History Of Ireland Part 2 of 6

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Of the invasions of Ireland before the deluge down here.

I. Some say that it is three daughters of the wicked Cain who inhabited it at first, so to certify that I have set down here a verse out of the poem which commences I found in the Saltair of Cashel:—

  1. Three virgin daughters of Cain,
    With Seth, son of Adam,
    They first saw Banbha,
    Banbha, I remember their adventure.

The book of Dromsneachta says that Banbha was the name of the first maiden who occupied Ireland before the deluge, and that Ireland is called Banbha from her. Thrice fifty women came there, and three men: Ladhra was the name of one of them, and it is from him Ard Ladhrann is named. Two score years they were in the island, till a plague fell on them, so that they all died in one week. Ireland after that, was desert, empty, without anyone alive in it, for two hundred years till after that came the deluge.

II. Some others say that it is three fishermen who were driven by a storm of wind from Spain unwillingly; and as the island pleased them that they returned for their wives to Spain; and having come back to Ireland again, the deluge was showered upon them at Tuaigh Innbhir, so that they were drowned: Capa, Laighne, and Luasad, their names. It is about them the verse was sung:—

  1. Capa, Laighne, and Luasad pleasant,
    They were a year before the deluge
    On the isle of Banbha of the bays;
    They were eminently brave.

III. It is said, however, that it is Ceasair, daughter of Bioth, son of Noe, who came there before the deluge, so the verse was made about it:—

  1. Ceasair, daughter of lasting Bioth,
    Foster-child of Sabhail,son of Nionuall;
    The flrst valiant woman who came
    To the isle of Banbha before the deluge.

If one should wish, indeed, to obtain knowledge what brought her to Ireland:—Bioth had sent a messenger to Noe, to know whether he himself and his daughter Ceasair would obtain a place in the ark to save them from the deluge; Noe says they should not get (that). Fionntain asks the same, and Noe says he should not get it. Whereupon Bioth, Fionntain and the maiden Ceasair go to consult. ‘Let my advice be followed by you’, says Ceasair. ‘It shall be done,’ say they. ‘Well then,’ says she, ‘take to ye an idol, and adore him, and forsake the God of Noe.’ After that they brought with them an idol, and the idol told them to make a ship, and put to sea: although he did not know what time the deluge would come. A ship was fitted, accordingly, by them, and they went to sea. Those who went into it were three men, namely, Bioth, Fionntain, and Ladhra: (also) Ceasair, Barrann, and Balbha, and fifty maidens along with them. Seven years and a quarter for them on the sea, until they put into port at Dún na mbarc, in the district of Corca Dhuibhne, the fifteenth day of the moon, as the antiquary says:—

  1. It is there they took harbour
    At Dún na-mbarc, the female company,
    In Cúil Ceasrach, in the district of Carn,
    The fifteenth, (being) Saturday.

And that was forty days before the deluge, as is said:—

  1. Two score days before the deluge,
    Ceasair came into Ireland,
    Fionntain, Bioth, and Ladhra fierce,
    And fifty beautiful maidens.

Another poet agrees with the same thing, where he says in this verse:—

  1. Ceasair set out from the east—
    Daughter of Bioth was the woman—
    With her fifty maidens,
    And with her three men.

A ship's company were on that expedition to Dún na mbarc: Ceasair, and her ships lading, came to land there; namely, fifty women and three men, i. e. Bioth and Fionntain, and Ladhra, as we have said. It was that Ladhra, as we have said, who was the first dead person of Ireland, according to the folk who say that no people at all occupied Ireland before the deluge, but Ceasair and those who came with her. And from him is named Ard Ladhrann. From Bioth Sliabh Beatha is named; and from Fionntain is named Feart Fionntain over Tultuinne in Duthaigh Aradh, near to Loch Deirgdheirc. From Ceasair is named Carn Ceasrach in Connacht. They proceed thence to Bun Suaimhne, i.e. Cumar na dtri-n-uisge, where is the junction of Suir and Nore and Barrow. There they share their fifty women in three parts among them. Fionntain took Ceasair with him, and seventeen women along with her. Bioth took Barrann with him, and seventeen other women in her company: and Ladhra took Balbha with sixteen women likewise with him, till he reached Ard Ladhrann, and died there. Balbha and her sixteen women return to Ceasair again. Ceasair sends tidings to Bioth. Bioth comes to acquaint Fionntain, so that they shared those sixteen women equally between them. Bioth brought his own share of them with him to Sliabh Beatha in the north of Ireland, and it was not long afterwards until he died there. As for these women of Bioth, they come to Fionntain after that. Howbeit, Fionntain flies before them from Leinster, across Bun Suaimhne, across Sliabh gCua into Ceann Feabhrad of Sliabh Caoin, and with left hand towards the Shannon east to Tultuinne over Loch Deirgdheirc. Ceasair goes with her female company to Cúil Ceasrach in Connacht, till her heart broke through being in estrangement from her husband, and through the death of her father and of her brother: and there were not then from her to the deluge but six days. So to attest that, this verse was spoken:—

  1. It is those—after appointed time—
    Their deaths, their proceedings;
    There was not, but a week alone,
    From them to the forty (days' rain).

IV. Know, O reader, that it is not as genuine history I set down this occupation, nor any occupation of which we have treated up to this; but because I have found them written in old books. And, moreover, I do not understand how the antiquaries obtained tidings of the people whom they assert to have come into Ireland before the deluge, except it be the aerial demons gave them to them, who were their fairy lovers during the time of their being pagans; or unless it be on flags of stones they found them graven after the subsiding of the deluge, if the story be true: for it is not to be said that it is that Fionntain who was before the deluge who would live after it, because the Scripture is against it, where it says that there did not escape of the human race, without drowning, but the eight persons of the ark alone, and it is clear he was not of those. The argument is unsound which some antiquaries have concerning Fionntain to have lived during the deluge, where they said that there lived four in the four quarters of the world during the time of the deluge, namely, Fionntain, Fearon, Fors, and Andoid. However, think not, O reader, that this is the opinion of the people who are most authoritative in history. Therefore, a certain author sets this thing before us in a poem, to show that it does not accord with the truth of the faith to say that Fionntain or any of the other three should live after the pouring forth of the deluge and before it. Here is the poem:—

  1. The names of four—in right resolved—
    Whom God left (safe) throughout the deluge,
    Fionntain, Fearon, Fors, just, gentle,
    And Andoid, son of Eathor.

  1. Fors in the eastern land, east, was allowed;
    Fearon for [northern] coldness (in need) of clothing;
    Fionntain for the west limit fairly
    And Andoid for the southern part.

  1. Though antiquaries record that,
    The just canon does not record
    But Noe who was in the ark, and his children,
    And their wives, who obtained protection of their lives.

Whence it is understood that it is not the common opinion of all the antiquaries, any of these to have lived after the deluge: however, if any antiquary should say, as a safeguard against perverting the faith, that Fionntain, a man like the rest, was drowned under the deluge, and that he was revived by God after that, to save and to keep the proceedings of the ancients, with their stories, to the time of Patrick, and after that to the time of Finnian of Magh Bile; I do not understand how it would be possible to conceal throughout Europe so wonderful a thing as this, [seeing] the frequency, during the time of Finnian, and from that forth, [with which there] went accomplished parties of divines and philosophers, and many of other learned wise people from Ireland through the principal countries of Europe to instruct the clergy and congregations, and to teach public schools; and (yet) to say that there would not be [in their track] after them some disciple by whom would be left a poem or a letter in which there would be a mention or a narrative concerning Fionntain; and [considering also] the frequency that they wrote other things which are now to be seen, and, moreover, that I do not see any narrative about him in their chief authentic books: and, accordingly, I think that there is nothing but a poetical romance in the history which would relate Fionntain to have lived before the deluge and after it. However, I do not say that there was not a very aged and wise man before the coming of Patrick to Ireland, and that he lived many hundred years, and that he related to Patrick everything which he remembered, and moreover every tradition which he had got from the ancestors concerning the times which had elapsed before him: and I think that there was his like of an elder, who was called Tuan son of Caireall according to some antiquaries, and according to others Roanus, that is Caoilte son of Rónán, who lived more than three hundred years, and who made known to Patrick much of antiquity, as is evident in the Dialogue of the Ancients; and it is [on] Caoilte that it is right to call Roanus or Ronanus. For it is not read in any book of the history of Ireland that Fionntain was called Roanus or Ronanus: Even though it is on him Cambrensis puts the name like every other lie of his partial history, and as he set down Roanus in his chronicle in place of Ronanus, every one of the new Galls who writes on Ireland, writes Roanus, in imitation of Cambrensis, as a name for Fionntain, because it is Cambrensis who is as the bull of the herd for them for writing the false history of Ireland, wherefore they had no choice of guide. It is the more right to think that it is to Caoilte Ronanus is given, since ancient authors set down among the works of Patrick that he wrote A History of Ireland, from Roanus or Ronanus: it is, indeed, the surname of the author which it is the custom to put over the head of every work which anyone writes, as is clear to every reader who practises reading authors.

And it is not true for Hanmer in his chronicle, where he says that the Gaels hold in great esteem the stories of Fionntain, whom he himself calls Roanus, where they say that he was hidden from the deluge, and that he lived after it more than two thousand years till he met with Patrick, and that he received baptism from him, and that he made known to him much of antiquity, and that he died at the end of a year after the coming of Patrick into Ireland, and that he was buried beside Loch Ribh in Urmhumha, where there is a church named or dedicated in his name, and, moreover, that he is named among the saints of Ireland. Nevertheless, it is clear that an antiquary never said, and also that he never left written this thing Dr. Hanmer says. For there are three persons being mentioned here in the guise of one man, namely, Fionntain, whom Cambrensis calls Roanus, i.e. Caoilte, son of Rónán, who was baptised by Patrick, and gave much of ancient record to him; and Ruadhan, to whom Lothra in Urmhumha was dedicated (it is beside Loch Deirgdheirc and not, as Hanmer says, beside Loch Ribh): and Tuan, son of Caireall. We shall not follow any more of the lies of Hanmer, or of the authority he has. Moreover, I think that it is instead of this word Ronanus Cambrensis wrote Roanus at first, and that it was left without amendment by his followers from that forward.


I. Of the first occupation that was made on Ireland here.

According to some antiquaries, there came a youth of the family of Nin son of Bél (whose name was Adhna son of Bioth) to spy Ireland about seven score years after the deluge. However, it was not long the stay he made in it. He went back to give an account of the island he, had seen, to his neighbours, and with him a part or certain bulk of the grass of Ireland, as is read in the poem (to which is) beginning, I found in the Saltair of Caiseal, &c. [Here is what the poem says.]

  1. Adhna, son of Bioth, with prophecy (?)
    A warrior of the family of Nin son of Bél,
    Came into Ireland to explore it,
    So that he plucked grass in wood island:

  1. He brought with him the full of his fist of its grass,
    He goes back to tell the news:
    That is the clear complete possession,
    Shortest in duration which occupied Ireland.

Howbeit, I do not think that the expedition of that man ought to be called a conquest, because he did not make any stay in it, and therefore that it is more right to reckon the conquest of Partholón as the first occupation of it after the deluge.

II. Of the first chief-conquest which was made on Ireland after the deluge, namely the invasion of Partholón, here.

Ireland, indeed, was desert three hundred years after the deluge, till Partholón, son of Sera, son of Sru, son of Esru, son of Fraimint, son of Fathacht, son of Magog, son of Japheth came to occupy it, according as it is found in the poem [to which is] beginning,— Adam, father, fountain of our hosts [as the poet says]:—

  1. Three hundred years after the deluge,
    It is a tale of truth, as I reckon,
    All holy Ireland was desert,
    Until Partholón came.

Accordingly, I think that it is twenty-two years before Abraham was born, Partholón came into Ireland, and that it is it which was the age of the world therefore, about this time a thousand, nine hundred and three score and eighteen years, as this verse states:—

  1. Eight and seventy—a clear gradation—
    A thousand and nine hundred years,
    From the time of Adam, virtuous, just,
    To the birth of Abraham our father.

However, the opinion of the people who say that it is at the end of two years and a thousand after the deluge that Partholón came to Ireland, is not truthful, and they, admitting that it is in the time of Abraham he came into it, and that it is Abraham, who was only the eighth generation from Sem, son of Noe, and Sem himself to be reckoned. For it is not likely that more than a thousand years would have been spent during the time of seven generations after the deluge. Wherefore I deem the former opinion more sound than the latter opinion; and, accordingly, it is probab1e that it was at the end of three hundred years after the deluge Partholón came into Ireland.

From middle Greece, i.e. 'Migdonia', Partholón set out. It is the way which he took (was) through the 'Torrian' Sea to Sicily, and with the right hand towards Spain till he reached Ireland. Two months and a half he was on the sea till he took harbour in Innbhear Sceine, in the western part of Munster, the fourteenth day in the month May. It is of it this verse was recited [as the poet says]:—

  1. The fourteenth, on (day of) Mars,
    They put their noble barks
    Into the port of fair lands, blue, clear,
    In Innbhear Scéine of bright shields.

Here is the company who came with Partholón to Ireland, and with his wife, Dealgnaid her name: their three sons, namely, Rudhruidhe, Slangha, and Laighlinne, with their wives, and a thousand of a host along with them, according to Nennius, as is read in the Saltair of Caiseal.

It is the place where Partholón dwelt at first in Ireland, in Inis Saimher, near to Eirne. It is why it was called Inis Saimher; a lap-dog or hound-whelp which Partholón had, which was named Saimher; and he killed it through jealousy with his wife, who committed misconduct with her own attendant, Todhga; and when Partholón accused her, it is not an apology she made, but said it was fitter the blame of that ill-deed to be on himself than on her: and she said these words: ‘O Partholón,’ says she, ‘do you think that it is possible a woman and honey to be near one another, new milk and a child, food and a generous person, flesh meat and a cat, weapons or implements and a workman, or a man and woman in private, without their meddling with each other’: and she repeats the verse:—

  1. Honey with a woman, new milk with a child,
    Food with the generous, flesh with a cat,
    A workman in a house, and edge tools,
    One with the other, it is great risk.

After Partholón had heard that answer, his jealousy was so increased by it that he struck the dog to the ground, till it was killed: so that from it the island is named. The first jealousy of Ireland after the deluge (was) that. So for it was recited this verse:—


The king strikes the hound of the woman
With his hand—it was not sad that it was (so):— ?
The hound was dead (...)
That was the first jealousy of Ireland.


The seventh year after the occupation of Ireland by Partholón, the first man of his people died, namely, Feadha, son of Tortan, from whom is named Magh Feadha.

It is the cause on account of which Partholon came to Ireland, because he had slain his father and his mother, seeking the kingdom from his brother, so that he came in flight (because of) his parricide till he reached Ireland, so that it is therefore God sent a plague on his race, by which nine thousand of them were slain during one week in Beann Eadair.

Some of our authors reckon another occupation of Ireland before Partholón, namely, the invasion of Cíocal, son of Nel, son of Garbh, son of Ughmhóir, from Sliabh Ughmhóir, and Lot Luaimhneach (was) his mother: they (were) two hundred years (living) on fish and fowl till the coming of Partholón into Ireland, till the battle of Magh Iotha took place between them, in which Cíocal fell, and in which the Fomorians were destroyed by Partholón. In Innbhear Domhnann Cíocal, with his people, took harbour in Ireland: six ships their number; fifty men and fifty women the complement of each ship [of them]. It is about them it is recited:—


Over the fields of Innbhear Domhnann;

Three hundred men, the number of his host,

Who came from the regions of Ughmhór

Till they were scattered after that,

Being cut off in a week.

The seventh invasion which took

Spoil of Ireland of the high plains

(Was) by Ciocal the stunted, (of withered feet),


Seven lakes burst forth in Ireland in the time of Partholón, namely, Loch Masc in Connacht; over Magh Leargna it sprang up: at the end of three years after giving battle to Cíocal, Loch Con burst over the land, and Magh Cró (was) the name of the plain over which it came: Loch Deichet at the end of twelve years after the coming of Partholón into Ireland. A year after that the fourth chieftain of his people died, namely, Slangha, and it is at Sliabh Slangha he was buried. At the end of a year after that (was) the eruption of Loch Laighlinne in Ua-mac-Uais Breagh, i.e. (the lake of) Laighlinne, son of Partholón; and when his sepulchre was being built, the lake sprang forth from the earth, it is from that it is called Loch Laighlinne. At the end of a year after that (was) the eruption of Loch Eachtra, between Sliabh Mudhairn and Sliabh Fuaid, in Oirghialla. After that, the eruption of Loch Rudhruidhe, in which Rudhruidhe himself was drowned. In the same year the eruption of Loch Cuan.

Partholón did not find before him in Ireland but three lakes and nine rivers: the names of the lakes (are) Loch Luimneach in Desmond, Loch Foirdhreamhain at Tráigh-lí, by Sliabh Mis in Munster, and Fionnloch Ceara in Iorros Domhnann in Connacht. It is for them this verse was recited [as the poet says]:

  1. Three lakes—wondrous their brilliancy,
    And nine plentiful rivers;
    Loch Foirdhreamhain, Loeh Luimnigh,
    Fionn Loch beyond the bounds of Iorros.

Here are the rivers:— The Buas, between Dal n-Áruidhe and Dalriada, i.e. the Rúta; the Rurthach, i.e. Abhann Life, between the Ui Neill, and the Leinstermen; Laoi, in Munster, through Muscraidhe to Cork; the Sligeach; the Samhaoir; the Muaidh in Connacht, through Ui Fiachrach of the north; the Moghurn in Tír Eoghain; the Fionn, between Cinéal Eoghain and Cinéal Conaill; and the Banna, between Lí and Eille; as is said in the poem to which (this) is the beginning, Ye learned of the plain of fair gentle Conn:—

  1. Muaidh, Sligeach, Samhaoir of name (?)
    Buas, a torrent of melodious sound;
    Moghurn, Fionn, with face of brightness;
    Banna, between Lí and Eille.

Or yet in the poem which has for beginning, Adam, father, fount of our hosts, &c.:—

  1. Laoi, Buas, Banna, lasting Bearbha,
    Samhaoir, Sligeach, Moghurn, Muaidh,
    And Lifé in Leinster with them,
    There they are, the old rivers.

At the end of four years after the eruption of Murthol, Partholón died in Sean-mhagh Ealta Eudair, and it is there he was buried. It is called Sean-mhagh, 'old plain', because a wood never grew on it; and, moreover, it is why it is called Magh n-Ealta, as it was there the birds of Ireland used to come to bask in the sun. At the end of thirty years from the coming of Partholón to Ireland, he died. Some antiquaries say that the age of the world when Partholón died was two thousand six hundred and twenty-eight years: nevertheless, what I think is, according to everything we have said before, that it is one thousand nine hundred and four score and six years from the beginning of the world to the death of Partholón.

Some others say that it is five hundred and twenty years from the death of Partholón to the plague of his people: however, the general opinion of the antiquaries is against that, since they say that Ireland was not a desert but thirty years [the time which] was from the death of Partholón's people to the coming of Neimheadh into it, as the poet says in this verse:—

  1. During thirty years of a period
    It was empty of (its) skilled warriors,
    After the destruction of its host in a week,
    In crowds upon Magh n-Ealta.

Holy Cormac son of Cuileannan agrees with the same thing in the Saltair of Caiseal, where he says that it is three hundred years (that) were from the coming of Partholón into Ireland to the plague of his people. The poet Eochaidh Ua Floinn agrees with it likewise, according to this verse:—

  1. Three hundred years, who know it?
    Over very great [or wide] excellent corn-lands, (?)
    The rank sharp-pointed stalks [or weeds] (?)
    (Were) in noble Erin grass-grown.

From all these things (it appears that) those who say that there was more than five hundred years from the death of Partholón till the destruction of his people, are not to be believed; and it is not probable that Ireland could have been settled so long, without more people in it than five thousand men and four thousand women.

III. Here is the division which the four sons of Partholón made on Ireland; and it is the first partition of Ireland.

Er, Orba, Fearón, and Feargna their names, and there were four their namesakes among the descendants of Míleadh, as we shall set down in (relating) their special conquest.

From Aileach Néid (in the) north to Áthcliath Laighean, the portion of Er.

From the same Áthcliath to Oiléan Árda Neimeadh [to] which is called Oiléan Mór an Bharraigh now, the portion of Orba.

From the Oiléan Mór to Meadhraidhe by Gaillimh, the division of Fearón.

From Áthcliath Meadhraidhe to Aileach Néid, the portion of Feargna, as Eochaidh Ua Floinn says in these verses: and he was the chief professor of poetry in Ireland in his time:—

  1. Four sons, (who) were fierce of voice,
    For noble children had Partholón:
    They took under direction among them
    The tribes of Ireland without objection:

  1. Not easy to the kings was their division,
    The island of Erin (being all) one wood,
    Treasure close (? safe) in each dwelling during their time;
    Each man got knowledge of his share.

  1. Er, their eldest, (who) was free in happiness,
    Pleasant his portion, long without change;
    From Aileach Néid, land without treachery,
    To Áthcliath Laighean full-strong.

  1. From Áthcliath of Leinster—leap of the sea—
    To the isle of Neimheadh's Height,
    Without misery—not weak his conduct—
    (Was) Orba's portion of the land of his race.

  1. From the ford where Neimheadh was slain
    To Meadhraidhe of the great districts,
    A cause of good content without cease there,
    The portion of Fearón, long the tract.

  1. From Meadhraidhe, (it is) long also,
    To Aileaeh Néid of good customs,
    If we follow the boundary in every track;
    Feargna got an extensive tract.

  1. On Erin itself, not a cause of deceit (this),
    Were born the strong men (whom) I enumerate,
    A noble company, who were established in fame,
    Gentle (and) knightly were the four.

IV. Of the people of Partholón here.

Here are the names of the ploughmen he had, namely, Tothacht, Treun, Iomhas, Aicheachbhéal, Cúl, Dorcha, and Damh. The names of the four oxen they had, namely, Liag, Leagmhagh, Iomaire, and Eitrighe. Beoir (was) the name of the man who gave out free entertainment or hospitality at first in Ireland. Breagha, son of Seanbhoth (it was) who established single combat first in Ireland. Samaliliath first introduced ale-drinking in it. Fios, Eolus and Fochmorc (were) his three druids. Macha, Mearan, and Muicneachán, his three strong-men. Biobhal and Beabhal his two merchants. Partholón had ten daughters and ten sons-in-law.


Of the second conquest which was made on Ireland here, i.e. the conquest of the children of Neimheadh.

Ireland, indeed, was waste thirty years after the destruction of the race of Partholóon, till Neimheadh son of Agnoman, son of Pamp, son of Tat, son of Seara, son of Srú, son of Easrú, son of Framant, son of Fathacht, son of Magog, son of Japheth, came to settle in it: for every invasion which occupied Ireland after the deluge is of the children of Magog. At Srú, son of Easruacute;, Partholóon and the children of Neimheadh separate from each other: and at Seara the Firbolg, the Tuatha Dé Danann, and the sons of Míleadh separate. And it is the Scotic language every tribe of these had. That is evident from (the occasion) when Ith, son of Breogan, came into Ireland; for it is through the Scotic language he himself and the Tuatha Dé Danann spoke with each other; and they said that they were of the race of Magog on both sides. Some others say, as for Neimheadh, that he was of the posterity of the son, Adhla his name, whom Partholóon had left in the east. It is the track in which Neimheadh journeyed, coming into Ireland from Scythia on the narrow sea which reaches from the ocean called Mare Euxinum,—it is it (i.e. the narrow sea) which is the boundary between the north-west side of Asia and the north-east side of Europe,— and at the north-west part of Asia are the mountains of Riffé, according to Pomponius Mela, on the boundary line of the narrow sea we have mentioned and the northern ocean. He gave his right hand to the mountains of Riffé, till he came into the ocean to the north, and his left hand towards Europe till he came to Ireland. Thirty-four ships (was) the number of his fleet, and thirty persons in every ship of them.

Starn, Iarbhoinel Fáidh, Ainninn, and Fearghus Leithdhearg (are) the names of the four sons of Neimheadh.

Four lake-eruptions in Ireland in the time of Neimheadh, namely, Loch mBreunainn on Mágh n-Asail in Ui Nialláin: Loch Muinreamhair on Mágh Sola among the Leinstermen: at the end of ten years after Neimheadh had arrived in Ireland, Loch Dairbhreach and Loch n-Ainnin sprang up in Magh Mór in Meath: for when the grave of Ainnin was dug, it is then Loch Ainnin sprang forth. It is in proof that it was in Neimheadh's time these lakes burst forth that this verse was made:—

  1. Four lakes of abundant water
    Burst forth over Fodhla truly great:—
    Loch Dairbhreach, Loch mBreunainn sweet sounding,
    Loch Muinreamhair, Loch n-Ainnin.

The wife of Neimheadh—Macha her name—died in Ireland sooner than Ainnin; and the twelfth year after their coming into Ireland this Macha died; and she was the first dead person of Ireland after the coming of Neimheadh into it. And it is from her Árd Macha is named; for it is there she was buried. Two royal forts were built by Neimheadh in Ireland, namely, Rath Chinneich in Uí Nialláin, and Rath Ciombaoth in Seimhne. The four sons of Madán Muinreamhar of the Fomorians built Rath Cinneich in one day, Bog, Robhog, Ruibhne, and Rodan their names: and Neimheadh slew them on the morrow in the morning, in Daire Lighe, for fear that they should resolve on the destruction of the fort again; and they were buried there.

Twelve plains were cleared from wood by Neimheadh in Ireland; namely, Magh Ceara, Magh Neara, Magh Cuile Toladh, Magh Luirg in Connacht, Magh Tochair in Tír Eoghain, Leacmhagh in Munster, Magh mBreasa, Magh Lughaidh in Ui Tuirtre, Magh Seireadh in Teathbha, Magh Seimhne in Dáll n-Áruidhe, Magh Muirtheimhne in Breagh, and Magh Macha in Oirghialla.

Neimheadh won three battles on the Fomorians, namely, navigators of the race of Cham, who fared from Africa; they came fleeing to the islands of the west of Europe, and to make a settlement for themselves, and (also) fleeing the race of Sem, for fear that they might have advantage over them, in consequence of the curse which Noe had left on Cham from whom they came; inasmuch as they thought themselves to be safe from the control of the posterity of Sem by being at a distance from them: wherefore, they came to Ireland, so that the three battles aforesaid were won over them, i.e. the battle of Sliabh Bádhna; the battle of Ross Fraocháin in Connacht, in which there fell Gann and Geanann, two leaders of the Fomorians; and the battle of Murbholg in Dalriada, i.e. the Rúta, the place where Starn son of Neimheadh fell by Conaing son of Faobhar in Leithead Lachtmhaighe. Moreover, he fought the battle of Cnámhros in Leinster, where there was a slaughter (made) of the men of Ireland, including Artur, son of Neimheadh, i.e. a son born in Ireland to him; and including Iobcan son of Starn, son of Neimheadh. However, it is by Neimheadh these three battles were won over the Fomorians, as these verses below certify:—

  1. Neimheadh defeated—illustrious his strength—
    (Their sepulchre was satiated I think),
    Gann and Geanann, by his attack.
    They were slain by him, one after the other.

  1. Geanann by Neimheadh was worn out.
    Their little grave—what tomb is greater (than it)?—
    By Starn, son of Neimheadh the mighty,
    Gann fell, and it is not deceit.

  1. The battle of Murbholg—he fought it—
    Till it was closed, it was stiff,
    It was won by Neimheadh of the arms,
    Though Starn came not back (from it).

  1. During the battle of Cnamhros, which was very great,
    It is much there was of hacking of flesh;
    Artur and Iobcan fell there,
    Although in it Gann was routed.

After that Neimheadh died of the plague in Oiléan Árda Neimheadh in Críoch Liatháin in Munster, which is called Oiléan Mór an Bharraigh; and two thousand (of) people with him, both men and women.

There was slavery and great oppression afterwards on the race of Neimheadh by the Fomorians, revenging the battles which Neimheadh had gained over them. Morc, indeed, son of Deileadh, and Conaing, son of Faobhar, from whom is named Tor Conaing on the border of Ireland north [who] had a fleet, and they residing in Tor Conaing which is called Toirinis, enforcing a tribute on the children of Neimheadh: and the extent of that tribute was two thirds of the children, and of the corn, and of the milch-kine of the men of Ireland, to be offered to them every year on the eve of Samhain at Magh gCéidne between the Drobhaois and the Eirne. It is why it is called Magh gCéidne from the frequency (with which) the tribute was brought to the same plain.

The Fomorians had still more tyranny on the children of Neimheadh, to wit, three full measures from every single household in Ireland of the cream of milk, of the flour of wheat, and of butter, to be brought to Morc and to Conaing to Toirinis; and a female steward who was called Liagh, enforcing that tax throughout Ireland, so that of that tax this verse was recited:—


    That tax which was devised there,
    Three measures which were not very scant;
    A measure of the cream of rich milk,
    And a measure of the flour of wheat,
    The third obligation—we think it was hard—
    A measure of butter over it for a condiment.

Anger and rage indeed seize upon the men of Ireland by reason of the heaviness of that tribute and tax, insomuch that they went to do battle with the Fomorians. It is wherefore they used to be called Fomorians, namely, from their being committing robbery on sea: Fomhóraigh, i.e. along the seas.

There were, however, three good warriors among the children of Neimheadh at this period, namely, Beothach, son of Iarbhoineol the prophetic, son of Neimheadh; Fearghus the red-sided, son of Neimheadh; and Earglan, son of Béoan, son of Starn, son of Neimheadh, with his two brothers, namely, Manntán and Iarthacht: and their number was thirty thousand on sea, and the same number on land, as this verse shows:—


    Three score thousand,—bright array—
    On land and on water;
    It is the number went from their dwelling
    The race of Neimheadh to the demolition (of the tower).

The tower was demolished then, and Conaing falls with his children by the race of Neimheadh. Afterwards, Morc, son of Deileadh, brought the crew of three score ships from Africa to Toirinis, till he gave battle to the children of Neimheadh, so that they fell side by side, and that everyone of them who was not slain was drowned, but Morc and a few of his company who took possession of the island: for they did not perceive the sea coming under them with the obstinacy of the fighting, so that there escaped not of the race of Neimheadh (as many of them as were in this warfare) but the crew of one bark, in which were thirty strong men, including three chiefs, namely, Simeon Breac, son of Starn, son of Neimheadh; Iobath, son of Beothach, son of Iarbhoineol Fáidh, son of Neimheadh; and Briotán Maol, son of Fearghus Leithdhearg, son of Neimheadh, as the verse says:—


    But one bark with its full company,
    There escaped not of them, the entire of their hosts:
    Simeon and Iobath good,
    And Briotán Maol, in that ship.

On their coming away from that conflict, it is the counsel on which they resolved, to fare from Ireland to fly the tyranny of the Fomorians. They were seven years making ready towards this adventure; and a fleet is prepared by each chief of them, and a party of the people who had come with Neimheadh to Ireland, and of his descendants, go with each one of the aforesaid chiefs; and some of them remain behind in Ireland, namely, ten warriors whom they left taking the headship of the remnant of the race of Neimheadh who remained under servitude of the Fomorians till the time of the Firbolg.

A chief of the three above (named), viz. Simeon Breac, son of Starn, goes to Greece, even to Thrace, and a company with him; it is there they were under bondage, and it is from him the Firbolg have come, as we shall say hereafter.

The second chief, namely, Iobáth, son of Beothach, goes into the regions of the north of Europe; and some antiquaries say that it is to 'Boetia' he went: it is from him the Tuatha Dé Danann have descended.

The third chief, i.e. Briotán Maol goes with a company with him to Dobhar and to Iardhobhar in the north of Scotland, so that he himself and his posterity after him dwelled there. It is the total of the fleet these chiefs, the children of Neimheadh, (had) on this expedition, between ship, bark, skiff, and small boat, one thousand one hundred and thirty vessels.

However, Briotán, son of Fearghus Leithdhearg, son of Neimheadh, and his posterity, were inhabiting the north of Scotland until the Crutheni, i.e. the Picts, went from Ireland to dwell in Scotland in the time of Eireamhón. Holy Cormac, son of Cuileannan, in his Saltair, says that it is from Briotán, Britannia is called to the island which is to-day called Great Britain: and the ancient record of Ireland is agreeing with him on that, as the poem says, which has for beginning Adam father, fountain of our hosts, where it says:—


    Briotán went beyond sea, without stain,
    Generous son of red-sided Fearghus;
    The Britons all, victory with renown,
    From him, without deception, they have descended.

Another author supports him on that where he says:—


    Briotán Maol,son of the prince,
    Noble the stock-branch spreading from him,
    Son of Leithdheirg from Leacmhagh,
    From whom are the Britons of the world.

It is the more right to think that to be true since it is not probable that it is from Brutus it is called (Britain); for if it were from him, it is likely that it is Brutania it would be called; and, besides, it is the more its name was obscured by the children of Brutus, according to (Geoffrey of) Monmouth, since Laegrus, son of Brutus, gave Laegria for name to the part of Britain which came to him; Camber, the second son of Brutus, gave Cambria for name to the part of it that came to himself; and Albanactus, the third son of Brutus, gave Albania for name to his own portion of the same territory.

As to the remnant of the race of Neimheadh, who remained dwelling in Ireland after those chiefs; they were oppressed by the Fomorians from time to time, till the arrival of the posterity of Simeon Breac, son of Starn, son of Neimheadh, in Ireland from Greece. Two hundred and seventeen years from the coming by Neimheadh into Ireland till the coming of the Firbolg into it, as this verse certifies:—


    Seventeen years and two hundred—
    During their reckoning,(there is) no exaggeration—
    Since Neimheadh came from the east,
    Over sea with his great sons,
    Till the children of Starn came
    From Greece,terrifying, very rugged.


Of the invasion of the Firbolg here.

The posterity of Simeon Breac, son of Starn, son of Neimheadh, having been in Greece, i.e. Thrace, as we have said, they grew so that the people who were there of them were numerous. Howbeit, the Greeks put bondage and great tyranny on them, such as their being digging the ground, raising earth, and carrying it in bags or in sacks of leather for putting it on stony crags, until it should become fruitful soil. Great sadness seized them, and enmity to the Greeks through the slavery in which they had them: and with that it was resolved by them to leave that evil plight. Having determined on that counsel, five thousand of them get together, and they make boats of the bags or of the wallets of leather in which they used to be drawing the clay: or it is the fleet of the king of the Greeks they stole, as the Cin of Druim Sneachta says, so that this posterity of Simeon Breac, son of Starn, came back to Ireland at the end of two hundred and seventeen years after Neimheadh had occupied Ireland.

Here are the chiefs who were over them that time, namely, Sláinghe, Rughruidhe, Gann, Geanann, and Seanghann, i.e. the five sons of Deala, son of Loch, son of Teacht, son of Triobuat, son of Othorb, son of Goiste, son of Oirtheacht, son of Simeon, son of Arglán, son of Beoán, son of Starn, son of Neimheadh,;son of Agnamon, &c. Their five wives, Fuad, Eudar, Anust, Cnucha, and Liobhra, their names: and it is of them it was said:—


    Fuad wife of Sláinghe—not deceiving you—
    Eudar wife of Gann the valorous,
    Anust wife of Seanghann of the spears,
    Cnucha was wife of Geanann bright,(?)
    Liobhra wife of Rughruidhe of the way.(?)

Five thousand the number of the host who came with them; one thousand one hundred and thirty ships (between

ship, bark, skiff and small boat) the number of their fleet, as these verses of antiquity show which follow:—


    Thirty ships on one hundred,
    And a thousand—it is not a lie—
    It is the number who came from the east,
    The good Sláinghe with his hosts:


    Many were the Firbolg, without a lie,
    At their coming out from Greece;
    Good the tribes who were not diffident (in setting out),
    Nor was the fleet wooden.


    Wednesday they went westward,
    Over the great broad Torrian Sea;
    The period of three days on a fair year (went by)
    Until they reached to Spain:


    From that by them to noble Ireland—
    A convenient sailing from Spain—
    Better then not to conceal it from all,(?)
    The space of three days and ten.

These five chiefs divide Ireland in five parts among them, as we have said before, speaking of the third partition which was made of Ireland; as this verse says:—


    Five chiefs at the head of the host
    Divide into five Banbha the ancient;
    Geanann, Rughraidhe—a brilliant roll—
    Gann, Seangann, and Sláinghe.

Sláinghe (from whom is named Innbhear Sláinghe at Loch-garman, [the youngest of the children]) took the province of Leinster from Innbhear Colptha at Droichead-átha to Cumar na dtrí-n-uisge, and a thousand the number of his host. Gann takes from Cumar na dtrí-n-uisge to Bealach Chonghlais, and a thousand the number of his host. Seangann takes from Bealach Chonghlais to Luimneach, and a thousand the number of his host. Geanann takes the province of Connacht from Luimneach to Drobhais, and a thousand the number of his ost. Rughraidhe takes the province of Ulster, namely, from Drobhaois to Droichead-átha, and a thousand the number of his host.

It is [to] these chiefs with their companies that are called Fir Bolg, Fir Domhnann and Gaileoin". Fir Bolg, indeed, from the bags of leather they used to have in Greece, carrying earth to put it on bare flags so that they might make of them flowery plains in bloom. Fir Domhnann from the pits they used to dig in the soil by carrying it to the Fir Bolg. Gaileoin, indeed, they were named from the darts; because it is these which used to be their arms defending everybody when they would be (i.e. the others) doing their work; and from the darts or the spears which were their arms, they were named.

Understand, O reader, that it is one conquest they made, and that it is in one week they came into Ireland, i.e. Sláinghe on Saturday in Innbhear Sláinghe, Gann and Seangann the Tuesday after that in Iorrus Domhnann, Geannan and Rughraidhe the Friday afterwards in Tracht Rughraidhe. (The name) Gaileoin is given to Sláinghe with his people: Fir Bolg is given to Gann and to Seangann with their people: and Fir Domhnann is given to Geanann and to Rughraidhe. And some of the antiquaries say that it is in Iorrus Domhnann (in the north-west of the province of Connacht) these two came to land with a third of the host, and that it is from them lorrus Domhnann is called. However, they are all commonly called Fir Bolg. Thirty-six years (was) the length of the dominion of the Fir Bolg over Ireland: and no one to whom the title of high-king was given came into the island before them;so it is to prove that the following rann was composed:—


    Sixteen years and two tens,
    Fir Bolg over Banbha throughout,
    Till the coming of the Tuath Dé to the people,
    (And) that they seized all Ireland.


Of the first kings who took the sovereignty of Ireland; and of every king after them who assumed, it, according to the order of the periods and of the invasions, down here.

Sláinghe, son of Deala, son of Lóch, took rule of Ireland (for a year, till he died in Dionnriogh, which is called Dumha Sláinghe: and he was the first king of Ireland [ever]; and, moreover he was the first dead among the Fir Bolg.

Rughraidhe, son of Deala, son of Lóch, took the kingdom of Ireland two years till he fell in the Brugh over the Bóinn.

Gann and Geanann took the kingdom of Ireland four years till they died of the plague in Freamhainn Midhe.

Seangann held the kingship five years till he fell by Fiachaidh Ceinnfhionnán.

Fiachaidh Ceinnfhionnán, son of Starn, son of Rughraidhe, son of Deala, son of Lóch, held the kingdom five years, till he fell by Rionnal, son of Geannan, son of Deala, son of Lóch. There were white heads on the men of Ireland during his time: hence he was called Ceinnfhionnán.

Rionnal took the kingdom of Ireland six years, till he fell by Foidhbghein, son of Seangann, son of Deala, son of Lóch. This Foidhbghein held the kingship four years, until he was slain by Eochaidh, son of Earc, in Magh Muirtheimhne.

Eochaidh, son of Earc, son of Rionnal, son of Geannan, held the kingship ten years. There was no rain nor bad weather during his time, nor yet a year without fruit and increase. It is in his time injustice and lawlessness were put down in Ireland, and approved and elaborated laws were ordained in it. This Eochaidh fell by the three sons of Neimheadh, son of Badhraoi (Ceasarb, Luamh, and Luachra their names), in the battle of Magh Tuireadh. It is this Eochaidh who was king of the Fir Bolg at the coming of the Tuatha Dé Danann into Ireland. It is she who was queen to him, Taillte, daughter of Madhmór, king of Spain, and in Taillte she was buried, so that from her it was named Taillte. Nuadha Airgeadlámh was king over the Tuatha Dé Danann at that time. This battle of Magh Tuireadh was very long being fought between the two kings aforesaid. Howbeit, it was gained at last over Eochaidh and over the Fir Bolg, till Eochaidh was slain, and a hundred thousand of his people cut off from Magh Tuireadh to Trá igh Eothaile. It is in this battle his hand was cut off from Nuadha Airgeadlámh, so that he was seven years being cured, until a hand of silver was put on him, whence it is that he was named Nuadha of the silver hand.

The small number of Fir Bolg who escaped out of this battle departed in flight before the Tuatha Dé Danann, so that Ára, Ilé, Reachra, Inse Gall, and many islands besides, were inhabited by them; and they dwelt there until the time of the provincial kings being in the sovereignty of Ireland, until the Cruithnigh, i.e. Picts, banished them out of those islands, so that they (i.e. Fir Bolg) came to seek Cairbre Niadh-fir, king of Leinster, (and) obtained land from him under tenure. However, the heaviness of their rent was such that they were not able to endure it. They depart thence to seek Meadhbh and Oilioll so that they gave land to them, whence it is that that is the migration of the sons of Ughmhór. Aonghus son of Ughmhór was prince over them in the east. It is from them are named the lands where they took up residence in Ireland, namely, Loch Cime, from Cime Ceithircheann, Rinn Tamhain in Meadhraidhe, Loch Cútra, Rinn mBeara, Maoilinn, Dún Aonghusa in Ara, Carn Conaill in Crích Aidhne, Magh n-Aghar (i.e. the plain of Aghar) son of Ughmhór the poet, Druim n-Asail, Magh Maoin (i.e. the plain of Maon) son of Ughmhór, Loch Uair (i.e. the lake of Uar) son of Ughmhór: and they occupied fortresses and islands in like manner in Ireland till they were expelled by Cuchulainn, by Conall Cearnach and by the Ulstermen also. It is not recounted 'raths' to have been built, lakes to have burst forth, or plains to have been cleared of woods during the dominion of the Fir Bolg. Some antiquaries say that it is from them (come) these three tribes which are in Ireland but not of the Gael, namely, the Gabhraidhe of Suca in Connacht, the Uí Tairsidh in Crích Ua bhFailghe, and the Gaileoin of Leinster. Those are the proceedings of the Fir Bolg, according to the antiquary, the learned Tanuidhe Ua Maoilchonaire, in the duan of which the beginning is this rann:—


    The Fir Bolg were here a while
    In the great island of the sons of Míleadh:
    Five chiefs they came hither,
    I have knowledge of their names.


Of the invasion of the Tuatha Dé Danann here.

The Tuatha Dé Danann are of the posterity of the third chief of the race of Neimheadh who had gone on adventures from Ireland after the destruction of the tower of Conaing, namely, Iobath son of Beothach; and, according to some antiquaries, the place which was inhabited by them was Boetia in the north of Europe. Some others say that it is in the Athenian territory they dwelt, where the city of Athens is. Understand, O reader, that Boeotia and the city of Athens, according to Pomponius Mela, are in the district of Greece which is called Achaia: and that it is there they learned their magic and their arts until they became skilled in every trick of sorcery.

It happened about that time that a great fleet came from the country of Syria to make war on the people of the Athenian country, so that there was daily warfare between them; and those of the Athenians who would be slain, it is they who would be on the morrow fighting with the people of Syria. That necromancy used to be done through the art magic of the Tuatha Dé Danann: for they would put demons into the same bodies to restore them. And when the people of Syria became aware of this, they go to take counsel with their own druid. The druid says to them, to set a watch on the site or on the place of the battle-field, and to thrust a stake [of a spit] of quicken-tree through the trunk of every dead person who would be rising up against them; and if it were demons who would cause their bodies to revive, that they would be from that immediately turned into worms, while, if it were really their revival that had been brought about, the bodies would not suffer change or corruption. The people of Syria come to join battle on the morrow, and it is won by them, and they thrust the stakes of ash through the dead, as the druid had told them, and presently worms were made of them: and the people of Syria fell on the others after that, slaughtering them.

As regards the Tuatha Dé Danann, when they saw the people of Syria prevailing over the people of the country, they, in one band, depart from that territory, for fear of them, and they made no stay till they came to the country of Lochlonn, i.e. Fionn-Lochlonn, viz. the people of Norway, where they got welcome from the people of the country for the extent of their science and of their varied arts. It is Nuadha Airgeadlámh, son of Euchtach, son of Edarlámh, of the posterity of Neimheadh who was chief over them at that time. Indeed, they obtained four cities, so as to be teaching the young folk of that country in them. The names of the cities here: Fáilias, Gorias, Finias, and Murias. The Tuatha Dé Danann place four sages in those cities to teach the sciences and the varied arts they had to the youths of the country; Semias in Murias, and Arias in Finias, and Eurus in Gorias, and Morias in Fáilias. After being a while of their time in these cities, they proceed to the north of Scotland, so that they were seven years at Dobhar and at Iardobhar. They had four noble jewels, which they brought from those cities, namely, a stone of virtue from Fáilias; it is it that is called Lia Fáil; and it is it that used to roar under each king of Ireland on his being chosen by them up to the time of Conchubhar (as we mentioned before), and it is to that stone is called in Latin Saxum fatale. It is from it, moreover, is called Inis Fáil to Ireland. So that it is therefore a certain antiquary composed this verse:—


    The stone which is under my two heels,
    From it Inis Fáil is named;
    Between two shores of a mighty flood,
    The plain of Fál (is for name) on all Ireland.

[This stone which is called Lia Fáil], another name for it (is) the Stone of Destiny; for it was in destiny for this stone, whatever place it would be in, that it is a man of the Scotic nation, i.e. of the seed of Míleadh of Spain, that would be in the sovereignty of that country, according as is read, in Hector Boetius in the history of Scotland. Here is what he says, viz.—


    The Scotic nation, noble the race,
    Unless the prophecy be false,
    Ought to obtain dominion,
    Where they shall find the Lia Fáil.

{Ni fallat fatum, Scoti quocunque locatum, invenient lapidem, regnare tenentur ibidem.}

When the race of Scot heard that the stone had this virtue, after Feargus the great, son of Earc, had obtained the power of Scotland, and after he had proposed to style himself king of Scotland, he sends information into the presence of his brother Muircheartach, son of Earc, of the race of Eireamhón, who was king of Ireland at that time, to ask him to send him this stone, to sit upon, for the purpose of being proclaimed king of Scotland. Muircheartach sends the stone to him, and he was inaugurated king of Scotland on the same stone, and he was the first king of Scotland of the Scotic nation; and although some of the Cruithnigh, i.e. the Picts, had been styled kings of Scotland, before Feargus was made king, there was not one of them full king without being under tax and under tribute to the kings of Ireland from time to time; and especially from the time of Eireamhón, son of Míleadh [forward], by whom the 'Picts' were sent out of Leinster to inhabit Scotland, (as we shall say in the reign of Eireamhón), to the reign of this Feargus. Concerning the stone, they had it accordingly some space of time, age to age, till it reached after that to England, so that it is there now in the chair in which the king of England is inaugurated, it having been forcibly brought from Scotland, out of the abbey of Scone; and the first Edward king of England brought it with him, so that the prophecy of that stone has been verified in the king we have now, namely, the first king Charles, and in his father, the king James, who came from the Scotic race (that is to say, from the posterity of Maine son of Corc son of Lughaidh, who came from Eibhear son of Míleadh of Spain); who assumed the style of kings of England upon the stone aforesaid.

The second jewel the Tuatha Dé Danann brought into Ireland then, that is the sword which Lúgh Lámhfada had used, and from Gorias it was brought. The third jewel, namely, the spear which the same Lúgh had when prepared for battle, and from Finias it was brought. The fourth jewel, the caldron of the Daghdha: a company would not go away unsatisfied from it, and from Murias it was brought.Here is a poem from a certain Book of Invasion for proof on the same things:—


    Tuatha Dé Danann of the precious jewels,
    The place in which they acquired learning
    They attained their complete culture,

Their art magic (and) their diablerie.


    Iarbhoineol fair—an excellent seer—
    Son of Neimheadh, son of Aghnomon,
    To whom the doughty fool-hardy Beothach was son
    Who was a hero full-active, given to slaughter.


    The children of Beothach—vivid their fame—
    They arrived a powerful host of heroes,
    After much travail and wandering,
    The entire of their fleet to Lochlonn.


    Four cities, justly famous,
    They occupied in sway with great power,
    Where they used to wage war ingeniously(?)
    For learning (and) for exact knowledge.


    Fáilias and Gorias bright,
    Finias (and) Murias of great deeds,
    To blazon their sallies abroad(?)
    (And) the names of the great cities.


    Morias and Euras high-placed,
    Arias (and) Semias austere;
    Their naming is profitable discourse,
    Of the names of the sages of the noble gain.


    Morias the sage of Fáilias itself,
    Euras in Gorias, of good disposition,
    Semias in Murias, southern stronghold(?)
    Arias fair, sage of Finias.


    Four gifts with them (brought) from afar,
    By the nobles of the Tuatha Dé Danann:—
    A sword, a stone, a shapely cadron,
    A spear for facing tall champions.


    Lia Fáil from Fálias hither,
    Which used to roar under the king of Ireland;
    The sword of the hand of Lúgh the active(?),
    From Gorias-choicest of great store.


    From Finias far over the sea,
    Was brought the spear of Lúgh who was not weak;
    From Murias—great prodigious gift—
    The caldron of the Daghdha of Iofty deeds.


    King of heaven, king of feeble men,
    Protect me, king of the great stars,
    Prince, who hast endurance of hateful things,(?)
    And the strength of the gentle tribes.

Concerning the Tuatha Dé Danann, they, having spent seven years in the north of Scotland, came to Ireland; and, on their coming to land, Monday Bealtaine in the north of Ireland, they burn their ships, so to certify that, this rann was composed:—


    Each warrior of them burned his ship,
    When he reached noble Eire:
    It was a grave decision in his state(?)
    The vapour of the ships being burned.

After that they put of mist of druidism around them for the space of three days, so that they were not manifest to any one of the Fir Bolg till they reached Sliabh-an-iarainn. Thence they send an embassy from them to Eochaidh, son of Earc, and to the chiefs of the Fir Bolg, to demand the kingdom of Ireland or battle on its account. Whereupon, the battle of Magh Tuireadh South is fought between the Fir Bolg and the Tuatha Dé Danann, so that the battle was gained on the Fir Bolg, and that a hundred thousand of them were slain, according as we have said above.

Thirty years from the battle of Magh Tuireadh South to the battle of Magh Tuireadh North, as the verse says:—


    Thirty years,it is known,
    From the battle of Magh Tuireadh South,
    To the battle of Magh Taireadh North,
    In which fell Balor of the great host.

Some antiquaries say that it is from the three sons whom Danann, daughter of Dealbhaoth, bore, the Tuatha Dé Danann were called, to wit, Brian, Iuchar and Iucharbha, i.e. three of the children of Dealbhaoth, son of Ealatha, son of Néd, son of Iondaoi, son of Allaoi, son of Tat, son of Tabharn, son of Enna, son of Bathach, son of Iobath, son of Beothach, son of Iarbhoineol Fáidh, son of Neimheadh: because that the aforesaid three were so accomplished [as that] in heathen arts, that these tribes with whom they were wished to style them gods, and to name themselves from them. Here is a stave of a quotation certifying it, that these three are the three gods of Danann, as the poem says, which has for beginning, Hear, ye learned without blemish, &c.:—


    Brian, Iucharbha and Iuchar there,
    Three gods of the Tuatha Dé Danann;
    They were slain at Mana over the great sea
    By the hand of Lugh, son of Eithneann.

It is from [the] Danann, who was mother to these three, Dá Chích Danann is called to the two hills which are in Luachair Deaghaidh in Desmond. Others say that it is why they are called Tuatha Dé Danann, because it is in [their] three orders they were, of those who had come into Ireland on this expedition. The first order of them, which is called Tuath, used to be in the rank of nobility and headship of tribe: called tuathach, indeed, and called tighearna being equivalent, as called tuath and called tighearnas are equal. That is the more fit to believe, inasmuch as Dá Bhantuathaigh is given (as an epithet) for Beuchuill and for Danann, whom they had for female rulers: so this verse gives us to understand:—


    Beuchuill and Danann beloved—
    The two female chiefs were slain;
    The extinction of their magic at last
    By pale demons of air.

The second order (to) which used to be called , such are their druids, whence it is the above three used to be called the three gods of Danann. Wherefore they were called 'gods' (is) from the wonderfulness of their deeds of magic. The third order which was called Danann, namely, the order which was given to dán, or to crafts; for dán and céard are equal.


Of the branching of the tribe that was noblest of the Tuatha Dé Danann down here.

Eochaidh Ollathar, i.e. the Daghdha, Oghma, Allód, Breas and Dealbhaoth, the five sons of Ealatha, son of Néd, son of Iondaoi, son of Allaoi, son of Tat, son of Tabharn, son of Enna, son of Báthadh, son of Iobath, son of Beothach, son of Iarbhoineol Fáidh, son of Neimheadh, son of Aghnoman.

Manannán son of Allód, son of Ealatha, son of Dealbhaoth.

The six sons of Dealbhaoth, son of Oghma: Fiachaidh, Ollamh, Iondaoi, Brian, Iuchar and Iucharbha.

"Aonghus, Aodh, Cearmadh and Mídhir, the four sons of the Dághdha.

Lúgh, son of Cian, son of Dianchéacht, son of Easarg, son of Néd, son of Iondaoi.

Goibhneann the smith and Creidhne the artist: Dianchéacht the physician and Luchtain the mechanic; and Cairbre the poet, son of Tara, son of Tuirreall.

Beigreó, son of Cairbre Caitcheann, son of Tabharn.

Fiachaidh, son of Dealbhaoth, and Ollamh, son of Dealbhaoth.

Caichér and Neachtain, two sons of Námha, son of Eochaidh Garbh, son of Duach Dall.

Siodhmall, son of Cairbre Crom, son of Ealcmhar, son of Dealbhaoth.

Eire and Fódhla and Banbha, three daughters of Fiachaidh, son of Dealbhaoth, son of Oghma. Eirnin, daughter of Eadarlámh, mother of those women.

Badhbh, Macha, and Móirríoghan, their three goddesses.

Danann and Beuchuill, the two female chiefs, and Brighid the poetess.

(Appertaining to these noble females were the two royal institutes, i.e. Fé and Meann (being) their names): it is from them is named Magh Feimhin. It is among them also was Triath-rí-thorc, from whom is called Treitheirne Mumhan.

[Cridhinbhéal, Bruinne, and Casmhaol, the three satirists.]

It is they who won the battle of Magh Tuireadh North on the Fomórians, and the battle of Magh Tuireadh South on the Fir Bolg. It is in the first battle his hand was cut off Nuadha, and his head in the last battle.


Of the kings of the Tuatha Dé Danann here, and of the length of their sovereignty over Ireland.

Nuadha Airgeadlámh, son of Euchtach, son of Eadarlámh, son of Orda, son of Allaoi, son of Tat, son of Tabharn, son of Enna, son of Iobáth, son of Beothach, son of Iarbhoineol Fáidh, son of Neimheadh, took the kingdom of Ireland thirty years, till he fell in the battle of Magh Tuireadh North.

Breas, son of Ealatha, son of Néd, son of Iondaoi, son of Allaoi, son of Tat, held the kingship seven years.

Lúgh Lámhfada, son of Cian, son of Dianchéacht, son of Easar Breac, son of Néd, son of Iondaoi, son of Allaoi, held the kingdom of Ireland forty years. It is this Lúgh who appointed the Fair of Taillte at first as a yearly commemoration of Taillte, daughter of Madhmór, i.e. king of Spain, who was wife to Eochaidh, son of Earc, last king of the Fir Bolg, and who was wife after that to Eochaidh Garbh, son of Duach Dall, a chief of the Tuatha Dé Danann. It is by this woman Lúgh Lámhfada was fostered and trained till he was fit to bear arms; and it is as an honourable commemoration for her Lúgh instituted the games of the Fair of Taillte a fortnight before Lúghnasadh, and a fortnight after it, resembling the games called 'Olympiades': and it is from that memorial which Lúgh used to make Lúghnasadh is given (as name) to the first day (or) to the Calends of August, i.e. the násadh or commemoration of Lúgh, (on which is now the feast of St. Peter's chains). He fell by (the hand of) Mac Coll at Caondruim.

The Daghdha Mór, son of Ealatha, son of Dealbhaoth, son of Néd, held the kingdom of Ireland seventy years. He died at Brugh of the bloody missiles of a cast which Ceithleann flung at him in the battle of Magh Tuireadh. Eochaidh Ollathar (was) the proper name of the Daghdha.

Dealbhaoth, son of Oghma Griain-éigis, son of Ealatha, son of Dealbhaoth, son of Néd, held the kingship ten years till he fell by Fiachaidh, son of Dealbhaoth.

Fiachaidh, son of Dealbhaoth, son of Ealatha, held the kingship ten years, till he fell by Eoghan at Ard Breac.

The three sons of Cearmad Milbheol, son of the Daghdha, that is to say, Mac Coll, Mac Céacht and Mac Gréine their names, assumed the dominion of Ireland thirty years; and some antiquaries say that it is a tripartite division which they made on Ireland, as is said in this verse:—


    Though Eire had many thousands,
    They divide the land in three;
    Great nobles of glorious deeds,
    Mac Coll, Mac Céacht, Mac Gréine.

However, it is not a tripartite division which was among them, but the permutation of the sovereignty, that is to say, each one of them had it every succeeding year, by turns, as we have said above in (enumerating) the names of this country, [and in the battle of Taillte all three fell]. It is why these names were given to those three kings, because Coll, Céacht, and Grian were gods of worship to them. Coll, indeed, was god to Mac Cuill, and Eathúr was his proper name, and Banbha his wife. Mac Céacht, too, Céacht his god, Teathúr his name, and Fódhla his wife, Mac Gréine, lastly, Grian his god, Ceathúr his name, and Eire his wife.

Oirbsean (was) the proper name of Manannán: it is from him Loch Oirbsean is named: for when his grave was being dug, it is then the lake burst forth over the land. It is to make this matter clear these verses following were composed:—


    Eathúr tall, who obtained dignity, fierce the man,
    Coll his god, grandson of the Daghdha not gloomy, Banbha his wife;
    Teathúr stout, strong his contest, sharp his stroke (?),
    Fódhla his wife, great deeds he accomplished (?), in Céacht he trusted;


    Ceathúr comely, fair his complexion, noble was he,
    Éire his wife, generous woman she, Grian his divinity.
    Manannán, son of Lear, from the loch, he sought the sraith,
    Oirbsean his (own) name, after a hundred conflicts he died the death.

According to the Saltair of Caiseal, it is three years wanting of two hundred (is) the length of the sovereignty of the Tuatha Dé Danann over Ireland. This verse agrees with that:—


    Seven year, ninety, and one hundred—
    That reckoning is not false—
    For the Tuatha Dé Danann with might,
    Over Ireland in high sovereignty.


Of the origin of the children of Mileadh, of their proceedings, and of their transactions, of their genealogy, and of every occurrence that happened to them, from Fénius Farsaidh down to the invasion of Ireland by them, here below (stated).

In order, truly, that we should be able to trace the origin of the Scotic nation to its root, i.e. to Japheth (we find) the two most distinguished sons Japheth had, that is to say, Gomer and Magog. Moses, in the tenth chapter of Genesis, where he records the propagation of the posterity of Japheth, sets down [i.e.] that Gomer had three sons, namely Aschenez, Riphath, and Thogorma; however, he does not mention specially the children of Magog according to their names. Nevertheless, as it is on the antiquaries of the Scotic nation that it is incumbent to follow up the ascertained genealogy of the nobles who sprang from Magog, and particularly of the posterity of Fenius Farsaidh, we shall here set down the genealogical account of the posterity of Magog, according to the book of invasion which is called Cin Droma Sneachta; and that authority existed before Patrick came to Ireland. What it says is, that Magog had three sons, namely, Báath, Iobáth, and Fáthachta. From Báath came Fénius Farsaidh, the ancestor of the posterity of Gaedheal; from Iobáth came the Amazons, Bactrians, and Parthians; from Fáthachta came Partholón [he who first occupied Ireland after the deluge] and (also) Neimheadh, son of Aghnoman, and, accordingly, the Fir Bolg and Tuatha Dé Danann [as we have said above in (the account of) their conquests]. It is from the posterity of this Fathachta came the great Attila, who brought Pannonia under his sway, and was a length of time perturbing the state of Rome, destroyed and depopulated Aquileia, and made many raids on Germany. It is from Scythia also, of the posterity of Magog by origin, Zeliorbes, king of the Huns, who made war upon the emperor Justinian. It is from Scythia, too, came the Lombards, Hungarians, and Goths [all]. It is from [the] Scythia, likewise, came the Dauni, from whom is called Daunia in Italy, and the name of that country now is Apulia. It is from Scythia also that the Turks have come. But in short, Buchanan, an investigator of the antiquity of the dissemination of the races of the world, says, repeating Epiphanius, that the people of Scythia obtained chief rule shortly after the deluge, and that their sovereignty continued until the predominance of Babylon. The same authors say that it is from Scythia the other countries used to receive institutes and laws and ordinances, and, moreover, that it is they who were the first race which commenced to be honoured after the deluge. Johannes Boemus, in the ninth chapter of the second book which he wrote on the customs of every race, says that the Scythians were never subdued by any dominion. Josephus says that the Greeks called the people of Scythia Magogai. Johannes Nauclerus says that people have come of the race of Scythia by whom very great deeds were done. Let Herodotus bear witness to this in the fourth book where he says that the people of Scythia repelled Darius king of Persia contemptuously from Scythia. Let Justin likewise witness in his history, where he treats of the gallantry of the exploits which the people of Scythia performed: and here are the words of this author:—The people of Scythia, he says, were always without foreign power affecting them or seizing their spoils: they drove back Darius, king of Persia, with disgrace out of Scythia; they slew Cyrus with the entire of his army; Zophyron, the leader of the army of Alexander the great, with his host, was destroyed by them: they had heard of the power of the Romans, and (yet) had never felt it. {Scythae ipsi perpetuo ab alieno imperio aut intacti aut invicti mansere: Darium regem Persarum turpi a Scythia submovere fuga; Cyrum cum omni exercitu trucidarunt; Alexandri magni ducem Zophyron a pari ratione cum copiis universis deleverunt; Romanorum audivere sed non sensere arma.}’’

From these words it may be understood that it was great was the bravery and the valour which was among the people of Scythia to the time of this author.

The Polychronicon says in the thirty-seventh chapter of the first book, that it is from this word Scythia, Scot is called to the posterity of Gaedheal Glas, and, in my judgment, it is not more fit to give Gall (for name) to the people who are now inhabiting Ireland who are called Gall, that is to say, from Gallia or France as to their origin than to give Scot (for name) to the Gael from Scythia whence they came according to their origin: and it is therefore Greeks of Scythia is called to the posterity of Fáthachta, son of Magog, who obtained dominion in Gothia, Thracia, and Achaia, viz. Partholón, son of Seara, with his people; Neimheadh, son of Aghnoman, from whom the children of Neimheadh are called; the Fir Bolg and the Tuatha De Danann, because it is from Scythia they all came, according to their origin. And I think that it is why Scot is more especially. called to the posterity of Gaedheal, son of Niul, son of Fenius Farsaidh, because it is to Fenius Farsaidh the chief dominion of Scythia came, and to his posterity after him; and that it was Niul was the younger son of Fenius, and that he did not obtain any equal share of the territory, as the kindred of Fenius had obtained districts from which they themselves and their posterity were named. Wherefore Niul enjoined on his posterity to denominate themselves from Scythia, and for ever to call themselves Scots, because there was no land in their possession, and that his father had left him as a portion, only the acquisition of the sciences and of the several languages; having left the kingdom of Scythia undivided to Neanual, the son who was older than Niul.


Here below (we treat) definitely apart concerning the true origin from which the the race of Gaedheal have sprung; and of their proceedings till the arrival of the sons of Míleadh in Ireland.

Some Latin authors say that Gaedheal was the son of Argus or of Cecrops, who obtained the sovereignty of the Argives; but that cannot be well-founded, because that St. Augustine says that the monarchy of that people commenced at the time Jacob was born, i.e. about four hundred and thirty-two years after the deluge; and, moreover, according to the same author, [that] the dominion of his posterity was maintained but two hundred and fifteen years: and, according to that, that it is at the end of six hundred and three score and seven years after the deluge the rule of that line terminated. But truly, it is not possible for that to be authentic, and to say (at the same time) that it is from Argus or Cecrops Gaedheal should have come; for Hector Boetius in his history of Scotland, and, moreover, all the books of invasion of Ireland, state that Gaedheal was in Egypt during the time of Moses being in the headship of the children of Israel in Egypt. Indeed, the books of invasion say that it is at that time Scota, daughter of Pharao Cingcris, bore Gaedheal to Niul, son of Fenius Farsaidh, son of Báath, son of Magog: and it is the time when Moses began to act as leader of the children of Israel in Egypt, seven hundred and four score and seventeen years (from the deluge); so that according to that reckoning of time, there were as a conjecture three hundred years and two score and five besides, from the time of Argus or Cecrops till Gaedheal was born, and, consequently, it was not possibie for him to be son to Argus or to Cecrops.

Whoever would say that it was from Greece Gaedheal proceeded to Egypt, and that it is why it is said that it was from Scythia he went to Egypt, because that it was from the land of 'Cetim' (as a certain author thinks), he journeyed, [and,] consequently [that he] says that Scythia, and iath na sceach are equivalent: iath, truly, when it is understood in place of this word fearann (land), has th or has dh at the end, that is to say has iath or has iadh: however, when this word Scithia is written, there is no 'c' in the middle, as should be in such like compound word; and, moreover, there is no 'th' or 'dh' at the end of it, and, consequently, it is but an unwarranted opinion to suppose that, according to Gaelic etymology, 'Scithia' is equivalent to land of thorns.

The proof, likewise, is weak concerning Gaedheal having come from Greece according to his origin, to say that the posterity of Gaedheal have a resemblance to the Greeks in (their) manners, customs, and games, and that, therefore it must be said that they came from Greece. For every invasion that came into Ireland after the deluge, except only the race of Gaedheal and the children of Neimheadh, it is from Greece they came, [that is to say, Partholón from Migdonia, the Fir Bolg from Thracia and the Tuatha Dé Danann from Achaia, where Beotia is, and the city of Athens,] according as we have shown above in their several conquests the name of every place in Greece from whence they had set out.

Wherefore, although the race of the Gaedheal, on their arrival in Ireland, had not the manners and customs of the Greeks, it was possible for them to have learned them from the remnant of the Fir Bolg and the Tuatha Dé Danann who were before them in Ireland, and to have left them to be practised by their posterity after them, though they themselves had never been in Greece, nor Gaedheal, nor any of those who had come before them.

History of Ireland.



The doings of Feinius Farsaidh the grandfather of Gaedheal till his return from the Plain of Seanair, and till his death, as follows:

WHEN Feinius Farsaidh became king of Scythia, he determined to become perfectly acquainted with the various languages which had sprung up after the confusion of tongues that had taken place long before at the tower of Babel, which was being erected through pride for the space of forty years by Nimrod and his followers. For before that confusion of tongues took place at the tower, the entire human race had but one common language which had existed amongst them from the time of Adam. And the name the Book of Invasions gives this language is Gortighern, as the poet says:


    Gortighern the name of the language
    Used by the son of God of goodly science,
    And by the race of Adam erst
    Ere the building of Nimrod's tower.

And Latin authors call it lingua humana, that is, the human language. But when Nimrod and his kinsfolk were building the tower, as the confusion of tongues set in and prevented them from finishing a structure they had begun through pride, the human language they derived from Adam was taken from them, as many as were engaged in building the tower. However, it remained with Eibhear son of Saile, and with his tribe, so that it was named from him; for they called it Hebrew from Eibhear. Now when Eibhear had learned the cause of their erecting the tower, that it was with a view to protecting themselves against the second flood which it was foretold would come upon the people—they imagined that the second flood would not be higher than the first, and proposed to make the tower so high that the flood would not reach its upper stories, and that accordingly their nobles could be securely situated in these without fear of the flood—and when Eibhear learned that that was the cause of their building the tower, he declared that he would not help them, and that it was sheer idleness on their part to have recourse to ingenuity for the purpose of resisting the fulfilment of God's will. Thereupon he separated from them without taking any part whatever with them in the buìlding of the tower. Moreover, when the confusion came on all, God left to Eibhear alone and to his tribe after him, as a mark of good will, that human language of our ancestors.

The principal reason why Feinius Farsaidh went to the Plain of Seanair, together with his school, was that he might be with the people whose native language was Hebrew, and that it might thus come about that he and his school would acquire a full and perfect knowledge of that language.

Now, when Feinius, as we have said, had resolved to acquire the various languages, he sent, at his own expense, seventy-two disciples ìnto the various countries of the three continents of the world that were then inhabited, and charged them to remain abroad seven years, so that each of them might learn the language of the country in which he stayed during that time. And at the end of seven years they returned to Feinius to Scythia; and Feinius went with them to the Plain of Seanair, together with a large number of the youths of Scythia, leaving his eldest son Neanual to rule Scythia in his stead, as a certain poet says, in the poem which begins, Let us relate the origin of the Gaels:


    Feinius went from Scythia
    On the expedition,
    A man renowned, wise, learned,
    Ardent, triumphant;


    There was but one tongue in the world
    When they set out;
    There were seventy-two tongues
    When they parted;


    Feinius had a great school learning
    Each science,
    A man renowned, wise, learned
    In each language.

And some seanchas assert that there was a space of sixty years from the building of the tower until Feinius and his school came southwards from Scythia to the Plain of Seanair, as a certain poet says in this stanza:


    Thrice twenty years of renown,
    So every seancha says,
    Till Feinius came southwards,
    From the building of Nimrod's tower.

Feinius established schools for the teaching of the various languages on the Plain of Seanair in the city which Cin Droma Sneachta calls Eathena, as the poet says in the following stanza:


    In the Plain of Seanair after the tower,
    The first school was assembled,
    In the city of Eathena,
    To learn the various tongues.

And they assembled the youths of the countries next them to learn the various tongues from them; and the three sages who presided over this school were Feinius Farsaidh himself from Scythia, and Gaedheal son of Eathor of the race of Gomer from Greece, and Caoi Caoinbhreathach from Judea, or Iar son of Neama, as the poet says:


    Here are the names of the sages—
    I shall reveal them to you speedily—
    Gaedheal son of Ethor of wisdom,
    Iar son of Neama and Feinius.

Another poet speaks thus:


    Feinius the eloquent sage,
    Gaedheal and Caoi Caoinbhreathaeh,
    Three of the writers of the schools
    Who followed in the true track of the authors.

It was this trio who wrote on wooden tablets the alphabets of the three chief languages, namely, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, as Ceannfaolaidh the Learned asserts in the Accidence which he wrote in the time of Columcille. The same author states that Nion son of Beil, son of Nimrod, was monarch of the world at that time. He also states that it was about this time that Niul, the tanist son of Feinius Farsaidh, was born, and that the same Feinius continued in charge of the school for twenty years in order that this son who was born to him might be acquainted with the several languages.

As some seanchas assert that it was when Nion son of Beil had reigned forty-two years that Feinius Farsaidh established a school in the Plain of Seanair, I am of opinion that he passed ten years of the reign of Nion son of Beil, and ten years thereafter, in the Plain of Seanair before he returned from the school to Scythia. For all the seanchas say that he passed twenty years in charge of the school before his return. I am also of opinion that it was two hundred and forty-two years after the Deluge that Feinius established the school in the Plain of Seanair, according to the computation Bellarminus makes in his chronicle, where he says that the age of the world was one thousand eight hundred and fifty-six years when Nion son of Beil began his sovereignty.

This is the same, according to the Hebrew chronology which Bellarminus follows, as to say that the reign of Nion began two hundred years after the Deluge, since according to the Hebrews one thousand six hundred and fifty-six years elapsed from the beginning of the world to the Deluge. Add to this forty-two years of the reign of Nion that had passed before Feinius began the school, and it thus appears that it was two hundred and forty-two years after the Deluge he began it, and that he passed twenty years directing it, namely, the ten years that remained to him of the reign of Nion, and ten years thereafter.

Now after twenty years Feinius returned to Scythia, and established schools there, and appointed Gaedheal son of Eathor to take charge of them. Then did Feinius command Gaedheal to arrange and regulate the Gaelic language as it is into five divisions, that is, Bearla na Feine, Bearla na bhFileadh, Bearla an Eaderscartha, Bearla Teibidhe, and Gnaithbhearla, and to name it precisely from himself; hence it is from Gaedheal son of Eathor it is called Gaelic, and not from Gaedheal Glas, as others assert. Moreover, it was through friendship for Gaedheal son of Eathor that Niul son of Feinius Farsaidh gave the name Gaedheal to the son whom Scota daughter of Pharao Cincris bore him, as Ceannfaolaidh the Learned says in the Uraicheapt.

Now, it is disputed among authors whence is this word Gaedheal. Becanus says that it is from the word goedin, that is, goethin, 'noble', and from the word all, that is, uile, that Gaedheal is named, that is, 'all noble'; or from the Hebrew word gadhal, meaning 'great', because Gaedheal son of Eathor, the first who was called Gaedheal, was great in learning, in wisdom, and in the languages. However, the seanchas say that he is called Gaedheal from the two words gaoith dhil, that is, lover of wisdom; for gaoith means wise and dil loving, as the Greeks call a sage philosophos, that is, 'a lover of wisdom'.

As to Feinius Farsaidh we are not told that he had any children except two sons, namely, Neanul and Niul, as the poet says in this stanza:


    Two sons had Feinius, truth I tell,
    Neanul and Niul, the valiant;
    Niul was born at the tower in the east,
    Neanul in shield-bright Scythia.

When Feinius had been twenty-two years sovereign of Scythia, after his return from the Plain of Seanair, being at the point of death, he bequeathed the sovereignty of Scythia to Neanul, his eldest son, and left to Niul, his youngest son, only what profit he derived from the sciences and the various languages which he used to teach in the public schools of the country.



Of the journeying of Niul to Egypt from Scythia, and of his doings there until his death as follows:

Before we speak of the journeying of Niul from Scythia to Egypt, we may observe that Herodotus says that it was from Babylon the Greeks derived the knowledge of the position of the north star, and the division of the hours; and Solon asserts that the Greeks had not a knowledge of history until they obtained it from the Egyptians. Josephus says, in the first book of his History, that the Greeks had not an alphabet till the time of Homer. From these authors it appears that it was not from Greece, so named to-day, that Isis or anyone else went to teach the sciences to the Egyptians; but it was Niul, the son of Feinius Farsaidh, who went from Scythia to teach the sciences there. And whoever should say that there was not learning in Scythia, from whence Niul came, earlier than in Egypt, would not be stating truth, according to Polydorus, in the first book he has written, De rerum inventoribus, where he says: There was a long dispute between the Egyptians and the Scythians; and, in that struggle, the Egyptians having been overcome, it appeared that the Scythians were more ancient than they were. {Magna diu inter Aegyptios et Scythas contentio fuit in quo certamine superatis Aegyptis Scythae aniquiores visi sunt.}’’

From this it may be inferred that the Scythians possessed educatìon and learning earlier than the Egyptians, and since, according to the above authors, learning was earlier in Egypt than in Greece, it was not Isis of Greece or any such person who went from Greece to Egypt to conduct schools, but Niul son of Feinius Farsaidh from Scythia, who was born in the Plain of Seanair, and was then trained in learning in the first school that was established in the country of Babylon; and this was the first school after the confusion of the languages of the world, as we have stated above.

When Niul had been a long time conducting the public schools in Scythia, his fame for knowledge and wisdom spread through the nations generally, so that on acccunt of his great reputation Pharao Cincris, king of Egypt, sent envoys to him, inviting him to Egypt to teach the scìences and the various languages to the youths of that country. Niul accordingly proceeded to Egypt, as the poet says in this stanza, which is taken from the poem beginning, Let us relate the origin of the Gaels:


    Tidings reached Forann
    With great acclaim
    Of Niul son of Feinius knowing
    The languages of the world.

Niul then went to Egypt with the envoys of Pharao; and the king gave him the land called Capacyront (or Campus Circit) beside the Red Sea. He also gave his own daughter Scota in marriage to Niul, as Giolla Caomhain says in the poem beginning Gaedheal Glas, from whom are the Gaels:


    He then went into Egypt
    And reached the mighty Forann,
    And married Scota of charms not few,
    The generous, clever daughter of Forann.

When Niul had married Scota, he established schools at Campus Circit for teaching the sciences and the various languages to the youths of Egypt. And it was there that Scota gave birth to Gaedheal son of Niul. Perhaps some one might wonder how Niul, the fifth in descent from Japhet, could be a contemporary of Moses, seeing that seven hundred and ninety-seven years elapsed between the Deluge and the assuming by Moses of the leadership of the children of Israel. My reply to that is that it is not incredible that Niul should live several hundred years; for people used to live a long time at that period; witness Eibear son of Saile the fourth in descent from Seim who lived four hundred and sixty-four years and Seim who lived five hundred years after Arphaxad was born to him, as we read in the eleventh chapter of Genesis; that it is not to be doubted, therefore, that Niul might have lived from the forty-second year of the reign of Nion son of Beil, as we have said, to the time of Moses. And moreover, the length of life granted to Niul and that he should have survived till the time of Moses in Egypt is still less to be wondered at, if what Marianus Scotus states be true; for he says that it was three hundred and thirty-one years after the Deluge that the Confusion of Tongues took place at Babylon, while, according to what we have stated above, it was long after the Babylonian Confusion that Niul was born. From what we have said, we should trust the authors of the seanchus of the Scotic race as regards the age of Niul son of Feinius Farsaidh, and believe that he was a contemporary of Moses in Egypt.

As to Niul, it was when he was sojourning at Capacyront beside the Red Sea, and when Scota had given birth to Gaedheal, that the children of Israel escaped from Pharao and marched to the shore of the Red Sea, and made an encampment beside Capacyront where Niul dwelt. When Niul heard of this, he went to meet them and discourse with them, and to find out who they were. At the outposts of the host he met Aaron who told him the story of the children of Israel and of Moses and the witness-bearing miracles that God had wrought against Pharao and his army, because of the bondage of the children of Israel. Now Niul and Aaron entered into an alliance and friendship with one another; and Niul inquired of Aaron whether they had food or provisions, and further informed him that whatever corn and means he had would all be at their service. For this Aaron was grateful to him. Then night came on; and Aaron went to Moses and told him of the offers which Niul had made to them; and Moses and Aaron were grateful to him accordingly.

Now Niul went to his own people after this, and told them that the children of Israel were nigh unto them; and he told them all that had befallen the children of Israel. And that same night a serpent came upon Gaedheal as he was swimming, and wounded him so that he was at the point of death; and others say that it was from the desert it came and wounded him in bed. His people told Niul to take the lad to Moses; and he took Gaedheal into the presence of Moses. Moses prayed to God, and applied the rod he held in his hand to the wound, and thus healed it. And Moses said that, in what place soever the stock of that youth would settle, there no serpent would ever have venom, and this is verified in Crete, an island in Greece, in which some of his posterity are; it is without serpents as Ireland is. And although there were serpents in Ireland up to the coming of Patrick, I do not think they had venom; or I imagine it is the demons that are called serpents in the Life of Patrick.

Some seanchas state that Moses fastened with a lock around the neck of Gaedheal the bracelet that he had on his own arm, and that it was from this he was called Gaedheal Glas. At that time each chieftain wore a bracelet on the arm as a mark of his tribal supremacy; and hence the head of a company is now called a noble fleascach or bracelet-bearer. To set forth that it was from the trail of the serpent that clung to Gaedheals neck that he is called Gaedheal GIas, and to show that it was Moses who healed him, we have the following stanzas:


    Gaedheal Glas, why was the name given
    To that brilliant, perfect man?
    The event whence Gaedheal is Glas,
    Few are those who know its history;


    While bathed in the strong stream
    Gaedheal son of Niul of good disposition,
    A serpent bit his skin;
    It was not easy to heal it;


    The grey-blue mark did not leave him
    Till Moses kindly healed it.
    What the learned understand from this
    Is that thence comes Gaedheal Glas.

Others assert that he was called Gaedheal Glas from the grey-blue colour of his arms and armour. Hence someone has composed the following stanza:


    Scota bore a son to Niul the modest,
    From whom sprang many noble tribes;
    Gaedheal Glas was the name of the man,
    From the grey-blue colour of his arms and armour.

And it is from this Gaedheal that all the Gaels are named. Hence the poet composed this stanza:


    The Feni are named from Feinius,
    The meaning is not difficult;
    The Gaels from comely Gaedheal Glas,
    The Scots from Scota.

Others, however, say that the mother of Gaedheal was called Scota because his father was of the Scotic race from Scythia, and that it was their custom to call the women after their husbands. Understand that this is not the Scota who was wife of Galamh, who is called Milidh of Spain, and bore him six sons. For the mother of Gaedheal was daughter to Pharao Cincris; and it was he who held the children of Israel in bondage. But the Pharao whose daughter was wife of Milidh was the fifteenth Pharao after him. He was called Pharao Nectonibus.

Now as to Niul, he told Moses that Pharao Cincris would be angry with himself for having welcomed him. ‘In that case’, said Moses, ‘come along with us; and if we reach the land which God has fore-appointed to us, thou shalt get a share of it; or, if thou wilt, we will deliver the fleet of Pharao into thy hands, and do thou go on sea in it so that thou mayest learn how we shall separate from Pharao.’ Niul followed this latter counsel. A thousand armed men were sent with him to the ships; and these were delivered over to him; and he embarked in them, and beheld the events of the ensuing day, namely, the opening of the sea before the children of Israel, and its dispersion after them on Pharao and on his host, drowning them, as the poet says in this stanza, which is taken from the poem beginning, O thou who believest not according to truth:


    Sixty thousand of them on foot,
    Fifty thousand on horseback,
    storm of the Red Sea of Romhar
    overwhelmed them all at once.

Sixty thousand foot, then, and fifty thousand horse was their number. It was seven hundred and ninety-seven years after the Deluge that Pharao was drowned, as we have stated above. And Niul having seen Pharao and his host drown, remained in the same territory, as he was not afraid after the drowning of Pharao; and his children and progeny grew up until they were able to bear arms. Some time afterwards Niul died; and Gaedheal and his mother took possession of his lands. Thereafter a son was born to Gaedheal in Egypt, namely Easru son of Gaedheal, and some time after that a son was born to him in turn, Sru son of Easru, son of Gaedheal, and these possessed the same lands and dwelt thereon.

Now, as to the Egyptians, Pharao Intuir assumed sovereignty over them after the drowning of Pharao Cincris. Pharao was a name given to every king who ruled over Egypt from Pharao Cincris who was drowned in the Red Sea to Pharao Nectonibus the fifteenth king after Pharao Cincris.


Of the expulsion by Pharao Intuir of the race of Gaedheal from Egypt as follows:

As to Pharao Intuir and the Egyptians thereafter, when they had become powerful in the country,they remembered their old enmity against the children of Niul and the race of Gaedheal, that is, the friendship into which they had entered with the children of Israel, and Niul's having carried off the fleet of Pharao Cincris on the escape of the children of Israel. They accordingly made war upon the race of Gaedheal and banished them against their will from Egypt. Thomas Walsingham agrees with this account in Upodigma, where he says: When the Egyptians had been drowned, the portion of the inhabitants who lived after them expelled a certain Scythian nobleman who dwelt amongst them, lest he might assume sovereignty over them. When he had been expelled with his tribe, he came to Spain, where he resided many years, and where his progeny multiplied exceedingly, and thence they came to Ireland. {Aegyptius in Mari Rubro submersis, illi qui superfuerunt expulerunt a se quemdam nobilem Scyticum qui degebat apud eos ne dominium super eos invaderet; expulsus ille cum familia pervenit ad Hispanium ubi et habitavit per annos multos et progenies ipsius familiae multae multiplicata est nimis et inde venerunt in Hiberniam.}’’

Know, O reader, that this nobleman was Sru son of Easru, son of Gaedheal, and not Gaedheal himself, notwithstanding Hector Boetius, and notwithstanding also the opinion of the modern English authors who have written on Ireland, and who imagine that it was Gaedheal himself who came to Spain. Because, according to the truth of the seanchus of Ireland, which one should believe in this matter, it was in Egypt that Scota daughter of Pharao Cincris gave birth to Gaedheal, and it was there that he lived till his death; and he did not come from Greece, as others assert, but his father, who was called Niul, came from Scythia. And although the author whom we have quoted states that it was to Spain the nobleman to whom we have referred came, such is not the fact; for it was to Scythia he went, and it was the fifteenth in descent from him, called Bratha son of Deaghaidh, who first came to Spain. Here is the seanchas statement of the fact that it was Sru son of Easru who was the leader of this expedition on its setting out from Egypt, as Giolla Caomhain says in the poem beginning, Gaedheal Glas from whom are the Gaels:


    Sru son of Easru son of Gaedheal,
    Our ancestor of the joyous host,
    It was he who went northwards from his house
    Over the Red Sea of Romhar.


    Four shipfuls were his host
    Upon the Red Sea of Romhar;
    Found room in each wooden dwelling, as was right,
    Four and twenty wedded couples.

Know, as we have said, that it was Sru son of Easru who headed this expedition till they reached the Island of Crete where he died, and that his son Eibhear Scot assumed the supreme authority till they arrived in Scythia. It is for this reason that a certain author says that Eibhear Scot was their leader in this expedition, and that it was from his cognomen, namely, Scot, that the Gaels are called the Scotic race. For, according to a certain author, Scot means archer, and there was in his time no bowman superior to him; and from this cognomen given him the name was given to his posterity; and they practised the bow as a weapon in imitation of the ancients down to a recent period within our own memory. However, we shall not adopt the view of this author, since it is the common opinion of the seanchas that the race of the Gaels were called the Scotic race from their having come originally from Scythia.

Understand, O reader, that Gaedheal was a contemporary of Moses, and that accordingly he was fourscore years of age when Pharao was drowned, and that the fourth in descent from himself, namely, Eibhear Scot son of Easru, son of Gaedheal, had been born before the children of Israel passed through the Red Sea with Moses as leader over them. Certain seanchas are of opinion that there were four hundred and forty years from the drownìng of Pharao in the Red Sea to the coming to Ireland of the sons of Milidh. And in confirmation of this, one of these authors thus speaks in this stanza:


    Forty and four hundred
    Years, it is not a falsehood,
    From the going of the people of God, I assure you,
    Over the surface of the sea of Romhar
    Till sped across the sea of Meann
    The sons of Milidh to the land of Erin.

However, according to the computation made by the Book of Invasions, there were only three hundred years less by seventeen from the time that Moses assumed the leadership of the children of Israel in Egypt until the coming of the sons of Milidh to Ireland. For Moses assumed the leadership of the children of Israel in Egypt seven hundred and ninety-seven years after the Deluge; and according to the time Irish history allows to the Invasions of Ireland, it was one thousand and eighty years after the Deluge that the sons of Milidh took possession of Ireland. Thus the Book of Invasions states that it was, three hundred years after the Deluge that Parthalon came, and that his descendants remained in possession of Ireland three hundred years, and that Ireland remained a waste for thirty years, till the descendants of Neimhidh arrived there, and that these descendants ruled Ireland two hundred and seventeen years, and that the Firbolg held the sovereignty thirty-six years, and the Tuatha De Danann two hundred years less by three; and, adding all these together, they make a total of one thousand and eighty years from the Deluge to the coming of the sons of Milidh to Ireland. And if this number be taken in connexion with the seven hundred and ninety-seven years that elapsed from the Deluge to the leadership of Moses over the children of Israel, it is plain that there were only three hundred years less by seventeen from that tìme till the coming of the sons of Milidh to Ireland; and hence that the opinion above-mentioned is false which states that it was four hundred and forty years after the children of Israel had passed through the Red Sea that the sons of Milidh came to Ireland.

Some seanchas state that the route taken by Sru son of Easru and his followers was through the Red Sea and south-eastward through the ocean, having Taprobana on their right, and Asia on their left to the east, and then turning northwards, having it still on the left, and thence to the extremity of Sliabh Rife, in the north-west part of Asia, and southward through the strait that separates Europe and Asia, and thence to Scythia. However, this was not the route Sru took as he proceeded from Egypt to Scythia with the crews of four ships, and each ship containing thirty men; but from the mouth of the Nile through the Torrian Sea to Crete, which is now called Candia, where he dwelt for a time, and where he died, and where he left succeeding generations of his descendants; and hence, according to the authors of our records there are no serpents in Crete as there are none in Ireland. And thence they proceeded to Scythia, with Eibhear Scot for their leader; and whoever should state that it was not possible to go from Egypt to Scythia by ship or vessel, considering how Scythia was bounded at that time, would not be stating a fact, since ìt is plain from every writer who has treated of geography that the river called Tanais flows into the Mediterranean Sea, and that that sea extends to Egypt, where the river Nile is; and according to the limits of Scythia at that time the river Tanais is reckoned among the rivers of Scythia, according to Herodotus, an ancient author of weight, in the fourth book, where he says: The river Tanais, which separates Asia from Europe, is reckoned among the rivers of the Scythians. {Tanais fluvius dividens Asiam ab Europa enumeratur inter flumina quae apud Scitas sunt}’’

And when they had arrived in Scythia, war and strife arose between themselves and their kinsmen, namely, the children of Neanul son of Feinius Farsaidh; and they contended with one another for the mastery of the country until it happened that Aghnon son of Tat, the fifth in descent from Eibhear Scot, slew his own cousin, Reafloir son of Rifill, of the race of Neanul, who was then king of Scythia, as Giolla Caomhain says in the poem beginning, Gaedheal Glas, from whom are the Gaels:


    Reafloir and Aghnon without fault
    Were seven years contending for mastery,
    Till Reafloir fell with glory
    By the successful hand of Aghnon.

Of the expulsion of the race of Gaedheal from Scythia.

Now, as to the children of Reafloir son of Rifill, he had two sons, to wit, Neanul and Rifill, and they collected an army against the descendants of Gaedheal, to banish them completely from the country; and the descendants of Gaedheal came together, and left the country in a body, going through the land of the Breast-Seared, who are called Amazons, to the border of the Caspian Sea. There they took ship and went on sea, and landed on an island in the Caspian Sea, where they remained a year; and their leaders in that expedition were Aghnon and Eibhear, two sons of Tat son of Aghnaman, son of Beodhaman, son of Eibhear Scot, son of Sru, son of Easru, son of Gaedheal.

Aghnon had three sons with him on that expedition, namely, Ealloit, Laimhfhionn, and Lamhghlas. Eibhear son of Tat had two sons, namely Caicher and Cing. And Aghnon died on that island. And at the end of a year they all quitted the island, the crews of three ships, there being sixty in each ship, and every third man having a wife with him. They had six leaders in that expedition; and they made for the strait that leads westward from the Caspian Sea to the narrow sea that comes in from the northern ocean; and when they reached that sea, a storm came upon them, and they were driven to an island called Caronia in the Pontic Sea, where they abode for a year and a quarter; and it was in that island Eibhear son of Tat and Lamhghlas son of Aghnon died. Thence they set out, having four leaders, namely Ealloit, Laimhfhionn, Cing, and Caicher; and mermaids came on the sea before them, and these used to discourse music to the sailors as they passed them, so that they might lull them to sleep, and then fall upon them and slay them; and Caicher the Druid applied a remedy to this by melting wax in their ears so that they could not hear the music lest it might put them to sleep. They went on in this way till they put into port at the extremity of Sliabh Rife in the north; and it was there that Caicher foretold them that they would not find a dwelling-place anywhere till they reached Ireland, and that it was not they themselves who would reach it but their descendants. Thence they set out and reached Gothia; and to Laimhfhionn was born a renowned son called Eibhear Gluinfhionn, and the race of Gaedhael dwelt in that country thirty years, and some of their progeny are there to this day. In proof of this Giolla Caomhain composed this stanza:


    The race of skilful, beloved Gaedheal
    Were thirty years in that land;
    Some of their tribe remain there ever since
    Until the end of the world.

Other seanchas are of opinion that the race of Gaedheal dwelt in Gothia a hundred and fifty years; and this is the most probable opinion. For it is plain that the race of Gaedheal spent eight generations in Gothia, namely, from Eibhear Gluinfhionn to Bratha. These generations are as follows: Bratha son of Deaghaidh, son of Earchaidh, son of Ealloit, son of Nuadha, son of Neanul, son of Eibric, son of Eibhear Gluinfhionn, who was born in Gothia itself son of Laimhfhionn, the first leader of the race of Gaedheal that came into that country; and since so many generations could not come within thirty years, I am convinced that the latter opinion is the true one.

Other seanchas assert that it was three hundred years the race of Gaedheal dwelt in Gothia. But this cannot be true, since, according to the times of the Invasions, as we have said above, there were not three hundred years in full from the time Pharao was drowned in the Red Sea until the coming of the sons of Milidh to Ireland. Hence this opinion cannot be true, since within that period the race of Gaedheal went through the whole of their wanderings from Egypt to Crete, and from Crete to Scythia, and from Scythia to Gothia, from Gothia to Spain, from Spain to Scythia, and from Scythia to Egypt, and from Egypt to Thrace, from Thrace to Gothia, and from Gothia to Spain, and from Spain to Ireland.


Of the journeying of the race of Gaedbeal from Gothia to Spain as follows.

Now Bratha son of Deaghaidh, the eighth in descent from Eibhear Gluinfhionn, proceeded from Gothia by Crete and Sicily, having Europe on the right, to Spain, there being with him the crews of four ships, as Giolla Caomhain says in this stanza:


    Bratha son of Deaghaidh the beloved
    Came to Crete to Sicily;
    The crews of four well-rigged ships safely came,
    Having Europe on the right, to Spain.

From Bratha Braganza in Portugal is named, where lies the duchy of Braganza. Here are the four leaders that came with Bratha to Spain on that expedition: Oige and Uige, two sons of Ealloit son of Neanul, Manntan and Caicher. There were fourteen wedded couples and six servants in each of the ships; and they routed the natives thrice, after they had come to land, that is, the race of Tubal son of Japhet. However, a one-day's plague came afterwards upon the followers of the son of Ealloit; and they died all but ten. But after this they increased; and Breoghan son of Bratha was born.

The general chronicle of Spain, which was written by a French gentleman called Lobhaois, as we read in Edward Grimston, page 3, says that the first king who obtained sovereignty over all Spain was a person called Brigus, who built many castles; and it is he who, in the Book of Invasions, is called Breoghan, the grandfather of Milidh of Spain; and it is from him the Brigantes are so called; and, according to the same chronicle, it is from him that the country now called Castile was given the name Brigia in olden times; and a castle was the emblem on his shield, as is the case with the king of Spain now.

It was this Breoghan, too, who defeated Spain in many battles; and it was he who finished or built Brigansia near Corunna, and the tower of Breoghan in Corunna itself. Whence Giolla Caomhain composed this stanza:


    Many contests and battles
    Over the proud host of Spain
    Won Breoghan of conflicts and strifes,
    Who built Brigansia.

This Breoghan had ten sons, namely, Breogha, Fuad, Muirtheimhne, Cuailgne, Cuala, Bladh, Eibhle, Nar, Ioth, and Bile. And hereupon the same author composed this stanza:


    The ten sons of Breoghan without faltering;
    Breogha, Fuad, and Muirtheimhne,
    Cuailgne, Cuala, noble Bladh,
    Eibhle, Nar, Ioth, and Bile.

Now Galamh, who is called Milidh of Spain, was a son of the Bile here mentioned; and although Bile be the last-named of the sons of Breoghan in the stanza given above, the authors of our records assert that he was the eldest of Breoghan's sons.

And when the race of Breoghan had multiplied and had conquered the greater part of Spain, a mighty son of renowned deeds called Galamh was born to Bile son of Breoghan; and it is he who is named Milidh of Spain; and he was seized by a desire to go to Scythia with a fleetful of the young men of Spain to visit his kinsmen and to serve under them. Having resolved on this undertaking, he equipped thirty ships, placing in them their complement of warriors, launched on the Torrian Sea, and proceeded directly northeastward to Sicily and to Crete, until he reached Scythia; and when he had landed there, he sent word to Reafloir son of Neomann, who was king of Scythia at that time; and this Reafloir son of Neomann was of the race of Reafloir son of Rifill, whom we have mentioned above. Now when Milidh came into the presence of Reafloir, the latter welcomed him; and shortly afterwards that king made him commander of the forces of Scythia, and gave him in marriage his own daughter, whose name was Seang daughter of Reafloir, and she bore him two sons, namely, Donn and Airioch Feabhruadh.

And when Milidh had passed some time in Scythia, he had much success against rebels and plunderers in that country, so that the inhabitants loved him greatly. When Reafloir the king perceived this, he grew afraid lest Milidh should oppose him and deprive him of the kingdom of Scythia; and accordingly he conspired to kill him, notwith-standing that he was his son-in-law. And when Milidh heard this, he sought an opportunity and killed Reafloir the king; and he then assembled and brought together his own followers and put to sea with the crews of threescore ships, and proceeded by direct route through the Torrian Sea till he reached the mouth of the Nile; and when he had landed there, he sent messengers to Pharao Nectonibus, informing him that he had arrived in the country; and that king sent messengers to Milidh; and when the latter came into his presence, he bade him welcome, and gave territory in that country to himself and his followers to abide in. This expedition of Milidh from Scythia to Egypt is related by Giolla Caomhain in this stanza:


    Milidh, whose progeny was good,
    Slew Reafloir, who was not weak;
    Hastily did he fly from yon land
    To the river Nile, where he obtained territory.

Understand, O reader, that the two sons whom Seang daughter of Reafloir bore to Mileadh, that is, Donn and Airioch Feabhruadh, were with him on his voyage to Egypt, their mother having died in Scythia.

At this time a great war took place between king Pharao and the king of Aethiopia. Pharao, when he had satisfied himself as to the valour and prowess of Milidh, made him commander of his army to oppose the army of the Aethiopians, and he fought the Aethiopian army in many battles and conflicts; and Milidh was most successful, so that his fame and renown spread throughout the nations, so that, as a consequence, Pharao gave him his own daughter to wife, who was called Scota, from being the wife of Milidh, who was of the race of Scot. And she bore him two sons in Egypt, namely, Eibhear Fionn and Aimhirgin; and immediately on Milidh's reaching Egypt, he set twelve of the youths who accompanied him to learn the principal crafts of Egypt, so that each of them might become proficient in his own craft at the end of the seven years that he dwelt in Egypt.

As for Milidh, he bethought him that Caicher the Druid had foretold, long before, to his ancestor Laimhfhionn, that it was in Ireland his descendants would obtain permanent sovereignty; and accordingly he fitted out sixty ships, putting the full number of warriors into them, and bade farewell to Pharao. Thereupon, he proceeded from the mouth of the river Nile through the Torrian Sea till he landed on an island close to Thrace, which is called Irena; and it was here that Ir son of Milidh was born. Thence he proceeded to an island called Gothia, which lies in the channel leading to the northern ocean; and he dwelt there for some time, and it was there that Scota bore him a son called Colpa of the Sword. Thence they proceeded into the narrow sea which separates Asia from Europe on the north, and continued in a westerly direction, having Europe on the left, till they came to Cruithentuaith, which is called Alba. They plundered the coasts of that country, and afterwards proceeded, having Great Britain on their right, and reached the mouth of the river Rhine, and continued in a south-westerly direction, having France on the left, and after that they landed in Biscay.

Now, when they had arrived in that country, Milidh's kinsmen came to bid him welcome; and they informed him that the Goths, and many other foreign tribes, were harassing both that country and all Spain. Upon hearing this, Milidh summoned his own supporters throughout Spain; and when they had assembled in one place, he set out with them, and with the fleetful that had come into the country with him, against the Goths and the foreign tribes, and defeated them in fifty-four battles, and banished them from Spain; and he himself and his kinsmen, that is, the descendants of Breoghan son of Bratha, took possession of the greater part of that country. At this time, Milidh had thirty-two sons, as the poet says:


    Thirty sons and two sons
    Had Milidh of bright hands;
    There came of these, we are certain,
    Only a single eight to Ireland.

Twenty-four of these were born to him in concubinage before he set out from Spain for Scythia, and the other eight were borne to him by the two wives he had in succession, namely, Seang daughter of Reafloir, prince of Scythia, who gave birth to two of them in Scythia, namely Donn and Aerioch Feabhruadh, and Scota, the daughter of Pharao Nectonibus, who gave birth to the remaining six of them, to wit, two in Egypt, Eibhear Fionn and Aimhirgin, Ir on the Thracian Sea, Colpa of the Sword in Gothia, Arannan and Eireamhon in Galicia, as Conaing the poet says in the following historical poem:


    Eight sons of Galamh of the shouts,
    Who was called Milidh of Spain,
    They hewed down a thousand fields;
    In what countries were they born?


    Airioch Feabhruadh and Donn of conflicts
    Were born in Scythia;
    There were born in stream-filled Egypt
    Eibhear Fionn and Aimhirgin;


    Ir, no warrior was greater,
    Was born beside Thrace;
    Colpa of the Sword was born
    In Colpa's Glen in Gaothlaidhe;


    There were born at Breoghan's tower without grief
    Arannan and Eireamhon,
    The two youngest of the faultless warriors;
    The Son of God subdued their strength.


When the race of Breoghan son of Bratha had increased, they were strong and numerous in Spain; and because of the Greatness of their exploits, they resolved to extend their sway in other directions. They had another motive also. For, at that time, there was a scarcity of food in Spain for the space oftwenty-six years, on account of the great drought that existed during that period, and also because of the many conflicts that took place between them and theGoths, and the other foreign races, with whom they were contending for the mastery of Spain. They accordingly took counsel together as to what country they should explore, and who should be sent to explore it. What they resolved on was, to elect Ioth son of Breoghan, son of Bratha, who was a valiant man, and also wise and learned in the sciences, for the purpose of exploring the island of Ireland. And the place where they adopted this counsel was at the tower of Breoghan in Galicia.

It was in this manner that they sent Ioth to Ireland, and not, as others assert, that he had seen it in the clouds of heaven on a winter's night from the summit of the tower of Breoghan. For there had been familiarity and intercourse before then between Ireland and Spain since the time when Eochaidh son of Earc, the last king of the Fir Bolg, took Taillte daughter of Maghmhor, king of Spain, to wife. They thus had been in the habit of trading with one another, and of exchanging their wares and valuables, so that the Spaniards were familiar with Ireland, and the Irish had a knowledge of Spain before Ioth son of Breoghan was born. Hence it was not from a view obtained in a single night from the summit of the tower of Breoghan that Ioth, or the children of Breoghan, acquired a knowledge of Ireland, but from there having been intercourse for a long time previously between Spain and Ireland.

Now, Ioth equipped a ship and manned it with thrice fifty chosen warriors, and put out to sea until they reached the northern part of Ireland, and put into port at Breantracht Mhaighe Iotha. And when Ioth landed there, he sacrificed to Neptune, the god of the sea, and the demons gave him bad omens. Thereupon, a company of the natives came and spoke with him in Scoitbhearla, that is, in Gaelic; and he replied to them in the same tongue, and said that it was from Magog he himself was descended, as they were, and that Scoitbhearla was his native language as it was theirs. Taking their cue from this passage in the Book of Invasions, the seanchas state that Scoitbhearla, which is called Gaelic, was the mother tongue of Neimhidh and his tribe, and therefore also of the Fir Bolg and the Tuatha De Danann. For this may be believed from what we have stated above, that it was Gaedheal son of Eathor, at the command of Feinius Farsaidh, king of Scythia, who regulated and set in order the Scoitbhearla; and it is from this Gaedheal that it was called Gaelic as we have said above.

Now, this Gaedheal had been teaching the public schools in Scythia before Neimhidh proceeded from Scythia on an expedition to Ireland; and since Scoitbhearla was the common tongue of Scythia when Neimhidh set out from that country,according to the seanchas, the Scoitbhearla must have been the mother tongue of Neimhidh and of his followers when they came to Ireland, and accordingly of every colony sprung from him or from his descendants who came to Ireland, not to mention the descendants of Milidh, whose native language was the Scoitbhearla from the time that Niul left Scythia to the present time. Richard Creagh, primate of Ireland, supports this view in the book he has written on the origin of Gaelic and of the race of Gaedheal. He speaks as follows: The Gaelic speech, (he says,) has been in common use in Ireland from the coming of Neimidh, six hundred and thirty years after the Deluge, to this day. {Gaelica locutio est in usu in Hibernia ab adventu Nemedii anno 630 a Diluvio in hunc usque diem.}’’

From what we have said, it is not improbable that it was in Scoitbhearla that Ioth and the Tuatha De Danann conversed with one another.

As to Ioth, he proceeded to ask them the name of the country and who held the sovereignty of it at that time. The company he had first fallen in with explained that the name of the country was Inis Ealga, and that the three sons of Cearmad Milbheoil son of the Daghaidh held the sovereignty of it yearly, in succession, as we have said above, that they were at that time at Oileach Neid, in the north of Ulster, contending with one another about the valuables of their ancestors. Upon hearing this, Ioth set out with two-thirds of the company who had come with him in the ship, the full number manning the ship being thrice fifty warriors. And when he had come into the presence of the sons of Cearmad, they bade him welcome, and made known to him the cause of their contention. He, on his part, informed them that it was through stress of weather at sea he had landed in the country, and that he did not intend to dwell there, but to return to his own country. But as they deemed Ioth a learned man, they chose him as a judge in the dispute that was between them, and his decision was that the valuables be divided into three equal parts between them; and he thereupon proceeded to praise Ireland, and said it was wrong for them to dispute with one another, seeing that the island so abounded in honey, in fruit, in fish, and in milk, in grain and corn, and that the climate was so temperate as regards heat and cold. He further said that, if a tripartite division were made of the country between them, it would be sufficient for them all. Ioth then took his leave of them, and with his hundred warriors set out for his ship.

As to the sons of Cearmad, they observed how highly Ioth had praised Ireland; and they believed that, were he to reach his own country, he would return with a large host to conquer Ireland; and they resolved to send the son of Coll with thrice fifty warriors in pursuit of him. These overtook him, and Ioth placed himself in the

rear of his party, and conducted them to northwards Magh Iotha; and a conflict took place between them, and Ioth fell there; and his followers took him with them in their ship, and he died at sea in their midst,and was buried in Spain, his body having been previously exhibited to the sons of Milidh in order to incite them to come to Ireland to avenge him on the sons of Cearmad. Some seanchas are of opinion that it was at Druim Lighean that Ioth was slain, and that he was buried at Magh Iotha. But the above view is better established and more probable.

Of the invasion of Ireland by the sons of Milidh, and of their doings, and from what country they came to Ireland.

Hector Boetius, in the third chapter of the History of Scotland, states that Eibhear and Eireamhon were sons of Gaedheal. Now this cannot be true, since, according to Cormac son of Cuileannan in his chronicle, Gaedheal was a contemporary of Moses; and he says, moreover, according to the Book of Invasions, that it was two hundred and eighty-three years after the drowning of Pharao that the sons of Milidh came to Ireland, and therefore Gaedheal could not have been the father of Eibhear or of Eireamhon. It is plain also, according to Cormac, in the enumeration of the generations he has made from Galamh, called Milidh of Spain, who was father of Eibhear and of Eireamhon, to Noe, that it was not Gaedheal who was their father. Here is the pedigree to Noe, according to Cormac: Galamh son of Bile, son of Breoghan, son of Bratha, son of Deaghaidh, son of Earchaidh, son of Ealloit, son of Nuadha, son of Neanul, son of Eibric Glas, son of Eibhear Gluinfhionn, son of Laimhfionn, son of Aghnon, son of Tat, son of Ogaman, son of Beodhaman, son of Eibhear Scot, son of Sru, son of Easru, son of Gaedheal Glas, son of Niul, son of Feinius Farsaidh, son of Baath, son of Magog, son of Japhet, son of Noe.

Whoever reads the History of Hector Boetius would imagine that he is of opinion that the Gaels of Alba sprang from a different Gaedheal from the Gaedheal whence the Irish sprang. However, I am content with the opinion of a reputable Scotch author, Johannes Major, who asserts that it is from the Gaels of Ireland the Gaels of Alba sprang. He speaks in these terms: For this reason, I assert, (says he,) that whatever stock the Irish be from, the Albanians are from the same stock. {Dico ergo a quibuscunque Hibernici originem duxere ab iisdem Scoti exordium capiunt.}’’

Beda agrees with this view in the first chapter of the first book of the History of the Church of Sacsa, where he says: In the course of time, (says he,) Britain received, after the Britons and the Picts, a third race in the portion or division of the Picts, a race that came from Ireland together with their chief Rheada, who seized on a settlement for themselves among the Picts by friendship or with arms, which they retain to the present time. {Procedente autem tempore Britannia post Britones et Pictos tertiam Scotorum nationem in Pictorum parte recepit qui duce Rheada de Hibernia egressi vel amicitia vel ferro sibimet inter eos sedes quas hactenus habent vindicarunt.}’’

From this it is to be inferred, in accordance with Beda, that it was from Ireland the Scotic race, together with their chief Rheada, went to Scotland, and that their descendants are there to this day, and that it is they who are called Scots. Humphredus, a Welsh author, speaks thus: The Scots themselves, and all besides, know well that they are the descendants of the Irish; and our countrymen (that is, the Welsh) call them by the same name, that is, Gaels. {Scotos Hibernorum proles et ipsi et omnes optime norunt eodemque nomine a nostratibus scilicet Gaidhil appellantur.}’’

Moreover, Cambrensis, in the sixteenth chapter of the third distinction of the book he has written describing Ireland, points out that it was when Niall Naoighiallach held the sovereignty of Ireland that the six sons of Muiredhach, king of Ulster, went to Alba, that they acquired power and supremacy there, and that it was at this time that the name Scotia was first given to Alba, and that it is from these sons of the king of Ulster that the Albanians are called the Scotic race. Of these sons he speaks as follows:


And hence, (says he,) it is from them that the Gaels of Scotland are descended, and are specially called the Scotic race to this day. {Unde et gens ab his propagata et specificato vocabulo Scotica vocata usque in hodiernum.}’’

According to what we have said the two opinions advanced by Hector Boetius in the History of Scotland are false: the first in which he imagines that Gaedheal was the father of the children of Milidh; and the second in which he thinks that the Gaedheal from whom the Gaelic race of Alba are descended was a different person from the Gaedheal from whom sprang the sons of Milidh who conquered Ireland.

Buchanan, a Scotch author, in the History of Scotland which he has written, asserts that it was from France the sons of Milidh came to Ireland; and he advances, as he thinks, three reasons for this. The first of these reasons is that in which he says that France was so populous that the portion of it called Gallia Lugdunensis could supply three hundred thousand fighting men, and hence that it is likely that she sent out surplus forces to occupy other countries, and that accordingly she sent forth a company to occupy Ireland, namely, the tribe of Gaedheal. My reply to this reason is, that this author did not know when the sons of Milidh came to Ireland, and accordingly did not know whether France was populous or waste when the sons of Milidh came to Ireland. Moreover, granted that France was as populous as he represents it to have been when the sons of Milidh came to Ireland, it does not necessarily follow from this that it was from France the sons of Milidh came. For why should France be populous at that time rather than Spain, whence the sons of Milidh came? It thus appears how trifling is this reason that Buchanan advances to prove that it was from France that the sons of Milidh originally came.

The second silly argument he gives for supposing that it was from France the sons of Milidh came to Ireland is, that certain French and Irish words are identical, such as dris and dun, which are identical in Irish and in French, and a few others of a similar kind. My reply to this reason is, that there are words from every language as loan-words in the fourth division of Irish which is called Bearla Teibidhe from the time of Fenius Farsaidh onwards. And thus as there are words from French in it, so there are words in it from Spanish, from Italian, from Greek, from Hebrew, from Latin, and from every other chief language. And hence it is no proof of the Gaels having come from France that a few words should be identical in Irish and in French; and, moreover, I believe that the few words that are common to them were taken from Ireland to France; and I hold this view all the more because Caesar says, in the sixth book of his History, that it was from the islands of Britain that druids went to France, where they became judges, and got termon lands and immunities and honour from the nobles of that country.



It is probable that this island whence the druids went to France was the island of Ireland, since Ireland was the fountain of druidism for western Europe at that time, and that accordingly Gaelic was the language of these druids. Or if it was from Manainn they went thither, it is well known that Gaelic was the mother-tongue there, according to Ortelius, who, treating of Manainn, says: They use, (he says,) the Scotic language, or Gaelic, which is the same. {Lingua Scotia, seu Hibernica quae est, utuntur.}’’

Accordingly it is probable that, when these druids were teaching in France, the youth of France, from their intercourse with the druids, caught up a certain number of Irish words, and that these have ever since been in use in the French language; and, moreover, Camden states in the book called Britannia Camdeni, that the druids taught in their schools more from oral tradition than from writing.

Another reason why it should not seem strange that Irish words should be embodied in French is, the great intercourse that existed between the Irish and the French. For the Book of Invasions says that the wife of Ughaine Mor, high king of Ireland, was a daughter of the king of the French, and this Ughaine went to conquer France. In like manner another high king of Ireland, Niall Naoighiallach, a long time after Ughaine, went to conquer France, and was slain at the river Leor, in France, by Eochaidh son of Eanna Cinnsealach, king of Leinster. Criomhthann son of Fiodhach, king of Ireland, went to France before Niall. Another high king of Ireland also, whose name was Dathi son of Fiachraidh, went on an expedition of conquest to France; but he was slain by lightning in the east of France, beside the Alp mountains. Similarly, Cornelius Tacitus says that commercial exchange and intercourse existed between Ireland and France. From what we have said, it is not strange that there should have been a borrowing of words from Irish into French and from French into Irish. However, it does not necessarily follow from this that it was from France the race of Gaedheal came to Ireland. Hence, the second argument that Buchanan advances is trivial.

False again is the third argument that Buchanan gives in which he says that the manners and customs of the French and of the Irish are the same. Now, whoever reads Joannes Bohemus, in the book which he has written on the manners and customs of all nations, will find plainly there that neither the manners nor the customs of the French and the Irish are the same at present, nor were they the same in the distant past. Accordingly false is the third reason he alleges as a proof that the race of Gaedheal came first to Ireland from France.

Some modern English writers treating of Ireland state that it was from Great Britain that the sons of Milidh first came, and their reason for that view is, that there are many words identical in Irish and Welsh. My reply to this reason is, that it is not a proof of the race of Gaedheal having first come from Great Britain. There are two reasons for this. The first reason is, that Gaelic was the mother tongue of Briotan son of Fearghus Leithdhearg, son of Neimhidh, and that it was from him Britain was called Britannia, according to Cormac son of Cuileannan and the Books of Invasion of Ireland, and that it was in Britain he and his descendants after him dwelt; that Eireamhon son of Milidh sent the Cruithnigh, who are called Picts, to share Alba with them; and that Brutus son of Silvias, if we may believe some of their own chronicles, invaded them, and after him the Romans, and then the Saxons and the Lochlonnaigh, and finally William the Conqueror and the French, so that they suffered so much oppression from foreigners that it was not strange that Scoitbhearla, which was the language of Briotan and of his descendants after him, should fail. Still the little of it that remains alive without being completely extinguished is identical with Gaelic, as much of it as has remained from the time of Briotan without change.

The second reason why it is not strange that many words are the same in Irish and in Welsh, without supposing the sons of Milidh to have come to Ireland from Britain, is that Ireland was a place of refuge for Britons whenever they suffered persecution from the Romans or the Saxons, or from any other races that oppressed them, so that large companies of them, with their families and followers, and with their wealth, used to fly for refuge to Ireland; and the Irish nobles used to give them land during their stay; and the children, they had during their time of exile used to learn Irish, and there are townlands in Ireland named from them, as Graig na mBreathnach, Baile na mBreathnach, Dun na mBreathnach, etc.; and after they returned to Britain they themselves, and their descendants after them, had many Irish words in constant use. From what we have said, it is not necessarily to be inferred that it was from Britain the sons of Milidh first came, notwithstanding that there are some words identical in Welsh and in Irish. Furthermore, if anyone were to say that the Welsh and the Irish are alike in their manners and customs, since as the Irishman is hospitable in bestowing food without payment so is the Welshman; as, moreover, the Irishman loves seanchas, poets and bards and harpplayers, the Welshman has a similar love, for these classes, and in the same way they resemble one another in several other customs; this is not a proof that the Gaels came from Britain, but is rather a proof that the Welsh were familiar with Ireland, as we have said above; and hence it is not to be inferred from the forementioned reasons that it was from Great Britain the sons of Milidh first came. It may, however, be stated with truth that a company of the race of Breoghan went from Ireland to settle in Great Britain, to wit, some of the descendants of the chiefs of the race of Breoghan who came with the sons of Milidh to Ireland.

The following are the names of those sons of Breoghan who came with the sons of Milidh to Ireland, namely, Breagha, Fuad, Muirtheimhne, Cuailgne, Cuala, Eibhle, Bladh, and Nar. It is precisely from the progeny of these, according to the records of Ireland, that the race called Brigantes are descended; and the truth of this should be the more readily admitted, as Thomasius, in the Latin Dictionary which he has written, says that the Brigantes, that is, the descendants of Breoghan, were an Irish tribe.

A Spanish author named Florianus del Campo, agreeing with the Irish records, says that the Brigantes were Spanish by origin, and that it was from Spain they came to Ireland, and from Ireland they went to Britain.

All that we have stated concerning the intercourse of the Britons with the Irish, and Ireland's being a place of refuge for the Britons, is the more probable, because Caradocus, a Welsh author, in his chronicle, and Albion in his chronicle, and many other Welsh authors, state that many British princes and nobles, with their families and followers, used to come to Ireland, where they were received and kindly entertained, and where they got land to settle down in, as we have said above. Moreover, Doctor Hanmer, in his chronicle, makes special mention of some of them. In the first place, he says that a king of Wales named Cadualin was banished to Ireland by Edwin son of Athelfred in the year of the Lord 635, and that he was kindly received there, and got a reinforcement for his army, by means of which he recovered his own kingdom. He also states that two princes from Britain, namely, Haralt and Conan, came to Ireland in the year of the Lord 1050, and that they were received and even treated in a friendly manner and protected by the Irish. He says likewise that Allgor, Earl of Chester, fled from Britain to Ireland for refuge, and that the Irish sent a force with him by means of which he regained his own territory in the year of the Lord 1054. There came also for refuge to Ireland another Welsh prince whose name was Bleithin ap Conan in the year of the Lord 1087; and he was maintained during his visit there. Thus from age to age did they cultivate alliance and had intercourse with one another.

In Hanmer's chronicle, also, we read that Arnulfus, Earl of Pembroke, married the daughter of Muircheartach O'Brien, King of Ireland, in the year of the Lord 1101. And his second daughter was married to Maghnus son of Aralt, king of the Isles. Moreover, when Henry the First was on the throne of England, there was a prince over Wales whose name was Griffin ap Conan, who used often boast that his mother was an Irishwoman, and also his grandmother, and that it was in Ireland he was born and educated in politeness. According to the same author there was also another prince of Wales in the time of Henry the Second, whose name was Biradus son of Guineth, who had an Irishwoman for his mother. In this manner there used to be much intercourse of friendship and of alliance between the Irish and Welsh, so that therefore it is not to be wondered at that there are many words common to their languages, and that they resemble one another in their manners and customs, without supposing that the Gaels ever came originally from Britain.

Camden says, in like manner, that the Brigantes settled in the following territories of Great Britain, to wit, the district of York, the district of Lancaster, the district of Durham, the district of Westmoreland, and the district of Cumberland; and it is not strange, from what we have said, that the Welsh and the Irish should resemble one another in their manners and customs, and that there should be many words common to both their languages without supposing the sons of Milidh to have ever come from Britain originally, notwithstanding Camden, who says that it was from Britain that the first inhabitants came to Ireland. Now the seanchus of Ireland, whose function it is to investigate and preserve an exact account of every event that ever happened in Ireland, is more deserving of credit than the opinion of Camden, to whom Irish history never gave up its secret from which he could derive a knowlege of the affairs of Ireland.

Cambrensis, writing of Ireland, says that it was by permission of the King of Great Britain that the sons of Milidh came from Biscay, and that, moreover, it was at his inducement they came after him to the Orcades, and that he sent a company with them to Ireland so that they might settle down there on condition that themselves and their descendants should be subject to him and to the kings of Great Britain for ever; and Cambrensis gives the king's name as Gorguntius son of Beilin. In the same way my reply to Cambrensis is, that it is plain that his statement is false. For, whoever will read Stowe's Chronicle will plainly find that there is little more than three hundred years from the reign of that Gorguntius over Great Britain till the coming of Julius Caesar to conquer it, the eighth year of the reign of Cassibellanus over Great Britain; and we read in the same author that they were only about forty-two years from Julius Caesar to the birth of Christ, so that, according to the computation of Stowe, there were not four hundred years in full from the time of Gorguntius to the birth of Christ. Now Cormac son of Cuileannan and the Books of Invasion of Ireland state that it was about thirteen hundred years before the birth of Christ that the sons of Milidh came to Ireland. And the Polychronicon agrees with them in the same computation where it treats of Ireland. It thus speaks: There are, (it says,) one thousand eight hundred years from the arrival of the Irish to the death of Patrick. {Ab adventu Ibernensium usque ad obitum Sancti Patricii sunt anni mille octigenti.}’’

This is equivalent to saying that it was about thirteen hundred years before Christ that the sons of Milidh came to Ireland. For deduct the four hundred and ninety-two years from the birth of Christ to the death of Patrick from the eighteen hundred years the Polychronicon computes to be between the coming of the sons of Milidh to Ireland and the death of Patrick, and there will be one thousand three hundred and eight years from the coming of the sons of Milidh to Ireland to the birth of Christ, so that the Polychronicon, Cormac son of Cuileannan, and the Books of Invasion agree with one another in computing the time from the invasion of the sons of Milidh to the birth of Christ; and if we compare, according to the Chronicle of Stowe, the space of time between Gorguntius and the birth of Christ, and similarly the space of time the Polychronicon, and Cormac son of Cuileannan, and the Books of Invasion compute to be from the coming of the sons of Milidh to Ireland to the birth of Christ, we shall plainly find that the sons of Milidh were in Ireland more than nine hundred years before Gorguntius assumed the sovereignty of Great Britain. From what we have said it is obvious that it is a baseless falsehood Cambrensis states in his chronicle when he says that Gorguntius above-mentioned brought after him the sons of Milidh to the Orcades, and sent them thence to Ireland. For how could Gorguntius send them to Ireland, seeing he was not himself born, according to authorities we have cited here, until nine hundred years after the sons of Milidh had come to Ireland?



Of the coming of the sons of Milidh to Ireland as follows:

When the sons of Milidh and all the descendants of Breoghan heard that the children of Cearmad had murdered Ioth son of Breoghan and his followers, and when they saw his body mangled and lifeless, they resolved to come to Ireland to avenge him on the children of Cearmad, and they assembled an army to come to Ireland to wrest that country from the Tuatha De Danann in retribution for the deed of treachery they had done against Ioth son of Breoghan and his followers. Some seanchas assert that it was from Biscay the sons of Milidh went to Ireland from the place which is called Mondaca beside the river-mouth of Verindo; and their reason for this opinion is that Milidh was king of Biscay after he had been banished by the violence of many foreign tribes from the very heart of Spain to Biscay, where there were many woods, hills, and fastnesses protecting Biscay from the fury of foreign races. This, however, is not the general opinion of the seanchas. What they assert is that it was from the tower of Breoghan in Galicia they came to Ireland, and this is the view I regard as the most probable. For we read in the Book of Invasions that it was at Breoghan's tower they resolved on sending Ioth son of Breoghan to explore Ireland, and that it was to it Lughaidh son of Ioth came when he returned from Ireland, and showed his father's dead body to the sons of Milidh and to the sons of Breoghan; and accordingly I believe that it was from the same place they proceeded to Ireland very soon after the death of Milidh. And it was because of the death of Milidh that Scota came to Ireland with her children, Spain being at that time a bone of contention between the tribes who inhabited Spain itself and the numerous foreign tribes who came from the north of Europe to overcome them.

As to the sons of Milidh, they got together an army to come to Ireland and avenge Ioth on the Tuatha De Danann and on the children of Cearmad, and to wrest Ireland from them; and the full number of leaders they had to rule the warriors was forty, as we read in the poem composed by Eochaidh O'Floinn, beginning, The Leaders of those oversea ships:


    The leaders of those over-sea ships
    In which the sons of Milidh came,
    I shall remember all my life
    Their names and their fates:


    Eibhle, Fuad, Breagba, excellent Bladh,
    Lughaidh, Muirtheimhne from the lake,
    Buas, Breas, Buaidhne of great vigour,
    Donn, Ir, Eibhear, Eireamhon,


    Aimhirgin, Colpa without annoyance,
    Eibhear, Airioch, Arannan,
    Cuala, Cuailgne, and generous Nar,
    Muimhne, Luighne, and Laighne,


    Fulman, Manntan, gentle Bile,
    Er, Orba, Fearon, Feirghein,
    En, Uu, Eatan Goistean bright,
    Seadgha, Sobhairce, Suirghe,

    1. Palap son of noble Eireamhon,
      And Caicher son of Manntan,
      To avenge Ioth of the steeds—
      Ten and thirty leaders.

The leaders.

Their fleet was thirty ships in all, with thirty warriors in each of the ships, besides their women and camp-followers. The following are their names: Breagha son of Breoghan, from whom Magh Breagh in Meath is called; Cuala son of Breoghan, from whom Sliabh Cuala is called; Cuailgne son of Breoghan, from whom Sliabh Cuailgne is called; Fuad son of Breoghan, from whom Sliabh Fuaid is called; Muirtheimhne son of Breoghan, from whom Magh Muirtheimhne is called; Lughaidh son of Ioth, who came to Ireland to avenge his father, from him Corca Luighe in West Munster is called; Eibhlinne son of Breoghan, from whom Sliabh Eibhlinne in Munster is called; Buas, Breas, and Buaidhne, three sons of Tighearnbhard son of Brighe; Nar from whom Ros Nair in Sliabh Bladhma is called; Seadgha, Fulman, Manntan, Caicher, and Suirghe son of Caicher; Er, Orba, Fearon, and Feargna, four sons of Eibhear; En, Un, Eatan, and Goistean; Sobhairce, we do not know who was his father; Bile son of Brighe, son of Breoghan; eight sons of Milidh of Spain, to wit, Donn and Airioch Feabhruadh, Eibhear Fionn and Aimhirgin, Ir and Colpa of the Sword, Eireamhon and Arannan the youngest, and four sons of Eireamhon, to wit Muimhne, Luighne, and Laighne, and Palap, and one son of Ir, that is Eibhear. These, then, are the forty leaders of the sons of Milidh who came to Ireland. It was in Ireland itself that Irial Faidh son of Eireamhon was born.

As regards the descendants of Milidh and their fleet there is no account of them until they put into port at Innbhear Slainghe in the lower part of Leinster, which place is called the harbour of Loch Garman to-day. The Tuatha De Danann assembled and congregated round them, and spread a magic mist above them, so that they imagined that the island in front of them was a hog's back, and hence Ireland is called Muicinis. Accordingly, the Tuatha De Danann, by means of magic, drove the sons of Milidh out from the land, and so they went round Ireland and put into port at Innbhear Sceine in West Munster; and when they had landed, they proceeded to Sliabh Mis, where they met Banbha with her women and her druids. Aimhirgin asked her her name. ‘Banbha is my name,’ said she; ‘and it is from me that this island is called Inis Banbha.’ Then they proceeded to Sliabh Eibhlinne where they met Fodla, and Aimhirgin asked her her name. ‘Fodla is my name,’ said she; ‘and it is from me that this land is called Fodla.’ They proceeded thence to Uisneach in Meath, where they met Eire. The poet asked her her name. ‘Eire is my name,’ said she, ‘and it is from me that this island is called Eire.’ And as a record of the above events is this stanza from the poem beginning, Let us relate the origin of the Gaels:


    Banbha on Sliabh Mis, with hosts
    Faint and wearied;
    Fodla on Sliabh Eibhlinne, with groanings;
    Eire on Uisneach.

These three queens were the wives of the three sons of Cearmad, and some seanchas say that there was no division of Ireland into three equal parts among the sons of Cearmad, but that each of the sons held it for a year in turn; and the name the country bore each year was the name of the wife of him who held the sovereignty that year. Here is a proof of this alternation of sovereignty:


    Every year by turns
    The chiefs held the kingdom;
    Eire, Fodla, and Banbha,
    The three wives of the very strong warriors.

The sons of Milidh proceeded thence to Tara, where they met the three sons of Cearmad, to wit, Eathur, Ceathur, Teathur, with their magic host; and the sons of Milidh demanded battle or a right to the sovereignty of the country from the sons of Cearmad, and these replied that they would act towards them according to the judgment of Aimhirgin, their own brother, and that if he delivered an unjust judgment against them, they would kill him by magic. The judgment Aimhirgin gave regarding his brothers and their host was that they should return to Innbhear Sceine, and that they should embark with all their host and go out the distance of nine waves on the high sea, and if they succeeded in coming to land again in spite of the Tuatha De Danann, they were to have sway over the country. And the Tuatha De Danann were satisfied with this, for they thought that their own magic would be able to prevent them from returning ever again to the country.



As to the sons of Milidh, they returned to Innbhear Sceine, and went out on the high sea, the space of nine waves, as Aimhirgin directed them. When the druids of the Tuatha De Danann saw them on the sea, they raised a terrific magic wind which caused a great storm at sea; and Donn son of Milidh said that it was a druidical wind. ‘So it is,’ said Aimhirgin. Thereupon Arannan, the youngest of the sons of Milidh, climbed the mainmast, and, by reason of gust of wind, he fell to the ship's deck, and thus was killed. And forthwith the rocking of the tempest separated from the rest the ship in which Donn was, and soon after he was himself drowned, and the ships crew along with him, twenty-four warriors in all, and five leaders, to wit, Bile son of Brighe, Airioch Feabhruadh, Buan, Breas, and Buaidhne, with twelve women and four servants, eight oarsmen, and fifty youths in fosterage; and the place where they were drowned is Dumhacha, which is called Teach Duinn, in west Munster. And it is from Donn son of Milidh, who was drowned there, that it is called Teach Duinn. And it is the death of Donn and of those nobles who were drowned with him that Eochaidh O'Floinn narrates in the poem beginning, The leaders of those over-sea ships. Thus does he speak:


    Donn and Bile and Buan, his wife,
    Dil and Airioch son of Milidh,
    Buas, Breas, and Buaidhne, the renowned,
    Were drowned at Dumhacha.

The ship in which was Ir son of Milidh was also separated from the fleet by the storm; and it was driven ashore in

the west of Desmond; and there Ir was drowned, and he was buried at Sceilig Mhichil, as the same author says:


    Aimhirgin, poet of the men,
    Was killed in the Battle of Bile Theineadh;
    Ir died in Sceilig of the warriors,
    And Arannan died in the ship.

Eireamhon, accompanied by a division of the fleet, proceeded, having Ireland on the left, to the mouth of Innbhear Colpa, which is called Droichead Atha. Now, the river is called Innbhear Colpa, from Colpa of the Sword, son of Milidh, having been drowned there as he was coming ashore with Eireamhon son of Milidh. It is plain from this that five of the sons of Milidh were drowned before they took possession of Ireland from the Tuatha De Danann; hence some poet composed this stanza:


    Five of these were drowned,
    Of the swift sons of Milidh,
    In the harbours of Ireland of the divisions,
    Through the magic of the Tuatha De Danann:

these are Donn and Ir, Airioch Feabhruadh, Arannan, and Colpa of the Sword; so that when these sons wrested Ireland from the Tuatha De Danann, there were only three of them surviving, to wit, Eibhear, Eireamhon, and Aimhirgin. As to the remainder of the descendants of Milidh, to wit, Eibhear with his own division of the fleet, they landed at Innbhear Sceine. They met Eire, wife of Mac Greine, on Sliab Mis three days after they had landed, and there the Battle of Sliabh Mis took place between them and the Tuatha De Danann, in which fell Fas wife of Un son of Uige, and from her the name Gleann Fais is given to the glen which is in Sliabh Mis, and is called at present Gleann Fais; and it is to bear testimony to this that the poet composed this stanza:


    Gleann Fais, true is the derivation,
    Without error or difficulty;
    Fas the name of the woman I refer to
    Who was killed in the great glen.

In the same battle fell Scota wife of Milidh; and it is in the north side of that glen, beside the sea, she is buried; and as a proof of her death and of her burial-place, we have the two following stanzas from the same poem:


    In this battle also, I will not deny,
    Scota found death and extinction;
    As she is not alive in fair form,
    She met her death in this glen.


    Whence there is in the north side
    The tomb of Scota in the clear, cold glen,
    Between the mountain and the sea;
    Not far did she go from the conflict.

This was the first battle that took place between the sons of Milidh and the Tuatha De Danann, as the same poem says:


    The first battle of the famed sons of Milidh,
    On their coming from Spain of renown,
    At Sliabh Mis there was cause of woe;
    It is certain history and true knowledge.

The two women we have mentioned, to wit, Scota and Fas and their two most accomplished druids, that is, Uar and Eithiar, were the most celebrated of the race of Gaedheal who fell in that battle. But though three hundred of them were slain, still they slew ten hundred of the Tuatha De Danann, and thus routed them; and Eire wife of Mac Greine followed in their wake, and proceeded to Taillte, and related her story to the sons of Cearmad. Now, the sons of Milidh remained on the field of battle, burying those of their people who were slain, and in particular burying the two druids. It is with reference to this that the poet composed the following historical stanzas:


    In the morning we left Sliabh Mis;
    We met with aggression and defiance
    From the sons of the noble Daghadh,
    With strong battle-spears.


    We stoutly won a battle
    Over the sprites of the isle of Banbha,
    Of which ten hundred fell together,
    By us, of the Tuatha De Danann.


    Six fifties of our company
    Of the great army of Spain,
    That number of our host fell,
    With the loss of the two worthy druids:


    Uar and Eithiar of the steeds,
    Beloved were the two genuine poets;
    A stone in bareness above their graves,
    In their Fenian tombs we leave them.

Eight also of the leaders of the host fell at sea through the magic of the Tuatha De Danann, as we have said above, namely, Ir at Sceilig Mhichil; Arannan, from the mainmast; Donn with his five leaders, who were drowned at Teach Duinn. Eight royal ladies also fell there, two of them with Donn, namely, Buan wife of Bile, and Dil daughter of Milidh of Spain, wife and kinswoman of Donn. There were also drowned Sceine wife of Aimhirgin, in Innbhear Sceine and from her the nameInnbhear Sceine is given to the river which is in Kerry. Fial wife of Lughaidh son of Ioth died of shame on her husband seeing her naked as she returned from swimming; and from her that river has ever since been called Innbhear Feile; Scota and Fas were also slain in the Battle of Sliab Mis, as we have said above. Two others of them also died, namely, the wife of Ir and the wife of Muirtheimhne son of Breoghan. These then are the eight princesses and the eight leaders that perished out of the host of the descendants of Milidh from their coming into Ireland up to the Battle of Taillte. Here are the names of the seven principal women who came to Ireland with the sons of Milidh, according to the Book of Invasions: Scota, Tea, Fial, Fas, Liobhra, Odhbha, and Sceine. It is in the following manner the seancha sets forth this, and states who was married to each of the women whose husband was alive on their coming to Ireland:


    The seven chief women who came thither
    With all the sons of Milidh,
    Tea, Fial, Fas, to our delight,
    Liobhra, Odhbha, Scot, Sceine;


    Tea wife of Eireamhon of the steeds,
    And Fial too, the wife of Lughaidh,
    Fas wife of Un the son of Oige next,
    And Sceine wife of Aimhirgin,


    Liobhra wife of Fuad, noble her renown,
    Scota the marriageable, and Odhbha
    These were the women who were not giddy,
    Who came with the sons of Milidh.

As to the descendants of Milidh, the company of them who landed with Eibhear and fought the Battle of Sliab Mis went to meet Eireamhon to the mouth of Innbhear Colpa; and when they came together there, they gave warning of battle to the sons of Cearmad and to the Tuatha De Danann in general. It was then that the Battle of Taillte took place between them; and the sons of Cearmad were defeated by the sons of Milidh, and there fell Mac Greine by Aimhirgin, Mac Cuill by Eibhear, and Mac Ceacht by Eireamhon, as the seancha says:


    The bright Mac Greine fell
    In Taillte by Aimhirgin,
    Mac Cuill by Eibhear of the gold,
    Mac Ceacht by the hand of Eireamhon.

Their three queens also fell; namely, Eire, Fodla, and Banbha. Hence, and to state by whom they fell, the seancha composed this stanza:


    Fodla slain by Eatan the proud;
    Banbha by Caicher the victorious
    Eire then slain by Suighre:
    These are the fates of this trio.

Now the greater part of the host of the Tuatha De Danann also fell; and while the host of the sons of Milidh were in pursuit of them towards the north, two leaders of the Milesian host were slain, namely, Cuailgne son of Breoghan on Sliabh Cuailgne, and Fuad son of Breoghan on Sliabh Fuaid.