An Echtra or Echtrae (pl. Echtrai) is one of a category of Old Irish literature about a hero's adventures in the Otherworld (see Tír na nÓg and Mag Mell); the otherworldly setting is the distinctive trait of these tales. More generally, "echtra" was the Old Irish word for "adventure", the Modern Irish word is "eachtra".

The echtra was one of the most popular of Old Irish genres, so much so that the word later came to be used in the titles of any romance, regardless of otherworldly content. Earlier on, however, an echtra's emphasis was on the hero's time in the Otherworld, the journey to which served merely as a frame story. This distinguishes the echtrai from the "Immrama", or "Voyages", which focus on the hero's journey rather than the otherworldly destination.

The hero of the echtra is usually invited to the Otherworld by a beautiful maiden or a great warrior, and he must cross either the western ocean or a plain blanketed by a mystical fog. The host is revealed to be one of the Tuatha Dé Danann, or fairy folk, and Manannan or Lugh often figure into the tale. The hero's fate after his sojourn varies from tale to tale. Sometimes he stays among the "sídhe" forever, and sometimes he returns with knowledge and gifts for his people. Sometimes the hero discovers his visit has lasted for years or even centuries though he thought no time had passed. He is warned that if he ever touches his home soil again, he will surely perish. In the "Voyage of Bran", the heroes describe their adventure to listeners shore, then sail off into oblivion. In a popular story from the Fenian Cycle, Oisín touches the ground and instantly ages hundreds of years. He tells his story to Saint Patrick and receives a Christian baptism before passing away.


*James MacKillop (1998). "Dictionary of Celtic Mythology". Oxford. ISBN 0-19-860967-1.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Echtra — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Echtra es el nombre de una categoría de relatos de la literatura irlandesa antigua que versan sobre las aventuras de un héroe en el Otro Mundo (véase Tír na nÓg y Mag Mell). El término viene a significar aventura en… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Echtra Fergusa maic Léte — [ extra fʴerɣusʴa mak leːte] („Das Abenteuer von Fergus mac Léite“) ist der Titel einer Erzählung aus dem Ulster Zyklus der Irischen Mythologie. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Inhalt 2 Siehe auch 3 Literatur …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Niall of the Nine Hostages — Niall Noígíallach (Irish pronunciation: [ˈniːəl noɪˈɣiːələx], Old Irish having nine hostages ),[1] or in English, Niall of the Nine Hostages, son of Eochaid Mugmedón, was an Irish king, the eponymous ancestor of the Uí Néill kindred who… …   Wikipedia

  • Ulster Cycle — Topics in the Ulster Cycle Ulster characters Amergin mac Eccit Athirne Blaí Briugu Briccriu Cairbre Cuanach Cathbad Celtchar Cethern mac Fintain Conall Cernach Conchobar mac Nessa Condere mac Echach Cruinniuc Cú Chulainn Culann Cúscraid Dáire mac …   Wikipedia

  • Mongfind — Queen Mongfind ( fair mane ) was the wife, of apparent Munster origins, of the legendary Irish High King Eochaid Mugmedón and mother of his eldest three sons, Brion, Ailill and Fiachrae, ancestors of the historical Connachta, through whom she is… …   Wikipedia

  • Samhain — Infobox Holiday | holiday name=Samhain type=Pagan observedby=Gaels, Irish People, Scottish People, Welsh People, Galician People, Breton people Asturian people, Neopagans, Celtic Reconstructionist Pagans begins= Northern Hemisphere=Evening of… …   Wikipedia

  • Áedán mac Gabráin — (pronounced|ˈaiðaːn mak ˈgavraːnʲ in Old Irish) was king of Dál Riata from circa 574 until his death circa 608. The kingdom of Dál Riata was situated in modern Argyll and Bute, Scotland, and parts of County Antrim, Ireland. Genealogies record… …   Wikipedia

  • Crimthann mac Fidaig — Crimthann Mór, son of Fidach (English pronunciation: /ˈkriːvən ˈmɔər mæk ˈfiːaɪ/), also written Crimthand Mór, was a semi mythological king of Munster and High King of Ireland of the 4th century. He gained territory in Britain and Gaul, but died… …   Wikipedia

  • Crimthann mac Fidaig — roi légendaire de Munster et Ard ri Érenn du IVe siècle. Crimthann mac Fidaig dont le nom est repris sous la forme de « Crimthand » dans le Baile Chuind Chétchathaig était le fils de Fidach mac Dáire (Dáre Cerbba: Rawlinson B 502) ou… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Эхтрай — Эхтра (др. ирл. echtra)  один из основных жанров ирландских легенд, повествующий о приключениях героя в Потустороннем мире. Само слово echtra означает «странствие». См. также Имрам …   Википедия

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.