Manannán Missionary - Have you heard the Good Word of our Lord Manannán Mac Lír
In the time before the Tuatha Dé Danánn came into Ireland there were other tribes in the land and indeed older Gods. Lír is the name of one such ancient deity and he was a being of some importance to the island nation as he was the God of the sea itself. Yet for all of his power and influence, we seem to have no tales about him, but we do have many tales concerning his son, the Mac Lír, known as Manannán.
We find tales of Manannán's presence all through out the mythical cycles but indeed also in later stories known as the cycle of Kings. He is presented in many forms, but almost always he is a pivotal character around whom some important function, action or change invariably occurs. It's Mananán who leads the Tuatha Dé Danánn into the hollow hills. Mananán who converses with Bran on his voyage, giving him a warning. Manannán who gives Cormaic Mac Airt the famous cup which divines truth.
Given his relationship to Lir, the sea, we see Manannán connected to the oceans often in very interesting ways, from his magical crane skin bag, which is only full when the tides is, his magical steed Aonbharr which can ride across the waves as easily as land, even to his wonderous self navigating boat, Sguaba Tuinne ("Wave-sweeper"). Always though, Manannán seems to have an intelligent solution to whatever challenge he faces not least of which is the ability to mimic someone else so that their own lord doesn't realise and puts their own warrior to death, instead of this the Mac Lír.
In our fascination with Irish lore and the oceans we couldn't not consider the amazing creature that is the octopus. Though there is no direct connection to Manannán in the lore, its not hard to consider this ocean dweller, with its intelligence, it's camelion like ability and some might say uniquely adaptive genetics, coming to the attention of the God of the sea. So much so that our own resident Eel was very much tickled by the idea and designed this Tee. Who's to say that Octopi aren't envoys from the ocean given their ability to communicate with us in intelligent and entertaining ways.
Either way, it cannot be denied that Manannán is a pivotal figure of Irish lore. Wherever he appears its almost always with some wisdom, warning or lesson. So, Have you heard the Good Word of our Lord Manannán Mac Lír?