Nuada Airgetlám - King of the Tuatha Dé Danann

There are many great names among the Tuatha de Danann. From Dagda to Dian Cecht, Luchtaine to Lugh and many more besides, but there is only one who was their first king. Only one who lead them to their ancestral homeland in Ireland... that is Nuada.

The Tuatha Dé Danann came back to Eireann and a foretelling of their coming by the wizard Cesard of the Fir Bolg described them as follows;

"warriors are coming across the sea, a thousand heroes covering the ocean; speckled ships will press in upon us; all kinds of death they announce, a people skilled in every art, a magic spell; . . . they will be victorious in every stress." (from the First Battle of Moytura.)

So what kind of person could lead this tribe of heroes, artisans, and practitioners of every magic? What does it take to bring your people out of oppression, into a new land and seek to make a home there?

The answer, it seems, is Nuada. Known as a great warrior to his people, it was he who carried one of the four treasures of the Tuatha Dé Danann, an Cliabh Solas (the Sword of Light). Gifted to him by great seer Esrus, it was carried from the ancient city of Gorias and it was said that no battle could be stood against it.

Still, for all of his battle prowess, it was with words that he first tried to make a home in Ireland. By his judgment were envoys sent to the Fir Bolg. He acknowledged the shared lineage of both tribes and asked for a share of their homeland. Battle was the reply, and so the first battle of Moytura was fought in Ireland.

It was during a champion conflict with Sraeng, hero of the Fir Bolg, that Nuada suffered a grievous wound... losing his right arm. The Dagda saved his life that day, and through the healing skill of Dian Cecht he did not die. Taking the field the very next day, he again challenged Sraeng to champion conflict, requesting the other bind up his arm so that it might be fair. It was during the discussion before this challenge that agreement was reached. With Nuada's judgement, the Fir Bolg would take ownership of Connacht and there would be an end to battle.

After the battle Nuada earned his epithet, Airgetlám - meaning silver hand. Creidne the metal worker and Dian Cecht the medic worked a wonder and made for Nuada a silver arm that worked as strong and skillfully as if it were his very own flesh. Alas, given the blemish upon him, he could no longer rule as king and the people chose Bres to rule.

The tale does not end here for Nuada, as his quest to be restored continued. It was with the aid of Miach (son of Dian Cecht, and skilled medic) that a new arm of flesh and blood was restored to him, and when the rule of Bres failed it was Nuada who the people turned to. They called for the return of the king who had lead them so well into the land of their ancestors.

Nuada's journey is one of seeking what is best for him and his people. He is one who does not let adversity overcome him. He does not accept anything but what is fairly deserved. He is a leader of both words and deeds and one who will always seek to be whole.

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1 comment

  • Excellent intro to Nuada. I have never been pulled to study or learn of him before now. My interest is peaked. Gratitude.

    Phoenix Fiona

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