(Adapted from Lady Gregory’s 1904 collection Gods and Fighting Men and Charles Squire’s Celtic Myth and Legend.
Nuada, King of the Tuatha de Danaan, held a great feast at Teamhair. To the door came a young man, handsome and athletic and bade the door- keeper bring him to the king. “Who are you yourself?” said the door-keeper. “I am Lugh, son of Cian of the Tuatha de Danaan, and of Ethlinn, daughter of Balor, King of the Formor,” he said; “and I am foster-son of Taillte, daughter of the King of the Great Plane, and of Echaid the Rough, son of Duach.”
“What are you skilled in?” asked the door-keeper, “for no one is admitted here unless he is a master of some craft.” “I am a carpenter,” said Lugh. “We have no need of a carpenter, we already have a very good one.” “I am an excellent smith,” said Lugh. “We already have a good smith,” replied the door-keeper. “I am a professional warrior,” said Lugh. “We have no need of you, we already have a champion,” came the response. Lugh at each turn, replied that he was a harpist, a warrior of great cunning, a poet, a sorcerer, a physician, a cup-bearer and a worker in bronze. And each time the door- keeper noted that the company at Teamhair already included a craftsman of each skill.
Lugh spoke again and said, “ask the king if he has with him a man who is master of all these crafts at once, for, if he has, there is no need for me to come to Teamhair.” The door-keeper went to the king’s house and told him, “there is a young man at the door and his name is Ildanach, the Master of all Arts, for all the things the people of your house can do, he himself is able to do every one of them.” Nuada told the door-keeper to try him at the chess- boards. Lugh won every game that was played and Nuada said "let him in, for the like of him never came into Teamhair before."
Upon entering the king’s house, Lugh sat upon the "sage’s seat," a chair kept for the wisest of men. Ogma, the champion, hurled an enormous flagstone out of Teamhair as a challenge to Lugh. Lugh hurled it back again and then played the harp so sweetly that those gathered fell asleep and upon awakening, Lugh’s tunes caused them to weep and then to be joyful.
Nuada saw all of these things and knew that Lugh could help free
his country of the taxes and tyranny put on it by the Fomor. Nuada
then came down from his throne and put Lugh in his place for thirteen
days, so that they might all hear the advice he had to give.
Lugh is a principal hero of the Tuatha de Danann and one of the three great characters of the Irish Mythological Cycle (the other two being Fionn mac Cumhaill and Cuchulainn). The tri-partite arrangement of these three warriors suggests the great antiquity of their origin. Lugh was also doubled in the Roman god Mercury and early Christian historians identified him with the archangel Michael. Lugh means “bright” and he presides over Lughnasadh, the August harvest festival (the festival originally commemorated the earth goddess Tailtiu, Lugh’s foster mother).
The Fomorians are thought to have been a demonic race of beings whose name refers to "underbeings." The Fomorians pillaged the Tuatha de Danaan and imposed cruel taxes. Their king, Balor, was Lugh’s grandfather. Balor is thought possibly to be an earlier Celtic sun diety, deposed and defeated by his grandson, Lugh. Both Balor and Lugh are thought to be bright, sun gods and Lugh may have been the natural successor to Balor’s seat in the Celtic pantheon of gods.