Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Metrical Dindshenchas (Author: [unknown])

poem/story 13


  1. Druim Criaich, meeting-place of a hundred bands, desert though it is, the name perishes not: though it be now Druim Criaich, it was called Druim Cró and chill Druim nAirthir, once on a day.
  2. War-beaten the ford, Ath Commair, whence a deadly draught was poured for the three Finns of Emain by their father, at one assault.

  3. p.45

  4. Proud was every slaying that there befell, proud the name of the noble line, proud the spoil, proud the battle that fell to the lot of Temair's King.
  5. His three sons came against him, against upright Eochaid of the forest-keep, to dethrone their good father—a deed that caused their own destruction.
  6. From Emain set forth the hosts over Loch Febail, over Ess Ruaid, over Dub, over Drobais, over Dall, over Slicech, over old Corann,
  7. Over Segais above, into Mag Luirg, into Mag nAi, that they strewed with spoils, into the plain of bloodstained Cruachain, marched the three armies in equal strength.
  8. An army with Lothur, an army with Nar, an army with Bress, on whom a wrong was wrought: thrice thirty hundred to each army with many-coloured shields.
  9. Then Clothru overtook them, the sister of Bress and Nár and Lothur, the daughter of well-graced Eochaid: though a darkling tryst, it was shamefully known.
  10. She coaxed them with her sinful kiss to seek and share her bed, that their fair cause might be foul in battle against their High King.

  11. p.47

  12. They marched from stony Cruachain left-hand-wise round Erin, over Ath Luain: they came through the breadth of pleasant Meath over Ath Féne, over Findglais,
  13. Over Gort Tarsna, over Gort Druing, over Glais Elta between two ridges; Druim Airthir, where coursed the steeds, was its name, before it was called Druim Criaich.
  14. Before they crossed Drong eastward their father asked of them an armistice for a month, without raid or battle, with hostages or with sureties.
  15. It was a chance to attack the king where he was overtaken in his own land: save just thrice thirty hundreds fair he found no support nor succour.
  16. Thirty hundred of veteran captains, thirty hundred of led soldiery, thirty hundred forth from the rampart, from the garrison of Temair.
  17. The men of Temair on his left side, the king himself in the centre, his hired troops to his right hand: he did not slight the youthful warriors.
  18. Eochaid marched to the serried battle, thence to Commar Da Glas: on the hill east of the ford dismounted the upright chief of Fobar.
  19. There the King of Erin halted, fasting, that night; it is a little way from Commar to Delt for a journey or a message.

  20. p.49

  21. They violated his fast, his three sons ill-disposed: they bade him look for battle on the morrow's morn.
  22. Said the eastward scout to the King of Erin, even to Eochaid: ‘Old man, the men draw toward you: lie not in your bed of death!’
  23. ‘Bress on the right, as he is posted to fight with the guards of Temair, Lothur makes toward thyself, and Nár toward the hirelings.’
  24. Stoutly then answered Eochaid ‘Let them be like their names! Bress shall be a lying noise, strong though he be, Lothur Half-grey shall be a spoil for me.’
  25. ‘It shall be a cloud over Nár, and not a deed of might, that he comes against me unrightfully: they shall not take me, nor go hence, this lithe swarm of grown children.’
  26. Eastward came the hosts from the west, early, when the sun was risen, and the battle-ranks encountered in presence of the High King.
  27. Eochaid set, shield to shield, his thirty hundreds of greybeards in the midmost of the ford, in the lists of deadly strife.

  28. p.51

  29. Bress fought his way across the river eastward, the guards of Temair let him come: it was to spare the king's son, so that they might not boast of an ill deed.
  30. Bravely advanced, westward across the river, Eochaid's hirelings, eager to fight, against the battalion where Nar was, and wrought red havoc among them.
  31. All the hosts turned and fled westward when the brave one arose: they left eight thousand dead between the ford and the camp beside it.
  32. Eochaid went not beyond the battle-field: enough were found to hunt them home: save for three bands of nine, guarding his sons, all the hosts were smitten as far as the Shannon.
  33. One band of nine fled across Snám dá Én into Mag Find, over Áth Fir Féne, to Dun Breiss, where Bress fell, to the south-west of Loch Corrib.
  34. Another nine fly over Áth Líac past Loch Dechet, round which they go, to the shore above the massy tower, to Tír in Náir in Umall.

  35. p.53

  36. The third nine fled over Ath Luain across chill Mag Ái: past Cera to Clíath na Cor the greybeards followed Lothor.
  37. So perished the three Finds: their three heads were struck off: each head came separately before nightfall to Druim Criaich.
  38. When he saw the three heads, the king of Erin made a solemn vow—a word that is duly fulfilled, though there be some to whom it is unfamiliar:
  39. That none, even for a little while, should possess Temair, in succession to his father, without another king reigning between them, after that encounter at Druim Criaich.
  40. One of the events, in the warfare of Druim Criaich, since the Faith came, was when all Mide was laid waste, when Domnall was banished.
  41. It happened that a herdsman of Banba, who was a king's son and a king's heir, was guarding the lands he loved after losing his two noble brothers.
  42. It was verily an assembly in a desert, it was kindling fire from a single spark, for Maelsechnaill son of Domnall to be guarding Mide, heritage of the son of Fland.
  43. His friends forsook him (all but Christ, no doubt of it) so that he sought afar the spoil of Ua Dubán, from Druim Dairbrech.

  44. p.55

  45. He came, seeking his spoil, from the west on the track of the convoy: the encounter of the Blind One and the Stammerer was an equal match, known throughout noble Erin.
  46. The Blind One of Temair with his axe and his three men, the Stammerer with his nine—shame. on them! there were three against each man of high-mettled Maelsechnaill's three.
  47. There was a man on his either flank and the Stammerer stabbing him—the foul deed! as for the Stammerer, though it was far from the wood, he fell by Maelsechnaill's hand.
  48. All the rest that were living fled; the Stammerer was left there after the tussle: till Doomsday shall endure the grave of Ua Duib on Druim Criaich.
  49. Maelsechnaill found like fair play as Eochaid Feidlech—that none should face him in stern duel, for Maelsechnaill son of Domnall is of the seed of great Eochaid.
  50. Domnall was son of keen Donnchad son of Fland son of generous Maelsechnaill son of Maelruanaid of Rath in Chraind, son of Donnchad son of Domnall.
  51. Domnall was in his day the brave son of Murchad son of Diarmait; Diarmait was son of noble Airmedach son of Conall son of Suibne son of Colman.
  52. Colman was son of lordly Diarmait son of Fergus son of Conall son of Niall son of Eochaid, lord of horses, son of Muiredach son of Fiachu,

  53. p.57

  54. Son of fierce Cairpre Lifechair son of Cormac son of Art son of Conn son of Fedlimid, who filled the stud, son of Tuathal son of Feradach.
  55. Feradach the fortunate, the horned one, whom the land of Erin served for wages: neither Gaedel nor Gall could prevail against the son of Fiachu son of Crimthand
  56. Son of Lugaid son of the three Find-Emna sons of wealthy Eochu Feidlech: Eochu Feidlech bided his time with them; he made red the gathering of Druim Criaich.
  57. South of it dwell the tribes of Temair, the Ui Fiachach, tough of skin: on the other side is Loch Lebind, a glory to Druim Criaich.
  58. There was bred a famous young libertine, Lachtna son of Tadg Ua Gadra: tenfold a glory is he to fair Druim Criaich, fortunate in war.
  59. Lonan and noble Fechin, Fechin and Lonan of the lake, to those twain, from slope to slope, God entrusted Druim Criaich.
  60. Cuán Ua Lothchan of the robes, versed in the wonders of Erin, he it is that sweetly tells the tale, the legend of Druim Criaich.

  61. p.59