Tochmarc Moméra as Echtra to the Otherworld
Tochmarc Moméra, “The Wooing of Moméra”, is a Middle Irish tale found solely in the Yellow Book of Lecan (TCD MS 1318). The tale features the voyage of Eógan Taídlech, legendary ancestor of the Eóganachta, to Spain where he marries Moméra, Spanish princess, and obtains a magical cloak. However, as Donald Meek observes in relation to Fráech’s journey to Lombardy (Táin Bó Fraích, and other "Fráech" texts: a study in thematic relationships, Part 1 (CMCS 7, 71)), “the original expedition may have been to the Otherworld, and not to any recognisable country.” Notably, the structure and stylistic features of Tochmarc Moméra suggest same connotations. From the typological point of view, this idea could be supported by other tales which explicitly concern the candidate's voyage to the Otherworld, as a place of legitimisation of his royal status, and focus either on his marriage or on supernatural objects he receives there (cf. Baile in Scáil, Echtra Chormaic, Echtra Airt maic Cuinn). This essay addresses motifs and stylistic devices used by an author while moulding this polysemantic narrative, and places Tochmarc Moméra in a broader context of Irish and international tales.