translated by Edward Gwynn
Electronic edition compiled by Lisa Boucher , Alf Siewers , Saorla Ó Corráin
Funded by University College, Cork and
The Connacht Project, the Centre for the Study of Human Settlement and Political Change, NUI Galway and
the HEA via the LDT Project
2. Second draft.
Extent of text: 43050 words
Distributed by CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.
Text ID Number: T106500D
Available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of academic research and teaching only.
Copyright for the printed edition lies with the School of Celtic Studies (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies).
CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts
The present text represents odd pages 3371 of the volume. All editorial introduction, apparatus; extensive notes and footnotes have been omitted. The Irish text is available as a separate file. Editorial addenda and corrigenda, from volume 5, pp.141-145, are integrated in the electronic edition.
The text has been proofread twice. Text supplied by the editor is tagged sup resp="EG". Text supplied by Maurice O'Clery is tagged. Corrections are tagged corr sic resp="EG"; where the emendation is tentative, the corresponding 'cert' attribute has been allocated a value of 40 per cent.
Direct speech is tagged q.
CELT practice. Soft hyphens are silently removed. When a hyphenated word (hard or soft) crosses a page-break or line-break, this break is marked after the completion of the hyphenated word.
div0=the whole text; div1=the volume; div2=the section; div3=the individual text in poetry or prose; page-breaks and line-breaks are marked. The text is based mainly on the Book of Leinster. Folio numbers of the manuscript are not indicated in the printed edition. Passages in verse are marked by poem, stanza and line.
Dates are standardized in the ISO form yyyy-mm-dd.
Names are not tagged. A few terms in Irish are tagged as such.
This text uses the DIV3 element to represent the poem/story.
Created: Translation by Edward Gwynn [for details of Irish text see file G106500D]. (c. 1905)
Beatrix Färber (ed.)
Beatrix Färber (ed.)
Beatrix Färber (ed.)
Beatrix Färber (ed.)
Beatrix Färber (ed.)
Peter Flynn (ed.)
Lisa Boucher (ed.)
students at Bucknell University, PA (ed.)
Dr Alf Siewers, Bucknell University, PA (ed.)
Saorla Ó Corráin (ed.)
Saorla Ó Corráin (data capture)
Ultan of Tech Túa
Ultan of Tech Tua
¶1] Codal, whence its name? Not hard to say. A high-king held sway over Erin; Eochaid Ollathair was his name, and his other name was The Dagda. He divided Erin among the Tuatha Dé Danann. He gave Mag Fliuchross to his son Aed. Now Aed had a soldier, set over that land, Codal Round-breast; and he had a very fair wife, Eachrad, daughter of Garann Big-knee. Aed, the Dagda's son, fell in love with her, and sent his druid to solicit her favours. The woman replied that she would not leave her husband for the high-king of Erin. Aed learns that the woman has refused him. He went to talk with the Dagda, and told him how he had been rejected by Garann's daughter, and declared that he should never be well until he mated with her. Let her be taken from him by force, said the Dagda. I fear lest the Tuatha Dé should rise at such a deed, and turn upon thee, and a great evil come thereof. Let come of it what may, said the Dagda; better so, than that thou shouldst pine for her love, and never possess her. Take Codal prisoner, said he, and then sleep with his wife. So was it done. Codal is made prisoner by Aed, and his wife brought to him, and he slept with her. They carry off Codal with thrice nine men to guard him. There came word of this to Garann and Danainn and Gorm, daughter of Danainn, and Sen son of Sengann, as they were feasting at Garann's house. They left their feasting and pursued after Aed, and took his house over his head, and his household were slaughtered, but he himself escaped. They carry the woman with them to Garann and his son Gruad. The Dagda musters his household and his sons, Aed, Cermait caem and Aengus, with Aengus's fosterer, Midir, and Bodb Derg. The kin of Eogan of Inber rise to help Garann and Codal, and battle is imminent. Thereafter they make peace at the bidding of Elcmaire the judge. This was his award; that the land where Codal was wronged should be assigned to him in satisfaction of his honour, and in quittance of the wrong done to him; and that he should not seek vengeance on Aed on that score for ever. Securities are given to him to that effect, as to ownership of the land, and they part on these terms. Hence it was that Codal's name clove to the
p.271hill, by reason of his ownership over it. But from Codlín, son of Codal and Echrad, the other hill gets its name. Whereof was said as follows:
- The giant Dagda's son gave his love unprofitably, without shame, to the wife of his friend Codal, Echrad of the wanton glance.
- The stronghold where that was done fell to Codal, skilled in secrets of spear-craft; Aed's mortal danger and Codal's wounding were encountered face to face.
- Let me lay the vast dwelling in the dust, O king of the circling stars! and let my name rest on the hill, even on well-named wound-dealing Codal.
¶1] Slaine, whence the name? Not hard to say. Slaine, king of the Fir Bolg, and their judge, by him was its wood cleared from the Brugh. Afterwards, he died at Druim Fuar, which is called Dumha Slaine, and was buried there: and from him the hill is named Slaine. Hence it was said:
¶2] Here died Slaine, lord of troops: over him the mighty mound is reared: so the name of Slaine was given to the hill, where he met his death in that chief abode.
¶1] Dubad, whence the name? Not hard to say. A king held sway over Erin, Bressal bó-dibad by name. In his time a murrain came upon the kine of Erin, until there were left in it but seven cows and a bull. All the men of Erin were gathered from every quarter to Bressal, to build them a tower after the likeness of the
p.273tower of Nimrod, that they might go by it to Heaven. His sister came to him, and told him that she would stay the sun's course in the vault of heaven, so that they might have an endless day to accomplish their task. The maiden went apart to work her magic. Bressal followed her and had union with her: so that place is called Ferta Cuile from the incest that was committed there. Night came upon them then, for the maiden's magic was spoilt. Let us go hence, say the men of Erin, for we only pledged ourselves to spend one day a-making this hill, and since darkness has fallen upon our work, and night has come on and the day is done, let each depart to his place. Dubad (darkness) shall be the name of this place for ever, said the maiden. So hence are Dubad and Cnoc Dubada named.
¶1] Rath Crinna, whence the name? Not hard to say: from Crinna son of Conn the hundred-fighter, who was slain there by Eochaid find Fuathnairt, it was named. Eochaid brought his head with him to the House of Tara and set it on a stake of rowan, to spite Art son of Conn, for that was a thing forbidden to him. For that cause Eochaid was banished into Leinster, and hence come the Fotharta in Leinster to-day.
¶2] Crinna son of Conn, stout his spear: Dun Crinna was his stronghold: though it is called by his name, short was his span of life therein.
¶1] Umall, whence the name? Not hard to say. Umall, the servant of Fintan mac Bochra perished there at the hands of the Tuatha De Danann, when the first battle of Mag Tuired was fought between them and the Fir Bolg. Afterwards he was buried in Mag Reid, for that was its name before it was called. Umall. Hence it was said: Umall, servant of noble Fintan, was buried in Mag Reid: hide not from assemblies of the clans the reason of the name Umall.
¶2] Or again: Umall, that is to say, the brazen cliff that Manannan Mac Lir put round it there for a long season by his magic: and from that brazen cliff, perchance, men called the place Umall.
¶1] Mag Lethluachra, whence the name? Not hard to say. Lethluachair and Furudran, two favourite soldiers of Finn mac Cumaill, lived in this spot. They had two strongholds in Mag Lethluachra, Dun Furudran and Dun Lethluachra. In a stronghold between the two dwelt Furudran's wife, Anand the fair, from whom it was called Dun Anainne Finne. Anand gave her love to Lethluachair, and they met, and their crime became known. So Furudran slew Lethluachair for his wrongdoing, and he was buried in that plain, and it was called after him Mag Lethluachra, ut dicitur: Lethluachair, Finn's tall soldier, the proudest lad in Erin, dwelt here once on a time: from him the plain derives its name.
¶1] Conachail, whence the name? Not hard to tell. Corann, daughter of Dael, held a chase of wild swine there, and the swine killed nine of her dogs, and she buried them, and a mound was raised over them. Hence the name Conachail, whereof was said:
¶2] Corann, daughter of Dael, who was a woman of understanding'tis cause of [...], held a chase on the plain, and hence comes the name of Conachail.
¶3] The great swine kill nine of her brave dogs: their grave was dug without fault; so hence comes the name of Conachail.
¶4] Though Corann is the name to-day of the woodmountain and wood alikeamong the youths of the true North, this was once its name, before it was called Corann.
¶1] Ath Crocha, whence the name? Not hard to say. Croch mór son of Daire dornmar of the Clanna Dedad fell there by the hand of Cuchulainn son of Sualtam at the battle of Finnchora, a quo Ath Crocha nominatur. Or from Crocha cenn-derg, whom the Sons of Morna slew there, whereof it was said:
¶2] There fell by them their own sister, Maginis, in her island; there fell there Croch of the ambuscades, and his daughter Crocha cenn-derg.
¶3] And Maginis daughter of Garaid glún-mar was slain at Maginis, so it got its name from her; there were slain also Croch cenn-derg and his daughter Crocha, at the ford yonder, so Ath Crocha had its name from them.
¶1] Mag Ura, whence the name? Not hard to say. Colum Cille made a hymn in praise of Ciaran mac an tShaír after his death. Enna maccu Laigse received Colum Cille. Berchan was in Colum Cille's company, for he was his tutor, and from him he got the more part of his prophecies. The hymn was sold where Colum Cille's Cross stands on the green. Colum Cille was offered the monks' stock of kine, or two thousand ounces of silver; but he would accept nothing but three handfuls of Ciaran's earth. This was granted him, and he carried it with him to Mag Uatha. He sprinkled his three handfuls on this plain, and drove out the demons: for till then it was full of demons. So the name Mag Ura remained in memory of Ciaran's earth. The first name of the plain was Mag Derg, from Derg mac Dolair, who perished there. Afterwards, its name was Mag Uatha from Uath échtach, son of Feradach, who fell there in the battle of Mag Derg, in which the men of Connaught fought with Cormac Condloinges, the day before the sack of Bruiden Da Choca. In later times its name was Mag Ura, from the sprinkling of Ciaran's earth over it.
¶1] Mag Mandachta, whence the name? Not hard to say. Mand of Muiresc son of Daire, brother of Damán son of Daire, fell there by the hand of Cuchulainn son of Sualtam, at the Cattle-Raid of Cualnge, and hence it is called Mag Mandachta, that is, Mand-echta, from the killing of Mand there. Or it may have been from the women whom Cuchulainn slew there, in revenge for Derb Forgaill, wife of Lugaid sriabnderg, whom they killed out of jealousy, that the plain was named Mag Mandachta, that is, the plain of the slaughter of women: and the ford may have been called Ath Banlechta, that is, from the graves of the women of the Ulaid who were buried there.
¶1] Loch Lugborta, whence the name? Not hard to say. A great meeting was held at Caendruim (which is called Usnech) between the three sons of Cermait, the Dagda's son, and Lug son of Ethne, to make peace with him in regard to their father Cermait, whom he had slain through jealousy about his wife. Now the sons of Cermait, namely, Mac Cuill, Mac Cecht, and Mac Greine, had laid a plot to kill Lug. Mac Cuill thrust a spear into his foot. Then Lug escaped from them by his prowess to yonder lake. There he was killed and drowned; and they say that the cairn which stands on the shore, called the Sidan, was raised over his body: so that cairn is Lug's Grave, and hence come the names Loch Lugborta and Carn Lugdach.
¶2] Or else the lake was named after Lugaid mac Táil, who was called Delbaeth. For that territory was the place that Delbaeth mac Táil took possession of, when he came northwards out of Munster with his five sons, after being warned by his own daughter to give up his land to her and her husband, Trad mac Tassaig. Then Delbaeth lit a magic fire, and five streams burst forth from it; and he set one of his sons to watch each of the streams, namely, two of his sons to the west of Loch Oirbsen, Gno beg and Gno mór: Baetan at
p.281Bethra, Andiled at Delbna Mór, Anlenn at Delbna Nuadat. He himself stayed at that spot, and it may be from him that the lake and the place had their name, Loch Lugborta, for till then his name was Lugaid, but thenceforth Delbaeth, that is Dolb-aed, from the enchanted fire. 3
¶1] Cruachan Aigle, whence the name? Not hard to tell. Aigle son of Derg, son of Connra, fell there by the hand of Cromderg son of Connra, because Cliara cétach whom Aigle slew while under the protection of Cromderg [...] Cruachan Garbrois was previously its name: but thenceforth it was Cruachan Aigle, ut dicitur in sequenti.
¶2] Aigle son of Derg (red his face); him Cromderg son of Connra slew: from that deed of savage force the name Aigle is given to Garbros.
¶3] Cruachán Garbrois the learned of this land used to call it: thenceforth its name is Cruachan Aigle, till the day of judgement.
¶4] Whence comes the name Cliara Cetach? let the shanachies of Connaught inquire: there was slain the Scal's daughter, and her attendants from Spain.
¶5] And Druimne, whence the name? There Luat was, the son of the Scal Balb: there his wife Bairend was killed, when sore disease broke her back.
¶6] Ecaill, that stands above the waterknow ye whence the stronghold is called? Ecaill was killed there, daughter of Aed derg son of Lethderg.
¶1] Sliab Badbgna, whence the name? Not hard to say. When the Fomorians came to the hosting of the battle of Mag Tured, there came thither the four kingly warriors, Goll and Irgoll, Omna and Badbgna, the four sons of Innech son of Tuire the stark smiter. When the battle broke thereafter against the Fomorians each fighter pursued his man out of the battle. Goll and Irgoll fell each on his mountain, and from them Sliab Guill and Sliab Irguill are called. Omna fell at his ford, and from him comes Ath Omna on the Buill. Badbgna was slain on his mountain, on the eastern side, and from him Sliab Badbgna is called. Also Fer Da Laarc fell by the Buill, and from him Ath Da Laarc on the Buill has its name. These fell by the hand of Lug lám-fota. Clarach fell at Corann, and from him Clarach is called. Cnama fell at Cul Cnama.
¶1] Tulach Eogain in Offaly, whence its name? Not hard to say. Eogan of Bruiden Da Choca was buried there. Now he was called Eogan of the Bruiden because it was in Bruiden Da Choca that he was born and bred, namely, Eogan of the Bruiden, son of Nathi son of Ross Failge son of Cathair mór; and from him Tulach Eogain has its name. Whereof was said: Here is the grave of Eogan of the Bruiden, no grave of a stranger unused to hardship, but a man without reproach in his eastern land, the grandson of Cathair son of Fedlimid.
¶2] It was Cormac ua Cuinn that bred up Eogan: Rechet also reared him, Dian's daughter. He it was who gave her in fee the plain that is called Mag Rechet, and it would be from her that it got its appellation. In that hill too were buried Cathair mór and
p.285Ross Failge and Nathi and Eogan of the Bruiden, whereof was said:
¶3] I have matter of grief for a burden to lay on the tombs of warriors over the bare grave: there is none that can tell aright of the passing of the high kings in death.
¶4] Here above their beds I stand with loving dirge and endless lamentation, while they suffer sorrow for this world, without pleasure or happiness.
¶5] Here rest a brave quartet in one place, in one abode: a hard thing, a thing intolerable it is, to stand over the bed of the fiery warriors.
¶6] Four there were, as is well known, that did red deeds of valour; proud Nathi, Eogan's father, Eogan, Nathi's son, Ross giver of gifts, and the fourth, just Cathair.
¶7] There were six sons of generous Ross Failge, to whom Leinster gave full obedience; men untamed on all battle-fields until the death-sleep fell upon them:
¶8] Oengus the Fair, fierce Oengus the Black, Brenainn, Dalan, that flame across the moor, Eochaid, chief of the field, and Nathi, till the sleep of death.
¶9] Maclocc, Fergus, stern Cetach, Currech, Furudran shining white, the two Ailills, modest pair, Oengus, Coelan, Conamail,
¶10] Those are the ten sons of stern Cathair, and his six grandsons, in one tomb: a band of lions undaunted were they, here round Eogan [...]
¶11] They are the sons and the grandsons of the high king Cathair of the new spear: at Carmun of the kings, where I shall go, a mighty matter is their sleep.
¶12] Eber son of Míl, doer of brave deeds, Lugna leth-liath of the floating mane, on the Road between Two Plains they lie, on the causeway, sleeping sound.
¶13] Seven men, seven score, seven hundredseven kingly men, with sheen of ivory: Mac Heiris, after violation of his compacts, lies here heavily asleep.
¶14] The name of the hill, good in all regards, under which each prince lies hidden, did that lion, Lug's rival, win for himself: under it lies Eogan sleeping.
¶15] Many a warrior has there been, many a tomb, many a grave, many a kindred, many a gathering, whereof inquiry and [...] makes mention: the sleep of the kings is no secret.
¶16] Cormac ua Cuinn nurtured here assiduously Eogan of the Hostel: his nurse's name, without question, was Rechet, who slept among kings.
¶17] 4This Eogan, Rechet it was who nursed him, daughter of Dian, captain of troops; he gave his good nurse a portion with no yoke upon it save the high king's.
¶18] I would asseverate without glib falsehood that Eogan the fair of colour gave her an estate; bright well-liking land was granted her, so that it is called smooth Mag Rechet.
¶19] From the day that her nursling set apart for Rechet this level plain, it belonged to the woman, without a burden respecting the plain, till came her time to sleep.
¶1] Glaisse Bulga, whence the name? Not hard to say. Glass, daughter of Derg mac Dedad, reared Oscar, son of Oisin, son of Finn. Cairpre son of Cormac ua Cuinn slew Oscar in the battle of Gabair: and Glass came from Luachair Dedad in the west to keen over her nursling at his father's house. When she saw the house at a distance with Oscar's family and foster-brothers round him, she fell backward and expired, so that all said: Glass lies here prone like a sack, and it is her name that shall cleave to this land till doomsday.
¶2] Hence it was said: Glass-ben, daughter of Derg son of Deda reared Oscara notable honour: her heart broke, in sooth, on the slope at Glaisse Bulga.
¶1] Loch Semtide, whence the name? Not hard to say. Semtell son of Saibche, the strong man of Art son of Conn the hundred-fighter, was drowned there, after slaying Becloinges mac Eiris in a wrestling-bout. Now Becloinges came from Spain to Ireland, and demanded single combat of Art mac Cuinn, or else that Art's wife, Aenmaiche, daughter of Aed mac Aiche, king of Connaught, should be given to him. Semtell undertook the combat on Art's behalf, and Becloinges fell by him. And he went to his house and bathed in the lake and so was drowned therein. So from him it is named Loch Semtille.
¶1] Inis Samer, whence the name? Not hard to say. When Partholon lived in that island with his wife, Delgnat, and his servant, Toba, and his dog, Samer, Partholon went off alone to explore the land. Now in his absence his wife and his servant came together,
p.291and they both drank out of a cup that Partholon had. Then Partholon came home and asked for a drink, and his cup was brought to him, and he drank a draught through the golden pipe that projected from it. And he noticed thereby that the pair had drunk from it, and divined that they had behaved amiss. Then his dog comes up to him, and he gives it a blow with his open hand and kills it. So that was the first jealousy in Erin: and from this dog the island was called Inis Samer, and the river was called the Samer: so this was the first jealousy and the first lust in Erin. Thereafter the servant escaped, fleeing at random, and was eaten by dogs and birds. It was sixteen years from that time to the death of Partholon.
¶1] Dun Ruissarach, whence the name? Not hard to say. It was built by Garach son of Fomoir of the Fir Domnainn, and there he had his home. It was his three sons that were slain at the Tain by Cuchulainn: Lon and Diliu and Uala were their names.
¶2] Or again: Sarach the mason put a finish on the building for Patrick. There is a door to it and a bar on the door; from the time of Patrick till to-day they do not become rotten, and none knows what sort of wood they are made of. Also there is a prophecy about that dun, that it shall be borne to the Promised Land, with all the men and cattle therein, even seven times the content of the dun's close; and in the close there is a belvedere. Moreover it is one of Patrick's sayings, that whenever there shall be need, however many kine shall be brought thither, there shall be room for them, until the housewife's son says There is no room; and whenever that shall be said there, Dun Ruissarach shall vanish.
¶3] The full of the dun in hornless dun kine was given to the mason for building it, but one cow was wanting: and in lieu of her this price was given to the mason, that the dun should bear his name, even Dun Rois Sarach: but its name from of yore was Dun Tri Liac.
¶1] Dun Cluana Ithair, whence the name? Not hard to say. Ithar son of Etgaeth the warrior, was drowned there in the pool over against it, on the Shannon. His four horn-blowers were likewise drowned there: hence the name Lind na Cornaire.
¶2] The death of Dubthach donn befell in his house, the death of Lugaid at Maigen-mag; Cormac died at the Bruden, a warrior's death, Ithar mac Etgaeth was drowned.
¶1] Sid Duma, whence the name? Not hard to say. Duma, daughter of the king of Sid Fer Femin, came to meet Labraid lennánach of the Fir Bolg. A sleep fell on her, and a mist rose around her, and she lost her way in the Sid, and there she still remains. Hence comes the name, Sid Duma.
¶1] Mag Corainn, whence the name? Not hard to say. Corann, harper to Dian Cecht the Dagda's son, called with his harp Caelcheis, one of Drebriu's swine. And Caelcheis ran northward as fast as his legs would carry him; and the hounds of Connaught and their soldiery pursued him as far as Ceis Chorainn. Hence come the names of Ceis Chorainn and Mag Corainn.
¶1] Traig Eba, whence the name? Not hard to say. When Cesair daughter of Bith son of Noah came with a boat's crew to Erin, Eba the leech-woman came with her. She fell asleep on the strand, and the waves drowned her. Hence these places were called Rind Eba and Traig Eba from that time forth.
¶1] Uaig Buana, whence the name? Not hard to say. Buan, daughter of Samer, came following Cuchulainn, when the three heroes, Loegaire, Conall, and Cuchulainn, went to contend for the Champion's Share. They could not get a verdict at Emain Macha, so they came to Cruachan for judgement. This also failed them, but the case was referred to Samer of Ess Ruaid. He then gave them a decision, and they departed in peace. One of them, Loegaire, went over Ess Ruaid; another, Conall, crossed Snam Rathainn, and there his charioteer Rathann died at Lia Rathainn. Samer's daughter came on the spoor of the three chariots. She knew the trace of Cuchulainn's wheels, for it was no narrow track that he left. He would uproot walls and lay them flat, and leap from hill to hill. Buan leapt a dreadful leap after him, and struck her forehead against the rock that stopped the chariot. And hence Uaig Buana has its name.
¶1] Mag Muirthemne, whence the name? Not hard to say. The sea covered it thirty years after the Flood, and hence it is called Muirthemne, that is, darkness of the sea, or it is under the sea's roof. Or there was a magic sea over it, and an octopus therein, having a property of suction. It would suck in a man in armour till he lay at the bottom of its treasure-bag. The Dagda came with his 'mace of wrath' in his hand, and plunged it down upon the octopus, and chanted these words: Turn thy hollow head! Turn thy ravening body! Turn thy resorbent forehead! Avaunt! Begone! Then the magic sea retired with the octopus; and hence, may be, the place was called Mag Muirthemne.
¶1] Lind Feic, whence the name? Not hard to say. Fiac, son of Follamain, son of Conchobair, fell there at the battle of Ross na Rig: that is, he was drowned there, et cetera.
¶1] Druim Tairleime, whence the name? Not hard to say. There was a talking stone there, since the time of the Tuatha De Danann, and a demon used to give answers from it. He used to tell every one to halt at it, to worship him. So that every one who passed by dismounted at it, and they used to worship him. Hence grew up the custom that none from that time onward approaches the hill without dismounting, as if they were under a ban not to pass by without stopping there. So from this usage grew up the habit of calling the hill Druim Tairleime from that time forth.
¶1] Brí Graige, whence the name? Not hard to say. When Loegaire mac Neill, king of Ireland, went to Ferta Fer Fecce to meet Patrick, when he came to plant the Faith in Erin, there came, through the miraculous power of Patrick, great thunderings and lightnings, so that all the studs of Erin were thrown into a panic. And thus they were found there by the mountain. So hence it is called Brí Graige, that is, the Hill or Height of the Horses: for brí signifies height or hill.
¶1] Slemain Mide, whence the name? Not hard to say. When all were bidden by the king of Ireland to the feast of Tara, a feast used to be celebrated by the king of Meath likewise on this hill. For the king of Meath was under a gess to keep the feast of Samain on
p.299the hill yonder, when the feast of Tara was held by the king of Ireland. It was violation of a gess for the king of Ireland if the feast of Slemain were not celebrated by the king of Meath, when he himself held the feast of Tara. Hence the place is called Slemain, that is, mountain of wealth; for it was great wealth for the king of Meath, alone among the kings of Erin, not to contribute to the feast of Tara, 5et cetera.
¶2] Slemain, that is, the mountain of Maen, that is, Maen, the fosterer of Morann son of Cairpre Cend Cait, dwelt there when the Peasant Tribes held sway over Erin.
¶1] Athais Mide, whence the name? Not hard to say. A great famine came on all Erin, so that all on whom it fell made themselves strong cellars to save and hoard their victuals. The king of Meath had a strong house built at Tulach in Chomluind. A certain fellow came and broke through the wall of the house and pushed his hand through the breach, seeking food. Those who were in the house espied it, and his hand was cut off inside the wall. He pushed his sound hand also through the same breach. Those within seized it, and they came upon him, and he was caught. Why, said they, did you put your hand in after your other hand, to have it cut off? I felt such hunger, said he, and such craving for food, that I did not mind if all my limbs were cut off one after another, if only I could get food. 'Tis a sore disgrace to the men of Erin, what you say, said they all. Therefore also shall Athais (disgrace) be the name of the hill where this happened, for ever, quoth the druid. So hence the name has cleaved to the hill from that day, namely, Athais Mide.
¶2] I am Maurice O'Clery, and I am weary this day.
¶1] Sliab Slanga, whence the name? Not hard to say. A chase was held by Rudraige; the number of the hunters was thrice fifty warriors. They rouse a wild boar. He kills fifty of the host, and
¶2] breaks Rudraige's two spears. Rudraige's son, Rossa, comes to his father's assistance and turns the boar aside, and gets clear with his spears whole. Long life to thee! quoth the king: whole-speared thou comest from the boar. So the name Sliab Slan-ga is given to the hill.
¶3] Or, Slanga son of Partholan, one of the four princes of Erin, was buried there by Partholan, whence Sliab Slanga is so named. He was the first leech of Erin, as is said in this verse:
¶4] Slanga, son of comely Partholan, wrought healing in Erin for Laiglind, who was wounded in his place at the great battle of Mag Itha.
¶1] Mag Etrige, whence the name? Not hard to say. When this plain was being cleared and ploughed by Partholan, one of the four oxen that were ploughing it for him died there through the greatness of its exertions. Its name was Etrige, and from it the plain is called Mag Etrige, as the poet has said:
¶2] Liag and Lecmag with his sheen, Imaire and Etrige, were the team of four oxen, with the right of companies, who ploughed Partholan's land.
¶1] Tipra Brothlaige, whence the name? Not hard to say. When the Sons of Morna slew Dornmar and Indascland and Imgan of Finn ua Baiscne's household, they cast their three heads into this well: and from that cooking-pit it is called Tipra Brothlaige.
¶2] They brought the head of Dornmar, the fosterer, and of imperious Indascland, and of Imgan, and cast them afterwards on the bottom of Tipra Brothlaige.
¶1] Grellach Dolluid, whence the name? Not hard to say. Dollud son of Cairpre Nia Fer fell thereat by Cuchulainn's hand. Amrun Fer Dea was its name of yore, because there the muster of the battle of Mag Tuired was first planned by the Dea Danann.
¶1] Oin Aub, whence the name? Not hard to say. There was a famous warrior reigning over the Gaedil. He reared two horses with the fairy folk of Sid Ercmon, among the droves of Aba Cenindain. The king's name was Nemed mac Nama. The two horses were loosed for him from the Sid. A stream broke forth after them out of the Sid, and there was much foam on that stream, following them, and the foam spread over the land exceedingly, and so it remained a year's length. Therefore that water was called Uanob (Foam-river): and of it Cuchulainn said, Over the foam of the two horses of Emain am I come (that is, when he came to woo Emer). Hence men say Oinub.
¶1] Glenn Breogain, whence the name? Not hard to say. From Breogan, ancestor of the sons of Mil, is named Mag Breg and Glenn Breogain, and it is also called Glenn in Mor-Daim, the glen of the great stag, that is, the stag of Smirgoll, son of Tethra, who was king over Erin. Now this stag was killed by the troop of the wife of Fuat, scouring Mag Breg westward to the entrance of the dun. And this plain is likewise called Druim na Mor-muicce, the ridge of the great swine: for the shape of a swine appeared to the sons of Mil on every hill and on every high place in Erin, when they rowed round it and desired to take possession of the land.
¶1] Ailen Cobthaig, whence its name? Not hard to say. Dubthach dornmar, son of Eogan king of Munster, had a wife who was barren, but great in witchcraft: also she kept diligent watch over him, lest he should have dealings with some other woman. The men of Munster found fault with him for begetting no children. He sent a messenger to seek for him the fairest maid in Munster. Then there was found for him Fedelm of the yellow locks, daughter of Dinel from Cum Dinil in Ross Tuascirt in the region of Corco Duibne. The messenger returned from the west and told him of her. Then he went to sleep with the maiden. He came with all his following into the courtyard. His wife came out, and took a turn round them, withershins, so that they knew not heaven nor earth, and they were scabbed and deaf. His horse brought Dubthach to the house of his daughter, Ethne Long-flank, in the courtyard. This is a sorry business, said she; I will change you all. It was from me that she learned this knowledge. She walks round them, and rid them of the spell, save only the deafness. This was not learned of me, says she: so she could not rid them of it. The king goes his way westward. Let Dinel come to meet me to sain me, said he. Dinel was a druid. He sained Dubthach, and rid him of the deafness. Dinel's daughter comes forth to bid the king welcome. Thou dost well to bid welcome, said Dinel: it is for thee he has come, to the welfare and joy of you both. That shall be well indeed, Dinel, said the maid, if issue spring therefrom. It shall, said Dinel. What issue? said the maiden. Then said Dinel:
¶2] O Fedelm of the yellow locks, thou shalt bear a son to Dubthach: he shall be known in all places for a just man; Cairpre Hardhead shall be his name.
¶3] He shall be born in the island beyond the glen; all
Erin shall know of it: he shall take the kingshipmen shall come to himover the line of Deda mac Sin.
¶4] A hundred years shall he reign, his great prosperity shall be famous; marvels shall arise in his time, such as have never been seen before.
¶5] Though Loch Finnai be broad, and though mighty its storms, it shall fail, there shall be no drop of water therein, in the reign of Dubthach dornmar's son.
¶6] The land by the side of Clare, from Cnamchaill to Ane, to it shall come troops in numbers such as were not there till now.
¶7] Though all Bairend be level, it shall swell and be Cloch Daire; there shall be abundance of furze therein, in the fair lands of the Erainn.
¶8] Though Femen be a fen till now, and though Raigne be bogland, the clover-flower shall overspread them in the reign of Cairpre Hardhead.
¶9] He shall be drowned at length north of Bui; there Dinel the druid foretells the death of Dubthach's son, sad disaster; the tribes of the Erainn shall keen him.
¶10] Over his body a rock shall rise, in the ocean by Tech Duinn, and the rock shall be seen floating far over the brimming sea, on every side.
¶11] It passes then eastward round the shore, visible from land and sea, coasting Erin, on a famous voyage, till it touches ground at Bentraige.
¶12] When the champion Cairpre shall have hewed bodies in the land of Bentraige, no tale shall be told thereafter of the son of Dubthach mac Eogain.
¶13] Men shall come and go between the Rock and the land, quarrying ore, with great toil: they that do the crushing shall be Sil Buinde of Bentraige.
¶14] Another mysterious king shall come, even Cobthach of thy posterity: by him shall dwellings of men be brought thither, upon the hill of Caipre Hardhead.
¶15] There shall be a time of peace, until the Tálchend come to them; a glorious kindred, praise unceasing; it shall be theirs, world without end.
¶1] Emain Macha, whence the name? Not hard to say. Macha Redmane, daughter of Aed ruad son of Badurn, laid on the sons of Dithorba the task of trenching the rath. When they were in outlawry in the wilds of Boirenn, she came to them disguised as a leper, while they were roasting a wild boar in the wood. Each of them in turn carried her off to mate with her, and then she bound each fast. After that, she carried the five sons of Dithorba with her in this plight to Emain; Baeth, Brass, Betach, Uallach and Borbchass were their names. Also she ordered them to trench the rath, for she preferred to make slaves of them rather than kill them. She traced afterwards for them the rath round about her with her brooch-pin, and they trenched it. Whence men say Emain, that is eó-muin, that is the brooch at Macha's throat, that is, the pin at her throat. But see further the Succession of Kings, if thou desirest to learn the full story, which for brevity's sake I here omit.
¶2] Or again, Emain Macha is named from this event: Macha daughter of Sainrith mac Inboith came to race the two steeds of king Conchobar at the Fair, after Crunnchu had declared that his wife was swifter than the king's horses. The king told Crunnchu
p.311that he should die unless his wife came to the race. Then Macha came to save her husband, though pregnant, and raced the horses to the end of the green, and proved swifter than they. Then she was delivered of a boy and a girl at a birth, and the infants screamed, and the sound cast the Ulaid into their sickness, till each man was no stronger than a woman in childbed. And the sickness clave to them thenceforth. From this Macha and from the twins (emon) she bore come the names of Mag Macha and Emain Macha.
¶1] Tech Duinn, whence the name? Not hard to say. When the sons of Mil came from the west to Erin, their druid said to them, If one of you climbs the mast, said he, and chants incantations against the Tuatha De, before they can do so, the battle will be broken against them, and their land will be ours; and he that casts the spell will die. They cast lots among themselves, and the lot falls on Donn to climb the mast. So was it done: Donn climbed the mast, and chanted incantations against the Tuatha De, and then came down. And he said: I swear by the gods, quoth he, that now ye will not be granted right nor justice. The Tuatha De also chanted incantations against the sons of Mil in answer from the land. Then after they had cursed Donn, there came forthwith an ague into the ship. Said Amairgen: Donn will die, said he, and it were not lucky for us to keep his body, lest we catch the disease. For if Donn be brought ashore, the disease will remain in Erin for ever. Said Donn: Let my body be carried to one of the islands, said he, and my people will lay a blessing on me for ever. Then through the incantations of the druids a storm came upon them, and the ship wherein Donn was foundered. Let his body be carried to yonder high rock, says Amairgen: his folk shall come to this spot. So hence it is called Tech Duinn: and for this cause, according to the heathen, the souls of sinners visit Tech Duinn before they go to hell, and give their blessing, ere they go, to the soul of Donn. But as for the righteous soul of a penitent, it beholds the place from afar, and is not borne astray. Such, at least, is the belief of the heathen. Hence Tech Duinn is so called.
¶1] Ask of me if ye desire to learn knowledgehappy meeting! unwearied is he that offers it, between Liamain and martial Mairg.
¶2] Four sons had slender Setna: of them was Nuadu Necht, noble and strong, Mess Delmond, Oengus Ochach, and Ugen aurgnaid of manifold beauty.
¶3] Six sons had blameless Ugen, who was eager-willed for every exploit; they bathed their blades abundantly, they built raths and great fortresses.
¶4] Ladru, Noe, Finteng of the feats, Luad cúar, and Alb skilled in devices: and Masc, the sixth and eldest, won fame from every family.
¶5] Ladru of the blades found rest at Ard Ladrann of the dangerous waters, Finteng slept above Muadall of the combats in Crich Cualann.
¶6] Noe in the west of Rechet unbetrayed found a covering of good soil: Masc, mightiest with spear, in his impregnable stronghold dwelled undespoiled.
¶7] I have heard of an habitation in the eastern country held by Noe, son of Ugen aurgnaid, Rath Nui in the lands of Ui Garrchon: evil was its origin, brutish the deed of lust.
¶8] Childless were his offspring, vigorous of limb: they were deedful over the faces of foemen: the king that ruled over chieftains destroyed them all four, save Ucha.
¶9] Luad dwelled at Dun Cuar, note it well! with retinue and royal state: Alb gained no light regard for the legend he left to Albine.
¶10] The offspring of Ugen, rich in martial heroes, were trusty men of the prosperous plain: no seed of strangers are our champions! I am learned in what ye ask.
¶1] Egone, Oena, and Ilia were three sons of Ross, who rode over Brega, from whom the two cairns are calledround which spears are levelled, hide it not, thou!
¶2] Famous the ford of mighty floods, with largesse of hospitality at all times, whence every mortal has obtained [...] till comes the hour for [...]
¶1] Ye famous poets of Banba, do ye find or do ye know why it was that Eber and Eremon fought a crimson battle?
¶2] I will tell it you pleasantly, the reason why they shed kindly blood; it was for three hills, with their people, the best that were in Erin.
¶3] Druim Fingin, fair Druim Classaig, Druim Bethaig in Connaught, for these was their carnage wroughtno wholesome deed, O poets!
¶1] Cailte's fatherfamous conjunction!was Goscen the craftsman of the Corpraige: the name of his mother, whom verses praised, was Finnigu, daughter of Umall.
¶2] As reward for his workmanship, wrought in heat, Goscen, known everywhere for clean handiwork, chose out a home with a goodly seat, land that was no mean holding for a craftsman.
¶3] Wood and water and turbary they demanded in common, as a just claim; so that hence the place is called Descerda saying that is not hidden, since it is no lie.
¶4] Find granted to Finnigu, Umall's daughter, her choice of a portion; here was found a welcome without pinching for Cailte and his good father.
¶5] Every tenant that has yet been found leaves an enduring title to his holding: the true story of its origin cleaves to it, though it be not his in right of a well-born father.
¶1] Cend Finichair, whence its name? Not hard to say. Finichair, son of Gollan son of Gainmedach, was judge and physician and [bard] to Find mac Cumaill, and grandson of Eochaid Fuath nAirt, and Find mac Cumaill [was his foster-father]. He gave his love to the wife of Cathnia congnaid, and Cathnia caught them in the deed of lust, and they slew each other, and Cathnia laid Finichair's head on yonder mountain, and hence the mountain has its name. Murenn mór-ainech, daughter of Eochaid Find Fuath nAirt, was his mother, and Tuirenn of Tamnaige his wife, and they died of grief for him. Fifty years was his age, and fifty feet his stature, and
p.321fifty lads he taught, and there were fifty warriors in his keep, and fifty women and fifty hounds at his fireside. Hence Find chanted Inmain in fáid, etc.
- Dear was the prophet Finichair: he was the advocate revered and beloved of him. that shone bright, that cried not in panic, the swift one of Lifechair.
- Liegeman to heroic Cormac was that lusty sapling, ever fearless, a judge clear-tongued, well-grounded, Find's wise physician, practised in poetry.
- In Cabra was his abode; in earth his last bed: fifty feet of earth, affliction without love.
- Cathnia, upholder of battle, slew him (his
was made of yew) in jealousy for his yellow-haired wife, and lust unloved.
- Destruction fell on those twain through their lust; its might summoned them: it was an ill deed that brought sorrow on Mag Breg; death took them without love.
- My friend was an upholder of battle, his wrath was implacable: Finichair
prophet, a man of much fame, well-loved.
- I am Find, the high prince, no soft-hearted coward; to no man on earth have I given such affection nor such love.
- Gollan's son, free from dishonour, met onslaught in
: he was the stainless forest-tree of Bregmag, heart of poets in love.
- Finichair, the oaken bough, dealt out death without pause, to the brave man who slew him an alms-gift unloved.
- One that is not in my sight I am powerless to call back: a loveless summons hath borne away the seer-judge of Almu,
- The son of Muirenn of Clann Morna, husband of faint-hearted Tuirenn, the high judge unperplexed, the bard of Almu well-loved,
- The son of Gollan son of Gainmedach, bright of mirth, lord of much wealth: alas for the sickness that laid him low; an enviable blessing is his love.
- Find Fuath nAirt was his ancestor; he gained many treasures of knowledge; till this day I have not published nor boasted of his love.
- Fifty soldiers yellow-maned stood round the king, not unhonoured; fifty women continually, fifty hounds beloved,
- Fifty lads he trained for hunting and for racing, fifty pure of woman's longing, well-loved in his life-time.
- Two hundred warriors he defied and daunted their despite; he laid them under oaken bonds of death, in a dwelling unloved.
¶1] The stone that I used to hurl continually across Mag Da Ges, as far as Druim Suainlong was my cast with that stone: but to-day it reaches not the mark from my hand.
¶2] There come no more hither to meet me two tender maidens, Iuchdelb and Lecco Donna contest of noble ladies: were they living, great were the prize.
¶3] If my life has reached its term, there has come upon me every danger, every deed of violence; therefore let them not come to meet me, unless they desire to keep me from death.
¶4] The place shall be called at all times, till the day of doom, the Plain of Two Swans, sad though it be, after they are gone: it shall be a plain without parting, without end, in memory of the seed that slew and slept.
¶5] Many a warrior has been slain, day by day, in the goodly plain, wrapt in mists, in every spot over Mag Da Ges, from the place where I used to hurl the stone continually.
¶1] I know the occasion from which Lecht Heile is truly named; the princess among princesses met a captive's death, through the words of Raitte, suddenly,
¶2] When Fergal, loyal and honourable chieftain, fared forth on soldier-service to stern Cruachan, to Ailill red-sworded king of Connacht.
¶3] Two sisters had they both for wives, Heile and Medb, mighty in deeds, daughters of the High King of Erin, serene despite the rude violence that made prize of them.
¶4] Herc, son of Eochu, lord of harbours, came southward out of the land of Brega, following Fergal of the spears, without conflict in deadly battle.
¶5] He tasted neither food nor victual, neither refreshment nor repast, with any man of the land or soil, among the raisers of mighty oxen.
¶6] His sister was summoned to join him, not for battle, nor for harm, nor of purpose to eat the woodland venison: he longed for sight of her.
¶7] They found their living manfully, sharing hardships in the thickets, eating the venison from the woods and the oak groves in hiding.
¶8] Raitte sent word to right glorious Fergala harsh errand!that Heile, mistress of gold and of horses, had found a shapely neighbour for mate.
¶9] Let them prepare for her a hill-fire, said Fergal, unjustly: let her be cast into it to her death, that her punishment maybe sore.
¶10] So was it done in full, by the ruffian soldiery: woe for the violent fate that was then contrived for the High King of Erin's daughter.
¶11] Thereof perished Fergal, with his numberless feats of valour, of grief for her, when he came eastward thence to noble Caillin Fergaile.
¶12] Doel was their mother's name, who bore to Eochu both Herc and Heile: there is one here that knows well what death removed them from the knowledge of all.
¶1] Lumman of Tech Srafain, whence is it so named? Not hard to say. Lumman is a name for any shield, that is, lion, for there was no shield without the image of a lion on it, so that the horror and dread thereof might be magnified; for the lion is fierce and cruel, given to battle and fighting; and these images were made by means of spells and magic lore.
¶2] Now Corbb mac Cinain had a shield, such that seven of the kings of Ireland dared not face battle or duel with him. There was at that time a warrior, who was also a seer and a poet, namely Fer Bern mac Regamna, brother of Find mac Regamna, who had to wife Teite daughter of Mac Nia, from whom Oenach Teite has its name. (Currech mac Cathair, Fothad Cananne and Teite wife of Find mac Regamna were children of the same mother, Fainche tré-chichech, daughter of Airmora of Arada Cliach; and Fer Bern and Find mac Regamna were sons of the same father.)
¶3] So Fer Bern went, taking with him a poem, to demand the shield from Corbb mac Cinain: and the name Corbb gave the shield was Dubgilla. So the shield was given to Fer Bern, and Fer Bern was glad thereat. This was the time when the battle of
p.331Cerna was brewing between Art mac Cuinn and the men of the Islands, with the Picts of Dal Araide. So, to prove his shield, Fer Bern fares forth from Bres Bre to Cerna in Brega. He made play with it then in the battle, and it bore the dint of thrice fifty blows: and all said that Fer Bern alone was half the battle on the side of Conn (that is, of Art mac Cuinn). He turns back homeward to seek healing, and reached Tech Strafain: and there succumbs to his wounds. His sharp spear in his hand, his shield slung from his neck, his sword and his scabbard of bronze at his belt, he fell, and told his gillie to dig his grave. Tur was the gillie's name. The grave was dug: his spear at one side of him, his sword on the other, his shield (lumman) across him: and he said, The name of this spot shall be Lumman till doomsday: And at the end of three hundred years from to-night two men shall arrive here and shall be buried over me; and I shall find welcome from God along with them, however great the slaughter I have wrought. Hence Lumman of Tech Strafain.
¶4] Dubgilla, dark armour of the back! Red yew, vanquisher of polished spears! I will name it, a thing that filches our colour, to demand a mantle of grey.
¶5] God's counsel for my guidance, in whatever hour or season I approach! though there be cloaks with Cinan's son, it is not to gather them that I shall seek,
¶6] But a mantle I seek that endures not folding, that neither spike of holly nor branch of tree may catch; that guards, as a brooch guards a cloak; a seemly vestment of the beetle's hue.
¶7] It is worth a request at the assembly, after play of bladesit was not arrogant: it is a cloak that children cannot rend [...] of a warrior in itself:
¶8] The wonted vesture of a king's body, that needle or thread runs not through; a martyr's cloak, a frontlet of the temples, a cloak such as has not been cast over seers.
¶9] It guards the brain-pan at all times: it hides the rows of scars beneath: though no nap clings to it, the thread-bare shall last as well as the new cloth.
¶10] Not feeble has it proved in the tale of encounters, the stuff whereon has fallen no print of weaver's slay: on the outside it has been found not soft with nap, while it was seen bare of warp or woof,
¶11] Without beam of loom for broidery, without rods or implements of weaving, without handiwork of true-born dame, without stretching-pin to strain the web.
¶12] Shapely Dubgilla shall clear the way, the guardian of my brows, the [...] diadem; the cloak that Fer Berna demands [...]
¶13] It is not white, nor grey, nor dun; it is not red, nor blue, nor purple; it is no tartan, striped nor checkered; it is no beribboned garment of ease.
¶14] It is lodging for the night, a dry couch, a shelter against woful winds, a cover for the breast, a crown of wealth, through all the blind dark night.
¶15] Not dark is my song, no riddle: a theme for the host whom I shall seek out is the mark of my handsthey were not smooth: I am Fer Berna from Brius.
¶16] I and my naked shield, here were we woundeda load of sickness; after deeds done in the conflict of spears Fer Berna shall lie beneath it.
¶17] Hither shall come a noble pair, without charm or spellit shall be a lucky track: they shall lie above me-a happy omen: this spur of land is a prosperous choice: they shall decay in God's glorious keeping; they shall drive far from me the devils of darkness.
¶18] It will be just three hundred years till the Son of the God of Heaven brings me into a form of brightness without darkness: the way that he establishes is not the way of evil spirits.
¶19] Lasting is the judgement after it is promulgated: tis a dismal house without a roof: the omen is no protection, it guards not: it is cause of tears and gloom.
¶20] Thou shalt name without blame this land, though thou goest to meet a flood of woe: the thing that frets my spirit brings me to [...] of darkness.
¶21] My straight spear, mine by rightno host dared affront it: this was the name I won in the fight of Cerna: our hope, Fer Berna of the black brows.
¶22] Hard, passing hard is the treasure here, even my sword in its sheath of bronze, and the dark shield that was never reproached: the three have made tryst with darkness.
¶23] Together did we whelm the front ranks, and make havoc of every host: together likewise do we lie in the grave, we four stout fighters, in darkness and gnashing of teeth.
¶24] Have a care, O Tuir! cover us all with the clay! preserve my lay, when I lie low! beetles are sucking my blood in darkness!
¶1] Dun Cuirc:how many of you are there that know, when the seething cauldron was filled to the brim, what was the meal in its midst for the residence of Corc?
¶2] It was filledno lie!by Laithriu daughter of Da Tho: she it was who prepared the mess, three hundred swine and three hundred kine.
¶3] She it was who disposed it duly before the king's son, with art: she it was who poured the liquor for them, when the brave man dwelt in the dun.
¶1] This hill was known as great Druim Elga, until the days of ireful heather-brown Fingen: here came Rothniam from the populous Sidhe to meet Fingen, tall and fair.
¶2] Every Samhain-tide would the queen and the princely youth come hither; they would part from their attendants till daylight and chant an ever-doleful song.
¶3] Thenceforth the son of Luchta was assured, as omens portended, that she would tell him by word of mouth that he should rule over the fair surface of Banba.
¶4] The dazzling Rothniam used to say that he should make tryst with Fotla of Fal: she set forth to him severally the wonders of Banba's bright surface.
¶5] This was the smooth alliance of which comes the appropriate name Druim Fingin, famed for wild weather, in the time that Fingen lived.
¶6] Here was held the famous parley, the vigil to which Fingen came: here is the story whence was named Druim Elga, free of noted crime.
¶1] There fell a sicknesssad the newson the kine of wide-stretching Banba: it killed them, without exception or survivor, all but the bull of the Glen and his heifer.
¶2] The noble son of royal Rudraige, famous Bresal of the Murrain, was lord over every boat's haven and ruled the people in the cow-plague.
¶3] He had a rhyming druid, whose name was Buadach mac Birchlui: men called him, not amiss, the wry-mouthed old Crow of Bairche.
¶4] To the Crow Bresal, giver of judgement, gave his cow and his sleek wanton bull, as free largesse of the wealthy king, to stop his druid's greed.
¶5] The druid bade his fosterlings to keep the scant-yielding kine, one of them each day to guard the stock from sickness, to pasture them and watch them well.
¶6] His turn came to fair Cua cendmar, to keep [...] these kine from the raiding of starving folk, from dogs and thievish wolves.
¶7] This undutiful sluggard went with his master's beasts secretly and put them in a cooking-pit for kine on the shady red-showered mountain.
¶8] Hence comes the fair Sliab Cuait is no brand-new specious splendour; upon it he builds a darksome pit, when he wrought the monstrous slaughter.
¶9] I have fashioned a choice truth-telling tale from the story of old Cua's Mountain, a muster of polished stanzas in my cunning work: great is the cause whereof it came.
¶1] Cell Chorbbáin, a plain whose fame decays not, visited by companies and crowds; to Patrick of Armagh belong its broad confines, an allotment neither scanty nor sterile.
¶2] There are saints, a famous company, nine of them, allies against Mag Breg: so long as their privileges rest on palaces, count ye the host [...] as secure fame.
¶3] When Moling came from Brega's conclave, he settled in the holy perfect church: Srafan, Lucan, and Lugnaid, Muadan, Cerbban, and Conlaid;
¶4] Corbban, surpassing in piety, rests under branches in the church; Baetan, not melancholy of humour, is the ninth of its saints.
¶5] There are nine kings, a martial line, shining in splendour at Cell Nais; Murican moen, unerring of aim, Cerball and wise Cellach,
¶6] Colman, Broen, and the lusty Bran, Find, Faelan, bold Dunchad; at Cell Chorbbain, as I have heard, their soldier-graves were dug.
¶7] There are nine women, fair to see; yonder beside the Cross rest their remains: Sadb and Etain, not meek of mood, Medb and Deccair Der Choisse;
¶8] Aillend and Aine in one tomb, Ailbe and full-modest Aife, Uasal óen-gel, wife of Faelanmany a noble desired her!
¶9] Nine kings, nine queens brought long renown to their meeting-place, with nine saints, the saintliest and the comeliest of Adam's line.
¶10] Many are the kings and the queens and hawklike favourite squires, the clerics and the musicians in array, beside those three bold nines.
¶11] Dear is the city and the sheltered churchyard, where nobles came at early morn; comely is that slender synod, that fair-faced assembly beyond the causeway.
¶12] Every spring, punctual to the hour, came the hosts swiftly, we trow, to brisk unsullen Cerball: good was their church's Lent!
¶13] Gormlaith, ready of speech, open of hand, queen of the king of shining Fomuin, daughter of the king of Traig Tinne, wrought dreadful deeds; Aillend and Cellach of Carman she laid in the church-ground.
¶14] There was no man poor, neither raiding nor mob nor riot, there was no band of poets left portionless, in the reign of bright-haired Cerball.
¶15] Cerball, though prompt of hand, was no boor when he vanquished Cormac, maker of songs; three score hundreds and five fell before the young lord of Etar.
¶16] Five and thirty kings of unfading fame from Leinster of the hundredfold battalions ruled over beautiful Erin, from Etar as far as Arran.
¶17] Fifteen kings, no band of beggars, grasped the helm of red Raigne, from Faelan's dayno beggars' conclavetill the carnage at cold Albe.
¶18] Compare none to Cerball, so long as Brega's land endures; there was none to match him in battle, none to match him in foray nor in fight.
¶19] None was ever so generous, none like him to feed the ravens; before him lived none so fair as he; alas that he is laid untimely under the bending grass!
¶20] After drinking at his feasts, he was stronger than all, three score measures was his share of mead: three score kings, an array hard to vanquish, attended Cerball bedward.
¶21] He was an adept in the tongue of the Féni, a student diligent of memory, a seer and an accomplished poet, a ready scholar in music.
¶22] He was a man of prowess unstinting, a king that roved unafraid, a cavalier mounted on splendid steeds, a champion disseminating the Church's Law.
¶23] When he joined in stubborn strife he would hurl a biting dart; after Mass, it was his wont to show his skill in chess.
¶24] Thrice seven years, without poverty, the rule of Cerball [...] of Carman possessed our Leinster among us, till he came to the church's soil.
¶25] There are three names current throughout vocal Banba: the sage of Liamain, a right pleasant saying; Caemgen, the high-born, who disciplines them; Brigit of Leinster, from her great church.
¶1] They ask me why the bright-faced hill is called Druim Assail? It was from one who settled there in his home, whose name was Assal, Umor's son.
¶2] And the Sons of Umor generally (they ask me next), what means their appellation? Whence springs their pedigree, unless they be a family of the Fomoraig?
¶3] Tall Assal was one of them, who settled upon the hill, high and strong, in mid-Munster, bright in renown, above Cliu, Mal mac Ugaine's domain.
¶4] Fergus mac Roig came one night to the house of Assal mac Umoir: Assal gave him greeting, Welcome to theewere it mine to give!
¶5] Why so? said Fergus, what ails thee? what weighs upon thy mind? To-night, said Assal, comes my betrayal: my death is fore-ordained.
¶6] I will not enter, quoth Fergus: it is not good that a guest be careless. Forward, boy, over the ridge eastward; then unyoke the chariot.
¶7] The Ford of Fergus' Chariot lies southward from the hillside: there he camped, a little way off the road, setting a man to keep guard.
¶8] At midnight comes a band from the land called Spain: before he could rise ('tis a true report) there were thirty spears in Fergus.
¶9] Fergus hurls himself in wrath upon the ensanguined points: thirty foes he slew, and left them weltering in their gore.
¶10] Then the enemy withdraw and encompass Assal's house yonder, and they carried off noble Assal's head from Erin to Spain.
¶11] Fergus of the many deeds lay sick at the house of Conchenn mac Dedad: Cu Rui came in his might from the land of the Franks, seeking news of him.
¶12] Fergus made complaint of his pains to the lord of Mag Miss, and they went together on a far journey to avenge him.
¶13] The two mighty men came unawares to the stronghold of the king who bore off Assal's head: they smothered and slew the king with his numberless unmatchable host around him.
¶14] They brought with them from Spain to Erin the two heads, the head of the mighty king from the east and the head of Assal, to Druim Assail.
¶1] Snam Da En, whence comes the name? Not hard to tell. Nar son of Fiac son of Imchad son of Conall cernach lived in the province of Connaught. Estiu the woman-warrior was his mate. Buide son of Derg from Cruachan Dubthire was her lover. He and his foster-brother, Luan son of Lugair son of Lugaid, used to visit Estiu in the shape of two birds, and sing a plaintive song to the host till it put them to sleep. Then while they slept the two would take their own shapes, and Buide would sleep with Estiu. Nar asked his druid whence came those birds to Estiu. The druid told him that they were Buide and Luan, in the shape of birds. The next day they came and swam upon the Shannon, and Estiu came to meet them. Nar came behind them and made a cast at the birds, and slew them both at one shot. So Snam Da En gets its name from the swimming of the birds thereon. But a little life was left in Luan, and he went along the river and died at Ath Luain, so that Luan's Ford is named after him. And Estiu went to Mag Esten and died there, and from her it is called Estiu's Plain. Nar too died of grief for his wife at Moin Tire Nair. Wherefore the shanachie said: Hence comes the name of Ath Luain, and Snam Da En therewith, and Moin Tire Nairglorious the meeting-place! and Mag Esten, for men to mention.
¶2] Or again, this is why it is called Snam Da En: because Conan Honey-mouth, the Dagda's son, and Ferdoman son of Ronan,
p.353whose other name is Aed Rind, fought in combat there for the sake of Celg, Ferdoman's daughter, whom Conan sought to wed, and Ferdoman gave him a refusal. For it had been foretold him that he should die when his daughter slept with her husband; therefore he would not give his daughter to any man. So Conan challenged Ferdoman to combat, because he denied him the girl. Then his two foster-brethren came to Conan in the shape of two birds from the Sid of Fair Women to bear him aid: their names were Remur and Cael. They swam the water before his eyes, and it would be from that swimming that it is called Snam Da En. They came from the Sid-mounds in the shape of two hounds. Then the combat was fought, and all four fell there together. Hence the names Snam Da En and Ailen an Chomraic and Inber Cail.
- I will tell you truthfully the names of the birds from whom Snam Da En is called: a tale of wrongs that confronts this concourse, the origin of the ever-glorious Crossing.
- Nár son of Fiacc son of curled Conall, whose words were not the words of ignorance, had to wife the lovely woman Estiu, the woman-warrior ever-white.
- Buide son of Derg, by full right, from the hilly ground of Dubthir, was famous Estiu's loverBuide son of Derg, bold of hue.
- Buide son of Derg, ready in hospitality, and Luan his foster-brother visited bright Estiu in the shape of two birds, a lovely sight.
- Then they chanted to the host a song, shrill, wistful, unceasing, till all the host fell asleep at the song of the fairy-folk.
- While all thus slept a long sleep, they came in their proper shape, and Buide (small wonder) shared Estiu's bed.
- Then Nár inquires of them from his druid (earnest was their converse), from what part come the birds to beautiful stately Estiu.
- Then said the druid: We shall not hide it from thee, O King! the birds that come hither are Buide and Luanno sluggard is he.
- Then the birds come, as they were wont, upon the ford: in an evil hour they came to the tryst, and Estiu came to meet them.
- Conall Cernach's son's son came on them from behind, heavy was the harm! and hurled his spearstrong was his castand slew them at one shot.
- A little life remained in Luan, so that he reached the cool ford, and above by the ford died Luan son of Lugair son of Lugaid.
- Estiu went along the riverside, and no short race she ran: from her is named the plain where she died in Mag Esten.
- Nár went to Moin Tire Nair, after their tryst failed, and died of sorrow for his wifeNár son of Fiac, one that never fled.
- Hence comes the name Ath Luain, and Snam Da En therewith, and Moin Tire Nairglorious the meeting!and Mag Esten, by Shannon with its crossings.
- The place has another legend: though I say so, 'tis no lie; and each of the legends is true, whoever has the telling.
- Aed son of Ronan, rich in wealth, whose brave father Find slew, was thenceforth at feud with the FiannaAed Rind, son of fierce Ronan,
- Aed son of Ronan son of Aed son of Imchad, fair to see, son of Laigsech, kindly of mood, son of Conall son of Amairgen.
- A hundred comely valiant warriors, with three fierce kings, was the number that fell by his hand, his share so far, until the furious battle of Maistiu.
- When the tide of battle turned against Aed from Maistiu onwards, he sends to the Fianna a challenge to single combatright staunch was his gallantry.
- Aed and Fiachu and Cu Laigen did he slay by deeds of valour, yet Aed son of Ronan, the terrible, stayed not his hand.
- Kingly of form was Aed Rind: if he were till Doomsday on the hill, he had never found a man to stand against himAed son of Ronan, the man of many feats.
- Uprose then Find himself, when the Fianna shirked the fight; he grasped all his weapons, he, Find mac Cumaill of Almu.
- Then spoke honoured Cailte: Stay thy loud shouting, Find! single combat, with peril of battle, shall not fall to thee while I live.
- Then Find answered Cailte, where he stood at his side: Rather than see thee dead I will die myself by his fell blade.
- Said Cailte, stout of limb: Be it not thy task, O King, to win Aed's head from him suddenly, while I am there to take it.
- Said Aedan son of swift Derg, and said Aed cúl-dub, the witless, that they would rid them of Aed Rind; their right it was to encounter him.
- Good though Aedan be, and good though Aed, dear though they both be to thee, better am I in the hour of danger, at facing the fray.
- Seest thou not the three champions? great slaughter has he wrought, meseems; there have not joined my Fianna till now other three more warlike.
- Say not so, O King! dear to thee though thy grandsons were, I am better, when I range the ranks, than those beardless boys.
- Knewest thou not the noble Nechtain? knewest thou not the swiftness of his hands? at lopping limbs he could match a hundred, yet Aed overcame him.
- By thy hand, O Find, with thy might of captainsby my spear, by my sword, by my shield! he takes not yet his weapons for fight, the warrior that shall bring me to my grave at last.
- Cailte steps forth with vigorous stride, bent like a bow, strong and fiery, till on the plain he met with the radiant son of Ronan.
- Then Cailte said: What thou hast done thou shalt not boast: thyself shall fall even now, though thou hast done bloody deeds.
- Then said Aed Rind: A battle without firm conditions is not good: I will accept peace and stay of battle, if thou wouldst get them for me, Cailte.
- Honoured Cailte answered him: Lay down thy weapons, come and meet me; come, if thou wilt, under my surety, till we parley with the host.
- Then they met together, victorious Cailte and Aed; Find's Fianna wondered to see Aed yield to any man in Erin.
- Then said Find of Fal: I bid you welcome without fear: long have ye been afoot: a restless spirit is not good.
- I will not sit, quoth fair Cailte, and Aed shall not sit, till thou give him his land, and till he get somewhat more to boot.
- He struck his hand in Find's hand, and methinks it was no hardship for him; and the prince Aed mac Ronain obtained his land in full.
- A while he spent in the Sid that bred him, a while in attendance upon Find, so that he was a man between two worlds, and Ferdomon was his name.
- Masc, daughter of honourable Maigne, was Aed's wife among the Fianna; fair was the woman, and her children were Enan and fair white Celg.
- Every one that sought the hand of lovely Celg, it was himself that was the loser thereby: by the force of a fearless warrior would he fall, by the hand of Ferdomon.
- Ossin, Find's son, loved Celg, Aed's beautiful daughter, yet dared not speak of his love; he feared Aed of the red weapons.
- Ossin himself spoke with Conan son of the mighty Dagda: Ask for Celg, since thou art a friend, that thou live not always unwedded.
- Then Conan Honey-mouth, glorious above all, hied him to the drinking-hall, and stoutly demanded Celg's hand from Aed, in presence of the general people.
- I will give thee, said Aed Rind,single combat, I mean; and thou shalt not get the woman, Conan, son of the Dagda.
- Find, that was noblest among the host, restrained them, that they should not dare to speak of it; so that neither of them remembered the matter, since words spoken in liquor are but folly.
- Ossin spent a year at Formael of the Fianna, going neither east nor west; this it was that kept him there, a pleasant quest, the love of Aed Rind's daughter.
- Ardently did Ossin reprove the hero Conan till his anger was strongly stirred in Conan Honey-mouth the songster.
- Said Ossin son of Find to him: Fitter it were for thee to be angry with Aed Rind: he challenged thee in his house and denied thee the maiden.
- Conan went (hard was the errand) and found Aed Rind in his dwelling, and demanded of him right of duel, or his daughter by sure promise.
- They came to where the Fianna were with Find himself at Garg-diad: Find gave them leave, as was custom, to fight a duel at the ford.
- Remur and Cael, who was not bent with age, the two sons of Medb and Ailill, were reared without blemish by the same woman as the valiant hero Conan.
- They came from the Sid of Fair Women, in the shape of two birds, from place to place; they swam the rivera merry meeting! from their swimming Snam Da En is named.
- Against Aed, in shape of two hounds, came Remur and Cael, and sought to perplex him, while Conan was hewing hard at him.
- It was no single combat for Aed, against Remur and Cael and Conan: they fell, all fourthat was the lively conflict.
- Conan and Aed Rind of the races were buried at Gargdiad, by Ath Cind Gargden, free from danger, westward between the ford and Snam Da En.
¶1] Behold the grave of Medb, the fair-haired wolf-queen, assured of port: there was a day when horses would not be loosed against the daughter of Eochaid feidlech.
¶2] Such was the glory of Medb, and such the excellence of her form, that two-thirds of his valour was quelled in every man on beholding her.
¶3] Gone is Medb, gone is her army; tall is her gravestone, far away her grave: tell ye the thing that comes thereof: speak truth, and behold!
¶1] (Eochaid mór son of Lugaid son of Laisre son of Troitha son of Dergthene, with his brothers: to them belongs the chief headship in Ard Ruide. Whereof Find said:)
- Three affluences are there in the dun of Ard Ruide; affluence of young men, affluence of horses, affluence of greyhounds of the son of Lugaid.
- Three kinds of music hath its kinga glory this! music of harps, music of lutesattend! deep tones of Fer Tuinne, son of Trogan.
- Three cries are in it unfailingly: cry of the lamb from its lawn, cry of races, and cry of kine:
- Three cries: cry of its broad-chined beetle-black swine, cry of its assembly upon the hall's green, cry of them that shout and them that drink mead.
- Three crops of fruit there were upon the boughs in due course; a crop just falling, a crop flowering, and a crop ripening.
- Three sons did Lugaid leave; whither are gone their riches?Ruide son of broad-built Lugaid, Eochaid and manly Fiachu.
- I will bear witness of Ruide, to whom come those three affluences: never did Ruide refuse any one a boon; never did he ask a boon of any one.
- I will bear witness of Eochaid that he never took a step in flight, that he never said a word untrue, that there was none higher than he in fame.
- I will bear witness of Fiachuwhither are gone his riches?that it was never his wont to lack music, that he was never long without drinking of ale.
- Thirty nobles, thirty champions, thirty captainsa king's muster: thrice thirty hundreds was the number of his flocking host.