History Of Ireland Part 5 of 6 - Book II

BOOK II

HISTORY OF IRELAND

I

Of the kings of Ireland and of their history after the Faith and of its annals to the coming of the Normans hither, and to their acquiring supremacy over the country, as follows:

SANDERUS says in the first book on the English Schism that the Gaels, immediately on their accepting the Faith, put themselves and all they had under the power and government of the Bishop of Rome; and that they had no other chief prince over them but the Bishop of Rome until the Normans gained the supremacy of Ireland. These are the authors words: The Irish, (says he,) immediately on their accepting the Faith, put themselves and all they had under the obedience and government of the Bishop of Rome, and they did not acknowledge any other chief prince over Ireland but the Bishop of Rome until that time, {Hiberni initio statim post Christianum Religionem acceptam se suaque omnia in Pontificis Romani ditionem dederant, nec quemquam alium supremum principem Hiberniae ad illud usque tempus praeter unum Romanum Pontificem, agnoverant.}’’

that is, until the Norman Invasion. But this statement of Sanderus is not true, as is plain from the Psalter of Cashel, where it speaks of Irial Faidh, son of Eireamhon, and where it gives the number of the kings of the race of Eireamhon who ruled Ireland before Patrick planted the Faith in Ireland and afterwards. Irial Faidh ruled the kingdom of Ireland ten years, and before the rule of Christ was planted by Patrick in Ireland fifty-seven kings of the stock of that king held the sovereignty of Ireland; and moreover, there were fifty kings of the descendants of the same man ruling the kingdom of Ireland after Patrick.’’ {Írial propheta per decem annos regnavit, et antequam regula Christi per Patricium seminata esst in Hibernia, de semine eiusdem Regis quinquaginta septem reges regnaverunt super Hiberniam, et post Patricium de prole illius quinquaginta reges.} And this is plain from the ancient annals of Ireland and from the Reim Rioghruidhe.

Thus does the Polycronicon treat of the same matter where it says: From the coming of Patrick to the time of king Feidhlimidh (i.e., king of Munster), there were thirty-three kings on the throne of Ireland in the space of four hundred years. And in the time of Feidhlimidh the Fionnlochlonnaigh, who are called Norwegians, together with their leader Turgesius, came to Ireland. {Ab adventu Sancti Patricii usque ad Feldemidii Regis tempora triginta tres reges per quadringentos in Hibernia regnaverunt; tempore autem Feldemidii Noruaegienses duce Turgesio terram hanc occuparunt}’’

From this it is to be inferred that there were kings over Ireland of the Gaelic race after the time of Patrick. And the same author uses these very words in the same place, From the time of Turgesius to the last king Ruaidhri, king of Connaught, there were seventeen kings over Ireland. {A tempore Turgesii usque ad ultimum monarchum Rodericum Conatiae Regem septemdecem reges in Hibernia fuerunt.}’’

From all these facts it is plain that it is not true to say that there was no king over Ireland from the time of Patrick to the Norman Invasion. And with this agrees what we read in the thirty-sixth epistle written by St. Anselmus, archbishop of Canterbury, in which he writes to Muircheartach O'Briain, king of Ireland, as we read in Doctor Ussher in the gleaning he has made of the letters written to one another by the holy clerics of Ireland and of England, and according to the same author, where Anselmus writes to the same Muircheartach in the year of the Lord 1100, where he says, Anselmus, servant of the Church of Canterbury, to the glorious Muircheartach by the grace of God king of Ireland, {Moriardacho glorioso gratia Dei Regni Hiberniae, Anselmus servus Ecclesiae Cantuariensis.}’’

; and as Lanfrancus, archbishop of Canterbury, writes to Toirrdhealbhach O Briain, king of Ireland, in the year of the Lord 1074, according to Doctor Ussher in the passage we have quoted: Lanfrancus a sinner and unworthy archbishop of the holy Church of Dorobernia, benediction with service and prayers to Toirrdhealbhach, king of Ireland. {Lanfrancus peccator et indignus Dorobernensis Ecclesiae archiepiscopus magnifico Regi Hiberniae Terdeluaco benedictionem cum servitio et orationibus.}’’

The truth of the same position is strengthened by what we read in the forty-first letter in the same book, where Henry the First of England writes to Radulphus, archbishop of Canterbury, asking him to give orders to a priest called Gregorius and consecrate him bishop in Dublin by the direction of the king of Ireland. Here are the words of the English king in the year of the Lord 1123: The king of Ireland in writing, and the burgesses of Dublin have made known to me that they have elected this Gregorius bishop, and have sent him to thee to be consecrated. Therefore, I command thee to grant their petition and to perform his consecration without delay. {Mandavit mihi Rex Hiberniae per breve suum et Burgenses Dublinae quod elegerunt hunc Gregorium in Episcopum et eum tibi mittunt consecrendum. Unde tibi mando ut pettioni eorum satisfaciens eius conscreationem sine dilatione expleas.}’’

From all we have said it is plain that it is not true to say that there was neither king nor chief ruler over Ireland until the Norman Invasion; and it is moreover plain that the Roman Pontiff had never definite authority over Ireland any more than he had over Spain or France or other countries until the time of Donnchadh, son of Brian Boraimhe, who went to Rome about seventy-seven years before the Normans came to Ireland. But when Donnchadh, son of Brian, went to Rome, as we have said above, himself and the nobles of Ireland consented to the Bishop of Rome's having authority over them, because they were wont to contend with one another for the mastery of Ireland. For, although authors generally write that the Emperor Constantine, after his baptism, bestowed the islands of western Europe on Pope Sylvester, that did not give the Pope possession of Ireland, since no emperor that was ever in Rome, nor Constantine, had possession of Ireland.

How, then, could there be any force in the right which the emperor might give to the Pope, to what was neither in his own possession nor in that of any emperor that succeeded him since? And hence, it is not to be supposed that so large a kingdom as Ireland -Doctor Sanderus notwithstanding- would have no high chief or high king over it from the time of Patrick to the Norman Invasion, but the Pope alone.

Before we speak of the kings of Ireland after the Faith, we shall set down here from the seanchus the manner in which kings were inaugurated in Ireland, and for what object they were inaugurated, including high kings and provincial kings and territorial high chiefs. Know that formerly in Ireland the only title the territorial chiefs had was that of king, as was the custom among the Jewish nation (except that the Jewish nation had dukes), and amongst many other nations; thus the Dal Riada in Scotland had a leader, taoiseach until Fearghus Mor, son of Earc, was made king over them.

Now, the reason why one person is made king over tribes and over districts is in order that each one in his own principality should be obedient to him, and that none of them should have power to resist or oppose him during his sovereignty, an to have it understood that it was by God who is Lord and ruler over all that he has been appointed king over the peoples to govern them, and hence that they are bound to obey him and to bear in mind that it is the same only God who is Lord of heaven and of earth and of hell that gave him that authority, and that it was from Him he obtained sovereignty; and frequently it was the cleverest and most learned people in Ireland who were chosen to reign, to repress evil, to adjust tribute, to make treaties of peace, such as Slainghe, son of Deala, son of Loch, who was chief judge in Ireland in his time, Ollamh Fodla, who was learned, and Tighearnmhus, his son, who was likewise well-informed, and Cormac, son of Art, who was learned in the Breitheamhnas Tuaithe and who wrote the Instruction for Kings; and thus in the beginning of the ages it was the learned and those who were most zealous for the aggrandisement of the public weal that the men of Ireland elected to rule the districts until Patrick came with the power of the Church. And since the coming of Patrick, it was the bishops and the nobles and the chroniclers who elected the kings and lords until the Norman Invasion; and the titles that are in use now, as baron, viscount, earl, marquess, or duke, were not in vogue in Ireland, but triath (chief), tighearna (lord), flaith (prince) or ri (king), and they were surnamed from the districts they possessed.

Now, on the occasion of their being inaugurated, the chronicler came forward bearing the book called the Instruction for Kings, in which there was a brief summary of the customs and laws of the country, and where it was explained how God and the people would reward the doing of good, and the punishment that awaited the king and his descendants if he did not carry out the principles of justice and equity which the Book of Kings and the Instruction for Kings direct to put in practice.

Often also some of them had to give sureties from amongst their friends for the carrying out of the laws of the country in accordance with the Instruction for Kings, or else to forego the sovereignty without a struggle, as the Tuatha De Danann might take sureties from Breas, son of Ealathan, on the occasion of giving him the sovereignty of Ireland.

It was the chronicler's function to place a wand in the hand of each lord on his inauguration; and on presenting the wand he made it known to the populace that the lord or king need not take up arms thenceforth to keep his country in subjection, but that they should obey his wand as a scholar obeys his master. For, as the wise scholar loves and obeys and is grateful to his master, in the same way subjects are bound to their kings, for it is with the wand of equity and justice he directs his subjects, and not with the edge of the weapon of injustice.

The wand which the ollamh places in the king's hand is altogether white, as a token of truth as symbolised by the whiteness of the rod, since whiteness is likened to truth, and blackness to falsehood.

The reason why the wand is straight is to signify to the people and the tribes that the king is bound to be straight and faultless, without bias in his words and judgments between friends and enemies, between the strong and the weak, as if there were a contention between both his hands.

The reason it is ordained that the wand be without knot or excrescence, but be altogether smooth, is to signify to the people that the lords are bound to be free from unevenness or roughness in dealing justice and equity to all, to friend and enemy, according to their deserts, etc.

It was at Tara on Leic na Riogh that every one of the kings of Ireland who possessed the kingdom of all Ireland, by the consent of the ollamhs and of the nobles, used to be inaugurated before the Faith, and by the consent of the Church and of the ollamhs ever since the Faith.

It was at Tulach Og that O Neill was inaugurated, and it was O Cathain and O Hagain who inaugurated him; O Donnghaile was his marshal of the hosts and muinntir Bhrislein and clann Biorthagra were the brehons of feineachas of all Ulster.

At Cill Mic Creannain O Domhnaill was inaugurated, and it was O Fiorghail who inaugurated him, and O Gallchubhair was his marshal of the hosts.

At Magh Adhar O Briain was inaugurated; it was Mac na Mara who inaugurated him. O Duibhidhir of Coill na Manach and Mag Cormain were his marshals of the hosts; muinntear Flannchuidhe were his brehons of feineachas; clann Chraith his ollamhs in poetry; clann Chruitin or clann Bhruaideadha his ollamhs in seanchus.

On Lios Beannchair Mac Carrtaigh was inaugurated. It was O Suilleabhain Mor and O Donnchada Mor who inaugurated him. Muinntear Ruairc were his marshals of the host; clann Aodhagain were his brehons; muinntear Dhalaigh were his ollamhs in poetry, and muinntear Dhuinnin were his ollamhs in seanchus.

On Cnoc an Bhogha Mac Murchadha was inaugurated; and it was O Nuallain who inaugurated him; his steed and trappings for O Nuallain. O Deoradhain was his brehon and Mac Eochadha his ollamh in poetry.

On Leac Mic Eochadha the lord of Ui Cinnsealaigh was inaugurated, and it was Mac Eochadha who inaugurated him.

On Dun Caillighe Beirre O Brain was inaugurated, and it was Mac Eochadha who inaugurated him.

II.

On the kings of Ireland after the Faith as follows:

Laoghaire, son of Niall Naoighiallach, son of Eochaidh Muighmheadhon, son of Muireadhach Tireach, son of Fiacraidh Sraibhthine, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland thirty years; and his mother was Rioghnach; and it was in the fourth year of his reign that Pope Coelestinus sent Patrick to Ireland to plant the Faith, in the year of the Lord 431 and Patrick was sixty-one years of age then. For when he was taken into captivity in the ninth year of the reign of Niall his age was sixteen years, and he lived the remaining eighteen years of the reign of Niall, so that he was thirty-four years at the close of that reign. Add to this the twenty-three years Dathi held the kingdom of Ireland, and it leaves Patrick fifty-seven years when Dathi was slain. Add four years of Laoghaire's reign to this, and it gives sixty-one years as Patrick's age on his coming to Ireland. And this is rendered the more probable, as we read in the book called the Roman Martyrology that Patrick's age was six score and two years at his death. This is equivalent to saying that he had completed his sixty-first year when he came to Ireland as bishop. For it is certain that he spent sixty-one years in planting the faith in Ireland before his death. But before Patrick, Coelestinus sent Paladius as bishop to plant the Faith in Ireland in the year of the Lord 430, according to Beda in the annals of the History of Sacsa. Thus does he speak: In the year of the Lord 430 Pope Coelestinus sent Paladius as first bishop to the Scots who believed in Christ. {Anno quadringentesimo tricesimo Paladius ad Scotos in Christum credentes a Coelestino Papa primus mittitur episcopus.}’’

And that was the third year of the reign of Laoghaire and the year before Patrick came to Ireland. And when he reached Ireland with twelve clerics he landed in the lower part of Leinster at Innbhear Deaghaidh, and blessed three churches there, to wit, Ceall Fine, where he left his books and a portion of the relics of Paul and Peter; the second church, the House of the Romans, and the third church, Domhnach Arda. And when he had blessed these churches, Nathi, son of Garrchon, lord of that country, came and banished him from that district, and he went to Alba and died there.

As to Patrick, he came to Ireland a year after Paladius, with twenty-four holy clerics, or, according to Henricus Antisiodorensis in the life of St. Germanus, as we read in the 168th chapter. Patrick brought thirty bishops with him to Ireland. Here are the author's words: Blessed Patrick, (says he,) having come a long journey and from a distant country, first gladdened his own people by his presence, and having got together thirty bishops, whom he himself had consecrated beyond the seas, he sent them into the Lord's harvest, for the harvest was great and the labourers few. {Benedictus Patricius itinere longo de regione longinqua peracto, praesentia sui suos exhilarabat et triginta episcopos ex transmarinis partibus congregatos et a se consecratos in Dominicam messem, eo quod esset multa et operarii pauci, destinabat.}’’

From this it is to be inferred that a number of prelates came with Patrick to Ireland to plant the Faith.

Moreover, we read in the seanchus that when Patrick was coming to Ireland he brought hither with him as many as he could find of the Scotic race who had received the light of the Faith; and learning and faith and law were maintained in Ireland for four hundred years after the coming of Patrick until the coming hither of the Lochlonnaigh. Besides, silver was struck at Ard Macha and at Cashel at that time. Henricus above says in the 174th chapter that Patrick made an apportionment of Ireland, as to land, people and cattle, and that he set aside a tithe of these for the Church, to wit, a tithe of the people, the land, and the cattle, and made monks of the men and nuns of the women, and built monasteries for them. Thus does the same author speak referring to these people who formed the tithe: He made monks of all the men and nuns of the women, and he built many monasteries and he set apart a tithe of the land and a tithe of the cattle for their maintenance. {Omnes ergo mares monachos, feminas sanctimoniales, efficiens, numerosa monasteria aedificavit, decimamque portionem terrarum ac pecudum eorum sustentationi assignavit.}’’

The same author also says that as a result of the regulation laid down by Patrick, there was not a nook or corner or desert in Ireland that was not full of pious persons and of saints, so that it came to pass that the name by which Ireland was distinguished among the nations in general was the Island of Saints. Nennius, a British author, in the History of Britain, speaking of Patrick, uses these

words: He built, (says he,) 355 churches, he consecrated the same number, 355, of bishops, and he ordained priests to the number of three thousand. {Ecclesias 355 fundavit, episcopos ordinavit eo numero, 355, presbiteros autem usque ad tria millia ordinavit.}’’

Thus does the seanchus agree with Nennius as to the number of bishops consecrated by Patrick:

    1. Five and fifty learned bishops
      Did the holy man consecrete,
      With three hundred young clerics
      On whom he conferred orders.

Should anyone be surprised at there being so many bishops together in Ireland in the time of Patrick, let him read what St. Bernard says in the life of Malachias of the custom of Ireland regarding her bishops. Thus does he speak: Bishops are changed and multiplied at the will of the archbishop, so that a single diocese is not content with a single bishop, but they have almost a bishop for each church. {Mutantur et multiplicantur Episcopi pro libitu Metropolitani, ite ut unus episcopatus uno non esset conentus, sed singulae pene ecclesiae singulos haberunt episcopos}’’

From these words of St. Bernard it is to be inferred that it is not strange that so great a number of bishops as we have mentioned should be in Ireland in the time of Patrick, as the Church was then flourishing. The number of bishops we have above mentioned is the less to be wondered at, since we read in old books that there was a bishop in Ireland for every deanery in the country.

Moreover, it is certain from the Irish annals that Patrick made two archbishops in Ireland, to wit, the archbishop of Ard Macha the primate of Ireland, and the archbishop of Cashel; the primate of Ard Macha being over all Ireland and especially over Leath Cuinn, and the archbishop of Cashel directly over Leath Mogha, while the primate had higher authority over him. And the reason of that arrangement was that the supreme sovereignty of Ireland was in the possession of the race of Eireamhon, being in the possession of Laoghaire, son of Niall; and Eoghan and Conall and the other nobles of that race, who were baptized by Patrick, insisted that the principal church in the kingdom should be in their own half of Ireland, to wit, in Leath Cuinn, and that it should have authority over the churches of Ireland after the manner of the supreme sovereignty which was then in their possession. As to the race of Eibhear, they were permitted by Patrick to found the second principal church in Leath Mogha, namely, in Cashel, because to them belonged Leath Mogha under the king of Ireland from the time of Conn up to then. This should with the greater reason be believed from the fact that the archbishop of Cashel is called not only archbishop of Munster, but also archbishop of all Leath Mogha in the old books of chronicles and annals of Ireland.

But as regards another statement made by some writers of the present time that Imleach Iobhair was the seat of an archbishop, it is to be understood in this way: the archbishop and the clergy of Cashel were for a time banished from Cashel in these days, through the oppression of the Lochlonnaigh, when Maoilseachlainn, son of Maolruanaidh, was king of Meath, and Niall Caille king of Ireland, and Olchobhar king of Munster, and while Turgesius the Lochlonnach tyrant was harassing Ireland. For the expulsion of Forannan, primate of Ireland, from Ard Macha by Turgesius, so that he was forced into banishment in Munster, was not a more likely event than that the archbishop of Cashel and his clergy should be driven from Cashel by the Lochlonnaigh, and should betake themselves for refuge to Imleach Iobhair, where there were then woods and bogs and morasses. And there did they spend some of their time while they were subject to the persecution of the Lochlonnaigh.

We find in the annals of Ireland only mention of two archbishops being in Ireland, to wit, the archbishop of Ard Macha and the archbishop of Cashel, down to the time when Cardinal Johannes Papiron came to Ireland together with Giolla Criost O Conairce, bishop of Lios Mor, then the Papal legate in Ireland, in the year of the Lord 1152. For in that year they convened a National Council at Ceanannus na Midhe, in which an archbishop was consecrated for Ath Cliath and an archbishop for Tuam, and where each of the archbishops received a pallium, as we shall hereafter set down from the ancient annals of Ireland which were written at Cluain Eidhneach.

III.

While Patrick was planting the Faith in Ireland in the time of Laoghaire, Aonghus, son of Natfraoch was king of Munster, and when Patrick proceeded to Munster to preach, this Aonghus, son of Natfraoch, came to Magh Feimhean in the northern Deise to welcome him, and conducted him to the royal residence of Cashel in Eoghanacht, which is now called Middlethird, and there Aonghus accepted faith and baptism from him. Thus speaks an old Life of Patrick which we quoted above in treating of Niall: As he was going into Munster, Aonghus, son of Natfraoch, king of Munster, came to meet him to Magh Feimhean in the country of the Deise, and joyfully conducted him to the royal seat which is called Cashel in the district of Eoghanacht, and there king Aonghus believed and was baptized. {Dum vero in Momoniam proficisceretur, venit obviam ei Rex Momoniae, Aonghus mac Natfraoich in campo Feimhean in terra na nDéise, eumque duxit gaudens in civitatem regalem nomine Caiseal, quae est in regione Eoghanacht, ibique credidit rex Aonghus et baptisatus est.}’’

And in the same passage it is stated that it was through the foot of Aonghus that St. Patrick drove the point of his crozier. Here is what we read therein: As St. Patrick was standing and giving a blessing to the king, he drove the point of his blessed crozier into the king's foot. {Cumque Sanctus Patritius regem stando benedixisset cuspis baculi Sancti fixa est in pede regis.}’’ From this it is to be inferred that it was through the foot of Aonghus, son of Natfraoch, king of Munster, that Patrick drove the point of his crozier, and not through the foot of Eoghan, son of Niall, king of Ulster. Even a learned seancha of Leath Cuinn, to wit, Torna, son of Muiris O Maolconaire, agrees with the above in a poem beginning, The bishop's blessing on the race of Eibhear. Thus does he speak:

    1. Through the foot of Aonghus, great the discomfort,
      Went the point of Patrick's crozier;
      So that the floor was covered with his blood,
      The deed is no whispered gossip.

This Aonghus had twenty-four sons and twenty-four daughters, and of these he gave twelve sons and twelve daughters to the Church. It was this Aonghus also who imposed Patrick's capitation screaball, that is, three pence for each person who should receive baptism in Munster, and this tax was paid in the following manner, to wit, five hundred cows, five hundred balls of iron, five hundred mantles, five hundred inner garments and five hundred sheep to be given every third year to the comhorba of Patrick as rent from the kings of Munster. And this rent was paid up to the time of Cormac, son of Cuileannan. Moreover, we read in the Red Book of Mac Aodhagain that Aonghus, son of Natfraoch, used to keep in constant attendance on himself two bishops and ten priests and seventy-two young clerics for the purpose of saying Masses and of Divine prayer.

When Patrick was planting the Faith in Ireland in the time of Laoghaire, Brian, son of Eochaidh Muighmeadhon, had twenty-four sons, who were contemporaries of Laoghaire, son of Niall; and as Patrick was blessing Ireland he went into Connaught and went to meet the son amongst them who was their leader, whose name was Eichen. When this man saw Patrick coming into his presence he mounted his horse and proceeded to lash it, and directed his brothers to do likewise and not to show reverence to the cleric; and they acted accordingly, except the youngest son, whose name was Duach Galach. This man kept on foot, and advanced to meet Patrick and bade him welcome and paid him homage and respect. Upon this Patrick went forward and came into the presence of Eichen, who was their leader, and asked him if he were not Eichen. ‘I am not,’ said Eichen. ‘If thou beest,’ replied Patrick, ‘I deprive of success and of sovereignty both thee and as many of they brothers as are with thee, except the one youth who paid me reverence and honour for my Lord's sake.’ And that youth said if he were king over them he would do Patrick's bidding. ‘Then,’ said Patrick, ‘I bless thee, and thou shalt be king, and thy seed shall have the kingdom after thee.’ And Patrick's prophecy came true, for Patrick with twelve bishops attended at the inauguration of Duach Galach as king, and it was the custom with the kings of Connaught ever since to have the comhorbas of these twelve bishops and twelve chiefs of the race of Muireadhach and Ui Maolconaire at their inauguration on the hill called Carn Fraoich.

There were 431 years from the birth of Christ to the coming of Patrick to Ireland in the fourth year of the reign Laoghaire, son of Niall, as we have said ; and he was sixty-one years in Ireland up to his death, and if this number be added to the previous number, we get four hundred and ninety-two years; and in testimony of this the seanacha composed this stanza:

    1. Since Christ was born, pleasant reckoning,
      Four hundred and ninety also
      And two full years added thereto
      Till the death of Patrick our chief Apostle.

We read in the life of Patrick that he passed sixty-one years in Ireland after he had come hither as bishop, planting and preaching the gospel and working wonders and miracles, as we read in a Life of Patrick by a certain author. Thus does he speak:

    1. Three score years and one,
      Few there are to whom it is not a mystery,
      In Ireland with many prodigies
      Did Patrick continue to preach.

And should anyone say that this stanza is not in the Life of Patrick, let him know that we have read in an ancient hÌstorical record that there were sixty-four Lives of Patrick written, each of them being distinct from the others. And it is likely that each writer wrote something new about Patrick which none of the others had written. Hence, one who has read the life of Patrick by one author,must not deem it strange if he happen on a story or miracle of Patrick in another book which he did not find in that life.

It was in Laoghaire's time that Dubhthach Ua Lughair and Fearghus File and Ros son of Trichim, brought the Seanchus of Ireland to Patrick to be approved and purified by him. And from this it arose that Laoghaire was empowered to call a general assembly in which the kings, clerics, and ollamhs of Ireland should meet for the purpose of purifying the Seanchus. And when they had all come together nine were chosen from among them to purify the Seanchus, to wit, three kings, three bishops, and three ollamhs in seanchus. The three kings were Laoghaire, son of Niall, king of Ireland, Daire, king of Ulster, and Corc, son of Lughaidh, king of Munster. The three bishops were Patrick, Beinen and Cairneach. The three ollamhs in seanchus were Dubhthach, Fearghus and Ros. And these nine men purified and arranged and established the Seanchus, and it was this that was called the Seanchus Mor. The poem which begins Aimhirgin Gluingheal confirms this account. Here follow the stanzas from the poem that bear out this account:

    1. The authors of the Seanchus Mor
      Were nine who set it in order rightly,
      Naoimhfhios is its fair noble name,
      By reason of the sacred learning of that nine.

    1. Patrick, Beinen, noble Cairineach,
      Laoghaire, son of Niall the strong.
      Fearghus File, laughter pure,
      And Daire king of Ulster.

    1. And the king of Munster without stain,
      Corc, son of Lughaidh of the red hand,
      Dubhthach Ua Lughair of the lake,
      The professor of language, Ros son of Trichim.

    1. Nine sages, of wise aspect,
      By whom the Seanchus was set in order
      After they had examined it with excellent skill
      Through every generation from Aimhirgin.

IV.

Now when the Seanchus had been purified in this way the nobles of Ireland decreed that the charge of it should be entrusted to the prelates of Ireland, and these prelates ordered that it should be copied in their own chief churches. And some of the old books are still extant, or the copies made from them, such as the Book of Ard Macha, the Psalter of Cashel, the Book of Gleann da Loch, the Book of Ui Congmhala, the Book of Cluain Mic Nois, the Book of Fiontan of Cluain Eidhneach, the Yellow Book of Moling and the Black Book of Molaga, and the rest of the chief books of Ireland where the Seanchus was preserved without doing injustice to any one Irish noble as against another.

Moreover, there was a summary of the records in all these books in the Psalter of Tara, and they used to be approved every third year at the Feis of Tara, as we have said above in treating of the reign of Cormac. But in the pagan period the following were the chief authors of the Seanchus from age to age, to wit, Aimhirgin Gluingheal, Sean son of Aighe, Bridhe an authoress, from whom is the expression Briathra Bridhe the sayings of Bridhe. Connla Caoinbhriathrach a Connaught sage, Seancha son of Cuil Claon, Fachtna his son, Seancha son of Oilill, Morann son of Maon, Fearghus Fiannaithe from the country of Ciarraidhe Luachra, Feircheirtne File, Neidhe son of Adhna, Aithirne, Amhnas, Fearghus File son of Aithirne, Neara son of Fionncholl from Siodha, Seadhamus son of Morann, Fearadach Fionn Feachtnach chief author for skill in Ireland, Fitheal, Fearghus File, Ros son of Trichim, and Dubhthach son of Ua Lughair, and it was this last trio who brought the Seanchus to Patrick to be approved and purified.

Now in Pagan times in Ireland no professor of seanchus could rank as an ollamh or author in seanchus who had been known once to falsify historical truth. Moreover, no one could hold the rank of breitheamh who had given a partial judgment; and besides some of them were bound by geasa in the Pagan times. First, when Sean, son of Aighe, delivered a partial judgment, blisters grew on his right cheek, and when he delivered a just judgment they did not grow.

Connla Caoinbhriathrach never delivered an unjust judgment, for he was a virtuous truly upright man according to the light of nature; Seancha son of Cul Claon never gave judgment without having fasted the night before. When Fachtna, his son, delivered an unjust judgment, if it was in the autumn he delivered it, the fruit fell to the ground that night in the country in which he was. But when he delivered a just judgment, the fruit remained in full on the trees; or if in the spring he delivered an unjust judgment, the cattle forsook their young in that country. Morann son of Maon gave no judgment without having the Morann collar round his neck, and when he gave an unjust judgment the collar grew tight round his neck, and when he gave a just judgment the collar stretched out over his shoulders, as we have said above. And so it was with several Pagan authors, they were subject to geasa, preventing them from partiality in history or judgment. From what we have said, the Irish records are to be believed like the records of any other country, seeing that they are borne witness to by the writings of old Pagan authors and by their having been approved by the holy clerics and prelates of the Irish Church.

Laoghaire, son of Niall, convened the Feis of Tara to renew the customs and the laws of Ireland, as the kings who went before him were wont to do at that Feis. Now when the nobles and the ollamhs of Ireland came together in that assembly the high king of Ireland and his party had a separate chief residence, to wit, the Teach Miodhchuarta. Each provincial king in Ireland had also a chief residence, to wit, the king of Munster had the Long Mhuimhneach; now long means house, as the poet says:

    1. Not more inhospitable is Donn Cuan
      With a bad house for his people than with a full house;

and hence a village where people dwell is called a longphort, that is, the port or embankment of the houses; and the king of Leinster had the Long Laighneach, and the king of Connaught the Coisir Chonnachtach, and the king of Ulster the Eachrais Uladh. There were besides three other residences at Tara at that time, to wit, Carcair na nGiall, where the hostages or captives of the king were kept. The second was called Realta na bhFileadh, where the brehons and bards of Ireland assembled to fix a tax on those who violated the laws and customs of the country. The third house was called Grianan na nInghean, where the provincial queens dwelt, each of these queens with her female attendants having a separate place in the dwelling. But when the entire assembly sat for the purpose of determining and completing the laws and customs of the country, the great Teach Miodhchuarta was their hall of public debate.

Now they were arranged in that hall in this manner. First the king of Ireland himself sat in his royal chair in the very middle of the hall facing westwards, with the king of Munster to the south of him, for the ends of the house looked east and west, the king of Leinster opposite to him, and the king of Connaught behind him, and the ollamhs of Ireland behind the king of Connaught,and the king of Ulster to the north of him at his right hand, while each king had a party of real nobles of his own province beside him. Here is a pithy account by the seancha of these rules of precedence observed in the hall of Tara:

    1. The Munstermen on the south side,
      Without falsehood, without injustice;
      And the Leinstermen, sufficient in strength.
      Face to face with the high king.

    1. The Connaughtmen behind the king,
      To preserve history truly;
      The under king of Aruidhe near him
      In a special high seat,

    1. On the right of the king of mighty Tara,
      Without falsehood, without churlishness,
      The Oirghialla, a defence were they,
      Without overlapping, without strife.

It was against Laoghaire that the Leinstermen and Criomhthann, son of Eanna, fought the Battle of Ath Dara, wherein Laoghaire was made prisoner by them, and he gave the sun and moon and stars as sureties that he would fulfil his promise not to exact the Boraimhe from them; but he did not fulfil this promise in their regard. However, to avenge this falsehood Laoghaire was soon afterwards killed by a lightning flash at Greallach Dabhaill beside the Lithfe, as the poet says:

    1. Laoghaire, son of Niall, died
      Beside Lithfe, green its land,
      The elements of God whose guarantee he had violated
      Inflicted the fate of death on the king.

Anghus, daughter of Tasach, king of Ui Liathain, was Laoghaire's wife and the mother of Lughaidh, son of Laoghaire, and, unlike Laoghaire, she received the faith from Patrick. Now, on a certain day when Patrick went to visit the queen she bade himself and his company of clerics welcome, and ordered food to be prepared for them; and Lughaidh, son of Laoghaire, her son and heir, set to eating the meal with them greedily, and a portion stuck in his throat which choked him, and he died on the spot. The queen gave a start, and committed the youth to Patrick's protection. Patrick went into an unoccupied house and ordered the child's body to be brought to him, and prayed to God with fervour, and continued thus in constant prayer without food or sleep for three days, and at the close of the third day Michael the Archangel, in the form of a dove, appeared before him in the house in which he was, and he greeted Patrick and said it was God's will that the child be brought back to life through Patrick's intercession. Upon this, as the child lay on his back with his mouth open, the Archangel, who was in the form of a dove, went and put his bill into the child's throat and took out the morsel, and thereupon life came to him at once. And immediately on this the angel became invisible to them, and the child Lughaidh arose. And when the queen heard that the child was alive, she came joyfully to meet Patrick and cast herself on her knees before him, and proceeded to thank him for bringing her son back to life. ‘O princess,’ answered he, ‘it is not I whom thou shouldst thank for thy son, but Michael the Archangel, by whom he was brought back to life.’ And he told her the story in substance as we have given it. When the queen heard that it was Michael the Archangel who brought back her son to life, she bound herself to give a sheep out of every flock she possessed each year and a portion of every meal she should take during her life to the poor of God in honour of Michael the Archangel; and, moreover, she enjoined this as a custom throughout Ireland on all who received baptism and the Faith from Patrick, whence is the custom of the Michaelmas sheep and the Michael's portion in Ireland ever since.

Oilill Molt, son of Dathi, son of Fiachraidh, son of Eochaidh Muighmheadhon, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland twenty years. Uichtdhealbh, daughter of Aonghus, son of Natfraoch, was the wife of Oilill Molt, and he was called Oilill Molt because of a craving for wether's flesh that his mother Eithne, daughter of Oraidh, felt when she was pregnant with Oilill; and a lady who was with her named Fial, daughter of Eochaidh Seideadh, called him by the name of Oilill Molt after he was born. It was in the reign of Oilill that Amhalghuidh, son of Fiachraidh, son of Eochaidh Muighmheadhon, who was king of Connaught twenty years, died, and there died also Muireadhach Muindearg, son of Feargna, son of Dallan, son of Dubhthach, son of Mianach, son of Lughaidh, son of Aonghus Fionn, son of Fearghus Duibhdheadach, son of Iomchaidh, son of Fionnchaidh, son of Oghamhal, son of Fiatach Fionn, a quo Dal bhFiatach, who was twelve years king of Ulster.

V.

Oilill Molt convened the Feis of Tara. There used to be three general assemblies in Ireland in the olden time, to wit, the Feis of Tara, the Feis of Eamhain, and the Feis of Cruachain. We have set down above the things that were treated of at the Feis of Tara. Now the chief object for which the Feis of Eamhain and the Feis of Cruachain were convened was to approve those who practised mechanical crafts in Ireland, such as smithwork, woodwork or stonework and the like handicrafts. And the nobles and ollamhs who were at these two assemblies selected from each assembly three score masters of each craft, and these were then distributed throughout Ireland, and no fellowcraftsman to these was permitted to practise his craft without permission from the master of that craft who was in that district; and the master must examine whether he be competent to practise the craft. And these masters were called ioldanaigh; now ioldanach means iolcheardach, or skilled in many crafts, for dan means ceard or craft.

The Leabhar Irsi calls Oilill Molt the king of the Scots. It was in his time that Benignus, the comhorba of Patrick, died. It was also against Oilill that the Leinstermen fought the Battle of Dumha Aichir, where many fell on both sides. It was about this time that a war was waged between Ambrosius, king of Britain, and the Picts and Scots. It was also in the reign of Oilill that Conall Creamhthainne died, and Iarlaithe the third bishop of Ard Macha after Patrick. Simplicius was Pope at that time. It was against Oilill Molt, king of Ireland, that the Battle of Ocha was fought by Lughaidh, son of Laoghaire, and by Muircheartach, son of Earc, and by Fearghus Ceirrbheoil, son of Conall Creamhthainne, and by Fiachaidh Lonn, son of Caolbhadh, king of Dal nAruidhe, as the poet says:

    1. By Lughaidh and by Fiachaidh Lonn,
      And by the great Muircheartach
      And by blameless Fearghus,
      Was the noble Oilill Molt slain.

Twenty years after this battle was fought the six sons of Earc, son of Eochaidh Muinreamhar, went to Alba, to wit, two Aonghuses, two Lodharns, and two Fearghuses. Three hundred and seven years are reckoned from the time of Conchubhar, son of Neasa, to the time of Cormac, son of Art; two hundred and four years from the time of Cormac till the Battle of Ocha was fought; and twenty years after that the sons of Earc, son of Eochaidh Muinreamhar, went to Alba. Duach Teangumha, son of Fearghus, son of Muireadhach Mal, son of Eoghan Sreibh, son of Duach Galach, son of Brian, son of Eochaidh Muighmeadhon, was king of Connaught seven years at this time, and he fell by Eochaidh Tiormcharna.

Lughaidh, son of Laoghaire, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland twenty years. Anghus, daughter of Tasach of Ui Liathain, was the mother of Lughaidh. The king of Leinster at that time was Fraoch, son of Fionnchaidh. About this time took place the Battle of Ceall Osnadh in Magh Fea in the county of Ceithearlach, four miles east of Leithghlinn, where Aonghus, son of Natfraoch, who was king of Munster thirty-six years, and Eithne Uathach, daughter of Criomhthann, son of Eanna Cennsealach, his wife, both fell by Muircheartach, son of Earc, and by Oilill, son of Dunluing; hence the poet composed this stanza:

    1. There died the spreading branch of a great tree,
      Aonghus Molbhthach, son of Natfraoch;
      He lost his success by Oilill
      In the Battle of Ceall Osnadh the vile.

After this, Fraoch, son of Fionnchaidh, was slain in the Battle of Graine by Eochaidh, son of Cairbre. Felix the third Pope of that name, it was in the tenth year of the reign of Lughaidh, son of Laoghaire, that he was made Pope. It was about this time that the Battle of Sleamhain Mhidhe was won by Cairbre, son of Niall, over the Leinstermen, and the Battle of Seaghais was fought, in which Duach Teangumha, king of Connaught, was slain by Muircheartach, son of Earc, as the poet says in this stanza:

    1. The Battle of Dealga, the Battle of Muchromha,
      And the Battle of Tuaim Drubha,
      And also the Battle of Seaghais,
      In which fell Duach Teangumha.

It was about this time that the Leinstermen won the Battle of Lochmhagh over Ui Neill, in which fell many people, and Fearghus Mor, son of Earc, went to Alba with the Dal Riada and they assumed sovereignty there. It was in the nineteenth year of the reign of Lughaidh, son of Laoghaire, that Patrick died, having passed six score and two years in this life, as we have said above. After this Lughaidh, son of Laoghaire, died in Achadh Fharcha, from lightning which fell from heaven on him for disobeying Patrick. Gelasius was Pope the last year of the reign of Lughaidh.

Muircheartach, son of Earc, son of Muireadhach, son of Eoghan, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland twenty-four years. Earc, daughter of Lodharn king of Alba, was the mother of Muircheartach, son of Earc, and it was in the beginning of his reign that Ciaran mac-an-tSaoir, who was of the race of Corc, son of Fearghus, son of Rogh, was born. The fourth year of the reign of Muircheartach Anastasius the second Pope of that name was made Pope. About this time was born St. Comhghall of Beannchair, the holy abbot, a man who had forty thousand monks under his obedience or under his authority, as we read in the Red Book of Mac Aodhagan; and this is the more to be believed because we read in an author of repute, namely, St. Bernard, in the Life of Malachias, that there was a disciple of the abbot Comhghall called Soanus, who built a hundred monasteries; and this Comhghall is of the race of Irial, son of Conall Cearnach, son of Aimhirgin, of clanna Rudhruighe. In testimony of this, the poem on saint-history speaks thus:

    1. Comhghall of Beannchair, son of Seadna,
      Whom fear of death troubled not,
      Was of Uladh's stock, who were not caught napping,
      Of the race of Irial, son of Conall.

It was about this time that the emperor Anastasius died, and Cainneach of Achadh Bo, the saint, and this saint was of the race of Fearghus, son of Rogh; and Columcille, son of Feidhlimidh, son of Fearghus, son of Conall Gulban, son of Niall Naoighiallach, was born. It was about this time that Brighid, daughter of Dubhthach, son of Dreimhne, son of Breasal, son of Dian, son of Connla, son of Art, son of Cairbre Nia, son of Cormac, son of Aonghus Mor, son of Eochaidh Fionn Fuath nAirt, son of Feidhlimidh Reachtmhar, son of Tuathal Teachmhar, of the race of Eireamhon, died, at the age of eighty-seven years, or, according to others, at the age of seventy years. Now Brighid is the equivalent to Breo-shaighead, that is, an arrow of fire; and she is not inaptly so called, for she was as a fire lighting with the love of God, ever darting her petitions towards God. And according to the Feilire, it was she who composed this stanza:

    1. A morsel of fair barley bread,
      This is my part of the table.
      A cress-stalk and hot water
      Is my portion each night.

VI.

The sixth year of the reign of Muircheartach, son of Earc, Symmachus was made Pope, and he was Pope for fifteen years and eight months; and the thirty-first year of the reign of Muircheartach, Hormisdas was made Pope, and he was nine years Pope. It was about this time that the holy body of the monk Antonius was miraculously discovered, and it was taken to Alexandria, and it was enshrined in the church of John the Baptist. Muircheartach, son of Earc, fought the following battles in one year according to what the poet says in this stanza:

    1. The Battle of Ceann Eich, the Battle of Almhain,
      In a famous glorious time;
      The Plunder of Clu, the Battle of Eibhlinn,
      And the Battle of Magh Ailbhe.

Soon after having fought these battles Muircheartach died in the house of Cleiteach; and Ailbhe of Imleach died.

Tuathal Maol Garbh, son of Cormac Caoch, son of Cairbre, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireahmon, held the sovereignty of Ireland thirteen years. He is called Tuathal Maol Garbh, for Comain, daughter of Dall Bronach, was his mother, and when she gave birth to Tuathal she struck his head against a stone as a ceremony foreboding success for him, and the stone made a hollow in his head, and no hair grew in that hollow; hence he was called Tuathal Maol Garbh.

It was in the reign of Tuathal that Moctaeus, disciple of Patrick, died, and he had lived three hundred years; and Baoithin, disciple of Columcille, was born; and Baoithin and Columcille were the children of brothers; and Comhghall, king of Alba, died, and Mobhi, who is called Bearchan of Prophecy, of the race of Fiachaidh Aiceadha, son of Cathaoir Mor, died. It was also in the reign of Tuathal that the Leinstermen fought the Battle of Tortan, where Earc, son of Oilill Molt, was slain, and from him the Fir Cheara sprang. It was about this time that the Battle of Sligeach was fought by Fearghus and by Domhnall, two sons of Muircheartach, son of Earc, where they slew Eoghan Beal, who was king of Connaught thirty-five years; and Odhran, the saint of Leathrach, of the race of Conaire, son of Mogh Lamha, died, and Ciaran mac-an-tSaoir at the age of thirty-one years died; and Beoaidh was his father's name, and his mother's name was Dairearca, as he himself says in this stanza:

    1. Dairearca was my mother,
      No poor woman was she;
      Also Beoaidh, the artificer, was my father,
      From Latharna Molt.

It was about this time that his head fell off Abacuc at the fair of Taillte, for having sworn falsely by the hand of Ciaran; and he lived thus headless four years amongst the monks. After that Tuathal Maol Garbh, king of Ireland, was slain by Maol Mor, uterine brother to Diarmaid, son of Fearghus Ceirrbheoil, in Greallach Eilte.

It was also in the reign of Tuathal that Guaire, son of Colman, became sovereign of Connaught in succession to Eoghan Beal; and at that time the eldest son of Eoghan was a pupil under Ciaran with a view to becoming a monk; his name was Ceallach, and Eoghan's friends enticed him to quit Ciaran's community that he might be their leader in opposition to Guaire. But on Ceallach's going out, Ciaran cursed him and besought God that he might be carried off by a violent death. Now, when he had been for some time outside, he considered that he had acted amiss in disobeying Ciaran, and he paid Ciaran a visit and acknowledged his guilt to him, and promised that he would do his will during his life. Ciaran gave him his blessing, but said that a violent death would carry him off. Ceallach remained in the community thenceforwards, and was in course of time made bishop; and while he was in the district as bishop he was making partisans and friends for a brother who was younger than himself, with a view to his obtaining the sovereignty of Connaught; and when Guaire heard this he suborned three of Ceallach's own friends who slew him, and thus the prophecy which Ciaran had made for him was fulfilled, for he had foretold that Ceallach would meet a violent death.

Diarmaid, son of Fearghus Ceirrbheoil, son of Conall Creamhthainne, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland twenty-two years. Corbach, daughter of Maine, a Leinsterwoman, was the mother of Diarmaid, son of Fearghus. It was in the reign of this king that Tighearnach, bishop of Cluain Eoais, of the race of Daire Barrach, son of Cathaoir Mor, and Oilill, son of Muireadhach, who was nine years king of Leinster, died. And Cormac, son of Oilill, son of Eochaidh, son of Daire Cearb, son of Oilill Flann Beag, was king of Munster.

It was about this time that Fearghus and Domhnall, two sons of Mac Earc, fought the Battle of Cuil Chonaire, where Oilill Anbhann, king of Connacht, and his brother, Aodh Fortamhail, were slain; and it was in the reign of this Diarmaid that a plague came on Ireland, which was called the Crom Chonaill, and many saints died of it, and in particular Mac Tail of Cill Chuilinn. At this time the Battle of Cuil took place, where many of the people of Corcach fell through the prayer of Midhe, that is, a noble female saint of the race of Fiachaidh Suighdhe, son of Feidhlimidh Reachtmhar, to whom these people showed disrespect.

It was at this time that Eochaidh, son of Connlo, son of Caolbhach, son of Crann Badhraoi, son of Eochaidh Cobha, son of Lughaidh, son of Rossa, son of Iomchaidh, son of Feidhlimidh, son of Cas, son of Fiachaidh Aruidhe, who was king of Ulster twenty-two years, died, and he was the first king of the Dal nAruidhe. And Cormac, son of Oilill, king of Leinster, and Beag Mac De, the seer, died, and St. Molua, son of Sineall, son of Aimhirgin, son of Eirnin, son of Duach, son of Brian, son of Eochaidh Mogh, was born; and Cathfuidh, bishop of Achadh Chuinnire and St. Neasan, the Leper, died; and St. Breanainn, of the race of Cear, son of Fearghus, built the Church of Cluain Fearta; and Gabhran, king of Alba, died; and Gruige, son of Maolchu, king of the Cruithnigh, defeated and routed the Albanians.

It was about this time that Fearghus and Domhnall, two sons of Muircheartach Mac Earc, won the Battle of Cuil Dreimhne over Diarmaid, son of Fearghus, and he was routed and most of his people were slain, through the prayer of Columcille. For he had slain, in violation of Colum's protection, Cuarnan, son of Aodh, son of Eochaidh Tiormcharna, and God avenged that deed on him in this battle. Aodh, son of Breanainn, king of Teathbha, defeated Diarmaid in the Battle of Cuil Uinnseann, in Teathbha, where many of his followers were slain; and after this Columcille went to I, in Alba, when he was forty-three years of age; and the Battle of Moin Doire, in Alba, was fought by clanna Neill of the North, wherein seven minor kings of the Cruithnigh fell by them. It was about this time that Colman Mor, son of Cairbre, son of Oilill, son of Dunlaing, who was thirty years king of Munster, died.

It was while Diarmaid, son of Cearbhall, was king of Ireland that a poet of Alba, called Labhan Draoi, came to Ireland; and having heard tidings of the generosity of Eochaid Aontsula, ancestor of siol Suilleabhain, he came to visit him and ask him for a gift, and he would not accept any gift from him but one of his eyes; and Eochaidh gave him one of his eyes lest the druid might satirise him. Ruadhan of Lothra happened to be present at the time, and when he heard the unjust request he asked of God to put Labhan's eyes in Eochaid's head, and that they might perform the same function for him that they did for Labhan; and it came of the saint's petition that Labhan's eyes passed into Eochaidh's head and performed that function for him during his life.

VII.

The seventh year of the reign of this Diarmaid, king of Ireland, a nun named Sineach Chro came to Diarmaid to make a complaint to him against Guaire, son of Colman, for having taken her only cow from her. Diarmaid assembled a numerous host with the object of obtaining satisfaction from Guaire for the nun's cow, and he at once marched to the Sionainn. Now Guaire had assembled a host and multitude on the other side to oppose him, and he sent Cuimin Foda, son of Fiachna, to ask Diarmaid not to go westward beyond the Sionainn for the space of twenty-four hours. ‘That is not a great request to grant thee,’ said Diarmaid, ‘and a greater would be granted thee had'st thou asked it.’ Now they were on either side of the Sionainn, King Diarmaid on the east side and Guaire on the west side until the following morning. ‘I wonder,’ said Cuimin, ‘at the smallness of this host of thine seeing how great the host is which is against thee.’ ‘Understand, O cleric,’ said Diarmaid ‘that a battle is not won by large armies, but according to God's will; and if thou contemnest my host, know that it is not fair forms but stout hearts that win battles.’

The battle was set on foot between them, the king and his host on one side and Guaire, with the Connaught and Munster forces, on the other. But Guaire and his host were defeated, and many Connaught nobles and Munstermen were slain. And it was at the intercession of Caimin, who lived and blessed in Inis Cealltrach, that the battle went against Guaire; for Caimin fasted three days against Guaire in order that he might lose the battle. This St. Caimin is of the race of Fiachaidh Aiceadha, son of Cathaoir Mor. Now Guaire went to Caimin and paid him respect and homage and bowed down before him. ‘There is no avoiding defeat in battle for thee,’ said Caimin.

Now when Guaire had lost the battle he came alone to a little monastery, in which there was a solitary pious woman, and the woman asked who he was. ‘I am one of Guaire's officers,’ said he. ‘I am very sorry,’ said she, ‘that defeat should have overtaken this king, who is the most charitable and humane and hospitable in Ireland, and that his followers should be visited with dreadful slaughter.’ The pious woman went to a stream hard by and saw a salmon therein. She came back to Guaire with this news. Guaire went out to the stream and killed the salmon, and gave God thanks for having only the salmon that night, though he had often ten beeves other nights. Guaire went the next day to meet his friends, and took counsel of them as to whether he should give battle again to the king of Ireland or swear submission to him on a javelin's point. What Guaire and his friends resolved on was that he should go to Diarmaid and make his submission to him. Now the way in which he made his submission to him was to put the point of the king's javelin or sword in his mouth, between his teeth, while on bended knees. And while Guaire was in this position the king said secretly to some of his own people: ‘We will find out,’ said he, ‘whether it was through vain glory that Guaire practised such great generosity.’ He caused a druid from among his friends to ask him for something for the sake of science, but Guaire did not heed him. He sent a leper to ask him for an alms for God's sake; he gave the poor man the gold bodkin that held his mantle. The poor man left him; and one of king Diarmaid's people met him and took the gold bodkin from him and gave it to Diarmaid. The poor man again came back to Guaire and complained of this to him, and Guaire gave him the gold belt that was round him, and Diarmaid's people took the belt also from the poor man; and he came again to Guaire, who had the point of Diarmaid's sword between his teeth, and, as Guaire beheld the poor man troubled, a flood of tears came from him. ‘O, Guaire,’ said the king, ‘is it distress at being under my sway that makes thee thus weep?’ ‘I solemnly declare that it is not,’ said he, ‘but my distress at God's poor one being in want.’ Thereupon Diarmaid told him to arise and that he would not be thenceforth under his own authority, and that the King of all the elements was over him if he were to make a submission, and that he considered that sufficient on his part. They made a treaty of peace with one another, and Diarmaid asked him to come to the fair of Taillte, into the presence of the men of Ireland; ‘and,’ added he, ‘I will give thee my lordship to be thine from my death onwards.’

Guaire then went to the fair of Taillte, having with him a budget or bag of silver to dispense to the men of Ireland. Now Diarmaid charged the men of Ireland that none of them should ask anything of Guaire at the fair. Two days passed in this manner; on the third day, however, Guaire asked Diarmaid to send for a bishop for him that he might make his confession and be anointed. ‘How is that?’ enquired Diarmaid. ‘As I am near death,’ said Guaire. ‘How dost thou know that?’ asked Diarmaid. ‘I know it,’ said Guaire, ‘for the men of Ireland are assembled and none of them asks me for anything.’ Then Diarmaid gave Guaire leave to make gifts. Guaire proceeded to make gifts to everyone, and, if the tale be true, the hand with which he made gifts to the poor was longer than that with which he made gifts to the bards. Then Diarmaid made peace and agreement with Guaire in presence of the men of Ireland, and they were thenceforth on friendly terms with each other.

Now Guaire had a brother called Mochua, a holy virtuous man, and on a certain occasion he went to observe Lent to a well of spring water, which is a little to the south-west of Buirenn, five miles from Durlus Guaire, attended only by one young cleric, who used to serve him at Mass, and neither himself nor the young cleric took more than a meal every day-and-night, and then they took only a little barley bread and spring water. And when Easter day had come, and Mochua had said Mass a desire for meat seized the young cleric, and he said to St. Mochua that he would go to Durlus to visit Guaire in order to get enough of meat. ‘Do not go,’ said Mochua, ‘stay with me, and let me pray to God for meat for thee.’ And on this he knelt on the ground and prayed with fervour to God, asking for meat for the young cleric. At the same time while food was being served to the tables of Guaire's house, it came to pass through Mochua's prayer that the dishes and the meat they contained were snatched from the hands of those who were serving them and were carried out over the walls of the dwelling, and by direct route reached the desert in which Mochua was; and Guaire went with all his household on horseback in quest of the dishes; and when the dishes came into the presence of Mochua he set to praise and magnify the name of God, and told the young cleric to eat his fill of meat.

The latter thereupon looked up and saw the plain full of mounted men, and said that it was of no advantage to him to get the meat, seeing how many there were in pursuit of it. ‘Thou needest not fear,’ said Mochua, ‘these are my brother and his household, and I beseech God to permit none of them to advance beyond that point until thou hast had thy fill.’ And on this the horses' hoofs clung to the ground so that they could not go forward till the young cleric had had his fill. Then Mochua prayed God to set his brother and his household free. On this they were set free, and they came into Mochua's presence. Guaire knelt before St. Mochua and asked his forgiveness. ‘Thou needest not fear, brother; but eat ye your meal here.’ And when Guaire and his people had taken their meal they bade farewell to Mochua and returned to Durlus. It is a proof of the truth of this story that the Road of the Dishes is the name given to the five miles path that lies between Durlus and the well at which Mochua then was.

VIII.

It was in the time of Diarmaid, son of Fearghus, king of Ireland, that St. Beacan lived. Some seanchas say that Eoghan Og had a son besides Fiachaidh Muilleathan, to wit, Diarmaid, and it was from this Diarmaid's progeny that St. Beacan, who lived and blessed in Muscruide Chuirc, sprang. And, moreover, the seanchas say that Fiachaidh Muilleathan himself had three sons, to wit, Oilill Flann Mor and Oilill Flann Beag and Deachluath. Here is a proof of this:

    1. Beacan, noble saint, from Diarmaid sprung,
      Let us celebrate the children of Fiachaidh;
      A race who ruled country and district,
      Of them were two Oilills and Deachluath.

About this time Breasal, son of Diarmaid, son of Fearghus, that is, son of the king of Ireland, wished to prepare a feast for his father at Ceanannus na Midhe, and he was not pleased with anything he had for that feast as long as he had not fat beef to give to his father on the occasion. He, however, could find no such beef in his neighbourhood except one beef that belonged to a female recluse at Cill Ealchruidhe; and Breasal gently and humbly asked the woman to give him the beef, and offered her seven cows and a bull instead of the one beef. The woman refused his offer. On this he took the cow from her against her will and killed it for the feast. And when the king of Ireland and his people were enjoying the feast, the nun came and made a complaint against Breasal to the king. Now when Diarmaid, the king, heard this complaint he became furious, and said he would kill Breasal for having wronged the nun of Cill Ealchruidhe, and he took him to the brink of the river Lorcach, and thus he drowned Breasal. Diarmaid repented of having drowned his son, and he went to Columcille to express his sorrow for the deed, and Columcille told him to go to visit the aged man, Beacan, to Munster; and he set out, accompanied by Columcille, and they reached Cill Bheacain, on north side of Sliabh gCrot. And they found the saint making a fence round his cemetery and his habit wet upon him. When Beacan got sight of Diarmaid he said, ‘Get thee beneath the ground, parricide,’ said he. Upon this Diarmaid sank in the ground up to his knees. ‘It is to ask thy protection on account of the deed he has done that he has come,’ said Columcille, ‘and to ask thee to beseech God to bring back his son to life.’ Upon this Beacan prayed to God fervently thrice, by the direction of Columcille; and it was in this way that the son of the king of Ireland, to wit, Breasal, was brought back to life through the prayer of St. Beacan; and God's name and that of Beacan were magnified through that miracle.

It happened that Guaire, son of Colman, who was a contemporary of this Diarmaid, and Cumin Foda, son of Fiachtna, and Caimin of Inis Cealtrach, were in the principal church of the island, and three questions were proposed between them. First, Caimin said, ‘O Guaire, what wouldst thou wish to have?’ ‘Gold and wealth to bestow,’ answered Guaire. ‘And thou, O Cuimin,’ said Guaire, ‘what wouldst thou like to have?’ ‘Many books containing the word of truth,’ said Cuimin. ‘And thou, O Caimin,’ said Cuimin, ‘what is thy wish?’ ‘Many diseases in my body,’ answered Caimin. And the three got their wishes, save that at the end of his life Cuimin was cursed by Mochua, who took all prosperity from him, if we may trust the seanchus.

Guaire, son of Colman, with three battalions of the Connaught host, came to plunder Munster, and they met Dioma, son of Ronan, son of Aonghus, who was king of Cashel at that time, in Ui Fidhghinnte, which is now called Clar Chonntae Liumnigh, and Dioma and Guaire gave battle to one another at Carn Fearadhaigh, and Guaire and the Connaughtmen were defeated there, and a countless number of them were slain, together with six leaders of the Connaught nobility. The reason why Guaire came with that host was to claim the territory from Sliabh Echtghe to Luimneach, which belonged to Connaught formerly, until Lughaidh Meann, son of Aonghus Tireach, defeated the Connaughtmen in seven battles, in which he slew seven of their kings, though he had no host except mercenaries and attendants, and he made sword-land of all the land from Bearn tri gCarbad, at Carn Fearadhaigh, to Luchad, that is, Bealach an Luchaide, and from Ath na Boraimhe to Leim an Chon, and it is as a setting forth of this that Cormac, son of Cuileannan, composed this stanza:

    1. It was this Lughaidh Lamhdhearg
      Who lopped off from the fair Province of Connaught
      From Carn Fearadhagh, it was a choice,
      To Ath Luchad abounding in valour.

Mochua and Columcille were contemporaries, and when Mochua or Mac Duach was a hermit in the desert the only cattle he had in the world were a cock and a mouse and a fly. The cock's service to him was to keep the matin time of midnight; and the mouse would let him sleep only five hours in the day-and-night, and when he desired to sleep longer, through being tired from making many crosses and genuflexions, the mouse would come and rub his ear, and thus waken him; and the service the fly did him was to keep walking on every line of the Psalter that he read, and when he rested from reciting his psalms the fly rested on the line he left off at till he resumed the reciting of his psalms. Soon after that these three precious ones died, and Mochua, after that event, wrote a letter to Columcille, who was in I, in Alba, and he complained of the death of his flock. Columcille wrote to him, and said thus: ‘O brother,’ said he, ‘thou must not be surprised at the death of the flock that thou hast lost, for misfortune exists only where there is wealth.’ From this banter of these real saints I gather that they set no store on worldly possessions, unlike many persons of the present time.

After that Diarmaid, son of Fearghus Ceirrbheoil, king of Ireland, was slain at Raith Bheag, in Magh Line, by Aodh Dubh, son of Suibhne Aruidhe; and his head was brought to Cluain Mic Nois, and his body was buried at Cuinnire.

Fearghus and Domhnall, two sons of Muircheartach Mac Earc, son of Muireadhach, son of Eoghan, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland one year. Duinnseach, daughter of Duach Teangumha, king of Connaught, was mother of these two sons. It was about this time that the Battle of Gabhra Lithfe was won by Fearghus and Domhnall over the Leinstermen, wherein four hundred Leinstermen fell, and Dioman, son of Caireall, son of Muireadhach Muindearg, who was ten years king of Ulster, was slain by the boors of Buirren. And after this Fearghus and Domhnall died.

Eochaidh, son of Domhnall, son of Muircheartach Mac Earca, and Baodan, son of Muircheartach Mac Earca, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland. They reigned three years. It was about this time that Cairbre Crom, son of Criomhthann Sreibh, son of Eochaidh, son of Aonghus, son of Natfraoch, who was king of Munster three years, died. It was, moreover, this Cairbre Crom who, before his death, fought the Battle of Feimhean against Colman Beag, son of Diarmaid, wherein Colman was defeated and many of his followers slain. And he was called Cairbre Crom from his having been educated or brought up at Cromghlaise, as the poet says in this stanza:

    1. Straight was he from head to foot,
      A truly brave man was Cairbre Crom;
      The reason why he received his name
      Was that he was reared at Cromghlais.

It was this Cairbre Crom who gave Cluain Uama to God and to the son of Leinin.

Some seanchas say that it was about this time Breanainn of Biorra died. And he lived nine score years according to the seanchus in this stanza:

    1. Woe to him who reaches not great prosperity!
      Breanainn, excellent was his race,
      One hundred and eighty years
      Was the time he was in the world.

After this Fiachaidh, son of Baodan, fought the Battles of Tola and Forthola against the men of Eile and of Osruighe, where many of the Elians and the Ossorians fell; and Conall, son of Comhghall, king of Dalriada, in Alba, died, having been sixteen years on the throne of Alba; and it was this Conall who gave the island of I in Alba to Columcille. After this Eochaidh and Beodan fell by Cronan, son of Tighearnach, king of Ciannachta Ghlinne Geimhean.

Ainmire, son of Seadna, son of Fearghus Ceannfhoda, son of Conall Gulban, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland three years.Brighid, daughter of Cobhthach, son of Oilill, one of the Lagenians, of Ard Ladhrann, was the wife of Ainmire and mother of Aodh, son of Ainmire. After this Ainmire fell by Fearghus, son of Niall, at the instigation of Baodan, son of Ninnidh, at Carrig Leime an Eich.

Baodan, son of Ninnidh, son of Fearghus Ceannfhoda, Son of Conall Gulban, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland one year. Cacht, daughter of the king of Fionnghall, was the wife of Baodan; and it was in Baodan's reign that Breanainn of Cluain Fearta, the saint, died, also Aodh son of Eochaidh Tiormcharna, king of Connaught, who was killed in the Battle of Bagha, and Baodan, son of Caireall, king of Ulster, and Ruadhan, of Lothra, the saint. This latter was of the race of Oilill Flann Beag, son of Fiachaidh Muilleathan. And Baodan, son of Ninnidh, king of Ireland, was slain by the two Cuimins, to wit, Cuimin, son of Colman Beag, and Cuimin, son of Libhrean, at Carraig Leime an Eich, in Iomairg. According to Beda, in the fourth chapter of the third book of the History of Sacsa, the age of the Lord when Columcille went to Alba was 565.

IX.

Aodh, son of Ainmire, son of Seadna, son of Fearghus Ceannfhoda, son of Conall Gulban, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland twenty-seven years. Brighid, daughter of Cobhthach, son of Oilill, a Lagenian, was the mother of this Aodh. It was Aodh, son of Ainmire, who fought the Battle of Beal Dathi, where Colman Beag, son of Diarmaid, and five thousand with him fell through the prophecy of Columcille. It was about this time that Seanach, bishop of Cluain Ioraird, died, also Fiachaidh, son of Baodan, son of Caireall, son of Muireadhach Muindearg, who was king of Ulster twenty-five years, but who now fell at the Battle of Beatha by Fiachaidh, son of Dearman. And Feidhlim, son of Tighearnach, king of Munster, died.

It was Aodh, son of Ainmire, who convened the great assembly of Drom Ceat, where there was a convention of the nobles and of the clergy of Ireland. And Aodh had three chief reasons for calling together that assembly. The first reason was to banish the filés from Ireland, because of their being so great a burden and because it was so difficult to rule them. For the ollamh's retinue numbered thirty, and there were fifteen in the retinue of the anroth, that is, the person who was next to the ollamh in poetic rank; and about that time nearly a third of the men of Ireland belonged to the poetic order, and they quartered themselves from Samhain to Bealltaine on the men of Ireland. Now Aodh, son of Ainmire, judging that they were a heavy burden to Ireland, decided to banish them from the entire kingdom. Another reason, too, that Aodh had for banishing the filés was that they went to demand a gold bodkin that was in his mantle. Now this was a bodkin that each king left as an heirloom to each succeeding king, and it was their inordinate demand of this bodkin that incited Aodh to drive them out, so that they were banished to Dal Riada of Ulster. The filés had been dismissed before then in the time of Conchubhar, son of Neasa, king of Ulster, on account of their unjust demands.

At that time the filés of Ireland assembled and held a meeting; and their number at that meeting was ten hundred filés who had retinues, and they were at that time deliberating on going to Alba, and when Conchubhar heard this, Cuchulainn went to meet them, and he retained them for seven years, as the poet says in this stanza which is taken from the poem beginning Dear to me is Eamhain of Ulster:

    1. The Ulstermen arise, noble the host,
      Led by Conchubhar of the red sword;
      Maintenance for seven years with renown
      We give to the filés.

After this they let the filés scatter all over Ireland, and they were not banished from that time forward until the time of Fiachna, son of Baodan, king of Ulster, nor from the time of Fiachna to the time of Maolcobha, son of Deaman, son of Caireall, king of Ulster, nor from the time of Maolcobha to the time of Aodh son of Ainmire. Thrice then did the men of Ireland cast off the filés, and the Ulstermen retained them on each of these occasions. The first time they were banished they numbered a thousand; and Conchubhar and the nobles of Ulster maintained them seven years, as we have said. On their second banishment Fiachna, son of Baodan, king of Ulster, maintained them a year, and seven hundred was their number under Eochaidh Righeigeas, as the poet says, in the above-mentioned poem:

    1. Eochaidh Righeigheas of noble laws,
      Went to Fiachna, son of Baodan;
      He gave him great welcome,
      And he retained the filés.

The third time they were banished, when Maolcobha, king of Ulster, retained them, they amounted to twelve hundred, under Dallan Forgaill and Seanchan, as the poet says in the same poem. Thus he speaks:

    1. When Maolcobha of the companies was once
      At Iobhar Cinn Trachta on the west side,
      Twelve hundred filés he found
      Behind the Yew to the north-west;

    1. Maolcobha, the chief, gave them
      Maintenance for three fair years.
      It shall live to the day of pale judgment
      For the well-shaped race of Deaman.

The second reason why the convention of Drom Ceat was held was in order that Aodh might impose a tribute on the Dal Riada of Alba, as he had no tribute from them up to that time except that they were bound to raise an army by land and sea and pay an eiric to the king of Ireland, as

Colman, son of Coimhgheallach ordained, as he says himself in this stanza:

    1. A host on land always,
      A fleet on sea as a perpetual custom—
      My skilled oral judgment without harm—
      And an eiric for kindred blood.

The third reason why the convention of Drom Ceat was held was to oust Scannlan Mor, son of Ceannfaolaidh, from the kingdom of Osruighe, because of his not having paid tribute to Aodh, and to install his son, Iollann son of Scannlan, in his place as king over the Ossorians on account of his being obedient to Aodh as regards tribute. And these are the three reasons why the convention of Drom Ceat was ordained, as Dallan Forgall says in this stanza:

    1. There were three reasons for the convention:
      In order to depose Scannlan from kingship,
      The case of the Dal Riada, kingly the battle,
      And the extermination of the bards.

The following are the provincial kings and the territorial princes who were at the convention of Drom Ceat: First Criomhthann Cearr, king of Leinster; Iollann, son of Scannlan, son of Ceannfaolaidh, king of Osruighe; Maolduin, son of Aodh Beannain, king of West Munster; Finghin, son of Aodh Dubh, son of Criomhthann, king of all Munster; Criomthann Deilgneach, king of the south of Ireland; Guaire, son of Colman, from the kingdom of clann Fiachrach, south and north; Raghallach, son of Uadaidh, who was king of Tuatha Taidhion and of Breithfne Ui Ruairc as far as Cliabhan Modhairn; Ceallach son of Cearnach , son of Dubh Dothra, king of Breithfne Ui Raghallaigh; Conghalach Chinn Maghair, king of Tir Chonaill; the kings of Oirghiall, to wit, Daimhin, son of Aonghus, from Clochar Deasa to Fionncharn on Sliabh Fuaid; Aodh, son of Duach Galach, from Fionncharn on Sliabh Fuaid to the Boinn.

When Columcille heard in Alba of the summoning of this

convention and the three reasons for which it was summoned, to wit, the deposition of Scannlan, the banishment of the filés, and the laying tribute on the Dal Riada, he proceed from I to Ireland with a company of holy clerics; and the number of clerics he had with him as he came to this convention was forty priests, twenty bishops, fifty deacons, and thirty minor clerics, as the Amhra Choluim Chille says in this stanza:

    1. Forty priests, the full number,
      Twenty priests noble strong
      To chant psalms, faultless the repute,
      Fifty deacons, thirty minor clerics.

The reader may possible disbelieve what has been here stated, to wit, that bishops should be among the following of an abbot. If, however, one reads the second chapter of the History of Sacsa which Beda has written, where he speaks of the privileges of the island of I, in Alba, it will appear that the bishops of Alba were subject to the abbot of I in olden times. It is thus, indeed, he speaks: It was ever the custom in this island, (says he,) to have as superior an abbot who was a priest, and who had jurisdiction and authority over the entire country, and even the bishops themselves were subject to him, though the custom was unusual, according to the example of the first doctor who was in the island, who was not a bishop but a priest and a monk. {Habere autem solet (inquit) ipsa Insula rectorem semper Abbatem presbiterem cuius iuri et omnis provincia et ipsi etiam episcopi ordine inusitato debeant esse subiecti iuxte exemplum primi doctoris illius qui non episcopus sed presbiter extitit et monachus.}’’

And it is plain the Columcille was the first doctor, who was first given the privilege in I as Beda says in the tenth chapter of the fifth book of the same History. Colum, (says he,) was the first doctor of the Catholic faith to the Picts of the mountains in the north, and the first to build a monastery in the island of I, which was long venerated by many congregation of the Scots and Picts. {Columba erat primus doctor fidei Catholicae Transmontanis Pictus ad aquilonem primusque fundator monasterii quod in Hii Insula multis diu Scotorum Pictorumque populis venerable mansit.}’’ From these words of Beda it is to be understood that Columcille was the first doctor who went to plant the Faith among the Picts in the north of Alba, and that it was for this reason that not only the priests and monks undertook to be subject to Columcille and to the abbot of I after him but even the bishops themselves took this yoke on them because it was Columcille first gave them the light of the Faith. And it was for this reason that bishops came to Ireland accompanying Columcille to the convention of Drom Ceat.

X.

Columcille came to Ireland having a cerecloth over his eyes, so that he might not see the soil of Ireland. For he was forbidden to look at the soil of Ireland from the time that Molaise imposed as penance on him to go to Alba and not to see the land of Ireland till death, and it was for this reason that he kept the cerecloth over his eyes while he was in Ireland until his return to Alba; and it is to relate Columcille's fulfillment of this penance that Molaise composed this stanza:

    1. Though Colum came from the east
      In a bark across the great sea,
      He saw nothing in noble Ireland
      On his coming to the convention.

Now the reason why Molaise imposed on Columcille the penance of going to Alba was that Columcille caused three battles to be fought in Ireland, to wit, the Battle of Cuil Dreimhne, the Battle of Cuil Rathan, and the Battle of Cuil Feadha. The cause of the Battle of Cuil Dreimhne, according to the old book called Uidhir Chiarain, was this: Diarmaid, son of Fearghus Ceirrbheoil, king of Ireland, held a Feis of Tara, and a nobleman was slain at that feis by Cuarnan, son of Aodh, son of Eochaidh Tiormcharna; and the reason why Diarmaid slew this Cuarnan was that he had slain the nobleman at the feis in violation of the law and sanctuary of the feis. And before Cuarnan was slain he put himself under the protection of the two sons of Mac Earca, to wit, Fearghus and Domhnall, and they put him under the protection of Columcille, and Diarmaid slew him in violation of Columcille's protection for having transgressed the law of Tara, and the result of this was that Columcille assembled clanna Neill of the north (on account of his own protection and that of the children of Mac Earca having been violated), and the Battle of Cuil Dreimhne was fought against Diarmaid and the men of Connaught, and they were defeated through the prayer to Columcille.

The Black Book of Molaga gives another reason why the Battle of Cuil Dreimhne was fought, to wit, through the unjust judgment Diarmaid gave against Columcille, when he secretly copied the Gospel from Fionntain's book, and Fionntain claimed for his own the copy which was written from his own book. Accordingly, both sides chose Diarmaid as a judge between them; and the judgment Diarmaid gave was that to every cow belonged her calf and that to every book belonged a copy of it; and that was the second reason why the Battle of Cuil Dreimhne was fought.

The reason why Columcille caused the battle of Cuil Rathan to be fought against the Dal nAruidhe and the Ultonians was because a contention had arisen between Columcille and Comghall, when the Dal nAruidhe showed themselves partial in the contention.

The reason why Columcille had caused the Battle of Cuil Feadha to be fought against Colman, son of Diarmaid, was to avenge the affront given him in the murder of Baodan, son of Ninnidh, king of Ireland, at Leim an Eich by Coman, son of Colman, in violation of Colum's protection.

Now Colum, with his holy clerics, proceeded from Alba to Ireland, as we have said, and when he was approaching the convention the queen, Aodh's wife, told her son, Conall, not to show any reverence to the heron-cleric or to his company. And when Colum was informed of this before he arrived at the place he said: ‘It is my will that the queen and her handmaid, in the shape of two herons, be over that ford below until Doom.’ Here is a proof from the Amhra repeating the words of Colum in this stanza:

    1. Let her become a heron,
      Said the cleric in a great rage,
      And let her handmaid exactly be
      A heron in her company.

And the reason why he ordered that the handmaid become a heron together with the queen was that it was she who came with a message from the queen to Conall, telling him not to show any reverence to the heron-cleric or to his company. And I hear from many people that ever since two herons are usually seen on the ford which is beside Drom Ceat.

As to Columcille, when he arrived at the convention the party of Conall, son of Aodh, son of Ainmire, was the nearest to him in the assembly, and when Conall saw the clerics he incited the rabble of his party against them, thrice nine their number, and they pelted them with clods of clay, and they bruised and hurt the clerics. And Colum asked who were thus beating them. Colum was told that it was Conall, son of Aodh, who was inciting them to do this deed, and he ordered that thrice nine bells be rung on the spot against Conall, whom he cursed and deprived of royalty, of authority, of senses, of memory, of his understanding. And from these bells that were rung against him he is called Conall Clogach.

After this Colum went to the party of Domhnall, son of Aodh, and Domhnall went to meet him and bade him welcome, and kissed his cheek and seated him in his own place. Colum gave his blessing to Domhnall, son of Aodh, and prayed God that he might attain the sovereignty of Ireland; and it happened ultimately that he held the sovereignty of Ireland for thirteen years before he died.

Colum, accompanied by Domhnall, proceeded thence to the king's party, and when he had come into the king's presence the latter welcomed him—the king dreaded him greatly on account of what he had done to Conall, to the queen, to her handmaid, as we have said. ‘My welcome is compliance with my wish,’ said Colum. ‘It shall be granted thee,’ said the king. ‘Then,’ said Colum, ‘what I wish is this: I make three requests of thee, namely, to keep the filés whom thou art banishing from Ireland, and to free Scannlan Mor, son of Ceannfaolaidh, king of Osruighe, from the bondage in which thou keepest him, and not to go to impose a tribute on the Dal Riada in Alba.’ ‘I do not wish to keep the filés,’ said the king, ‘so unjust are their demands and so numerous are they. For there are usually thirty in the train of an ollamh, and fifteen in that of an anroth, and so on for the other grades of the filé down to the lowest.’ Each of them used to have a separate train of attendants according to his degree, so that nearly the third of the men of Ireland followed the bardic profession.

Columcille said to the king that it was right to set aside many of the filés, as they were so numerous. But he advised him to maintain a filé as his own chief ollamh after the example of the kings who went before him, and that each provincial king should have an ollamh, and, moreover, that each lord of a cantred or district in Ireland should have an ollamh, and Columcille proposed this plan and Aodh assented to it; and it was to celebrate this benefit which Columcille conferred on the filés that Maolsuthain composed this stanza:

    1. The filés were saved by this means
      Through Colum of the fair law;
      A filé for each district is no heavy charge.
      It is what Colum ordained.

From this regulation, which was made by Aodh, son of Ainmire, and Columcille, it followed that the king of Ireland and every provincial king and every lord of a cantred had a special ollamh, and that each of these ollamhs had free land from his own lord, and, moreover, the lands and worldly possessions of each of these ollamhs enjoyed general exemption and sanctuary from the men of Ireland. It was also ordained that a common estate should be set apart for the ollamhs where they could give public instruction after the manner of a University, such as Raith Cheannait and Masruidhe Mhuighe Sleacht, in Breithfne, where they gave free instruction in the sciences to the men of Ireland, as many as desired to become learned in seanchus and in the other sciences that were in vogue in Ireland at that time.

The ardollamh of Ireland at that time was Eochaidh Eigeas, son of Oilill, son of Earc, and it was he who was called Dallan Forgaill, and he sent out ollamhs and set them over the provinces of Ireland, namely, Aodh Eigeas over the district of Breagh and over Meath, Urmhaol chief eigeas over the two provinces of Munster, Sanchan, son of Cuairfheartach, over the province of Connaught, and Fear Firb, son of Muireadhach, son of Mongan, in the ollamhship of Ulster; and, moreover, an ollamh in every cantred in Ireland under these high ollamhs, and they were to have free land from their territorial chiefs, as well as sanctuary, as we have said; and each of them was to get certain rewards for their poems and compositions.

The second request Colum asked of Aodh was to set Scannlan Mor, king of Osruighe, free, and let him go to his own country. This the king refused. ‘I shall not press it further,’ said Colum, ‘if it be God's will may Scannlan untie my thongs or take off my shoes to-night when I am at matins.’

‘The third request I make of thee,’ said Columcille, ‘is to grant a respite to the Dal Raida and not to go to Alba to plunder them with a view to laying a tribute on them, for you have a right only to a head-rent from them and a levy of forces on land and sea.’ ‘I shall not grant them respite, but shall pay them a visit,’ said Aodh. ‘Then,’ said Colum, ‘they will have a respite from thee for ever,’ and so it was.

Thereupon Columcille, with his clerics, took leave of the king and of the convention, and the Book of Glendalough states that Aodhan, son of Gabhran, son of Domhanghurt, king of Alba, was at that convention, and that he took his leave of the king and of the assembly along with Columcille. The same book says that the convention of Drom Ceat sat for a year and a month instituting laws and regulating tributes and forming friendly alliances between the men of Ireland.

XI.

As to Columcille, when he had taken his leave of the assembly he proceeded to Duibheaglais, in Inis Eoghan, and on the next night, after nightfall, a brilliant flame of fire came upon the guards at the convention, who kept the cell in which Aodh had Scannlan Mor confined, bound by twelve iron chains, so that the guards put their faces to the ground because of the greatness of the blaze which they saw. And a bright dazzling flame came to Scannlan in the place where he was, and a voice in the flame said to him, ‘Arise, O Scannlan, and quit thy chains and thy cell, and come forth and follow me, and place thy hand in mine.’ After this Scannlan came forth with the angel in front of him. His guards observed him, and asked who was there. ‘Scannlan,’ said the angel. ‘If it were he, he would not tell,’ said they. Thereafter the angel and Scannlan went after Columcille; and when Colum was at matins, as he was passing through the sanctuary railing it was Scannlan who was taking off his shoes; and Columcille asked who was there, and he replied that he was Scannlan. When Columcille asked news of him, he answered ‘a drink,’ so great was his thirst, for it was salted meat they gave him in the cell, with no drink after. From the frequency with which he gave that answer to Columcille, the latter left an impediment in speech on every king of his progeny who should rule in Osruighe. Now Columcille directed Baoithin to give three drinks to Scannlan, and then Scannlan told his story to Colum, as we have said above. Columcille directed Scannlan to proceed to Osruighe. ‘I cannot,’ said Scannlan, ‘through fear of Aodh.’ ‘Thou needest have no fear,’ said Colum; ‘take my staff with thee as a protection, and leave it with my community at Durmhagh, in Osruighe.’ Upon this Scannlan proceeded to Osruighe, and ruled over his own country during his life; because fear of Columcille prevented Aodh from troubling him thereafter.

In return for his liberation in this manner, Scannlan imposed a yearly tax of a screaball, or threepence, on every household in his country from Bladhma to the sea, to be paid to the community of Columcille at Durmhagh, in Osruighe, as we read in the Amhra Choluim Chille, which quotes the promise which Scannlan made to Colum:

    1. Thy share of my lands, of my house,
      Be they numerous as rushes or herbs,
      It is screaball from each house,
      The portion from Bladhma to the sea.

Columcille, moreover, gave his blessing to all the Ossorians on condition that they and their king should be obedient to himself and to his community at Durmhagh in succeeding times as regards the payment of the tax which Scannlan imposed on themselves and on their posterity, as we read in the Amhra:

    1. A blessing from me on the Ossorians,
      On their pure-handedness and wisdom;
      A blessing on sea and on land
      From me, because of their kings submission to me.

Criomhthann was the baptismal name of the Columcille we are treating of here, and Axal was the name of his guardian angel, and Demal was the name of the demon that specially troubled him, as we read in the Amhra. Thus it speaks:

    1. Criomhthann Ua Cuinn, fair consummation,
      Was the baptismal name of Columcille;
      Axal the name of his angel, without fault,
      And Demal his demon.

Now Columcille clung to him as a name, because when he was a child under instruction at Dubhghlaise, in Tir Luighdheach, in Cineal Conaill, he was permitted to go out into the village one day each week to play with his equals in age as a privilege, as he was of the royal blood. And as he was wont to go out thus a day in each week, the children of the district used to assemble to meet him on the day on which he was wont to go out, and, being together waiting for him, when they beheld him coming towards them from the monastery, they used to lift their hands for joy, and say with one voice, ‘Here comes the Colum or dove of the Church,’ and when the teacher heard that the children were in the habit of calling him Columcille he deemed it to be God's will that he should be always called by that name which was in the mouths of the innocent children, and that his baptismal name, to wit, Criomhthann, should lapse. And a change of name of this kind has often been the lot of the saints, witness the case of Mochuda, who was first called Carrthach, and of St. Caomhan, a disciple of Patrick, who was first called Mac Neise, and of Patrick himself, whose baptismal name was Sochet, and whom Germanus called Magonius, when he imposed hands on him, and whom Pope Coelestinus called Patrick on the occasion of his sending him to Ireland to propagate the Faith, and that of Fionnbharr, of Cork, whose baptismal name was Luan, and of the bishop of Iobhar, whose name was Loichead, and who lived and blessed in Beigeirinn, in the lower part of Leinster, and of St. Connlaoch, bishop of Cill Dara, whose first name was Roincheann, and of Moling, whose first name was Dairchill, and similarly of many others like them; so that it cannot be doubted that Criomhthann was the baptismal name of Columcille, notwithstanding that Columcille clung to him as his common name for the above reason.

Know, O reader, that Columcille was a genuine Irishman on his father's and mother's side, and not an Albanian, as some Albanians say. For it is evident that he was Irish on his father's side, as we read in the history of the saints of Ireland that Feidhlimidh, son of Fearghus Ceannfhoda, son of Conall Gulban, son of Niall Naoighiallach, who was high king of Ireland, was father to Columcille. Here is the seanchas statement of this, as we read in the poem which begins: The sacred history of the saints of Inis Fail:

    1. Columcille, of the land of Conn,
      Son of Feidhlimidh, over every tribe,
      Son of Fearghus, of the fierce action,
      Son of the very noble Conall Gulban.

It is also certain that Columcille was Irish on his mother's side, according to the account given in the Amhra, where it states that Eithne, daughter of Dioma, son of Naoi, of the race of Cairbre Nia Fear, king of Leinster, was his mother. Thus speaks the Amhra:

    1. Eithne, who is mighty,
      The queen out of the Dal Cairbre,
      Mother of Colum, who was thence pious,
      Was daughter of Dioma, son of Noe.

Columcille mortified his body by fasting and prayer and prostration to such a degree that he grew so emaciated through pious austerity that when he lay in the sand in his cell as the wind rushed in through the roof his ribs were distinguishable through his habit, as the Amhra says in this stanza:

    1. Plain he used to lie on the sand,
      In his bed was great suffering;
      The form of his ribs through his dress
      Was distinct as the winds blew.

Columcille's age when he died was seventy-seven years, as Dallan Forgaill says in Amhra Choluim Chille itself, which was written by Dallan soon after the death of Columcille:

    1. While Colum was in the fair world
      His body laboured beneath the yoke,
      He went to angels out of his body
      After seven and seventy years,

    2. namely, forty-three years of his life he spent in Ireland, and after that thirty-four years in Alba, as the Amhra says in this stanza:

    1. He was three years and forty of them
      In Ireland, without anxiety,
      Four and thirty strong years
      In Alba after Erin.

The three places in which Columcille used to dwell are in I in Alba, in Derry, in Dun da Leathghlas where he was buried, as he says himself in this stanza, in which he reveals his love for these three places:

    1. My happiness in I, without fault,
      And my soul in Derry.
      And my body beneath the stone
      Under which are Patrick and Brighid.

When Columcille said Mass or sang psalms or preached, his voice was heard at a distance of a mile and a-half, and a demon could not endure his voice, but fled before it, as the Amhra says in this stanza:

    1. The sound of his voice, of Columcille's,
      High its melody above every company;
      As far as fifteen hundred paces,
      Mighty courses, was it distinct.

There was a priest in Tir Chonail in the time of Columcille who built or erected a church of precious stones, and he made an altar of glass therein, and he had images of the sun and moon set up in the church. Soon afterwards this priest fell into a deep swoon, after which a demon came to him and took him with him into the air. And when they came near Columcille overhead, he caught sight of them and made the sign of the cross above him in the air, and thereupon the priest fell down. And for that reason the priest made an offering of the church he had built to Columcille on account of his having rescued him from the hands of the demon, and he joined an order of monks himself, and led a good life thenceforward.

There was a saint in Ui Faircheallaigh, in Osruighe, called Coisfhionn, and Columcille went on a certain occasion to see him in the hope that he might let him see his books, for he was a very learned man and had many books. And he refused to let Columcille see them. And Columcille prayed God to grant that no person alive might be able to read any one of these books; and from that time not a word of them could be read, and they decayed.

Baoithin saw in a vision three chairs in heaven, namely, a chair of gold a chair of silver, and a chair of glass; and Columcille explained to him that the chair of gold was for Ciaran mac an tSaoir for his great hospitality to guests, ‘and the chair of silver is for thyself, O Baoithin, for the purity of thy piety; but the chair of glass is for me, for though my piety be pure, I am often frail and worldly.’

The following are the four rules of Ireland, to wit, the rule made by Patrick forbidding the killing of clerics; the rule of Adhamnan forbidding the killing of women; the rule of Doire Choluim Chille, forbidding the killing of milch cows; and the rule of Sunday forbidding a journey on that day.

XII.

It was in the reign of this Aodh son of Ainmire that Columcille died. Understand, O reader, that the Colum of whom we have been speaking up to this is Columcille son of Feidhlimid, son of Fearghus. But the Red Book of Mac Aodhagan and the sacred history of the saints of Ireland say that many of the saints, male and female, of Ireland bore the same name. For they say that there were twenty-two St. Colums in Ireland, and Columcille was the first Colum of them; and further, it was in commemoration of the sanctity of Columcille that each of them was called Colum. There were twenty-five St. Ciaran's in Ireland, and amongst them were Ciaran of Cluain Mic Nois, and Ciaran of Saighir, and Ciaran of Tiobraid Naoi. There were thirty-two St. Aodhan's in Ireland. There were seven St. Bairrfhionn's in Ireland, and amongst these was Bairrfhionn, or Fionnbharr, of Corcach. And this Fionnbharr was the son of Aimhirgin, son of Dubh Duibhne, son of Ninnidh, son of Eochaidh, son of Cairbre Ard, son of Brian, son of Eochaidh Muighmheodhon, who was king of Ireland. And there were seventeen holy bishops and seven hundred religious in the community of Corcach along with Fionnbharr. There were four St. Baoithins in Ireland, to wit, Baoithin son of Breanainn, Baoithin son of Fionnach, Baoithin son of Alladh, and Baoithin son of Cuanaidh. There were fifteen St. Brighids in Ireland, and amongst them was Brighid, daughter of Dubhthach, of Leinster, who is celebrated throughout Europe; and it is clear that she is of the stock of Eochaidh Fionn Fuath nArt; and that Eochaidh Fionn was brother to Conn Ceadchathach, who was king of Ireland. Here is the testimony of the sacred history of Ireland on this point, as we read in the poem which begins: The sacred history of the saints of Inis Fail:

    1. Brighid, daughter of Dubhthach Donn,
      Son of Dreimhne, son of Breasal Borr,
      Son of Dein, son of Connla, son of Art,
      Son of Cairbre Nia, son of Cormac,

    1. Son of Aonghus Mor, of high dignity,
      Son of Eochaidh Fionn, hated of Art,
      Son of Feidhlimidh Reachtmhar the noble,
      Son of Tuathal Teachtmhar, the excellent.

The following are the fourteen St. Brighids who were in Ireland besides the Brighid spoken of above: Brighid, daughter of Dioma; Brighid, daughter of Mianach; Brighid, daughter of Moman; Brighid, daughter of Eanna; Brighid, daughter of Colla; Brighid, daughter of Eachtar Ard; Brighid of Inis Brighde; Brighid, daughter of Damhar; Brighid of Seanbhoth; Brighid, daughter of Fiadhnat; Brighid, daughter of Aodh; Brighid, daughter of Luinge (or Long?).

It was in the time of Aodh son of Ainmire, of whom we are treating, and of Aodhan son of Gabhran, king of Alba, who was very old at the time, that the Gaels lost Manainn.

It was, moreover, in the time of Aodh son of Ainmire, that St. Cainneach, of Achadh Bo, died, aged eighty-four years; and this Cainneach was of the stock of Fearghus, son of Rogh. It was about this time that Colman Rimhidh fought the Battle of Sleamhain, in which Conall, son of Aodh, was defeated, and the Battle of Cuil Caoil against Fiachaidh, son of Baodan, in which Fiachaidh, son of Deman, was defeated and his people slaughtered.

After that Conall son of Suibhne defeated in battle the three Aodhs in one day, namely, Aodh Slaine, and Aodh Buidhe, king of Ui Maine, and Aodh Roin, king of Ui bhFailghe. It was at Bruighean da Choga he defeated them, as the poet says in this stanza:

    1. Dreadful was the bloody state
      Of the kings of all Ireland,
      Aodh Slaine with a host,
      Aodh Roin and Aodh Buidhe.

Now there was constant dissension between the two Fiachaidhs we have just mentioned, to wit, Fiachaidh, son of Baodan and Fiachaidh, son of Deaman, and through the prayer of St. Comhgall the son of Baodan often got the upper hand; and when the son of Deaman charged the saint with this, Comhgall asked him in turn whether he preferred heaven and to be slain to gaining a victory and living for a time and hell in the end. The son of Deaman said he preferred to gain a victory over his enemy so that his slaughter of them and exploits against them might be recited at general assemblies from age to age. Comhghall disapproved of the choice he made, and the other Fiachaidh chose heaven and defeat in battle, and this he obtained through the prayers of Comhghall.

Indeed every great tribe of the nobles of Ireland had an attendant guardian saint. In testimony of this take the following tribes: For the Tuathalaigh and the Branaigh had Caoimhghin of Glenn da Loch; the Ui Cinnsealaigh had Maodhog of Fearna; the Caomhanaigh had Moling; the siol Mordha had Fionntain of Cluain Eidhneach; the Ossorians had Cainneach of Achadh Bo; the siol gCinneidhidh had Ruadhan of Lothra; the Deise had Deaglan; the clann Briain of Eatharla had Seanna; Gobnuid was for Muscraidhe Mic Diarmada; Colman for Ui Mac Coile; and similarly there was no district or tribe in Ireland without the special protection of a male or female saint, whom they venerated and honoured. But there are other saints more generally known than those we have mentioned, such as Columcille, Finnen of Magh Bile, Ciaran of Cluain, Comhghall of Beannchair, Brighid of Cill Dara, Ailbhe of Imleach, and St. Patrick, as Aonghus Ceile De says in the book which is called Psaltair na Rann. Thus does he speak:

    1. The Ui Neill, all protected by Colum,
      Are not in the shade of a bramble;
      Protected by Finnen of Magh Bile
      Are all the Ultonians;

The tribes of Connanght are protected by Ciaran,
Though it be not an equal division;
The Dal nAruidhe, the noble, the amiable,
Are protected by Comhghall;
The Leinstermen are protected by Brighid,
Fame and riches;
All Munster, with its produce,
Is protected by Ailbhe.
The chief saints of Ireland, with her monks,
It is their care,
Whatever path they walk in, to be all under the shield
Of Patrick.

It was while Aodh son of Ainmire, held the sovereignty of Ireland that Brandubh, son of Eochaidh, son of Muireadhach, son of Aonghus, son of Feidhlimidh, son of Eanna Cinnsealach, was king of Leinster for one year. And he and the Leinstermen slew Aodh son of Ainmire, in the Battle of Bealach Duin Bolg. It is also said that it was the Leinstermen themselves who slew Brandubh in the Battle of Camcluain, or that it was by Saran Saobhdhearg, the airchinneach of Seanbhoth Sine, he fell, as the poet says in this stanza:

    1. Saran Saobhdhearg, noble guide!
      The airchinneach of Seanbhoth Sine,
      'Tis no falsehood, though he was seldom in battle,
      He slew Brandubh, son of Eochaidh.

It was about this time that St. Colman of Eala died.

Aodh Slaine, son of Diarmaid, son of Fearghus Ceirrbheoil, son of Conall Creamhthainne, son of Niall Naoighiallach, and Colman Rimhidh, son of Muircheartach Mac Earca, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland. They were six years in joint sovereignty. Mughainn, daughter of Cucharainn, son of Duach, a Connaughtwoman, was the mother of Aodh Slaine; and Eithne, daughter of Breanainn Dall, a Connaughtwoman, was his wife; and she bore him six sons, to wit, Diarmaid, Donnchadh, Maolbreasail, Maolodhar, Comhghall, and Oilill. He was called Aodh Slaine, for it was on the river which is named Slaine he was born. It was in the reign of this pair that Gregory the Great of Rome sent St. Augustine, the monk, together with a community of holy clerics, to propagate the Catholic Faith in Britain. Colman Rimhidh fell by Lochan Diolmhain. Aodh Slanie was slain by Conall Guithbhinn, son of Suibhne.

Aodh Uairiodhnach, son of Domhnall, son of Muircheartach, son of Muireadhach, son of Eoghan, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland twenty-seven years. Brigh, daughter of Orca Mac Eirc, son of Eochaidh, was the mother of Aodh Uairiodhnach. And he is called Aodh Uairiodhnach, for he was subject to cold fits of pain, and if he owned the wealth of the world he would give it to get a moment's relief. Now uara eidhnigh means readhg fuar, or a 'cold pang', and hence he was called Aodh Uairiodhnach. It was in the reign of this Aodh that Aonghus, son of Colman, fought the Battle of Odhbha, in which Conall Laoghbhreagh, son of Aodh Slaine, fell. And Aodh Uairiodhnach, king of Ireland, fell in the Battle of da Fhearta.

Maolcobha, son of Aodh, son of Ainmire, son of Seadna, son of Fearghus Ceannfhoda, son of Conall Gulban, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland four years. Croinseach, daughter of Aodh Fionn, king of Osruighe, was the wife of this Maolcobha, Maolcobha fell by Suibhne Meann in the Battle of Sliabh Bealgadain.

XIII.

Suibhne Meann, son of Fiachna, son of Fearadhach, son of Muircheartach, son of Muireadhach, son of Eoghan, son of Niall Naoighiallach, held the sovereignty of Ireland thirteen years. It was in the reign of Suibhne Meann that Caoimhghin of Gleann da Loch died, aged six score years. Caoimhghin was the son of Caomhlogha, son of Caoimhfhiodh, son of Corb, son of Fearghus Laoibdheargh, son of Fothach, son of Eochaidh Laimhdhearg, son of Meisin Corb, of the race of Labhraidh Loingseach. It was about this time that Aodh Beannain, king of Munster, died, and St. Adhamnan, son of Ronan, son of Tinne, son of Aodh, son of Colum, son of Seadna, son of Fearghus, son of Conall Gulban, son of Niall Naoighiallach, who was abbot of I in Alba. Rona, daughter of Dunghal, king of Ui Turtaire, was the wife of Suibhne Meann, king of Ireland. Suibhne Meann, king of Ireland, was slain by Conghal Claon, son of Scannlan Sciathleathan.

Domhnall, son of Aodh, son of Ainmire, son of Seadna, son of Fearghus Ceannfhoda, son of Conall Gulban, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland thirteen years. And it was this Domhnall who won the Battle of Dun Ceitheirn against Conghal Claon, in which he overthrew him and slew many of his people. It was, moreover, in the reign of Domhnall that the saint who was called Munna died, and that Carrthach, that is, Mochuda, were banished from Rathain to Lios Mor. And Mochuda was of the stock of Ciar, son of Fearghus.

Now when Mochuda went from Ciarraidhe on a pilgrimage to Rathain he built a monastery there, and he placed a community of monks in the monastery; so that there were seven hundred and ten monks with him there, who passed their lives so piously that an angel used to converse with every third monk of them, and thus it came to pass that the fame and renown for great sanctity of the community of Rathain grew apace. For this reason the saints of the clann Neill became very envious, and they sent word to Mochuda directing him to abandon Rathain and betake himself to his own country, that is, to Munster. Mochuda replied to the messengers who brought him these instructions and said that he would not leave Rathain unless he were put out of it by the hand of a bishop or of a king. When this message reached the pious men of the clann Neill they besought Blathmhac and Diarmaid Ruanuidh, two sons of Aodh Slaine, who were of the clann Neill, to go and expel Mochuda from Rathain; and at the instigation of this body, Blathmhac and Diarmaid Ruanuidh, along with a company of clerics from the northern side, visited Rathain.

When Mochuda heard that they had come close to him he sent a lord of the Picts, or Cruitnigh, from Alba, called Constantine, who was a lay-brother in the community, to beseech these nobles to give a year's respite to Mochuda and to his community before expelling them from Rathain. And he got this request from them. And when the year passed the same nobles came in a year's time, along with a company of the same clerics, and when they had come close to Rathain, Blathmhac sent word to Mochuda asking him to come out of the monastery; and thereupon Mochuda sent the same Constantine to beseech them to give him another year's respite, and they granted this, though unwillingly. And at the end of the third year the same nobles and the same clerics were incited by the lawless folk of the Ui Neill to come and expel Mochuda the third year from Rathain; and when that company had come near the village they, of one accord, sent Diarmaid Ruanuidh and the airchinneach of Cluain Conghusa, along with a party, to bring Mochuda by the hand out of the monastery; and when these had reached the church the airchinneach went in and Diarmaid remained outside at the doorpost. When Mochuda heard that Diarmaid was at the door he went to welcome him and ask him into the church. ‘I will not go in,’ said Diarmaid. ‘Is it to carry me off from the monastery thou hast come?’ said Mochuda. ‘It is,’ said Diarmaid, ‘but I dare not do it, and I repent of having come on this expedition, by reason of thy great sanctity and of the honour God gives thee.’ ‘Honour in heaven and on earth be thine,’ said Mochuda, ‘and power and the sovereignty and the kingdom of Ireland be thine, and may thy progeny prosper after thee; and when thou shalt have returned to thy company, the youths who are there will give thee the name Diarmaid Ruanuidh in reproach. But that nickname will redound to thy honour and to that of thy offspring.’ Thereupon Diarmaid returned to the company, and when he came before them Blathmhac asked him why he did not lay hands on Mochuda and bring him out of the monastery. ‘I dared not do it,’ said Diarmaid. ‘That, O Diarmaid, is a bashful behaviour.’ And when the company heard this they dubbed him Diarmaid Ruanuidh. Now ruanuidh means deargthach or 'bashful', so that his descendants are called the descendants of Diarmaid Ruanuidh ever since.

As to Blathmhac, he went with a party to the monastery and laid hands on Mochuda, and brought him and his community out of the monastery against their will. And Mochuda cursed Blathmhac. And Mochua proceeded thence, with his community of monks, performing wonders and miracles till he arrived at the Deise; and when he arrived there the king of the Deise went to meet him, and reverenced and honoured him, and commended his body and soul to his protection; and they both proceeded to Dun Scinne, which is now called Lis Mor. There Mochuda and his community dwelt, and there they built a church, so that the place has been honoured and celebrated for piety and learning ever since. Thus far the going of Mochuda from Rathain to Lis Mor.It was Domhnall, son of Aodh, son of Ainmire, king of Ireland, who fought the Battle of Magh Rath, where Conghal Claon, who had been ten years king of Ulster, was slain. And from the tract called the Battle of Magh Rath it may be readily seen that the array and order of the Irish troops as they went into conflict or engaged in battle were well regulated. For there was a leader of the entire host, and a leader of each division of the host under his charge, and an emblem on the standard of each leader, from which the divisions of the army were distinguished from one another by the seanchas, who were bound to be with the nobles whenever they engaged with one another in conflict or battle, so that the seanchas might be eyewitnesses of the exploits of the nobles, and thus be able to give a true account of their deeds on either side. And hence Domhnall, son of Aodh, king of Ireland, had his own seancha with him when he was about to engage in the Battle of Magh Rath. For when Domhnall was marching against Conghal, king of Ulster, and they were on either side of the river, and when they were in sight of each others host Domhnall asked his seancha to name every one of the standards separately, and its emblem, and the seancha told him what they were, as we read in the poem which begins: Mightily advance the battalions of Conghal, in which is this stanza on the king of Ulster's own emblem:

    1. A yellow lion upon green satin,
      The emblem of the Craobh Ruadh,
      Such as was held by noble Conchubhar
      Conghal now holds.

It is a long time since the Gaels began the practice of having emblems, in imitation of the children of Israel, who employed them in Egypt, in the life-time of Gaedheal, when the children of Israel passed through the Red Sea, with Moses as their chief leader. Now there were twelve tribes of them, and each tribe had a separate division of an army and a separate emblem.

    1. The tribe of Ruben, a mandrake on its standard as an emblem;
      The tribe of Simeon, a javelin on its standard as an emblem;
      The tribe of Levi, the Ark on its standard as an emblem;
      The tribe of Juda, a lion on its standard as an emblem;
      The tribe of Isacar, an ass on its standard as an emblem;
      The tribe of Zabulon, a ship on its standard as an emblem;
      The tribe of Nephtalem, the figure of a wild ox on its standard as an emblem;
      The tribe of Gad, the figure of a lioness on its standard as an emblem;
      The tribe of Joseph, a bull on its standard as an emblem;
      The tribe of Benjamin, a wolf on its standard as an emblem;
      The tribe of Dan, a serpent on its standard as an emblem;
      The tribe of Aser, an olive branch on its standard as an emblem.

Here follows the seanchas account of the emblems of the children of Israel, as we read in the old Book of Leacaoin, in Urmhumha, and in many other old books, in the poem below:

    1. I know each great ensign
      That the proud children of Jacob had,
      Few are the people thereafter
      Who know their names.

    1. The tribe of Ruben, prosperity helped them,
      Their ensign was a mandrake;
      The spirited tribe lasted a long time,
      A good host followed its ensign.

    1. The tribe of Simeon asked no ensign
      But a stern avenging javelin;
      Simeon, the guileful wise one,
      Who was vindictive in the affair of Dionna.

    1. The tribe of Levi, the people of the Ark,
      Numerous their flocks and great herds;
      It was a guarantee of their welfare
      To see the Ark with them.

    1. The ensign of the noble tribe of Juda,
      The figure of a powerful lion;
      The tribe of Juda, in the hour of wrath
      Proud hosts following a good ensign

    1. The tribe of Isacar, of the pure gold,
      Had an ensign like an ass;
      Often a host with ruddy face,
      Followed the great beautiful ensign.

    1. The tribe of Zabulon, of the bright girdles,
      The figure of their ensign was a laden ship;
      It was usual on the shallow waves
      For all to be in their laden ships.

    1. The figure of a wild ox, short-flanked, swift,
      Had the tribe of Neptalem, the venemous;
      Of the tribe that practised the fury of wrath
      The warriors round their ready ensign were not few.

    1. The ensign of the tribe of Gad, in conflict,
      Was as the figure of a lioness;
      Nor have we deemed timorous in the time of wrathful fury
      Each warrior following the great ensign.

    1. An ensign like a bull with constant strength,
      In the east had the tribe of renowned Joseph;
      It is well known that vultures sought
      The bold, glorious race.

    1. The tribe of Benjamin, of swift vigour,
      Its ensign was above ensigns;
      An ensign like the ravening wolf,
      Ruddiness in the glorious feast.

    1. The tribe of Dan, stubborn the race,
      A venemous family of a sinister house,
      Powerful to strike back, as it implies,
      Like a great serpent, its ensign.

    1. The tribe of Aser, not stinted in herds,
      An ensign they clung to like a garment;
      Its choice was identical with
      A beautiful fair olive branch.

    1. I have enumerated their tribes above,
      I have enumerated their ensigns;
      The enumeration of the abodes of the spirited tribes,
      How many men are ignorant of? I know.

It was in the reign of Domhnall, son of Aodh, king of Ireland, of whom we are treating, that the following saints died, to wit, Mochua, of the race of Oilill, son of Cathaoir Mor, who lived and blessed in Teach Mochua in Laoighis, and Mochudha and Maolaise of Leithghlinn, who were of the race of Conall Gulban, son of Niall Naoighiallach and Comhdhan, son of Da Cearda, and Cronan, bishop of Caondrom. And Domhnall, son of Aodh, son of Ainmire, king of Ireland, died.

XIV.

Conall Caol and Ceallach, two sons of Maolcobha, son of Aodh, son of Ainmire, son of Seadna, son of Fearghus Ceannfhoda, son of Conall Gulban, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, assumed the sovereignty of Ireland. They reigned together for thirteen years. It was in their reign that Cuanna, son of Cailchin, king of Fearmaighe, that is, Laoch Liathmhaine, died, and this Cuanna was a contemporary of Guaire, son of Colman, and there was a rivalry between them in hospitality and charity; and hence the two jesters, Comhdan and Conall, composed between them this stanza on their rivalry, in which they say:

    1. Everything that is in his hand;
      Guaire son of Colman bestows,
      What each one covets is given him
      By the Warrior of Liathmhain.

It was, moreover, in their reign that Raghallach, son of Udaidh, who was king of Connaught twenty-five years, was slain by Maoilbrighde, son of Mothlachan, and by his slaves. It happened thus: this Raghallach was full of hatred and envy towards the son of an elder brother, fearing lest he might oppose him and deprive him of the kingdom of Connaught. Still he found no opportunity of slaying his brother's son, so that he was wasting away through not taking food because of his envy of his brother's son. Moreover, he sent a messenger to his kinsman, asking him to come and see him. As to the kinsman, he understood Raghallach's deceit, and he assembled a company and went to meet his kinsman Raghallach; and as he went into his presence he directed his party to wear their swords unsheathed at their waists, and when Raghallach saw this he said: ‘It is sad that he whom I love most dearly on earth, and whom I wish to make my heir, trusts me not, though I am at the point of death.’ Now, when his kinsman heard this he was greatly afflicted at heart, and he came alone next day to see him, and Raghallach's party sprang upon him and slew him. Thereupon Raghallach got up in health on the spot and set to feasting merrily and most pleasantly. But Muireann, that is, Raghallach's wife, inquired of her druid after Raghallach had slain his kinsman whether there was trouble in store for her. The druid said that since Raghallach had slain his kinsman, both their deaths would be speedily brought about by their own children; and, moreover, that it was the child in her womb who would bring about their death. She made this known to Raghallach, and he told her to kill the child immediately after its birth.

Muireann gave birth to a daughter, and put her into a bag with a view to giving her to one of her people, a swineherd, that he might kill her. When the swineherd saw the face of the infant his heart yearned towards it, and he put it in the same bag in which he got it from its mother and took it privately to the door of a pious woman, who was near at hand, and left the bag on one of the arms of a cross that was near the pious woman's house. The pious woman came upon the bag, and when she found the infant in it she loved it greatly and reared it religiously. And there was not in Ireland in her time a more beautiful girl, so that her fame reached Raghallach, and he sent messengers asking her of her nurse. But the nurse did not grant this request. After this she was brought to him by force, and when he saw her he became greatly in love with her and he had her as a concubine. Now his own wife, Muireann, became jealous, and went to the king of Ireland to complain of this deed. And the scandal of this evil deed spread through Ireland, and the saints of Ireland were pained thereat, and Feichin Fabhair came to Raghallach and charged him, and many saints came with him and entreated him to give up this sin. But he did not give it up for them all, though they fasted on his account. However, as a warning to other people of inordinate desires, the saints prayed God that he should not be alive the Bealltaine following, and that he should fall by wicked people, and, moreover, by puny arms and in a squalid spot; and all these things befel him on the approach of Bealltaine. For a wild deer which had been wounded came helter skelter into the island in which Raghallach was, and which he was guarding, and as he saw the deer he laid hold of his javelin and made a cast of it at the animal and pierced it through therewith. The deer swam away from him and he followed it in a skiff, and the deer went some distance from the lake and came upon slaves, who were cutting turf, and they slew the deer and divided it between them. Ragallach came up to them and threatened them for having divided the deer, and asked them to give back the venison. But the slaves resolved to slay the king, and thereupon they attacked him with their oars and other implements, and slew him as was foretold regarding him by the saints. And Muireann, his wife, died through jealousy of her own daughter.

It was about this time that the Battle of Carn Conaill was fought by Diarmaid, son of Aodh Slaine, wherein Cuan, son of Amhalghuidh, who was king of Munster ten years, and Cuan, son of Conall, king of Ui Fidhgheinnte, and Talamonach, king of Ui Liathain, were slain; and it was through the prayer of Ciaran's community at Cluain Mic Nois that Diarmaid won that battle. And when Diarmaid returned to Cluain Mic Nois he bestowed land on that church as altar-land. And the name of that land at this day is Liath Mhanchain, and it was at Cluain Mic Nois that Diarmaid willed that he should be buried after his death. It was about this time that St. Fursa, of the race of Lughaidh Lamha, brother of Oilill Olum, died, and also Moicheallog, the saint, who lived and blessed at Cill Moicheallog; and this saint was of the race of Conaire, son of Eidirsceol. After this Ceallach fell at the Brugh on the Boyne, and Conall Caol was slain by Diarmaid, son of Aodh Slaine.

Blathmac and Diarmaid Ruanuidh, two sons of Aodh Slaine, son of Diarmaid, son of Fearghus Ceirrbheoil, son of Conall Creamthainne, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held jointly the sovereignty of Ireland seven years; and it was in their reign that Hossa fought the Battle of Pancti, where fell the king of Sacsa and thirty lords of his people. It was about this time that St. Ulltan died, and Maodhag of Fearna, son of Seadna, son of Earc, son of Fearadhach, son of Fiachraidh, son of Amhalghuidh, son of Muireadhach, son of Carrthann, son of Earc, son of Eochaidh, son of Colla Uais, and Cumin Foda, son of Fiachna the saint, and Maonach, son of Finghin, king of Munster. Diarmaid Ruanuidh and Blathmhac died of the plague called the Buidhe Conaill.

Seachnasach, son of Blathmac, son of Aodh Slaine, son of Diarmaid, son of Fearghus Ceirrbheoil, son of Conall Creamthainne, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the soveriegnty of Ireland six years. It was in the reign of this king that the Battle of Feart took place between the Ulstermen and the Cruithnigh, wherein there were many slain on both sides. It was about this time that Baoithin, abbot of Beannchair, died. After this Seachnasach, king of Ireland, fell by Dubh nDuin, of the Cineal Cairbre.

Ceannfaolaidh, son of Blathmac, son of Aodh Slaine, son of Diarmaid, son of Fearghus Ceirrbheoil, son of Conall Creamthainne, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the soveriegnty of Ireland four years. And it was in his reign that Beannchair was burned, and its community slain by foreigners. And the reason why this place is called Beannchair is this, Breasal Breac, king of Leinster, went with a full host to plunder Alba, and brought much cattle and herds with him to Ireland, and when himself and his host came to land they built a camp in the place which is now called Beannchair, and they killed many of the cows for meat, and many of the cows' horns, or beanna , remained throughout the plain; and hence the place was given the name of Magh Beannchair. And a long time after that, when the holy abbot Comhghall built a monastery in the same place he ordered that it be names from the place in which it was built, and hence it is called the Monastery of Beannchair. Soon after the foreigners had burned this monastery, Ceannfaolaidh, king of Ireland, was slain by Fionnachta Fleadhach, son of Donnchadh, in the Battle of Cealltair.

Fionnachta Fleadhach, son of Donnchadh, son of Aodh Slaine, of the race of Eireamhon, held the soveriegnty of Ireland seven years; and in his reign many banquets and feasts used to take place in Ireland, hence he is called Fionnachta Fleadhach. It was too, in his reign that Colman, bishop of Inis Bo Finne, died, and Fionan, who lived and blessed in Ard Fionain; and this Fionan was of the race of Fiachaidh Muilleathan; and St. Arannan died. It was Fionnachta who won the Battle of Loch Gabhair against the Leinstermen, where many of the Leinstermen fell by him. It was in his reign that Ceannfaolaidh, the learned, died, and Dunghal, son of Scannal, king of the Cruithnigh, and Ceannfaolaidh, king of Ciannachta Ghlinne Geimhean, were burned by Maolduin, son of Maoilfithrigh, in Dun Ceitheirn. It was in his reign, moreover, that the British made an incursion into Ireland, according to Beda in the 26th chapter of the fourth book. The leader of the host of the king of Sacsa, whose name was Egberthus, the leader's name being Berthus, came and plundered a large part of Ireland, in the age of the Lord 684. Thus does Beda lament this deed: Berthus plundered deplorably an inoffensive nation and one ever most friendly to the people or race of Sacsa. {Berthus vastavit misere gentem innoxam et nationi Anglorum semper amicissimam.}’’

And they fought the Battle of Raith Mor in Magh Line, wherein they slew Cumascach, king of the Cruithnigh, together with a large body of Gaels. Moreover, the Britons went thence on an expedition to the Orcades and plundered that island. A company of them also landed in the east of Leinster, and they plundered churches and country districts, and they returned after having committed much spoiling and plundering. Here is a stanza that Adhamnan composed for Fionnachta when he remitted the Boraimhe to Molaing:

    1. Fionnachta, son of Donnchadh,
      Remitted much to a saint:
      Thrice fifty hundred chained cows,
      And each cow with her calf.

Soon after that Fionnachta, king of Ireland, was slain by Aodh, son of Duitheach, and by Conghalach, son of Conaing, at Greallach Doluidh.

XV.

Loingseach, son of Aonghus, son of Domhnall, son of Aodh, son of Ainmire, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland eight years. It was in his reign that Adhamnan came from Alba to Ireland to preach, and Moling, of Luachair, died, and Magh Muirtheimhne was plundered by the Welsh. It was in the reign of this king that a great cow-plague existed in Sacsa and in Ireland, and there was a famine for three years in Ireland, so that the people devoured one another there at this time. It was about this time that St. Egberthus went to preach to Alba, and Muireadhach Muilleathan, king of Connaught, died, and the Ulstermen won the Battle of Magh Cuilinn over the Britons, where many Britons fell. It was about this time that Adhamnan, abbot of I, died, aged seventy-seven years, and the Saracens, with a numerous host, laid siege to Constantinople and built a three years encampment around it. After this they raised the siege. After this Coibhdhean, bishop of Ard Srath, died. Soon after this the Battle of Corann was fought by Ceallach, son of Raghallach, who was king of Connaught for seven years, wherein he slew Loingseach, son of Aonghus, king of Ireland.

Conghal Ceannmhaghair, son of Fearghus Fanad, son of Conall Gulban, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland nine years. It was this Conghal who burned all Cill Dara, both church and district. But he himself got a sudden and instant death after this event.

Fearghal, son of Maoilduin, son of Maoilfhithrigh, son of Aodh Uairiodhnach, son of Domhnall, son of Muircheartach, son of Muireadhach, son of Eoghan, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland seventeen years. Ceacht, daughter of Ceallach, son of Maolcobha, king of Cineal Conaill, was this Fearghal's mother. And it was in his reign that Baodan, bishop of Inis Bo Finne, died, and a battle was fought between the Dal Riada and the Britons in the place called Cloch Mhionnuirc, and the Britons were defeated there. It was about this time that Neachtain, king of Alba, expelled a community of monks from Britain for animadverting on his vices.

It was in the reign of this king that there fell the three showers from which Niall Frasach is named, as he was born when these freasa or showers fell; a shower of honey on Fothain Bheag and a shower of silver on Fothain Mhor and a shower of blood on Magh Laighean. It was about this time that the Battle of Almhuin was fought between Murchadh, son of Bran, who was fifteen years king of Leinster, and Fearghal, son of Maolduin, king of Ireland; and the host the king of Ireland brought to that battle amounted to twenty-one thousand, and the host the king of Leinster brought there amounted to nine thousand and eight score chosen warriors as a bodyguard to the king himself when going into the battle. And the king of Ireland was defeated in the battle, and two hundred and sixty-nine of his people were seized with frenzy, and three thousand two hundred of them were slain; and others say that seven thousand of them were slain. The reason why this disaster befel the king of Ireland was that when he was on the point of setting out to fight the Battle of Almhain a party of his followers went to plunder a church called Cillin, and carried off by force the one cow that the solitary hermit of that church had and the hermit cursed the king and his host, and hence they met reverse in battle; and the king of Ireland fell there with many of his people, as we have said above.

Fogharthach, son of Niall, son of Cearnach Sotal, son of Diarmaid, son of Aodh Slaine, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland one year, and fell by Cionaoth, son of Iorghalach, in the Battle of Beilge.

Cionaoth, son of Iorghalach, son of Conuing Currach, son of Conghal, son of Aodh Slaine, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland four years. It was in the reign of this king that the relics of Adhamnan were brought from Alba to Ireland. After that the Battle of Drom Corrain was won by Flaithbhearthach, son of Loingseach, against Cionaoth, son of Iorghalach, where Cionaoth, king of Ireland, fell, and many of his people along with him.

Flaithbhearthach, son of Loingseach, son of Aonghus, son of Domhnall, son of Aodh, son of Ainmire, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland seven years. Muireann, daughter of Ceallach, was the mother of this Flaithbhearthach. It was in the reign of this king, according to Beda, that the Battle of Drom Dearg, in Alba, was fought between Drust and Aonghus, two kings of the Cruithnigh, for the mastery of the country, and Drust and many of his people fell there.

And soon after that was fought the Battle of Murbholg between the Dal Riada and the Picts, that is, the Cruithnigh, wherein many of the Picts were killed. It was about this time that the Battle of Fotharta, in Muirtheimhne, was won by Aodh Ollan and by the clann Neill against the Ultonians, wherein Aodh Roin, who was thirty years king of Ulster, and Conchadh, son of Cuana, king of Cobha, were slain. After this Flaithbhearthach, son of Loingseach, king of Ireland, died at Ard Macha.

Aodh Ollan, son of Fearghal, son of Maolduin, son of Maoilfithrigh, son of Aodh Uairiodhnach, son of Domhnall, son of Muirchearthach, son of Muireadhach, son of Eoghan, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland nine years. Brige, daughter of Orca, son of Carrthann, was mother of Aodh Ollan. It was in the reign of this Aodh that the Battle of Bealach Feile was fought between Munster and Leinster, wherein fell many Munstermen and Leinstermen, together with Ceallach, son of Faolchur, king of Osruighe. It was Cathal son of Fionghaine, king of Munster, who won that battle.

After this Aonghus, son of Fearghus, king of the Picts, routed and defeated the Dal Riada in Scotland, and he plundered and robbed them and burned Dun Creige; and he seized Donnghal and Fearghus, two sons of Sealbhuidhe, king of Dal Riada, and put them in prison. It was about this time that a meeting took place between Aodh Ollan, king of Ireland, and Cathal, son of Fionghaine, king of Munster, at Tir Daghlas, in Urmhumha, where they imposed Patrick's rule and law and tribute on Ireland. Soon after that the Battle of Ath Seannaigh, that is, the Battle of Uchbhadh, was fought between Aodh Ollan, king of Ireland, and Aodh, son of Colgan, king of Leinster, wherein Aodh Ollan, was severely wounded, and wherein fell Aodh, son of Colgan, and Bran Beag, son of Murchadh, half-king of Leinster, together with many Leinster nobles, and nine thousand Leinstermen fell there. After that Flann, son of Cronnmhaol, bishop of Reachruinne, and Cathal son of Fionnghaine, king of Munster, and Aodh Balbh son of Innreachtach, who was the king of Connaught seven years, died; and Aodh Ollan, king of Ireland, was slain in the Battle of Seiridmheadh, that is at Ceanannus, by Domhnall son of Murchadh.

Domhnall, son of Murchadh, son of Diarmaid, son of Airmeadhach Caoch, son of Conall Guithbhinn, son of Suibhne, son of Colman Mor, son of Diarmaid, son of Fearghus Ceirrbheoil, son of Conall Creamhthainne, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland forty-two years. Ailpin, daughter of Comhghall, of the Dealbhna Mor, was mother of Domhnall, son of Murchadh, king of Ireland. It was in his reign that Colman, bishop of Laosan, was slain by the Ui Turtaire, and Cormac, bishop of Ath Truim, died. It was about this time that the form of a serpent was seen in motion in the air; and Seachnasach, son of Colgan, king of Ui Cinnsealaigh died; and Caitheasach, son of Oilioll, king of the Cruithinigh, was slain at Raith Beitheach by the Leinstermen. It was in the reign of this king that Suairleach, bishop of Fobhar, died, also Osbhran, bishop of Cluain Chreamhuidh.

After that was fought the Battle of Bealach Cro by Criomhthann, son of Eanna, where fell Fionn, son of Arb, at Tiobraid Fhinn, and the Dealbhna were slaughtered around him; and it is from this event that the lake in that place is called Loch an Bhealaigh Chro, and the well that is in the same place is called Tobar Finn. It was about this time that Cumascach, king of Ui Failghe, fell by Maolduin, son of Aodh Beannan, king of Munster, and Aonghus, king of Alba, died; and Mac Coinchearca, king of Osruighe, won the Battle of Bealach Gabhran against Dungal, son of Laidhghein, king of Ui Cinnsealaigh, wherein Dunghal was slain, together with many of the Leinster nobles. And Muirchearthach, son of Murchadh, king of Leinster, died. After this Domhnall, son of Murchadh, first king of Ireland of the clann Colmain, died.

Niall Frasach, son of Fearghal, son of Maolduin, son of Maoilfithrigh, son of Aodh Uairiodhnach, son of Domhnall, son of Muircheartach, son of Muireadhach, son of Eoghan, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland four years. Aithiochta, daughter of Cian O Conchubhair king of Ciannachta, was the mother of Niall Frasach. And the reason why he is called Niall Frasach is that there fell three showers in Ireland when he was born—a shower of honey on Fothain Bheag and a shower of silver on Fothain Mhor and a shower of blood on Magh Leighean. And frais means a shower. It was in the reign of this Niall that Duibhionnracht, son of Cathal, son of Muireadhach Muilleathan, who was five years king of Connaught, died; and there was an earthquake and a great famine in Ireland, and Dunghal, son of Ceallach, king of Osruighe, died. After that was fought the Battle of Achadh Liag between Ui mBriuin and Ui Maine, where many fell on either side, and Cronnmhaol, bishop of Cill Mhor, and Ailpin, king of the Picts, and Aolgnat, bishop of Ard Breacain, died. Soon after that Artghaile, son of Cathal, went on a pilgrimage to I Columcille, in Alba, and Fearghus, bishop of Daimhliag, died; and at Corann there was a battle fought between Cineal Conaill and Cineal Eoghain, wherein Maolduin, son of Aodh Ollan, king of the Fochla, was victorious, and Domhnall, son of Aodh Muindearg, was defeated and many of his people slain there. After this Niall Frasach, king of Ireland, died in I Columcille, in Alba.