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Old January 1st, 2015 #1
Theodore
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Default The Red Hand



The Red Hand of Ulster (in Irish: Lámh Dhearg Uladh) is a symbol used in heraldry to denote the Irish province of Ulster. It is an open right hand coloured red, with the fingers pointing upwards, the thumb held parallel to the fingers, and the palm facing forward. It is less commonly known as the Red Hand of O'Neill. Its origins are said to be attributed to the mythical Irish figure Labraid Lámh Dhearg of the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology (Red Hand Labraid), and appear in other mythical tales passed down from generation to generation in the oral tradition. The symbol is rooted in Irish Gaelic culture and is particularly associated with the Uí Néill clan of Ulster. In some versions, a left hand is used and/or the thumb is opened.

Mythical origins

It is generally accepted that this Irish Gaelic symbol originated in pagan times and was first associated with the mythical figure Labraid Lámh Dhearg or Labraid Lámderg (Labraid of the Red Hand) of the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology.

According to one myth, the kingdom of Ulster had at one time no rightful heir. Because of this it was agreed that a boat race should take place and that "whosoever's hand is the first to touch the shore of Ireland, so shall he be made the king".

One potential king so desired the kingship that, upon seeing that he was losing the race, he cut off his hand and threw it to the shore—thus winning the kingship. The hand is most likely red to represent the fact that it would have been covered in blood. According to some versions of the story, the king who cut off his hand belonged to the Uí Néill clan, which apparently explains its association with them. Another variation of this story concludes that it was none other than Niall of the Nine Hostages who severed his own hand in order to win his crown from his brother.


Sons of Noah

Last edited by Theodore; January 2nd, 2015 at 12:13 AM.
 
Old January 2nd, 2015 #2
ulsterpatriot
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Excellent post.
 
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