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Son of Lug, Cuchulainn began life with the name Setanta, but after he had killed Conchobair Mac Neasa's favourite guard dog, after it had attacked him, he vowed to take the place of the dog, guarding the pass into Ulster, and thus became known as the Hound of Cualainn. Cuchulainn' s great heroic strength was mostly due to his 'warp spasm', a violent, unnatural occurence that channeled the power of Danu, the earth goddess, through his body, twisting and contorting his body into impossible shapes:his heels and calves stood out in front, one eye receded into his head, the other hung huge and red on his cheek. His hair bristled like spikes, with a drop of blood on the tip of each hair-spike, and from the top of his head arose a thick column of dark blood, that spouted like a geyser from his head. While the Men of Ulster were 'in their pangs', Cuchulainn held the pass into Ulster against hundreds of fighters, with the condition that only one man per day should come against them. All who fought him he slew, but he almost met his match in his brother Ferdia, and the two heroes fought for days before Ferdia was finally defeated, Cuchulainn himself the worse for the wear.

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