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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art


Reputedly flourished circa 650, Ireland

The ninth-century Irish tale Liadain and Cuirithir recounts the ill-fated romance of two poets. The woman in the tale is Liadain, who meets Cuirithir while traveling around the country on a recital circuit. They are instantly attracted to one another, but Liadain, not wanting to interrupt her professional schedule, arranges to rendezvous with Cuirithir at the end of her tour. By the time he arrives for their tryst, however, Liadain has taken the nun’s vows. Cuirithir then becomes a monk and the lovers attempt a sexless friendship. Eventually, a frustrated Cuirithir flees and Liadan dies of a broken heart. Some scholars believe that the characters Liadan and Cuirithir are based on historical persons of the seventh century.