The Prose Tales in the Rennes Dindshenchas
Author: Whitley Stokes
An electronic edition
Róiriu son of Senán son of Setna, the son of a king of
Connaught, fell there in battle by the Leinstermen, and there,
as others say, he was buried. And also Róiriu daughter of Raran
the king of Leinster’s chief poet, to whom her father
gave Tulach Dotoad — [as it was then called —] in his
country, and there she dwelt and therein she was buried.
From which (two Roirius) Duma Róirenn “Roiriu’s Mound”
34. MAG MUGNA OCUS BRECHMAG.
Brechmag “Wolf-field”, otherwise Enach selga, “the Moor
of the Hunt”: ’tis there that Leinster’s first hunt was scattered
(loosed?) to wit, a stag and a doe and a fawn and a wolf,
and the wolf pursuing them. Abach the poet called them
thus: the stag brachem, the doe brú, the fawn bagliu and the
wolf brech. As he said: I beheld a brachem and a bru | and
between them a baigliu | — a multitude saw the plain — | and
a brech killing them.
Mugna, then, greatest (moo) of noteworthy things (gnoe)
was it, to wit, greatest of oaks (or “sacred trees”).
Or Mugna from moo-gnia, that is, greatest of sister’s sons,
because gnia means a sister’s son, as is said in the Bretha Nemed
(“Judgements of the Notables”), gnia sethar, that is a sister’s
son. He was indeed a son. Berries to the berries the strong
(guiding?) Upholder put upon his tree. Three fruits upon it,
namely acorn, apple and nut, and when the first fruit fell another
fruit used to grow. Now it was for a long while hidden
until the birth of Conn of the Hundred Battles (when it was
revealed). Ninine the Poet cast it down in the time of Domnall
son of Murchad King of Ireland, who had refused (?) a
demand of Ninine’s. Equally broad were its top and the plain
(in which it stood). Or it may have been in the time of the
sons of Aed Sláne that this tree and the Bile Tortan fell together.
Thirty cubits was its girth, and its height was three
hundred cubits, and its leaves were on it always. Whence Mag
Mugna, “the Plain of Mugna”, is said.
35. BELACH CONGLAIS.
Glas was the seventh son of Donn Desa and a fosterling of
Etirscel the Great, King of Ireland. In Tara Glas was reared
and ’tis he that was Master of the Hounds both with Etirscel
and Conaire. Now when his (six) brothers went a-reaving to
Ingcél, Glas proceeded with his hounds into the plain of
Tara, and there he met with a wild pig which went away
before him southwards as far as yon Pass, and there fell
the pig and the hounds and Glas (himself), whence Belach
Donn Desa’s seven sons; Fer gair for the look-out, Fer lée
for hearing; Fer rogair for judgment: Lomna druth for wizardry:
Fer rogan for tying up champions, i.e. for champions’
fights. Fer gel for duels: Fer glas [= Glas, supra] for
managing packs of hounds.
36. ÁTH FADAT.
Champions of Leinster fought a combat between themselves,
to wit, Etan Redhead son of Cocca, with his household,
and Liath of Daire Léith “Liath’s Oakwood” from Loch
Lurgan, with his children, namely Fadat his son and Dóe and
Caechne his two daughters, concerning the produce of the
(river) Barrow (i.e. its fish). Liath fell in that combat.
Thereat Liath’s children gathered together, and in the second
combat Fadat is killed. So then the two daughters follow Etán
to his fortress (ráth), and therein they kill him. Whence
Ráth Etáin. The girls retreated, and Dóe perished in Lind
Dóe on the Barrow, and Caechne on her lawn [i.e. Cluain
Caechne]. Whence Áth Fadat and Raith Etain and Cluain
Caechne and Lind Dóe and Daire in Léith.
Etan sang what follows:
Alas he, Liath, haunteth you not: there will not be (even)
a drink of buttermilk. Henceforward your mother will bear
no son. Fadat from Loch Lurgan, the author declares to you,
will fall by a bulging spear in battle against Leinstermen.
Fadat: Dóe will come, not a healing draught, with a
mantle and a brooch, with a fiery, straight weapon to cause
hard slaughter. Caechne the constant will come with a war-like
ancient weapon, she will overthrow your soldiers, ’tis she
that will carry off victory.
Etan: This is a truth thou knowest not, that I shall have
no fear of being wounded or mangled in sworded hardy battle.
Ye will fall by my slingstone (?), and your brother will fall:
he will betake himself to your mother: ’tis I that shall carry
Fadat: Woe’s thy fate, thou base man! the Gaels will not
check us: thine own straying sword will cut off thy head.
Dóe of the dun mantles will come to thee, and vigorous Caechne,
and Fadat a strong-soled (?) man: there will be a conflict
with three stark ones.
Etan: ’Tis I am the hundreded champion, with an army
vast (and) deedful. I am the dragon of numerous generations:
’tis certain it is meet for me. I have delivered many battles,
giants will not prevail acainst me; your father has fallen:
the son will fall, alas!
Otherwise: Áth Fadat: Liath of Daire Léith had three daughters,
Doe and Caechne and Fadat. They went to bathe in
Linn na Tarb “the Pool of the Bulls”, and when they
looked at themselves they were in the shapes of three bearded
men. Fadat turned and fell at Áth Fadat, and Doe to Linn
Dóe and there she fell. Then Caechne went to Sinchell Senior
in his house, and for curing her she offered him her
stead. Whence Cluain Caechne. Thus it is in the Miracles of
the Two Sinchells.
37. BELACH GABRAIN.
Gabrán, a hound of Failbe Flann’s, went on the track of
Lurgan, a pig that haunted Druim Almaine, “the Ridge of
Allen”, and had no place (of rest) from the hound, till it rushed
under ground in the Bog of Allen. So from it is called
Loch Lurgan in the Bog of Allen. Since the hound did not
overtake the quarry, and no quarry of his had ever before escaped
rapid reddening or rapid warming, he turned back
homeward, and his heart broke there on the pass (where he
was buried). Hence Belach Gabráin “Gabrán’s Pass”.
38. SLIAB MAIRGE.
Marg son of Giusach son of Lodan the Grey of Luachair
was the steward of the Fomorians’ king whose name was
“Century-ear”, that is, having a hundred ears. Now Eocho
Muniste was then over the province of the Gailians (Leinster).
The Leinstermen brought together the lawful tribute to him
to Belach Nemed (on Sliab Mairge). Now his food arrived,
but his champion’s drink did not meet him. Eagerness as to
eating the dry flesh seized him, and drouth attacked his throat,
so that he died thereof with his head against the head of the
mountain. Whence Sliab Mairge, “Marg’s Mountain”.
39. ARD LEMNACHTA.
Crimthann Shieldmouth delivered battle to the Tribes of
Fidga and Fochmann, of whom each man had the strength
of a hundred. He whom they wounded would perish, and
neither points nor edges used to hurt them.
Now Crimthann brought the clan of Cruithnech (the ancestor
of the Picts) to help his men, and promised them, if
they were victorious, the heritage of the Men of Fidga. Then
said Trostan a Pictish Druid: Let thrice fifty milch-kine be
milked into one trench, and let him whom the Men of Fidga
shall slay be bathed in that milk, and from the poisons of
their weapons he shall arise healed. But let those of them
that shall be slain lose their heads.
Thus was it done, and Crimthann was victor, and the Tribes
of Fidga fell. Whence Ard Lemnachta “the Height of the
40. LOCH GARMAN.
1. Loch Garman, whence is it?
2. Easy to say. Garman Glas son of Dega was buried
there, and when his grave was dug then the lake burst throughout
the land. Whence Loch Garman. His brother was Dea
son of Dega, from whom (is called) Inber Dea in Crích Cualann,
3. Otherwise: Loch Garman. Garman the Rough, son of
Boimm Lecc, was drowned there by Catháir the Great in the
well of Port Coelrenna “the Harbour of Narrow-point”, for
that was its first name, and ’tis there then that the lake burst
forth. The Feast of Tara was held by Catháir at samuin
(Nov. 1), three days before and three after, without theft and
without slaying, without reproof, or reprisal, or enmity or
elopement. But there German stole the golden diadem of Catháir’s
wife, the assembly being then intoxicated. Off went
Garman with the queen’s golden diadem, (and) with Catháir’s
household at his heels, till he was overtaken at the well of
Coelrind, and when they were drowning him the lake burst
forth. Whence Loch Garman.
4. From Slainge son of Dela, from the king of the Fir
Bolg, the river Slaney is named, and also Inver Slaney. In
Catháir’s time was the naming of the lake, as he said in Catháir’s
5. Once in the early part of Catháir’s life, as he was
asleep, he saw a hundreded hospitaller’s daughter with a beautiful
form, and every colour in her raiment, and she was
pregnant. Eight hundred years she was thus, until she brought
forth a manchild, and on the day he was born he was stronger
than his mother. They begin to fight, and his mother
found no place to avoid him save by going through the midst
of the son. A lovely hill was over the heads of them both:
higher than every hill, with hosts thereon. A shining tree like
gold stood on the hill: because of its height it would reach to
the clouds. In its leaves was every melody; and its fruits,
when the wind touched it, specked the ground. The choicest
of fruit was each of them.
6. Thereat Catháir awakes and summoned his wizard,
Brí son of Baircid, and tells him his tales. I will rede that,
says Brí, [if I have a guerdon therefor. Thou shalt
have, says the king, every thing that thou mayest
demand]. This, [says the wizard,] is the damsel,
the river which hath the name of Slaney. These are the
colours in her raiment, artists of every kind without sameness
of distinction or peculiarity. This is the hundreded hospitaller
who was her father, the Earth through the which
come a hundred of every kind. This is the son who was in
her womb for eight hundred years, the lake which will be
born of the stream of the Slaney, and in thy time it will
come forth. Stronger the son than his mother, the day that
the lake will be born it will drown the whole river. Many
hosts there, every one a-drinking from the river and the lake.
This is the great hill above their heads, thy power over all.
This is the tree with the colour of gold and with its fruits,
thou over Banba (Ireland) in its sovranty. This is the music
that was in the tops of the tree, thy eloquence in guarding
and correcting the judgements of the Gaels. This is the wind
that would tumble the fruit, thy liberality in dispensing jewels
and treasures. And now, says Brí, thou hast partaken of
the rede of this vision.
41. LOCH DACÁECH.
Dacaech was the daughter of Cicul Glicerglun son of Tuathmar
from Sliab Admor. Cicul came with three hundred men,
each using only one leg and one hand and one eye, and his
mother Lot Luamnach, along with him, and his wife Fuata
Bé Fáil. And this is the cause of their journey, to contend
for Ireland with the sons of Míl.
Thus then was Fuata, with child. And her time came, and
she brought forth one blind daughter, named Dacaech, who
fled from her mother without delay out of the mansion into
the lake, and drowned herself therein. Hence loch Dacaech.
They fought a battle against the Children of Míl and in it they
42. PORT LAIRGI.
Once upon a time Roth son of Cithang, son of the king of
Inis Aine, went from the lands of the Fomorians’ countries,
with the chieftain of the land to go round his boundary, when
he heard somewhat, the burden of the mermaids of the Ictian
Sea. He rowed on the sea till he met them. This is the apparition
that he beheld there, the mermaids, to wit, grown-up
girls, the fairest of shape and make, with yellow hair and
white skins above the waters. But huger than one of the hills
was the hairy-clawed bestial lower part which they had beneath.
They sang a wonderful burden to Roth, so that he
slept a sleep. Then the monsters flocked towards him, and
they carry him off in joints, and the sea sends his thigh
here (to Port Láirge), and the drink of a hundred would fit
on the flat of its bone. Hence Port Láirge “Port of the
Thigh”, and ’tis that which Maen son of Étain made manifest
[in the following poem:]
A bloodred champion of hundreds of paeans, the bold flame
of your heroes, etc.
43. MAG ROIGNI.
Roigne the Roman went out of Italy to Gallia Narbonensis
in France and dwelt at Tours. A billhook and a spade
and an axe he had. Three tasks the people of Gallia imposed
upon him, to wit, drawing mould, and (clearing) a plain
of trees, and letting out an inlet of the river Loire from the
side of Tours. All this he did in three days, and (then) he
feared that another work would be imposed upon him. So
then he fled from them to Ireland and settled at Imliuch Meconn,
for it was then a wooded ridge. This did Roigne clear
(of trees) so that it became a plain. Whence Mag Roigni is said.
Otherwise: Roigne Roscadach son of Ugaine, son of
Eochaid the Victorious, son of the King of Ireland, had that
plain as his heritage from his father. Hence Mag Roigni is
said, and also this poem:
I have heard of a hostful noble, etc.
44. MAG FEMEN, MAG FERA, MAG FEA.
Three sons of Mogach (Mogad? Inogach?) son of Dachar
of the Clan of Brath son of Dëath, namely Femen and Fera &
Fea. An axe and a billhook and a shovel they brought between
them. When Femen was shovelling Fera was hacking
and Fea lopping. But when Fea was hacking Fera was shovelling
and Femen lopping. Over the plain each of them kept
throwing a change of tools to the other: so they cleared three
plains, namely Mag Femen and Mag fera and Mag Fea.
Otherwise: two oxen of Dil daughter of Lug-mannair died
there, to wit Fe and Mæn were their names, and thereof (the
Fe-men in) Mag Femen is compounded; and Mag Fea (takes
its name from) Fea daughter of Elcmaire (and wife of Nét
Femen, Fera, truth of knowledge | of good Dëath’s pure-formed
race, | ’tis they, Fera and Femen, that cleared the two
plains of wood.
45. TONN CLIDNA.
Clidna daughter of Genann son of Trén went out of Tulach
dá Roth (“the Hill of two Wheels”), out of the Pleasant
Plain of the Land of Promise, with Iuchna Curly-locks
to get to the Mac ind Óc. Iuchna practised guile upon her.
He played music to her in the boat of bronze wherein she
lay, so that she slept thereat, and then he turned her course
back, so that she rounded Ireland southwards till she came to
This is the time at which the illimitable seaburst arose and
spread throughout the regions of the present world. Because
there were at that season Erin’s three great floods, namely,
Clidna’s flood and Ladru’s and Baile’s; but not in the same
hour did they arise: Ladru’s flood was the middle one. The
flood pressed on aloft and divided throughout the land of
Erin till it caught yon boat and the damsel asleep in it on the
beach. So there she was drowned, Clidna the Shapely, Genann’s
daughter, from whom Tonn Clidna “Clídna’s Wave”
Genann son of Trén, etc.
And also in Patrick’s time as Cáilte sang on the same dind for
their diverse, marvellous Colloquy which they made on Ireland’s
46. CARN HÚI NÉIT.
Bres son of Elathan son of Nét — that is Net son of Nuacha
or Net son of Angaid ancestor of Bres, died there. But it
is Bres himself that died there, for ’tis he that in the reign of
Nechtán Fairhand king of Munster (or Nechtán Redhand) demanded
from every rooftree in Ireland a hundred men’s drink
of the milk of a hornless dun cow, or of the milk of a cow
of some other single colour. So Munster’s kine were singed
by him (Nechtan) in a fire of fern, and then they were
smeared with a porridge of the ashes of flaxseed, so that they
became dark-brown. That was done by the advice of Lugh
mac Ethlenn and of the wizard Findgoll son of Findamnas;
and they also formed three hundred cows of wood with dark
brown pails in their forks in lieu of the udder. These pails
were dipped in black bog-stuff.
Then Bres came to inspect the manner of these cattle and
so that they might be milked in his presence, and Cian
(Lugh’s father) was also among them. All the bogstuff they
had was squeezed out as if it was milk of which they were
milked. The Irish were under a tabu to come thither at the
same time, and Bres was under a tabu to drink what should
be milked there.
So three hundred bucketfuls of red bogstuff are milked for
him, and he drinks it all! Some say that he was seven days
and seven mouths and seven years wasting away because of
it, and he traversed Erin seeking a cure till he reached the
same cairn, and there he died. Whence Carn húi Néit is named.
47. CROTTA CLIACH.
Cliach from Síd Báine (“Baine’s Elfmound”) was harper
to Smirdub son of Smal, king of the Three Rosses. He went
to invite Conchenn daughter of Fodb from the síd of the Men
of Femen. Or may be Báine was her name.
Now Cliach was a full year making music on that hill; but
because of the elf’s magic might, he got no nearer to the síd,
and he could do nothing to the girls. But he played his harp
till the earth beneath him burst, and thereout the dragon
brake forth (and Cliach died of terror — tathaim ar time).
Hence is Loch Bél Dracon “the lake of the Dragon’s
mouth”, to wit, a dragon of fire which Ternóc’s fostermother
found there in a salmon’s shape, and Fursa drove it into the
lake. And that is the dragon which is prophesied to arise on
St. John’s day at the end of the world and afflict Ireland in
vengeance for John the Baptist. And thence are Crota Clíach
48. CENN FEBRAT.
Febra son of Sen was own brother of Deda son of Sen, and
Cain son of Derg Dualach killed Febra and brought his head
(cenn) to yon mountain. Hence Cenn Febrat is said.
Then Deda’s son Garbán — from whom Dún Garbain is
named — went to avenge his uncle on Cain, and killed him
on Sliab Cain, and brought his head to Cenn Febrat. Many a
hero and hero’s wife has been buried with them there — Lugaid
Láge and the poet Dodera son of Aurmor and Ethne and
Maer and Mumain (Mugain?) and so forth.
49. CENN CUIRRIG.
Currech Lifi, from whom is Raith Cuirrig, had a daughter
Cochrann the mother of Diarmait hua Duibni (by her husband
Dub). And Cuirrech’s mother was the same as the mother of
Fothad Canann and of Teite daughter of Mac Niad, from
whom Oenach Teite is named. Teite was the wife of Find son
Now Find killed Dub hua Duibni, whose son was Diarmait
mac Duib son of Duibne. He was Currech’s son in-law.
So there was savage warfare between them (Find and Ciarech).
Then Cuirrech bethought him of a way to get an advantage
over Find. In the eastern part of Femen, on the eastern
bank of the Suir, in Cathair Dúne Iascaig, Find had a
paramour named Badammair (from her Rath Badammrach is
called). ’Tis she that used to sustain Find with food and raiment.
So Cuirrech went to Badammair’s house and slew her,
and destroyed Cathair Dúne Iascaig. Forthwith goes Find on
Cuirrech’s track, by Femen, Tete, Roigne, the Nore, Gabran,
the Barrow, till he saw before him Cuirrech’s shadow, and
throughout the shadow he hurled a spear, chanting a spell
over its head, and strikes it into Cuirrech, who fell thereby.
Then Find took Cuirrech’s head, and came on the morrow in
the early morning to that mountain (Cenn Cuirrig) a little to
the west of Femen, and set a tomb of stone there about the
head. Whence Cenn Cuirrig is so called.
Afterwards Find son of Regamain and his wife Teite fell by
a single blow of Find (son of Cumall?) when they went away
from the alebanquet which (the latter) Find had made for
50. TEMAIR LUACHRA.
Tea daughter of Lugaid son of Ith wife to Erem son of Mil
(from her Temair was derived), and to her was given Temair
Luachra and Bregain Temair and every other Temair which
exists in Ireland. Now Luachair itself was a flowery plain till
the time of the sons of Ugaine — or (as others say) till the
birth of Conn (of the Hundred Battles). For ’tis then that
(the rivers) Suir and Nore and Barrow burst forth, also Loch
Riach, and Loch Léin in Luachair; and Tortu’s Tree and the
Yew of Ross and the Tree of Mugna and the Tree of Dathe
were (first) seen. Whereof Fintan said:
The Luachair, then, the Luachair, etc.
51. SLIAB MIS.
Mis daughter of Mairid son of Cairid and wife of Coimgen
Hornskin son of Dega. ’Tis to her the mountain of Senach
the Rough son of Dega was given as her dowry and for
staying with her husband after the flitting (of her family)
when Eochaid and Ríb, Mairid’s two sons (a quibus Lough
Neagh and Lough Ree) set forth. So that the land for which
Mis bartered a patrimony, is yon mountain.
Otherwise, Sliab Mis or Sliab-Mí-fhis, because the magical
army, there devised by Fodla and Banba and Ériu, was a mí-fhis
“mis-knowledge”, that is, was a delusion, to the sons of Míl.
52. TIPRA SENGARMAN.
Sengarmain of Sliab Mis was Cuirrech Lifi’s wife and Slechtaire’s
mother. ’Tis they that in revenge for Cuirrech
destroyed Croch and Dun, and wrecked Cathair
Comfhossaid and Gannan in Caisel Gannain, and killed Find’s
fostermother Mongfind, and burnt the children of Druim Bertach,
and Dubrót in Annóit (?) Formaile. Whereupon Criblach
of Connaught and her son Crimthann met them, and
they entered into an alliance, after making a foray on Find.
Then Find pursued them all to the Carn Daim Deirg “the
Cairn of the Red Stag” in Luachair, the place at which Tipra
Sengarmna “Sengarman’s Well” is today, and there
Slechtaire discovered an underground cave, wherein they
dwelt for a long time. Every night they used to go forth from
it a-raiding, and one day they found, on Luachair Aine, Find’s
son, Ossian, alone. They make a prize (?) of him and carry
him off to their dwelling. There Ossian cut a chip from a
spearshaft (which Crimthann had given him to trim), and
cast it into the stream from the well, so that it got to Áth
na Féile “the Ford of the Feale”, where Find was dwelling.
Then Find took the chip in his hand and said “Ossian made
this”. And Find’s men ascended the stream to its source and
saw the earth-cave in which were Criblach and the rest, and
dug into it. Then Criblach fled, but Find overtook her in
Airer Criblaige, (and there he killed her).
Slechtaire escaped from them to Berre, and there he fell.
Crimthann was the only one who escaped — for “there
is no destruction without (at least) one fugitive”.
Sengarmain’s head is cut off, and they leave her body in
Whence Tipra Sengarmna and Airer Criblaige are said.
Fergus Fínbel, Find’s poet, sang this roscad below:
Sengarmain’s Well under its chip, etc.
Bláthnat daughter of Menn King of the Men of Falga, wife
of Cú-roi son of Dáre, was Cúchulainn’s paramour. ’Tis she
that promised that Cúchulainn should come to her on Halloween
and take vengeance for Eochaid Horsemouth’s cows, and
for the cauldron, and for the shaving of Cúchulainn by Cú-roí’s
sword when Cú-roi afterwards smeared his head with cowdung.
And she counselled Cú-roi to gather the clans of Deda to build
his fortress in a single day and that (for this purpose) they
should bring with them every pillar-stone (in Ireland), whether
lying or standing. So Cú-roi was left all alone. This was
the token (?) that was between them (Bláthnat and Cúchulainn),
to let the milking of the cows flow with the current so
that the stream as it came towards them (Cúchulainn and his
Ulstermen) was white. Hence Findglais “white stream” is
said. And afterwards they (killed Cú-roi and) wrecked the
town (and carried off Bláthnat to Ulster).
54. SRUB BRAIN.
Cúchulainn pursued the black bird-flock from Dundalk, and
in every country (he crossed) he killed one of the birds, down
to the last raven. It was destroyed by him at Redg and at Ramann,
and he cut off its head from it and bathed his hands in
its blood, and said, when putting the head on the crag: Srub
brain and “a raven’s stream there”.
Thrice fifty was their number. Seven handlengths, now,
were in each bird’s bill and seven royal (?) cubits round their
necks: thick bodies they had, and thick feet with which they
swam the sea. Of whom Srub Brain is said.
55. LOCH LÉIN.
Lén Línfiaclach son of Bolgach, son of Bannach, son of
Glammach, son of Gomer, was the craftsman of Síd Buidb
“Bodb’s Fairymound”. ’Tis he that lived in the lake,
making the bright vessels of Fand daughter of Flidais. Every
night, after leaving off work, he would cast his anvil eastwards
away to Indeóin na nDése “the Anvil of the Decies”,
as far as the gravemound; and three showers it used to cast (to
the holy grave), namely a shower of water and a shower of
fire and a shower of pure purple gems. The same thing (i.e.
the casting away of his anvil) Nemannach practised when beating
out the cup of Conor mac Nessa in the north, etc. Whence
Loch Léin is named.
56. CARN FERADAIG.
Ferdach son of Rochorp son of Gollán son of Conmael son
of Eber fell there by Tigernmas son of Follach, and ’tis by Tigernmas
that Conmáel fell in the battle of Oenach Macha;
and Rochorp son of Gollán died in the battle of Elle, and Feradach
died afterwards in the battle of Carn Feradaig, and
that (Carn Feradaig) is Feradach’s tomb. Whence Carn Feradaig
There was a set meeting between Munster and Connaught,
and the two kings brought with them their champions the
two sons of Smuchaill son of Bacdub. Rind “Point” and
Faebur “Edge” were their names. One of the twain placed
himself under the safeguard of Bodb (the elf-king) out of Síd
Femin: the other under that of Ochaill (another elf-king)
out of Síd Cruachna. The champions (having entered the water)
displayed their “swineherd’s art”. To judge between them
every one pressed into the stream, all the men of the two
parties wearing dun, grey-green cloaks (luimne). Thereupon
came the floodtide, which they had not perceived owing to
the greatness of the assembly, and the current carried off all
their cloaks. Then said the look-out men: The inver (estuary)
is now full of cloaks! (luimnechda).
Or lumman is a name for a shield, and when the contest
was going on, the current carried away from the heroes their
luimne, that is, their shields. Whereupon the kings said from
Tul Tuinne: The inver is now full of shields (luimnechda).
58. SLIGE DALA.
Dala Glas of the Greeks of Scythia, from him Slige Dala
is called. Crea daughter of Edlec was his wife: from her
Ross Crea is named. Dala Glas, then, and Cannán, Edlec’s two
sons, came with their wives out of Scythia to avoid warlike
expeditions. Cannán’s wife was Caire, from whom Dú Cairín
is named. Now Cannán set up in Cluain Cannain in the district
of Ele, and in Caisel Cannain he died, and there his grave
Whence Slige Dala and Cluain Cannain and Ross Créa and
Dún Cairín take their names.
The five chief roads of Ireland, namely Slige Assail, Slige
Midluachra, Slige Cualann, Slige Dala, Slige Mór.
Slige Assail, in the first place, Assal son of Dór Domblas
found it before the brigands of Meath when proceeding to
Slige Midluachra, then, Midluachair son of Damairne son of
Diubaltach son of the king of Srub Brain, found it when proceeding
to the Feast of Tara.
Slige Cualann, Fer Fí son of Eogabal found it before the
elfmound’s armed hosts when going to Tara.
Slige Dala, Setna Seccderg son of Durbaide found it before
the warlocks of Ormond, when going to Tara. Or it is Dala
himself that discovered it for him.
Slige Mór, that is, Eiscir Riada, ’tis this that divides Ireland
in two, namely from Áth Cliath Cualann (Dublin) to Áth
cliath Medraige (Clarin Bridge near Galway). Nár son of Oengus
of Umall found it before the champions of Irrus Damnonn,
when contending for leadership, so that they might be
the first to arrive at Tara.
On the eve of the birth of Conn (of the Hundred Battles)
these roads were found, as saith (the tale called) Airne Fingin.
Sinend daughter of Lodan Lucharglan son of Ler, out of Tír
Tairngire (“Land of Promise, Fairyland”) went to Connla’s
Well which is under the sea, to behold it. That is a well at
which are the hazels and inspirations (?) of wisdom, that is,
the hazels of the science of poetry, and in the same hour their
fruit, and their blossom and their foliage break forth, and
these fall on the well in the same shower, which raises on
the water a royal surge of purple. Then the salmon chew the
fruit, and the juice of the nuts is apparent on their purple bellies.
And seven streams of wisdom spring forth and turn there
Now Sinend went to seek the inspiration, for she wanted
nothing save only wisdom. She went with the stream till she
reached Linn Mná Feile “the Pool of the Modest Woman”,
that is, Brí Ele — and she went ahead on her journey, but the
well left its place, and she followed it to the banks of the river
Tarr-cáin “Fair-back”. After this it overwhelmed her, so
that her back (tarr) went upwards, and when she had come
to the land on this side (of the Shannon) she tasted death.
Whence Sinann and Linn Mná Féile and Tarr-cain.
60. SLIAB N-ECHTGA.
Echtga the Awful, daughter of Urscothach son of Tenne of
the Tuath Dé Danann, was reared by Moach Baldhead in Cúil
Echtair beside Síd Nenta. Now Gann and Sengann’s cupbearer
was a-seeking her hand, even Fergus Lusca-béist son of Ruide.
He was called Lusca-béist because he had reared in his inside
a worm (béist) from his luscaidecht, that is, his infancy, or
from his lusca, that is, his cradling. The girl consented to
wed him because of the kitchener and cupbearer’s land which
he held from the king of the men of Connaught, to wit, from
Maenmag to the sea. Now he, Fergus, had no goods, but
he had a heritage, while she had goods, but no heritage.
What she asked as her bride-gift was a permanent estate
with its benefits, so he gave her the mountain. Hence
Sliab Echtga “Echtga’s mountain”. Two cows are now
brought thither, and the cow from the north yields one third
of milk in excess of the cow from the south.
61. ÁTH CLIATH MEDRAIGI.
When the province of Connaught and the seven Maines
with their three thousand kerns brought out of Munster the
drove of the kine of Dartaid daughter of Regamain, Eochu
the Little son of Cairpre, king of the Munster Cliu, went
in pursuit of the drove, accompanied by the champions of
Munster. So the Maines set wall-hurdles of thorns and brambles
in the ford, until out of Cruachu help had come to them
from Ailill and from Medb. Hence Áth Cliath “Ford of Hurdles”.
62. MAG N-AIDNI.
Aidne son of Allguba son of Eithrél, he is the first man
that kindled a campfire for the sons of Míl. Because he needed
only to wring his two hands, whereupon flashes of fire
poured out of his knuckles, as large as fresh wild apples when
their harvesting begins. And he was the twenty-first man of
the rath-makers whom the sons of Míl brought to Erin to build
every ord (course of stones, ordo lapidum?) which they had.
And ’tis he that cleared yon plain for himself. Whence Mag
nAidni “Aidne’s Plain” is named, and there Aidne died.
Moen a slave of the sons of Míl, ’tis he that shaved Gailem’s
children, and the first man that was shaved in Ireland was Forbarr,
the wright of the sons of Míl. And that Moen, moreover,
was a rath-builder. ’Tis to him that Berramain was given as
payment for his shaving. Hence is said Berra-main, that is
consideration (so-máin) for the shaving (berrad), and by him
the fuither-land of Fordub’s sons was cleared, so it is called
Moenmag “Moen-plain”; and afterwards Moen died there, to
wit in Moenmag. Hence Moenmag is said, and Berramain.
64. LOCH DERGDEIRC.
Ferchertne son of Athlo, chief-poet of Ulaid, was the cruellest
man that ever lived in Erin. ’Tis he that would slay the
woman in childbed, and would demand his weapon from the
combatant and his single eye from some other man. ’Tis he,
moreover, that went to Eochu son of Luchta son of Lugar son
of Lugaid White-hand, King of Munster to beg his single eye
in payment for Boirche’s hen which the poets had brought
from the west; and Eochaid, to save his honour, gave him
his single eye.
Then Eochaid went to wash (the blood off his face), and
searched the rushry and found no water: so he tore a tuft (of
rushes) from its roots, and then water trickled forth. With this
his empty eye was washed, and as he dipt his head thrice
under the water all the well became red. Then because of
the miracle of generosity (which Eochaid had performed)
both his eyes came to the King, and as he looked on the
well he said: A red (derg) hollow (derc) is this hollow, and
this will be every one’s name for it. Whence Loch Dergdeirc
65. RAITH CRUACHAN.
Cruachu or Cróchan Croderg was the handmaid of Etaín
who eloped with Mider of Brí Léith from Fremann, from
Oenach Oengusa. Now Sínech of Síd Cruachan (“the Elfmound
of Cruachu”) was a relative of Mider’s; so because of
his affection for her, he, Mider, went to converse with her,
and there they were detained for nine watches. So Etáin supposed
that that elfmound belonged to Mider. Is this thy
dwelling? says Etáin. Nay, says Mider my dwelling is
nearer than this to the sunrise. Query, says Crochenn,
what profit have we in visiting this elfmound and the
plain? Says Mider: O Crochenn, in guerdon of thy travel
it shall bear thy name.
Then Midir went to Brí Léith, which was then destroyed
by Eochaid Airem.
There is the beginning of Etáin’s Wooing. That is the dindshenchas
of Ráith Cruachan.
66. ÁTH LUAIN.
Ath Mór (“great ford”) was its name at first till the contest
of the Dun (Bull) of Cualnge with the Whitehorned. ’Tis
this that Echtra Nera narrates, the story of the two swineherds,
who were (incarnate) in seven shapes, a full year in each of
them. And those were Cronn son of Agnoman’s two sons,
named Rucht and Rucne (when they were swineherds), Ette
& Engan (“Wing and Talon”) were their two names when
birds. Cú and Cethen were they when wolves. Bled and Blod
were they when trout of the Boyne. Crunniuc and Dubmuc
(leg. Duinniuc, Tuinniuc?) when they were worms.
Then Crunniuc went to Glas Cruinn (“Cronn’s Stream”)
in Cualnge, and Dubmuc went and lay down in (the well
called) Uarán Garaid. A cow belonging to Dáire mac Fiachna
drank a drink out of Glas Cruinn, and the worm therein entered
her womb and afterwards became a calf. A cow of
(Queen) Medb’s went and drank a drink out of Garad’s Well,
and the other worm entered her, and afterwards became a
calf in her womb.
Now the two cows died in calving (two bull-calves); the
bull in the east was dun, the bull in the west was red, white-horned.
Afterwards Nera’s cow came with her bullcalf behind
her, who bellowed at Raith Cruachan so that the Whitehorned
perceived him. They fought and the yearling prevailed. Whereupon
Medb arose to encourage her bull, and the bull which Aingen’s
wife had brought fell, so then Aingen’s wife said Beware
of the sire of my bull! that is, the Donn of Cualnge.
So then Medb with four of the provinces of Erin marched
into Ulster (to carry off the Donn), with Fergus for their
guide, till she reached Mag Coba, and there were the Ulaid in
their debility a full fortnight in their camp. Medb then, leading
the second third of the armies, marched to Dunseverick,
and thence took Conall Cernach’s wife.
Buide son of Ban Blath went to the Glen of the Heifer, and
there they found the Donn of Cualnge, so he brought him to
his camp. At that time Conor was in Cantire. Now there
were Fiachra’s three sons, Ross and Dáire and Imchad, three
sons of the king of Cualnge, and Finntan son of Níall, and
Cethern son of Finntan, and Iliach and Rochaid son of Faitheman,
and Cúchulainn’s father Sualtach son of Becaltach
behind them; and then came Cúchulainn, and killed many
thousands of them from Gáirech to Ilgáirech, and from Hallontide
to the Wednesday after Candlemas, till Conor arrived
from the east. And though he afterwards routed them in the
west, westward the drove of the kine of Cualnge was taken.
And the Donn of Cualnge came to Tarbga, and there he and
the Whitehorned fought on the seventh day of spring —
whence the name Tarbga — and the Whitehorned fell by the
Donn, who after this rent him to pieces at Loch Digi, and
brought his lón “hip” to Áth Lúain, and his two foreribs to
Muc-fhind, and his heart to Dún Croin, and his chine to Dronn
Asail, and his thigh to Inis Glas, and his cheek to Leca Mór
Midi; and on every place to which he took aught of him the
name of that member abides. Whence Áth Luain is named.
67. TURLOCH SÍLINNE.
Sílenn daughter of Machár son of Dubthach son of Rune,
there was her habitation, till Blonoc daughter of the Túe son
of Rige came to her and outraged her as regards her heritage.
So when Blonoc was building huts for her calves the lake
burst forth, and from her the lake (Loch Blonaice?) is named.
Thereafter Sílenn fled till she reached the place where Loch
Sílenn burst forth, and then her grave was dug. So from her
the lake has its name.
68. FINDLOCH CERA.
A birdflock of the Land of Promise came to welcome (Saint)
Patrick when he was on Cruachan Aigle; and with their wings
they smote the lake so that it became as white as new-milk.
And this is what they used to say: O help of the Gaels,
come, come and come hither! That was the invitation they
had for Patrick. So Patrick came to the lake and blessed it.
Wherefore Findloch “White-lake” in Cera is said.
69. MAG N-ÁI.
Ae son of Allguba was the twenty-fourth slave that the sons
of Míl brought with them (to Ireland). ’Tis he that asked
those slaves to clear that plain along with him: wherefore
they all cleared it in four and twenty hours. When they
had done the work Áe entreated them to give him the owenership
of that plain and (to bestow) his name upon it. Whence
Mag n-Ai “Áe’s Plain” is said. And to certify this the poet sang:
O man, if thou enter Mag n-Ai, etc.
70. MAG MUCRAIME.
A herd of magical swine came to Ailill and Medb out of the
Cave of Cruachu, and they used to blight corn and milk wheresoever
they were, nor could the men of Erin in any place
count them or look them over. So to set their hunt afoot
Ailill and Medb came to Fraechmag “Heatherfield”, and
chased the swine as far as Belach na Fert “the Pass of the
Graves”, and there Medb caught one of them by the leg; but it
left its skin in her hand, and thereupon they were counted in
that plain. Whence Mag Muc-ríme “Plain of Pignumbering”.
71. DUMAE SELGA.
Ard Cain was its first name, until the hunting of the six
swine of Derbrenn, Eochaid Fedlech’s daughter. She was the
first love of Oengus Mac ind Óc, and the swine were foster-children
of hers when they were human beings; until the
mother of the men, even Dalb the Rough, put upon them
(and their wives) a spell mixed in a gathering of the nuts of
Caill Achaid. The names of the men were Conn and Find and
Fland: the names of the women were Mel and Tregh and
Tréis. The boars (into which the men were transformed)
were named Froechán, Banbán and Brogarban: the sows
(into which the women were transformed) were named Cráinchrín,
Coelchéis and Treilech.
Then they were committed by Oengus to the care of Buichet
the Hospitaller of Leinster, and with him they remained
a year. But then a longing seized Buichet’s wife to eat (a
steak from the belly of) Brogarbain. So she mustered a hundred
heroes in armour, and a hundred hounds. But the pig
fled from them, and then (he and the other five) went to the
burgh of Oengus, who made them welcome, and then sang
the lay (beginning) “Dear were the faces”. Then they entreated
Oengus to help them, but he said that he could not
do so until they had shaken the Tree of Tarbga and eaten
the salmon of Inver Umaill.
After that they went to Glascarn and remained a year with
Drebrenn in hiding. ’Tis then they shook the Tree of Tarbga,
and fared forth to Inver Umaill (where they arrived on the day
that the mound was raised). To hunt them the men of Connaught
are gathered by Medb, and she took Black-island
upon them, and they all fell save Brogarban, and their five
heads were brought to that mound. Whence Dumae Selga
“Mound of Hunting”.
72. MAG LUIRG.
When Conall Cernach was being cherished at Cruachu, he
slew, at Medb’s behest, (her husband) Ailill king of Connaught.
Wherefore he fled out of Cruachu, and Connaught’s
warriors pursued him. The three Red Wolves of Martine
started on his track (lorg) and took it from Mag Luirg to Mag
Slecht in Brefne. There at Áth na Miana by Maigen the three
Red Wolves of the Fir Féne killed him, and then they carried
off his head to the district of Berre in Corcalaigde in retribution
for the head of Cú-Rói son of Dáire (whom Conall’s
comrade Cú-chulainn had decapitated). So that is the Cherishing
of Conall in Cruachu, and thence Magh Luirg “Plain
of the Track” is named.
73. LOCH NÉILL.
Niall son of Enna Aignech son of Oengus Tuirbech of Tara,
was the leader of the brigands of Ireland in the reign of Conall
Cromderg son of Labraid; and he went on the track of
Drebrenn’s swine, which had issued from the elfmound of
Collomair. He found them in the Oakwood of Tarbga. Both
hounds and men hunted the swine throughout Magh Ái —
so called from Ái the name of Enna Aignech’s hound — till
they came to the lake, and therein Niall and his hounds were
drowned. Whence Loch Néill is named.
74. LOCH CON.
Manannan mac Lir’s pack of hounds and the pack of Mod
(from whom Insi Mod, the Clew Bay Islands) met together
about a pig which wasted the country around those islands,
and, unless the hounds might interfere with that pig, it
would have made a criathar as far as Scotland, that is, there
would have been a wreckage or a desert. In front of the
hounds it sprang into the lake, and the hounds pressed after
it, and it tackled both packs on the lake, and no hound escaped
alive, but all were maimed and drowned. Then the pig
went forward to the island which is therein (and there it killed
Mod). Whence Loch Con “Lake of the Hounds” and Mucc-inis
75. LOCH NDECHET.
Dechet son of Dergor, the rath-builder of Glas son of Cas,
’tis he that 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 he demanded his reward, to wit, the produce
of the cataract (the salmon), which was given him, and
afterwards a tower was erected by the Children of Ailill that
the men of Connaught might have no quarrelling or contention
about the produce of Ess Ruaid.
Dechet was still demanding the wage for the work he had
done, and there was given to him (the land) as far as Mag
Lunga that is, Mag Loingthea “the Plain of Eating”, for ’tis
there that he consumed his food and his liquor, and then he
fared forth in the frenzy of his intoxication to the lake and
therein he was drowned. Whence Loch Dechet.
76. MAG MUIRISC.
A flood of sea-fish came there throughout the land, and
filled the waste places and glens thereof. A full year it was
without decaying, without stinking, as some opine.
Or it is the Rosualt [which Columb cille had prophesied]
there came to land. And this is the manner of it: to make
three vomitings [in separate years.] When it vomits on lands
human beings and cattle suffer plague in this year. When it
vomited in clouds, in this year the birds of the air suffer plague.
When it vomited on seas, barque and boat flounder in
this year, and there is a plague upon the seabeasts. And ’tis
this that brought plague into the country of Muiresc.
Or it takes its name from Muiresc daughter of Ugaine (the
Great, to whom the plain was given or where she died).
Coro was the harper of Diancecht son of Echtach son of
Esorg, and the Tuatha Dé Danann, because of his harping,
gave him land, to wit Mag Coroind, whence Coronn takes its
name. Céis Coroinn, now, when Drebrenn’s swine were dispersed,
Coelcheis, the fifth of them, got to Céis Coroinn and
there perished. Whence Céis Coroinn is named.
78. CARN CONOILL.
Conall the slender son of Oengus son of Umor fell there.
Once upon a time when the sons of Umor made a flitting
over sea out of the province of the Picts (of Scotland) they
came to the plain of Meath, to Cairbre Nia-fer the lord of
Tara, and of him they sought land, the best in Meath, to wit,
Rath Cennaig, Rath Commair, Cnogba, Brug Mná Elcmair,
Taltiu, Cermna, Tlachtga, Ath Sige, Brí-dam Díle. Cairpre
required them (to perform the) base service of Tara, like
everyone whom he permitted to dwell in Banba (Ireland)
and (especially) Bregia. So for this (performance) the Children
of Umor gave four sureties, namely, Cet mac Magach, Ross
son of Deda, Conall Cernach and Cúchulainn.
Afterwards Cairpre imposed on the Children of Umor a
rent which could not be endured: so they decamped from him
with their possessions westward to Ailill and Medb, and set
up beside the sea, Oengus in Dún Óengusa in Aran, Cutra to
Loch Cutra, Cimbe Fourheads at Loch Cimbi, Adar at Mag
Adair, Mil at Muirbech Mil, Daelech on Dail, and Ennach
from whom is Ennach’s House. Bir at Rind Bera Sirraim,
Mod at Insi Mod (the Clew Bay Islands). Irgus at
Rind Boirne, Cingid at Cruach Aigli, Bairnech Barannbel at
Laiglinni, Conchuirn at Inis Medón (“Middle Island”), Lathrach
at Lathrach’s Hill, Taman at Taman’s Point, Conall
the Slender at Aidne, Mesc on Lough Mask.
So then the four sureties and guarantors are summoned by
(the creditor) Cairpre. Conall comes with his (comrade)
Cúchulainn from the Ulaid, Ross son of Deda from the Ernai,
and Cet went out of Connaught to Cairpre’s house.
Cairpre demanded their honour or their soul (i.e. that they
should either make the defaulters discharge their debt or submit
to be killed).
So then, under Cet’s safeguard, the sureties repaired to
Cruachan, and there on the green of the fortress they commenced
their fasting. Cet’s wife entreated the respite of a
single night (that the Children of Umor might consider what
was to be done). On the morrow Oengus comes and said
that his son with his three brothers would fight on his behalf
with the sureties, Cing against Ross, Cimbe Fourheaded against
Conall Cernach, Irgus against Cet mac Magach, and Conall
son of Oengus against Cúchulainn. So the sons of Umor were
killed and the sureties brought their four heads to Cairbre to
boast of them. Then Oengus was buried with his son Conall
under this cairn. Whence Carn Conaill.
79. LOCH RÍ.
Ríb son of Mairid and Eochaid son of Mairid went southward
from Tara into Luachair on a flitting. They parted at
Belach dá liacc “the Pass of two Flagstones”, and Eochaid
went over Bregia to the Burgh of Mac ind Óc. Then Oengus
(the Mac ind Óc) went to them in the shape of an hospitaller,
having in his hand a haltered packhorse. He told them that
they should not bide on his meadow, and this was not done
for him. So Oengus inflicted three chief plagues upon them,
to wit, their kine the first day, their horses the second day.
Howbeit Ríb (and his folk), fared westward and set up on
Mag Find, and that was the playground of Oengus and Mider.
And Mider came to them in like manner, with his haltered
horse in his hand, and he ordered them to decamp or he
would kill them forthwith.
We have nothing that will carry our goods for us,
Says Mider: Here I have for you a horse that will carry
your treasures. But whereover thou shalt stay, he must not
stale, and do not let him stray, and let his bridle be laid
round his head, and unless this be so, thou wilt be repentant.
Then Ríb went his way till he reached Mag Airbthen
(nDairbthen?), the place where Lough Ree is (now); and
there the horse passed his urine, and went astray, and left his
bridle. Then the urine flowed under them throughout the
ground, so that it was needful to put a floodgate (?) over it.
And Ríb built a house around it and his bed above it. For
thirty years it remained thus, till on the eve of a Monday at
Lammas it burst forth and drowned Ríb with his wife, children
and household, and spreads over the whole of Mag
Airbthen. According to the computers, this took place 111
years after the birth of Christ. Whence Loch Ríb is said.
80. LOCH NÉRNE.
Fiacha Labrainne gave battle there to the Érnai and there
(during the battle) the lake burst forth under ground, whence
Loch Erne is said.
Otherwise: Érne daughter of Borg the Bellowing, son of
Manchín, son of Machu, chieftainess of the girls of Cruachan
and keeper of Medb of Cruachan’s combs and caskets.
Once upon a time Olc Ai issued from the Cave of Cruachu
to contend with Amorgen the Blackhaired when he slept with
Findchoem daughter of Magach. And then Olc Ai shook his
beard and gnashed his teeth so that Érne and her maidens because
of her terror went to flight, and reached Loch Érne, and
there they were all drowned. Whence Loch Érne is said.
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