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

poem 52

Slige Dala

  1. 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?
  2. 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.
  3. Four of them came over sea,
    10] the family of puissant Edlec,
    fleeing before the green-shielded Scythians,
    because hostings were constantly dreaded.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

  6. p.279

  7. At his ramparts, in a paltry fight in sooth,
    fell the warrior Cannan;
    this chieftain possessed in the north
    Cluain Cannain in Crich Ele.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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:

  13. p.281

  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.

  20. p.283

  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.

  27. p.285

  28. 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.
  29. In this wise were discovered
    the roads, the ancient mearings,
    as I found their high origin,
    100] their traditional rights, their local legends.

  30. p.287