Macha, a war Goddess of ancient Ireland, is associated with fertility, land and horses. One of the most famous stories involving Macha tells of her incredible speed and strength. In this tale, she was forced to race the King of Ulster’s horses while heavily pregnant with twins.

Despite her debilitating labour pains, she outran the horses and gave birth to her twins at the finish line. As her twins were born and, she cursed the men of Ulster for their disrespect and lack of compassion for her.

Macha card from Exploring Ireland game

This curse, known as the “Curse of Macha,” played a significant role in Ulster mythology. It emphasized the importance of respecting and honoring the strength and endurance of women.

Macha’s name is also connected to the city and county of Armagh in Northern Ireland. “Ard Macha” means “Macha’s Height” (or high place of Macha) and refers to Navan Fort, a prominent archaeological site associated with her.

This showcases her enduring influence and the deep connection between Irish mythology and the landscape of the region.