Following our previous blogs introducing the designers behind BRÚ’s new look, we thought it was time to conduct a deep-dive into the beautiful illustrations behind our labels, explaining the story and symbolism behind each one.
To celebrate Irish culture, we’ve linked each of our BRÚ Core beers with a specific Celtic god as a nod to the past, a celebration of traditional beer styles and to integrate our proud Irish identity into our products.
Our crisp, bright and refreshing BRÚ Lager is the only beer from our original range that we haven’t touched or tweaked—the recipe remains the same because it’s such a popular beer with our customers. Its label is primarily yellow, referring to its golden colour and cheerfulness. This lager is our love song to malt and reflects the cheerful chief, the Dagda, Celtic god of the Earth and all-father who is associated with agriculture, wisdom, fertility, magic and life.
The dagda myth
The Dagda, which means “the good god”, is a prominent god in Irish mythology. He was the leader of the Tuatha Dé Danann (a supernatural race) and a druid, a title given to members of the high-ranking class of Celtic cultures. He is often associated with the Germanic god Odin, which is also a nice reference to the German Tradition hops used in our BRÚ Lager.
The depiction of the Dagda on our BRÚ Lager label is inspired by common descriptions of the god as a very large and robust man, wearing a hooded cloak and an ill-fitted short tunic that exposed his buttocks and stomach. Some scholars believe that the oafish and comedic appearance of the Dadga was attributed to Christians, in order to mock the Celtic god.
In addition to his strength and knowledge, the Dagda possessed magical and sacred relics, including the uaithne, a magical harp carved of oak used to control the weather, seasons and to command men´s emotions with its music. Dagda’s harp is the inspiration for the symbol of the harp that represents Ireland.
Son of the goddess Danu, the Dagda married Morrígan, the “great queen” associated with war. The Dagda is the father of Aengus, Cermait, Midir and the notable Brigit, the fertility goddess, who became Saint Brigid,Ireland’s patron saint. One of Dagda’s many lovers was the river goddess Boann, wife of Elcmar, the judge of the Tuatha dé Danann. The myth says that Dagda sent Elcmar to High King Bres so he could court Boann, who soon got pregnant. To protect his coming child against Elcmar, Dagda held the sun in place for nine months until the baby Aengus was born, allowing the child to be conceived and born on the same day.
Brú na Bóinne is considered the Dagda´s home, composed by Neolithic mounds constructed around 3200 BCE around the River Boyne in County Meath, making them older than the Egyptian Pyramids. One of them is the famous Newgrange, which aligns with the rising sun during the winter solstice. The Dagda reigned for around 80 years before being killed by Cethlenn during the second battle of Magh Tuiredh in Brú na Bóinne.
The Dagda inspired many other stories outside Ireland and his popularity can be demonstrated by his presence in pop culture: he is the leader of the Celtic pantheon in the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game and he appears in Marvel’s Thor and Hellboy comics.
The Dagda myth has stuck with us at BRÚ Brewery and we’ve incorporated into our BRÚ Lager branding, allowing us to spread a taste of Irish culture and mythology to our drinkers in Ireland and further overseas.
Have you tried our BRÚ Lager yet? It’s a good beer from the good god!