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The Death of Lóegaire - 4

"And thereupon he slew thirty of the drowners, and Aed escaped from them. And then Lóegaire died. So far the Tragical Death of Lóegaire."

There are various accounts of a battle frenzy overtaking warriors in the ancient stories of northern European mythos. Most commonly known is the berserker of the norse sources, who fought in a "trance like fury" likely taking some sort of unknown substance or after having worked themselves up in some unknown psychospiritual manner. A similar trope appears often in the ancient Irish tales, and it would seem something like this battle frenzy prevented Lóegaire from instant death upon striking his head on the lintel.

"As I am on the subject of madness, it will be better to finish here what is to be said about it. A fit of insanity was often called baile or buile [balle, bulle]: and there was a most curious belief that during the paroxysm a madman's body became as light as air, so that, as he ran distractedly, he scarcely touched the ground, or he rose into the air, still speeding on with a sort of fluttering motion. This was especially the case when madness was produced by the rage of battle. For, during a bloody battle, it sometimes happened that an excitable combatant ran mad with fury and horror: and occurrences of this kind are recorded in the romantic accounts of nearly all the great battles fought in Ireland."

A social history of ancient Ireland - Vol. I


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