The Morrígan

deity or supernatural figure in medieval Irish literature, frequently associated with war and destruction; she sometimes appears as part of a triad with Macha and the Badb; also associated with Nemain.

See also: Túatha Dé DanannTúatha Dé (Danann)
Tuatha Dé Danann;Túatha Dé
A common Irish designation for a group of supernatural or magical figures in Irish history, broadly equivalent to the áes síde. In the pseudo-historical tradition represented by Lebor gabála Érenn and other texts, they are presented and arguably, to some extent euhemerised as the pre-Christian people that conquered Ireland from the Fir Bolg and were later overcome by the sons of Míl (the Gaels).
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Secondary sources (select)

Arbuthnot, Sharon, “The phrase troig mná trogain in exhortative speech”, Studia Celtica Fennica 12 (2015): 5–20.  
The phrase troig mná trogain appears in a number of Irish narrative texts from the medieval and Early Modern periods. It is clearly a reference to an undesirable experience. In light of this, there has been a tendency to interpret the phrase as meaning 'the pangs of a woman in childbirth'. Such an understanding does not seem justified, however, by the established semantic ranges of the words listed in DIL as trog, trogan or trogain. The purpose of this article is to reinstate Kuno Meyer’s century-old suggestion that the last element of this phrase is trogan 'raven' and to refine and build upon this, arguing that ben trogain is a kenning for the Morrígain in her bird-aspect and asking whether the first element of the phrase under discussion might be the word for 'foot'. Following this line of thought, it seems possible that the phrase in question is an allusion to that defining moment in medieval Irish literature when the Morrígain alights upon the dying Cú Chulainn, setting foot upon his spilt intestines.
Journal volume:  Studia Celtica Fennica: <link>
Clarke, Michael, “Demonology, allegory and translation: the Furies and the Morrígan”, in: Ralph OʼConnor (ed.), Classical literature and learning in medieval Irish narrative, 34, Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2014. 101–122.
Beck, Noémie, “Les cheveux de la Morrígain”, Études Celtiques 38 (2012): 229–257.  
[EN] The Morrígain’s Hair
The Morrígain is one of the most fascinating deities in Irish medieval literature. She is generally viewed as a goddess of war and death who appears alone or in triple form on the battlefield, is endowed with potent supernatural powers and symbolises the death of warriors. As the wife of the Dagda, the father god, she also possesses important sexual and agrarian attributes. She is thus a complex, polymorphic and multifunctional goddess. This study will examine a new aspect of her personality. As a goddess of fertility, she is closely related to water ; a characteristic which is reflected in her role as a washer of corpses at river fords. The numerous references to her long mane and sinister laugh, her role as a messenger of death and her connection with water all lend credence to the view that she is the fair-haired sea-goddess who drowns Conaing, son of Aedán Mac Gabráin, king of Alba, in the early 7th-century poem in the Annals of Tigernach.
Journal volume:  Persée – Études Celtiques, vol. 38, 2012: <link>
Borsje, Jacqueline, “The ‘terror of the night’ and the Morrígain: shifting faces of the supernatural”, in: Mícheál Ó Flaithearta (ed.), Proceedings of the Seventh Symposium of Societas Celtologica Nordica, Studia Celtica Upsaliensia, Uppsala: University of Uppsala, 2007. 71–98. – eread: <link>
Clark, Rosalind, The great queens: Irish goddesses from the Morrígan to Cathleen ní Houlihan, Irish Literary Studies, 34, Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, 1991.
Clark, Rosalind, “Aspects of the Morrígan in early Irish literature”, Irish University Review 17:2 (1987): 223–236.
Carey, John, “Notes on the Irish war-goddess”, Éigse 19:2 (1983): 263–275.
Stokes, Whitley, “Mélanges: The ancient Irish goddess of war: corrections and additions”, Revue Celtique 2 (1873–1875): 489–492.
Internet Archive: <link>
Hennessy, William M., and C. Lottner [postscript], “The ancient Irish goddess of war”, Revue Celtique 1 (1870–1872): 32–55, 55–57, 501.
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
Hennessy, William M., “On the goddess of war of the ancient Irish”, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 1st series, 10 (1870): 421–440.
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
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Dennis Groenewegen
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August 2016, last updated: March 2021