Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Metrical Dindshenchas (Author: [unknown])
- Whoever attempts the telling of the story of Ailech of the herds after the noble Eochaid, it is robbing the sword from the hand of Hercules.
- The more part of all that O'Maelcholuim demanded Eochaid heretofore expounded intelligibly for the men of the Doball.
- Surely, when he asked, what mason built Ailech? Eochaid the arm-proof noble did not conceal that it was Garban of the horses.
- Who was present at the building? His tribesman Imchell and Garban the mason, grandson of Garb, from a warlike kin, who built it.
- Look, who was he by whom was wrought thereafter the shining work? The man by whom was brought its makings, as requital for the Dagda's scion.
- If it be asked, what was the cause why it was made? Round his son's seemly grave he raised the tomb nobly-bright.
- Let it be seen wherefore Ailech the illustrious is called so at all? From the stone lifted up by Corrgend
who waged battle.
- Corrgend, son of Flatheman, from Cruach (hearken!) smote Aed, high-born, famous, who was son to the hard Dagda,
- Because Aed came to Corrgend's wife into her bed; ill was the deed, since her partner allowed it not.
- Corrgend strode forth, after murdering him in the midst of his house: so he slew Aed, though he was under oath; it was a foolish crime.
- The youth of Erin were seeking himfamous that folk! but they found him not at that time after that crime.
- Let him be slain, cried each man, let him not be spared for what he has done. He shall not die, said the Dagda, for Tara's sake,
- But lift ye up on his back the dead man he has destroyed; 'tis better for us to take a spell of his service than to smite him,
- And he shall be under the shameful burden of the dead man, without mercy, till he find a stone that shall be a trophy over Aed's grave.
- He marked a stone above loch Foyle (it was a soldier's task), and raised it up with a champion's strength; noble was the hero.
- This is what he said as he bore the burden over road after road, Ach! ach! the stone! 'tis by it my heart is bursting!
- Tis right that Ail-ach should cleave to it, said the Dagda; so that was the name of the height, in the spot where this befell.
- Neit, son of Indui, his mother's brother, possessed Ailech, with Nemain, his law-giver wife, of the wounds of war,
- That it may be called by all men Ailech Neit, the bright neck of land; to him the whole island belonged.
- Some one might ask then, what race held the island, when this mighty work was reared above this lough?
- Well I remember, it was the Tuatha De Danann in their hosts, with their darts, with their shields, with their war-harness.
- Who was king over all Erin, sweet-sounding, radiant? Who but the skilful Dagda? You hear of none other so famous.
- The time when the fortress was built, a spacious abode, was the third lamentable epoch of the world, a sorrowful certainty.
- There arrived at Ailech, where Imchell was, many generations, before the famous Frigriu came to the far-seen rock.
- Frigriu, son of fierce valiant Rude, proud and skilful, brought with gold from arm-clad Scotland, his implements complete.
- Cunning was the craftsman whose wife was Ailech the white, though she was daughter to Fubthaire of the white soles.
- In flight across the sea the son of prosperous Rude bore her over the surface of a causeway: it was a temptation unknown to her father.
- Fubthaire arose to seek him, though it was a hard task (cunning was this deed), and he came unto this height.
- Thereupon she was carried into the keep, full of horses, clamorous; when battle was joined, Ailech was borne from him to Ailech.
- Then Frigriu of the Fotharta was afraid before Fubthaire; Fiachu Sroptine protected him till he reached Ailech.
- A house was built about his wife by the robber Frigriu; he was noted above the field of exercise for his great renown.
- It was built of red yew tooled and arched, overlaid with pure unwrought silver, and gold, and bronze;
- It was decked with bright gems, a work that held fast in it; alike were day and night in the midst of it.
- Although the name Ailech Frigrenn clave to it thenceforth (behold the bright church!) Ailech Néit loses not through oblivion the name Ailech Imchill.
- There is none alive that would know everything, but God only: He knoweth the ordering of times from of old, what it shall be.