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Celtic Chess Game

A most intriguing game to challenge the heroes of our time. The game was designed by Lugh the Ildána, the Celtic God of Arts and Crafts and set to test the champions of the land of Hibernia.

Cuchulainn, one of the greatest of Irish heroes, was said to be a master of the game as it was a requirement of all champions to master the game. This museum reproduction is created in our Studio in Dublin, Ireland. The design is based on a board that is in the National History Museum in Dublin, which is believed to be made of bog oak and dates from the 9th Century.

The Game

The four corner squares represent the four provinces of Ireland, the centre square represents the fifth, which was Meath, home to the Hill of Tara from where the High King ruled.

The Pieces

The game consists of twenty one pieces. The High King with his eight defenders, two champions from each of the Provinces. There are twelve attackers, three warriors from each Province. These are the light coloured pieces.


The High King is in the centre province Meath and must be able to travel to one of the four provinces without being captured (one of the four corner squares). Curiously there are twelve attackers and only eight defenders. It appears he will lose. The game was designed by the Irish so everything may not be as it seems!


All pieces can move vertically and horizontally, but not diagonally. The same as a rook in traditional chess. The attacking pieces make the first move (light pieces). Each piece can move as many squares as are free but may not move over a piece. The High King can only move one square at a time until he reaches the edge of the board then he moves as other pieces along the sides only. The King alone may occupy the centre and four corners. 

Capturing Pieces

A piece is captured when he is flanked on both sides, a piece can also be caught against a corner 

square or against one of the King’s squares, when flanked by an opposing piece. The High King 

may only be caught when flanked on all four sides or on three sides against the centre or corner squares. 

All pieces are removed from the board when captured. When the King is captured the Game is over. 

As the Game reflects the Irish Psyche, the King would appear to have the advantage. This was necessary 

to keep control of the Country. At times he would have lost control and would have had a limited time 

to reach his favoured Province, before he had no allies left, or he would only be able to travel at night which meant he could only move one square as at all times. 

Your skill will determine these conditions.

The board is 29 cm by 22 cm the squares are 2.5 cm the king is 4 cm the pieces are 3 cm

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