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Background details and bibliographic information
The Metrical Dindshenchas
File DescriptionEdward Gwynn
translated by Edward Gwynn
Electronic edition compiled by Beatrix Färber, Benjamin Hazard, 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:
CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork
College Road, Cork, Irelandhttp://www.ucc.ie/celt (2004) (2008)
Distributed by CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.
Text ID Number: T106500C
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).
Series Todd Lecture Series
Text ID Number: 10
- Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 1229, olim 23 E 25, al. Leabhar na hUidhre.
- Dublin, Trinity College Library, MS 1339 olim H. 2. 18, al. the Book of Leinster, pp. 151170 and 191216 of facsimile.
- Rennes, Bibliothèque Municipale, The Rennes MS, ff. 90125.
- Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 P 12, The Book of Ballymote, pp. 349410.
- Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 P 2, al. the Book of Lecan, pp. 461525.
- Trinity College Dublin, The Yellow Book of Lecan, H 2 16, pp. 438455 of facsimile.
- Trinity College Dublin, MS H 3 3 (1322).
- Trinity College Dublin, MS H 2 15 b (1317), pp. 157end (a copy of H).
- Trinity College Dublin, MS E 4 1 (1436).
- Trinity College Dublin, MS H 2 4, pp. 462590 (an 18th cent copy of B).
- Trinity College Dublin, MS H 1 15 (1289), pp. 409532 (an 18th cent copy of B).
- Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, The Book of Huí Maine, Stowe, D II 1, ff. 143169.
- Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, Stowe, D II 2.
- Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, Stowe, B II 2. A fragment.
- Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, Stowe, B III 1.
- Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, Reeves, 832, pp. 61197.
- The corresponding prose versions of the poems contained in this file were published in Stokes' edition of the Rennes Dindshenchas, in RC 15 and 16.
Secondary literature: a selection
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- Patrick Power, Place-names and antiquities of South East Cork, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, vol. 34, section C, nos. 1 and 9, 191718.
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- Liam Price, The place-names of County Wicklow. 7 pts. Dublin 194567.
- Thomas F. O'Rahilly, On Ptolemy's geography of Ireland, in: Early Irish History and Mythology, Dublin 1946 (repr. 1999) 142; 45366.
- Edward O'Toole, Place names of County Carlow, Carlow 1947.
- Hugh Shearman, Ulster (The County Books series), 1950.
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- Paul Walsh, The place-names of Westmeath, Dublin 1957.
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- John Field, Place-names of Great Britain and Ireland, Newton Abbot 1980.
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- Thomas Fanning, 'Early Christian sites in the barony of Corkaguiney', in: Donnchadh Ó Corráin, (ed.), Irish antiquity: essays and studies presented to Professor M.J. O'Kelly (Cork 1981) 24146.
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- Nollaig Ó Muraíle, Mayo Places: Their Names and Origins. 1985.
- K. W. Nicholls, 'Medieval Leinster dynasties and families: three topographical notes', Peritia 5 (1986) 40915.
- Breandán S. Mac Aodha, 'The element áth/ford in Irish place-names'. Nomina 11 (1987) 11522.
- Proinseas Mac Cana, Place-names and mythology in Irish tradition', in: G. W. MacLennan (ed.), Proceedings of the first North-American Congress of Celtic Studies, Ottawa 1988, 319341.
- Helmut Jäger, 'Medieval landscape terms of Ireland: the evidence of Latin and English documents', in: John Bradley (ed.), Settlement and society in medieval Ireland: studies presented to F. X. Martin, OSA (Kilkenny 1988) 27790.
- Liam Mac Mathúna, 'The topographical vocabulary of Irish: patterns and implications'. Ainm 4 (198990) 144164.
- Breandán S. Mac Aodha, 'Lake-names on Mercator's map of Ireland'. Nomina, 12 (1989 for 1988/9), 1116.
- Dónall Mac Giolla Easpaig, 'The place-names of Rathlin Island'. Ainm 4 (198990) 389.
- T. S. Ó Máille, 'Irish place-names in -as, -es, -is, -os, -us'. Ainm 4 (198990) 125143.
- Diarmuid Ó Murchadha, 'A reconsideration of some place-names from miscellaneous Irish annals', Ainm 4 (198990) 180193.
- Jeffrey Spittal, John Field, A reader's guide to the place-names of the United Kingdom: a bibliography of publications, 1920-1989, on the place-names of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, The Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands. Stamford, 1990.
- A. J. Hughes, 'Irish place-names: some perspectives, pitfalls, procedures and potential'. Seanchas Ardmhacha: Journal of the Armagh Diocesan Historical Society, 14:2 (1991) 116148.
- Cathal Dallat, 'Townlands: their origin and significance', in: Tony Canavan (ed.), Every stoney acre has a name: a celebration of the townland in Ulster (Belfast 1991) 310.
- A. S. MacShamhrain, 'Placenames as indicators of settlement', Archaeology Ireland, 5:3 (1991) 19-21.
- Alan Mac An Bhaird, 'Ptolemy revisited', Ainm 5 (199193) 120.
- Diarmuid Ó Murchadha, 'A reconsideration of some placenames from 'The Annals of Innishfallen'', Ainm 5 (199193) 2132.
- Place-names of Northern Ireland, general editor Gerard Stockman. 6 Vols. [v. 1. County Down I, Newry and South-West Down, eds. Gregory Toner and Mícheál B. Ó Mainnín; v. 2. County Down II, The Ards, eds. A.J. Hughes and R.J. Hannan; v. 3. County Down III, The Mournes, ed. Mícheál B. Ó Mainnín; v. 4. County Antrim I, The baronies of Toome, ed. Patrick McKay; v. 5. County Derry I, The Moyola Valley, ed. Gregory Toner; v. 6. County Down IV, North-West Down, Iveagh, ed. Kay Muhr;.] Belfast: Institute of Irish Studies, The Queen's University of Belfast, 19921996.
- Place-names of Northern Ireland, general editor Nollaig Ó Muraíle. Vol. 7: County Antrim II, Ballycastle and North-East Antrim, ed. Fiachra Mac Gabhann. Belfast: Institute of Irish Studies, The Queen's University of Belfast, 1997.
- Art Ó Maolfabhail, 'The role of toponymy in the Ordnance Survey of Ireland', Études celtiques 29 (1992) 319325.
- Gillian Fellows Jensen, 'Scandinavian place-names of the Irish sea province', in: J. A. Graham-Campbell (ed.), Viking treasure from the north-west: the Cuerdale hoard in its context (National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside Occasional Papers 5) (Liverpool 1992) 3142.
- Tomás G. Ó Canann, 'Áth Uí Chanannáin and the toponomy of medieval Mide'. Ríocht na Mídhe [Journal of the County Meath Historical Society] 8:4 (199293) 7883.
- Michael B. Ó Mainnin, 'The mountain names of County Down'. Nomina 17 (1994) 3153.
- Deirdre & Laurence Flanagan, Irish place-names. Dublin 1994.
- Adrian Room, A dictionary of Irish place-names. Revised edition. Belfast 1994.
- Dónall Mac Giolla Easpaig, 'Placenames and early settlement in County Donegal', in: William Nolan, Liam Ronayne, Mairead Dunlevy (eds.), Donegal: history & society. Interdisciplinary essays on the history of an Irish county (Dublin 1995) 149182.
- Nollaig Ó Muraíle, 'Recent publications relating to Irish place-names', Ainm 6 (199495) 115122.
- Micheál Ó Braonáin, Príomhshruth Éireann. Luimneach 1994. [A poem by a Roscommon poet on the River Shannon (1794) listing 30 tributaries and over 300 place-names.]
- Diarmuid Ó Murchadha, 'A reconsideration of some place-names from 'The annals of Connacht'' Ainm 6 (199495) 131.
- Dónall Mac Giolla Easpaig, 'Early ecclesiastical settlement names of county Galway', In: Gerard Moran, (ed.) Galway: history & society: interdisciplinary essays on the history of an Irish county (Dublin 1996) 795815.
- Simon Taylor, 'Place-names and the early church in eastern Scotland', in: Barbara Elizabeth Crawford, (ed.), Scotland in dark age Britain, (Aberdeen 1996) 93110.
- Brian Ó Cuív, 'Dinnshenchas: the literary exploitation of Irish place-names', Ainm 4 (198990) 90106.
- Tomás Ua Ciarrbhaic, 'North Kerry placenames', The Kerry Magazine 7 (1996) 3334.
- Diarmuid Ó Murchadha, 'A reconsideration of some place-names from the Annals of Tigernach', Ainm 7 (199697) 127.
- Gregory Toner, 'A reassessment of the element Cuilleann', Ainm 7 (199697) 94101.
- Gregory Toner, 'The backward nook: Cúil and Cúl in Irish placenames', Ainm 7 (199697) 113117.
- Kay Muhr, 'The Northern Ireland Placename Project 198797', Ainm 7 (199697) 118119.
- Conleth Manning, 'Daire Mór identified'. Peritia 11 (1997) 35969.
- Roibeard Ó Maolalaigh, 'Place-names as a resource for the historical linguist', in Simon Taylor, The uses of place-names (St. John's House Papers, 7) (Edinburgh: Scottish Cultural, 1998) 1253.
- Seosamh Ó Dufaigh, 'Medieval Monaghan: the evidence of the placenames'. Clogher Record: Journal of the Clogher Historical Society, 16:3 (1999) 728.
- Patrick McKay, A dictionary of Ulster place-names. Belfast: Queen's University of Belfast, Institute of Irish Studies, 1999.
- Nollaig Ó Muraíle, 'The place-names of Clare Island', in: Críostóir Mac Cárthaigh, Kevin Whelan, (eds.), New survey of Clare Island, volume I: history and cultural landscape (Dublin 1999) 99141.
- Gregory Toner, 'The definite article in Irish place-names'. Nomina, 22 (1999) 524.
- Sharon Arbuthnot, Short cuts to etymology: placenames in Cóir Anmann, Ériu 50 (1999) 7986.
- Patrick McKay, A dictionary of Ulster place-names, Belfast 1999.
- Kevin Murray, 'Fr Edmund Hogan's 'Onomasticon Goedelicum', ninety years on: reviewers and users', Ainm 8 (19982000) 6575.
- Art Ó Maolfabhail,'Ar lorg na Breatnaise in Éirinn', Ainm 8 (19982000) 7692.
- Diarmuid Ó Murchadha, 'A reconsideration of some place-names from 'Fragmentary Annals of Ireland'', Ainm 8 (19982000) 4151.
- Gregory Toner, 'Settlement and settlement terms in medieval Ireland: Ráth and Lios'. Ainm 8 (19982000) 140.
- Michael J. Bowman, Place names and antiquities of the Barony of Duhallow, ed. by Jean J. MacCarthy, Tralee 2000.
- Eoghan Ó Mórdha, 'The placenames in the Book of Cuanu', in: Alfred P. Smyth (ed.), Seanchas: studies in early and medieval Irish archaeology, history and literature in honour of Francis J. Byrne (Dublin 2000) 18991.
- Kay Muhr, 'Territories, people and place names in Co. Armagh', in: A. J. Hughes, William Nolan (eds.), Armagh: history & society: interdisciplinary essays on the history of an Irish county (Dublin: Geography Publications, 2001) 295332.
- Kay Muhr, 'The early place-names of County Armagh'. Seanchas Ardmhacha: Journal of the Armagh Diocesan Historical Society, 19:1 (2002) 154.
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The edition used in the digital edition
- The Metrical Dindshenchas. in Volume 3: English translationEdward Gwynn (ed), Second reprint [x + 562 pp.] Dublin Institute for Advanced StudiesDublin (1991) (first published 1906) (reprinted 1941)
CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts
The present text represents odd pages 3467 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. 130141, are integrated in the electronic edition.
Text proofread twice. Text supplied by the editor is tagged sup resp="EG". 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. Corrections suggested in writings by Kuno Meyer, , Rudolf Thurneysen and , Patrick Dinneen are marked.
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div0=the whole text; div1=the volume; div2=the individual poem; 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 DIV2 element to represent the poem.
Created: Translation by Edward Gwynn [for details of Irish text see file G106500C].
Use of language
Language: [EN] The translation is in English.
Language: [GA] Some words in Old and Middle Irish are retained.
List of Participants
Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition: T106500C
The Metrical Dindshenchas: Author: [unknown]
- Hearken, ye Leinstermen of the graves,
O host that rule Raigne of hallowed rights,
till ye get from me, gathered on every hand,
the fair legend of Carmun high in fame!
- 5] Carmun, gathering place of a hospitable fair,
with level sward for courses:
the hosts that used to come to its celebration
conquered in its bright races.
- A burial-ground of kings is its noble cemetery,
10] even specially dear to hosts of high rank;
under the mounds of assembly are many
of its host of a stock ever-honoured.
- To bewail queens and kings,
to lament revenges and ill deeds,
15] there came many a fair host at harvest-time
across the noble lean cheek of ancient Carmun.
- Was it men, or a man of mighty prowess,
or woman with passionate emulation,
that won a title of
without disrepute ,
20] and gave its proper name to noble Carmun?
- Not men it was, nor wrathful man,
but one fierce marauding woman
bright was her precinct and her fame
from whom Carmun got its name at the first.
- 25] Carmun, wife of the son of fierce Dibad,
son of right hospitable Doirche of the hosts,
son of Ancgeis rich in substance,
was a leader with experience in many battles.
- No supply of gain appeased them
30] in their ardent desire for noble Banba;
because they were distressed perpetually in the East,
the children of the son of Dibad and their mother.
- They fared westward for the second time
Dian and Dub and Dothur,
35] from the East out of distant Athens,
they and Carmun their mother.
- In the borders of the Tuatha De
the folk of a hostile wedlock ravaged
the fruit of every land to the shore:
40] it was a dreadful lawless pillage.
- Carmun, by means of every spell of fame,
destroyed all sap of swelling fruit,
after strife waged with all arts unlawful,
and the sons through battle and lawlessness.
- 45] Then the Tuatha De perceived them;
horror and hideousness betrayed them
for every cruel deed they did,
the Tuatha De inflicted the like number upon them.
- Crichinbel no deception this!
50] and Lug Laebach son of Cacher
Be Chuilli into which I shall go above all battlefields
and Ai son of Ollam,
- The stern four, equal-strong,
said to them on overtaking them,
55] "A woman is here to match your mother,
three men to the brothers three;
- "Death to you no choice ye would choose,
no blessing, no lucky wish!
or else leave with good grace a hostage;
60] depart from Erin ye three only!"
- Those men departed from us;
stern means were found to expel them;
though it seemed distant to them, they leave here
Carmun alive in her narrow cell.
- 65] Every pledge was given that is not transgressed with safety,
the sea with its beasts, heaven, earth with its bright array,
that the strong chiefs should not come southward
so long as the sea should be round Erin.
- Carmun, death and yearning carried her off.
70] increase of mourning visited her
she found her fate, as was right,
among the oaks of the strong graves.
- Thither came, for the delight of her beauty,
to keen and raise the first wailing over her,
75] the Tuath De over this noble plain eastward:
it was to the first true fair of Carmun.
- The grave of Carmun, who digged it?
do ye learn, or do ye know?
according to the judgment of every esteemed elder
80] it was Bres son of Eladu: hearken!
- Five fair hundred four score
years it is since then no lie!
from Carmun, a captive under tribute,
to the psalm-sung birth of Jesus in human form.
- 85] Four hundred two and thirty
from the birth of Christ not false the count!
to Crimthand ruler over captive Carmun
to Patrick great and glorious.
- Five and thirty kings in the east without a curse
90] of the Leinstermen before the faith of Christ;
the noise of them reached over Erin
from thy sweet-omened haven, O Carmun!
- Five and fifty kings laborious these
of the warriorhood of Christendom
95] from Crimthann, mark for wounds,
to Diarmait Durgen, stout and goodly:
- Eight sons of Galam, with the number of their hosts,
Donn, Hir, Eber, Heremon,
Amairgen, unvexed Colptha,
100] Herech, Febria, and Erennan:
- These were the warranties of the Fair,
loudly acclaimed at all seasons,
at coming in and at going forth
without any rude hostility.
- 105] From the Tuatha De to the children of Mil,
it was a refuge for noble ladies and princely men;
from the children of Mil ('twas a clear fact),
till Patrick of Ard Macha, it was a refuge.
- Heaven, earth, sun, moon, and sea,
110] fruits of earth and sea-stuff,
mouths, ears, eyes, possessions,
feet, hands, warriors' tongues,
- Horses, swords, chariots fair,
spears, shields, and faces of men,
115] dew, mast, sheen on leaf,
day and night, ebb and flow:
- The hosts of Banba, free from enduring sorrow,
gave all these completely as pledges
that it should not lie under gloom of disputes
120] to interrupt it, every third year.
- The Gentiles of the Gaels held
often time with great acclamation
a Fair, without law, without sin,
without deed of violence, without impurity.
- 125] People of Christ's baptism, conceal it not!
hearken to him, for it is certain
men deserve a curse the more when they depart
from Christ and from Christianity.
- Kings and saints of Erin there
130] around Patrick and Crimthand:
they it was who strictly checked every fight;
they blessed the Fair.
- Nine fairs before the time of the Tuatha of active De
over the borders of well-famed Carmun:
135] fifty between them1, quickly,
from Herimon to Patrick.
- Five times forty pleasant
glorious fairs in succession
from Bresal Broenach without treachery
140] till the final fair.
- From Crimthand pure of beauty
to the high battle of violent Ocha
nine right famous fairs without division
held by the seed of heroic-gentle Labraid.
- 145] Sixteen kings, I am certified
by every sage, every glib shanachie,
from Carmun of the winding harbours
did the host bring into the mighty fair.
- Eight from populous Dothra,
150] a host of renown, ever boasted,
duly held the fair of Carmun
with pomp and with pure weapons.
- Twelve without long possession of a share
in famous fairs, I own,
155] were of the falcon-like company of valour
sprung of the royal seed from great Maistiu.
- Five from fierce Fid Gaibli
gathered above Carmun high in fame
a fair well-furnished with ranks of men,
160] with saddles, with bridle-horses.
- Six men from Raigne of the races,
of the seed of Bresal Brec the smiter;
a fair-haired band for raidings of the west
over the cheek of hundred-wounding Carmun.
- 165] Patrick and Brigit together,
Caemgen and Columcille,
it is they that are warranty against every troop
that none dare assail their own troop of riders.
- The fair of the saints in the first place,
170] strength to hold it and law to direct it:
the fair of the high kings with pure
it is this that comes next in order.
- The game next day of the women of Leinster
from the radiant host no false saying
175] womenkind not small in esteem abroad;
this is their gathering, the third fair.
- The Laigsi, the Fothairt, enduring their fame
their turn was after the women's share:
Leinster with all her treasures is theirs,
180] the brave men set to guard them.
- By honoured princes there
was held the fifth game in Carmun:
the honourable companies of Erin, however,
to them was firmly pledged the sixth.
- 185] Lastly by the Clann Condla was held
the game of well-protected Carmun:
noble was the compact beyond every host
above every triumph and royal revenue.
- Seven games, as as thou art taught,
190] that is the charge Patrick left,
every day for a week set apart:
for the sake of your loved fame, steadily hearken!
- The Leinstermen use to do on this wise
by tribes and by households,
195] from the days of Labraid Longsech, with number of hosts,
to powerful Cathair of the red spears.
- Cathair of Carmun left nothing
save only to his mighty offspring:
at their head, with special wealth,
200] behold the seed of Ros Failge!
- The seat of the noble king of Argatros
on the right of the pleasant, modest king of Carmun;
at his left hand, with no beggarly inheritance,
the seat of the king of bright-scioned Gaible.
- 205] The Laigsi are descendants of the seed
of mighty Lugaid son of Conall Cendmor;
and the Fothairt, whom drought visits not,
free from poverty to persecute them.
- On the kalends of August free from reproach
210] they would go thither every third year:
they would hold seven races, for a glorious object,
seven days in the week.
- There they would discuss with strife of speech
the dues and tributes of the province,
215] every legal enactment right piously
every third year it was settled.
- Corn, milk, peace, happy ease,
full nets, ocean's plenty,
greybearded men, chieftains in amity
220] with troops overbearing Erin.
- Suing, harsh levying of debts,
satirising, quarrelling, misconduct,
is not dared during the races
absconding with a deposit, nor distraint.
- 225] No men to go into an assembly of women,
no women into an assembly of fair, pure men;
as for elopement, it is not to be heard of there,
neither a second husband nor a second family.
- Whoever transgresses the law of the kings
230] Benen prescribed firmly for ever
that he should not thrive in his tribe,
but should die for his mortal sin.
- These are the Fair's great privileges:
trumpets, harps, hollow-throated horns,
235] pipers, timpanists unwearied,
poets and meek musicians.
- Tales of Find and the Fianna, a matter inexhaustible,
sacks, forays, wooings,
tablets, and books of lore,
240] satires, keen riddles:
- Proverbs, maxims, the Rule
and truthful teachings of Fithal,
dark lays of the Dindsenchas for thee,
teachings of Cairpre and Cormac;
- 245] The feasts round the mighty Feast of Tara,
the fairs, round the Fair of Emain;
annals there, this is true;
every division into which Erin has been divided:
- The tale of the household of Tara, that is not scanty,
250] the knowledge of every cantred in Erin,
the chronicle of women, tales of armies, conflicts,
hostels, tabus, captures:
- The ten-fold Testament of hundreded Cathair
to his right pleasant offspring kingly of stature:
255] assigns the estate of each man as is due,
so that all may listen to it.
- Pipes, fiddles, gleemen,
bones-players and bag-pipers,
a crowd hideous, noisy,
260] shriekers and shouters.
- They exert all their efforts
for the King of seething Berba:
the king, noble and honoured,
pays for each art its proper honour.
- 265] Tales of death and slaughter, strains of music;
exact synchronising of the goodly race;
his royal pedigree, a blessing through Bregmag
his battle and his stark valour.
- That is the sign for breaking up the Fair
270] by the fortunate ever-joyous host:
may there be given to them, from the Lord,
the earth with her pleasant fruits!
of the Leinstermen next day
the saint of the compact no deceitful blessing
275] above the hallowed water of Carmun, devoutly,
mass, genuflection, chanting of psalms.
- A fast was held in autumn
in Carmun, all at once,
by the Leinstermen, not thinly gathered here,
280] against wrong and oppression.
- Clerics and laymen of the Leinstermen there,
wives of the warriors assuredly,
God knoweth how they have deserved;
to their noble prayers He hearkens.
- 285] Hospitality of the Ui Drona next,
and horse-fights of Ossory,
and a shout raised with spear shafts
by the host there that is the end.
- Though we should call it Firt Mesca,
290] it were not raillery nor malice;
she and Sengarman the crooked, her husband,
it is there she was buried for eternity.
- Even from them was it called
among leaguered hosts;
295] it belonged to them, without poverty, and they to it;
O Leinstermen of the graves, hearken!
- One and twenty raths their fame endures
where lies the host under earth's sod,
and their count of graveyards right famous
300] where lies the beloved of noble Carmun.
- Seven mounds next, unvisited,
for frequent keening of the dead,
seven plains, purlieus without a house,
under the funeral games of Carmun.
- 305] Three busy markets in the land,
the market of food, the market of live stock,
the great market of the Greek foreigners,
where were gold and fine raiment.
- The slope of the horses, the slope of the cooking,
310] the slope of the women met for embroidery;
no man of the host of the noisy Gaedil
boasted of them nor reviled them.
- There comes for neglect of it
baldness, weakness, early greyness,
315] kings without keenness or jollity,
without hospitality or truth.
- Vigorous till now has been the wrath
of the numerous hosts of Labraid's keep:
every host that is not aggressive is sapless,
320] men dare them, and they dare not.
- A welcome with the heavenly host of the saints
for me, and with God, beautiful, noble, and kind!
the King with blessed hosts who rules them;
to every supplication he hearkens.
- Sid Nechtain is the name that is on the mountain here,
the grave of the full-keen son of Labraid,
from which flows the stainless river
whose name is Boand ever-full.
- 5] Fifteen names, certainty of disputes,
given to this stream we enumerate,
from Sid Nechtain away
till it reaches the paradise of Adam.
- Segais was her name in the Sid
10] to be sung by thee in every land:
River of Segais is her name from that point
to the pool of Mochua the cleric.
- From the well of righteous Mochua
to the bounds of Meath's wide plain,
15] the Arm of Nuadu's Wife and her Leg are
the two noble and exalted names.
- From the bounds of goodly Meath
till she reaches the sea's green floor
she is called the Great Silver Yoke
20] and the White Marrow of Fedlimid.
- Stormy Wave from thence onward
unto branchy Cualnge;
River of the White Hazel from stern Cualnge
to the lough of Eochu Red-Brows.
- 25] Banna is her name from faultless Lough Neagh:
Roof of the Ocean as far as Scotland:
Lunnand she is in blameless Scotland
or its name is Torrand according to its meaning.
- Severn is she called through the land of the sound Saxons,
30] Tiber in the Romans' keep:
River Jordan thereafter in the east
and vast River Euphrates.
- River Tigris in enduring paradise,
long is she in the east, a time of wandering
35] from paradise back again hither
to the streams of this Sid.
- Boand is her general pleasant name
from the Sid to the sea-wall;
I remember the cause whence is named
40] the water of the wife of Labraid's son.
- Nechtain son of bold Labraid
whose wife was Boand, I aver;
a secret well there was in his stead,
from which gushed forth every kind of mysterious evil.
- 45] There was none that would look to its bottom
but his two bright eyes would burst:
if he should move to left or right,
he would not come from it without blemish.
- Therefore none of them dared approach it
50] save Nechtain and his cup-bearers:
these are their names, famed for brilliant deed,
Flesc and Lam and Luam.
- Hither came on a day white Boand
(her noble pride uplifted her),
55] to the well, without being thirsty
to make trial of its power.
- As thrice she walked round
about the well heedlessly,
three waves burst from it,
60] whence came the death of Boand.
- They came each wave of them against a limb,
they disfigured the soft-blooming woman;
a wave against her foot, a wave against her perfect eye,
the third wave shatters one hand.
- 65] She rushed to the sea (it was better for her)
to escape her blemish,
so that none might see her mutilation;
on herself fell her reproach.
- Every way the woman went
70] the cold white water followed
from the Sid to the sea (not weak it was),
so that thence it is called Boand.
- Boand from the bosom of our mighty river-bank,
was mother of great and goodly Oengus,
75] the son she bore to the Dagda bright honour!
in spite of the man of this Sid.
- Or, Boand is Bo and Find
from the meeting of the two royal streams,
the water from bright Sliab Guaire
80] and the river of the Sids here.
- Dabilla, the name of the faithful dog
who belonged to the wife of Nechtain, great and noble,
the lap-dog of Boand the famous,
which went after her when she perished.
- 85] The sea-current swept it away,
as far as the stony crags;
and they made two portions of it,
so that they were named therefrom.
- They stand to the east of broad Breg,
90] the two stones in the blue waters of the lough:
Cnoc Dabilla is so called from that day to this
from the little dog of the Sid.
- O Maelsechlainn son of Domnall
of the family of Comgall's daughter!
I will tell thee, O prince of Meath!
the tale of white bright Boand.
- 5] Boand a blessing on the stream
did Christ fair of form ordain;
so she from glen to glen
is the river Jordan of Erin.
- Find Life, Find of the fierce Gaileon,
10] from the union of two names,
from their meeting is Mag Find named:
swift Find Life and Mifind.
- One of the two Finds, that wins victory,
flows past Tara from the north-east:
15] there at the Confluence it meets
with white-bellied Boand.
- Bo Guairi which flows eastward
through Loch Munremair past Tailtiu,
Bo Guairi is the name of the river
20] which is called great Banna.
- As there is ordan and an
from which the river Jordan is called,
so Boand is bo and find
from the meeting of the two royal waters.
- 25] Thither from the south came Boand
wife of Nechtain to the love-tryst
to the house of Elcmaire, lord of horses,
a man that gave many a good judgment.
- Thither came by chance the Dagda
30] into the house of famous Elcmaire:
he fell to importuning the woman:
he brought her to the birth in a single day.
- It was then they made the sun stand still
to the end of nine months strange the tale
35] warming the noble fine grass
in the roof of the perfect firmament.
- Then said the woman here:
"Union with thee, that were my one desire!"
And Oengus shall be the boy's name,"
40] said the Dagda, in noble wise.
- Boand went from the house in haste
to see if she could reach the well:
she was sure of hiding her guilt
if she could attain to bathe in it.
- 45] The druid's three cup-bearers
Flesc, and Lesc, and Luam,
Nechtain mac Namat set
to watch his fair well.
- To them came gentle Boand
50] toward the well in sooth:
the strong fountain rose over her,
and drowned her finally.
- It was contrived against the river on either shore
by Maelmorda, vast of wealth,
55] by the comely son of Murchad,
that it should not reach the inlet of ships.
- God's mercy was shown
on Leth Chuind by that counsel,
so that it escaped the swift night of gloom
60] unto thee, O generous Maelsechlainn!
- Bua, daughter of Ruadri Ruad,
wife of Lug mac Cein of the red spears,
it is there her body was hidden;
over her was a great hill built up.
- 5] A hill had Bua in the midst of Bregia,
where the noble woman was laid,
in that spot yonder:
the name of that hill is Cnogba.
- But though easiest to utter
10] of its names be perfect Cnogba,
yet its more proper style is Cnocc Bui
down from Bua daughter of Ruadri.
- Elcmar's daughter dwelt there:
Mider was the woman's darling:
15] a darling of her own was the prince,
the man from great and noble Sid Midir.
- Englec, noble Elcmar's daughter,
was the darling of perfect Oengus;
Oengus, son of the loved Dagda,
20] was not the maiden's darling.
- The illustrious Mac in Oc came
southward to Ceru Cermna
on the blazing hurrying Samain
to play with his fellow-warriors.
- 25] Mider came alas the day!
he came upon her after they had gone,
he carries off with him Englec from her home
thence to the Sid of the men of Femen.
- When noble Oengus heard
30] of the pursuit of his darling,
he went in search of her (I say sooth)
to the famous hill whence she was borne off.
- This was the food of his band bright feast
blood-red nuts of the wood:
35] he casts the food from him on the ground;
he makes lamentation around the hillock.
- Though it be called the Hill of Bua of combats,
this is the equal-valid counter-tale:
we have found that hence
40] from that 'nut-wailing' Cnogba is named.
- By us is preserved together
the memory of the lay,
and whichever of these tales ye shall prefer
from it is named the region of surpassing worth.
- 45] There is another tale 'tis known to me
of that hill, which Dubthach possesses:
it was made, though great the exploit,
by Bresal Bodibad.
- In his time there fell a murrain on kine
50] in every place in Ireland,
except for seven cows and a bull that increased strength
for every farmer in his time.
- By him is built the solid hill
in the likeness of Nimrod's tower,
55] so that from it he might pass to heaven,
that is the cause why it was undertaken.
- The men of all Erin came to make for him
that hill all on one day:
the wight exacted from them hostages
60] for the work of that day.
- His own sister said to him,
she would not let the sun run his course;
there should be no night but bright day
till the work reached completion.
- 65] His sister hies her on her way
strongly she makes her druid spell:
the sun was motionless above her head;
she checked him on one spot.
- Bresal came (lust seized him)
70] from the hill unto his sister:
the host made of it a marvel:
he found her at Ferta Cuile.
- He went in unto her, though it was a crime,
though it was violation of his sister:
75] on this wise the hill here
is called Ferta Cuile.
- When it was no longer day for them thereafter
(it is likely that it was night),
the hill was not brought to the top,
80] the men of Erin depart homeward.
- From that day forth the hill remains
without addition to its height:
it shall not grow greater from this time onward
till the Doom of destruction and judgment.
- 85] It is Fland here bright his art
who tells this tale no deceptive speech:
a choice story spread it abroad, men and women!
lips, make mention of it among excellences!2
- Ruadri, son of Aitte of the flocks,
was no faint splendour swift-passing yonder;
father-in-law of Lug with tale of ships,
with prowess of feats in war and slaying of foreign foemen.
- 5] The two daughters of Ruadri, the king
of Britain, of conquering white-clad forces
were the two wives of Lug, fruitfulness came to them
Bui of the Brug and modest Nás.
- Nás, mother of Ibic of the horses,
10] claims of right the brow and the beauty of the spot,
since she is gone, with the noise of combat,
how should ye know at all the spot where she died?
- Nás took in hand a deed unwise:
(truth and not folly) death o'erwhelmed her;
15] 'tis from her Nás was named,
famous perpetually for stern law.
- Nás of the Leinstermen, bright with splendid bounty,
'tis there the lady was buried;
from her it is called with clear certitude:
20] the lore of the ancient hides not this.
- Her sister was at Cnogba free from ravage,
after the havoc of her shelter and her precinct:
not tardily came the death-dirge for the lady;
'tis there Bui abode, and was buried.
- 25] Cnogba is the Hill of Bui of the battles;
the pillaging violence of hosts does not wreck it;
but 'tis it that, for repose from fatigue of fierce deeds,
is the lofty hold of the fiery kings.
- The hosts of the pure Gaels came
30] to bewail the women from the Brug;
from Tailtiu where he raised a fire
thence they came with Lug.
- They lifted a cry of lamentation perpetually
for the women free from guilt and guile;
35] the game of wounds was waged by them
untimely, in no merry wise.
- Thence grew the boasted gathering
(it is not an empty lamentation with the lips)
the assembly of Taltiu with mighty preparations,
40] held by every hero moreover according to custom.
- That was the gathering of accomplished Lug,
happy satisfaction, no small pleasure,
the lamentation of the fair-skinned vocal women of Fáil,
the keening for the daughters of Ruadri the red.
- 45] The three sons of Dorchlam (strong testimony!),
Nás, Roncc and Ailestar
in the west without respite above troublous Cuan,
Taltiu engaged them for good.
- A rath in Ulster (long the law);
50] a rath of the province of Connacht the excellent;
a rath of the province of Leinster without weakness,
a site for Nás daughter of Ruad.
- It is time for me to make verse on Ceilbe,
it is a service due to Athairne;
to commemorate thee no paltry favour
a tale without verse is insecure.
- 5] A chapter without verse on Ceilbe
it was remiss of Fercheirtne:
polish comes not without a dye of some sort,
nor does a tale without a lay to follow it.
- Present with absent now,
10] ye that adorn the code of law!
since not to put Ceilbe in verse,
was not lucky, o poets3!
- It has fallen to my lot to make requital therein
unto you, O teachers of the Dindsenchas!
15] soon shall I strip its obscurity
from the cause why Ceilbe is sung of.
- Daughter to Cairpre Niafer was she,
Bé Gelchnes, spirited, fair and bright,
pre-eminent for live stock and household gear;
20] in this hill she was wont to dwell.
- She held it wrong (though it was a fatal project)
that her noble father should lack entertainment,
never ceasing from work in her home
till her purpose was accomplished.
- 25] Then Finn the poet bethought him
the son of Ross Ruad of Rairiu,
the keen poet used to war-cries
to pay a visit at his fair sister's house.4
- His errand was an omen of reproach
30] to the house of the valiant woman;
neither love nor fear she felt
in hiding her preparation.
- There is brought to him it was no seemly step
food that was only fit for slaves;
35] there was festal preparation near by;
Finn perceived that it was kept secret.
- The stern poet reproached
his wicked sister for her churlishness:
her purpose was not brought to completion,
40] her fame was impeached for what was attempted.
- On account of his wrath he prayed
for his dear brother's daughter
not to live to old age;
he made notorious her mean spirit.
- 45] When bright Bé Gelchnes heard
the poet's bitter saying,
then she died on a sudden,
with her feast before her eyes.
- Alas that she refused to give it
50] to her noble father's own brother:
her feast after all
was the entertainment his journey gained.
- "Let a grave be dug for the long-haired woman";
her Domnanns used to say;
55] "hide Bé in the hill yonder:
let her make it suitably Ceil-be."
- Or if ye so desire, to follow this story,
(great is ever the fear of the critic)
I will presently find for the hill
60] the reason why it is seemly to sing of it.
- Cairbre Coilbe (it was not seemly)
he was the stout warrior trained in contest;
he buried here and they alive
the hostages of all Elg it was a cruelty.
- 65] When they saw the wicked deeds of the youth
each and all cried out
"A great crime live men in the hill yonder!"
so that thence Ceilbe is remembered.
- Cairpre Ceilbe is the proper name for him,
70] even for the treacherous son of Ross,
though by many he is rightly called
Cairpre Niafer, giver of wages.
- I will not leave unsung the daughter
of Cearball son of Muiregen:
75] her place was heir to her,
Ceilbe her name when she is mentioned.
- Thither to seek her goes
the seer who was famous in his day,
(in sooth he was noted for no lowly fortune);
80] Dallán was the poet's name.
- Ceilbe comes to greet and welcome
Dallán son of Machadán:
she comes having a branch laden with berries
concealed under her cloak.
- 85] When they met in her fair domain
she said to the grandson of Echtigern,
"Let it be declared by you, without offence thereat,
what is under my bosom, if thou canst."
- Without need and without compulsion
90] she spoke only to test the son of Machadan;
the druid declares to the great indolent lady
what was under her bosom straightway.
- "Thou hast, O fair-haired maiden,"
said the druid not carelessly,
95] ("a hard feat to lean upon spikes,)
a branch of blackthorn covered with dark sloes."
- "Thou shalt rue it, keen maiden,"
said the ill-boding poet:
"I in my turn will mar the colour of thy face;
100] this shall be thy reward for vexing me."
- Then said comely Ceilbe,
"I am under thy protection, O poet!
Blemish me not for my sport
because I did not show the fruit.
- 105] "Thou shalt have of me, to check thy black displeasure,
as sufficient satisfaction for my offence,
in compensation for my demand of you,
the sod-built liss where you got your asking."
- "All my domain without detriment
110] shall be thine, son of Machadán,
without my heir being mentioned in my place;
only Ceilbe shall be its name, after me."
- Though she gave her domain to the seer,
the daughter of white-skinned Cearball gained
115] the unfading name of that keep:
was it not an obligation to bestow it on her?
- The poet that is strongest to protect
through excellence of his knowledge,
what is due to him is little however much it be:
120] it is time for me to make verse on Ceilbe.
- Seek not recital all hail,
if thou, O Lord, purposest to invite me!
of what thou doest about noontide with thy people,
if it is the true account that would be required.
- 125] Many a step have I gone astray,
if it were time to tell thereof,
whereby the nail has been driven into His wound:
it is more than time to turn.
- The notable places of Leinster wealth of valour!
do the historians declare them?
the notable places, and next the raths,
many the causes whence they are named.
- 5] Myself will declare the cause whence are named
nine of their notable places;
till doomsday it shall be a fame unfading,
So that no one be left in doubt!
- Liamuin, Forcarthain of the sods,
10] Miannach, Trustiu of the broad roads;
are notable places known by various designations
with their four fair names.
- Miannach, Fercarthain of the feasts
Liamuin, and white-sided Trustiu
15] were maidens, a precious possession,
of the family of the good king of Dubthair.
- It was Dubthach of Dubthair fierce of face,
king of the Desi of Bregia of the undying bards,
(his was all as far as the horse-rearing region of the estuaries,)
20] whose four fair daughters they were.
- The month over the bargain that all observe,
at the present time it is no novelty,
Dubthach was the first to add it,
the rule is well known to the Ui Chuinn.
- 25] A year's wage (it was a judgment of the wise)
from every king to every warrior,
only Dubthach would not give it
without additional work, that was excessive.
- Dubthach was son of Fergna noble and fair
30] son of Muredach son of Sinell
son of Bregon the famous for victory,
son of Oengus, son of Eogan.
- Eogan Brec is still spoken of,
the son of well-born Fiachu Suidige,
35] son of noble Fedlimid Rechtmar,
son of Tuathal Techtmar great and strong.
- That is the pedigree till now
of Dubthach good king of the Desi,
for my art-prompted tale to set forth
40] among all the noted places of Leinster.
- The gentle sons of Acher Cerr from the harbour,
sprung of the Erainn of Munster of the cavaliers
met their death, it was no mild decease,
it blasted their growth all at once.
- 45] An injunction of stern force was laid
on the fair and lofty four;
it was no pleasant tryst in the dark,
it was an injunction in virtue of their love,
- That they should not wed, in the land of the living,
50] the four beloved sisters,
or that they should meet their death;
the keeping of the injunction was no easy task for them.
- Fomu and renowned Roimper,
Fernocht, Ferdub the sagacious;
55] the mention of their names together
has gained from us, as was due, a noble stanza.
- These youths from the Erainn of our line
were darlings of free peoples,
the sons of Acher Cerr of the province
60] son of Eochu Find the handless,
- Son of Mug Lama the stainless
son of fierce Lugaid of the encampments
(and of Olldoitech, choice of fair women)
son of shapely Cairpre Cromchend.
- 65] They came, hard the toil
to earn their guerdon,
the four thanes, winning a name for valour,
at the house of Dubthach of Dubthair.
- The four dear daughters of Dubthach
70] four youths they had, for certain;
as is the prosperous custom till now,
each loved his mate.
- Dubthach had gone to a fortunate battle
in the mighty province of Leinster,
75] with the four they loved therein
the youths remained behind him.
- After waiting behind the king,
they made off untroubled,
despite the hardships of every path,
80] the company who had feigned sickness.
- Dubthach slew the comely company,
after they had met, side to side:
the barrows of their dear sod-built raths remain,
for youth and maid alike.
- 85] Miannach is followed across every plain
to Miannach where she was killed;
the woman with martial array is killed,
so that her name clave to the hill.
- Fercarthain of the feasts is killed;
90] in Forcarthain was she smitten,
slow-eyed, long-haired, short-lived,
she met destruction at Forcarthain.
- Liamuin is slain, perfect of temper,
thick-haired, skilful in defence;
95] she met death through her peculiar prowess,
wherefore Liamuin is full famous.
- Trustiu is slain in Trustiu southward;
the gentle woman suffered for her alliance;
the hill of Cairn in Bile is called
100] by that maiden's name.
- Fomu is slain at Fomain,
he thick-haired warrior with fair locks;
many a lean host comes frequently
over the two fair cheeks of Fomain.
- 105] Roimper was pursued
across the waters to Glass Rompair;
so hot Roimper fell,
it is not a
to tell of it.
- Fernocht in Fornocht of the feasts,
110] cruelly was his flesh mangled;
the youth met ill treatment
among the spears in Fornocht.
- Ferdub, fierce of face, of doughty deeds,
at the Black Fords of red Maistiu,
115] at the hill, outwearied by bloody forays,
his face was found after keen combat.
- The famous Luachair of Boirend
was the sad mother of the four;
the fair woman came to her death
120] among the plains of the strong places.
- Fomu, husband of Liamuin, rests with her;
the spouses were of like age,
the white-handed soldier-pair,
alike are the lovers twain.
- 125] Fercarthain, lovely was her face,
(her love, I reckon him without delay,)
through their converse is assured
her great love to Roimper.
- Fernocht belongs to unwrinkled Miannach:
130] he helped her not by his cruel cunning;
the warrior of the proved troops destroyed her,
his cunning was no helpful cunning.
- Ferdub belongs to white-sided Trustiu,
their equal date was lamented;
135] in naming them here not misleading are
my pleasant harmonious verses.
- These places that I number presently
the learned of Erin shall praise;
at their ease shall sages name them
140] from their assemblies and their noted places.
- The wooing of the daughter of Goll Glas,
son of noble mettlesome Fedlimid,
by Lutur son of powerful Lurgnech,
from the western side of Spain.
- 5] Thus was mighty Lutur,
a man right tall and big,
fourteen heads no rash boast
above his shaggy grey neck.
- As for Gablach, big was the woman,
10] daughter of fair quick Fedlimid;
fifty cubits she was in height,
and the half of that in breadth.
- Four of them came from the east
both Goll and his daughter,
15] and Lutur, who came without ship,
and Lurgnech son of Calatrom.
- So they partook of their feast,
a pleasant modest household the four of them;
a hundred of every beast great was the amount
20] a hundred measures of every grain on earth.
- A bed was made for them thereafter,
all four in one couch;
they gave a blessing to each other;
happy they were and not replete.
- 25] Another soldier was in the east,
he dwelt in the islands of the Red Sea,
Fuither son of Fordub the wrathful
son of the son of Labraid Lamderg.
- He gathered a vast following;
30] he came from the east on a sudden
it is sure that there was groaning and carnage
to contend for his leman.
- The names of the captains he brought from the east:
vigorous Labraid Lamfata,
35] Brothur son of Sce, Glas son of Garb,
Ibar son of Sce son of Sceobalb.
- There came of them from the east more than any other band
in the following of each champion;
a hundred heroes in the following of each man,
40] of the Fomoraig and Arsaide.
- While the others were in the house,
the four of them, a fellowship of equal size;
they hear the call without:
"Come out, of your own accord, or else by force!"
- 45] Up rose Lutur half his height,
and opened the royal house from before them;
he carried out with him before his shoulder
both pole and palisade.
- He laid a stake of the keep
50] on them across nose and eyes;
so that the pools were full
of spatterings of their brains.
- Those two grappled with each other,
not good was the shelter when fatigue came on;
55] so Gablach slew Fuither,
it was a fatal journey, a heavy overthrow.
- The number that came over sea
to contend for the daughter of Goll,
not one of them escaped;
60] ungentle was that wooing.
- From Gabal daughter of bright Goll comes
Dun Gabail in Cuthraige;
there she slept with Lutur of the many ships,
futile was the rival wooing.
- 65] Goll Glas of the river-mouth gave
fortress and keep to his brave daughter,
above Life of the Leinstermen, that is not sluggish,
contentious was her first wooing.
- Thereafter Goll of the many feats gave
70] river and keep and famous weir
to his daughter free from perilous theft,
cattle-raids, and reavings, and wooings.
- Durgen found suffering on every side
by the hand of Indech, who traversed the battle-field,
she was daughter of Luath, bloody in combat,
overcomer of a hundred warriors, one that knit strife.
- 5] Known to me is the mother who wrought her ruin;
by her falseness the false woman destroyed her;
'tis she was an axe-haft for cleaving
on the soil of Belach da Bend.
- Herccad, the mother who wrought her ruin,
10] excellent in disposition at all times,
was daughter of Trescu, with floods of waves;
perpetrated the deed that was done there!
- She went to her slave this is truth for you
(it was a madman's choice, when she had tasted him:)
15] in spite of Luath daring was the desire
came the slave to the first original crime.
- Sharply the daughter watched:
the alert hawk of the host revealed the secret:
to a tryst with Herccad was coming
20] a slave without repute, into Luath's bed.
- From that tryst which she arranged in the East
with Indech on account of Herccad
the prosperous folk,
Durgen has a claim on them.
- Bairend Chermain, whence is it named,
with its good fame, and ready hospitality?
it was a precinct that lasted not for a short span,
where dwelt Cerman Cetharchend.
- 5] Cerman Caladchnes the valiant
went a-wooing for increase:
the daughter of Etarba of the battles
was deceitful Digais.
- Digais was alert and strong;
10] she bore a princely family to Cerman;
she bore him seven active sons,
and five daughters.
- The names of the sons glorious work!
were Fulach, Liath, and Cassan,
15] Fledach, Dimain, and Dormna,
and Scal of the mighty shield.5
- Five daughters of the hero, who was no sluggard,
manlike in deeds were they, exceeding strong;
Cappa, Cliath, Bernsa of the peaks,
20] good Malu, and Bairend.
- Digais (whom verses cherish) drove out
her nurslings, even her own children;
said Cerman since
"May danger and destruction attend you!"
- 25] Each of them took his path;
they scattered from home and land,
till they found their abodes
they were vagrant reprobates.
- Scal fared to Scarb ind Eoin,
30] Dimain settled at Drobel,
Dornmar settled stern his grip
at stately Ath Monadmaill.
- Cassan went to Glenn Cuill,
Fer Liath to Liathdruim,
35] Fulach to Glend Smoil,
Fledach to Dergmoin.
- Cappach settled in Glend da Gruad,
Bairend settled by Babluan,
Cliach possessed the ancient cairn in her day;
40] these are the own children of Digais.6
- Digais lived on her mountain, as was reported;
there long after holds her tenure;
at Babluan it was populous once
is Bairend of the red weapons, victorious maid.
- The daughter of Rodub, curly-haired, brave
son of Glas Gluar, son of Glas Gamain,
was wife of Enna son of Nos the valiant
who settled in the meadows of Etar.
- 5] She was a wizard, she was a noble poetess,
Rodub's daughter, of starlike beauty,
she was a prophetess to sing dirges for every chieftain,
till death by a single shot extinguished her.
- Enna had a wife fair and lovely,
10] Aide daughter of Ochind:
the son of slender Cnucha, who loved combat,
gave short span to Rodub's daughter.
- The daughter of Rodub conceived jealousy:
it was a journey that brought not good fortune,
15] when she sang a spell of the sea in the morning;
for slender Cnucha was no friend.
- Margin bright and brisk marked her;
the squire, by Ochind's high command
cast in her path a cunning ball
20] with which he shattered the daughter of king Rodub.
- The foe who killed her met his death
by her famous magnificent father:
the noble warrior was slain before sunset
after the destruction of Rodub's daughter.
- Bare is thy keep, O Druim Den!
bare and desolate thy rampart and thy site:
I see it, of the bloom that bedecked thee
from now till Doomsday shalt thou be bare.
- 5] Lovely are thy borders and thy outskirts,
pleasant the calling of cuckoos that dwell with thee,
radiant thy rampart, spacious and seemly,
thy keep of the oak woods and the green leafage.
- A shelter wast thou against need and sorrow;
10] thou wast a fence and a forest fortress,
our desire is to set back and front
against thy rampart and toward thy wide demesne.
- I in the west of Inis Fail,
thou in the east, a-blaze;
15] the pasturing herd grazes in the grass-meadow,
the meal is ground and the miller away.
- Seldom comes one that is Find's better;
all renown shall be humbled;
thou shalt be a lodging of tearful austere women,
20] though thou art grassgrown and bare.
- 'Twas to avenge thee, O Druim Den,
that Ossin and white-skinned Cailte
slew Unchi in his spite
at the Ford of Unchi Eochairbel.
- 25] One and thrice seven came thither
with Unchi corpulent and crooked-mouthed;
they were slain in their sevens
in the week about Samain-tide.
- Unchi (by reason of his warlike rage)
30] is bereft of his lean head;
tall men bore it off in silence,
zealously and in bareness.
- Behold Áth Clíath before you awhile!
O tower that ever guardest the Gael,
what warrior, what dame has plundered it,
and given its name to the ford?
- 5] The sin of Adam's wife brought upon us
the senseless rough-sporting beast:
long since had the seer foretold
the beast that was on Lecc Benn.
- The beast that was on Lecc Benn
10] had seven score feet, four heads;
its shank and its toe reached hither,
it licked up Boyne till it became a valley.
- The beast, from which the tale grew up
(if thou art skilled in a thousand books)
15] the strange beast, it found rest:
it was slain on Brug maic ind Oc.
- Who was the wright that planted the palisade?
in its great size he set it in the ford:
what is this palisade, we wonder?
20] it shall abide in the pool till Doomsday.
- The frame of the beast's chest made a cast
round Erin a coast that everyone knew
and the restless sea tossed it:
thereafter it befell that it reached the ford.
- 25] The King of the elements noble motion
the Lord of mystery for all men,
the Prince of nature, the Son of my God,
He it is that would protect every weakling.
- Relate to me, O comely Mongan
30] since thou art acquainted with every violent deed,
what number fell 'tis clear
in Tulach na Segainne.
- O pride of Erin across two seas,
O bright diadem whom all men know,
35] thou rememberest, O light from Iona,
the thing that set it in the ford.
Bend Etair I
- Etar, forehead to the flood,
the hundred-strong barrier of the people of Cualu,
there is no attempt made on Erin
without a roar of green seas against his shoulder.
- 5] His right shoulder fronts the Dothra:
the Ruirthech dashes wildly against his side,
onset of the flood-tide, wave of the ebb,
furious are the seas against the shore.
- A number of the poets who were the first
10] loved a commentary on every song
in the legend that chanted to them
the reason why the name of Etar was given.
- The warrior's grave overlooks the water
above the point of the deadly-foolish deed;
15] the death of Bethi came by the violent folly
of Aes son of Etair son of Etbaith.
- The son of Etbaith whose is the inheritance,
a great chieftain, known as far as the shores of Alba,
found a wife
20] she was Mairg from Sliab Marga.
- She was a fit mother of children for him;
she used to cast a golden chain about him:
the sea should not drown him while he wore it,
nor should spear-points of battle be able to wound him.
- 25] Thence came the name (not in falsehood
does every poet in succession relate it
on this side and that about the sea)
the pliant Chain of the modest wife of Etar.
- His family were foolish at the first
30] they were there
he had a son that was not hers,
she had a daughter that was not his.
- They went over the sounding sea
for a swimming match
35] the son who brought about sorrow there
and the illustrious daughter.
- Aes, a mighty wave drowned him,
his folly betrayed him, lasting frenzy
at the meeting under the wave's roof
40] with the daughter of Crimthand of Cualu.
- There came the beast, an active combat,
toward them through the level sea:
the Point of Aes' Head, if it should be seen
Bethe's Ear is over the Liffey-Pool.
- 45] They left a son sound and lusty
(did Aes and fair trusty Bethe)
Dond son of Aes, who loved forays,
a man whose daughter was Elta.
- Elta, fierce plain covered with warriors,
50] the pure level with hundreds of men
the grave of the nobles of the Greeks
behold it in front of Etar!
- When Athirne the cruel came
he abode in the rich mountain:
55] seven hundred kine, red-eared, pure white,
he carried off as a gift to him from the Leinstermen.
- Boldly came the Leinstermen
to bring back the tribute;
eastward to Sliab Etar by the shore
60] to sack it over the poet.
- Conor mac Nessa came,
seven hundred with him in fierceness of might,
to dispute the choice cattle,
with the red sons of Ross.
- 65] Mag Elta was filled with curraghs
round Conchobar to help him,
in the straits in which the Ulstermen were;
they took bright Etar against the Leinstermen.
- Messdia, in his boyish strength, gave
70] the promise it was a chance shot struck him,
so that the poet Find drowned him
as he was drinking a draught from the well.
- The Ulstermen shouted when was drowned
Messdia who was a white-fingered man;
75] the Ulstermen who were not subdued inflicted defeat
on the four provinces of the Gaels.
- They drank up the pool, a spot not narrow,
in Mag Find after the great hardships;
without water flowing in pure streams
80] was Boyne on the morrow.
- It was after the slaughter of the wounded hosts
he carried off with him his white herd, prize of deeds;
Athirne went his way and was not hurt
through the protection of the Ulstermen, O Etar.
Bend Etair II
- Though it be dark to me in my bed,
though it be a tale of testing and difficult indeed,
yet clear to see with profit of laudation
is every famous plain, every famous fortress.
- 5] There is many a peak alongside the most famous monuments,
ranked not unjustly above every domain,
the achievement of every host was set in order due,
so that all are illuminated.
- I see five eponyms of strong heights
10] of renown and splendour,
no weak array among their peers,
chief in honour and mighty for ever.
- The Hill of Etar, forehead to wave,
The Dun of Brea son of Senboth Saeroll,
15] The Stone of Cualu against assault of pillage,
The Ridge of Ing
son of Dorbglas,
- Mount Lecga, the next spot
prepared against ruses and pillage,
is the fifth bright "knot of testing,"
20] though it be very high it is not very dark.
- I will tell you in pleasant converse,
without lamentation or sorrowful song,
the history, free from secret of soft lust,
of noble fort and noble hill alike.
- 25] Partholon detached in the East;
that he might be over far-famed Elg,
Brea son of Senboth of abiding valour,
for exploits and armed vengeance.
- The duel (not good the custom)
30] was instituted by the noble gracious son of Senboth,
the roofed hunting-booths of osier,
and the all-black iron vessels.
- Brea son of Senboth of the spears got
a dun and a river-harbour and a noble sea;
35] 'tis he truly (he was not wanton-foolish)
who was the first man to inhabit them.
- There died Brea, assuredly,
and his whole family along with him;
their graves, with deed of war and rapine,
40] have I seen in the territory of Cualu.
- Five wives they brought hither,
the five sons of Dela without stain
one of the five women was
Etar the splendid and stately.
- 45] 'Twas she died here, first of all
before the wife of any king ('tis well known),
of grief for long-limbed radiant Gand,
in Bend Etar, suddenly.
- In Etar (which found sadness from this cause
50] without compare, without equal)
she died, the softly-bright active
wife of the steadfast king of Fremu.
- Hence is named noble Etar
the royal harbour, hundred-strong, complete;
55] though there possessed it, in wealth and plenty,
Etar the famous, son of Etgaeth.
- Etar, murderous of mood in every strife,
was allied to Manannan;
he died here apart across the sea
60] for love of radiant Aine.
- Crimthand Shield-mouth, goodly in battle,
by whom fell Cualu the hundred-strong,
put his head, leader of the host, in this wise
on Oe Cualand of the vast plundering.
- 65] The unblemished stone whereon that head was set,
the red mangled head of the kingly man,
thence comes the name, above the abiding road,
of the renowned, the ancient Oe.
- In the same well-matched battle of shields
70] fell the son of heavy-handed Dorb-glas,
and was buried without litter
at Druim Ing without contention.
- From them is called, without clear error,
Druim Ing and lofty Oe;
75] from their destruction is the name mentioned among hosts;
from their graves, from their deaths.
- When there went forth for an evil exploit
the three sons of Conmand, son of Conmac,
and the three grandsons of Dond Desa lord of troops,
80] who was leader in a life of peril.
- It was on the very night of Samain,
an occasion for foray and fighting,
up to Derg's oaken house, full of doors,
when they over-mastered Conaire,
- 85] This was their road from Long Laga,
along shallow Tond Uairbeoil,
to Glenn da Gruad across Gabar
across Suan and across Senchora,
- 90] To the point of outlook clear
at Oe Cualann under like rule,
to dark Cuilend, over Crecca,
over Sruthar, over Sliab Lecga.
- The 'Mountain of Sobail' son of old Sengand,
by every certain lawful division,
95] till the time of Ingcel noble and splendid
was the original name of the ancient mountain.
- Then said Lomna the buffoon,
without gloom or dejection,
"Leave ye here for a lucky goal
100] a hand-stone for every hero."
- "Everyone of this loving lucky host
that is left after the slaughter and havoc
let them come hither in due order
to fetch each man his stone.
- 105] "Thence shall ye all know
the losses of your brave band;
there will not be present at the roll-call
aught but a stone for every dead man slain."
- From those stones till now
110] clear above the occurrences of the land
is Sliab Lecga to my searching gaze;
even without sight of eyes it is not wholly dark.
- Well I fared on a glorious adventure
from the assembly in
much sea and much land were traversed
by the king's son, on that gallant journey.
- 5] I went on a way, a track not rapid,
through the deceitful wiles of women,
into the land that ocean encloses,
which has a white wall of pure silver.
- I happened on a host
10] over the cheek of glorious Mag Eolairg;
thrice nine fifties, kings thrice nine,
that was their number in their muster.
- I brought away the horned polished beaker
of Tuathal across the salt of the ocean-road;
15] thrice nine draughts, that was its content,
he pressed from a single grain, goodly its metal.
- I brought the chess-board of white-skinned Guaire
from the waves of ocean, with numbers of exploits;
there was not found under heaven a treasure to surpass it,
20] wherein are three hundred bright gems.
- I brought the shirt of fierce Lug
to my country from the water of the Irish sea;
all of refined red gold,
that was inwoven7 from bridle to head.
- 25] I brought the fierce flashing sword
of Congal, author of dreadful havoc;
it was a treasure of the kings of Inis Fail,
a hundred golden snakes along its blade.
- I brought a shield that was Daire Derg's
30] from the field where spear-casts wounded men:
thrice nine arrows of pale silver
round the rim wrought by the graver's tool.
- I brought the old spear of Mac Da Dend
with his head it was no bloody trophy;
35] from sunrise to sunset is none
would know of what wood is its shaft.
- I brought the brooch of swift Labraid
son of Aed Abrat, after battle;
thrice nine gems of carbuncle, set in rows
40] were ranged upon it in its centre8.
- I brought the two hounds of Canu the musical;
it was no idle man's work that broke them;
worth a hundred couples over sea
was the white chain that was on them.
- 45] I brought the stone, with its polished chain,
of Tuathal mac Smail pleasant possession;
the bottom set with rings of pale metal,
with woven chains down its side.
- I brought the sling of Mac Da Des
50] perfect the work, only for death;
there is not between earth and heaven
one fit to praise him, pure of soul.9
- I brought also the tinder-box of Fiachu's henchman:
it was the debt of a steadfast man, a head across his back:
55] this was its
for a man,
a green splinter, a sliver of thick-leaved holly.
- I brought the horse-whip with thirty strands
of Ruadri Ruad of the famous royal house;
with its strands in twisted plaits
60] from the plant that is shining white as the sun.
- There came upon us many a furious warrior
on every field in noble Erin;
during our night at Druim Da Roth
weeping and woe subdued us.
- 65] In Bend Etair of the terrible conflicts,
which the sea visits in its shining ways,
there is a stronghold whose famous breakwater
is the great wall of Lugaid's son, fit for story.
- Many a mighty chariot have I broken,
70] I have gained silver and gold;
not false is all this but true,
on a kingly adventure well I fared.
- I have for the Leinstermen day by day
rich store of legend no spurious wealth
whence comes the title (mighty shouting)
the noble name of the territory of Cnamros.
- 5] Hither came in suffering
after the fight at the red-flaming hostel,
with many a hurt and wound,
Mac Cecht, son of Slaide Seched.
- The giant soldier bore with him
10] the kingly child of friendly Conaire
Le fri Flaith, truly named,
for it was he that lifted him from the ground.
- Into the hollow of his fair fringed shield
he packed the boy's frame;
15] the boy that had not force for valour in arms
was made like a heap of scattered bones.
- The blood whelmed him and the heavy heat,
he met tumult and oppression,
when he kept a darkling tryst
20] at sloping Corra Ednige.
- Then said Mac Cecht,
because the mighty slaying was wasted
"woe betide him that starts on a journey
from the heap of thy scattered bones!"
- 25] He cut the belly from his targe,
and it was buried round the royal child;
until that Judgment that awaits thee
this is the rath where they abide.
- Hiburni, son of Dedos the blind,
30] came hither to the son of Cumall
with love-nuts of Segais thereafter
from the wife of Bernsa from Berramu.
- Then said Find, prince of the warriors,
to the active, the nimble-handed Hiburni,
35] that they were not nuts of good knowledge10 19, 128.
but nuts of doubt and uneasiness.
- From these nuts, stronger than eager strength of chieftains,
is named level Cnamros;
Find embedded them a foot under earth,
40] their origin was not known.
- Strong Bresal Belach won
against the clans of stout Cairpre
with his clan (mighty shouting)
a tough fight in the territory of Cnamros.
- 45] A loss of nine men and nine hundred
and nine thousand ('twas a great calamity)
was sustained by Cairpre and his chieftains in the east
along with Fiachu and the two Eochaids.
- There they lie imprisoned under a cairn
50] since they were slaughtered in the great rout;
till Doomsday come at the time appointed
the rath in which they lie conceals them.
- There was grief on the company of women
here in the great plain at their fatal encounter,
for the loss of Maistiu, goodly bride,
who came on a heedless venture.
- 5] The son of Eochu Toebfota in the east
bore off the noble charming radiant lady
from Crich Comul sun of valour
from Oengus' hospitable seat.
- According as Gris looked on the bright lady
10] she perverted her mind month by month;
she deprived of modesty and of might
the goodly wife of Daire, by her wizardry.
- Daire steadfast and strong hurled
with his unerring battle-spear
15] a cast that brought the waters of Snuad over her,
over the fiery daughter of Richis.
- The death of Maistiu came without glorious effort
by Gris daughter of Richis;
the death of Gris, skilled in bloody arts,
20] came by the spear of Daire Derg fresh of face.
- Alas! that the company of the women are gone;
sad their death and their fatal encounter;
it brought mourning silently on the encamped host
when grief fell on the company of women.
- 25] The gentle Maer was daughter to Oengus;
she was Conall's pleasant twin;
the loss of his sisters, with their following, brought about
the end of his life in mortal woe.
- Here Oengus brought the form of a cross
30] to Maistiu of lovely radiance;
the maiden fashioned it thus as a mutual secret,
a potent secret of evil power.
- It was a pleasant wood, obscure, full of nuts,
the wild spot rich in mast and draughts of mead;
35] after the loss of its gracious princes
their folk were found in sorrow.
- Daire Derg, who made red rain,
king of Nas strong in sanctity, won to wife,
after feats of prowess and force,
Maistiu daughter of Oengus.
- 5] Griss of the binding spell came
from Boand, famed for beauty of women,
(a devil's dam was she, without fair dealing)
to exact a demand from Maistiu.
- Maistiu gained not what she sought
10] for Griss of tuneful Leth Cuinn;
the wife of the tall youth from the plain
gained not the lump of gold she demanded.
Roiriu in Ui Muiredaig
- There is in truth a hiding-place above ground,
where lies a generous hero with his wedded wife;
the two Roirius, beautiful and slender,
in the red Mound of Roiriu.
- 5] Roiriu was son of stout Senan,
son of Setna and son of Branan;
he was the generous hero whose is the grave
whose royal sepulchre was Roiriu from of yore.
- There famous Roiriu was buried,
10] daughter of Ronan of kingly temper,
their loss was early and sudden;
the hiding-place where they lie was never found.
Roiriu in Ui Failge
- Not luckily came from a strong land
Roiriu mac Setna, the long-headed,
from Niall's country, meeting-place of waters;
he met the flight of a soldier's keen spear.
- 5] When the warriors met,
the sons of Echaid and the martial Lagin,
they pierced white-skinned troops
with intrepid lances.
- Roiriu perished fierce onset
10] by the hands of the Feine, at the first encounter,
so that he was left without comeliness
on his enterprise not luckily he came.
- Mugna, my sister's son of the glorious wood,
God fashioned it long ago,
a tree blest with various virtues,
with three choice fruits.
- 5] The acorn, and the dark narrow nut,
and the apple it was a goodly wilding
the King sent by rule
on it thrice a year.
- The Tree of Mugna, great was the trunk,
10] thirty cubits its girth,
conspicuous in sight of all the place where it stood,
three hundred cubits it is in height.
- Then was the bright plant laid low,
when a blast broke Tortu's Bole;
15] He makes transient every combat,
like the long-lived Tree of ancient Mugna.
- Eo Mugna, great was the fair tree,
high its top above the rest;
thirty cubits it was no trifle
that was the measure of its girth.
- 5] Three hundred cubits was the height of the blameless tree,
its shadow stretched a thousand cubits:
in secrecy it remained in the north and east
till the time of Conn of the Hundred Fights.
- A hundred score of warriors no empty tale
10] along with ten hundred and forty
would that tree shelter it was a fierce struggle
till it was overthrown by the poets.
Eo Rossa, Eo Mugna, etc.
- How fell the Bough of Da Thí?
it sheltered the strength of many a gentle hireling:
an ash, the tree of the nimble hosts,
its top bore no lasting yield.
- 5] The Ash in Tortu take count thereof!
the Ash of populous Usnech.
their boughs fell it was not amiss
in the time of the sons of AEd Slane.
- The Oak of Mugna, it was a joyous treasure;
10] nine hundred bushels was its bountiful yield:
the beautiful oak tree fell,
across Mag Ailbe of the cruel combats.
- The Bole of Ross, a comely yew
with abundance of broad timber,
15] the tree without hollow or flaw,
the stately bole, how did it fall?
- I have heard of a chase, with series of exploits
free from oblivion and obscurity;
he it was that was slain, the hunter Glass,
grandson of the brigand Dond Des.
- 5] Alas for the venture they went on there,
the pack of Conaire of Cualu!
manfully they fought their fights,
the enchanted swine of wizardry.
- A sorry triumph by which fell the son of Dond Des,
10] leaving no prosperous seed among chieftains;
the wild boars carried him mangled
to Bri Leith he uttered no boast.
- The heroes of that hunt were in this shape
they were the red swine of Dreibrend:
15] they died in this combat without victory
after this encounter, as I have heard.
Ath Fadat I
- Liath alas! unites you not:
it will be no draught of buttermilk!
your mother shall not bear a son
from this time forth:
- 5] Fadat from Loch Lurgan
(the author declares to you)
shall fall by a broad-headed spear
before the Leinstermen in battle.
- Doe shall come no healing draught!
10] with mantle and with brooch,
with a fiery straight weapon
to win a ruthless victory:
- Caichni the steadfast shall come
with a warlike ancient weapon;
15] she will overcome your troops;
'tis she will gain the day.
- This is the truth of it which thou knowest not,
there never touches me fear
of my wounding or mangling
20] in the stern encounter of swords:
- Ye shall fall by my sling-stone,
and your brother shall fall;
word will reach your mother
that 'tis I shall gain the day.
25] Woe for thy fate, thou caitiff!
the Gaels shall not stop us;
'tis thine own errant sword
shall cut off thine head:
Doe of the dun mantles shall come to thee,
30] and Caichni of equal strength,
and Fadat, firm-set hero;
it will be a conflict with three strong ones.
- Tis I am the champion worth a hundred
from a vast valorous host;
35] I am the dragon of numerous peoples;
in sooth 'tis my birthright:
- I have fought many a battle;
ye shall not resist me for a moment;
by me has your father fallen;
40] his son shall fall, alas!
Ath Fadat II
- Liath Lurgan, pilot of the sharp weapon,
lived here from hill to hill,
a mighty man from Offaly of the feasts;
no ten men were a match for him.
- 5] The three daughters of the hero (no weakling he!)
Doe, Caichni, and Fadat,
suffered degradation of shape,
because their lord forsook them.
- They came to Lind na Tarb
10] these three damsels (harsh is the tale)
and they saw a man's male features
beneath them a lasting blemish!
- Fadat turned her about (lasting the crime!)
to Ath Fadat to drown herself;
15] Doe went (sad the way!)
to Lind Doe to her final death.
- Caichni, Sinchell cured her whole,
soundly and honourably;
for her healing this was the payment,
20] the meadow-land she had from Liath of Lurgan.
- Dear to me is bright Gabran,
who made his way hither on the trail of Lurgu:
no quarry ever escaped him over the heather
except a grey one-eyed pig.
- 5] He went on its track (bright spot),
to the chilly territory of Almu,
till it made a rush underground,
the loathly long-lived pig.
- He turned homeward after great fatigue,
10] after being a while under ground,
in his rush swift as flame
his heart burst like a nut for ever.
- There was he buried underground,
at the Pass high in renown,
15] which is called after valiant Gabran,
is he not dear to the red-weaponed host?
- A band of bondmen followed Gabran's track,
with a frenzied chant in their mouths;
on the trail of Lurgu (fulness of valour)
20] he was slain in the bog of Almu.11
Sliab Mairge I
- Fierce as to prowess of spears was the lady,
daughter of Rotmu son of Tacca,
though she went the way of mortality
because of the death of Etar and Bethe.
- 5] In Sliab Mairge she died,
the lady Marg, because of the death of Bethe,
on this mountain with no seemly fertility12,
so that from her it is named.
- In the tale which is told here,
10] according as every calamity is related,
Marg of the bold deed died;
to this lady it was a cruel trouble.
Sliab Mairge II
- Margg, son of Giusca, fair of form,
son of Lodan Liath from Luachair,
came, in spite of fasting from food,
to the house of Eochu Muniste.
- 5] The noble steward came
from the powerful king of the hundred ears
to demand tribute afar
to the house of the valiant king of the Galian.
- This was the tax that was expected of him,
10] fifty oxen, excellent cattle;
hurtful to the chieftain's guest was
his portion of meat on that same spot.
- As the champion's drink did not arrive
along with the warrior's food,
15] thirst killed him thereafter by its violence,
over against old Sliab Mairge.
- There his parting from his people came to pass,
when he was slain at Belach Edind,
when great Marg met his death
20] among the host of the high territories.
- The story of Ard Lemnacht the perfect
is known to me for noble worshipful heroism:
the means whereby a device was found
for slaying the tribe of the Fidga.
- 5] Crimthand Sciath-bel, whose beauty shone,
was king over the stock of the Galian;
the tribes of the Fidga and Fochmand
were to him as pointed tools.
- No mischance dared touch them at all,
10] no clang of arms in conflict could hurt them;
whomsoever they wounded lasting was the injury
he tasted neither food in his life-time.
- Every man of them was match for hundreds;
overwhelming was their stature and their numbers;
15] they settled in their lands there eastward,
till the Clann Cruthnig destroyed them.
- Solen, Ulfa, noble Nechtan,
Oengus, Lethend, and Drostan,
the six sons of Gelon, no niggards of deeds,
20] they were found a stout support to Crimthand.
- Then said Drostan the druid
to the followers of Crimthann of the new spear:
"If ye desire their sudden destruction,
the way to subdue them is to behead them:"
- 25] "Whomsoever the Fidga men shall hit,
let him be plunged in a pool of white milk:
from the strife of dreadful numerous weapons
he shall arise smooth and sound of wounds."
- There were brought a hundred and fifty tender kine
30] to one spot and to one hill;
their milk was drawn without price paid
on the cold hill of Ard Lemnacht.
- There is found in every noble division of the people
land of the Fidga and the Fochmaind,
35] on account of the rout of the lordly goodly men,
whence the tale is a lofty delight to hear.
- King of loughs is this lough in the south,
Loch Garman of the famous poets,
wide and winding haven of the ships,
gathering-place of the buoyant boats.
- 5] A place that is a king's demesne,
where sea and mainland meet,
a stronghold, after the ejection of idols,
merrily was spread its story.
- Which of them was earlier in date,
10] let it be asked of the learned of Erin
the lough of the hosts wont to frequent it on the east,
or the cold river that ran down to it?
- 'Tis long between one and the other,
if the truth be well tried,
15] from the outburst of the stainless stream
to the outburst of the limpid lough.
- The river first arose
I am versed in their fortunes
the broad pure placid lake was not
20] till long after the river.
- In the time of Cathair of the bitter battles
came the outburst of pure cold Loch Garman:
in the time of the unblenching Fir Bolg
came the outburst here of ancient Slane.
- 25] Three divisions there were among the Fir Bolg;
to mention them is not out of place;
they conquered Erin at intervals by force,
from three river-mouths.
- One-third of them is numbered there
30] at populous Inber Domnand;
the second third, without feebleness,
at warlike Inber Dubglaise.
- The last third that came hither
came to Inber Slane of the armies,
35] led by Slane, whose repute would not be scanty,
from whom the river has its name.
- It is there they came to land,
the expedition of the Fir Bolg, smooth of speech
to Port Coelrenna conceal it not!
40] for that was its name at that time.
- It is there the hosts arrived,
at Port Coelrenna of the carouse:
from the oars they brought thither,
from them is Ramand named.
- 45] The story of the name of the brimming lough,
if we give an account of it,
in the narration though great the undertaking
the profit lies in the exposition.
- The Feast of Temair every third year,
50] for implementing of laws and ordinances,
which were made firmly at that time
by the noble kings of Erin.
- Cathair of the many kinsmen held
the right pleasant feast of the kings of Temair;
55] to keep the feast came the better cheer!
the men of Erin to the same spot.
- Three days before Samain, a standing custom,
three days after it, it was a good custom,
the gathering spent, and vast the blaze before them,
60] carousing ever the length of the week.
- No theft, no manslaying,
among them at this season;
no play of weapons nor wounds,
no brooding over enmity.
- 65] Whoever should do any of these things
was a culprit fated to evil doom;
money in atonement would not be accepted from him,
but his life was required straightway.
- There was a champion there in the house
70] at Cathair's back (we conceal it not):
Garman, son of Boimm Licce
of the people of dappled Berba,
- When it came to pass there in the house,
while the great host was in drink,
75] that he stole the queen's golden coronet;
it was no right deed for a friend to do.
- He makes off with the golden coronet
from Temair of the mighty host;
till he reached narrow Inber Slane
80] in the east of the southern part of Erin.
- After him, from the north, comes
the household of Cathair of the pointed spears;
they overtake him there by the well
that was at the river's mouth.
- 85] When they took fierce Garman,
the spring burst forth strong and high,
from the rock to the lovely sea;
since then it is a lough, green and broad.
- Garman is drowned in the brimming lough;
90] the learned are continually making mention of it,
haven of knives and bright shields;
from him the name Lough Garman clave to it.
- That is the right and true story
of the lough so bright and broad,
95] and of the river, lovely their splendour!
whereby tarries every high king.
- Once on a time, clear-souled Cathair was
in the prosperous prime of his life,
when there appeared to him a vision that became known,
100] which threw the host of Erin into deep distress.
- The daughter of a goodly landowner, lord of hundreds,
radiant of form, perfect in beauty,
appeared (it was no sin)
to the hero in his sleep.
- 105] Every fair hue man can see,
blue, dappled, yellow,
and purple the sight was pleasant
were in the raiment the lady wore.
- In this wise was the white woman,
110] great with child, and her womb ever full,
to the end of eight hundred good years,
though strange it be to relate:
- Till she bore a son, brave was his bulk,
who brought many a champion to sudden death;
115] the day he was born (this was illusion)
the son was stronger than his mother.
- The mother, great above women,
attempts to go from him, so as to avoid him;
she found no way (they join strife)
120] but through the midst of her great son.
- A beautiful hill above the comely head
of the woman and her son together;
clear to view from its summit the enduring earth;
not often was it without a great host.
- 125] A tree of gold on the hill free from battle,
its crown reached the cloudy welkin;
thence the music of the men of the world
was heard from the tree's crown.
- Whenever the violent wind would beat
130] on the soft fresh foliage of the tree
there would be vast plenty, O sir!
of its fruits on the soil of earth.
- Every fruit the hosts would choose,
from east, from south, and from north,
135] like the flood-tide of the lazy sea,
would come from the top of that one tree.
- This was the vision of the warrior of the combat,
round whom the Leinstermen made rejoicing,
Cathair, son of fair Fedilmid,
40] the high king of Erin from Alend.
- Thereupon the noble prince awakes
from his slumber long and deep,
the head of the people of Leinster generally,
to relate his dream.
- 145] There is called to him the well-attended druid,
high in favour was he with the king,
that he might solve for him, even with the edge [of his wit],
all the riddles the king had seen.
- "I will solve them," said the keen druid,
150] "if I have a reward that shall be fully sufficient,"
with honour from thee all thy days as well,"
said Bri, son of Bairchid.
- Firm covenants are given to him
for receiving reward every day
155] and for honour there in his house
and for wealth, as he demanded.
- Thereafter the druid gives them
the interpretation of the vision faithfully:
according as he gave of yore the famous interpretation
160] it is fulfilled in later times, though long after.
- "This is the young woman, mighty and tall,
thou sawest, O fiercest king!
the river that is in thy land yonder
whose abiding name is Slane."
- 165] "These are the colours thou speakest of
in the young woman's raiment,
the men of every new art under heaven,
without sameness in their metres13."
- "This is the landowner lord of hundreds, be sure,
170] who was father to the fair woman,
the earth," said the druid of his own accord,
"through which every kind yields a hundred-fold."
- "This is the son who was in her womb
eight hundred years, as I pledge my word,
175] a lough that shall be born from her on green sward,
and shall spread abroad in thy time."
- "The day he shall be born with his shouting
he shall drown the brimming river:
everyone shall be drinking of her along her margin,
180] but great though she be, he shall be greater."
- "This is the great hill, greater than any eminence,
which thou sawest above their heads
thine own might over everyone, good luck to it!
- 185] "This is the storm-tossed tree of gold,
branching, wide, full of fruit,
thyself in thy kingship over tuneful Banba,
and over every dwelling in Erin."
- "This is the stately music
190] that was in the crown of the enduring tree
thy noble eloquence, lovelier thereby,
when appeasing a multitude."
- "This is the wind, steady without harshness,
that shook down the fruits,
195] thy generosity, O white-toothed king, sung in lays,
when dividing kine among the comely hosts."
- "To thee pertains the peculiar import
of the vision on every chief hill;
thou shalt not believe the Faith in thy life-time
200] till thou art sole king over Erin."
- Eochaid the Learned, to whom it was easy,
found legendary lore
for Lough Garman yonder in his country,
while kindling the light of verse for a great king.
- 205] I crave a boon for myself from God,
that good may be the fortune of my soul
(may no sin in the flesh besmirch it)
with Him who had no father's kin.
- Hither came
strangers from afar
with a mighty warrior-band,
Cicul son of Goll,
5] son of strong Tuathmar,
from Sliab Amor.
- This was the number
of the king's following
strewn in rout,
10] three hundred men
with spear shafts,
each on a single leg.
- With the king went
his gentle mother
15] an invader of strength,
the burden of song,
swift as a lion.
- He brought with him
20] his wife to the feast
on the right of the host,
Fuata Be Fail:
she advanced into the conflict
into the encounter of vengeance.
- 25] Thus went she
over the sea-pregnant,
to the noble harbour
of famous Dachsech,
till her womb bore:
30] her only daughter.
- Blemished her offspring,
the blind misshapen daughter
feeble of health;
Dachaech was her name
35] at all times and places,
designation of suffering.
- As she reached the ground
this was the strife,
with peril, not of bloodshed,
40] she ran betimes,
she leapt into the lough
to drown herself quite.
- Hence is given,
from the woman's name,
45] this title
unto Loch Dachaech;
an ill occasion had
this noble nomenclature.
- This was her motive,
50] to conquer in battle
against the Cland Miled;
weary was the palm thereby,
the rod was measured
upon the flesh of royal men.
- 55] Every man there was of them,
every woman of might,
they came not back:
by my conscience since then!
'twas a luckless journey
60] whereon they came.
- There is here a limb from the body of a king:
over the streaming currents the sea bore him
towards the noble love, long-limbed, winsome,
of hundred-wounding Cithang's only son.
- 5] From Inis Aine of the heroes
Rot ever-fierce, won his goal,
the chieftain renowned in every land:
he was a gentle border-champion.
- By land and massive sea
10] fared the faultless prince's son;
his left hand to the pure Ictian Sea
his right to the country of enduring Britons.
- And there he heard the sound,
it was a lure of baleful might,
15] the chant of the mermaids of the sea
over the pure-sided waves.
- The loveliness of the sea-maids equalled any wealth
fairer than any human shape were
their bodies above the waves of the tide,
20] with their tresses yellow as gold.
- The hosts of the world would fall asleep
listening to their voice and their clear notes;
Rot would not give up for woman's troth
union with their bodies, with their pleasant bosoms.
- 25] As much of them as was under water
it was a secret with no kindly power
was big as a broad bright hill
of shell-fish and heaps of weed.
- The son of Cithaing gave strong fervent love:
30] no love was got in return;
Rot found, without persistence in beseeching them,
the evil fate that was the custom of the women-folk.
- Choked and killed was Rot
and his noble body overcome,
35] until he would have been thankful, as ye may guess,
to be dead and torn piecemeal.
- There came from the east across the narrow sea,
till it found a level shore of Erin,
a thigh-bone, from the sole upward, as thou mayest guess,
40] so that here rests his noble limb.
- Therefore to be told of in every land
is Port Lairge of the broad shields;
men that are swift in the field if there be strife,
it is likely that they are generous folk.
- I have heard of a brave man, leader of troops,
whose name was Raigne the Roman,
how he came with desired fame swiftly
into the powerful territory of Narbonensis.
- 5] Three tasks they put on Raigne,
the populace of Gaul splendid and vast:
to pile clay on wains,
to level a wood with tangled roots,
- To spread the mighty inlet of the sea
10] that the pure impetuous Ligir visiteth,
so that there should be a kind of island
by the stately side of Torinis.
- Raigne of the noble spade completed the tasks
(he was free from poverty and misadventure,
15] a man whom want did not visit )
in just three full days.
- The warrior escaped from them,
with his excellences ever-manifest,
that he might not stay there under strict bondage;
20] he took with him hatchet, bill-hook, and spade.
- He fared to the seat of Fotla
without warning, without kingly proclamation;
he settled, the noble fiery scion,
in cheerful Imlech Mecconn.
- 25] The keen commanding prince felled
The conspicuous royal-branching forest:
so it is called the Plain of Raigne the champion,
rich in prosperity and in noble qualities.
- The son of Ugaine, with hostages unnumbered,
30] Raigne the poetic, the royal-generous,
held the populous plain a while;
I have heard that he was a brave man.
Mag Femin, Mag Fera, Mag Fea
- Femen and fair-haired Fera,
eager soldiers of the great strongholds,
and Fea, famed for timber-havoc in Inis Fail,
sons of Inogach son of Dachar,
- 5] With warlike bold Clann Miled
they pushed on to verdurous Banba;
the tools of their hereditary calling
were bill-hook and axe and heavy spade.
- The axe a-lopping in stout style
10] and the bill-hook
were their tools, noble yet not proud,
and the spade hard a-digging.
- They cleared three plains, after many a spell;
through their piety they gained their titles:
15] Mag Fea, no
for a girl,
Mag Fera and Mag Femin.
- Each in turn would make,
without delay, without regret,
without idle desire that lured him away,
20] exchange of tools and weapons.
- Fea, wife of Neit son of Indui,
did not desert Mag Fea, though she was silent,
the fair-haired woman, she was a love beloved-
the right-generous daughter of Elcmaire.
- 25] I have heard of the two oxen of Dil,
radiant of beauty, conspicuous;
Fe and Men are they called,
whence Mag Femin gets its name.
Mag Femin II
Femen, though it be deserted to-day
there was one whose dwelling it was:
For him were shed showers of tears
after Lugaid, son of Oengus.
5] Why was lamentation meet for the land
on account of that king more than any king?
Because he it is that is the best king
in guarding his honour.
What great deed of honour did he do
10] O son of the king from Tibre?
The driving of the foreigners over sea,
and a victory over the line of Irial Glunmar.
Is there another deed that he did
before he gained martial prowess?
15] The subduing of Banba (fame for a king's son),
in the fight about the wild beast.
The battle at Luchut he fought
against Leth Cuind, against Connacht:
The northern part of Munster, after its partition,
20] is the southern part of his territory.
The carn that is at faultless Lotan,
rememberest thou, O Comgan?
A stone for each man that came into the battle
along with active Lugaid.
25] The king's carn was it known what king it is
to whom it belongs best his brave deed!
A king who seized Munster great exploit
Lugaid Red-hand of the long locks.
A raid was made to Munster
30] so that Lugaid made reprisals:
His ships were on the sea:
he was fond of racing over Femen-mag.
Seven kings held sway over Munster
between Ailill and Lugaid.
35] No king of them was the flower of kings:
nobler to my mind was Lugaid in Femen.
Thirty victorious kings are counted
of the race of Corc together.
40] strangers shall inhabit Mag Femin.
Forget not the king with whom thou art,
and forget not his wife!
May they sit in heaven hereafter,
Mor and Fingen of Femen.
45] Best of the women of Inis Fail
is Mor daughter of Aed Bennan.
Better is Fingen than any hero
that drives about Femen.
Wherever we have gone about till now
50] through the country of bright-swarded Banba,
We have not found a plain and a man
like Fingen and Femen.
The oxen of Dil appeared
on the plain by Loch Silend.
55] These are their names, Fe and Men:
from them is Femen called.
Thou art Mac da Cherda, in the flesh,
and I am Cumine.
This shall be our reward for the two of us heaven!
60] and Femen shall be deserted.
Tond Clidna I
- Clidna Cendfind, lasting her exploit,
at this wave came her death;
cause for her mother to die
was the matter whence arose the ancient name.
- 5] When the gathering was held yonder;
by the people of the Land of Promise,
'twas he carried off the woman by deceit
Ciaban son of Eochu Imderg.
- The queen of the gathering yonder in sooth,
10] the maiden whose name was Clidna,
Ciaban the curly-haired bore with him,
over the wide ship-ridden sea.
- He left her on the wave,
he went from her on a giddy venture,
15] to seek a chase, fair deed!
he went forward under the tangled wood.
- The wave came after he was gone:
to Ciaban it was no lucky sound:
a great event, we grieved thereat
20] was the drowning of Clidna Cendfind.
- The Wave of Dun Teite of the chiefs,
that was its name before in your land,
till there was drowned in the wave in sooth
a woman whose name was Clidna.
- 25] The grave of Teite and her strand are northward;
she was slain amid her great host:
the grave of Clidna and her strand are southward,
south-east of Dorn Buide's Mound.
- The locks of Dorn Buide are wetted
30] in the waves of the mighty flood:
though it cause displeasure,
it is Clidna that it drowns.
- Ildathach and his two sons
were drowned all three on their wooing:
35] woe to them that stuck to the ship,
that protected them not against a single wave!
- Fifty ships went over sea,
the folk of the household of Manannan;
That was no band without spears:
40] they were drowned in the waves of Clidna.
Tond Chlidna II
- Genann son of Tren, pleasant ...!
he was chief of this land;
since he got the kingly seat under him,
the fairest of his children was Clidna.
- 5] Vigorous the dash, spirited the onset,
wherewith came the curly-haired Ciaban,
when he reached cheerful Mag Mell
over the fierce concourse of ocean.
- After coming to the land, with brave deeds in plenty,
10] it is there he uttered
thrice fifty cries, that fill a verse14,
for Clidna daughter of Genann.
- Thrice fifty tribes are there to the province;
a hostage for every tribe in Genann's hands;
15] hither comes a daughter of every king,
to tend the tresses of the high-king's daughter.
- "In the name of God, I will go thither,
I will bear off with me this maiden:
she it is that I have chosen, the faultless
20] Clidna Cendfind, radiant of skin."
- He stepped forward into his boat,
he leaves the land of strong keeps,
so that thereafter it was called Sid nEna;
the maidens lamented.
- 25] The lords and the folk of the plain
were left behind lamenting;
they filled the tract by the shore
to arrest the rape.
- Said Genann fierce his hate:
30] "who seizes the pledge?"
said he across the ship-ridden sea,
they should carry off curly-haired Ciaban!
- Said Genann, over the host:
"'Tis well, O Clidna, with cheeks aflame!
35] some time shall come thy day
in such wise as I shall declare.
- "Keep watch for the day of my death!
I tell thee this shall be my message!
there shall come a wave whose crest shall sparkle,
40] and shall whelm thy home in thine island."
- So thereupon woe for the tryst!
Clidna went her way with Ciaban;
they hoisted sail unstable the craft
round Erin from the south-west.
- 45] Roar of the rude wind
and storm of the sea
carried them on the sand a mound of strength
in the estuary of Traig Tellat.
- Hail to chaste Clidna,
50] since she went to the tryst with death,
at the place where she changed hue,
so that her name is known over Erin.
- Not silent to-night the strand,
if the Wave of Clidna have arisen:
55] it striketh a blow against resounding Banba
after the woe of Genann's daughter.
Carn Hui Neit
- The grave of Bress, gifted with excellences,
master of love-spells,
the son of comely Elatha,
the brave ancestor of our gathering,
- 5] The brave son of Neit, son of Indui,
who was son of Allda, splendid in bounty,
son of Tat, son of Taburn, high in courage,
high in fame,
- Son of Enda, son of Baa,
10] who went rowing on his voyages,
son of Ibad the comely,
who was the noble son of Bethach,
- Son of Iarbonel the seer,
with strife of dreadful lance.
15] son of Nemed, armed with weapons,
who came in swift ships.
- This was their alliance
it was no counsel of weariness
between the Tuatha De for certain
20] and the powerful Cland Nemid.
- Bress, a kindly friend was he,
noble he was and fortunate,
ornament of the host, with visage never woeful,
of the Tuath De he was the flower.
- 25] The drink of a hundred for each roof-tree
was brought to the chieftain without fail,
of the milk of dun-hued kine:
he suffered from that fare.
- In the reign of Nechtan bass-chain,
30] of dear fame, of enduring purpose,
at the cost of the King of the two Munsters,
occurred the cause of the enduring name.
- The kine of every townland in Munster
lasting harm! by Nechtan's orders
35] were singed, over ferns,
till they were black of hue.
- A mess of ashes was smeared
by the noted men of cunning
on the kine famed for fatness
- They fashioned stout kine of wood
that whole host noble and slender:
Lug, who was dutiful on all occasions,
chose them and brought them together.
- 45] Pails in their forks were set
with cheerful nimbleness;
red stuff, with no bright shining fatness,
that is the milk that filled them.
- Three hundred, that was their number
50] on the road to that gathering:
at this contest, through his cheating illusion,
there was not a cow of these kine alive.
- Bress, hot of valour, came
to the middle of the field to judge them:
55] thereby, without prosperous issue,
he perished and died.
- From the drove were measured
three hundred measures, bitter-harsh,
for the spear-attended king to drink:
60] it was a preparation of ill-presage.
- Bress had a vow not to refuse
any feat that was offered him:
he drank it off without flinching:
I know not what it brings.
- 65] At the Carn of radiant Ua Neit
it killed the stern scion,
when he had drunk without dread
a draught of the dark ruddy liquor.
- By reason of this unfair demand, without due observance
70] since the failure of his vow,
without rightful and seemly honour
the grave of Bress covers him.
- Here a man of the fairies made music,
Cliach of the harp sweet sounding:
he met a horror, amid the charm of his noble chant,
at his timely tryst with Conchend.
- 5] He was a year, among throngs of chiefs,
without food and without sleep:
while the Fairy host was making music,
the grief of woman's might was urging him.
- Bodb, powerful prince, would not allow
10] Cliach to approach the fairy hill of the men of Femen;
with inquiry he divined the design,
the wooing, the solicitation.
- The earth opened, with plenty of delights,
before the hosts in endless durance:
15] more wonderful than deeds of might, a boast of journeys,
ease among the indolent fairies.
- At the spot where he died of terror,
Cliach sang sweet melody;
there seized him there suddenly, not unprotected,
20] the loathly dragon that dwells in this place.
- Loch Bel Dragon fierceness of exploits,
without mistake and without obscurity
a great and mighty sea in the east,
where Cliach was, in this place made he music.
- Cend Febrat, a beautiful mountain it is,
enduring home of the royal men;
I see it is a home right hospitable
since the days of the royal warriors, noble of form.
- 5] I came on a day in early morning
over Cend Febrat of the cool flowers,
(no occasion to cause forgetfulness of song)
over Cend Febrat of the verdant tresses.
- The sound of the wind plunged me into slumber,
10] sleeping with vacant mind,
amid the hands of warriors;
it was a meeting with clarity of wisdom.
- As I slept (pleasant the manner)
therein I met with the theme of my song:
15] there was shown me truly and in full
every fairy-mound that is at Cend Febrat.
- I saw thereafter the strong keep,
wherein is battle-force unfailing:
on hazel-set Mullach Cuillen,
20] wherein abides the stern-smiting thickset hero.
- I met one that described to me
the situation of the graves in full
in the well-remembered stronghold,
set in due order on Cend Febrat.
- 25] The grave of Cain son of Derg, long-haired
and strong, from whom is named Sliab Cain of the victory,
appeared to be on my right hand;
it was a martial theme neglected by poets.
- There I saw a lonely grave,
30] the mound of Erc from Irluachair;
on the northern side of the slope
he abides in a bed full hard.
- The grave of Garban son of keen Dedad,
the spot where he was buried on the hill-side;
35] duly placed is its splendour where it is, to the east,
not far from the tomb of Dubthach's wife.
- The grave of Dubthach himself was known
on the southern side of the slope:
on the hill, this side of the tomb,
40] is the grave where lies Lugaid Laigde.
- The tombs of the three women
to wit, the wife of Daire, well-remembered,
and Eithne, and Maer, and Mugain
are side by side on the great hill.
- 45] East of them comes on the mount
the grave of Dodera in his brown
cloak, after he was foully slain for ever:
it is not far from Cend Febrat.
- The yew famed for beauty,
50] made without hollow, without withering,
is above the bed of the warrior Lugaid
by Dubthach's keep to the north-east.
- The well to which the name clave,
at twice famous Cend Febrat,
55] on it, as I have heard,
rest virtues and solemn spells.
- Whoever gets it on his right hand
shall remain free from disease, free from spell,
the Son of God has drawn him close to Himself,
60] so that he dwells with Him forever.
- Whoever gets it on his left hand,
the King of the World of Life hath ordained
this is his sudden doom before his departure,
quick decay, or shortening of his days.
- 65] Since the Tuatha De seized
the soil of Fotla, noble in beauty,
above the ranks of the noble druids by far
is the branch at Cend Febrat.
- The Head of Febrat, the Head of Currech,
70] and the Head of stern-smiting Claire,
and the Head of Aife his wife
which ancient speech of sages touches upon.
- By the son of Fland of Loch Slemain
their doings are not unremembered:
75] there remain here for a while, before departing,
four memorials of the ancient heads.
- Currech of Life, with his splendour,
few kings there are to whom he submitted:
his head was taken from him afar to
the mountain above Bodamair.
- 5] Currech of Life, with numbers of hosts,
whom the grief for a fair enemy gathered:
a single hero to cut off the doomed man
in early morning it was full wondrous!
- "I am Find, I am a withe well-proved,
10] with a powerful battalion of dripping edges:
I cut off and brought to proud Bodamair
the head of shaven Currech with his hair."
- The effort
to him it was the sound of a dishonouring blow
15] it was the same womb that bore
Fothad and slender Currech.
- The daughter of Mac Niad the mighty,
Teite, whom chieftains used to guard,
wife of the son of Regamain, spear-armed,
20] by the hand of Finn her blood was spilt.
- By this encounter fell Teite,
who excelled every slant-smiting stay of battle,
and the son of violent Regamain
and slender Currech fell.
- The Luachair!
if I remember aright, O boy,
it was a fair wide level plain,
with many a raid and onset.
- 5] The Luachair!
it was a bright choice teeming home;
at the time when it changed its seeming
it was fairer than the Land of Promise.
- The Luachair!
10] it was a home of hero and bride;
it was a flowery plain, set with thorn,
till the date of the sons of Ugaine.
- The Luachair!
many a spear was in its hostel;
15] in the time of Dedad son of Sen,
its clover-flowers were beneath their feet.
- It was comely for the children of Dedad,
when their home was at Temair;
comely was Temair round their house
20] in the time of Dedad son of Sen.
- There was given to the daughter of fierce Lugaid,
for her journey from the land beneath the wave,
every holding she chose for live-stock,
for advancing on the journey.
- 25] Eremon's wife was she;
it is she that dwelt at Temair Breg,
and all that was here:
from her it is called Temair Luachra.
- The night Conn was born
30] great Erin was glad to welcome him;
on that night arose
the Suir, the Nore, and the Barrow.
- The night Conn was born
uprose every prince in his might;
35] in that night were made known lasting fame!
Tortan's bole, the yew of Ross.
- The night Conn was born
Erin was flooded at one blow;
'twas then Loch Riach arose
40] and Loch Lein above Luachair.
- I am Fintan; I am an aged man;
my date and my era have altered;
I came into noble Inis Fail
fourteen hours before the Flood.
- 45] When the Flood was spilt on earth
the Flood buried my coevals, not false the cry!
I abide in sooth at Dun Tulcha
in the north-west of Luachair.
- Miss, daughter of mighty Mairid
son of Cairid Red-Sword,
took a mountain as her own special portion
for ever over the genuine line of Dedad.
- 5] When the children of great, active Mairid
left the land of the son of Sen
(Echaid and Ri, royal the band,
first beginning of a host free from mischance)
- Coemgen, stern wound-scarred,
10] had to wife a noble woman chosen from the host,
Miss, who obtained, never to part from it,
the noble hill of Senach as her bride-gift.
- Fierce Senach, son of keen Dedad,
it is there he died, on the mountain:
15] there close covered by the sod is
his rath, with the wail for his defeat.
- Miss, the much-loved daughter of Mairid,
above the thickets of the troops, acquired
by covenant, with eagerness not slight,
20] the noble, lucky title of the mountain of Sen-Miss.
- The Well of Sen-Garman, with its chip of wood,
what is the old tale to tell of it?
and whence comes another name,
the bloodstained Field of Criblach?
- 5] Whence this Field is named,
and the Well of Sen-Garman,
I shall declare to you excellent feat!
the cause whence the names arise.
- Sen-Garman of the Mount of Mac Sin,
10] from Loch Lein out of Irluachair,
many roads the beldame traversed;
since she was not young she was skilled in many feats.
- She made a foray southward by the wave,
wherein she wrought the heaped slaughter of Crochdond:
15] a noble aftermath she reaped thereto,
the sack of Cathair Comfossaid.
- Thereafter she went onward to the north,
the fierce woman, furious, right grim:
she smote the lusty shielded man,
20] Gannan, in his home in Caisle.
- Onward she went joyous exploit!
to Mongfind, Find's fostermother,
and burnt the children, whereby she won fame,
at enduring Noid Dromma Bertach.
- 25] Onward she came without disguise;
she reached the mound of the men of Femen,
and slew Dub Roit of the rout
in his own home at Formael.
- Sen-Garman and her fortunate son
30] joined in ravage15:
there they made fair alliance
with gentle Criblach from Cruachan.
- Son to Criblach was Crimthann Cass:
he was no shirker in the mêlée:
35] as for his compeer, he was strong
in wisdom, was the son of Sen-Garman.
- The force of nine was in Criblach
where she mingled in the strife;
and the force of nine likewise,
40] with martial renown, in Sen-Garman.
- The two of them had the force of twice nine men,
(doings without concealment, without respite:)
the terror of four nines likewise,
this their united force possessed.
- 45] A surprise for Find was the declaration
of the bold four complete,
that in his time reaving undismayed
should be wrought by them in Erin.
- Thereupon Find himself pursues them
50] till they went from the land;
and they found no place of refuge
on plain, on sea, nor on firm land.
- Till on a day they found there
a spring of water, a cool stream,
55] just issuing from the earth,
though unfamiliar to Sen-Garman.
- Garman lays down her son
after fatigue and after fighting;
Slechtaire of the forays turns
60] toward the well for a space.
- He sets to cleansing the dwelling
stoutly, right boldly;
he flings from him out from its wall
the clay thereof and high-piled gravel.
- 65] Thereafter he came out again
and hid not his secret:
he found a shelter against the assault of the army of Find,
a great house under the dry earth.
- The bold four came
70] toward the ancient dwelling;
secretly they brought to their shelter
plenty of game and wild stock.
- They went on a day upon Luachair
though it was an infringement of utter seclusion:
75] they see coming down a road I know not
a young warrior whom they did not recognize.
- Ossin, he it was;
alas for the meeting, that it was not tardy!
they come to blows without parley:
80] they carry him with them to their chief abode.
- One day Ossin was in the house yonder;
in rigid bondage:
Crimthand Coel son of Criblach
gave him a noble spear-shaft to plane.
- 85] Ossin planed his shaft for him
shamefacedly and reluctantly;
he fitted the bright spear without difficulty
as Crimthand directed.
- Ossin made covertly
90] a ball of the shavings of the spear-shaft:
he cast it from him from his finger-tips
out on the water of the spring.
- On a time Find was at the ford
at close of day in the twilight;
95] and he saw the shavings coming towards him
down the bosom of pure, bright Fele.
- He caught it in his hand famous act!
his spirit was strengthened within him:
"Ossin is the maker!" saith each man,
100] "whatever the spot whence it was thrown."
- All the warriors went forth
up the river, to its source:
they see a silent hole in the ground,
the place where was Sen-Garman's home.
- 105] They take their spears to them;
they cast aside their cloaks;
they set to digging up the earth,
till Sen-Garman saw them.
- Criblach got away from them
110] in spite of the hundred armed warriors:
the noble Find slew her apart
in the west at Airer Criblaige.
- Slechtaire fled a short way
by another road wandering through the land:
115] he went from them as the wind might go,
the vigorous lion, wise and proud.
- Find went (it was a famous exploit)
after the son of Sen-Garman:
the king of the Fianna far famed held him in pledge
120] in the west, at Berre of the blows.
- Crimthand advanced through the warriors
and hard was his path:
Find caught him treacherously apart,
Crimthand Coel son of Criblach.
- 125] Sen-Garman he fetched from underground,
(it was no sure path) after fresh toil:
he set her head in the noose of a gad;
her body is put in the well.
- Currech left not, it is heard,
130] a son who should increase the strong brood,
except the messenger unprosperous,
Slechtaire son of Sen-Garman.
- This is the authentic legend
and these were the doings
of the crew who fared on the foray,
135] who bound Ossin under the spring.
- Blathnat the daughter of Mind wrought
the slaying above Airget-Glend:
a dreadful deed for a wife, the betrayal of her husband,
for it was against him that she devised it.
- 5] Alas for the fatal encounter
of Blathnat and Fercertne alike!
the tomb of both is
at the Point of strong Cend Bera.
- Ferbrecach and Senfiacail
10] were charioteers to the chieftains;
Fergaire came from Fraechmag afar,
many a hero they slew.
- On a morning the Hound of the Smith
was on the strong rampart of Dun Delga
keeping cold watch for combat,
to pursue hosts on the march.
- 5] And he saw the cold cliff-bound sea
covered with a monstrous marvellous host
the man of devices paid no heed
in flocks, in great droves.
- They filled the sea-plain with their gathering
10] the bright-winged enormous host:
they sang a joyless strain
on their ceaseless rapid course.
- It was a world of grief to hear
their calling, and their hoarse cries:
15] full loathly and uncomely
was the sight of their black forms.
- Thrice three fifties in the flock;
full plain to see was their multitude:
black as long-lived scaldcrow
20] the cowl of each dusky bird.
- Gross their bodies and their legs:
they paddled the sea with their feet:
long as a sail on the thwarts
were the wings of each bird, past dispute.
- 25] Handbreadths thrice seven displays
the beak of each cruel bird:
seven cubits of the forearm I counted
in the girth of their necks.
- Against them turned fierce valour!
30] the Hound of battles and encounters:
the fiery hero slew them with his sling,
with frenzy and fury.
- Thereupon he slew them all entirely,
the evil formidable fowls,
35] across every inlet, with fulness of fame,
to the last surviving raven.
- He severed its neck from its shoulders;
he bathed his hands in its blood;
the cunning hero wove each mystic sign;
40] he laid the bill on the ancient rock.
- Hence is it called the Raven's Bill,
(every secret meaning is seen by reference to an exploit)
from the deed of the Hound that slept not
(long the measure) any early morning.
- There is due to the water of Loch Lein
a greeting from afar,
as it is free from sorrow beyond all,
in beauty and endless glory.
- 5] There was a time when it was a waste, a place of graves,
with many a generous chieftain,
though it be now a hallowed water, with fullness of fame,
over the domain of Fathlind son of Aed.
- Since the lake of the fair blameless host
10] spread over the entire domain
of Fathlind son of Aed Daman,
a lay is due to it from every man.
- I have heard of Len with hammers in plenty,
as being under the marge of its blooming bank,
15] where he shaped by no feeble forceless work
the shining vessels of Fand daughter of Flidais.
- At Sid Buidb he was a wright without reproach,
Len Linfiaclach son of Bolgach:
Bolgach son of Bannach fair fame
20] was son of Glammach son of Gomer.
- Were it chariot or helmet of gold,
were it cup or well-made instrument of music,
justly Len won good fame therefrom,
it was finished work ere night.
- 25] After work ceased each night (right deed),
for the accomplished man (no weakling he),
at his anvil, he would fling it
from him to the anvil of the Dese.
- Three showers would it fling forth
30] the anvil with its sparkles:
a shower of water, unfailing, vigorous,
a shower of flaming fire:
- The third shower with bright shining share
was of lovely pure purple jewels,
35] so that these, lovely in purity,
were the jewels of Loch Lein's clear waters.
- The lake of the hero Len endures
with multitude of lean-sided waves:
in the land of the Dese by Len's will
40] endures his anvil after him.
- In the reign of blameless Eremon
after clear dawning free from strife
sprang up, famous beyond every noble place in the east,16
the outburst of the waters of Loch Lein.
- 45] They tell here differently
both nobles and gleemen,
that it was not found and manifested in the east
till the time of Cond Cetchathach.
- Hence comes no silent sound
50] the legend of Loch Lein in after days:
thanks should be paid for our report:
from every man this is due.
- This carn I see, pre-eminent,
the carn of Feradach of the true judgments:
I am versed completely in every spot
in the tale whence it took its name.
- 5] Feradach of the noble pride
was son of Rochorp son of Gollan:
Gollan with the bright ' wind of wailing '
was son-of Conmael son of Eber.
- A prince seized the lands of Temair,
10] even Tigernmas, with powerful sway:
thrice nine battles with his line of slender spears
he won against the children of Conmael.
- He slew Conmael, head of battle,
in the battle of great Oenach Macha,
15] in the battle of Eille in fight early-arrayed
he slew Rochorp son of Gollan.
- He slew Feradach thereafter
the noble son of Rochorp, kingly in valour:
the body whence he departed after his slaying
20] lies under thy mounds, O pleasant carn!
- Feradach, who offered battles
till the prince of Macha slew him,
met an encounter hence better he had not!
the fixed term of their truce had expired.
- 25] Tigernmas with many a conflict,
slaughter, with furious strife,
with his army high in renown
gained many victories about the cairns.
- O thou that dispensest the lore of the learned,
that declarest every usage with fresh radiance,
approach, above the slopes of oak-wood,
the portion of Luimnech, home of the hero-folk.
- 5] Luimnech wide-reaching the story,
it has been spread abroad mightily
at all times it is unsubdued,
so that it is ever famous till doomsday.
- It is a market-place of a gathering that is held
10] with victories, with great renown;
a proud and wealthy people held it,
a people with saddles and silken raiment.
- A multitude assembled here
in the midst of Limerick of the fleet
15] from the host that merited fame,
whence Luimnech got its martial name.
- Eochu's province assembled there,
it was a concourse peaceful, on noble business;
over against the host of eager Luachair
20] came the champions of Cruachan, elate with fame.
- The princely leaders brought thither,
endowed with lasting fame and prosperity,
a noble pair free from shifty treachery,
the two sons of Smucaille Smitchend.
- 25] Smucaille son of huge Bacdub,
that black-fisted carle, bright-eminent;
sons to him, good at weaving strife,
were the men of martial arts.
- Bind and Faebur, plain to see-
30] no danger
as we proclaim across all seas,
those were the names of the noble warriors.
- On coming to the fair-fought combat
the nimble warriors, broad-visaged,
35] before they entered on their famous contest,
took to them sureties.
- Ochaill from wide-branching Cruachan
undertook protection of true Faebur;
40] at the Sid of Bodb, who would not endure treachery,
was found protection for fierce Rind.
- When the tide turned to flow again
it brought each host to fame;
so that the lake, covered with cloaks
was in regular ridges
- 45] On this wise came, in
every hero, clad in a grey cloak;
so the waters of Luimnech carried them off,
from Munstermen and men of Connaught.
- Therefore said the host
50] from high-mounded Tul Thuinne,
"'Cloaked' (lumnigthe) is the mighty estuary called,
as long as the combat shall be remembered."
- Hence is named everywhere
Luimnech proud the home of heroes
55] from this gathering, as the learned deduce,
wherein its true warriors were despoiled:
- Or else, when the stream of sail-dotted Shannon
carried away from where you stand, past meadow lands,
the shields of the chieftains of your mighty host
60] from the shoulders of the nimble gillies.
- Lumman is the name of every spiky shield
no weakling is the chieftain that bears it;
from these, it may be, mark it mindfully!
the name Luimnech clave to the river of heroes.
- 65] The heroes were saying
on massy Tul Thuinne,
"'Shielded' (luimnechda) is the stream of Mac Lir:
unfruitful are its strong men!"
- What company asks us the legend
of the Road of Dalo the affable,
of the strong man, unsubdued
till he met the ring of battle in an evil hour?
- 5] Dalo from shielded Scythia,
son of Edlec, head of many chiefs,
was here, busy with plunder and fierce fight,
with raiding and ceaseless ravage.
- Four of them came over sea,
10] the family of puissant Edlec,
fleeing before the green-shielded Scythians,
because hostings were constantly dreaded.
- Dalo, who was unhurt in battle,
and Cannan skilled in stern arts,
15] Cre and Caire a band of kindred,
swift and mighty were the famous four.
- Dalo died when he grew feeble,
when he met trouble and outrage,
so that from him, though low is his resting-place,
20] the Road got its royal name.
- At his ramparts, in a paltry fight in sooth,
fell the warrior Cannan;
this chieftain possessed in the north
Cluain Cannain in Crich Ele.
- 25] Wife of Dala was Ore of the forays,
neither unseemly nor cheerless of mien
till she met betrayal and sorrow in this life
at the Wood rich in blessings.
- Caire was wife of stern Cannan,
30] with a fringe to her poll right red:
at Dun Cairin of a hundred feastings
she met death and surcease.
- This is her just portion
after ceasing from effort and ill-doings,
35] as through her fair maintenance she gained
her dwelling place with its story.
- I have an array of judgments,
of melodies and staves in order fair;
I know the just claim and the cause,
40] even the story of the roads of noble Banba.
- Five roads of Erin with no sinister fame,
the Great Road, the Road of Cualu,
the Road of Dalo strong and cunning,
and the Road of Midluachair:
- 45] The Road of Assal, son of Dor Donn,
in great Conn's great land of Meath,
the fifth Road green of hue:
as for it, not new is its story.
- They were hidden, inaccessible,
50] in the days of Fianna and Fomore,
till the birth of Conn of the hundred fights
the ancient prince's path was not discovered.
- Since Conn the faultless was born
ye can see them and know them;
55] thanks to the five who fixed them,
young men are riding over them.
- There was a ban against going to Temair
to a banquet after sunset by strict custom:
to him that was under ban there was clamour (raised against him)
60] toward the feast of Temair.
- Samain night with its ancient lore
was occasion for new and merry custom:
it was learned in deserts,
in oakwoods, from spirits, and fairy folk.
- 65] Reavers from Meath, many their horses,
gave unequal conflict to Assal:
they pursued the grandson of keen Domblas,
when he found the good smooth sward.
- Midluachair, sprightlier than any treasure,
70] was son to Damairne, fair of form:
Damairne, with special fame in love,
was son of Deccrach, son of Diupaltach.
- The grandson of the king of muttering Brub
Brain Midluachair son of Damairne,
75] a chief with kinsmen in his dwelling,
found the road of the heroes of old.
- Setna Seccderg, hewer of a host,
son of fiery-fierce Durbaide,
a man safe from obscurity or treachery,
80] the druids of Irmumu were round him.
- Fleeing before them (whom he had vexed)
the bright-handed son of Durbaide,
in making for warriors from Temair
found the road of high-hearted Dalo.
- 85] The son of Eogabal skilled in bloody arts,
famed for deeds of valour ever new,
found the road of old battle-weapons
in the land of Cualu of the hosts.
- The rod that divides Erin in two
90] was Escir Riada (the division was made not by a victor's spear),
whose name, held in bright renown,
was the Great Road, greater than any tilled plain.
- Nar son of Oengus Airgthech,
from the land of Umall, strong in horse-chariots,
95] found the Road of the grey-blue blades
before the tribes of the fair-faced Domnanns.
- In this wise were discovered
the roads, the ancient mearings,
as I found their high origin,
100] their traditional rights, their local legends.
- The noble name of Sinann, search it out for us,
since ye venture to lay bare its origin:
not paltry was the action and the struggle
whereby the name of Sinann became immortal.
- 5] Sinann, radiant, ever-generous,
was once a maiden right active
till she met all earthly misfortune,
the daughter of Lodan from heroic Luchar.
- In the still Land of Promise,
10] that no storm of bloodshed mars,
the deathless maid gained the fame that was her undoing,
the daughter of bright Luchar, whom I celebrate.17
- A spring (not sluggish) under the pleasant sea
in the domain of Condla (it was fitting,
15] as we recount in telling the tale):
to gaze upon it went Sinann.
- A well with flow unfailing
is by the edge of a chilly river
(as men celebrate its fame),
20] whence spring seven main streams.
- Here thou findest the magic lore of Segais
with excellence, under the fresh spring:
over the well of the mighty waters
stands the poets' music-haunted hazel.
- 25] The spray of the Segais is sprinkled
on the well of the strong gentle lady,
when the nuts of fair Crinmond fall
on its royal bosom bright and pure.
- Together in plenteous foison
30] shoot forth all at once from the goodly tree
leaf and flower and fruit;
to everyone it is not unlovely.
- In this wise, clear without falsehood,
they fall afterwards in their season
35] upon the honoured well of Segais
at the like hour, with like excellence.
- Nobly they come, with bright activity,
seven streams, in an untroubled gush,
back into the well yonder,
40] whence rises a murmur of musical lore.
- Let us recount the entire journey
whereon went Sinann of noble repute
to Lind Mna Feile in the west
with the choicest of her splendid abode.
- 45] There lacks no desirable gift that I could not fancy
as belonging to that noble lady
save magic lore in its sequences:
it was a new practice for her fresh life.
- The well fled back (clear fame
50] through the murmur of its musical lore!)
before Sinann, who visited it in the north,
and reached the chilly river.
- The woman of Luchar of full chastity
followed the stream of Segais
55] till she reached the river's brink
and met destruction and utter frustration.
- There the comely lady was drowned
and perished under heavy injury;
though the woman of warlike ardour is dead,
60] her noble name clave to her river.
- Hence with zealous affection
is called the Pool of the pure-white modest woman.
in every place (an easy visit) is known
the noble pleasant name of this Sinann.
- Sinann the reason why it is so named,
I will declare without deception:
I will report clearly without perplexity
its name and its origin.
- 5] I will declare to each and all
the origin of bright-streaming Sinann:
I will not hide the source of its renown,
I will report the reason of its name.
- Connla's well, loud was its sound,
5] was beneath the blue-skirted ocean:
six streams, unequal in fame,
rise from it, the seventh was Sinann.
- The nine hazels of Crimall the sage
drop their fruits yonder under the well:
15] they stand by the power of magic spells
under a darksome mist of wizardry.
- Together grow, in unwonted fashion,
their leaves and their flowers:
a wonder is this, though a noble quality,
20] and a wonder their ripening all in a moment.
- When the cluster of nuts is ripe
they fall down into the well:
they scatter below on the bottom,
and the salmon eat them.
- 25] From the juice of the nuts (no paltry matter)
are formed the mystic bubbles;
thence come momently the bubbles
down the green-flowing streams.
- There was a maiden yellow-haired
30] yonder, sprung of the Tuatha De Danann,
the sprightly Sinann, bright of face,
daughter of Lodan Luchair-glan.
- One night the maiden bethought her,
the sweet-voiced red-lipped maiden
35] that every sort of fame was at her command
save the mystic art alone.
- The maiden, fair was her form,
came on a day to the river
and saw it was no paltry matter
40] the lovely mystic bubbles.
- The maiden goes on a lamentable venture
after them into the green-flowing river:
she is drowned yonder through her venture;
so from her is Sinann named.
- 45] Another version if ye so desire
ye may get from me concerning white-flowing Sinann;
though it is to be read in my verse,
it is no better than the first version.
- Lind Mna Feile, (I speak truly),
50] is the name of the pool where she was drowned:
this is its proper title inherited from her
if that be the true tale to tell.
- Another version, I remember,
every one in general has heard:
55] Cu Nuadat great was his beauty
was drowned in the cruel stream.
- Or perchance Sinann is literally
by interpretation Sín Morainn:
or sí in moirenn might of deeds:
60] Sinann is fairer than any weather.
Sliab n-Echtga I
- The legend of noble Echtga
by reason of her mighty fame and ardour
is present to me, with her gatherings
of the companies of the men of Feine.
- 5] A man bright of mien possessed it,
Mac Ruide high in fame:
'twas he that got the bright-swelling land
from every king that he served.
- From Cruachan's king justly-famed
10] he got a bride rich in substance;
she belonged to him, a fiery hero without fickleness-
as is seen in every exact verse.
- Lusca Beist was from childhood
the name for Fergus mac Ruide,
15] who was reared at Sid Nenta;
there were his petitions granted.
- Kitchener for the hosts
with active ardour,
was the son of Ruide Ruad declare it!
20] look ye and speak truth!
- He took on him the spencer's office,
innumerable were his excellent arts,
whereby he got a noble share of strong places
in the territory of all-generous Sengand.
- 25] He was in favour with great kings
through his arts of various beauty:
only, without falsehood, in pure truth,
he found no woman that accepted him.
- Crafty Fergus acquired land
30] by dint of his bitter greed
from Moen of the teeming homes
to the levels by the sea.
- He offered all in one day
Mac Ruide of the victorious spear
35] his land with the fruits thereof
as her bride-price to a lawful wife.
- In princely Crich Echtair
by the graves of the men of the west
was reared the lovely offspring
40] martial Echtga
- A fresh girl sought by suitors,
of the people of Dea, the beloved,
daughter of Aurscothach mac Tinne,
an offspring winsome of mien.
- 45] Every sort of substance there was on earth
the noble cheerful maiden possessed,
except tenant-land held in fee:
it was no lowering of her fame.
- Doach Moelchend of ill fame
50] gave appropriate counsel
in his native guile
to his nursling deed of deceit,
- to sleep with harsh Fergus
for the worth of his estate,
55] for the sake of the goodly portion he got
in the land of venerable Sengand.
- Mac Ruide spear-renowned
gave in dower all
the mountain that ye visit
60] with oak woods and strong places.
- Since she got the mountain free of tax,
the woman eager for gifts,
since then, a customary title,
her name is upon it.
- 65] Hence is called
Echtga, a green-swelling plough-land;
name it without constraint among all
who can taste poetic lore.
Sliab n-Echtga II
- Fair, fair is noble Echtge,
the home of the grim-bladed warriors,
the ground where the sons of Erc used to dwell,
the place of Dublaithe near Dergderc:
- 5] A notable place of Echtga, Oenach Find,
if there were leisure I could tell of it:
there never was before me, there shall not be after me,
any man better versed in the account thereof.
- Famous were two women who desired it,
10] who used to frequent the rugged mountain,
Echtge daughter of strong Dedad,
and Echtach daughter of Lodan.
- Though the smooth mountain be named
from Echtge, daughter of Dedad,
15] whatever title was called after her,
the mountain's name is Sliab Echtaige.
- Barrier of the bloody battles,
frontier of the hundred-slaying companies:
a bold pack of hounds used to penetrate it
20] with their rough-brown squadrons.
- The abode which was contested yonder
by Clann Gairb of the Tuatha De Danann
the strong place where settled Dolb Drennach,
where the piper Crochan used to dwell.
- 25] Crochan of Cruachu's bands
sallied on an unlucky foray:
he fell by the hand of Dolb son of Dailem,
who gained a victory and a vaunt.
- There settled valiant Dolb,
30] on the spot of the great slaying:
from the head he bore off in his hand,
thence comes the name Cend Crochain.
- Caille Candain, Clochar Guill,
Ross Da Corr, and Druim Dicuill,
35] Druim Cairn, Druim Crochain, Druim Cais,
Druim Bainb, Druim Lochan Leth-glais,
- Loch Greine (Grian was Find's daughter),
Loch Ibrach in Ibar-glend,
the loch by which Trom Torach settled,
40] over which the raucous heron cries,
- Loch Cipp, Loch Cori, Loch Cno,
Loch Bricc, Loch Bairchi, Loch Bo,
Loch na mBarc, at Both in Mail,
Loch Eitte, Loch Ethludain,
- 45] Loch ind Eich, Loch ind Aige,
Loch na Druad, Loch na Daime,
Loch Laig, Loch na Fer Fuinid,
Loch Nechtain, Loch Athguinig.
- Ath na hOirgne, Ath na nOss,
Ath na nDam, my two doors
50] Ath Dergmona, Ath Dega,
Ath Aithlessa ind Feindeda.
- Ath na hEigme, Ath na nOc,
Ath na Raite itir Da Rot,
55] Ath Ruba, Ath Roiss Murchon,
Ath Dimma maic Edlicon,
- Ath ind Escrai, Ath Uidir
Ath Mor, Ath Mothair Muinig,
Ath in Mil, Ath na Meirge,
60] Ath Luinge, Ath Leth-dergge,
- Ath na Licce, Ath in Luain,
the havoc of Ath Callain northward,
Ath Feda, Ath Ferta in Daill,
Ath Lethan, Lechta Conaill,
- 65] South thereof Caille Conrui,
against which the young men displayed their feats of force:
Caille Natfraich was its name thenceforth,
till Oengus Tirech possessed it:
- Its third name in after days,
70] after battles, after combats,
was Caille Lugdach, from the red-sworded warrior,
the fierce hero, Lugaid Lam-derg.
- The might of the young men extending from southward,
Find the poet prince had foretold it:
75] "The reaving shall be wrought by Connaught,
though Munstermen enjoy the spoil."
- Towards Leth Cuinn lies the smooth side of the mountain
of noble rugged Echtga,
and its rough side, till the mighty Doom,
80] is turned to great Leth Moga Nuadat.
- I have praised Dal Cais of the hundreds,
I have found no occasion to reproach its men,
thy Dal Cais, that trains the poets,
where I used to see none ungenerous.
- 85] Once on a time I, Fland, was light of heart,
when I was on the road to the noble clans:
I found not in glorious Banba
a people superior in clemency and prowess.
- A man of theirs happened to meet me
90] northward in Mag Find of Tir Mane:
he was on hire for an easy year,
earning one cow and one cloak.
- He said to me, in his wisdom,
"Chant me the lore of my people:
95] sweet is it to my heart to hear."
He bought the work without bargain.
- Thereupon I chant him the lay:
it chanced that he was not displeased therewith
all he had earned, it was no scanty phrase
100] he gave it me all together.
- The just Dal Cais heard of it:
he gained honour in their assembly:
they gave him the bright scions
ten cows for every quarter.
- 105] Scarcity of vesture or food was never heard of
in the Dal Cais or their king:
that friendly line, as has been heard,
can never be brought to wretchedness.
- Arise and declare to Brian,
110] whether near, or soon, or far,
he shall not fall without a battle
until his gift of life, allotted span be accomplished.
- He shall be high-king over martial Erin
hide it not from him, O Ilbrechtach:
115] there hears not music, there buys not today
any king that has fairer possessions.
- Speak to MacCoscraig in the north,
to the stag that won Tuaim Doss-glan:
let him shun the far-famed Cuil,
120] or he shall be plunged in wretchedness.
- Tadc mac Faelan, prince of noble Fal,
Corr Buide and Cend Gecain,
bore away from me my share of sin;
they slew me foully.
- 125] Well did Christ, who loved me, ordain
the murder they committed:
I am in the portion of the King of Crosses:
they are deprived of happiness.
- I was Fland, the ardent poet;
130] kings were once submissive to my high command
though I was a guide, I was not weak:
learned and fortunate was I.
- Ciaran is chief of all saints under heaven,
save only the great Father among his folk:
135] I was chief of the sweet-voiced bards,
who were served by poesy, noble and fortunate.
Ath Cliath Medraige
- When I was wont to wend thither,
to the Ford of the generous, joyous, noble men,
I was instructed, through lore of battles,
in the true tale of the Ford of Fences.
- 5] It was a home of shields and skenes,
with plenty of stake-fences and of troops:
blood-stained were its braves
in victories won by the kingly Maines:
- The Ford, where men were covered with blood
10] when wounded by the wonted lances:
when they were vanquished miserably,
bright-cheeked men were slain:
- The Ford where the Clanna Dedaid waged
red strife on a foray
15] against the seven Manes, a journey that stretched far,
with their three thousand kernes.
- Ill was the cause whence that name arose,
though tremendous was the conflict
about the reaving of Dartaid's loved kine,
20] whereby great warriors were slaughtered.
- Eochu the Little, son of pure Cairpre,
king of warlike Cliu, low of stature,
came from Cullend, instructed in knowledge,
to the Ford of the mellay.
- 25] In fear at the coming of the chieftains,
the kings of the raths, the noble Maines,
made round the ford to fence it
fences of black-thorn and of red-thorn.
- From these fences in sooth,
30] in the meadows of noble Elg,
is named Ath Cliath, with its strong tribes,
where I was wont to wend.
- Medraige son of Dorcan Mall
son of Tromda son of Calatrom
was of the folk of Mac Con, one of the band
that came from an island to the west of Spain.
- 5] The folk of ireful Mac Con
set sail over the restless sea,
and seized all this shore
by this Ford of Medraige.
- Cliath son of Cullenn son of Dubdonn,
10] one of the household of Mac Con from over sea,
fell swooning thereafter
by this ford of Medraige.
- Hence the name Ath Cliath
was given to this ford thenceforth of yore;
15] and it shall remain till sere Doomsday
on this Ford of Medraige.
- Duibre son of Duban son of Derg,
of the folk of Mac Con from the battlefield,
settled by this shore thou seest
20] at this Ford of Medraige.
- Hence the name Duibre Donn
was given to this ford of yore, before my day;
and it shall continue till sere Doomsday
on this Ford of Medraige.
- 25] Neide of the deadly wounds, not smooth of mien,
from him is called the smooth water
among all the folk of Mac Con
between Cron and Medraige.
- Gaeth son of Nechtan son of Fermor,
30] who was the famous son of Eremon
son of Ross son of Inber Buide,
took to wife the daughter of Medraige.
- Marcan son of Donn son of Dathach
was of the folk of Conn Cetchathach:
35] Marcan the kindly, the beloved, has passed away
along with Medraige.
- Gaillem, daughter of long-lived Bresal,
washed herself in the chilly water:
there the white sapling was drowned:
40] from her is named Gaillem.
- Close to each other are the two graves
of Medraige and Gaillem, thou deemest:
there lies beloved Gaillem
side by side with Medraige.
- 45] Laigen Garbliath son of Daire,
son of the high king of Spain,
settled by the Ford thou seest
till the Doom come over Medraige.
- Ath Laigin from thenceforth is the name
50] given to the ford, and shall be for ever,
and shall be, till this Doom that thou seest,
the name of the Ford of Medraige.
- Failenn son of Illann son of Ner
came from the eastern parts of Greece
to aid Mac Con, as I deem,
55] and settled on Inis Failenn.
- After his slayings and his battles
Illann's son, Failenn the feaster,
went his way onwards
and himself rests at Medraige.
- 60] Bairenn son of Bolcan son of Ban
son of Illann from Spain
went onward with his following
to Bairenn above Medraige.
- 65] Hence is named Bairenn of the peaks
65] and white-tressed Inis Failenn:
they came to this strand thereafter,
even to this Plain of Medraige.
- Loch Riach who was Riach to whom it belongs?
commonly famous for its hue:
know ye who was Riach
who scatters the battle, surrounded by shields?
- 5] Four kings there were in the plain
who drove steeds, it was not for long:
Caimell and cruel Etar,
Casta and Riach of the bright cheeks.
- A noble daughter had fair Caimell,
10] cruel Etar had a daughter too,
Celbil Fair-lips, womanly the name,
and Land Half-red that was her name among the host.
- Casta woos one it was no famous action:
Riach woos in his turn:
15] the women are refused them
at the meeting that led to their undoing.
- Then the men of the South declared
battle, as all know, against the men of the North;
thence came their destruction
20] alas for the cause that brought it to pass!
- They set the battle in this wise,
even in the form of lofty warlike stags:
none escaped from the battle, with its treacherous leaders18
save one of the four, after their undoing.
- 25] Fair Caimell is slain in the battle,
and cruel Etar is slain:
Casta is slain there beside him;
both their armies are slain together.
- None escaped after their undoing
30] out of the battle it was no famous action
save only fierce mountainous Riach,
whose name clave to the lake to designate it.
- At the spot where their heads were brought
in the glen beside Druim Sam,
35] a spring rises there, to reward search:
it boils over wall and plain.
- Riach builds a house over it:
great enough, I ween, was its evil power:
he put a door across the mouth thereof:
40] strong though it was, it availed not.
- Once on a time, when the water was not sealed up,
and he was away in the house meanwhile,
the well boiled up mightily
that was the history of the men's drowning.
- 45] A thousand men who were in the keep
it drowned speedily, 'tis certain;
and it drowned Riach of the victories:
they lie all together in the lake.
- In the place where the dead men rotted
50] under the waters of Ler, with their numerous wounds,
the colour of each man's blood in turn
is the colour that the lake acquired.
- All the sheep in Erin were plunged therein
every seventh year, it was a lasting custom:
55] white they were when they entered the lake,
famously red they stepped forth.
- The Sheep's Thorn, that stands above it
overshadowing the spot, excellent of colour,
and the Ford of the fair Sheep
60] are named from this, both of them, it is a grace.
- Fot, from whom in truth Mag Fot is named,
was famous on the Road of the Kings:
this Fot, comely was his host
was bailiff in charge of the lake.
- 65] Mess Alluda and noble Ruathar
went early side by side
to dye their sheep crimson therein,
and the lake drowned them beneath its waters.
- Mag Aidne, a plain blest with increase,
with wealth and with noble name:
the men of Mag Aidne of the horses,
men that are not stinting in strife:
- 5] I proclaim that I am going to tell of them
to a host, beautiful and vast,
bringing their legend, the story of their noble origin,
from my fruit-laden homestead.
- Four and twenty fit rath-building serfs
10] in company, by regular covenant:
the vigour of the kingly men, the rath-builders,
was a glory of Clan Miled.
- Twice twelve goodly plains,
a possession of fair fame, no false prosperity,
15] they cleared successfully, love ye them!
for the children of loud-shouting Golam.
- One of them was son of fair Allguba,
a hand that misbecame not Erin,
a strong warrior that practised digging
20] and used to clear great plains.
- Digging up of woods with their stumps,
construction of raths on royal hills:
there was wont to be made in glowing pyres
fire for encampment and expedition.
- 25] His noble fingers used to drip fire
whenever it was the will of the brave prince,
when they assembled together by day:
his two hands made fire every night.
- Therefore the kingly man demanded
30] a wood from the sons of great Mil
to level it, a name full of pleasantness,
that it might be a home for his kindly race.
- It claims, free from fierceness and sorrow,
its name from huge Aidne,
35] because he brought a people from the oakwoods,
so that a great race dwells in the plains thereof.
- It is there the famous man died,
as noble great Segais relates;
whence the appellation of the hosts till now
40] is the great surname of Mag Aidne.
- Moenmag who was the Moen whence the plain is named,
that was royally spacious beyond all battle-fields?
it got the noble and joyous name
from good Moen son of Allguba.
- 5] Along with the goodly Clann Miled,
Moen was brought by the powerful prince
Labraid Luchair, whose fame decays not,
to begin the enduring custom of noble shaving.
- Two arts had Moen (active employ)
10] whereby the noble prince got his reward:
the business of shaving the gap above the fringe
and of clearing a plain of great woods.
- The warrior free from grief got a heritage
from Eber, from Eremon,
15] so Moen, whose thrust was piercing
the tenant-land of the sons of Fordub.
- Moen first received (lasting his fame)
by his science reward for much shaving
(the company of historians declares it at Samain),
20] in reward for shaving he got Berra-main.
- Berra-main, noble guerdon of shaving,
Moen of the kingly household got it
from the children of Golam of the shouts,
so that they might be famous for unfailing generosity.
- 25] He it was who was shaved here first
(he was not urged thereto without sure knowledge)19
Forbarr the wright of the hosts, a sight!
His fair cheek first was shaved.
- Here is the pleasant legend of Moenmag,
30] renowned above all places of resort mark it!
in honorific clear-tongued discourse,
an assurance of fame not dependent on applause.
- There are four Moens, excellent in judgments,
the best I have heard of on populous earth:
35] but this Moen, slender, of peaceful fame,
though they were kingly, he was passing strong.
- Moen son of Etna, the eager poet,
Moen son of Ugaine of the keen weapons,
Moen Moraind of Inber Ella
40] I praise Moen son of Ailell.
- There was found, through the noble fame of each, a derivation
for Moenmag, for Berra-main:
among lords of kine is named
from these Moens, Moenmag.
- Daily I celebrate this lake,
swiftly I weave the lore of legend:
a lake not shrunk and scanty at summer-tide,
whose name is Dergderc strong and vast.
- 5] I have heard of a king of pure strength
ruling here over the land of Tuath-Mumu;
a prop of his people, notable for goodly shape,
Eochaid son of opulent Luchta.
- Luchta son of Lugair of the lake
10] son of bright Lugaid Lamfind,
son of tall
son of heroic Leo Lamfata,
- Son of Smirdub, son of gentle Molach,
son of Gaeth Golach, son of Ingaeth,
15] son of Cormac Corach (thou hearest),
son of Ailill Laebchuire,
- Son of Ruad, son of eager Marthene,
son of Find, son of wealthy Sithchend,
son of Galach, whose wrath I provoke not,
20] son of noble Riagall, who was a ruler,
- Son of Eoin Brec, lord over territories (hearken!),
son of Ith and son of Breogan,
son of doughty Brath (good renown),
of the race of Gaedel ever fair.
- 25] The history of Eochaid, no sordid giver,
has been spread abroad far and wide:
for his illustrious pedigree
is no sordid preface.
- A king more generous with his splendid treasures
30] never held Clare of the hundreds:
in every conflict he was a "beetle of havoc"
till he was found laid low at Findchora.
- There came a poet of Ulster (sordid greed
without reason) on his continual questing,
because he had heard (choice his exploits!)
there was none in Erin to whom Eochaid would say nay.
- A single eye had the King of Druim Derg
he was the kindly one-eyed man of the red sword:
terrible the treacherous business that brought from home
40] the son of Athglo, to demand it.
- "Give me thine eye grey and bright,"
said the surly malignant druid:
"thou among all men art specially distinguished
by fame for generosity among the Gaels."
- 45] "Thou shalt have, without reproach for deceit,
what thou seekest, O Ferchertne!"
said the warrior of wounding weapons,
"though that is the hard request."
- The King of Clare and Codal put
50] (it was a deed of dread and of horror)
his finger under his grey ball-like eye,
so that it lay on the palm of mac Athglo.
- He said, upbraiding him as he went,
(he had extinguished all vast generosity)
55] "of all men it is I that have checked thee:
thy one remaining eye hath satisfied my importunity."
- As to Eochaid, however, he was not unguided;
he went thence on a right fortunate road
to seek water cold and pure,
60] till he found a lonely unfrequented spot.
- One blameless man alone takes charge
of the high-born man brig-lit and splendid:
there was but one in a hundred that would receive
the high king with peaceful welcome.
- 65] The sagacious man who was his guide
sought out every rush-bed in turn:
he deemed, by rule of harmless sorcery,
that there would be help in pure water.
- "Long life to thee, O king far-ruling,
70] free from danger and treacherous crime!
there is not to be had here for precious treasure
the means to wash thy face, noble sir."
- Eochaid approached the rush-bed;
he was not awkward, he was not indiscreet:
75] following his hand, as he plucked up the rushes without violence,
came the spring, the water of a fountain.
- To stanch the blood (this is true),
the gracious king's eye is bathed
from the spring of the secret waters,
80] round which hung a threat of mortal import.
- Eochaid put his head without offence
firmly under the spring thrice:
so that the deep hole was red and gory
with the king's blood, champion of famous compacts.
- 85] Eochaid, marvellous in hospitality, received
through the might of the King of the high sun
(a happy mystery best of all abundance)
two bright clear-shining eyes.
- As Eochaid of Assal looked
90] on the pool with its shower of drops,
he said, by a sudden impulse, the mighty man,
"Dergderc (Red-pool) is thy proper name."
- Hence comes it was an appropriate title
the name of the pleasant lake,
95] when meet with a murmur mark!
the spring and the broad lake.
- Hence was fought, without quarter,
the battle at the fence of Findchora:
shock of battle of the fierce spearmen
100] a sad subject is that final hour.
- To the King who suffered, better than any prince,
let not my earnest supplication be scanty!
that I may reign with the King of the bright winds,
whom the hero of the lake-waters assails not.20
- 105] Here is the legend, with series of exploits,
of Loch Dergderc of the conquests,
even as we found in books
the precious knowledge of the noble lake.
- Listen, ye warriors about Cruachu!
with its barrow for every noble couple:
O host whence springs lasting fame of laws!
O royal line of the men of Connacht!
- 5] O host of the true, long-remembered exploits,
with number of pleasant companies and of brave kings!
O people, quickest in havoc
to whom Erin has pledged various produce!
- Manly in battle-rout multitudinous
10] is the seed of noble Brian, with their strong fleets:
in express submission to them have been sent
hostages from all Europe to Cruachu.
- If we stay to recount its fame for every power,
we shall not be able to pour out the lore of noble science
15] for Cruachu, holy without austerity,
whose foemen are not few.
- Known to me by smooth-spoken eulogy
is the designation of powerful Cruachu:
not slight the din, the uproar,
20] whence it got its name and fame for bright achievement.
- Eochaid Airem high career!
when the fierce, generous man was at Fremu,
the man who cherished feats of skill,
holding a meeting for horse-fights,
- 25] There came to them noble Midir
(he was no favourite with the gentle prince)
to carry off Etain in dreadful wise,
whence came lamentation of many tribes.
- Ill-favoured was the man who bore off
30] Etain and hardy Crochen
the queen and her handmaid,
who was right lowly, yet ever-famous.
- Westward Midir bore the fair captives
after boldly seizing them as booty,
35] to Sid Sinche of the ancient hosts,
because it was noble Midir's hereditary possession.
- Till three days were out he stayed
in the radiant noisy Sid:
after fruitful enterprise it is custom
40] to boast at board and banquet.
- Then said strong Crochen
What fine house is this where we have halted?
O Midir of the splendid feats,
is this thy spacious dwelling?"
- 45] The answer of the famous man of arts
to Crochen blood-red of hue:
' Nearer to the sun, to its warmth,
is my bright and fruitful home."
- Said Cruachu the lovely,
50] in presence of the spacious tribes,
"O Midir, yet unconquered,
shall my name be on this Sid?"
- He gave the fine dwelling as reward for her journey
to Crochen, a fair recompense:
55] by Midir, report says, northward at his home,
by him her name was given to it as ye hear.
- Hence men say Cruachu,
(it is not hidden from kindly tribes,)
since Midir brought (clear without falsehood)
60] his wife to Sinech of the Side.
- As for Midir, he was no sluggard thereafter,
he went to Bri Leith maic Celtchair:
he carried with him the bright indolent lady, whitely radiant,
whom he bore off by force from Fremu.
- 65] Eochaid at the head of the numerous ranks
of his brave troop,
was on the track of Midir, the great champion.
- Said his druid to Eochaid,
70] "Thou shalt not be fortunate all thy life long:
lamentation for evil has come upon thee
for the loss of Etain of the golden tresses:"
- "Come from the judgment-seat of Fotla
without warning, without royal proclamation;
75] bring with thee thereafter to Bri Leith
thy host no cowards they to sack it."
- "There shalt thou find thy wife
in noble beauty, beyond denial:
be not faint-hearted for long, O warrior;
80] bring her with thee by consent or by force."
- This is a beginning, with famous perils,
for the proud Wooing of Etain,
though it be a pithy tale to hear,
the tale when men came to Cruachu to listen to it.
- 85] It was Crochen of pure Cruachu
who was mother of Medb great of valour:
she was in Cruachu it was an open reproach-
awhile with Etain's spouse.
- Carn Fraich what is the reason of the name?
let it be asked of the learned:
the Fraech from whom the goodly cairn is named,
his weapon was not feeble in the fray.
- 5] I ask of you no petty matter,
ye learned that dwell round the spot,
what was the former name of the pointed cairn?
- I will name to you 'tis true lore
10] without contention or wrangling
the Fraech from whom the strong cairn is called
in the plain yonder, excellent in might.
- Cnoc na Dala was its name aforetime,
in the days of Medb great and glorious:
15] it endured to old age thereafter
with every man that dwelt there, past counting.
- Though many names belonged to the Hill in succession
until the coming of Conn, who provoked envy,
they all departed from it,
20] and likewise every man to whom the Hill belonged.
- The foster-father of great Conn mac Felim
was Conall of terraced Cruachu;
though he dwelt in stone-built Cruachu,
he was king over the tribes of Temair.
- 25] Four boys, the rampart of a household, (?)
had Conall in sloping Temair,
they were reared in pointed Cruachu
and among the tribes of Airer Umaill.
- Corc and Connla and gentle Cetgen
30] and Fraech, vigorous youth;
they were a kindred that was doughty in every battle,
the vigorous spirited quartet.
- There grew a war betwixt Conn
and Eogan of the proud exploits:
35] Erin is divided share and share
between the two lusty arrays.
- Before each defined his territory there
arose variance between them,
and each harried the other's kine:
40] no hour was safe from raiding.
- Mighty Eogan Taidlech came
to Cruachu of the dun ramparts,
along with the captain of his stout household
who severs the spear-point from the shaft (?).
- 45] The youth of Munster, long-haired,
commit ravage in Cruachu,
even Eogan and manly Fraech,
two flaming lion-like heroes.
- Conall and his strong clan,
50] and the lusty arrays of his horsemen,
overtook the spoilers of Cruachu, field of wounds,
with the relay horses of the warriors.
- Fraech son of curly-haired Conall
wounded Eogan mild of nature:
55] there was Eogan robbed of his kine
by reason of the forays of the noble clans.
- Fraech, lordly of nature,
the King of Spain's son, famed for horses,
defended his shield at the spear's point,
60] by the might of his right hand, as is fitting.
- The son of Conall, dealer of wounds, answered him,
Fraech of the even-balanced nature:
the two Fraechs from Europe's plains
were the two champions of the chiefs of the mighty ridings.
- 65] The armies sit down by their spears
to behold the young warriors,
and to watch the pair of untried heroes
contending in doughty deeds.
- This was the end of the fierce conflict
70] the son of red-speared Conall is slain:
there followed a slaughter of the Munstermen of the plains:
the spoils left by the nobles decked the victors.
- The children of Conall, sore wounded,
part from each other in the battle,
75] and it is a chilly reward alas!
to be without the great hero at Medraige.
- They raise on the shafts of their spears
the vigorous sons of great chieftains:
they bear away from stone-built Cruachu
80] the Salmon of the tribes of Temair.
- "Let him be laid in this cairn by my side,"
said Conall, the highborn chief:
"his name shall be on the fair cairn
to designate it there among men of lore."
- 85] Carn Fraich it is ever since, from that Fraech
(whoever it be that inquires thereof),
even the son of Conall, never hard about cattle:
I praise its people joyously.
- Some tell another tale
90] concerning Carn Fraich of the princely house:
how it was called from glorious Fidach's son,
the stripling who crushed a mighty band.
- They have settled that the round cairn is named
from Fraech, buoyant of soul,
95] and that it was in the time of Medb long since,
who stirred his spirit against the foemen.
- By the hand of Cuchulainn, famed for goodly feats,
the slender youth surely perished,
in a river-fight (though it be a reproach)
100] he fell by the hand of the strong Hound.
- By the edge of festive Sliab Fuait
at the Ford of Omna, great at mead
was drowned the son of the champion Fidach,
whose hand made no senseless havoc.
- 105] After his drowning in the brimming stream
his head was severed and his war-cry silenced:
the army leaned on their spears,
while the great king (Ailill?) judged the fight.
- All that army make a pause
110] round the head awhile;
they utter round the head a cry of mourning;
it had been better for them to avenge it.
- Before Medb quitted the field,
she saw a strange sight drawing nigh,
115] women-folk, sweet-voiced, famous long after,
their beauty reflected in the stream's shining waters.
- The blooming women-folk bear
the body away with them to the peaceful elf-mound:
they utter wailing and vehement grief;
120] immoderate was their general woe.
- Sid Fraich is so christened by men
from Fidach's son of the gilded spear:
at his Sid 'twas a goodly brood
befell the warrior's destruction, 'tis right pitiful.
- 125] In such wise came his death yonder of yore,
to Fraech son of Fidach from Umall
at the Tain Bo Cualnge, with its forays:
heavy the sorrow of it for his household.
- O thou that enterest the plain of Medb,
thy lays shall be fully remembered;
declare to the king of the rath, in my poor dwelling,
the story of Ath Luain of the goodly champions!
- 5] Ath Luain, what is the haunch that lies buried there?
whence comes the sure-clear name?
it was called Ath Mor, free from the craven spirit of defeat,
till it came by a change of appellation.
- A queen, strong in the prowess of a famous host,
10] gained the sovereignty of strong Connaught,
whose bitter name, spread far and wide,
was Medb daughter of Eochu Fedlech.
- Mate to the noble maiden, I ween,
was the son of Ross Ruad of Rairiu
15] (it was an honoured name over crumbling Bairenn),
Ailell son of Mata of Muresc.
- Three queens there were of fiery force
who had right comely consorts;
they had rights over a third of hearth and having:
20] theirs were not unions of a moment.
- Ailell, who was not unwise, was husband to Medb:
Macha lorded over Cimbaeth in like fashion:
Art, whose skill of spear was faultless,
was husband to Medb Lethderg of Liamain.
- 25] They performed deeds of daring
more than all the exalted kings:
thus, by labours of a host, was built
Emain, by Macha Mongruad.
- The feast of Tara, sore was the strife,
30] with plenty of feats and wonted riot,
was brought to impotent abasement
by Medb of the Gaileoin, with her pure beauty.
- The noble daughter of Eochu Fedlech, ruler of Fal,
Medb from cold inviolate Ednech,
35] in truth the fence of death never closed upon
a woman that was richer in store of lordly substance:
- Except for her being in want of the bull
that belonged to the king of Macha wild with mead:
even as her noble husband reproached her,
40] the son of the king of Leinster, the warrior-prince.
- Medb (out of her own household she was fit for war)
went raiding Cualnge of the hundreds,
when she fared on a path of peril against a warrior,
and bore off the wife of Conall Cernach.
- 45] When they had plundered pleasant Cualnge
by proud and pitiless doings
they changed their goal, to entrap
the bull of Daire son of Fiachru.
- The Dun Bull of Cualnge, comely was the splendid brute
50] was in the Heifer's Glen:
round him they drew a ring of reavers,
and made the Cattle-Raid to catch him.
- The people of Banba suffered hurt through the comely hero,
whose home was death and savagery:
55] he bound them in galling chains
for the space of three winter months.
- To many a band, to many a hundred of harmless people,
the host of Cruachan, eminent in fame,
brought death and dismay
60] by wide-spread sorrow for all afflictions.
- After Candlemas (rough was their herding)
came the unvanquished bull
to Cnoc Tarbga, dense resort of the people:
it was a dwelling of dread for many a man.
- 65] They made a proudly-matched pair,
the Dun Bull of Cualnge and the White-Horn,
before the eyes of a host (a wealthy dwelling)
about the rough-flanked hill of Tarbga.
- They fought a fierce combat on miry ground
70] on the seventh day of spring:
and the White-Horn fell therein
by the wild-wood bull of Sliab Fuait.
- Hence is named Tarbga in the north,
in a martial land excelling in kine,
75] from the battle of the beasts (pleasant path),
about which there were conflicts, noble sir!
- The Dun Bull scattered his bones and his body;
he bore each limb to a famous spot;
he carried with him to Ath Mor, where they abide,
80] his chine and his thigh.
- The noble name clung to it perpetually
thenceforth, Ath Luain of the vessels:
though if was once Ath Mor, with no soft and kindly beauty,
the chine gave it a new name, valiant sir!
- 85] The White Bull's hoof through treacherous crime
is at Lough Dige (Dige was a noble chief):
his two ribs a brilliant exploit,
the mighty Dun Bull bore to Mucfind.
- He bore his heart to Dun Cromm:
90] a fortress against frenzy was the great Dun Bull:
he strode with his haunch afar
to the noble tribe of Asal Abrat.
- He carried his buttock across his back, across his mane,
to Inis Glas of the bridles:
95] (they were wonders for a blind man almost to see)
he carried his cheek to Lecan.
- These are the famous fragments
left by the vast Dun Bull, of fierce Emain
of the White Bull of Cruachan with the spreading horns,
100] who was torn in fragments.
- On every spot where he bore a piece of him
abides its name thenceforward:
till the day of Doom it enjoys fair fame
beyond the haven of any ford, excellent sir!
- 105] O sinless Christ, love thou me
for the sake of Mary thy mother!
O King of this people that goeth toward death
thou art more exalted than any man!
- Silend's Lake-bed was here yesterday;
to-day it is a lake whose waters are full:
Blonac daughter of Tue it was
who ruined it in planting the stakes of her cattle-pen.
- 5] Though it is Silend who owned it
(it is a certain fact, it is common talk),
yet is Silend deprived of her own,
because 'a weakling is ever a coward,' men say.
- Silend shall suffer under endless toil:
that is the truth, long is the journey:
to Blonac shall the warriors' lake belong:
it shall be Silend that shall perish by that fatigue.
- Silend shall search east and west,
over every mountain, till she reach its base:
Silend, who was not summer-fed shall come to
a dwelling whose threshold is not dry.
- Famous above women were these for grace,
they plied no business, after the fashion of low-born women;
though their lakes clave to the heroic women,
Silend had a fatal toil from her lake-bed.
- I will tell you how the White Loch purely bright
received, for a year and a day,
that which turned it white enduringly,
for it is I that have certain knowledge.
- 5] When Patrick, famed for holiness,
dwelt on blessed Cruach Patrick, greatly suffering,
(labour and sorrow was that time!)
protecting warrior-women and warrior-men,
- God sent, to comfort him at that season,
10] a flock of birds angelic, purely bright,
over the clear loch unremittingly
they sang a chorus, a gentle admonition.
- This was their auspicious summons:
"O Patrick, rise and come!
15] O protector of the Gaels, bright in glory!
O golden exalted star!"
- In numbers they smote the lake
with their smooth-shadowing wings
so that the ruffled surface unsunned
20] showed like sheen of silver.
- This it is that gave rise to the bright name
of Find-loch Cera, scene of combats,
as I have heard in every church:
this glorious meaning I declare.
- Good sir, if thou comest into Mag Ai,
declare to us the lore of noble sages,
and assure to them the designation
whence comes in very truth the new name of the plain.
- 5] Ai son of Allguba, hero of the battles,
swift his hand at hewing trees
was the first man on whom the task was laid:
he burnt the place from top to bottom.
- He brought with him a band of labourers, big and brawny,
10] great was the service they gave, with kindly help,
four times six strong champions:
that hewing of theirs was work for an army.
- Four and twenty hours they wrought,
as it seems, till their task was done:
15] though before them there was a host that was wealthier,
no fiercer was their vigour nor their valiance.
- Ai begged of them, when their labour was ended,
to promise instantly, for his good fame's sake,
so that his power and pride might be increased,
20] that the place might be named after him, good sir.
- Let me be under thy protection, O King of Heaven,
that I may be dear to thee without neglect:
O King that art great in every good thing,
in thy kingdom the lordship of any man is little worth.
- Mag Mucrime, that all extol,
the plain where we shall go as familiar visitors,
the plain full of homes and householders,
the kin of fair-haired Eochaid possessed it.
- 5] A land for tillage, smooth and rough alike,
long, wide, and shining;
a flat country where girded swords are seen,
full of oak woods laden with oak fruit.
- "A secret," saith every fortunate host,
10] "is the legend of Mag Mucrime:
needful is the help of sage or bard,"
saith each of them," to illuminate it."
- From the cave of Cruachu, where they were used to dwell,
came a black herd of magical nature,
15] and a demon urged the lean stock
towards Medb and Ailill.
- It was a wondrous property of the herd of swine
a hundred men busy counting them on the same hill,
though they stayed till doomsday counting them,
20] no two would find them alike in number.
- They ravaged fruit and sheen
in the tuneful province of Connacht,
so that nought was left but ruin and blight
in every district that they visited.
- 25] Ailill and Medb came
to hunt them and number them aright:
and they were found upon the bright sands
in their lairs in Mag Fraich.
- The hunters set to chase them one by one,
30] and to count them right heedfully;
to Medb at Belach na Fert
they were brought all together at a marsh.
- One pig, nimble as a deer, made a spring,
and Medb caught hold of his strong leg,
35] and with the haste of danger he left
his skin in one of her hands.
- From the day that the wild swine were counted
east and west in Mag Fraich,
(it severs not from truthful tales)
40] the plain is called Mag Mucc-rima.
- Here stands Duma Selga in the plain
where the sons of Muredach used to dwell:
now they are gone the royal barrow endures,
although it was here before their day.
- 5] The grave of Fer Fota is on Ard Cain:
many there be to whom his death brought poverty:
Duma Selga is its name here to this day,
since the chase of Drebriu's six swine.
- The swine under the protection of Drebriu
10] daughter of Eochu Feidlech,
who caused them to be brought to her?
how did she come by the wild swine?
- Mac ind Oc's own darling was Drebriu,
she was given many a kiss:
15] and the swine, when they were men,
were likewise her own housemates.
- I hold naught too hard,
if only the High King have willed it so:
Moses' rod great was his grace
20] was turned into the shape of a serpent.
- The Son of God showed them mercy
when they were here in this life,
in that he took not away their understanding,
their reason, nor their power of speech.
- 25] The mother-in-law of the tender women
was Garbdalb, gloomy and ungentle:
she cast on them a spell from her bosom,
and turned them into the form of red swine.
- Conn, Find, and Fland
30] were the men, those were their names:
Mel, Treg, and Treis
were the names recorded of the women.
- From the day that their hue was darkened
after eating the fruit of the nutgrove of Caill Achad
35] these were the names of the faultless warriors,
Fraechan, Banban, Brogarban.
- The shape to which each of the women was turned
caused grief to the Brug of Brega:
Crainchrin, Coelcheis, strong Treilech
40] were the names of the sister-swine.
- They spent a year with Buichet;
the King Oengus concealed them,
when the chieftain's wife was seized with longing
for a steak off Brogarban's belly.
- 45] It was a grief to Brogarban of Brega
when the woman's husband told him of it:
"Let us slay the white woman,"
said Buichet to Brogarban.
- "No evil hath thy wife deserved of me,"
50] said then the white-flanked swine:
"if she desire a steak of my tender flesh,
she shall have it for thy sake, brave warrior!"
- She mustered foolish was the woman
a hundred warriors, a hundred dogs followed them,
55] a hundred spears, a hundred shields
sharp-edged, it was for the eating of Brogarban.
- Brogarban of Borg Brain destroyed them
by his unaided prowess,
and he spared the woman
60] for the sake of Buichet, whose wife she was.
- To Brug maic ind Oc thereafter
Brogarban carried his household:
And there Oengus sang them a chant all day
"Dear were the faces!"
- 65] They asked for his help;
though many were their wrongs,
"For a year's space, O warriors, O chieftain!,"
said Mac ind Oc, "it may not be,
- "Till ye have shaken the tree's bole
70] that stands on the bank of massive Tarbga,
and till ye have eaten a meal
of the fish of Inber Umall's waters."
- Thereupon they pursued their way in dumb grief
to the parts where stands Glascharn:
75] the six trenches thou seest on the hill,
they are the beds of the warrior-swine.
- They went their way to Drebriu, who was a shelter to them,
for she was known to Oengus,
and they spent a year in hiding
80] with Eochu Feidlech's daughter.
- At the end of a year apart
they shook the fair tree's bole:
it was the day for Medb to hold her state
on Mur Muccaisse.
- 85] Thereafter they fared westward through the wood,
till they reached Crich Umaill,
and that was the day
on which this barrow was raised.
- From this hill Medb went
90] to Port Dubinse in sooth,
and she took red Dubinis
against the swine in her fury.
- Mighty Medb gathered
all the men of Connacht in one day,
95] from Luimnech to Ess Ruaid
from Usnech to Inis Bo.
- In an evil hour the host marched westward,
though they were long upon the road:
the event that killed each of the dumb swine
100] was full evil for the men of Erin.
- Thereupon the swine came forth
against them perforce, as for a pitched battle:
and so they perished, all of them
save yellow-crowned Brogarban.
- 105] One of the swine fell at soft Muccelta,
and another at Ceis Choraind:
one swine at Mag Trega it was doomed,
and one at Cuallacht, amid the blood of dogs.
- The fifth swine died at Mag Find
110] in Crich Maine, the spot was ennobled:
their five heads were brought to this barrow
in the territory where it stands.
- Known to me in my silent dwelling
is the pleasant tale of no false prosperity
from which is named an intricate task
Mag Luirg with its plenty of adornments.
- 5] When Conall, dread centre of strife,
dwelt with the King of Cruachu, chief in danger,
as an old man forspent
on the feeble brink of his grave,
- Conall, cunning with the stout spear,
10] caused grief in Cera's Cruachu,
when he laid low at his home northward Ailill
mac Ruaid, high in fame.
- Fierceness seized him at the tale;
he fled (it was sign of feebleness)
15] over Mag Luirg, without crime of note,
to Mag Slecht of old Brefne.
- The way to follow was known from his track
by the fleet host girt with brown blades;
so the renowned soldier fell by their hands
20] at Ath na Mianna near Magen.
- The three active Red Wolves of the Martine
quenched the sturdy strength of the famous man:
they took his head from him, whatever came of it,
in revenge for Curui mac Daire.
- 25] They bore with them among their choicest pledges
the long remembered head, into Crich Berre,
and yonder in the west it lies underground,
the dark head that once was Conall's.
- From this deed wrought by the soldiery of Carn
30] the plain received its great name:
the Cherishing of Conall, hero of a hundred songs,
is well known to me without difficulty.
- Let not my head, O pure Christ,
lie anywhile under curse and final contention!
35] my soul, my body, and my song
let them escape evil and oblivion!
- Loch Cé, what was the cause of its breaking forth,
when it was as yet a plain level and smooth?
the pure water, good sir,
where is the spot whence it rose?
- 5] I ask of you all, who was the Cé
from whom everyone names the lake?
to what ruler of famous Banba belonged
the renowned druid who caused the lake to spread?
- What was it that caused the growth
10] of the green lake free from horror?
the joyous bright pale water,
tell me of its story!
- The druid of Nuadu, heartener of the fray,
son of Echtach, son of Etarlam,
15] from his grave comes the name of the lake,
when he came to it from the rout of a great battle.
- From Mag Tured yonder he came,
when poisoned spears dealt wounds,
smitten by a keen-edged weapon;
20] and he sat him down on a cairn of the Curlew Mountains.
- Thereafter Cé arose from the cairn:
he was all but stark-dead:
emerging from his swooning weakness he went on
to the middle of the smooth green plain.
- 25] There is a stone that thou hast seen in the plain;
there was he laid under ground:
when he was laid in the carn of stones
under the corpse rose up the mighty lake.
- Hence comes the name Loch Cé:
30] I declare it without deceit:
from Nuadu's druid splendid his valour
is named the lake above all lakes.
- I tell of Loch Neil bright gathering
where the famous son of Enna Aignech
of the wealthy host of noble Temair
met a lamentable death.
- 5] Nel was leader of a full band of hunters,
greatly dreaded in the meadow-lands of Elg:
in the reign of goodly Conall Cromderg
he wrought all warlike deeds of rapine.
- Drebrenn out of her evil heart sent
10] a baneful drove in the shapes of red swine:
from Collomair a noisy strife
the hoary-bristled drove held its way.
- By the track they left bare Nel followed them
the contest was a 'tale at sword-point'
with his pack of hounds over a fair road
15] throughout radiant Mag Ai.
- Ai was the name of the fell hound
of Enna Aignech, excellent in strife,
after whom is called Mag Ai,
20] fair under green sward, perfect in beauty.
- When the swine had eaten the mast
of the oakwood of Tarbga, scene of mighty conflicts,
they went, the ever-famous brood,
to the lake to satisfy their thirst.
- 25] Nel followed them a path of terror
was their track through the warrior tribes:
it was the journey of one doomed to a wretched end:
he entered the lake and it drowned him.
- Hence by the wish of every chieftain
30] is named Loch Neil, with its cloudy brightness:
the death of Nel of the stout retinue
is found in books, as I tell it.
- O King that drownedst keen Pharaoh
make ready for us, by thy royal will,
35] a place on thy right hand, O tender, sweet-speaking King,
after a strain of praise for every hero I celebrate.
- Loch Con, whose name shall never tell of peace
who is there that knows not
the work of the headstrong harmful beast
that made it a pillage and a prey?
- 5] From the Isles of the chieftain Mod
baying with jaws agape
the hound-packtowards its destruction
bore its impetuous course.
- The pack of Mod unfaltering,
10] which the beast overcame round Tuirbe's tower,
tracked the mighty swine
through every impenetrable thicket.
- It fled before them into this lake,
it brought distress upon this tower;
15] the dogs were drowned beneath this homestead
by the swine, in countless numbers.
- When it had settled its battles
it went to an island of the lake,
and took it as a pleasant domain:
20] the soil was its perpetual domicile.
- From the length of that pursuit
when their doom came upon the hunters
and they met an untimely fate
the lake derives its name.
- They tell of a warrior with numbers of troops,
whose name was Dechet of fiery force:
he was a mighty man in lordship of lands,
a staff for clearing of roads.
- 5] Glass mac Caiss had authority by covenant
over strong Dechet son of Dergor:
by him a rath was raised to be for all time
far-famous beyond all royal raths.
- The mighty man built a rath of surpassing strength
10] Suide Ruaid, above the royal cataract:
Aed Ruad son of famous Badorn
was leader of the shouting troops of the eastern tribes.21
- This is the reward given by the king
Ruad, grandson of Mane Milscoth,
15] to Dechet a fair compact
the noble produce of the red cataract.
- The children of Ailill and only they,
until the coming of Doomsday,
own the produce of Ess Ruaid no hasty gift,
20] as Dechet got it, no sorry bargain.
- In the territory of Ailill, lord of steeds,
a tower was built it was his last award,
that there should not be among his children (famous conjunction)
strife nor division for the future.
- 25] Dechet ate his portion, by standing usage,
after ending the work full-cold,
on the plain of Mag Lunga knowest thou
the occasion that brought trouble upon Dechet?
- He grew drunk and mad by turns,
30] his seemly bearing forsook him,
it was the noise of one doomed before his dissolution
he plunged in the lake and was drowned utterly.
- Hence, from the heroic repast,
is called Mag Lunga, laden with crops:
35] its enduring name was granted assuredly
to the warrior, as they tell.
Ard na Riag
- Ard na Riag declare to us its origin
if you can gauge it aright!
how came it to be so christened to after-times?
how came this name upon the tongues of men?
- 5] Tell us a while of the gibbets
whence comes the name perpetually:
its fruit is no beauty without increase,
since its produce began to multiply.
- From four gibbets is it called
10] by this name, when it comes to mind;
reprobates fierce as bears were they,
the four foster-brothers of Cellach.
- Cellach son of Eogan of Eig,
his henchmen were they,
15] a kindred that deserved not to be fettered,
virtuous foster-brothers all four.
- Their names were Maelcroin, Maelsenaid
and Maeldalua, lover of ale,
and Maelteoraid of the throng:
20] a chieftain who gave crooked guidance to our noble clan.
- Guaire corrupted the band of warriors
it was not hard by his constant urging:
he gave them all they asked to murder Cellach;
this was the condition of the beheading.
- 25] For the slaying of Cellach
by the wicked deed of his own people,
for the sake of a bribe that profited not,
Guaire was deprived of lasting profit.
- Cuchoingelt put fetters
30] on the base wicked hand:
he succeeded in carrying them off captive:
there was no ban upon his seizing them.
- He brought the heathens to Port Rig
to gibbet and to torture them:
35] there they were hung all four:
a muddy death for them was a fair requital.
- From that time forth Ard na Riag
is the name in vogue among the Gaels:
it is the wont of every bard to visit
40] their graves, their lofty abodes.
- Inber Muada this place is named,
it is right for the learned to tell its story:
what was the excellence whence.the name comes,
from which the Muaid got its famous title?
- 5] I will tell you, for well I know
every excellence whence its name is derived:
the knowledge shall be set forth in the middle of my book,
without fault or forgetfulness.
- Parthalon of Port Breg came
10] from Greece 'tis an ancient harbour
to the land of Elg in good sooth:
the martial soldier was a chief in every art.
- In Inis Samer free from grief,
there Parthalon came to land,
15] where the troop of eight found a shore
when they reached Banba, land of ceaseless conflict.
- Parthalon of the harbours hoped
that the rivers of Erin would give him help:
every law had departed from his band of men:
20] seldom did host or company visit them.
- Though it was long since he left his home Parthalon,
in whom the noble men believed,
he found not a fish till he reached mead-loving Muaid;
the hosts were quarrelling along the marshy ground.
- 25] "Full of excellences is the vast river-mouth,"
said Parthalon, primal lord of ships;
"its origin shall be crowned with excellences
by the hosts that visit it continually."
- Inber Muada, in after-times
30] the learned shall be telling thereof;
till the Doom of the eager throngs arrive,
let every ford and river-mouth cease to vie with it!
- I will relate in full the legend
of noble Carn Amalgaid to the proud race
in mine abode, without deceit or dispute,
even the lore of the cairn and its line.
- 5] Fiachra Elgach, lord of slender steeds,
was son to the High King of Erin,
even to Dathi it was a strong branch
we have heard of no king who could match him.
- Son to Fiachra of the bright cheeks
10] was Amalgaid of martial arms,
from whom is named the cairn exempt from weakness
that stood yonder in the plain exceeding fair.
- He it was that first trenched
that cairn fair was its knowledge22
15] the son of Fiachra, who never wronged a man,
(the words of maidens are many and sweet):
- In order to behold his long ships,
and to have a place of assembly to dwell in:
the hosts of your line rested quiet
20] in the ancient place of burial.
- Long time they spent thereafter
until the death of the athletic king,
until the hero lay in his own cairn:
famous for ever is his death.
- 25] This is the veracious account
of honoured Carn Amalgaid,
the hosting-place of alert levies:
it is right to tell its name and story.
- Amalgaid himself son of Fiachra
30] from him is called the level sod of Tir Amalgaid,
home of saints and churches and crosses:
noble, I trow, is its story.
- Treise's Ferry on the northern side
is called after Amalgaid's wife of high worth,
35] she died at the ford hard by,
for which cause her smooth cross was hewn.
- Amalgaid, that never wronged a man,
son of Dathi of the radiant cheeks
from him is the island now called,
40] the lovely precinct of the gentle guardians.
- The brother of renowned Manannan,
Bron, who cleared the ancient plain of trees,
from him Mag Broin hard by is named,
where no help stood by him against Fergus.
- 45] Here are the names of the secret places
that I name to you according to rule:
no man of learning nowadays
follows the legend yonder we are the leaders.
- O man from Muiresc of the steeds
that is visited by the strong-rushing wave,
whence comes the applausive fame
that the great and goodly plain has won?
- 5] I will tell thee without distaste of hard learning,
in ready verse full of liberal lore,
the cause, beyond contest or question,
why Mag Muireisce is so named.
- A flood of sea-fish, slippery fry,
10] the abounding sea brought to the rich land,
till it filled its thriving homesteads,
both woods and sloping glens.
- A full year it lay without rotting:
that was a harvest of unfading lustre:
15] the king received of every colour at his wish;
it was the wealth fit for a righteous ruler.
- This it is that betrayed the name of the plain;
hence comes its name high in honour:
the far-stretching plain,
20] numerous in exploits and indwellers.
- Is it allowed to mention in the lay,
according to the opinion of sages everwise,
the monster, round whom the trouble arose
at Fich in Mara by Muiresc?
- 25] It was a great sea-fish, huge a thousand fold,
that brought no harvest to the lands;
its name is Rosualt clear saying
with many a conflict and many a portent.
- When the sated beast would cast up
30] its stinking gorge in huge flood
over the lands eastward, defiling them
an affliction of sore disease beset them.
- When he cast it up to the clouds,
it was war upon the constellations:
35] when he cast it downward in turn
it was a plague upon the creatures of the sea-shore.
- When it brought destruction on the men of the swarthy host
in the steads of mighty Muiresc,
there settled on the oaken people of the marsh-land
40] the lordly name of the sea-monster.
- The name of that creature clave immovably
to that land for ever:
it designated the spot, above every marsh-ford,
with the familiar title for its illustrious men.
- 45] The daughter of mighty Ugaine,
Muiresc, ruler over the mead-rich plain,
took possession of the river-mouth, though it is a reproach;
she was sovereign over the noble men.
- O Christ, after the close of my mortal life,
50] choose thou my soul, in the ways of eternal wisdom,
to dwell in that realm of peace and fame
among thy kingly train, O kingly one!
- Mag Tibra, that fair dwelling-place,
do the vassals know its story?
brightness undimmed rests upon its wealth:
whence comes the name of the ancient plain?23
- 5] Tibir was a woman of renown,
from her comes the title of possession:
she was daughter of Cass Clothach, ruler of clans,
a woman of the Tuatha De Danann.
- Irial son of mighty Eremon
10] won Liathdruim by his valour:
he was a king with no lack of horses:
that woman was his nurse.
- Irial went on his royal journey
round fair noble Erin
15] till he came to the Dun of strong Tibra
to hold speech with his noble nurse.
- Then a brief sickness seized
the lordly high-king of Erin,
and he met a death that gave him no respite,
20] though it was grievous tidings for his nurse.
- All the men of Erin came
at the tidings of yellow-haired Irial's death,
to bear him to Cruachu of the clans,
the burying-ground of the Tuatha De Danann.
- 25] They bear with them the body of the noble king,
having Erin on the right and the sea-shore
on the left not joyous was their feast at all:
they leave Crich Breis for Borrach.
- Heavily went the men
30] round the body of the featful king,
till they dug the noble king's grave,
for the body of the king of Spanish blood.
- Tibir plunged into the sea
for grief of noble Irial,
35] and the solid wave buried with its force
the wife of Palap son of Eremon.
- Hapless Tibir was brought to land,
and the sight caused the people to break silence:
she had no lack of honour at her decease,
the sloping mound.
- Dun na Gairthe is the hill's name
from the cries of the folk of the encampment:
seven days they spent there
in holding races round Irial's grave.
- 45] Mag Glas was the name of the bright plain
from Borrach down to the shore:
but since the queen departed hence
the name of the smooth plain is Mag Tibra.
- Gam was the gillie of famous Eremon,
from whom bright Sliab Gam is called:
from Gam indeed, without deceit or violence,
comes the name of the mountain in the North.
- 5] The gillie met with a strange death,
Eremon's gillie, as I believe;
he disputed violently with the
it is an offence against piety to till there.
- On the edge of the spring on bright Sliab Gam
10] his head was cut off in its beauty:
the head was thrown a while into the well,
that turned bitter for a time from that deed.
- One while in the day it was a salt stream grey and bitter
another while it was pure water,
15] so that it is a wonder in Erin,
the bright pure spring of Sliab Gam.
- Here abode gentle Corand
playing on the harp it was goodly riches:
Corand white of skin was a poet
in the service of Diancecht, giver of sound limbs.
- 5] The Tuatha De (excellent name) bestowed
land in fee, for his goodly music,
on Corand of the soothing strains:
for his knowledge he deserves high esteem.
- Here abode the wayward man
10] plying no fierce vocation and no sinister art;
it was a home of guests and of plenty,
when the noble man dwelt here.
- When Caelcheis was driven abroad,
the savage nursling of Derbrenn,
15] fleeing from the hounds of Connacht, at no tardy pace,
her way brought her to Corand.
- Each man took his fellow's hand
round the swine, right eagerly,
and the sturdy sow was slain:
was the combat's close.
- Ceis Choraind, where hundreds gather,
was thenceforth the name of the place of mighty herds,
since the swine was slain yonder unlamented
here in the land where Corand abode.
- Learn ye the legend whence is derived
(it is no deceitful utterance)
the name of the cairn where I am seated, even now,
the cairn of slender Conall son of Oengus.
- 5] Oengus son of Umor from over sea,
his son was Conall:
on Conall Medb bestowed
lovely Aidne, this is sooth.
- From the land of genuine Cruithne
10] came Umor's household, across the sea,
seeking Cairpre Nia Fer in Meath,
centre of the Gaels.
- They asked for goodly lands,
all the best of Brega, with its enduring strong places;
15] Rath Cennaig, pleasant Rath Commair,
Cnogba of Brega, the Brug of Elcmar's wife,
- Oenach Tailten, the tilth of Cermna,
Tlachtga, the three Findemains,
Ath Sige of the roads, Bri Dam Dile
20] that was the land they asked for.
- Cairpre laid a demand
upon the men from over the sea,
to do service to Tara, as other tribes do,
so long as they till Erin, land of swift horses.
- 25] They bound their pledges
without more or less ado:
Cairpre took four sureties as well,
in respect of the service of his great stronghold.
- Cet mac Magach from Mag Maein
30] Ross mac Dedad from Druimm Cain,
Conall Cernach, mighty under water,
the man of feats, Cuchulaind.
- When the tribes had settled themselves in the east
round the shining sward of Temair,
35] Cairpre of the hundred exploits imposed upon them
a tax that they would not endure.
- They departed out of the east with their belongings
unto Ailill and Medb;
they settled westward of the sluggish sea,
40] round Dun Oengussa in Aran.
- Cutra was carried to his lough,
Cimbe was borne to Cimloch,
Adar built his house southward
Mil is planted upon Muirbech.
- 45] Dalach is driven upon Dail,
Enach builds his house beside him,
Bir is planted ashore at his Point,
Mod is planted upon Modlind.
- Irgus took possession of Cend Bairne,
50] Cing settled at Aigle's field,
at Laiglinne it was no mishap
settled Bairnech Barann-bel.
- Conchuirn took his just share
upon the sea in Inis Medoin,
55] Lathrach took a strong hill,
Toman took Rind Tomain.
- Asail came out of the north over the waves
as far as Munster of the great doings;
out of the north he came in his galley;
60] from him is lovely Druim Asail named.
- Conall settled in Aidne
Conall Coem, though it was but guest-right:
that is the settling of the host,
even of all the household of Umor.
- 65] When Cairpre heard this
his temper swelled high:
he sent his summons all at once
to his four guarantors.
- From the north come to his house
70] the two chariot-fighters, from the Croeb Ruad:
Ross comes from the Erainn eastward,
Cet comes from the men of Connaught.
- "Bring before me," said upright Cairpre,
"the great horde of the sons of Umor,
75] or bring me the four heads
whereon I made covenant with you for a term."
- They departed thence to Rath Cruachan
the formidable valorous four,
they set to fasting strong the compulsion
80] on the green of Cruachan of Connaught.
- The wife of Magu's son besought them
for a respite until morning,
so that Oengus the king
might take counsel as to his pledges,
- 85] Whether he would go back to the east
or would stay at Cruachan in the west,
or whether his three brothers and his son
should engage in combat on his behalf.
- This is the counsel that he fixed on:
90] against Ross he sent Cing,
to face Conall Cernach of the hundred
trophies he set Cimbe Cethar-chend:
- He set Irgus the man of many fights
over against Cet mac Magach,
95] he set the flower of his family,
Conall, to face Cuchulaind.
- The four warriors who came out of the east
departed thence under guarantees:
they had slain the well-matched four
100] that were the pick of Umor's household.
- Conall was buried with his father
under this cairn with its pile of stones
'tis certain he was a sage that named it
so thence Carn Conaill has its name.
- 105] May the Lord free from sadness succour Mac Liac,
of Linn na n-Ecess;
O Christ, let us do the pleasure
of the noble Lord who knoweth!
- This lake that shallops stir,
though it be now a lake under a stormy flood,
was once a plain blooming with whitethorn,
till it was inundated by the waters of a lake.
- 5] Its name was Mag Airbthen, laden with blackberries,
free from storm and gloomy skies,
until Ri, reddener of the young shoot, settled
on its green-topped harvest-bearing hill.
- Once on a time there came out of the west
10] the sons of Mairid, with thousands of hostages,
lordly were the prolific chieftains
with galleys full of wealth.
- To Belach Liac of the bright warriors
each of them followed his fellow:
15] Eochaid of the slender spears pressed on
till he reached the Brug in Brega of the blows.
- Eochaid we leave on one side
because his story has spread far and wide:
how the furious outburst of Loch Lindmuine
20] wrought the ruin of his shapely form.
- Ri came, with a spear across his back,
to the midst of green Mag Find;
upon it Ri of the raths, fierce in onset,
brought his cavalcade in loose order.
- 25] The plain was called in turn Tir Oenaig Midir
and Mag Find, with triumphs of rich winnings;
it is now a land guarded by saints
since the destruction of Oenach Oengusso.
- Ill-pleased was Midir at that host
30] grazing their kine on that spot,
so he brought upon them every plague that he threatened
for three hours he slept not sound.
- He afflicted them with continual wailing
their kine and oxen he killed in the first hour,
35] their horses no sudden destruction
he slew in the second hour.
- Midir came to them, in the next place,
from Donncholg in the south:
the noble righteous prince of Feine warned them
40] to be gone with all speed;
- Or that he would dispense a mess of death
among the seemly orderly host,
if they should tarry pleasure without flaw
near his Sid, and his noble field.
- 45] "There remains not alive
one of our horses in our dwelling,"
said Ri of Fuat with his men,
"to carry our chattels from thy presence."
- "I have a horse for you hard by,"
50] said Midir, right sternly,
"to carry your substance, great amount,
persons and property alike."
- "In the spot where ye shall let loose on the plain
the beautiful robust pack-horse,
55] on the
of the plain he must not shed
his water, far from the herdsman."
- "He must not stir, with your numbers of chieftains,
to roam or to stray:
he must not lie down, west or east,
60] under your charge, till far on your journey."
- "Send him from you speedily,
after loosing his heavy load:
let his bridle be left on his head
that he may come home without fraud or neglect."
- 65] "If so be he should stale under your charge,
the fiery horse with the heavy load,
I will not pardon it great the punishment,
ye shall rue loan and lending."
- "He will destroy thy children, he will throw them from him,
70] he will drown thy portion, thy kingdom:
it shall be a stormy lake after a number of days,
that shall bury in violent wise the mighty throng."
- As to what Mider said, well for thee, Rí,
if it turn out as we say:
75] but everything that Midir forbade
happened to him, and no good report came of it.
- The horse staled without delay after the journey,
and contrived to stray:
it came home in the west,
80] and left its bridle behind.
- The stale of the ruthless intractable horse
found bottom under the damp earth,
so that a sluice was needed over its bed
to confine it and to dam it wholly.
- 85] Rí the mighty well,
he builds his house about it,
the generous man sets up in truth, look you,
his bed to the west over the spring.
- Thirty years he lived over it
90] in his bed no hard couch,
till it burst with noise from its bonds
on the eve of a Monday at Lugnasad.
- Then it drowns Rí completely
and destroys his fair children:
95] it brought them under the silent ebb-tide in his house,
it drowned his wife and his household.
- It spread abroad without pause,
it was a rolling sea at violent war,
it poured forth all its stormy waters
100] over yellow-brown Mag Airbthen.
- Hence is named in every place
Loch Ri let not its name be hid!
since Ri with keen endeavour perished
beneath stormy wave and heavy waters.
- 105] Years a hundred and eleven after the birth of Christ,
not false the reckoning, was the bursting forth of Loch Rí,
higher than every summit:
it was a fitting appellation, it was a heavy water.
- Loch Erne high its leap!
was a turbulent pool, without bright tranquillity,
when first it showed its troubled waters in the north,
on a radiant evening in harvest.
- 5] Fiachu Labraind, with numerous hosts
extolled beyond every armed squadron,
unerring hand in use of spears,
was son to Smirgoll son of Smertha.
- Smertha, famed for bloody prowess,
10] was son to ever-combative Senboth,
warrior proved in seething carnage,
son of strong-armed Tigernmas.
- The chieftain arrayed the battle of Carmun,
even Fiachu Labraind it was a warlike arbitrament-
15] wherein Eochu Faebuir son of Conmael
fell ingloriously by treacherous chance.
- Fiachu right radiant, he that found Labraind,
was made king thereafter without division,
and reigned four and twenty years, 'tis sooth,
20] till Echaid Mumo slew him.
- Four outburstings reckon ye
in the reign of right-adventurous Fiachu
strong drink hath not confounded them together
the bursting of the Flesc, the bursting of the Mand,
- 25] The outbreaking of the Labraind from Liathmag
whence we draw a like name for noble Fiachu:
the bursting of blameless Loch Erne,
an imperishable name hath exalted it.
- Four battles were won by Fiachu
30] over high chieftains (a prosperous career);
the king of Berre set them in array,
down to the battle of Sliab Belgadain.
- The battle of Fairge enduring the name
the battle of radiant Sliab Femin:
35] loftily he tamed the strife,
the fierce battle of Gatlach, scene of conflict.
- A fourth battle he arrayed thereafter
against the Erainn, victory was granted before him:
he well-nigh obliterated them by his valour,
40] strong Fiachu, lord of Fobar.
- Then the lake burst forth
under the array, till it quaked with cold,
in the country, with its pure bright portion,
where dwelt the red-armed Erainn.
- 45] Hence comes the valiant title,
the name of vast Loch Erne;
though afterwards there was drowned there
the gentle comely Erne.
- The chaste Erne, who knew no art of wounding,
50] the daughter of loud-shouting Borg Bán
(the warrior was an overmatch for a powerful third)
the white-skinned son of Mainchin son of Mochu.
- The noble Erne, devoid of martial spirit,24
was chief among the maidens
in Rath Cruachan, home of lightsome sports:
women not a few obeyed her will.
- To her belonged, to judge of them,
the trinkets of Medb, famed for combats,
her comb, her casket unsurpassed,
60] with her fillet of red gold.
- There came to thick-wooded Cruachu
Olcai with grim and dreadful fame,
and he shook his beard at the host,
the sullen and fiery savage.
- 65] The young women and maidens
scattered throughout Cruach Cera
at the apparition of his grisly shape
and the roughness of his brawling voice.
- Erne fled, with a troop of women,
70] under Loch Erne, that is never dull,
and over them poured its flood northward
and drowned them all together.
- Though it may be from them 'tis a sure judgment
in presence of the hosts, and no dubious right,
75] it is an imperishable title that it has achieved,
even the name of noble Loch Erne.
- O King, may I have, safe and certain,
a sure welcome to comfort me!
may I find it in glorious Heaven,
80] O thou that didst raise up Loch Erne!