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TALES OF THE TUATHA DE DANANN


THE BOOK OF INVASIONS




  The narratives assembled under the title " Book of Invasions (or Occupations) are the literary embodiment of Ireland's own impressions regarded the history of her population. For the early Irish they served somewhat the same functions as the account of the wanderings of Aeneas dld for the Romans. To say, as some have done, that the "The Book of Invasions" is a collection of Irish mythology is to give an entirely wrong impression of its contents. Some of the characters, it is true, may be rationalized gods, but the stories as they now stand belong rather to pseudo-history than to mythology. For example, Emer, Eber, and Eremon, though represented in the narrative as ancient kings, are in fact merely fictitious personages with names made up from the ancient name for Ireland, spelled in the earliest manuscript as Eriu. Modern students of early Irish history are inclined to see underlying these obviously fictitious narratives a substratum of fact, and to regard the account as reflecting in a general way an historical record of early population groups.

  The present version is preserved only in rather late manuscripts, but the ancient origin of at least some parts of it is convincingly supported by comparison with the early forms of the British-Latin "History of the Britons'' (Historia Britonum).

  The selections presented below as not continuous, but they form tolerably unified sections, describing the arrival of three different groups of immigrants The first of the divisions here given is preceded in the complete text by the account of the arrival of Partholon and his people. The account of the Tuatha De Danann serves as a background for ''The Second Battle of Moytura'' and "The Fate of the Children of Tuirenn".


The Conquest of Nemed


  Now Ireland was waste thirty years after the plague-burial of Partholon's people, till Nemed son of Agnoman son of Pamp son of Tai son of Ser son of Sru son of Esru son of Brament son of Aitecht son of Magog, etc , of the Greeks of Scythia, reached it.

  Now this is the account of Nemed. He came from Scythia westward, a-rowing the Caspian Sea, till he reached in his wandering the great Northern Ocean. Thirty-four ships were his number, and thirty in each ship. While they were thus wandering, there appeared to them a golden tower on the sea close by them. Thus it was: when the sea was in ebb the tower appeared above it, and when it flowed it rose above the tower. Nemed went with his people towards it for greed of the gold From the greatness of their covetousness for it they did not perceive the sea filling around them, so that the eddy took their ships from them all but a few , and their crews were drowned, except those of them whom Nemed and his children rescued by dint of rowing. A year and half were they after that wandering on the sea, till they reached Ireland. They remain in it.

  Now as for Nemed, he had four chiefs with him, -Starn, Iarbanel the Prophet, Fergus Redside, and Ainninn. They were the four sons of Nemed. Macha was the name of his wife. Medb, Machu, Yba, and Cera were the names of the wives of the chieftains he had. The twelfth day after they reached Ireland, the wife of Nemed died; she was the first dead in Ireland from among them. Four lake-bursts over Ireland in the time of Nemed; Loch Calin Ui Niallan, Loch Munremur of Sliab Guaire, Loch Dairbrech, and Loch Ainninn in Meath. At the end of nine years after their coming to Ireland, these last two lakes burst forth.

  Two royal forts were dug by Nemed in Ireland; Rath Cinn Eich in Ui Niallan, and Rath Cimbaith in Seimne. The four sons of Madan Fat-Neck of the Fomorians dug Rath Cinn Eich in one day -Boc, Roboc, Ruibne, and Rodan were their names. For they were kept in servitude by Nemed, with their father Madan, before they completed the excavation.

  Twelve plains were cleared by Nemed in Ireland in servitude likewise; namely, Mag Cera and Mag Eba in Connacht, Mag Tochair in Tir Eoghain, Leccmag in Munster, Mag mBernsa in Leinster, Mag Cuile Tolad in Connacht, Mag Lugad in Ui Tuirte, Mag Sered in Tethba, Mag Seimni in Dal Araide, Mag Luirg in Connacht, Mag Muirthemne in Conaille, and Mag Macha in Argialla.

  Nemed won three battles over the Fomorians; namely, the battle of Murbolg in Dal Riada, where fell Starn son of Nemed at the hands of Conann son of Faebar, in Lethet of Lachtmag in Murbolg; the battle of Ros Fraechain in Connacht, which is called the battle of Badgna; there fell two kings of the Fomorians, namely, Gann and Sengann; and the battle of Cnamros in Leinster, where fell a slaughter of the men of Ireland, with Beoan son of Starn son of Nemed, by the same Conann Moreover, by Nemed were these three battles won, although his people suffered great hurt in them. Nemed died afterwards of plague in the Island of Ard Nemed in Ui Liathan, In Munster; and three thousand with him.

  Now there was a great oppression on the Children of Nemed after that, since their champions and their chieftains were destroyed in the aforesaid battles, and since Nemed died with the number we have mentioned. Those at whose hands they suffered that oppression were Conann son of Faebar of the Fomorians, and Morc son of Dele the other chief. The fortress of Conann at that time was at Tor Conainn, which is called Torinis Cetne, to the northwest of Ireland. A sheep-land was made of Ireland by them, so that not a venture was made to let smoke be seen by day from a house that was in it, except with the consent of the Fomorians. Two-thirds of their corn, their milk, and their children, with other intolerable burdens, the Fomorians used to demand, this is what was given to them ; and the men of Ireland had to deliver every item to them always on Samain eve (Hallowe'en) at Mag Cetne. For this reason It is called Mag Cetne, for the frequency they had to pay the heavy tax there to the Fomorians; and the men of Ireland had a byword at that time, asking one another, "Is it to to same plain (Mag Cetne) the tax will be brought on this occasion?" So that thence was the plain named.

  Now wrath and rage seized the Children of Nemed for the heaviness of their stress and the injuriousness of their tax; so that their three chieftains plotted to cause their people throughout Ireland to collect and assemble, so that they should arrive at one place. They acted accordingly; and having reached one spot, they resolved on one counsel, to proceed to Conann's Tower to demand alleviation of their oppression from the Fomorians, or to fight with them.

  These were their chieftains : Fergus Redside son of Nemed, Semeon son of Iarbanel, son of Nemed, and Erglan son of Beoan son of Starn son of Nemed. There were other princes and nobles in that assembly besides, with Artur the Great son of Nemed, and Alma One-tooth son of Nemed, etc. Thirty thousand on sea, and the same number on land, was the number of the Children of Nemed who went to that destruction, besides foreigners, wastrels, and a rabble, which they brought to increase their muster against the oppression of the Fomorians.

  After they had reached the shore of Torinis they made booths and huts about the borders of the bay. Then they resolved on the counsel to send Alma One-Tooth to Conann, to ask a respite in the matter of the tax to the end of three years. Alma went and reached the fortress of Conann. When he heard his speech, Conann was enraged with the martial prince, so that he got no good of his journey. Alma returned to his people and told them the words of the chief. Downcast were they at hearing them, and they induced Alma to go back again, to ask a respite of one year of Conann, to show him their poverty and need, to bear witness to their inability to produce there the heavy tax of that year, and to promise that it should come to him in its fullness at the end of that time. They said to him further, unless he should obtain the remission he was asking, to proclaim battle against Conann; for they well-nigh preferred to fall together in one place, men, women, and boys and girls, than to be under the great distress in which they were any longer.

  Alma went forward to Conann and told him the words of the Children of Nemed in his presence. "They will get the grace," said Conann, "on condition that they neither separate nor scatter from one another till the end of that year, so that I and the Fomorians get them in one place, for their destruction, unless they pay the tax in full at the end of the grace."

  Alma returned to his brothers and told them the news. They then accepted it, in the hope that they should send messengers to their brothers and their original stock in Greece, to ask the help of an army from them against the Fomorians. For Relbeo, daughter of the king of Greece, was mother of two of those children of Nemed, Fergus Redside and Alma One-Tooth. Smol son of Esmol was king of Greece at that time.

  When the messengers from Ireland reached Greece, Smol caused the nobles of Greece to come and assemble together in common, so that he brought together an immense host of the choice of warriors, of druids and druidesses, of wolves and venomous animals throughout the coasts. He sends them before to the Children of Nemed, and himself joins them afterwards with the full muster of the Greeks, and they all set out for Ireland. The progress of that voyage is not related up to the time they took harbor at Conann's Tower.

  Welcoming were the Children of Nemed to them; and this was agreed upon by them after their arrival, to declare war on Conann unless he yielded them their freedom. They send messengers to him about this. Conann was enraged with them after hearing their speech, so that he agreed to give battle. The messengers went back to their people. Conann sent for Morc son of Dele, the other prince, of the Fomorians. Notwithstanding, he thought it inglorious to delay answering the battle at once, for he felt sure that the Children of Nemed were not ready to undertake battle with him, on account of the valor and multitude of his host.

  Then the men of Ireland sent a spy to the tower of Conann, namely, Relbeo, daughter of the King of Greece, who came in the host of her children. A druidess was she, and she went in the form of the concubine of Conann to the tower, so that she was with him in lover's wise for a while, through the confusion of his mind. A battle was begun just between their druids, and another between their druidesses so that it went against the Fomorians. In short, every battle which was fought for a while after that went against the Fomorians, so that their people were destroyed to a great extent.

  A wall strong and hard to pull down was made by the Children of Nemed near the tower after that, at the voice of their spy, and they sent the hurtful animals the Greeks had brought to their assistance to the tower, so that they breached every quarter and every side of it before them; and the attacking party went on their trail through the ways they made, forward to the tower. The mighty men of the tower were not able to remain within it, because of the strength and venom of the hurtful strange animals mingled with, them.

  Conann with his war squadrons fled at once, and he thought it ignoble not to attack the hosts face to face. For he considered it easier to give them battle, than to wait in the tower for the wild venomous beats who came though the walls after they had destroyed them. The attacking host after that secured both hounds and venomous swine, after the warriors had left the tower. They then left a guard over it, and proceeded to the combat. Each of them took his battle-duties upon him on this side and that. After they had been thus fighting together for a while this was what happened: Conann fell by the hand of Fergus Redside son of Nemed in fair fight The Fomorians had two valiant knightly warriors beside that, Gllcas son of Faebar, and Orcifanat; and the Fomorians closed round them after losing their leader. They took to raising high their warlike efforts and their deeds of valor, till the Children of Nemed remembered their hostility and their cruelty to them up till then. So Semeon son of Starn and Gilcas son of Faebar were matched as well as Iarbanel and Orcifanat. This was the end of it, that the Fomorians were beheaded by the hands of those warriors who happened to be matched against them.

  The battle at last went against the tribe of the Fomorians, and the men of Ireland took to encircling and surrounding them, so that not a fugitive escaped from them. The host proceeded to the tower, and took its treasures, its gold, its silver, and all its valuables in general. They put fires at every quarter of it after that, so that not higher was its smoke than its flame. Its women and women servants, its boys and girls were burnt, and not a fugitive escaped from it.

  The Children of Nemed shared the booty of the tower among the nobles and the great men of the Greeks before parting from them, and they were grateful, one towards the other. Now the Children of Nemed stayed in the place of conflict after the departure of the Greeks from them, burying those of their nobles who were slain. Not long were they thus when they saw a, full-great fleet approachmg them; three-score ships was its number, teeming with a choice of warriors, led by Morc son of Dele, the other chief of the Fomorians, coming to help Conann They landed in their presence. The Children of Nemed went to hold the harbor against them, though they were worn out, for this was their resolve, not to suffer the Fomorians any longer to frequent Ireland.

  Howbeit, although great was the despite and hatred of Morc son of Dele against the Children of Nemed before that, it was far the greatest on that occasion. A hot desperate battle was fought between them on every side. Such was the intensity of the fighting, and the greatness of the mutual hostility, that they did not perceive the gigantic wave of the tide filing up on every side about them, for there was not any heed in their minds but for their battle feats alone; so that the majority were drowned and annihilated, except the people of one ship of the Fomorians and one group of thirty men of the Children of Nemed. The crew of that ship arrived back and they told their news to the people, and they were downcast at hearing it.

  As for the thirty warriors of the Children of Nemed who escaped from that destruction, the three chieftains that were over them divided Ireland into three parts between them after that. These are the chieftains: Beothach son of Iarbanel son of Nemed, Semeon son of Erglan son of Beoan son of Starn son of Nemed, and Britain son of Fergus Redside son of Nemed. The third of Beothach just, from Tornis to the Boyne to Belach Conglais, the third of Semeon from the Boyne to Belach Conglais; the third of Britain from Belach Conglais to Torinis Cetne.

  However, they did not abide long by that division without separating and scattering into other counties over sea; for they stood in fear of the Fomorians lest what remained of them should wreak their resentment upon them after the battles that had been fought between them. Another cause: they themselves were not friendly or heart loving one to the other; and then, in addition, they were terrified of the plagues by which the troops of their chieftains and of their men had died before the storming of the tower. So for these causes they separated one from the other. These are the lands whither they went. Semeon with his nine to the lands of Greece- he had gone after the death of his father to Ireland; Britain and his father Fergus Redside to Mon Conainn in Britain. (The foregoing prose account is followed by a versified treatment ascribed to the poet Eochald Ua Flainn,'who died A.D. 1003)

The Conquest of the Fir Bolg


  Now Ireland was desert for the space of two hundred years after the separation of the three groups we have mentioned, till the coming of the race of the chief group into it, that is the Fir Bolg.

  Of the Children of Nemed by descent were they, for Semeon son of Erglan son of Beoan son of Starn son of Nemed was chief of one of the three nonads of the Children of Nemed who went from Ireland after the destruction of Conann's Tower, and who landed in Greece. They were there till many and divers were their children and their families. After they increased thus, the Greeks did not allow them to be with their own young men; but they imposed servitude on them. This was its amount, to make clovery plains of the stony rough-headed hills with the clay from elsewhere, after bringing It to the places in which they were ordered and commanded to put it.

  Tired, weary, and. despondent were they from this; so this is the counsel they discussed among themselves, to escape from the intolerable bondage in which they were. They agreed thereto at length. Then they made canoes and fair vessels of the skins and rope bags for carrying the earth till they were sound and seaworthy. They went in them thereafter, in quest of the fatherland from which their ancestors had gone. Their adventures on the sea are not related, save only that they reached Ireland in one week.

  Different were their tribe-names at that time as they came, namely, Galeoin, Fir Bolg, and Fir Domnann; nevertheless, though various and dissimilar were their names, their mutual friendship was very close; for they were of one race and one origin. Five chiefs were over them--Slainge, Rudraige, Gann, Genann, and Sengann, the five sons of Dela son of Loch son of Ortecht son of Tribuad son of Oturp son of Goisten son of Uirthecht, son of Semeon son of Erglan son of Nemed son of Agnoman. Now Galeoin was the name of Galeon with his people; Galeoin truly is gal-fhian, that is, the third who used to surpass the other two-thirds in valor and in equipment; so that from the valor (gal) they took the name. Fir Bolg, again, is the name of Gann and Sengann with their people; to them the name Fir Bolg properly belongs, for it is they who were carrying the earth in the bags (bolg). Fir Domnann, from “digging the earth” was it said: that is Fir Domanfuinn, that is the men who used to deepen (doim-nigim) the earth To Rudraige and to Genann with their people was the name applied. And It was in Inber Domnann that they took harbor However, it is correct to call them all Fir Bolg in general, for it is in the bags for carrying the earth they came over sea to Ireland, and they are one immigration and one race and one principality, though they came on different days, and landed in different creeks.

  These are the creeks. Slainge, their chief prince and elder, reached the land in Inber Slainge on Saturday on the Calends of August, so far as regards the day of the week; so that from him the creek took its name; a thousand men his number. Sengann and Gann in Inber Dubglaise; a Tuesday they landed, two thousand their number. Rudraige and Genann landed in Inber Domnann as we have said, the following Friday; two thousand, moreover, was their number.

  They came together afterwards in Usnech of Meath, and they divided Ireland there in five parts. The share of Slainge first, from Inber Colptha to Commair of the Three Waters; of Gann next, from Commair to Belach Conglais; Sengann from Belach Conglais to Limerick, Genann from Limerick to Drobais; Rudraige from Drobais to the Boyne.

The Conquest of the Tuatha De Danann


  As for Iobath son of Beothach son of Iarbanel son of Nemed, after his leaving Ireland with his people after the conquest before described, they settled in the northern islands of Greece. They were there till numerous were their children and their kindred. They learned druidry and many various arts in the islands where they were, what with fithnaisecht, amaitecht, conbliocht, and every sort of gentilism in general, until they were knowing, learned, and very accomplished in the branches thereof. They were called Tuatha De; that is, they considered their men of learning to be gods, and their husbandmen non-gods, so much was their power in every art and every druidic occultism besides. Thence came the name, which is Tuatha De, to them.

  These were the cities where they were being instructed; Falias, Gorias, Findias, and Murias They had an instructor of learning In each one of these cities. These are their names; Morfessa in Falias, Esras in Gorias, Uscias in Findias, and Semias who was in Murias. From Falias was brought the Stone of Fal (Lia Fail) which Lug had in Tara; that is what used to scream under every king who took the sovereignty of Ireland from the time of Lug Lamfada to the time of the birth of Christ, and it has never screamed thereafter under any king from that out; for it was a demon that had entrance into it, and the powers of every idol ceased in the time of the birth of the Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary. From that Lia Fail is called Inis Fail (Ireland), as Cinaeth O'Hartagain   1   proves, having said:

The stone on which my heels stand,
From it is named Inis Fail;
Between two strands of a mighty flood,
Ireland altogether is called Mag Fail.


From Gorias was brought the spear that Lug had; no battle was mantained against him who had it in his hand. From Findias was brought the sword of Nuada; none used to escape who was wounded by it. From Murias was brought the cauldron of the Dagda; no one came from it unsatisfied.

  After they completed their learning, they went between the Athenians and the Philistines, so that they dwelt between them. Now there arose battles and conflicts between those races, and they were evil and maliciously disposed one to the other. Many battles were fought between them, and it was against the Athenians the battles used to be won, until all save a, little remnant were exhausted. Then the Tuatha De joined in friendship with the Athenians, and they formed through druidry demon-spirits in the bodies of the soldiers of the Athenians who were slain, so that they were fit for battle; thus they used to encounter the Philistines again. The Philistines thought it immensely astonishing to see the men they had slain fighting with them the day after. They told that to their druid. Their elder gave them advice, saying? "Take" said he, "pegs of hazel and of quicken-tree to the battle on the morrow; and if yours be the victory, thrust the pins in the backs of the necks of the men who shall be slain; and if they be demons, heaps of worms will be made of them".

  They did so. The Philistines were victorious, and they thrust the pegs in the backs of the necks of the warrior's they slew, and they were worms on the morrow. Thence the strength of the Athenians was humbled, and the Philistines were powerful. Then they remembered their hostility and unfriendliness against the Tuatha De in the matter of the confederacy they had made with the Athenians against them; so that this is what they resolved, to assemble to attack them to revenge their spite against them. When the Tuatha De knew that, they went in flight before the Philistines until they received patrimony and land in Dobar and Iardobar in the north of Alba. Seven years were they in that place, Nuada being prince over them. This was the plan decided upon by them by the end of that time, to attack Ireland against the Fir Bolg, as they were populous; for to go there was theirs by right of heredity.

  When they arrived at this resolution, they set out on the sea; and their adventures thereon are not related until they took harbor on the coast of Ireland; a Monday on the first of May. They burned their boats and ships, in order that the Fomorians should not be able to use them against them; and further, in order that they themselves should not have them to flee therein from Ireland, if it was against them the Fir Bolg should be victorious. Then they made a great darkness around them until they reached the mountaln of Conmaicne Rem in Connacht without the Fir Bolg perceiving it. Then they demanded battle or the kingship of their kinsmen the Fir Bolg.

  In consequence was fought the battle of Mag Tured of Cong   2   in Conmaicne Cuile Tolad of Connacht. He who was king of the Fir Bolg then was Eochaid son of Erc. Tailltiu daughter of Magmor king of Spain was wife of that Eochaid; and Nuada son of Eochaid son of Etarlam was king over the Tuatha De. They were a long time fighting that battle. It was won at last against the Fir Bolg, and the rout was pressed northward, and eleven hundred were slaughtered from Mag Tured to the Strand of Ethaile. Edleo son of Alldae is the first man who fell in Ireland of the Tuatha De, by the hand of Nercon grandson of Siomon.

  The Tuatha De were pressing upon the Fir Bolg until they came upon king Eochaid son of Erc in the place we have mentioned, so that he fell at the hands of the three sons of Nemed son of Badrae, namely, Cesasarb, Luam, and Luachra. Even the Tuatha De were slain and cut off to a great extent, and in the Joining of the battle their king, Nuada, had his arm hewn off from his shoulder. Afterwards Diancecht the leech and Credne the brazier made for him a silver arm, with vitality in every finger and every joint of it. But Miach son of Diancecht lopped of the silver arm after a, while, and put joint to joint and sinew to sinew, and healed it in thrice nine days; and Diancecht his father was envious of him. For this cause the king used to be called Nuada SilverArm.

  As for Tailltiu, daughter of Magmor king of Spain, wife of Eochaid son of Erc, queen of the Fir Bolg, she wedded Eochaid the Rough son of Dul the Blind of the Tuatha De; and Tailltiu came after the fighting of the battle of Mag Tured to Coill Chuan (Cuan's Wood) ; and the wood was cleared at her command, so that It was a clovery plain at the end of a year, and she inhabited it afterwards. And Cian son of Diancecht (Scal the Dumb is another name of that Cian) gave his son, named Lug son of Ethne daughter of Balor, to Tailltiu for fosterage And she desired of her fostermother and of her friends that from her should be named that place that was cleared by her, and that she should be buried there after death. Then Tailltiu died in Talltiu, and was buried; so that it is her grave that is north-westward from the assembly-place of Taillte. Her mourning games used to be performed each year by Lug and by the kings after him ; a fortnight before Lugnasad (Mid-summer) and a fortnight after, they used to be held continually. Lugnasad is the nasad of Lug: nasad is an assembly or festival in commemoration or memorial of a death.

  Now the Fir Bolg were all slaughtered in that battle, as we have said, save a few; and those of them who survived fled before the Tuatha De into the outermost isles and Islets of the sea, so that they dwelt in them after that.

  (Here follow two sections dealing with the genealogies of the Tuatha De, the succession of their kings, and the various ways in which they met death.)

The Conquest of the Sons of Mil


  (The introductory sections of this part deal with the adventures of the ancestor of Mil in Scythia, Egypt, and Spain The following selection begins with the decision to Invade Ireland.)

  After the death of Mil, as we have said, Emer Donn and Eremon, his two sons took the rule and chief government of Spain between themselves.

  There was a father's brother of Mil, Ith son of Bregan, with them; he was expert and accomplished in knowledge and in learning Once when Ith, of a clear winter's evening, was on top of Bregan's Tower, contemplating and looking over the four quarters of the world, it seemed to him that he saw a shadow and a likeness of a land and lofty island far away from him. He went back to his brethren, and told them what he had seen, and said that he was mindful and desirous of going to see the land that had appeared to him. Breg son of Bregan said that it was no land he had seen but clouds of heaven, and he was hindering Ith from going on that expedition. Ith did not consent to stay, however.

  Then Ith brought his ship on the sea, and came himself with his son Lugaid son of Ith, and others of his people in it. They sailed toward Ireland, and their adventures on sea are not related, save only that they took harbor in Bentracht of Mag Itha. The neighbors went to the shore to interview them, and each of them told news to the other in the Irish language. Ith asked them the name of the land to which he had come, and who was in authority over it. "Inis Elga," they said; "Mac Cuill, Mac Cecht, and Mac Greine are the names of its Kings."

  It happened in that day that there were many chieftains and nobles of Ireland in Ailech Neid, making peace between Mac Cuill and his brethren, for they said that he had an excess of the goods of Fiachna son of Delbaeth, who had died previously. When Ith heard that, he went with his son and with two-thirds of his people to Ailech. The kings welcomed him when he reached the assembly, and after he was a while among them, they told him the matter about which they were in opposition and contention between them. And he said to them:

  "Do just righteousness. It is fitting for you to maintain a good brotherhood. It is right for you to have a good disposition. Good is the land and the patrimony you inhabit; plenteous her harvest, her honey, her fish, her wheat, and her other grain. Moderate her heat and her cold. A11 that is sufficient for you is in her." Then he took farewell of them and went to his ship.

  The nobles plotted to kill him, in jealousy for Ireland, and for the testimony of praise he gave to their island; and they sent a great number to follow him, so that he was wounded to death in Mag Itha, and from him the plain took its name. He reached his ship wounded and bleeding, by the valor and bravery of his people; and he died with them in his ship on the sea.

  Then they reached Spain and showed the body of Ith to his brethren, and they were anguished and sorrowful at his dying thus. Then the sons of Mil and the posterity of Gaedel in general thought it was fitting and proper for them to go and avenge their brother on the Tuatha De Danann. They decided on this at last: they collected their warriors and their men of valor from every place where they were, through the lands and the district, until they were in one place in Brigantia, numerous and fully assembled. Then the sons of Mil, with their brethren and kinsmen, and their people in general, brought their ships on the sea to go to Ireland to avenge their bad welcome on the Tuatha De Danann. Three score and five ships was the number of the expedition; forty chiefs the number of their leaders, with Donn son of Mil at their head. These are the names of their chiefs.

Emer Donn
Eremon
Eber Finn
Ir
Amergin
Colptha
Airech Febra
Erannan
Muimne
Luigne
Laigne
Palap
Er
Orba
Fer on
Fergin
Eber son of Ir
Brega
Cuala
Cooley
Blad
Fuad
Muirthe mne
Eblinne
N ar
Lugaid
Lui
Bile
Buas
Bres
Buaigne
Fulman
Mantan
Caicer
Suirge
En
Un
Etan
Sobairce
Sedga
Goisten


  To commemorate the names of those chiefs and leader, this we said; Flann  3   composed it:

The chiefs of the voyage over the sea
By which the sons of Mil came,
I have in recollection during my life,
Their names without lie.

Dona, Eremon noble Emer,
Ir, Amergin without partiality,
Colptha, Airech Febra the keen,
Erannan, Muimne fine and smooth.

Luigne, Laigne, Palap the lucky,
Er, Orba, Feron, Fergin,
Eber son of Ir, Brega, I shall say,
Cuala, Cualgne, Blad rough and strong.

Fuad, and Muirthemne with fame,
Eblinne Nar, Buas with battle,
Bres,Buaigne, and Fulman.

Mantan, Caicer, slender Suirge,
En, Uni, and rigid Etan ,
Sobairce, Sedga, of spears,
And Goisten the champion.

They conquered noble Ireland
Against the Tuatha De of great magic,
In vengeance for Ith of the steeds
Thirty, ten, and one chieftain.


  As for the sons of Mi1, they sailed in a great expedition on the sea to Ireland, and did not pause in the course until they saw at a distance the Island from the sea. And when they saw Ireland, their warriors made a contention of rowing and sailing to their utmost in their eagerness and anxiety to reach it; so that Ir son of Mil advanced a wave before every other ship by reason of his strength and valor. So Eber Donn son of Mil, the eldest of them, was zealous and said:

It is no good deed
Ir before Ith to proceed


that is before Lugaid son of Ith, for Lugaid had the name Ith. Then the oar that was in the hand of Ir split, so that Ir fell backwards across the thwart and broke his back there. He died on the following night, and they preserved his body so long as they were on the sea, and buried it afterwards in Scellic of Irras Desceirt of Corco Duibne. Sorrowful were Eremon, Eber Finn, and Amergin at the death of their brother; and they said, as it were out of one mouth, it was right that Eber Donn should not enjoy the land about which he was envious of his brother, that is of Ir.

  The sons of Mil advanced to a landing in Inber Stainge. The Tuatha De Danann did not allow them to come to land there, for they had not held parley with them. By their druidry they caused it to appear to the sons of Mil that the region was no country or island, territory or land at all, In front of them. They encircled Ireland three times, till at last they took the harbor at Inber Scene, a Thursday, as regards the day of the week, on the day before the first of May, the seventeenth day of the moon; the Year of the World 3500.

  Then they came at the end of three days thereafter to Sliab Mis. Banba met them in Sliab Mis, with the hosts of druidry and cunning Amergin asked her name. "Banba"  4   said she, "and it is from my name that Banba is given as a name for this country." And she asked a petition from them, that her name should remain always on the island That was granted to her.

  Then they had converse with Fodla in Eblinne, and the poet Amergin asked her name of her in like manner. "Fodla," said she, "and from me is the land named." And she prayed that her name might remain on it, and it was granted to her as she requested.

  They held converse with Eriu in Usnech of Mide. She said to them, "Warriors," said she, "welcome to you. It is long since your coming is prophesied. Yours will be the island forever. There is not better island in the world. No race will be more perfect than your race."

  "Good is that" said Amergin.

  "Not to her do we give thanks for it," said Donn, "but to our gods and to our power"

   "It is naught to thee," said Eriu; "thou shalt have no gain of this island nor will thy children. A gift to me, 0 sons of Mil and the children of Bregan, that my name may be upon this island!"

   "It will be its chief name for ever." said Amergin "namely Eriu (Erin)."

  The Gaedels went to Tara. Now Drum Cain was its name at that time among the Tuatha De Danann. Liathdruim was its name among the Fir Bolg. There were three kings before them in Liathdruim namely, Mac Cuill, Mac Cecht, and Mac Greine. The sons of Mil demanded a battle or kingship or judgment from them.

  They adjudged to the sons of Mil that they should have possession of the island to the end of nine days, to depart, or to submit, or to prepare for battle. "If my advice were carried out" said Donn son of Mil, "it is a battle it would be" The sons of Mil did not grant the respite they sought to the Tuatha De Danann.

  "We give" said the kings, "the judgment of your own poets to you, for if they give a false judgment against us they will die on the spot"

  "Give the judgment, Amergin," said Donn.

  " I speak it," said Amergin "Let the land be left to them till we come again to take it by force."

  " Whither shall we go? " said Eber Donn.

  " Over nine waves," said Amergin; and he said this:

The men you have found are in possession:
Over the nine green-necked waves
Of the seas advance ye.
Unless by you power then be planted,
Quickly let the battle be prepared.
I assign the possession
Of the land ye have found:
If ye love concede this award,
If ye love not concede it not-
It is I that say this to you.


  " If it were my counsel that were followed," said Donn son of Mil, "battle it would be." Nevertheless the sons of Mll went by the advice and Judgment of Amergin from Liathdruim to Inber Scene, the place where they had left their ships, and passed over nine waves. " Let us trust to the powers," said the druid, " that they may never reach Ireland." With that the druids cast druidic winds after them, so that the bottom gravel was raised to the top of the sea, so great was the storm; so that the storm took them westward in the ocean until they were weary. "A druid's wind is that." said Donn son of Mil. " It is indeed," said Amergin " unless it be higher than the mast; and find out for us if it be so." Erannnan the youngest son of Mil went up the mast, and said that it was not over them. With that he fell on the planks of the ship from the mast, so that they shattered his limbs.

  " A shame to our men of leaning is it," said Donn, "not to suppress the druidic wind."

  "No shame it shall be," said Amergin, rising up, and he said:

I invoke the land of Ireland.
Much-coursed be the fertile sea,
Fertile be the fruit-strewn mountain,
Fruit-strewn be the showery wood,
Showery be the river of water-falls,
Of water-falls be the lake of deep pools,
Deep-pooled be the hill-top well,
A well of tribes be the assembly,
An assembly of the kings be Tara,
Tara be the hill of the tribes,
The tribes of the sons of Mil,
Of Mil of the ships, the barks,
Let the lofty bark be Ireland,
Lofty Ireland, darkly sung,
An incantation of great cunning;
The great cunning of the wives of Bres,
The wives of Bres of Buaigne;
The great lady Ireland,
Eremon hath conquered her,
Ir; Eber have Invoked for her.
I invoke the land of Ireland.


  Immediately a tranquil calm came to them on the sea. Said Donn, "I will put under the edge of spears and swords the warriors that are in the land now, only let me land." The wind increased on them thereupon, so that it separated from them the ship in which was Donn; and he was drowned at the Dumacha. Twenty-four warriors of valor, twelve women, and four mercenaries, with their folk are the number that were drowned with Donn in that ship. After that Donn was buried in the Dumacha; so that from him "Tech Duin" is called, and there is his own gravemound and the gravemound of everyone who was drowned of the chieftains of his people with him, in that place. Now Dil daughter of Mil, Eremon buried her for the love he had for her, so that he said in putting a sod on her, "This is a sod on a 'dear one' (dil)," said he. These are the chieftains who were drowned with Donn at that time: Bile son of Brige, Airech Febra, Buss, Bres, and Buagne. Ir was buried in Scellic of Irras, as we have said above, Erannan died In the creek after going to contemplate the wind, and after breaking his bones on the deck. Eight chieftains were their losses among their nobles up to then.

  In the night In which the sons of Mil came to Ireland was the burst of Loch Luigdech over land in West Munster. When Lugaid son of Ith was bathing in the lake, and Fial daughter of Mi1 his wife was bathing in the river that flows out of the lake, Lugaid went to the place where was the woman, he being naked, and when she looked on him thus she died of shame at once, and from her is named the river with its creek. Downcast was Lugaid after the woman's death, so that he said:

Sit we here over the strand,
Stormy the cold,
Chattering in my teeth,- a great tragedy
Is the tragedy that has reached me.
I tell you a woman has died,
Whom fame magnifies:
Fial her name, from a warrior's nakedness
Upon the clean gravel.
A great death is the death that has reached me,
Harshly prostrated me,
The nakedness of her husband, she looked upon him
Who rested here.


  Six women of their nobles were their losses on sea and land from their setting out from Spain till then. These are their names: Buan wife of Bile; Dil wife of Donn; Scene, the woman-satirist, wife of Amergin White-Knee (she died with them on the sea while they were coming to Ireland; so that Amergin said, "The harbor where we land, the name of Scene will be on It." That was true, for from her is named Inber Scene); Fial wife of Lugaid son of Ith; the wife of Ir and the wife of Muirthemne son of Bregan, were the other two.

  When the sons of Mil reached land in the creek we have mentioned, and when they had buried the troop of their nobles who had died of them, Eremon and Eber Finn divided the fleet with their chieftains and servants in two between them. After that Eremon sailed with thirty ships, keeping Ireland on his left hand, and he landed in Inber Colptha. These are the chieftains that were with him: Eber son of Ir, Amergin the poet, Palap, Muimne, Luigne, Laigne, Brega, Muirthemne, Fuad, Cualgne, Cloptha, Goisten, Sedga, Suirge, and Sobairce. The three last were champions. These are the slaves that were with Eremon: Aidne, Ai, Asal, Mide, Cuib, Cera, Ser, Slan, Ligen, Dul, Trega, Line.

  On putting his right foot on shore at Inber Colptha, it was then Amergin spoke this rhapsody:

I am a wind on the sea,
I am a wave of the ocean,
I am the roar of the sea,
I am a powerful ox,
I am a hawk on a cliff,
I am a dewdrop in the sunshine,
I am a boar for valor,
I am a salmon in pools,
I am a lake in a plain,
I am the strength of art,
I am a spear with spoils that wages battle,
I am a man that shapes fire for a head.
Who clears the stone-place of the mounutain?
What the place in which the setting of the sun lies?
Who has sought peace without fear seven times?
Who names the waterfalls?
Who brings his cattle from the house of Tethra?
What person, what god,
Forms weapons in a fort?
In a fort that nourishes satirists,
Chants a petition, divides the Ogham letters,
Separates a fleet, has sung praises?
A wise satirist.


  He sang afterwards to Increase fish in the creeks.

Fishful sea--
Fertile land--
Burst of fish--
Fish under wave--
With courses of birds--
Rough sea--
A white wall--
With hundreds of salmon--
Broad whale--
A port song--
A burst of fish.


  As for Eber Finn son of Mil, he stayed in the south with thirty ships with him, until they came in the hosts of the battles that were fought between them and the Tuatha De Danann. These are the chieftains that were with Eber: Lugaid son of Ith, Er, Orba, Feron, Fergna, the four sons of Eber, Cuala, Blad, Ebleo, Nar, En, Un, Etan, Caicher, Mantan, Fulman. The six last, -En, Un, etc., were champions. These are the slave, that were with him: Adar, Aigne, Deisi, Deala, Cliu, Morba, Fea, Liffe, Femen, Feara, Meda, and Olba.

  When the sons of Mil reached their landing-place they made no delay until they reached Sliab Mis; and the battle of Sliab Mis was fought between them and the Tuatha De Danann, and the victory was with the sons of Mil. Many of the Tuatha De Danann were killed in that battle. It is there that Fas wife of Un son of Uicce fell, from whom is named Glen Faise. Scota wife of Mil fell in the same valley; from her is named "Scota's grave," between Sliab Mis and the sea. The sons of Mil went afterwards to Tailltiu, and another battle was fought between them and the Tuatha De Danann there. Vehemently and wholeheartedly was it fought, for they were from morning to evening contending, bone hewing, and mutilating one another; till the three kings and the three queens of Ireland fell there -Mac Cecht by Eremon, Mac Cuill by Eber Finn, Mac Greine by Amergin, Eriu by Suirge, Banba by Caicer, and Fodla by Etan. Those were the deaths of their chiefs and princes. After that the Tuatha De Danann were routed to the sea, and the sons of Mil and their host were a long time following the rout. There fell, however, two noble chiefs of the people of the sons of Mil in inflicting the rout, namely, Fuad in Sliab Fuait, and Cualgne in Sliab Cualgne, together with other warriors besides, who fell together on both sides. When the Tuatha De Danann were crushed and expelled in the battles that were fought between them, the sons of Mil took the lordship of Ireland.

  After that there arose a contention between the sons of Mil about the kingship, that is between Eremon and Eber, so that Amergin was brought to make peace between them. He said that the inheritance of the eldest, of Donn, should go to the youngest, to Eremon, and his inheritance to Eber after him; Eber did not accept that, but insisted on dividing Ireland. Eremon agreed to do so. Accordingly Ireland was divided in two between them, the northern half to Eremon, from Srub Brain to the Boyne, the southern half to Eber, from the Boyne to Tonn Clidna. There were five chieftains in the division of each of them. With Eremon first, Amergin, Sedga, Goisten, Suirge, and Sobairce. Now in that year these forts were dug by Eremon and his people: Rath Beothaig, above the Nore in Argat Ros; Rath Oinn, in the territory of Cuala, by Eremon; the Causeway of Inber Mor, in the territory of Ui Enechglais, by Amergin; the building of Dun Nair, in Sliab Modoirn, by Goisten; the building of Dun Delginnse, in the terri- tory of Cuala by Sedga; the building of his fort by Sobairce in Morbolg of Dal Raida; the building of Dun Edar by Suirge. These are the forts built by Eber and these the chieftains that were with him: Etan, Un, Mantan, Fulman, and Caicer were his five chieftans. Rath Uaman, in Leinster, was dug by Eber; Rath Arda Suird by Etan son of Uicce; the building of Carrig Blaraige by Mantan; the building of Carrig Fethnaide by Un son of Uicce; the building of Dun Ardinne by Caicer; the building of Rath Riogbard, in Muiresc, by Fulman.

  So that for the commemoration of certain of the aforesaid matters this was said:

The expeditions of the sons of Mil over sea
From Spain of clear ships,
They took, it is no deed of falsehood,
The battle-plain of Ireland in one day.

This is the tale that they went on sea,
With multitude of wealth and people,
To a brave show God brought them,
With sixty-five choice vessels.

They landed at the noble creek
Whlch is called the White Rampart,
It was a cause of sickness, and attempt without failure,
From the sight of the warrior Lugaid.

From thence it is from that out
The creek of Fial of generous bands;
From the day she died in white Banba-
Fial daughter of Mil of Spain.

At the end of three days, brilliant preparation,
The Tuatha De fought
The battle of Sllab Mis,-glory that was not failure,
Against the great sons of Mil.

They won, a saying without reproach,
The battle against fair-headed Banba,
Where died Fas, woven in verse,
With the very fair daughter of Pharaoh.

Before the end of a year, it was lasting fame,
Among the chieftains of the heavy hosts,
Into twice six divisions, a pleasant course,
They afterwards divided Ireland.

Over the north side, a progress without sorrow,
Eremon was taken as high prince;
From Srub Bram, which verses adorn,
Over every tribe to the Boyne.

These are the five guardians of control
Whom he accepted to accompany him;
Amergin, Sedga also,
Goisten, Sobairce, Suirge.

Eber, son of Mil grace-abounding,
Takes the southern half,
From the eternal Boyne, choice the share,
To the wave of the daughter of Genann.

These are the five, with hundreds of exploits,
The chiefs who were subordinate to,
Etan and Un of Joyous rule,
Mantan, Fulman' and Caicer.

In this some year
The royal forts were dug,
By the sons of Mil -honor of pledges,
After the full division of Ireland's Island.

Rath Oinn, Rath Beothaig here,
By Eremon in Argat Ros;
In Sliab Mis, after a series of omens,
The bullding of Dun Nair by Goisten.

Suirge wide-extended, who displayed valor,
Built the high Dun Edar;
And the sounding, glorious achievement,
Of his fort by Sobairce.

By Eber of bright valor, was dug
Rath Uaman in the plain of Leinster;
Rath Arda Suird, it enriched him,
Was dug by Etan son of Uicce.

Rath Carraig Fetha thus,
Was made by Un son of Uicce;
And by Mantan,--glorious deed,
The founding of Carrig Blaraige.

Rath Rigbard in good Muiresc,
Very keen Fulman built it;
Caicer of battles; a pleasant fulfilment,
Took Dun Inne in the west of Ireland.

These are their deeds of valor,
Of the clear, glorious, great royal host;
It was a great achievement, after battle, without stain ;
Theirs was every profit, every expedition.


  Of the adventures of the Gaedels from the time when they went from Scythia till they took Ireland, and the division of Ireland between them, with their chieftains the poet Roigne Roscadach son of Ugame Mor said to Mal son of Ugaine his brother, when Mal questioned him: " Sing thy description in the great knowledge of Ireland, O Roigne,'' Roigne answered him and said:

O noble son of Ugaine,
How does one arrive at knowledge of Ireland,
The conquest of its company?
Before they overflowed Scythia,
They reached the host-king of Shinar;
They approached Egypt,
Where Cingeris was extinguished,
So that a great troop was destroyed,
Who died in the Red Sea.
They flowed through a space very faithful,
With Pharaoh fought;
Niul contracts with Scota,
The conception of our fathers.
They took the name "Gaedels,"
The name " Scots" spreads,
The fair daughter of Pharaoh.
They overspread Lands,
Burst into Scythia,
Determined long combat--
The children of Nel and Noenbal.
Golam was a young lord,
Who slew the son of Neman,
Escaped to Egypt,
Where was Nectanebus.
Pharaoh was welcoming
To Golam; gave
A marriage Nectanebus,
Scota was at Scots' head;
A name was changed from them.
They advance past Africa,
Good was the man under whom they trembled;
Fenius Farsad, the keen,
Well he spread for us a lasting name.
They approached Spain,
Where was born a numerous progeny,
Donn, Airech, Amergin,
Eber, Ir, Colptha himself,
Eremon, Erannan,
The eight sons of Golam.
Mil's renown came upon them,
The sons of Mil wealthy;
Their scholars resolved,
Divided ships,
The men returned from the burial of Fial.
They divided Ireland!
In twice six, an inheritance of chieftains.
Seek the truth of every law,
Relate sharply the inquiry,
O Son!


  After Eremon and Eber had divided the chieftains, they had two distinguished artists, who had come in their company from the east, namely, a poet and a harper. Cir son of Cis was the poet, Cennfinn the harper. They cast a lot on them to know which of them should be with each of them; so that, through the decision of the lot, the harper went southward to Eber and thence melody of , music and harmony followed in the Southern Half of Ireland. The poet went to Eremon, and knowledge of poetry and song followed him in the North ever after. To commemorate this it was said:

The two sons of Mil, famous in dignity,
Took Ireland and ;
With them there followed hither
A gentle poet and a harper.

Cir son of Cis, the bright poet,
The name of the harper Cennfinn;
With the sons of Mil, of bright fame,
The harper sounded his harp.

The prince, with many battles,
Took the kingdom of Ireland;
They did it with brightsness-, merry the sound,
Eber and Eremon.

They cast a lot swiftly
About the great men of art;
So that there fell to the lot of the southerner
The hair, just and fair.

Melody of music more beautiful than any company
Is from the southward in the south of Ireland;
It is thus it will be to the fortunate Judgment
With the famous seed of Eber.

There fell to the lot of the northerner
The man of learning with great excellence;
Hence the tribes who brought him boast
Knowledge of poetry and learning.



Footnotes

[1]  A poet who died A D 975.

[2]  Known as ''The First Battle of Mag Tured"; the second battle was fought against the Fomorians.

[3]  Flann Mainistrech, a poet who died in A.D. 1056.

[4]  Banba, Fodla, and Eriu are imaginary personage's created by Irish historographers out of ancient names for Ireland.

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