"Cuchulainn was an unstoppable warrior hero in Irish legend who was renowned throughout the British Isles for his unmatched prowess in combat, his superhuman deeds, his Justin Timberlake-like good looks and his infamous "Warp Spasm" - a violent bloodthirsty berserker rage which caused his face to contort into hideous positions, made his hair to stand up on end, and prompted one of his eyes to bulge out of his head." (From his Badass of the Week page.)
Blood Knight: The type that lives for dueling, not bloodbaths. In a twist, he always challenges people to duels because that's the surest way to prevent bloodbaths (Cu Chulainn being The Chosen One and all.)
And the snow melted for thirty feet all around him, because of the intensity of the warrior's heat and the warmth of Cu Chulainn's body. And the gilla remained a good distance from him for he could not endure to remain near him because of the might of his rage and the warrior's fury and the heat of his body.
Does Not Know His Own Strength: One of his earlier trysts went a bit awry when he accidentally broke a woman's fingers while having sex with her. This did not end well. He also had a bit of trouble taking up arms due to the fact that he shattered just about every spear, sword, or shield Conchobar gave him, as well as seventeen chariots.
Don't Wake the Sleeper: Once as a child, when someone was once sent to wake him, Cu Chulainn struck the man in the face so hard that he shattered his skull and killed him. Nobody dared to wake him up ever again.
Genius Bruiser: Cu Chulainn may be incredibly strong and powerful and an amazingly skilled warrior, but he's also extremely intelligent and cunning, and in fact, judging by his love life, it would seem that he actually values intelligence and good wits far more than he does good looks or skill at combat.
Multicolored Hair: Described as having hair that starts blond at the ends, red in the middle, and brown at the roots.
Cu Chulainn is said to have inspired the trait of putting lime in one's hair to stiffen it for battle; something started when the men of Ulster tried to imitate the Hound's hair during the warp spasm. Lime in the hair will eventually lighten it, leaving your roots dark with regrowth, the middle hair not yet completely damaged, and the tips being absolutely ruined.
So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Cu Chulainn is listed in "The Courting of Emer" as having exactly three faults: "that he was too young and smooth-faced, so that young men who did not know him would be laughing at him, that he was too daring, and that he was too beautiful." Of course, this was less of a problem for him than it was for just about every other man in Ulster, who unanimously decided they needed to get him hitched before he ended up bedding half the populace. It didn't work.
Younger than They Look: According to the Tain, the Wooing of Emer (in which Cu Chullain is clearly a young man) apparently happened when he was six.
The beautiful and intelligent daughter of King Forgal, and Cuchulainn's wife. She may not be an Action Girl, but she is definitely a character in her own right.
Betty and Veronica: Cuchulainn has to choose between Emer (Betty), his wife of many years, and Fand (Veronica), a fairy woman he's known for about a week. Due to a combination of Late Character Syndrome and Emer being shown as a spirited and interesting person in her own right, Fand comes off as a Relationship Sue.
Deadpan Snarker: When Cu Chulainn bragged that he was strong enough to defend against a hundred men, she called him a little boy play-fighting with his friends.
Embarrassing Nickname: Emer calls Ireland's Most Badass Warrior "little hound." They are always conveniently alone or out of everyone's earshot when she does it.
Cuchulainn: Fair is this plain, the plain of the noble yoke. Cuchulainn, to Laeg: When I said, "Fair is this plain, the plain of the noble yoke," it was not the plain of Bray that I praised then, but the shape of the maiden.
A deadly warrior, whose rivalnote and in some versions, sister Scathach gave Cu Chulainn his Training from Hell. One of Cu Chulainn's flings, and the only one he got pregnant; after she almost defeats him in combat, he decides the two of them must have a son. Cú Chulainn left Aoife a ring and told her to give it to their son, who was to be named Connla, and to send him to Ireland when the ring fit his finger. Along with a bunch of awkward conditions. Connla went to find his father, and in one of the weirder episodes of the Ulster Cycle it did not go well.
A Welsh figure, he was born a mortal boy named Gwion Bach. The goddess Cerridwen chose him to stir a potion containing all the knowledge in the world, and when the potion started bubbling, a few drops of the potion landed on his finger and he instinctively stuck it in his mouth, accidentally gaining the potion's knowledge and pissing off Cerridwen when she found out. He tried to flee from her by turning into various animals, then into grain of wheat amidst more wheat. Cerridwen then turned herself into a hen and ate him. Eventually she realized she was pregnant, planned to kill the baby when he was born, but in the end couldn't bring herself to because he was so beautiful. So she put him in a basket and sent him down the river, where a poor couple found him and named him "Taliesin." He became the greatest bard in the world.
Cool and Unusual Punishment: While he is away fighting a phony war engineered by his nephews Gilfaethwy and Gwydion - the war in which Pryderi is slain - Gwydion himself sneaks into Math's stronghold and rapes his foot-holder maiden, Goewin. In punishment, Math transforms the brothers into a different animal every year, one male and one female, until they bear three offspring together.
An Irish hero with one of the greatest names ever - it is usually anglicised as Finn McCool - Fionn was the leader of the Fianna, a band of legendary warriors. He's most famous for (accidentally) gaining the wisdom of the Salmon of Knowledge when he burnt his thumb while he was cooking the thing for his master, meaning whenever he wanted to access that wisdom all he to do was suck his thumb.
Expy: Bizarre example. Look at his description versus Taliesin above and swap out 'Salmon of Knowledge' for 'Potion of Knowledge'. You'd think thumb-based origin stories wouldn't be so common. Of course due to the age of the material there's no way to tell if Finn is Taliesin's Irish counterpart or Taliesin Finn's Welsh one.
Healing Hands: An indirect version: his hands could imbue water with healing properties.
King in the Mountain: Supposedly sleeping in a cave beneath Dublin, to awaken to defend Ireland in her hour of greatest need.
This lady is the Warrior Queen of Connacht, and you do not want to get on her bad side. She's known for her ego, sexual endeavours, and, though she's more bloodthirsty than the more famous heroes, she's a renowned guardian of the land. It's theorised by some that she might have been a mythical goddess.
Arch-Enemy: Conchobar mac Nessa, king of Ulster. Through a marriage arranged by her father, he was her first husband and she left him later on after having one son by him. After a political assembly at Tara, he raped her. (It's probably no coincidence that she required all her following husbands to be without meanness.) She hated him so much that when a druid told her that her son Maine would kill Conchobar, she renamed all of her seven sons so she wouldn't have all her eggs in one basket. Turns out the druid was talking about a different Conchobar.
Also Ulster, as in the land itself. She made a path through the landscape that would 'forever show her contempt' for the place. We did warn you not to get on her bad side. The legend is she is also buried upright, keeping an eye on her enemies there.
Dark Action Girl: Defeated all her siblings in combat to prove herself Badass, or so she boasts to her husband as they duel with their egos across the pillows. Not an Unusual Euphemism, as it turns out. She also murdered a pregnant woman and later waged one of the most epic wars in Irish legend to steal a bull (still not an Unusual Euphemism) so she'd be more wealthy than her husband.
Genius Bruiser: Probably, since not only did everyone worth noting inside and outside her kingdom come to her for advice since her judgement was greatly valued, but she also deserved her title of warrior queen.
Manipulative Bastard: Her favourite tokens of bribery were riches and sex slaves, and even the off time she fails you can't help but admire how conniving her ploys were.
My Girl Is a Slut: She made it very clear that if a man wanted to marry her he had to meet the following criteria: he had to be without meanness, fear and jealousy. The last one was because she really got around. She also wasn't above trading sex for bargains with her enemies.
Pride: It's likely one of the reasons she fell for Ailill was because he was able to match her Awesome Ego. Expect plenty of Badass Boasts to follow.
Really Gets Around: Any time Maeve is mentioned she's then followed by a list of many husbands and/or lovers.
Elite Army: Controlled the Fianna at the point in time when Fionn mac Cumhaill was their leader. This is a given.
Because Destiny Says So: The Stone of Destiny at Tara roars when he steps on it, which means he's going to be King, then the god Lugh tells him how long he will reign and the names of the kings to follow him.
Did Not Get the Girl: She was banished anyway after Conn's son challenged her to a game of fidchell and she lost.
The Gloves Come Off: When Mug Nuadat came back after Conn forced him and his forces to flee for Spain, not only did he defeat Conn and divide their land in two in a treaty of his own devising, but then broke he broke his own treaty and tried to take the rest of the land. Conn was thoroughly not amused at this point and retreated, regrouped and first defeated Nuadat's allies in the north, then marched south and killed Nuadat in a surprise night attack. If he knew what was good for him, he would've stayed in Spain.
Happily Married: Both his marriages were good, though both ended in tragedy.
Heartbroken Badass: Probably had a bout of this after his second wife was banished, and maybe after his first wife died.
Heroic Spirit: Given the perseverance required for those 'Hundred Battles'.
Papa Wolf: to just about everyone, providing they weren't his enemies.
Romancing the Widow: After hearing his wife had died, a fairy woman sprung up out of the blue and agreed to marry him.
The Strategist: He had to be, given that he spent most of his 20-50 years (accounts vary) fighting rival tribes off his land, waging full-fledged war against invaders and enemies and helping those who came to him for protection.
The Ace of the gods, associated with the sun (according to victorian archaeologists, anyways), fertility, and liberating Ireland from the monster Balor. Not much is known past that, but he did have a fling with his hot midwife when she helped his wife give birth safely—the midwife in turn had Cuchulainn, Ireland's greatest hero, and the rest is (alleged) history. He is sometimes considered to be the Morrigan's husband, due to both deities being powerful warriors associated with, well, fertility''.
The Ace: Of course. He got into the Tuatha de Danaan solely because while they had masters of all fields, none were a master in all fields like him.
Light is Good: God of the light in general, and fertility. Getting any "evil" vibes from that? Even if he is not the Sun god as previously thought - a role that might actually belong to his foe, Balor of the Evil Eye -, he still represents the light of the thunder flashes.
Shock and Awe: A popular interpretation is that he is actually some sort of thunder god, with his name more or less meaning "lightning flash".
Warrior Poet: Literally a warrior and a poet. The Irish love the trope's version as well.
What Does He See In Her? He's (possibly) married to the Morrígan, of all people. Then again, theyhavea couple of things in common...note Followers of both gods emphatically state that they can't stand each other, and this was most likely a Wiccan influence.
The most infamous Celtic goddess, her name means "great/phantom queen." Due to the fragmented nature of Celtic mythology, she is associated with several related figures—the Washer At the Ford (a harbinger of death who washed the clothes of the soon-to-be-dead in the river), Macha (either a goddess or one of The Fair Folk, forced to run a race while pregnant and ended up giving birth after winning), and Badb, another warrior-goddess. Nobody's really sure of anything with her, aside from the facts that 1) she is a war-goddess, and 2) nobody's sure of anything with her. Tellingly, she is one of the few deities who wasn'tBrought Down to Normal and didn't get her Serial Numbers Filed Off.
Blood Knight: Unusual in that she's a bloodthirsty female deity, and uses her wits to cause bloodbaths instead of solve them. She draws a marked parallel with Kali in that respect.
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Modern artists portray her dressed in black with black hair, when in the actual myths her hair and clothes were frequently red—red was the ancient Celtic color of death. The former isn't wrong, though, since it's more of a Palette Swap than an actual mistake.
Cryptic Conversation: Many unfortunates piss her off because they can't understand what the hell she's saying.
God Save Us from the Queen!: On one hand, she's an amazon who has no problem trading sex for little things like lifelong glory and prosperity. On the other hand, if you piss her off she will fuck your shit up. She won't just kill you—first she'll ruin everything you stand for as you watch helplessly (but not quite enough to send you over the Despair Event Horizon), and then she'll make absolutely sure your death is long, agonizing, and pointless.
Really Gets Around: Her fertility aspect is overshadowed in modern times by her violent tendencies, but very obvious in the myths.
Sadly Mythtaken: Some people compare her to Athena, when she's the exact opposite—Athena was a war goddess who dealt more with strategy, while the Morrigan positively loves carnage.
Spell My Name with an S: Even worse than usual in Celtic myth. She's either the Morrígan/Mórrígan/Morríghan/Morrigu, or Mor-Ríoghain. All of them are technically correct, since they mean "phantom/great queen".
Things That Go Bump in the Night: She announced her presence by screaming war-cries to wake everyone up. Whoever had the balls to check would be rewarded if they helped her out, or punished if they pissed her off.
Trauma Conga Line: One of her specialties, and the main reason she's so pants-wettingly feared.
Unusual Euphemism: Characters often make reference to "the Morrígan's harvest" after a battle—that being the eyes, souls, or heads of the dead. After a battle, everyone still alive would clear the hell out to ensure that the Morrígan's "harvest" went peacefully.
Also, there is the phrase "Garden of Morrigan," or some variation, in referrence to how battlefields tend to become overgrown with plantlife due to all that fertilizer left behind. Which is also beleived to be the source of her association with fertility.
The father-figure of the Tuatha de Danaan. Another deity with a title for a name, "the Dagda" means "the good god" when literally translated. He was one of the first High Kings of Ireland, the god of music and poetry, and known for a magic cauldron that could feed any number of people without a problem.
Really Gets Around: Noticing a theme? Notably, he slept with the Morrigan in exchange for her help in fighting the Fomorians. In some retellings he slept with a Fomorian girl instead. With his large stature repeatedly commented upon. His stories tend to have a common theme of Fan Disservice..
The Irish god of love, mainly romantic, but possibly also familial. He likes to help people out of tight spots, but can also be a warrior of vengeance when he's sufficiently outraged, normally by a wrong done to someone close to him. His most well-known story is probably Aisling Oenguso, The Dream of Aengus.
Angst Coma: In 'The Dream of Aengus'. A beautiful woman comes to see him every night in his dreams and plays the harp to him, but he cannot touch her. He goes into a 'wasting sickness' until his parents find the girl in real life.
Declaration of Protection: He does this a few times. For his foster-son Diarmuid in 'Diarmuid and Gráinne', for his foster-daughter in 'The House of the Two Pails', and for his foster-father's wife Étaín in the 'The Wooing of Étaín'.
The first king of the Tuatha de Danann. He was highly respected and close friends with the Dagda and Lugh.
Meaningful Name: Airgetlám literally means 'silver hand', which is fitting since Nuada literally has a silver hand.
Nice Guy: Pretty much as nice as they come in Irish mythology. Even after regaining his throne from an unpopular king (Bres) after he lost the arm and got a new one, he gracefully steps aside to allow Lugh/the Dagda (depending on who you ask) to take over later on after meeting the guy and deciding he was pretty swell and good enough to lead his people in battle.
Only Sane Man: Once you take a look at everyone else's track record. He'd often make fairly reasonable requests, such as halving the territory with the Fomorians and, after only just having his own arm chopped off, insisting Sreng fight him with one of his arms tied behind his back. On both of those counts his negotiations were turned down.
An immensely popular figure even today, she is one of the patron saints of Ireland and second only to St. Patrick (yes, that one). She presides over healing, poetry, and smithwork—some believe that she was originally a goddess who had her Serial Numbers Filed Off, as that fits the "triple goddess" concept. (And Christianity's general tendencies.) Another "coincidence" is that her festival day is February 1, the day of Imbolc (and Goddess!Brigid's sacred day) in the pagan communities. St. Brigid's Well is a well-known landmark for those who suffer chronic illness or injury. She is also associated with fire, and before Christianity set in there was a temple where her "sacred flame" was constantly tended to by priestesses/nuns.
Continuity Snarl: We know that Brigid is in charge of healing, poetry, and smiths. We don't know much else about her—or we don't know who knows much else about her, because everyone's arguing over who gets her in the first place.
The Heart: She was so beloved that the Christians adopted their own version of her instead of demonizing her like the rest of the Celtic pantheon.
Overshadowed by Awesome: Compared to other gods and especially the Morrigan, she gets rather little mention in myth.
The fairy wife of King Pwyll in Welsh Mythology. He offered to marry her when she said she didn't like her other suitor, so she accepted. When her first son was born, he vanished and the maids panicked, not only because their king's heir was gone but because they might be blamed for it. So they killed a few puppies from a recent litter, smeared the blood on the unconscious Rhiannon, and said she'd eaten her own son in a fit of madness. ...Yeah. This wasn't good for Rhiannon, and everyone started howling for the evil fairy to be killed. Pwyll really wanted to believe Rhiannon but he was also responsible for, you know, ruling, so to compromise he said that she'd have to carry visitors from the courtyard to his hall on her back for seven years. Luckily her son was alive, had been named Pryderi by his adopted parents, and reunited with them when he was of age. Past that the different versions of the story get a little contradictory, but everything sorted out in the end. Except for Pwll getting killed in a battle, but Rhiannon eventually married Manawydan, another of the Fair Folk.
Cool Horse: Rhiannon's mount when Pwyll met her. Rhiannon's punishment essentially forced her to become a Horse of a Different Color, and the vanished foal grew up with Pryderi and became his trusted mount. Some believe Rhiannon to be a goddess due to the recurring motif, even though there's no actual evidence in the Mabinogion.