Scéla Muicce Meicc Da Thó (SMMD; The Tale of Mac Da Thó's Pig) is a humorous Old Irish myth that takes its cues from its Ulster Cycle cousins, notably, An Táin Bó Cúailnge (The Cattle Raid of Cooley). The connective tissue is its cast, plot structure, and the author's mastery of cultural and storytelling traditions. SMMD is brief and rapid, which aids its near-absurdist representation of masculinity, kingship, and honor in heroic saga culture. This thesis uses postcolonial and medieval literary scholarship to analyze medieval and modern depictions of the Ulster Cycle. Contemporarily, the Irish Republicans and Loyalists evoke the image of Ulster boy-hero Cú Chulainn to express their sense of cultural ownership. Chapter One contextualizes the Ulster Cycle, SMMD, and its issue of hyper-masculinity to expand traditional scholarship and interpretation by analyzing how SMMD's humor operates culturally while demonstrating Bourdieu's social capital. This study also considers modern Ireland's murals, some of which draw on medieval themes and contribute to a global understanding of its colonial struggle. There is a spatial quality to these representations that reinforce border sensibilities à la intimidation via images of masculinity that resemble bragging contests in the Ulster Cycle. Chapter Two further interprets medievalism in modern Ireland using the onomastic dindshenchas toward a spatial reading of SMMD relative to public representations of Ulster's boy hero. Overall, this work calls attention to the ongoing issue of medievalism as propaganda. Ireland and the children of its diaspora maintain complicated relationships with its colonial history. Thus, this work's secondary goal is to provide a deeper context to this rather fragmented issue in a way that advocates for the nuance necessary when studying three postcolonial communities on one island.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Ritchey, Glenn S. III, "Political Bodies in the Ulster Cycle: Space, Conflict, and Comedy in Scéla Muicce Meicc Dathó" (2023). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 1412.