The Bodleian Dinnshenchas
Author: Whitley Stokes
An electronic edition
THE BODLEIAN DINNSHENCHAS
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost
amen, this below.
The story of the noteworthy steads of Ireland, which Amirgin
MacAulay, a poet of the Dési, to wit, the poet of Diarmait, son
of Cerball, composed.
He it is who made demand of Fintan, son of Bochra, at Tara,
when there was a great gathering of the folk of Erin round
Diarmait, son of Cerball, and Flann Febla, son of Scannlan
Saint Patrick’s successor, and Cennfaelad, son of Ailill, son of
Eogan, son of Niall, and Fintan, son of Bochra, the chief elder
of Ireland. And Amirgin fasted on Fintan for three days and
three nights in the presence of the men of Erin, both boys
and girls, at Tara, so that Fintan might declare to him the true
stories of the noteworthy steads of the Island of Erin, since he,
Fintan, had dismissed (?) every person and every tribe from it
from the time of Cessair, the maiden, of the Greeks of Scythia — she
was the first that occupied Ireland — to the reign of Diarmait, son
of Cerball. Hence said the poet, Cuan Ua Lochan,
Tara, Teltown, land of the assembly, etc.
[1. TEMUIR.] TEMUIR, then, to wit, the múr ‘rampart’ of Tea, daughter of
Lugaid, son of Ith, when she went with Geide the Loud-voiced.
In his reign everyone in Erin deemed another’s voice sweeter
than strings of lutes would be, because of the greatness of the peace
and quiet and the goodwill and friendship that each man had
for the other in Ireland. Therefore, then, is Tea-múr more
venerable than every rampart, and nobler than every heritor is its
heritor, because the covenants of Tea, daughter of Lugaid, son of
Ith, to Gede the Loud-voiced, were the first free covenants that
were given in Erin.
Or Tea, wife of Erimon, son of Míl of Spain, was buried therein.
This is truer, as the poet said:
The first woman that went into a cold grave,
Of the band from the Tower of white Breogan,
Was Bregian Tea, the wife of the King,
From whom is the name ‘true Temuir of Fál’.
[2. MAG mBREG.] Mag mBreg, to wit, Brega, the name of Dil’s ox, that is
Dil, daughter of Lugh-mannair, who went from the Land of
Promise, or from the land of Falga, with Tulchine, the druid of
Conaire the Great, son of Etirscél, son of Mess Buachalla. In
the same hour that Dil was born of her mother the cow brought
forth the calf named Falga. So the king’s daughter loved the
calf beyond the rest of the cattle, for it was born at the same
time [that she was]; and Tulchine was unable to carry her off until
he took the ox with her. The Morrígan was good unto him, and
he prayed her to give him that drove so that it might be on
Mag nOlgaidi, [which was] the first name of the plain; (and Brega
loved that plain). Hence Mag mBreg is [so] called.
Or maybe it was named from Breogan, by whom the plain
was cleared. This is truer, and hence the poet said:
Mag Breoga, palm of our origin,
As far as Tuaimm Trebain without weakness.
The eldest of the heroes over seas,
Breoga, overcame Brega.
[3. LAIGIN] Laigin, ‘Leinster’, so called from laginae, the broad green
lances which the Black Foreigners brought with them over
sea from the Continent. Two thousand and two hundred was
their number along with Labraid Loingsech the Dumb, son of
Ailill of Aine, son of Loegaire Lorc, son of Ugaine the Great.
From the time of that Labraid, among [all] the men of Ireland,
the Leinstermen are famed for championship and [for causing]
horror, and fear, and dread. For great was the virulence and the
ill-luck, and the misfortune that was inflicted upon the Leinstermen,
on themselves, before Labraid came to Ireland. Wherefore
saith the king-poet Find, son of Ross the Red, Moen doen,
etc. [untranslatable by me].
Loegaire Lorc, then, son of Ugaine the Great, he is the
ancestor of the Leinstermen. Hence ‘Laigin’ is so called.
Or it is the golden and silvern lances which the craftsmen of Erin
made for Labraid Loingsech when he came along with Ernoll,
son of the King of Denmark and the Western Isles. And it is
he that slew the king-folk in Dinn Ríg, and those lances were
plied upon the king-folk in Dinn Ríg, and on Cobthach Slender-neck,
King of Ireland, son of Ugaine. So thenceforward the
Leinstermen are called Laigin. Wherefore saith the shanachie:
Labraid Loingsech, sufficient their number,
Slew Cobthach in Dinn Ríg,
With a host of lancers over Ler’s pool:
From them Leinster was named.
“Tuaimm Tenma” was its name before that
Of the hill on which the slaughter was wrought.
It is “Dinn Rig” thenceforward,
From the killing of the king-folk.
Two thousand two hundred foreigners,
With broad lances from the continent:
From the lances which were borne there
Hence the Leinstermen are called “Laigin”.
[4. MAG LIPHI] “Mag Liphi,” whence is [the name?]
Not hard [to say]. Liphe, daughter of Cannan Curcach, eloped
with Deltbanna, son of Drucht, with the cup-bearer of Conaire
the Great, King of Tara. From Síd Buidb on Femen was he.
Since the plain over which she passed seemed beautiful to her, she
took nought save her name [to be] upon it.
Liphe, the Bright, enough of fame,
Daughter of Cannan Cétchurcach.
From her name is called the plain
To which she came out of Tara’s land.
[5. LOCH GARMAN.]Garman, son of Boimm Lecce, was drowned therein by Catháir
the Great, King of Ireland. For that Garman broke the king’s
law and justice at the Feast of Tara, to wit, he stole the queen’s
golden diadem out of Tech Midchuarta, and he used to kill her
household, for he was a brigand and a robber. Hence the poet:
Boimm Lecce’s son we announce:
Catháir the king drowned him —
Garman was the high man’s name
Thro’ bardic poems — so that he might not be a king.
Or maybe it was named from Carman Glass, son of Dega, whose
brother was Dea, from whom [are named] Inber Dea and Abann
Dea, in the district of Cualu.
[6. FID nGAIBLI.] Gabol, son of Ethamdan, son of Eces, stole the faggot which
Ange, daughter of the Dagda, had gathered to make a tub thereout.
For the tub which the Dagda had made would not cease
from dripping while the sea was in flood, [though] not a drop
was let out of it during the ebb. Then Gaible made a cast of that
faggot from Belach Fualascaig till it settled, and the wood grew
out of it on every side. Hence Fid nGaibli is now [its name].
Or, then, from the dark river named Gobul, which is at the point of
two cluains (‘lawns’), to wit, Cluain Sasta and Cluain Mór. And
it runs (?) through Fid nGaibli. As Berchán himself said:
Dear is this Gobul:
From it is the appellation
On the half of this wood:
To say so is not overmuch.
This gem of carbuncle,
In the breast of this lawn,
Carried off a great, good host.
And this is truer.
[7. MIDE.] Mide, he was the son of Broth, son of Dëath. This is why
Mide was his name, because it is he that first lit a fire in Erin
before the expedition of the children of Nemed. And the fire
spread throughout the whole of Erin, and for seven years was it
ablaze. And from that fire were kindled every chief fire and
every chief hearth in Ireland. Wherefore Mide’s successor is
entitled to a sack [of corn] with a pig from every house-top in
Ireland. And the druids of Erin said: A bad smoke [mide] to us is
the fire that hath been kindled in the land. [Whereupon] Mide
went and cut the tongues out of the heads of the druids, and
took them with him, and buried them under him in the ground
of Uisnech. So then Mide’s foster-mother, Eriu, daughter of
Umor, said this: Haughty [uais] is someone [nech] to-night!
saith she. Hence “Uisnech” and “Mide” are said.
[8. EITHNE.] Eithne, daughter of Eochaid Feidlech, mother of Furbaide,
son of Conor mac Nessa, went from Emain Macha westward to
Maive of Cruachu, for her lying-in, because the druid had said
to Clothru that her sister’s son would slay her. Then Eithne
went to bathe in the river, whereupon the stream struck her and
drowned her. Then Lugaid Mac con went and brought the boy,
even Furbaide, forth through her side. And hence “Eithne”
is the name of the river, and “Furbaide’s Cairn” over him.
Hence said the poet:
Eithne, the mother of the king’s son,
Daughter of true Eochaid Feidlech:
Through her was cut away — savage the breach (?) —
Furbaide, son of Conor.
[9. BRI LÉITH.] Liath, son of Celtchar of Cualu, a prince’s son, the fairest
that dwelt in a fairy-mound in Erin, loved Brí Bruachbrec,
daughter of Mider of the Mighty Deeds. She went from her
maidens till she was at Fertae na n-Ingen (“The Maidens’
Grave-mound”) beside Tara. Liath and his boys went forth to
Tulach na hIarmaithrige, and the slingers of Mider’s fairy-mound
did not let them pass, for as numerous as swarms (?) of bees on
a beautiful day was the mutual answer of their castings. So
Lochlán, Liath’s gillie, was wounded by them, and he died. The
maiden turns to Brí Léith, and there her heart broke. So Liath
said: Though I shall not attain the maiden, my name shall be
upon her. Hence “Brí Léith” (Liath’s Brí) and “Dinn Cochláin”
Liath, son of just Celtchar of Cualu,
Loved great Mider’s daughter,
Brí Bruachbrecc, gifted, famous,
Celtchar’s son did not attain her.
[10. TONN CLIDNA.] Clidna, daughter of Genann, son of Trén, went from Tulach
dá Roth (“the Hill of Two Wheels”) in the Pleasant Plain of the
Land of Promise, with Iuchna Curly-locks, to reach Macc ind
Oc. Iuchna practised guile upon her. He played music to
her in the boat of bronze wherein she lay, so that she slept.
And he turned her course back, so that she went round Ireland
southwards, till she came to Clidna.
This was the time that the illimitable sea-burst arose and
spread through the districts of the present world. Because there
were at that season three great floods of Erin, to wit, Clidna’s
flood, and Ladra’s flood, and Bale’s flood. But not in the same
hour did they arise. Ladra’s flood was the middle one.
So the flood pressed on aloft, and divided throughout the land
of Erin, till it overtook yon boat with the girl asleep in it, on the
strand, and there was drowned Clidna, the shapely daughter of
Genann. Hence “Tonn Clidna” (Clidna’s Wave).
[11. SLIAB BLADMA.] Bladma or Blod, son of Cú, son of Cass Clothmín, killed the
cowherd of Bregmael, the smith of Cuirche, son of Snithe, King
of Húi Fuatta. Then he went in his little boat till he set up at
Ross Bladma — Ross n-Áir, “Wood of Slaughter,” was its name
at first. Thence he went to the mountain. Hence is “Sliab
Bladma” (Bladma’s Mountain).
Whence the poet said:
Blod, son of Cú, son of Cass Clothmín,
Killed the cowherd of fair Bregmael,
The smith of Cuirche Mór, son of Snithe:
He set up at Ross Tíre ind Áir.
Or it is Blod, son of Breogan, that died there; and from him
the mountain of Bladma was named.
[12. MAG RAIGNI.] Raigne, the Roman, went from the lands of the Romans, with
a spade and a billhook on his shoulder, after letting out, in three
days, the inlet round Tours the Pure, in the lands of France.
He feared that another work like it would be imposed upon him.
So he fled till he came to Imliuch maic Echonn. That was
[then] all a wooded ridge, so Roigne cut it down with his billhook
and his spade. Hence “Mag Roigne” (Raigne’s Plain).
It is he who cleared the plain,
Roigne the Mighty, the Roman,
When he went eastward from Tours,
Fleeing away, avoiding.
[13. TETHBA.]Tethba, daughter of Eochaid Airem, was loved by a son of
Nechtán the White-shouldered, from Loch Léin, whose name
was Nóisiu. His fostermother was Ettech, daughter of Lennglass,
son of Lonn: of the Glomraide of Tracht Tuirbi was he. She
went with Tethba and with Nóisiu, son of Nechtán the White-shouldered,
till she came to Ard Umai.
My going hence will be a loss to the defence (?) of this land,
saith the girl.
That will not be true,
says her husband, for thy name
shall not be wanting to the land. But the shameful word which
thou hast left on this land will be deadly.
Grief for this will follow thee, say they.
That came true to her, for [her husband’s fostermother] Ettech
died when going southwards, even Ettech, daughter of Lennglass.
Whence “Tethba” and “Cenn Etig”.
Tethba, choice of famous women,
Daughter of Eochaid Aireman.
In the land east he hearkens,
Nóisiu, son of Nechtán, loved her.
Ettech, daughter of Glass, died,
At Cenn Ettig, of her absence.
[14. LOCH ANNIND, LOCH UAIR, LOCH CIMMI.] “Loch Anninn”, whence is it?
Not hard [to say]. Anninn and Uar, and Cimme Cethircenn,
three sons of Umor, of the kings of the Fir Bolg. Of the
Greeks was one of their two kindreds, to wit, Grecus, son of
Pont, and Danaus, son of Pont. This Danaus was the ancestor
of the Fir Bolg. The race of one of these two men prevailed
over [that of the] other, so that they did not let them have
the well-tasted water, because there is in the lands of the
Greeks control and constraint over the water. And they were
put under slavery, to wit, to drag mould [in leathern bags] on to
bare flagstones, so that there should be seven cubits deep of
mould upon them.
So they fled before that tyranny to Ireland, and they built
them barques of their bags, and they came to the lands of Ireland
and set up at loughs fresh-watered, profound, clear-pooled.
Ainninn at Lough Ainninn, in Meath; Uar at Lough Uair, in
Meath; and Cimme, in Connaught.
Three brothers, lasting their glory,
Three high-brisk sons of Ugmor,
Ainninn, Uar in Meath, (is) their place,
And Cimme in Connaught.
[15. BERBA.] Berba, into it were cast the three adders that abode in the
hearts of Méche, son of the Morrígain, after his death by Mac
Cecht in Mag Méchi (Mag Fertaigi, now was the name of that
plain formerly). The shapes of three adders’ heads were on
the three hearts that were in Méche, and, unless his death had
occurred, the adders would have grown in his belly till they would
not have left an animal alive in Ireland. So after slaying him on
Mag Luadat, Mac Cecht burnt them [the hearts] and cast their
ashes with yon stream, and it boiled, and it dissolved every one of
the animals that were therein. Wherefore thence are “Mag
Luadat”, and “Mag Méchi”, and “Berba”. Hence said the poet:
Méche’s hearts, hard the wound,
Have been drowned in the Barrow;
Their ashes, after being burnt by you,
Mac Cecht, slayer of a hundred, cast in.
[16. MAG FEMIN.] Mag Femin, whence is it? Not hard. Femen, whence was it
named? Not hard. Femen, then, and Fera, two brothers, to
wit, two sons of Moagab, son of Dachar of the clan of Brath, son
of Dëath. One billhook and one shovel of iron between the two.
When Femen was shovelling, Fera was hacking. When Fera
was shovelling, Femen was hacking. And each of them used to
fling his billhook and his shovel in his proper turn to the other
over the plain into Rae Urchuir (‘Field of a cast’). Hence “Mag
Femin”, and “Mag Fera”.
Femen, Fera, truth of knowledge,
Of the pure-formed seed of Dëath:
It is they that cleared the two plains,
Fera, Femen, of wood.
[17. SLIAB MIS.] Mis, daughter of Mairid, sister of Eochaid, son of Mairid,
stayed with Congancness, son of Deda, after the flitting of her
folk. And the heritage and patrimony, for which she gave up
her family and her kin, is on yon mountain. Hence “Sliab Mis”
Mairid’s very cunning daughter,
Mis, with margins of land, remained (?)
After her folk emigrated, without prohibition,
With the fair offspring Congancneiss.
[18. LOCH LEIN.] The Lake, that is, of Lén Linnfiaclach, son of Ban Bolgach,
son of Bannach. He was the craftsman of Síd Buidb (“Bodb’s
Fairy-mound”). It is he that was under the lake making the
bright vessel of Fann the Long-haired, daughter of Flidais.
Every night, after quitting his work, he used to fling his anvil
away to the Indeoin na nDése (“The Anvil of the Dési”), to the
mound; and the showers which, thereafter, it used to cast forth
from the back, they are the pearls which were there sown by it.
Nithnemannach did the same in beating out the cup of Conor
mac Nessa in the north. Hence is “Loch Lein” and the “Anvil
of the Dési”.
Lén Linnfiaclach, son of Ban Bolgach,
Under Lough Léin . . . manifest,
A craftsman without a black deed, without reproach,
Distributed bright vessels under heaven.
[19. SLIAB CUA.] Cua Great-head, son of Broccshalach Wither-kneed, fosterling
of Boible, son of Birurchae. In the time of Conall the Flat-nailed,
a great murrain invaded Ireland, so that there was found
only one bull and one heifer in Glenn Samaisce. [Now those belonged to Boible]. Each of
Boible’s fosterlings was sent in his turn to guard the cattle. When
Cua Great-head came to his turn to guard them, he acted
treacherously regarding them. He took them with him, and
made a cooking-pit for them, and devoured them on the mountain.
Whence “Sliab Cua”.
Cua Great-head, with a fair form,
Son of Broccsalach Wither-kneed.
A fosterling who devoured his cow on the mountain.
He was a fosterling with a blind reason.
[20. LUIMNECH.] Luimnech, hence is it [so] called, when the contest arose
between the two champions who were with the king of Munster
and the king of Connaught. Rind and Foebur were their names;
two brothers were the twain, to wit, two sons of Smucaill, son of
Baccdub. One of the twain took service with Bodb of Síd Femin
in Munster. The other took service with Ocaill in Connaught, of
Síd Cruachan especially. So they displayed their swineherd’s art,
and collected, from south and from north, a great assembly at the
frontier at the inver, every hero in each of the two assemblies
having a shield (lumain). They began the game at the stream (of
the Shannon). That was the time when the flood came at the
turn [of the tide]. So then said the onlookers, to and fro, from
Tul Tuinne, by the stream of the Shannon, with its deadly blow:
The inver now is full of shields (luimnechda)!
Or, when the champions were contending, a wave of the flood
tore their shields away from them. So the two kings exclaimed
from the hillock named Tul Tuinne (“Front of the Wave”):
The inver is now luimnechda, that is, full of shields, say
That, then, is the right mering of the two provinces [Munster
and Connaught]. Hence “Luimnech” is said.
Whence is ‘Luimnech’, the garth of the ships,
I am mindful without error:
When the stream turned, without affliction of wounds,
The great shields of the soldiers.
[21. SLIAB nECHTGA.] Echta the Awful, daughter of Aurscothach, son of Tinne Tromm
of the Tuatha Dé Donann. She was reared at Cúil Echtair beside
[Síd] Nenta, by Moach Baldhead. The cupbearer of Gann and Sengann
was wooing her, even Fergus son of Ruide, Lusca Béist. Why he
was called “Lusca Béist” was because from his cradle (lusca),
that is, from his infancy, he nourished a monster (béist) in his
Now the girl consented to marry him for sake of the cook-and-cupbearer’s
land that he held from the King of Connaught. It
extended from Moen to the sea. Fergus had no [movable]
wealth, though he had land. The girl, however, had wealth,
though she had neither land nor heritage. And this is what she
demanded of him, even a firm fother (?) with its stock. Yon mountain,
even Echtga, was entrusted to her, and two cows are now
brought there, a cow from the north and a cow from the south.
And the cow from the north yields a third more milk than the
cow from the south. Hence “Sliab Echtga”.
Echta the Awful, above every fame,
Conspicuous daughter of Aurscathach,
She demanded a mountain, which she robbed not,
From Fergus, as her bride-price.
[22. MAG nAIDNE.] Aidne, son of Allguba, son of Ethrél, he is the first man that
kindled fire continually before the sons of Míl the Spaniard, in
every stead wherein they pitched a camp. Because he needed
only to put one of his palms over the other, whereupon sparks of
fire, as from a firebrand, would come out of his knuckles, and the
sparks were as large as fresh wild apples at the beginning of
their harvesting. And he it is that cleared the plain. Whence
“Mag Aidne” (Aidne’s Plain) is said. Or mayhap it was so
named after his death thereon. This is truer.
The son of Allguba, such was his virtue,
Son of Ethrél beautiful, exceeding gentle,
Was the first chief who lighted a blaze
Before the sons of mighty Míl.
[23. PORT LAIRGE.] Once upon a time, Roth, son of Citheng, son of the King of
Inis Aine, went from the lands of the Fomorian countries with a
chief (?) of the land to go round his boundary, when he heard
somewhat, the burden of the mermaids of the Ictian Sea. This
is the form that he beheld, the mermaid with the shape of a
grown-up girl. Above the water she was most smooth; but below
the water her lower parts were hairy-clawed and bestial. So
the monsters devoured him and cast him away in joints. And
the sea carried his two thigh-bones to yonder port, and the share
of a hundred would fit on the flat of each bone. Hence Port
Lairge (“Port of the Thighbone”) is [so] called.
Hence is the haven called
Port Lairge of the broad axes.
There was found a thigh, .... of the sea,
Of Roth, son of Citheng the hundred-slayer.
[24. SEIG MOSSAD.] Mossad, son of Maen, son of Flesc Find (“White Rod”) found
the hawk on Mag Eoin. He fed it and nourished it till it used to
eat the herds of horses, and the droves of cattle, and the human
beings by twos and threes. And when at last it found nothing
to devour, it turned on the plain against its fosterer Mossad,
even Mossad, son of Maen. Hence Mag Mossad (“Mossad’s
Plain”) and Seig Mossad (“Mossad’s Hawk”).
Mossad, son of Maen, a fair faggot,
Son of Flesc Find, a good man,
Nurtured a hawk for joyous hunting:
Its desire was in great destruction.
[25. MAG MAIN.] Maen of the Mighty-deeds, the barber of the sons of Míl: he
was the first man who shaved [others] in Erin, to wit, after the
expedition of the sons of Míl. Now the first man who was
shaved in Ireland was Fobarr Foltchain. This is the first barber’s
fee that was given in Erin, to wit, Berramain, that is, a
land in reward (cumáin) of his shaving (berrtha). He died, then,
without a lie, in Mag Móin.
Or maybe it was recompense of his shaving that the plain . . .
. . . only: whence are “Moenmag” and “Berramain”.
Or maybe it was in wage for his barbering that the sons of Míl
gave Berramain to Moen. And this is truer.
Moen was dead, with fineness of valours,
On Mag Moen [as] we have heard.
He obtained without disputes through battle
Berramain as a reward for shaving.
[26. ATH CLIATH LA CONNACHTA.] A hurdle (cliath) of whitethorn and brambles the seven Maines
made, to wit, the seven sons of Maine of Cruachu, even Maine
Fatherlike, and Maine Motherlike, and Maine Míngor, Maine
Mórgor, Maine Andae, Maine Mó-epert (greater his conception
and his substance), Maine Con-da-gaib uili, and Crithcen Croderg,
Etáin’s handmaid — from her Mag Cruachan is named. Those
are they who set the hurdles [in the ford] against the warriors of
Munster after taking the drove of the kine of Dartaid, daughter
of Regaman. Afterwards help came to them from Cruachu.
Hence Ath Cliath (“Ford of Hurdles”).
The seven Maines, with numbers of valours,
Against the men of Munster wrought
Hurdles of brambles, pleasant indeed.
On the Driving of Dartaid’s cows.
[27. MAG CRUACHAN.] Cruachu, or Crochen, handmaid of Etáin, who eloped with
Mider of Brí Léith from Oenach Oengusa. To him Sinech of Síd
Cruachan was a friend. She [Etáin] went with him because of
her fondness for him, to converse with him. They were detained
in Síd Cruachan for nine watches. So Etáin thought that that
síd (fairy-mound) belonged to Mider. Is this thy dwelling?
she asked. Nay, said Mider: eastward, nearer to sunrise
than this, is the place of my dwelling. What profit, then,
have we in visiting this fairy-mound? says Crochen. That
plain will bear thy name for ever, to wit, ‘Mag Cróchan’. And
hence is Raith Maige Cruachan (“the Earthwork of Cruachu’s
Plain”), from Cruachu, Etáin’s handmaid, [so called] because her
head was blood-red, together with her eyebrows and eyelashes.
Hence “Mag Cruachan”.
Crochen Cróderg, shapely, beautiful,
Etáin’s handmaid, asked.
When she went with Mider of Brí Léith
She obtained the earthwork as her deithe (?).
[28. MAG TARBGAL.] From the conflict and contest of the two bulls, Findbennach
(“White-horned”) and Donn Cuailnge (“the Dun of Cuailnge”),
after the drove was taken at Cnoc Tarbgai.
Findloch, the lake of Findbennach, from the death of the
Findbennach [caused] by the Donn Cuailnge in the lake.
Whence is said “Findloch”, and the poet said:
Mag Tarbga, whence was it spoken?
From the contest of the strong-sated bulls.
Thro’ the death of the Find very early,
Thence the Find-loch is called.
[29. LOCH NEILL.] Niall, son of Enna Aignech, son of Oengus Turmech, son of
Ailill of the Twisted Teeth; he was the leader of the brigands
of Ireland in the reign of Conall Cromderg, son of Labraid
Luchta. He went on the track of the swine of Drebrenn, when
they issued from Síd Collamrach, till he found them in the oak
wood of Tarbga. They, both hounds and men, drove the swine
before them, along the Plain of Ai — for that, Ai, was the name of
Enna Aignech’s hound. As they reached the lough, Niall was
drowned therein with his dogs and his robbers. Hence “Loch
Niall, with hundreds of chiefs, was drowned
On the track of thy swine, O Drebrenn!
He was a prime traitor, a strong tower,
The leader of the brigands of Ireland.
[30. MAG LUIRG.] Thence the three Red-wolves of Mairténe followed the track
(lorg) of Conall Cernach, son of Aimergen, from Mag Luirg to
Mag Slecht, in Brefne. When they slew him they took his head
southwards to the district of Corco Laigdi.
The Red-wolves slew in exchange
Conall Cernach of the hard conflicts.
They followed [him] from Mag Luirg hither
To Mag Slecht of the great valour.
[31. LOCH nDECHET.] Dechet, the rath-builder of Glass, son of Cass, erected Suide
Aeda (“Aed’s Seat”) over Ess Ruaid (“Ruad’s Cataract”). After
he had done his work for Aed the Red, son of Badurn, son of
Maine Milscothach, he demanded the price of his work, to wit,
the produce of the cataract. Aed gave it to him, lest the men
of Connaught should have a quarrel about the produce of Ess
Ruaid. For that reason the tower was erected by the Children
He, Dechet, was [still] demanding the wage for the work he
had done. There was given to him [the land] as far as Mag
Lunga, that is, as far as the Plain of Eating (loingthe) [so called],
because it was there that he consumed his food and his drink,
until he was drunk and merry-minded with ale, with milk, with
broth, with fish. Then he went into a frenzy of madness till he
reached the lough, and was drowned therein. Hence, as stories
tell, Lough Dechet is [so] called.
Dechet went on a foolish path,
After consuming his day’s provisions;
In confusion, without delight of conflicts,
So that Lough Dechet drowned him.
Hence “Loch nDechet” is said.
[32. LOCH CON.] The hounds of Manannan mac Lir and the hounds of Mod, from
whom Insi Mod are named, met together around the pig that
devastated the land about them, even Insi Mod. Unless the
hounds had come between them and the pig it would have been
a criathar as far as Albion, that is, it would have been a desert.
The pig sprang before the hounds into the lake. The dogs
rushed after it. It pressed them together on the lough, and not a
hound escaped from it alive without mangling and without
drowning. After that the pig went to the island which is on the
lough. Hence Loch Con (“Lake of the Hounds”) and Muicc-inis
The hounds of Manannan mac Lir,
And the hounds of Mod the very swift,
A pig destroyed them with its maw (?)
At Lough Con, at Muicc-inis.
[33. SINANN.] Sinann, daughter of Lodan Lucharglan, of the Land of Promise,
went to Condla’s Well under the sea, a well whereat are the
hazels and .... of knowledge, and [nine] hazels of ....
And in the same hour their fruit and their flowers and their
leaves burst forth. In the same hour they fall in a single shower
on the well, and it raises on it a royal wave of purple bubbles,
and the salmon chew that fruit, and it is the juice of the nuts that
is put up in the purple bubbles. And seven chief streams spring
out of the well, and each stream turns back till it reaches the well,
which is deemed by everyone the Well of Knowledge.
Now the maiden went to seek the lore, for nothing was wanting
to her save only knowledge. So she went with the stream till she
came to Linn Mná Féle (“the Pool of the Modest Woman”),
and the well ebbed, and she followed it to the banks of the river
Tarr-chain (“Fair Belly”). After this the river overwhelmed her
and turned her belly (tarr) supine upon her, and she tasted
death after reaching the land of this side.
Hence is “Sinann” and “Linn Mná Féle” and “Tarrchain”.
Sinann went a bondmaid’s round
To a well which was exhausted (?).
A wave smote her without a warm ...
It was not an addition of ...
[34. DRUIM CLIAB.] Druim Cliab, Curnan Blackfoot’s boatframes (cléib curaig) were
made there when he went to destroy Dún Barc on Annle, son of
Loa Longhand, and he was a year and a half at them. Then
Said Curnan Blackfoot, son of Reo-doirche (“Dark-streak”),
Somewhat is the thing to which men go. As said [the poet]:
The son of Reo-doirche the pleasant,
The grandson of Curnan the hard, long-headed,
Made wicker-frames, long has it been heard,
At Druim Cliab when he was on an expedition.
[35. NEMTHENN.] Strong (tenn) poison (neini) was given there by Drecu, daughter
of Calcmael, to Fergus Red-side’s four-and-twenty sons, so that the
whole of them died at the same hour. So that therefore it is
called Nemthenn. Hence is said in the Conquests of Ireland:
Four-and-twenty persons, not false,
Twice twelve men [is] that,
Six tetrads, that, brave the yoke,
Were killed by Drecu.
[36. BOANN.] Bóann, wife of Nechtán, son of Labraid, son of Nama, went with
the cupbearers to the well of the green of the fortress. Whoever
went alone to it came not from it without disgrace. Now these
were the names of the cupbearers whom Nechtán had, even
Flesc and Lesc and Luam. Unless the cupbearers went to the
well, no human being would come from it without disgrace.
Then, with pride and haughtiness, the queen went [alone] to the
well, and said that it had no secret or power unless it could disgrace
her shape. And she went round the well withershins thrice,
to perceive the well’s [magic] power. Out of the well three waves
break over her, and suddenly her right thigh and her right hand
and her right eye burst, and then she fled out of the fairy-mound,
fleeing the disgrace and fleeing the well, so that she reached the
sea with the water [of the well] behind her. And the Inber
Bóinne (“Rivermouth of Boyne”) drowned her. Hence “Bóann”
and “Inber Bóinne”.
[One] day Boyne of the mark of Bregia
Broke every fence as far as the white sea;
‘Bóann’ was the name on [that] day
Of the wife of Nechtán, son of Labraid.
[37. DUBTHAIR.] The Black Land (Dub-thír) of Guaire mac in Daill (“Son of
the Blind”) is that. Because Guaire committed parricide at Daiminis,
on his brother, on Dairíne Dubchestach, son of the Blind,
slaying him out of envy and treachery. So a wood and a dark
thicket spread over Guaire’s land. And thence Dubthair is so
Guaire killed brown Daire
Without shame, he counted it not a great destruction:
His [own] father’s son, an enormous offence,
Killing him through evil envy.
[38. DUIBLINN.] Dub, daughter of Rodub, son of Glas Gamna, was near Endae,
son of Noess, in Síd Forcarthan. He loved Aíde, daughter of
Ochinne, son of Conucha. Dub knew that there was another
woman along with him. Aíde went between the sea and the
stream . . . so that . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . over Cnucha.
Margen, Ochinne’s gillie, perceived that. He shot a feat-apple
which was in his hand, and the strength of the blow fell upon her
[Dub], and the flood overwhelmed her. Hence Dub-lind (“Dub’s
Pool”) and Ath Cliath Margeni (“Margene’s Hurdle-ford”),
because his shot fell therein, in the ford.
Dub, daughter of Rodub the bright-speared,
Son of Glas Gamna of the bright weapons.
Mairgen quelled the queen of mad-folk.
He was Ochenn’s very gentle gillie.
[39. SLIAB MAIRGE.] Marg, son of Giuscach, son of Ladan of Luachair, steward of
the King of the Fomorians. Centarcluas, that is a hundred ears
he had on his . . . . In the time of Eochaid Muniste, King of
Leinster, he [Marg] went to Ireland to levy his tribute. The
Leinstermen gathered his steward’s tribute for him to Belach
[nE]deinn. Now there came to him plenty of food, but no
liquor, and he got into a hurry to eat his food. So he devoured
the flesh in heaps, and it was dry. A sore thirst came to him, and
dryness of throat attacked him, so he dashed his head against
the end of the mountain, and thereby he afterwards perished.
Hence Sliab Mairge, “Marg’s Mountain”, is called.
Marg, son of Giuscach, without a bright deed,
Son of Lodan the Red, a steward,
His throat dried up without water (?)
On his rounds [to gather] Centarcluas’ tribute.
[40. CRECHMAEL.] Crechmael, the buffoon of Enna Cennselach, King of Leinster,
fell there when he was making an urgent request to a grown-up
girl, to wit, Sempait, daughter of Bethra. The buffoon was on
a begging tour from one country into another, and he found her
driving her cattle [home] at twilight. He put his hand on the
girl to force her. She turned against him, fetched him a blow
with her cow-spancel on his skull, and made splinters of his head.
Sampait, daughter of Bethra the lasting,
When she was a-herding with her kine —
Not half-blunt was the work —
Killed Crechmael, the fair landowner.
[41. LIA NOTHAIN.] Nothain [was] an old woman of Connaught, and from the
time she was born her face never fell on a field, and her thrice
fifty years were complete. Her sister once went to have speech
with her. Sentuinne (“Old Woman”) was her name: her husband
was Sess Srafais, and Senbachlach (“Old-Churl”) was another
name for him. Hence said the poet:
Sentuinne and Senbachlach,
A seis srofais be their withered hair!
If they adore not God’s Son
They get not their chief benefit.
From Berre, then, they went to her to bring her on a plain on
May-day. When she beheld the great plain, she was unable to
go back from it, and she planted a stone (lia) there in the ground,
and struck her head against it and .... and was dead. It
will be my requiem . . . . I plant it for sake of my name.
Whence Lia Nothan (“Nothan’s stone”).
Nothain, daughter of Conmar the fair,
A hard old woman of Connaught,
In the month of May, glory of battle,
She found the high stone.
[42. ESS RUAID.] Ruad, daughter of Maine Milscothach, son of Donn Dessa,
chose Aed, son of Labraid Speckle-thigh, son of Roga Rodam.
She came out of the Illathach of Mag Móin in the boat of Abcán
the poet. She went with Gaeth, son of Gass Glan, to Oenach
Fer Fidga. The girl alone hoisted her sail of bronze on her boat,
and went to the river-mouth. And Aed, from the Seat whereon
he was, perceived her. The girl knew not on what land she had
chanced, till she heard in the river-mouth a burden of seamaids
which no one else had ever heard therein. Said the girl: This
is the brightest inver in Erin! [And she fell asleep and tumbled
over the bow of her vessel, and was drowned.] Hence Ess Ruaid
(“Ruad’s Cataract”) has been so called.
Ruad was a queen with fame,
Daughter of Maine Milscothach;
A swift wave of the flood drowned her,
The wife of the son of Labraid Lessbrecc.
Or this is truer: Aed the Red, son of Badurn of Ulster, was
drowned there while swimming the cataract. Hence it was
named Ess Ruaid (“Ruad’s Cataract”).
[43. CNOGBA.] Englic, daughter of Elcmaire, loved Oengus mac ind Óc, and
she had not seen him. They held a meeting for games there
between Cletech and Síd in Broga. The Bright Folk and fairy-hosts
of Ireland used to visit that game every Halloween, having
a moderate share of food, to wit, a nut. From the north went
three sons of Derc, son of Ethaman, out of Síd Findabrach,
and they eloped with Elcmaire’s daughter, [going] round the
young folk without their knowledge. When they knew it, they
ran after her as far as the hill named Cnogba. Great lamentation
they made there, and this is the feast that supported them,
their gathering. Hence “Cnogba”, that is, cnó-guba “nut-lamentation”,
from the lamentation they made at yon gathering.
Hence is Cnogba of the troops,
So that every host deems it famous,
From the lamentation after reaping nuts ....
Following Elcmaire’s daughter.
[44. MAG MURISCE.] A huge sea-fish, whose name was Rossualt, the sea cast ashore
there, and this is the animal whose secret Colomb cille used to declare
to every one, to wit, three vomitings it would make, and this
was the portent of each of them, to wit, a vomiting in the sea, with
its tail on high: [this portended] foundering of boats, and barques,
and ships, and destruction to the animals of the sea in that year: a
vomiting in the air, with its tail down, while it cast its vomit
upwards: [this portended] destruction to the flying animals of
the air in that year. Another vomiting throughout a land, so
that the land would stink: [this portended] destruction to human
beings and to cattle in that year. That animal may have existed
in the time of the Aeds and of Colomb cille. Hence Dallán
said: He read Rossualt’s secrets among the Scripture-schools.
Or a flood of great sea-fish took place there in the time of the
Garb Glunraige, so that they filled the glens and slopes of the
land on the side towards the sea.
Or maybe it was Muresc, daughter of Ugaine the Great, son of
Eochaid the Victorious, to whom that plain was given. Or maybe
it was there that Muresc died. Unde Mag Muirisc.
The great sea cast up a sea-fish,
Whose name was Rossualt royal-great;
Ruthless was the deed, without wrong,
Which Colomb cille foretold.
The inundation of a dead fish, a warm flood,
At the time of Garbesc Glúnraige
The sea belched forth, with thousands of children,
Throughout Erin’s four lands.
If it is she, Muiresc dark, rapacious,
A vehement girl, grandchild of good Echaid,
It was a land of kine, without arrangement of contract,
She got the plain as far as the great sea.
[45. DRUIM SUAMAIG.] Suamach, son of Samguba, [was] the shanachie and foster-father
of Cormac, and Caindlech was his foster-mother, was
Caindlech. A daughter of Gaimgeilt, son of Rodba of the children
of Macc Tuaig Duib (“son of a Black Axe”), son of Conall
Congancnis, was Caindlech.
When Cormac went from the west, from Cruachu of Connaught,
to seize the kingdom of Ulster, his foster-father remained behind
him in the west, because he knew that his fosterling would fall,
and that he would never be king of Ulster. [But afterwards]
Suamach went from the west after his fosterling to keep him back,
lest Cormac should suffer death by fire. When he reached
Druim Suamaig, there he beheld the blaze of the destruction —
Or, when he came to Tulach Dér “Hill of Tears”, to wit, the
tears of the Great Dagda, which he shed in bewailing his son
Cermat, there he beheld the blaze of the destruction —
in Bruden da Choca. So his heart broke in Suamach. And
on Móin Caindlig, Caindlech heard that her fosterling was
burnt alive. Hence “Druim Suamaig” and “Móin Caindlig”.
Suamach, son of Samguba, sat, [followed?]
The shanachie of Cormac Conlonges,
And Caindlech, bright assembly,
She was his foster-mother.
[46. TUAG INBIR.] Tuag, daughter of Conall Collamair, son of Etirscél, King of
Tara [was reared, apart from men, to be wooed by the King of
Erin]. When the Feast of Tara was held by Conall Collamair,
the folk of Ireland, both men and women, were gathered unto it.
[Thither also] went Fiugail, son of Eogabail, a fosterling of Manannan
mac Lir. He chose Tuag, daughter of Conall Collamair,
to take her with him [for Manannan] into the Land of Everliving
Women. So by means of art magic he took her in her sleep,
without her perceiving it, to the inver of Glass mac . . . . He
laid her down [still] sleeping by the side of the inver, so that he
might go to take counsel with Manannan; but after he had gone,
a wave came over her at the inver, and drowned her. Or maybe
it was Manannan himself that was carrying her off, as is manifest
in the stave:
The Three Waves of the whole of Erin:
Clidna’s Wave, Rudraige’s Wave,
And the wave that drowned Mac Lir’s wife
At the strand over Tuag Inbir.
Fer Fiugail the hurtful went,
The son of Eogabal the high-stately:
He carried off Tuag — it was not . . . .
Daughter of Conall Collamair.
[47. CLEITTECH.] Clettech, son of Dedad, son of Sen, died there.
Or Clet-ach Erenn, that is, the roof (clethe) of the groans (ach)
of Ireland, because of the lamentation which the men of Ireland
made there, bewailing Cormac, grandson of Conn, King of Erin.
Or it may be the roof (clethe) of the houses (tech) of Ireland
which was burnt there on Cormac. And that is not true but it
was on Muirchertach, son of Erc, and he was an uterine brother
of Bishop Mel’s. Hence Bishop Mel sang [the following staves],
and hence “Cletech” is so named.
The King, son of Erc, turned,
When he was borne to the side of Húi Néill:
Blood sought girdles in every [battle]field,
He increased territories afar.
I am afraid of the woman (Sín),
Round whom move many storms (sína),
For the man who will be burnt in fire,
Whom wine will drown beside Clettech.
[48. CERNA.] Cerna, then, son of Ailill Olcháin, was buried there.
“Cerna, Cermna,” etc.
Or Cerniam was the name of the chief of the fairy-mound
which is there. After him that hill has been named from that
[49. CLOENLOCH.] Cloen, son of Ingor of Cluain, the first merchant who went
out of Scotland into Ireland with a prince’s treasures. There
he died, at yonder lough. And in the same year were the outbursts
of Loch Dacaech, etc. Whence Cloenloch is named.
Cloen, son of Ingor of Cluain, went
A chariot-owner, a crichid (?), a merchant,
With prince’s treasures, a wolf (?) proved them;
There he died, at Cloenloch.
[50. LOCH DACAECH.] Dacaech, daughter of Cicol Gligarglúnech, and her mother
was Fuata, and this is what was produced between them [Cicol
and Fuata], one blind daughter. She escaped from them out of
the port, and killed herself in yonder lake. Hence “Loch
Dacaech” is [so] named. Whence said the poet:
Dacaech, daughter of Cicol of Carn,
. . . . horrible, green-rough,
. . . . . . .
Until she caused her [own] death.
[51. SRUTHAIR MATHA.] Matha, son of Roiriu, son of Roga the Law-giver, was the
royal swineherd of Catháir the Great. He and the swineherd of
Conn of the Hundred Battles, namely, Odba Uanchenn, son of
Blae Broad-limb, son of Cathlomna Linne, contended together.
There was a fruitful oakwood in the west of the Plain of Macha,
and never has there been an oakwood more fruitful. From what
point soever the wind would blow over it, the odour thereof
would be a heart-break to the swine of Ireland, so that they went
mad in seeking the oakwood. The odour reached the herds of
Catháir the Great. Following the odour of the oakwood went
the swine, that is, the swine of Leinster together with the swine of
Catháir the Great, as far as the Meeting of Three Waters. The
swineherd ran to drive them away, and he fell, and his frontal
bone broke out of his head. So he went to quench his ardour
with that stream, and was drowned therein. And a certain man
exclaimed from the brink of the stream, Ah! the stream (sruth)
over (dar) Matha! Hence “Sruthar Matha”.
Matha, son of Roiriu, with battle,
Was a royal swineherd till he contended.
He went under the buoyant stream,
Roga’s son with great gifts.
[52. MAG n-ITHA.] Mag n-Itha, the Plain of Ith, from Ith, son of Breogan, who
was killed there in battle against a host of spectres and against
the Tuatha Dé Danann.
Or when Ith, son of Breogan, went out of Spain with thirty
ships to Irrus Corco-duibne, in Erin, he fared throughout Ireland
northwards to Ailech Néit, a place wherein, with Nechtain Red-hand,
King of the Fomorians, were three kings of Ireland, to
wit, Macc Cuill, Macc Cecht, and Macc Gréne. Since out of
bitterness they were spiteful and envious towards Ith, he bade
them farewell, and went on to Mag n-Itha, where he was killed,
because of his goodness and his worth. Wherefore, to avenge
him, Lugh, son of Ith’s wife, sailed [to Ireland] with thirty ships.
Whence is said:
Ith, son of Breogan, a victory not fame,
In Mag n-Itha was killed.
Men in the form of slaves despatched him
For spite and for envy.
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