In Irish mythology, Bres was a king of An Tuatha Dé Danann. He is often referred to by the name ‘Eochu Bres’, which has been translated as ‘beautiful horseman’. In ancient texts such as ‘Lebor Gabála’ and ‘Cath Maige Tuired’, Bres is portrayed as beautiful to behold, yet harsh and inhospitable.
Bres’ parents were Prince Elatha, of the Fomorians and Eriu, of An Tuatha Dé Danann.
In the First Battle of Moytura, King Nuada of An Tuatha lost his hand. Because he was imperfect, he could not be King. Hoping to reconcile relations between the Fomorians and An Tuatha Dé Danann, Bres was named King and Brigid of An Tuatha Dé Danann married him, giving him a son, Rúadain, who would later be killed trying to assassinate Goibniu.
He was a deeply unpopular King and favoured his Fomorian kin. He made An Tuatha Dé Danann pay tribute to the Fomorians and work as slaves. Ogma was forced to carry firewood, and the Dagda had to dig trenches around forts. He neglected his duties of hospitality. People complained that after visiting his house their knives were never greased and their breaths did not smell of ale. Cairbre, poet of An Tuatha Dé Danann, composed a scathing poem against him, which was the first satire in Ireland, and everything went wrong for Bres after that.
After Bres had ruled for seven years, Nuada had his hand replaced with a silver one by Dian Cecht and then with one of flesh and blood by Dian Cecht’s son Miach, and his daughter, Airmed. Following the successful replacement, Nuada was restored to kingship and Bres was exiled. He went to his father for help to recover his throne, but Elatha told him he had no right to get by injustice what he could not keep by justice. Bres finally recruited ‘Balor’, another leader of the Fomorians, to fight for him.
He led the Fomorians in the Second Battle of Moytura but lost. He was found unprotected on the battlefield by Lugh and pleaded for his life. Lugh spared him because he promised to teach An Tuatha Dé Danann better agricultural techniques.