Chúchulainn was a warrior in ancient Ireland. At the age of five he wanted to be part of King Conor`s knights. He was told by his parents he was too young. One night a travelling storyteller arrived in his home and told stories of King Conor`s knights, their skill in battel and their fearlessness. That night Chúchulainn took his hurley stick and ball (the Irish game called hurling which was revived around 1916 and now Ireland`s most popular sport). When he arrived at the castle a wolfhound called Culann was guarding the castle gates and Chúchulainn killed the hound with his hurley stick during an attempt to enter the castle. He rammed his hurley stick down the throat of the hound. The king was left without a guard dog and the young child Chúchulainn said to King Conor he would guard the castle. He did so and the child, at the age of five, was given the name Chúchulainn, a form of the hounds name, and he guarded the castle with bravery for three years.
Chúchulainn`s strength and prowess in battle was unmatched in all of Ireland. He joined King Conor`s Red Branch Knights and became their leader. Queen Maeve was his most formidable enemy. Queen Maeve desired a magical bull and tried to persuade Chúchulainn to join her army to take the bull by force from its owner, for if he was on her side in battle she would be sure to win and she could take the magical bull. Chúchulainn refused to join her army even though the queen offered him gold and other priceless articles but they made an agreement that he would battle with only one of her strongest soldiers every night. This meant that the queen would only suffer a few losses rather than hundreds of soldiers a day at the hands of Chúchulain and his sling. Chúchulainn finally turned on her entire army and nearly defeated her except she enlisted his foster brother to fight him, threatening him with her druids spells. His brother was almost a match for Chúchulainn but Chúchulainn won the battle. He had little time to recover because his foster brother`s army attacked him and the Red Branch knights a second time. Queen Meave and a small group of her men succeeded in robbing the magical bull while the battle continued. Eventually Queen Maeve’s army and his foster brother’s army were defeated by Chúchulainn and his knights.
Queen Maeve renewed her army and waged war a second time but this time Chúchulainn was injured when his own spear was turned on him through a magic spell, wounding him fatally. Rather than collapse and die on the battlefield Chúchulainn wanted to die standing up as a warrior. He walked to the side of a mountain and tied himself to a piece of rock jutting out from the mountainside. Chúchulainn was well known as the strongest most fearless warrior in Ireland. When he was tied to a rock, standing motionless and dead, his enemies were afraid to approach him thinking he could still attack while in a weak state. It was only when a raven landed on Chúchulainn`s shoulder that his enemies knew he was dead and dared to approach his body.
Patrick Pearse, the leader of Easter Rising 1916, believed that this tale might apply to him. When it became clear he would die at the hands of the English he compared himself to Chúchulainn. He would die for his country if necessary and that he would die with pride. In the General Post Office in Dublin there is a bronze statue of Chúchulainn tied to a rock with a raven on his shoulder. Patrick Pearse fought in the GPO which was the scene of one of the most bloody attacks of the event and was shot dead by a firing squad in Kilmainham Jail.