Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The History of Ireland (Author: Geoffrey Keating)

Section 12


Of the kings of the Tuatha Dé Danann here, and of the length of their sovereignty over Ireland.

Nuadha Airgeadlámh, son of Euchtach, son of Eadarlámh, son of Orda, son of Allaoi, son of Tat, son of Tabharn, son of Enna, son of Iobáth, son of Beothach, son of Iarbhoineol Fáidh, son of Neimheadh, took the kingdom of Ireland thirty years, till he fell in the battle of Magh Tuireadh North.

Breas, son of Ealatha, son of Néd, son of Iondaoi, son of Allaoi, son of Tat, held the kingship seven years.

Lúgh Lámhfada, son of Cian, son of Dianchéacht, son of Easar Breac, son of Néd, son of Iondaoi, son of Allaoi, held the kingdom of Ireland forty years. It is this Lúgh who appointed the Fair of Taillte at first as a yearly commemoration of Taillte, daughter of Madhmór, i.e. king of Spain, who was wife to Eochaidh, son of Earc, last king of the Fir Bolg, and who was wife after that to Eochaidh Garbh, son of Duach Dall, a chief of the Tuatha Dé Danann. It is by this woman Lúgh Lámhfada was fostered and trained till he was fit to bear arms; and it is as an honourable commemoration for her Lúgh instituted the games of the Fair of Taillte a fortnight before Lúghnasadh, and a fortnight after it, resembling the games called ‘Olympiades’: and it is from that memorial which Lúgh used to make Lúghnasadh is given (as name) to the first day (or) to the Calends of August, i.e. the násadh or commemoration of Lúgh, (on which is now the feast of St. Peter's chains). He fell by (the hand of) Mac Coll at Caondruim.


The Daghdha Mór, son of Ealatha, son of Dealbhaoth, son of Néd, held the kingdom of Ireland seventy years. He died at Brugh of the bloody missiles of a cast which Ceithleann flung at him in the battle of Magh Tuireadh. Eochaidh Ollathar (was) the proper name of the Daghdha.

Dealbhaoth, son of Oghma Griain-éigis, son of Ealatha, son of Dealbhaoth, son of Néd, held the kingship ten years till he fell by Fiachaidh, son of Dealbhaoth.

Fiachaidh, son of Dealbhaoth, son of Ealatha, held the kingship ten years, till he fell by Eoghan at Ard Breac.

The three sons of Cearmad Milbheol, son of the Daghdha, that is to say, Mac Coll, Mac Céacht and Mac Gréine their names, assumed the dominion of Ireland thirty years; and some antiquaries say that it is a tripartite division which they made on Ireland, as is said in this verse:—

    1. Though Eire had many thousands,
      They divide the land in three;
      Great nobles of glorious deeds,
      Mac Coll, Mac Céacht, Mac Gréine.

However, it is not a tripartite division which was among them, but the permutation of the sovereignty, that is to say, each one of them had it every succeeding year, by turns, as we have said above in (enumerating) the names of this country, [and in the battle of Taillte all three fell]. It is why these names were given to those three kings, because Coll, Céacht, and Grian were gods of worship to them. Coll, indeed, was god to Mac Cuill, and Eathúr was his proper name, and Banbha his wife. Mac Céacht, too, Céacht his god, Teathúr his name, and Fódhla his wife, Mac Gréine, lastly, Grian his god, Ceathúr his name, and Eire his wife.


Oirbsean (was) the proper name of Manannán: it is from him Loch Oirbsean is named: for when his grave was being dug, it is then the lake burst forth over the land. It is to make this matter clear these verses following were composed:—

    1. Eathúr tall, who obtained dignity, fierce the man,
      Coll his god, grandson of the Daghdha not gloomy, Banbha his wife;
      Teathúr stout, strong his contest, sharp his stroke (?),
      Fódhla his wife, great deeds he accomplished (?), in Céacht he trusted;
    2. Ceathúr comely, fair his complexion, noble was he,
      Éire his wife, generous woman she, Grian his divinity.
      Manannán, son of Lear, from the loch, he sought the sraith,
      Oirbsean his (own) name, after a hundred conflicts he died the death.

According to the Saltair of Caiseal, it is three years wanting of two hundred (is) the length of the sovereignty of the Tuatha Dé Danann over Ireland. This verse agrees with that:—

    1. Seven year, ninety, and one hundred—
      That reckoning is not false—
      For the Tuatha Dé Danann with might,
      Over Ireland in high sovereignty.