The Prose Tales in the Rennes Dindshenchas
Author: Whitley Stokes
An electronic edition
This is the story of the notable steads of Ireland, which
Amorgein mac Aulay, the poet to the Dési of Tara, composed.
He was Diarmait son of Cerball’s poet. Tis he that made demand
of Finntan son of Lamech at Tara, when there was a
convention of the men of Erin round the king of Tara, Diarmait
son of Cerball, and round Fland Febla son of Scandlán
a successor of (Saint) Patrick, and round a sage of the men of
Ireland, Cenn-foelad son of Ailill, son of Eogan, son of Niall
and round Finntan son of Lamech the chief elder of Ireland.
And Amorgein fasted on Finntan for three days and three
nights, in the presence of the men of Erin and boys and girls
at Tara, so that Finntan might declare to him the stories of the
noteworthy steads of the island of Erin, because Finntan
had dismissed from it every person and every generation
from the time of Cessair daughter of Bith — ’tis he who
who first occupied Ireland — till the reign of Diarmait son
of Cerball. So he said this:
1. TE-MAIR then, quoth Amorgein, is the múr
of Tea daughter of Lugaid son of Ith, when she wedded
Geide the Loud-voiced. Tis in his reign that every one in Erin
deemed the other’s voice as sweet as strings of lutes would be,
because of the greatness of the peace and the friendship that
each man had for the other in Ireland. Therefore, then, is
that rampart more venerable than every rampart, because these
are Erin’s first free covenants, the covenants of Tea daughter
of Lugaid with Geide the Loud-voiced.
2. Or Te-mair, that is Teipe-múr, that is the rampart of
Tephe daughter of Bachter king of Spain. ’Tis she that lived
with Canthon son of Cathmenn king of Britain, till she died
with him, and Heithiurún, the idol of the Britons, had been
given as security) for her return (to Spain) whether alive or
dead. So after her death she was brought to Spain, and there
a rampart was built around her to wit, Teipe-múr. Now Tea
Eremon’s wife saw that, to wit, the rampart of Tephis. She
went to Ireland with her husband, and every hill she would
choose in Erin was given to her, and afterwards she designed
[on the hill of Tara] a rampart like the rampart of Tephis,
and therein she was buried. Hence it is called Temair.
3. Temair and Druim Cain Beautiful Ridge and
Liathdruim Grey-ridge and Cathair Crofinn Crofinn’s
city and Druim nDéscen Prospect Ridge those are Tara’s
4. Or thus: Temair: Authors affirm that the name of this
town which we call Temoria is derived from the Greek word
Θεωρέω which in Latin is interpreted conspicio; and every
conspicuous and eminent place, whether on a plain or in a
house or wherever it may be, may be called by this word.
Temair. Thus it is found in this Scotic saying, temair na
tuaithe or temair in toige, which sentence Cormac, when treating
of this name, has inserted in his Glossary. This town
therefore, claims for itself what is common to many [i.e. the
name Temair], and as it now surpasses all [other] Irish towns,
aptly possesses their common name, for its ruler even to this
day obtains the sovranty of the whole island of the Scots.
TARA’S REMARKABLE PLACES, THIS BELOW.
5. Nemnach, a well which is at the elf-mound in the
north-eastern part of Tara. Out of Nemnach comes a stream
named Nith. ’Tis on this that the first mill was built in Ireland
for the benefit of Ciarnait, Cormac’s bondmaid.
6. The site of Mairisiu’s House is over the elfmound
to the north of Nemnach, and there are three small stones
about it. Thus was that house settled: its floor high and its
túarad (?) very low. Now Mairisiu was a widow contemporary
with Cormac. Every house that is settled in that wise
will not be gloomy and will not be without treasures in it.
7. To the north of that is the Fort of Loeguire son of Níall.
Therein are four doors facing the cardinal points, and Loeguire’s
body, with his shield and spear, was set in the outer
south-easterly rampart of Loeguire’s royal fort at Tara, with
his face to the south, fighting against Leinster, to wit, the
clann of Bresal Brecc.
8. Beside the Fort of Loeguire on the south-east is the
Grave of Níata of the Mighty Deeds, a plundering (?) soldier
who lived with Cormac. One day four warriors were playing
beside the Fort of Loeguire on the south-east. Níata pressed
down the four of them into the ground above the narrows of
9. The Kings’ Fort beside the Fort of Loeguire on the
north. In this are three strange things, to wit, the site of Cormac’s
House in the south-eastern part of the Fort on the side to
the south of Ráith Loeguiri: the site of the High-seat beside
the site of Cormac’s House on the east; and between them Tea’s
Rampart, from which was named Temair, i.e. Tea-múr,
that is, the hillock between the two ramparts on the southern
side it is.
10. Cormac’s Caprach (?), a well under the eastern side of
the Kings’ Fort. And it has three names, to wit, Leech and
The White Cow’s Well and Dark Eye. Hence is (the saying)
Its Calf does not go to its Leech; one of the two (wells
respectively called Calf and Leech) being east of Tara and the
other west of Tara.
11. The Mound of the Cow, that is, the green of Tara to
the west of the Mound of the Hostages.
12. The Mound of the Hostages to the north-east of the
site of the High-seat.
13. Fál beside the Mound of the Hostages on the north,
to wit, the stone that used to roar under the feet of every King
that would take possession of Ireland. Of that stone the name
was Fál, i.e. fo-ail under-stone, i.e. a stone under a
14. The Monument of Cú and Cethen on the hillslope as
high as (?) the Kings’ Fort on the west. Two stones are there,
one of them Cú’s monument, the other Cethen’s: and there is
a proverb: Thou hast acted for me Cú and Cethen. That
is, Cú killed Cethen, Cormac’s spencer, in the midst of the
house, and thereafter went straight under the height of Tara
westward, and there he was overtaken, and a kinsman of the
man whom he had slain slew him, and Cormac had said
that Cú should not be killed, but no interposition was found
until they — Cú and Cethen — had both been killed.
15. There is a well in the slope northwards from Cethen’s
monument. Calf is its name, and it springs due westward.
16. The site of Cormac’s Kitchen is upon its brink on the
hillslope over Calf to the east.
17. The Fort of the Synods over against the Mound of the
Hostages. The Fort of a Synod to the north of Fál.
18. The site of Adamnán’s Pavilion is in that fort, and his
Cross before that fort to the east, and his Seat and his Mound
to the south of (his) Cross.
19. The Monument of Maine son of Munremor to the
east of the Fort of the Kings.
20. The site of the house which was burnt over Benén
(Saint) Patrick’s servant, and over Lucat Moel, (King) Loeguire’s
wizard, is a short distance to the south-east of Adamnán’s
Cross, beside the path a little to the east.
21. Beside the Fort of the Synods to the north stand three
small stones, to wit, the stones that were set over the wizards.
These are their names: Moel and Blocc and Bluicne. Moel to
the east, Blocc to the south and Bluicne to the north.
22. To the east of them is the Monument of the Dwarf.
Thus stands the grave, south-east and south-west (sic!) Three
feet only is its measurement in its little quagmire below. Thus
is the grave: a small stone under ground to the east of it
and another to the west. Three feet are found in it at one
time and three and a half at another time.
23. North of the (Dwarf’s) grave are two mounds, namely
Dall Blind and Dorchae Dark: Dall to the south
[leg. west?] and Dorchae to the west [leg. east?], and each
of them [i.e. the persons buried under them] killed the other,
and there is no wall between them and the stones and
24. The Rampart of the Three Whispers is near the House
of the Women.
25. The Stone of the Fians is to the east of a road in front
of the Fort of the Synod.
26. The House of the Women, that is Tech Midchuarta is
north-east from the eastern mound. Thus was the site
of that house settled, the lower part to the north and its high
part to the south, and the erection of a wall about it to the
east and west. The northern side of it is a little bent:
north and south it ought to be. It has the form of a long
house with twelve doors, or with fourteen, that is seven to
the west and seven to the east. And men say that there the
Feast of Tara was consumed. That was reasonable, for the
choice of the men of Erin would fit therein, and this is the
Great House with a Thousand Soldiers:
27. There is a small mound to the south-west of the site
of the House in the southern angle. The Mound of the Woman-soldiers
is its name.
28. The Grave of Cælchu and his fort near the northern
end of the House of the Women. Cælchu is there, son of
Loarn, son of Ruad, son of Cormac Cass of the Eoganacht of
Cashel. Of his seed is the Tuath-fis at Tara.
29. The Triple Mound of Ness daughter of Eochaid Yellowheel
and mother of Conchobar is at the north-eastern end
near the north-eastern end of the House of the Women.
30. The Fort of Conchobar Mac Nessa beside the Triple
Mound with its door in the east, near the Adjustment of Cúchulainn’s
Head and Neck.
31. The site of Cúchulainn’s Shield with its Hollow is in
the neighbourhood of the Neck in the north-east. Thus is the
fort, level like the ground and in the midst thereof a little
hillock which was the full of the Hollow of clay.
32. Tara’s Moor is near the House of the Women in the
north-east, a dirty little moor which is beside the Cairn of
the Children in the south.
33. Gráinne’s Fort is from the Moor of Tara from the
west on the summit of the hill.
34. The foundation of Gráinne’s Fort is from the north under
the Slope of the Chariots near the northern Cloenfertae
35. The Two Cloenfertaes are to the west of Gráinne’s Fort.
In the southern Cloenfertae the girls were slain by the Leinstermen
on the day of samain (Nov. 1). In the northern
Cloenfertae Lugaid (Mac con) passed the erroneous judgment
regarding the woad destroyed by the sheep.
36. The Cairn of the Children of Leinster is beside the Moor
of Tara to the north.
37. To the north are the Cross of Fergus a holy pilgrim:
’tis he who is (i.e. whose remains are) in Carraic Cluman
beside the Cairn of the Children.
38. The Dessel of Tara is between the two Cairns of the
Children, that is, between the southern cairn and the northern
39. The Cairn of the Children of the Húi Néill is beside
the Dessel of Tara to the north.
40. The Fort of Colmán son of Faelchu is from the Cairn
of the Children of the Húi Néill to the north-east, i.e. the
41. The Mound of the Luchdonn (?) is beside the Fort of
Colman son of Faelchu to the west.
42. Adlaic Desire and Diadlaic Great Desire are
near Colmán’s Fort north-east, that is on the side of the hill-slope
to the north-east of the Fort. Two wells are those, Adlaic
is one of the two, and Diadlaic the other; but there is no
difference between them.
2. DUMAE N-EIRC.
Dumae nEirc, Erc’s mound, whence was it named?
Not difficult. Erc was son of Carpre Nia-fer son of Ross the
Red, king of Leinster and ’tis he that struck off Cúchulainn’s
head. Now Fedelm the Fresh-formed (Conchobar mac Nessa’s
daughter and Carpre’s wife) was the mother of Erc and Acall.
So when Conall Cernach came to avenge Cúchulainn upon
Erc, and Erc fell in the duel, his head was taken to Tara to
be exposed. Then his sister Acall left her husband Glan son
of Carbad, and came out of Ulster to bewail her brother. For
nine days she kept at the lamentation, till her heart broke in
her like a nut, and she said that her grave and her burialmound
should be in a place from which Erc’s grave and burialmound
would be seen. Hence are named Dumae n-Eirc
and Dumae n-Aicle.
3. RÁITH ÉSA.
Ésa daughter of Eochaid Airem and Étáin and fosterling of
Mider of Brí Léith, ’tis by her that a hundred of every (kind
of) cattle were brought to Mider after Etáin had been carried
off from Eochaid in elopement out of Fremann, and it was
unknown who had carried her off, or into what place she
was taken, until Codal of the Withered Breast or Withered
Feet said: Mider has taken her into Brí Léith. Then Eochaid
was for nine years beleaguering Brí Léith, and Midir was spoiling
the destruction. And (after Eochaid had conquered,)
Mider brought into Brí Léith to Eochaid three score women with
Etáin's form, and amongst them Ésa Eochaid’s own daughter,
and then from them all he chose his own daughter, and she
brought forth Mes Buachalla, who afterwards was Conaire’s
Then Eochaid went again to Mider to ask for his wife and
his eric (compensation), and Mider gave him his wife and
the eric which he demanded, to wit, a roadway over Móin Lamraige,
and a wood over Brefne, and a diclochad (?) in Meath,
and a rushry over Tebtha. Whereupon Eochaid gave his
daughter her choice as to what seat she should be taken to
from him. So then she chose Ráith Ésa, a place from which
she would see three noteworthy steads, namely Síd in Broga
the Elfmound of the Plain, and Duma na nGiall the
Mound of the Hostages in Tara, and Dún Crimthainn on
Howth. Hence is said Ráith Ésa.
4. DINDGNAI IN BROGA.
Of the remarkable things of the Brug, this:
The House (Bed?) of Forann’s daughter. The Monument
of the Dagda. The Rampart of the Morrígain. The monument
of the Máta: from its colptha (shinbone) Inber Colptha is
called. The Palace of Crimthann Nia Náir, for he was buried
therein. The Tomb of Fedlimid the Lawgiver. The Cairn
of Conn of the Hundred Battles. The Grave of Cairbre Lifechar.
The Cooking-place of Fiacha Sraibtine, etc.
The story of the Brug still:
The Bed of the Dagda in the first place. Thereafter the Two
Paps of the Morrígain. The place wherein Cermait of the Honey-mouth,
son of the Dagda, was born. The Tomb of
Boind wife of Nechtán son of Nuada. ’Tis she that brought
with her the little hound named Dabilla, whence Dabilla’s
Hill is so called. The Mound of Tresc. The Tomb of Esclam
the Dagda’s brehon, which is today called Ferta Patraic. The
Comb and Casket of the Dagda’s wife, i.e. two hills. The
tomb of Aed Luirgnech the Dagda’s son. The Cave of Bualc
the Little. The Monument of Cellach son of Mael-coba. The
Monument of the steed of Cinaed son of lrgalach. The Prison
of Liath Machae. The Glen of the Máta, that was a tortoise,
as some say. The Stone of Buide son of Muirid, the place
where his head is. The stone of Benn (?), that is, the monument
on which the Mata fell: seven score feet had he and
seven heads. The Mound of the Bones (of the Mata). The
Stone-wall of Oengus son of Crundmael. The Shot of Mider’s
5. INBER N-AILBINE.
Rúad son of Rígdonn, son of the king of Fir Murig, mustered
the crews of three ships to go over sea to have speech
with his fosterbrother the son of the king of Lochlann.
When they had got half way across they were unable to
voyage in any direction, just as if an anchor was holding.
them. So then Rúad went out over the ship’s side that he
might know what it was that was stopping them, and he turned
under the vessel. Then he sees nine women, the loveliest
of the world’s women, detaining them, three under each ship.
So they carried Ruad off with them and he slept for nine
nights, [one] with each of the women, on dry (?) ground or
on beds of bronze. And one of them became with child by
him, and he promised that he would come again to them if
he should perform his journey.
Then Ruad went to his foster-brother’s house and stayed
with him for seven years, after which he returned and did not
keep his tryst truly, but fared on to Magh Muirigh. So the
nine women took the son (that had been born among them),
and set out (singing, in a boat of bronze,) to overtake Ruad,
and they did not succeed. So the mother then kills her own
son and Rúad’s only son, and she hurled the child’s head after
him; and then said every one as if with one mouth, It is
an awful crime! It is an awful crime! Hence Inber n-Oillbine.
6. OCHONN MIDI.
When Niall of the Nine Hostages, son of Eochaid (Muidmedón),
went over the Ictian sea, then was Eochaid son of
Enna Cennselach in the east in exile after killing Laidgenn son
of Boirchid (Niall’s wizard). So, he (Eochaid son of Enna
Cennselach) advised the women (of France) to ask that the
king of the world’s form might be shewn to them. Wherefore,
after undressing, Niall displayed himself to them. Now
Eochaid, like any woman in their crowd (?), was there with
his javelin under his garment, So with it he transfixed the
king, Niall, from one armpit to the other. And Niall said
(when dying) that his hostages should be released where his
monument should be made, and so that the strength of every
power should be gained by him.
So Niall’s body was brought (to Ireland) from the east, and
his troops routed their foes in seven battles, and took him to
Ochan, and there he was buried. And the great lamentation
(ochán) of Niall’s household is where each parted from the
other and where the hostages of Erin were released. Whence
Ochonn of Meath is said.
Mide son of Brath, son of Deoth, was the first to light a fire
in Erin for the clans of Nemed, and it was six years a-blaze,
and from that fire was kindled every chief fire in Erin. Wherefore
Mide’s successor is entitled to a sack (of corn) with a
pig from every house-top in Ireland. And the wizards of Ireland
said: ’Tis an evil smoke (mí-dé) for us, this fire that
hath been lit in the land. So the wizards of Ireland were collected
into one house, and, by Mide’s advice, their tongues
were cut out of their heads, and he buried them in the ground
of Uisnech, and Mide, chief wizard and chief historian of Ireland,
sat above them. Then said Gairech Gumor’s daughter,
Mide’s fostermother: Sublime (uais) is one (nech) who is here
tonight. Whence Uisnech and Mide.
8. DRUIM NDAIRBRECH.
Druim nDairbrech, whence was it named?
Not difficult. Dairbre the Red son of Lulach son of Ligmuine,
of the Peasant-tribes of Ireland, with a remnant of
Ligmuine and the Fir Bolg and the Fir Domnann, gathered
(forces to deliver) the battle of Commar to Tuathal (Techtmar).
So Tuathal and Fiacha Cassan and Findmall his brother
went to that battle. Dairbre the Red, however, and Eochaid
Oilech were on the other side. Then the battle is fought and
Eochaid Oilech is defeated, and Dairbre is killed on his
Ridge. Whence Druim nDairbrech Dairbre’s ridge. Vel
ita: Druim n-Airbre i.e. to the east of Brí Ele it is. Whence
is said Fothairt Airbre i.e. Fotharts that are to the east of
Laigin from laginae, that is from the broad spears which
the Black Foreigners brought with them from the lands of the
Gauls. Two thousand and two hundred was their complement
Along with Labraid the Exile, that is Moen son of Ailill of
Aine, that army went.
Or it is laigin spears adorned with gold and silver
which the craftsmen of Ireland gave Labraid the Exile, that
is Moen, when he and Ernolb son of the king of Denmark
came and destroyed the kings round Cobthach Coelbreg in
Or it is Laigin quasi laeg-fine the family of the seed of Laegaire
Lorc, lurcon [leg. lurco?] enim graece [leg. latine?] is
interpreted a greedy devourer, lorc then means ruthless
or an eager devourer.
Three names had they (the Leinstermen) to wit, Fir Domnann,
Gaileoin and Laigin, and it was the Gaileoin that nourished
Labraid during his exile in the lands of the Gauls.
’Tis the Gaileoin, moreover, who after a great while were
helping king Ailill son of Ross on the Táin bó Cualnge.
Whence is said thirty hundred Gaileoin, and they are not
the Galenga, for the Driving of the Kine of Cualnge happened
long before Cormac Galeng.
Ireland’s wizards sung spells on the Galeoin so that all perished
save a few, and what remained of them Tuathal Techtmar
destroyed. All the Leinstermen are Labraid’s children save
Laigsi and Fothairt Domnann which Tuathal exterminated.
10. SLIAB BLADMA.
Bladma or Blod son of Cú, son of Cas Clothmín, son of Uachall,
killed Bregmael the smith of Cuirce, son of Sníthe king
of Iruaith. Thereafter he went in his boat and took his land
on the mountain. Whence is Sliab Bladma.
Or ’tis Blad son of Breogan, who died there of pestilence.
And from him the mountain is named. Or they are sea-bleda
i.e. sea-monsters named ruiseda, and they live (equally
well) in waters and on dry grounds, and ’tis they that destroy
the trees. Whence monsterful Sliab Bledma [Félire, April 7],
and it was previously called Ross meic Edlicon.
11. FID N-GAIBLE.
Gaible son of Ethadon son of Nuada of the Silver Hand,
stole a bundle of twigs which Ainge the Dagda’s daughter had
gathered to make a tub thereof. For the tub which the Dagda
had made (for her) would not cease from dripping while the
sea was in flood, but not a drop was let out of it during the
ebb. He hurled a cast of that bundle from Belach Fualascach
and (in the place where it alighted) a fair wood grew thereout.
Hence it is now (called) Fid nGaibli, Gaible’s wood.
Or it may be (from) Gabal Fork, the name of the river
that flows through it. Whence Saint Berchan said: Dear is
this Fork: from it is the appellation on the half of this
word: to say so is not overmuch. This gem of carbuncle in
the breast of this lawn carried off a host: great good.
Or it may be from Gabal Gairechtach daughter of Goll
wife of Orc son of Ingor king of Dublin, who was drowned
in that river after her husband was killed by Ailill son of Aed
Rón at Áth Orc. Whence is said Fid nGaible and Gabal and
Áth Orc Swineford.
12. MAG LIFI.
Life, daughter of Cannan the Pict went with (i.e. wedded)
Deltbanna son of Drucht, the spencer of Conaire the Great,
king of Tara. Out of the Elfmound of Bodb on Femen was he.
South of Tara they set up, and because the plain over which
she came seemed beautiful to her, she asked that her name might
be on it; and Deltbanna dealt out no more (liquor) for the
men of Erin until yon plain was called by his wife’s name.
Whence Mag Lifi.
Or may be Fea was the name and Lí- because what she saw
seemed bright to her.
Meche son of the Mor-rígain, in him were the three hearts
till Mac Cecht killed him on Mag Mechi, which till then
had been named Mag Fertaigi. Thus were those hearts, with
the shapes of three serpents through them. Now if death had
not befallen Meche the serpents in him would have grown,
and what they left alive in Ireland would have wasted away.
Then Mac cecht burnt those hearts on Mag Luathat Plain of
Ashes, and cast their ashes with the stream, whereupon the
rapids of the river stayed, and every creature therein died
Or maybe it was on Ard Luaithrid Height of Ashes
that he burnt the hearts; whence Berba is said, and Mag Méchi
and Ard Luaithrid.
Or Ber-ba may be (a compound of) ber or bir water and
ba dumb. Whence is said Berba, that is, dumb water.
14. MÓIN GAI GLAISS.
Gae Glas son of Luinde son of Lug Liamna was Fiacha Srabtine’s
champion. ’Tis for him that the smith made the intractable
spear. From the south Cúldub son of Dían went on the day
of samain (Nov. 1) to seek to slay some one, and he slew Fidrad
son of Dam Dub, from whom Ard Fidraid is called.
Then Gae Glas went a-following him and hurled at him the
lance which the smith had made for him by magic, and it
passed through Cúldub into the bog, and that lance was never
found afterwards save once, when Mael-Odrán son of Dimma
Cron, after he [leg. it?] had been a year in the ground, found
it and slew therewith Aithechdae king of Húi Máil. Whereof
he sang this stave: Imlech Ech, etc.
This lance was the Carr of Belach Duirgen: ’tis it that
would slay the thirty bands. Thus it was, with a fork under
its neck, and none save the Devil would move it. So long as
the lance is with its point southwards the strength of Conn’s
Half (the North of-Ireland) will not be broken by Leinster.
Broccaid son of Broc of the Gaileoin of Labraid the Exile
had a son, Faifne the poet, and a daughter Aige. His mother
was Liber daughter of Lot. Folks were envious of them: so
they loosed elves at them who transformed Aige into a fawn
and sent her on a circuit all round Ireland, and the fians of
Meilge son of Cobthach king of Ireland, killed her, and of her
nought was found save a bag of water, and this he threw
into the river, so that from her the Aige is named.
Thereafter Fafne her brother, in order to avenge her went
to blemish the king of Ireland, and upon him three blotches
were raised (by Fafne’s satire). Then the poet was arrested
by Melge, for he, Melge, was guiltless regarding Aige’s death.
And Fafne was killed on Fafaind, for satirizing the king of
Tara, and therein he was buried; and while they were killing
him he entreated that his name might be for ever on that
mound, to wit Duma Faifni.
Liber went to her woe and drowned herself in (the river)
Liber, so that from her it is (so) called. Broccaid died of disease
in Ráith meic Bricc.
16. ADARCA HUA FAILGI.
Iuchna Horsemouth, who was also called Iuchna the Hairy,
a royal hospitaller who dwelt to the north-east of Fafaind on
Fán in Briugad the Hospitaller’s Slope, that is, Machad
Brigte. This was his custom, to rear and bring up the offspring
(calves) of his house till they were yearlings; wherefore
his cattle loved him. Now when he died his cattle came
together to him, and round his body spent three days and
three nights. As he did not come away with them, each
of them goes against the other and they rend Iuchna with
their horns, and their fight was fought till they cast their
horns, which became mounds in the..., and from them (the
name) Adarca is given. When they went to the Boyne to
quench their thirst they were dispersed to Almu and there
they died in their almai herds. Hence is said Almu.
Almu, again, daughter of Bécan the hospitaller, wife of
Iuchna the Hairy, after Iuchna’s death returned, following her
herd, to her father’s stead, and there she died of grief for her
husband and for the destruction of her cattle. From her Almo
Or thus: Almu, Al-móin, to the west of a bog (móin) it is
as Airbri is to the east of Bri Eile.
Or Almu .i. ail-mo, that is, a rock (ail) over a bog (móin) or
in a bog. Or all-mou, or oll-mou.
Crem Marda abducted a daughter of Lugaid king of Leinster.
Aillenn was her name and Ailbe the name of her lapdog.
And Aillenn, being in Crem’s possession, died of shame, and
through her grave grew an appletree which is called Aillenn’s
Appletree. And after her died her lapdog, and up
through him a yewtree grew. Of this is said the Yewtree
of Baile that is Ailbe by transposition of letters, as is said
The Appletree of lofty Aillenn, the Yewtree of Baile —
little profit. Though their lays are uttered rude men understand
Art Mes-delmand son of Setna was the first who excavated
the rampart of Aillenn. Fiach then, and Buirech and Ururus
dug it finally. ’Twas Buirech too, that out of the ditch cast
the stone that is (still) at Aillenn, and said: Ail and a rock
there, and this is the name it shall have. Many names besides
it hath, as some one said:
Aillend an assembly for our warriors, etc.
There were three men who came from Athens and one woman
with them, [their mother]. The men were the three sons
of Díbad son of Doirche, son of Ainces, (Extinction son of
Darkness son of Ailment), and their names were Dian and
Dub and Dothur. (Violent, Black and Evil), and the
name of their mother was Carman.
By spells and charms and incantations the mother ruined
every place. By plundering and dishonesty the men destroyed.
So they went to Ireland to bring evil on the Tuatha Dé
Danann by blighting the corn of this island upon them. To
the Tuatha Dé Danann that seemed ill. So Ái son of Ollam
of their poets, and Cridenbé1 of their lampooners, and Lugh
Laebach of their wizards, and Bé cuille of their witches
went to sing charms upon them, and they parted not from them
till they had driven the three men over sea. And the men left
their mother Cairmen here as a pledge that they would not
come again to Erin, and they also gave the Seven Things
which they served (as security) that they would not come so
long as sea surrounded Ireland.
Their mother died of grief here in her hostageship, and she
asked the Tuatha Dé Danann to hold her fair (oenach) at her
burial-place, and that the fair and the place should always
bear her name. And the Tuatha Dé Danann performed this so
long as they were in Erin. Hence Carman and Oenach Carmuin.
Or thus: Old-German followed Eochaid Yellowmouth’s seven
cows which had been carried off by Lena son of Mesroeda.
Ucha daughter of Oxa king of Certa (?) was Lena’s mother,
and she was wife of Mes gegra son of Dath King of Leinster.
Now along with Lena in driving those cattle were Sen son
of Dorb, and Lochar the Swift son of Smirach, and Gunnait
son of Sucat, and Altach son of Dolb, and Mothur son of Largach.
Old Garman found the cows at Ráith Becc to the south
of Dún meic Datho. Then Ucha with her women is killed
and the soldiers who carried off the cows. And Old-German
took his cows to the Plain of Bodb’s daughter Mesca whom
he had carried oft from Síd Findchada on Sliab Monaid in
Scotland. And Mesca died of shame in that place, and there
they dug her grave, even the grave of Mesca daughter of Bodb.
And Dath’s four sons overtook Old German at that place, and
[by them] there Old German fell, and there his grave was dug.
And he begged them to establish there a fair of Lamentation,
and that the fair and the place should always bear
his name. Hence Carman and Sen-charman are so called.
And the Leinstermen used to hold that fair according to
habitation and hearths down to (the time of) Cathair the
Great. Cathair, however, left it to his own hearths only, and
precedence with the race of (his son) Ross Failge, their dependent
branches, such as the Laigsi and the Fothairt, and their
exiles in the track of the fair.
There were seven horse-races there, and a week for promulgating
the judgments and laws of the province for a year
(rectius three years).
’T was on the last day thereof that the Leinstermen of South-Gabur
i.e. the men of Ossory, held (their horserace). Thence
is said Ossory’s horse-contest. Their king’s high-seat was
on the right of the King of Carman: the high-seat of the king
of Húi Failgi was on his left. Thus, too, were their wives.
They entered the fair on the kalends (i.e. the first) of August
and left it on the sixth of the ides (i.e. the eighth) of
August. Every third year they held it, two years being given
to preparing it.
From the holding of the first fair there down to the 42d
year of the reign of Octavian Augustus when Christ was
born, are 580 years.
For holding it, the Leinstermen (were promised) corn and
milk, and freedom from control of any (other) province in
Ireland: that they should have men, royal heroes; tender women:
good cheer in every several house; every fruit like a
show (?): and nets full (of fish) from waters. But if it was not
held they should have decay and early grayness and young kings.
Bóand wife of Nechtán son of Labraid went to the secret
well which was in the green of Síd Nechtaín. Whoever went
to it would not come from it without his two eyes bursting,
unless it were Nechtán himself and his three cupbearers,
whose names were Flesc and Lám and Luam.
Once upon a time Bóand went through pride to test the
well’s power, and declared that it had no secret force which
could shatter her form, and thrice she walked withershins round
the well. (Whereupon) three waves from the well break
over her and deprive her of a thigh and one of her hands and
one of her eyes. Then she, fleeing her shame, turns seaward,
with the water behind her as far as Boyne-mouth, [where
she was drowned]. Now she was the mother of Oengus son of
Or thus: Bá the name of the stream [of Síd Nechtain] and
Find the river of Sliab Guairi, and from their confluence is
the name Bóand [= Bó + Find].
Dabilla was the name of her lapdog, whence Cnoc Dabilla
(D.’s hill), today called Sliab in Cotaig the Mountain
of the Covenant.
Eochaid the Rough son of Dua king of Ireland, ’tis he that
made a proclamation to the men of Erin to come and cut down
the Wood of Cuan, with laigin (broadbladed lances) and bill-hooks
and hatchets, in honour of his wife Tailtiu daughter
of Magmor. So in a month they cut down the wood, and that
plain is (now) Oenach Tailten. He asked whether any of the
men of Erin had shirked the work. Bri Brú-glas, Tailtiu’s
messenger, answered: There are Ireland’s three rath-builders,
Nás and Ronc and Ailestar, three sons of Dorncla.
Let them be killed for this, quoth Tailtiu. Not so,
says Eochaid, ’tis better they should live than die. But let
them keep on building raths. So be it, replied Tailtiu:
let them build three raths for me.
Then Nás dug his rath, and this is its name, Nás, and a
rath on the heritage of Gand son of Dela, which today is
Conchobar’s province (Ulster).
Ronc also dug his rath, to wit, Ráith Ruinc in Dalaradia,
this is the name it has, and a rath on the heritage of Genand
son of Dela, that is, today, Ailill mac Mata’s province
Then Alestar dug his rath on Sliab Collan now Sliab Leittrech.
Hence it is called the rath of Cluain Alestair, a rath on
the heritage of Sengann son of Dela, today called Coirpre’s
Whence Ráith Ruinc and Nás and Raith Alestair.
Or otherwise: Nas and Bói two daughters of Ruadri son
of Caite (?) king of Britain, were the two wives of Lugh son
of the Scál Balb the Dumb Champion. Now Nás was the
mother of Ibec son of Lugh. There Nás died, and in Nás she
was buried, hence it is called Nás. Her sister Bói died straightway
of grief for her, and was buried on Cnogba, whence that
name (Cnogba = Cnocbua). Lugh gathered the hosts of the
Gaels from Tailtiu to Fiad in Broga the land of the Brugh,
to bewail those women on the first day of August in each
year: so thence was the nasad assembly of Lugh, whence
Lugh-nasad lammasday, that is Lugh’s commemoration,
or remembering, or recollection, or deathfeast.
Find the Poet son of Ross the Red went to the house of Bé
Whiteskin daughter of Coirpre Niafer. Now there was an ale-feast
ready for her father and she shewed it not to her father’s
brother, though there were in his single person a poet and a
king. And nought was found by him save milk and corn.
Whereupon Find the Poet said Have thou no worth of thy
goods, 0 strong Bé, without brotherhood! may thy honours
ebb utterly!: noble lords are not upraised before thy womb-family,
Then a tumor seized the damsel, so that she was swollen,
and it closed her door, and choked her breath so that she died
thereof, and she was buried in that place (Ceilbe), and her
gravedigger said: Here under concealment (ceil) is Bé.
Otherwise: Cairpre son of Ross had the by names Cairpre
Colbi and Nia fer. ’Tis he that there buried alive (beo) the
free hostage of Tara, wherefore he is called Col-beo, or Ceil-beo,
and hence is Cel-be.
Or thus: Dallán son of Macachán son of Echtigern, a sage
was he in wisdom and in poetry. He went to the house of
Gel-be daughter of Cerball son of Muirecan King of Leinster
’Tis he that used to divine everything concealed. The damsel
went to welcome him, and she had under her garment a
branch of thorn with its sloes. She said: What is under my
garment, O Dallán? Dallan replied: I apply a miracle of
prophecy, with a cry of knowledge of white wisdom that
near may be what a prophecy that is silent (?) manifests. A
brown bush of spiky thorn bearing ignoble (?) black sloes, there
is under thy garment, thou dear damsel. I will make thee
Thereat Gel-be was silent, and the poet said: Thy ... for I
will blemish thee. Nay, says the damsel: thou shalt
have the place where we met, only let it bear my name, to
wit, Ráith Gelbe. And hence is Ceilbe.
Liamain Fair-robe and Forcartain and Mianach and Truistiu,
four daughters of Dubthach Dubthaire son of Forgnae
king of the Dési of Bregia, were loved by the four sons of
Ácher Cerr son of Eochaid Andot of the Érnai of Munster of
the race of Mogh Lama son of Lugaid, son of Cairpre of the
Bowed Head. So Áicher’s four sons came from the west to
Dubthach’s house, and their names were Fordub, Fornocht,
Romper and Fomu. For a year they worked out their contracts
(of service) with Dubthach, and then they were demanding
their wage; but Dubthach would not give it till they
should have been with him a month in addition to the year,
for ’tis he, Dubthach, that always added a month as against
a year’s hire and partnership.
Dubthach went on a raid into Leinster. In order not to go
with him they feign sickness. Then Dubthach starts (without
them), and when he had gone they make off with his four
daughters. But in Leinster Dubthach came across them, and
killed the eight of them, to wit, Fomu Liamain’s man,
Romper Forcartain’s man, Fornocht Mianach’s man, and
Ferdub with Truistiu. So they were all killed: Ferdub at the
Black Fords of Maistiu, Fornocht at Fornocht, Romper in
Glas Rompir, Fomu in Fomu, Liamain on (Dún) Liamna,
Mianach in Achaill, Forcarthain at Forcarthain, and Truistiu
at Ath Truisten Truistiu’s Ford.
Then from the west came their mother Luachair — Boirennach
was her name, and from Boirenn in Corcomruad was
she — and she found full knowledge of her sons’ slaughter, and
her heart brake within her. From her Luachair Boirennach is
Áicher went and died on Cnoc Duma Áichir (the Hill of
Áicher’s Mound) in Húi Felmeda. And to certify that the
poet sang, Dindgnai Laigen, etc.
23. DÚN NGABAIL.
Gabal was daughter of Goll Glas son of Fedlimid, and Lutair
son of Luirgnech came to ask her, and she slept with him.
Now thus was Lutair: seventeen heads upon him: higher
than any oaktree was he: fifty cubits in his fork and half
(i.e. 25) in his shoulderblade. Now there was another man
a-seeking her. Fuiter son of Fordub was he called, and from
the east he came accompanied by Labraid Redhand and Brodar
son of Sciach’s son and Ibor son of Sciach and Glas son of
Scarb. And they stormed the house in which she was, and
Gabal challenged Fuiter to fight, and by her he fell, and none
escaped of those that came from the east to strive for Goll’s
daughter. Hence Dún nGabail is named.
24. BELACH NDUIRGEIN.
Duirgein was daughter of Luath son of Lomglúinech (son
of Lomaltach son of Lathrach, of the race of Mercell son of
Smirdub) and of Ercad daughter of Tresc (she was a kinswoman
of Liag daughter of Tresc). Now Ercad used to lie
with a slave instead of Luath, and Duirgein detected it (i.e.
her mother’s adultery) and told her father bow the act was
Then Ercad went to speak to Indech son of Dea Domnann,
for he was a kinsman of hers, and get him to come with
her to take vengeance on Duirgein for her tale. So Indech
went with Ercad to Belach dá Bend — for that was the former
name of the pass — and entreated (?) Duirgein for a tryst.
Duirgein refuses it, lifts her weapons and turns against Indech.
Indech turns against her and slays the woman, but (not
till after) Duirgein had inflicted fifty wounds upon him.
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Nuada Silverhand folk
were plundering and constantly slaying at that Pass; and
from Duirgein’s death and life the Pass was named.
25. BAIREND CERMAIN.
Cerman Hardhead (son of Uargus, son of Doltach), and his
wife Digais Dibartach daughter of Etarbad had seven sons and
five daughters. Cassán, Fuilech, Fledach, Liath, Dímain,
Scál and Dornmár were the names of these seven sons: Capach,
Mala, Bernsa, Bairend and Cliath, these were the five
daughters. (Their mother) Digais refused (food) to them, and
Cerman told them that they should lessen the burden of feeding
them. So then they separated from them (their parents), each
by his or her path — to wit, Cassán to Glenn Cuill Hazel
valley, Fuilech to Glenn Smoil Thrush-Valley, Fledach
to Dergmóin Red Bog, Liath to Glenn Findléith, Dimain
to Carric Drobeoil, Scál to Scarb Indech, the Cappach to
Glenn Cappaige, Mala on Malain (?), Bernsa on her plain,
Bairenn along with her father in Coille Cermain and at Babluan
(i.e. the name of a river now called Bairenn), Cliath
at Berna na Cléthe, and their mother Digais on Sliab Digasa.
Dub daughter of Rodub son of Cass, son of Glas Gamna,
was wife to Enna son of Nos, an elf out of Forcartan. Enna
had another wife, namely Áide daughter of Ochenn son of
Cnucha, and when Dub discovered this, for she was a druid
and a poetess, she grew jealous of Áide, and she went beside
the sea as far as opposite Ochenn’s house. There she chanted
a sea-spell so that Áide was drowned in that house with all
Mairgine, Ochenn’s gillie, saw Dub, and turns against her,
and casts a caer clis out of his sling towards her, so that he
struck her off her path, and shattered her, and she fell into
the pool (lind). Whence Dub-lind is said.
Otherwise Fornocht, that is Uinche Keymouth, and hence
Keymouth is said, because of a certain man whose lips were
locked when he was spoken to. For Uinche only spoke for
three days and three nights before samain (Nov. 1) and after
samain in every year, and he would announce to his household
the full deeds of the year like any prophet. One and
twenty men was always his complement.
Now Uinche went from the battle of Áth Cinn Mara which
he had fought with Find, and came to the foot of Druim
Den, that is, a druim (ridge) between two waters (dá en), a
water to the east thereof and a water to the west — hence it
was formerly called Druim Den and there was also a wood
then. Uinche chanced to come to that fort and he divided his
men into three sevens, to wit, a third for felling the trees, and
another third for slaughtering the people, and the third third
for burning the fort and the other buildings. So in that wise
they left it quite bare, quite naked (fornocht).
After a year Find returned from the east and saw his fort
quite naked, smokeless, houseless, fireless, — grassgrown, too,
quite naked. And they, to wit, Find and Ossian and Cáilte,
pursue Uinche to Áth ind Uinchi, and (there) Uinche fell by
them, to wit, seven by each man and Uinche by Ossian and
Cáilte, for Find had been badly wounded in that encounter.
Whence Ath ind Uinchi and Fornocht are so called.
28. ÁTH CLIATH CUALANN.
Hurdles of wattling the Leinstermen made in the reign of
Mes-gegra under the feet of the sheep of Athirne the Importunate
when delivering them to Dún Étair at the place in
which Allaind (?) Étair was taken from the Ulaid’s warriors,
where also Mes-dedad son of Amargen fell by the hand of
Mes-gegra king of Leinster. So from those hurdles Áth Cliath
the Ford of Hurdles was named.
Or thus: Áth cliath: When the men of Erin broke the
limbs of the Matae, the monster that was slain on the Liacc
Benn in the Brug maic ind Óc, they threw it limb by limb
into the Boyne, and its shinbone (colptha) got to Inber Colptha
(the estuary of the Boyne), whence Inber Colptha is said,
and the hurdle of its frame (i.e. its breast) went along the
sea coasting Ireland till it reached yon ford (áth); whence
Áth Cliath is said.
29. BENN ÉTAIR.
Étar wife of Gand son of Dela, the fifth king of the Fir
Bolg, she was the first woman that here formerly died of grief
for her husband, and where she was buried was on Benn
Otherwise Étar, that is from Étar son of Etgath who was
Manannan mac Lir’s son-in-law. Tis he that died of love for
Aine, and his grave was dug on yonder peak.
Dún mBrea, also, and Druim Ing and Oe Cualann and Sliab
Leccach, whence were they named?
Not difficult. When Parthalon came (to Ireland) he
brought with him Brea son of Senboth, the first man who in
Erin built a house, made a caldron and fought a duel; and
’tis he that took Dún mBrea and yon estuary, and there he
Oe Cualann, now, Cualu and Ing son of Dorb-glas gave
battle to Crimthann Shieldmouth, King of Leinster, and therein
was Cualu slain, and on the mountain his head was laid,
and the stone whereon that head was laid is the Oe Cualann.
And Ing fell on a ridge (druim), whence is said Druim Ing.
As to Lecca, when the three sons of Conmenn son of Conmac,
three descendants of Donn Désa, marched on the eve
of samain (Nov. 1) to Derg’s house to take Da Derga’s Hostel
on Conaire, they reached Sliab Leccach, and Lomna Druth said
to them that a stone for each man (of their force) should be
laid on the mountain, so that they might know their number
when going to, and their losses when coming from, that Destruction;
and there they leave a stone for every dead man.
Whence Benn Étair and Dún Brea and Druim Ing, Oe Cualann
and Sliab Leccach are named.
30. DÚN CRIMTHAINN.
A fort which was constructed on Benn Étair (Howth) by
Crimthann son of Lugaid who was also called Nar’s nia i.e.
man, and who reigned thirteen years.
Tis he that went on an adventure from Dún Crimthainn or
from Dál Uisnig, as he himself said, with the witch Nár the
banshee. With her he slept a month and a fortnight. And to
him she gave many treasures including the gilt chariot and the
draughtboard of gold, and Crimthann’s cétach, a beautiful
mantle, and many other treasures also. And afterwards, after his
adventure, he died on Mag Étair and was buried in his fort.
31. RÁITH CNÁMROSSA.
Mac cecht son of Slaite Seched of Connaught fostered Lee
Fer Flatha son of Conaire. ’Tis he that at the Destruction of
Da Derga’s Hostel rescued the boy and laid him in the hollow
of his shield, wherein the turtur (?) and vehement going of
the soldier, and the pouring forth and heat of his blood shattered
and drowned the boy, so that he died in Corra Ednecha,
and of him Mac cecht found in the shield-hollow nought save
a heap of broken and severed bones. So in the rath he lays
down that bone-shower (cnám-fhros), and afterwards buried it.
Whence Cnámros is said.
Otherwise Cnámros: Maer wife of Bersa of Berramain fell
in love with Find son of Cumall, and she formed nine nuts
of Segais with love-charms, and commanded Ibuirne son of
Dedos to deliver them to Find, and told Find to cut and eat
them. Nay, says Find, for they are not nuts of knowledge,
but nuts of ignorance (cna-amrois), and it is not
known for what they are, unless an enchantment for drinking
love. So Find buried them a foot deep in the earth. Whence
Cnámros is said.
Or thus: Bresal Belach won the battle of Cnámros from
Cairpre Lifechair and his children, and from Fiacha Sraibtine
and Eochaid Doimlen. Nine thousand, nine hundred and
nine was their loss, and their shower of bones (cnam-fhrossa)
were brought into yon rath. Whence Ráith Cnámrossa.
Maistiu, that is mes-dú mast-place, a stead wherein was
mast (of beech and oak), as is said It was a wood in time
Otherwise: It was Maistiu daughter of Oengus son of
Umor that Daire the Red son of Echaid Long-side carried out
of Crích Comul, out of Óenach Óengusa. In the midst of the
plain Gris the female rhymester daughter of Richis met her,
did not get what she, Gris, demanded of her, and so maltreated
her with blemishing lampoons that she died thereof
before her. With a soldier’s battlestone that he had, Daire
hurled a cast at Gris, and in the midplain made fragments of
her head, which fell into the stream of Snuad, thenceforward
Or thus: Maistiu daughter of Oengus son of Umor, the embroideress
of Oengus mac ind Óc, ’tis she that formerly made
in Ireland the shape of a cross on the breast of Oengus’ tunic,
for Oengus had shewed it to her in that place. Whence May
Maisten Maistiu’s Plain is said. Now Conoll the Slender
son of Oengus and Maer (from whom Áth Maere, today Áth
Mara) were twins, and Maistiu as well as Maer died of grief
for this Conoll. Whence Maistiu and Áth Mara.
© 2008 Thesaurus Linguae Hibernicae