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Ness (Irish mythology)

Ness (; ), also called Nessa, is a princess of the Ulaid and the mother of Conchobar mac Nessa in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology. Her father is Eochaid Sálbuide, king of the Ulaid.

According to one version of the legend, she asks the druid Cathbad what that day is a good day for, and he replies that it is a good day to conceive a king. There are no other men around, so Ness takes Cathbad to bed, and Conchobar is conceived.

In other versions, Ness was brought up by twelve foster-fathers, and was originally called Assa ("easy, gentle"), because she was such a pleasure to foster. Cathbad, who is a leader of a band of fianna (landless warriors) as well as a druid in this version, attacks her foster-fathers' house, killing them all. Because the culprit cannot be identified, Eochaid is powerless to do anything about it, so Ness forms her own band of 27 fianna to track him down, and becomes known as Ní-assa ("not easy, not gentle"), or Ness. However, one day, when she goes off on her own to bathe, Cathbad comes upon her alone and unarmed and demands her as his wife. She has no choice but to agree.

Eochaid gives the couple land in Crích Rois (a region covering parts of the modern counties of Louth, Monaghan and Meath), near the river Conchobar. One night Cathbad is thirsty, and Ness brings him a drink of water from the river, but when he sees two worms floating in it he makes Ness drink it. Although the story specifically denies this is what makes her pregnant, there are many Irish stories in which significant characters are conceived when their mothers swallowed a tiny creature in a drink. Here, the father of her child is said to be Fachtna Fáthach, the High King of Ireland, who is Ness's lover in spite of Cathbad.

While Ness and Cathbad are travelling to visit Fachtna, Ness goes into labour on the bank of the river Conchobar. Cathbad prophesies that if she can wait until the following day before giving birth, her son will share a birthday with Jesus Christ. She sits on a flagstone by the river, and the following day gives birth to a son, who is named Conchobar after the river. The baby tumbles backwards into the river, and Cathbad lifts him out. Cathbad makes a prophecy in verse of his future glory, in which he refers to him as "my son and my grandson", suggesting there was once a tradition that Cathbad was Ness's father, and that Conchobar was born of incest between them.

By the time Conchobar is seven, Fergus mac Róich is king of Ulster, and he falls in love with Ness. She consents to marry him on one condition – that he abdicate his kingship for a year in favour of Conchobar, so that his sons will be able to call themselves the sons of a king. Fergus consults with his nobles, and they advise him that the boy will be king in name only, so he agreed. But Conchobar, advised by his mother, is so crafty at distributing wealth and gifts that when the year is up, the Ulstermen won't have Fergus back, and Conchobar keeps the kingship.

According to some traditions Ness is the mother of Cormac Cond Longas by incest with Conchobar (although in other traditions, Cormac's mother is Conchobar's wife Clothru). She is also the mother of Conchobar's sisters Deichtine and Findchóem.

Ness

Ness may refer to:

Ness (surname)

The surname Ness may refer to:

Ness (given name)

Ness is a given name which may refer to:

  • Ness Edwards (1897–1968), Welsh Labour Party politician
  • Ness Flowers, Welsh rugby player in the 1970s and '80s
  • Ness Wadia (born 1970), Indian businessman
  • Ness Zamir (born 1990), Israeli footballer
Gazetteer

Ness -- U.S. County in Kansas

Population (2000): 3454
Housing Units (2000): 1835
Land area (2000): 1074.746707 sq. miles (2783.581074 sq. km)
Water area (2000): 0.257650 sq. miles (0.667310 sq. km)
Total area (2000): 1075.004357 sq. miles (2784.248384 sq. km)
Located within: Kansas (KS), FIPS 20
Location: 38.526299 N, 99.890005 W
Headwords:
Ness
Ness, KS
Ness County
Ness County, KS
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Ness

Ness \Ness\, n. [AS. n[ae]s, ns; akin to Icel. nes, Sw. n["a]s, Dan. n[ae]s, and E. nose. [root] 261. See Nose.] A promontory; a cape; a headland.
--Hakluyt.

Note: Ness is frequently used as a suffix in the names of places and promontories; as, Sheerness.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

ness

obsolete except in place names, Old English næs "a promontory," related to nasu "nose" (see nose (n.)). Cognate with Old Norse nes, Danish næs, Swedish näs, Middle Dutch nesse.

Wiktionary

ness

n. (context geography English) A promontory; a cape or headland. {{non-gloss definition|(qualifier: frequently used as a suffix in placenames)}}

WordNet

ness

n. a strip of land projecting into a body of water [syn: cape]

Usage examples of "ness".

This is significant because it points to W economic viability of outdoor advertising for community-based busi-, nesses.

For some reason his wry ness released the cramp in her throat, and she met his gaze, areal grin appearing.

Van Ness and watched the bocce players for a while, then came back home and called Kerry.

Deputy Librarian Ness merely sniffed at Lirael and sent her to First Assistant Librarian Roslin, who kissed her absently on the cheek and sent her to Second Assistant Librarian Imshi, who was only twenty and not long promoted from the yellow silk waistcoat of a Third Assistant to the red of a Second.

Not a sound disrupted the complete quie rode of this place, not a voice or footstep disturbed the perfect noiseless ness It was like being in a vacuum, or a tomb.

I, William Seward, captain of this lushed up hashhead subway, will quell the Lock Ness monster with rotenone and cowboy the white whale.

For Ness to be apprenticed as an adult had almost been a miracle from Koru.

But Thomas was back floundering in the void of his nameless ness mocked by his own presumptuous aims and apings.

They skirted Loch Ness as the sun came up and the sky turned pink, navigated around the Dornoch Firth along Struie Hill, and reached Dornoch in the early afternoon.

Andy had come to the parlor fifteen minutes beforehand to dwell unchallenged in its atmosphere of aged ness and unaired graces, for he had not been encouraged to frequent this room.

The Abos were obviously a branch of the Athabascan Indians, as indicated by their height and broad--headed ness.

After reviewing the case for complete ness, the profile coordinator forwarded the materials to the Behavioral Science Investigative Support Unit at the FBI Academy for analysis.

I felt its warm ness as it sprinkled my face and shoulder, and I leapt out of the bunk, shoving the choking man away from me into the Blackshirt behind him.

Cloudless was the day, and the air clean and sweet, and every nook and cranny was clear to behold from where they stood: there were great jutting nesses with straight-walled burgs at their top-most, and pyramids and pinnacles that no hand of man had fashioned, and awful clefts like long streets in the city of the giants who wrought the world, and high above all the undying snow that looked as if the sky had come down on to the mountains and they were upholding it as a roof.

But then a wave of torpor insinuated itself as a last vestige of the chemical washed across his forebrain, sinuous molecules urging sleep, a resumption of the comforting nothin ness that took away the fear of being cocooned like this.