Literature / The Exile of the Sons of Uisnech

The Exile of the Sons of Uisliú, or Deirdre and Naoise, is a story of the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology, written down in the Middle Ages but set in the Celtic pagan Iron Age. King Conchobar of Ulster locks Deirdre away in a tower from birth, due to a prophecy that she would be incredibly beautiful and men would fight over her. Deirdre is the daughter of Conchobar's poet, but she grows up with foster parents and out of sight of all boys, so she doesn't fall for anyone else before Conchobar marries her. But, well, a pretty warrior-singer called Naoise ruins all that, and Deirdre persuades him to elope with her, incurring the wrath of Conchobar. Naoise's loyal brothers come along for the ride and they all end up in Scotland, where they live simply and happily for a while... Until Conchobar pretends all is forgiven and invites them home, precipitating a brutal, tragic ending. And the outraged exile of Fergus Mac Róich, which will be important later...


  • Abduction Is Love: Deirdre literally pounces on Naoise and says he'll be cursed or at least dishonoured if he doesn't run away with her. He seems to be okay with it eventually.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Due to the aforementioned honour situation, Naoise and his brothers have to fight for Deirdre straight away.
  • Happily Married: They seem to have the most loving relationship in all of Irish mythology, in spite of its strange beginning.

Alternative Title(s): Deirdre Of The Sorrows