrior, Lóch, just to prior to Cú Chulainn's meeting with Fer Diad)36 Sheehan sees all of this as a “signifier for Cú Chulainn's pre-eminent masculinity.”37 In other words, the very act of penetration with the gae bolga is analogous to rape, and as the feminised hero, Fer Diad is weakened and automatically loses.38 Cú Chulainn, on the other hand may be seen as a broiling mass of sex, death, violence, and the epitome masculinity.
Cú Chulainn and Fer Diad are pitted against each other, in spite of their friendship, because Fer Diad has thrown his lot in with Medb. They are now enemies by default. What seems to have been an exchange between two close, intimate friends in the first recension, aimed at injecting some pathos into the episode and Fer Diad's ultimately inevitable demise at the hands of his closest friend/possibly lover, becomes something else entirely in the second recension.39 Cú Chulainn's overt 'feminising' of Fer Diad (and, effectively, his rape as well) in death – if we take the episode to illustrate such a point – takes on an added misogynistic element in the second recension; Fer Diad dies directly as a result of the fact that he threw his lot in with a woman, which is emphasised in the manner of his death.
As noted previously, women rarely receive a mention in same-sex situations, and neither the Church nor the secular laws seem to have considered lesbian sex to be as taboo as sex between men.40 The Anglo-Saxon penitential of Theodore decreed that any woman who engaged in fornication with another woman should do penance for three years; more if aids were used.41 In a convent setting, just like in the monastery, there must have been some concern that inappropriate sexual activity was happening, but in a specifically Irish context there is very little to go on.
Given the lack of ecclesiastical condemnation against lesbian sex, we might assume that it simply wasn't seen as being as threatening to the well-being of the tuath as relations between two men was. Or else, in a society where women were legally 'unfit' to act on their own behalf, and so had to act as their father or eldest male kin decided, it simply wasn't seen as a threat as far as maintaining the well-being of the tuath was concerned. For most women, their fate was marriage and babies or the nunnery, options that were primarily dictated by their father or other male authority.
But we do see at least one reference to lesbian sex being explicitly mentioned – in a rather wry kind of way. This is the tale of a king, Niall Frossach, who is presented with a pregnant who begs to know who the father of her child is. The woman knows there is no way that she should have conceived it (by the usual method, at least...), and so she has no choice but to appeal to the king and see if his ability to give true judgement can shed any light on her predicament.
Niall Frossach asks if the woman has recently had any bouts of 'playful mating' (lánamnas rebartha) with another woman. The woman replies that she has, and so the king replies to the effect that just prior to their meeting, the other woman had had sex with a man, and so the semen had been transferred in their own 'tumbling'.42
The humour is evident is the story – as a result of Niall's judgement he turns red (though whether it's embarrassment or excitement, or maybe both, at the woman's admission, it's not clear). This sends a 'vapour' up into the sky, and it so happens that demons are flying above Niall right at that point, and the vapour disperses them and frees a priest that the demons had trapped in the air. The freed priest thanks Niall Frossach, for his true judgement – and of course, by less direct means, the woman's lesbian tryst – have saved his soul.43
Clearly, in this case at least, lesbian sex was not considered to be a moral threat to society. Niall Frossach tells the woman to be truthful when he asks if she had engaged in 'playful mating', implying that the woman might lie to cover her potentially embarrassing or immoral behaviour. Ultimately, however, Niall offers no condemnation or punishment, even though her 'playful mating' has now become public knowledge,44 and in this case we might expect some sort of warning, at least, against engaging in such behaviour if it was indeed seen to be so wrong.
Perhaps Niall's lack of condemnation has a lot to do with the fact that the woman ended up pregnant anyway, under circumstances that ordinarily wouldn't be possible for that to happen. In effect, perhaps the immorality of her fornication – sex for pleasure, not reproduction, that is – is mitigated by the fact that she ends up with child.
The very term used for her tryst with another woman is telling, though – 'playful mating' makes it seem trivial and non-threatening, and again, offers no overt moral judgements. Certainly we might expect to see such in a penitential, but here, in a secular setting, it's taken as something that is rather a fact of life; something that happens sometimes, and even so the earth doesn't shake, the seas don't rise, and nor does the sky fall in. Although in speaking of it, sometimes priests are inadvertently freed from the hands of demons...
The social and moral rules governing sex appear to have been less proscriptive in pre-Christian Ireland than under the auspices of the Church – not surprising considering the much more fluid view of marriage than the Church had as well.
The case appears to have been the same with homosexuality – in pre-Christian Ireland, or even in secular society, outside of the watchful eye of the Church in early medieval Ireland, it wasn't considered to be an ideal considering the fact that there were no laws governing same sex relationships, but neither was it condemned outright, in the laws or literature as it was in the Church. Since same-sex relationships could not produce offspring (except with notable exceptions!), this is no surprise – without offspring, the lawmakers had no compunction to bestow such protections as married couples had, and in the long-term, such relationships weren't desirable.
With all of this in mind, it's time to consider all of this in a reconstructionist context.
Continue to Part Six
1 Bitel, Land of Women: Tales of Sex and Gender From Early Ireland, 1998, p41.
3 Findon, A Woman's Words: Emer and Female Speech in the Ulster Cycle, 1997, p37. See Part One. The further down the list the marriage was, the lest desirable or prestigious it was.
4 MacQuarrie, The Waves of Manannán, 1997, p225.
5 MacQuarrie, The Waves of Manannán, 1997, p226.
6 Bitel, Land of Women: Tales of Sex and Gender From Early Ireland, 1998, p56.
7 See The Exile of the Sons of Uisliu.
8 Gantz, Early Irish Myths and Sagas, 1981, p260.
9 Gantz, Early Irish Myths and Sagas, 1981, p267.
10 Kinsella, The Táin, 1969, p251.
11 Findon, A Woman's Words: Emer and Female Speech in the Ulster Cycle, 1997, p49.
12 Bitel, 'Sex, Sin, and Celibacy in Early Christian Ireland', in Frykenberg and Hollo (Eds.), Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium Vol VII, 1987, p65.
13 Bitel, 'Sex, Sin, and Celibacy in Early Christian Ireland', in Frykenberg and Hollo (Eds.), Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium Vol VII, 1987, p72.
15 MacQuarrie, The Waves of Manannán, 1997, p35.
17 Bitel, 'Sex, Sin, and Celibacy in Early Christian Ireland', in Frykenberg and Hollo (Eds.), Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium Vol VII, 1987, p77.
18 Bitel, 'Sex, Sin, and Celibacy in Early Christian Ireland', in Frykenberg and Hollo (Eds.), Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium Vol VII, 1987, p77.
21 Frantzen, Before the closet: Same sex love from Beowulf to Angels in America, 2000, p176.
23 Brundage, Law, sex, and Christian society in medieval Europe, 1990, p167.
24 Frantzen, Before the closet: Same sex love from Beowulf to Angels in America, 2000, p176.
25 Brundage, Law, sex, and Christian society in medieval Europe, 1990, p167.
26 Kelly, A Guide to Early Irish Law, 1988, p74.
27 Bitel, Land of Women: Tales of Sex and Gender From Early Ireland, 1998, p58.
29 Sheehan, 'Fer Diad De-flowered: Homoerotics and Masculinity in Comrac Fir Diad', Ulidia 2, 2005, p58.
30 Sheehan, 'Fer Diad De-flowered: Homoerotics and Masculinity in Comrac Fir Diad', Ulidia 2, 2005, p58.
32 Sheehan, 'Fer Diad De-flowered: Homoerotics and Masculinity in Comrac Fir Diad', Ulidia 2, 2005, p56-57; p60-61.
33 Dooley, 'The Invention of Women in the Táin', in Mallory and Stockman (Eds.), Ulidia, 1994, p127; Sheehan, 'Fer Diad De-flowered: Homoerotics and Masculinity in Comrac Fir Diad', Ulidia 2, 2005, p61.
34 Dooley, 'The Invention of Women in the Táin', in Mallory and Stockman (Eds.), Ulidia, 1994, p126.
35 Sheehan, 'Fer Diad De-flowered: Homoerotics and Masculinity in Comrac Fir Diad', Ulidia 2, 2005, p62.
36 Sheehan, 'Fer Diad De-flowered: Homoerotics and Masculinity in Comrac Fir Diad', Ulidia 2, 2005, p62; Dooley, 'The Invention of Women in the Táin', in Mallory and Stockman (Eds.), Ulidia, 1994, p127.
37 Sheehan, 'Fer Diad De-flowered: Homoerotics and Masculinity in Comrac Fir Diad', Ulidia 2, 2005, p62.
38 Dooley, 'The Invention of Women in the Táin', in Mallory and Stockman (Eds.), Ulidia, 1994, p127; Sheehan, 'Fer Diad De-flowered: Homoerotics and Masculinity in Comrac Fir Diad', Ulidia 2, 2005, p61.
39 Sheehan, 'Fer Diad De-flowered: Homoerotics and Masculinity in Comrac Fir Diad', Ulidia 2, 2005, p65.
40 Bitel, Land of Women: Tales of Sex and Gender From Early Ireland, 1998, p61.
41 Frantzen, Before the closet: Same sex love from Beowulf to Angels in America, 2000, p176.
42 Bitel, Land of Women: Tales of Sex and Gender From Early Ireland, 1998, p61. See a translation of the tale here.
44 Bitel, Land of Women: Tales of Sex and Gender From Early Ireland, 1998, p61.