The Hostel (or Fight) of the Ford,

Bruiden Atha
Stowe MS. 992

Trans. Kuno Meyer



Once Find O'Baiscne was at the Head of the Curragh. He had been without a wife for a long time. Then he went towards the Suir, and at Dun Iascaig on the Suir saw the daughter of a herdsman washing her head. Badamair was her name. And he took her with him, and she lived with him.

Currech Lifi of Leinster, from whom Raith Cuirrig is named, it is he who had killed her foster-brother, namely Dub O'Duibne, from whom Diarmait, son of Dub son of Duibne was descended. Now Finn once went to seize Currech. But Currech went westward, cut off the head of Finn's wife, even Badamair, and took it with him into the east. However, Finn went after him, took off his head and carried it with him to the west. Hence the Head of the Curragh is so named, and hence was sung :


Currech Lifi with his splendour,
*** king to whom he yielded,
His head was taken from him far
To the mountain above Badamair.


That Currech was a son of Fothad Canainne's mother. Now this Fothad was lying in wait for Finn, till at last they made peace, and Finn prepared an ale-feast for Fothad and then invited him to it. However, there was a geis on Fothad to drink ale without dead heads in his presence. That was difficult at that time. For there was Cormac's peace in Ireland to the end of seven years, that no man should be slain. "However, there are places where the slaying of a man is a vested right," saith Finn, namelv, the highway of Midluachair and the Ford of Ferdiad, the Ford of the Hurdles, the Gowran Pass, the Ford of Nó, the Wood of Bones, Conachlad, the two Paps of Anu in Luachair Dedad."

Then to the two Paps of Anu Finn went, to compass the slaying of a man.

"Let us go", said Teit, daughter of Mac Niad, sister of Fothad, "the ale-feast which Finn is preparing for my brother, shall be for us. Let us go to drink it", said she to her husband, Finn Mac Regamain was his name. They go westward in their chariot together, the woman behind, he in front. As they came past Finn O'Baiscne, Carrfiaclach Mac Connla sent a cast after them, so that it was in the breast of the man after having gone through the woman first. They both died. And hence there was eternal feud ever between Finn and Fothad.

It seemed to the man however that it was the woman who had wounded him, and he said : "A cold blast the blast that has come to me from thee, o woman !" etc. "Blindly thou chargest me", saith the woman, "O man, I shall die, for through me this has gone*** It is evident to me that Fothad lives not after the triumphs of Canann, for if the son of Mac Niad were alive***" From that hour forth they were both lying in wait for each other, as long as they were alive, to wit, Finn and Fothad Cananne.



Sources : Kuno Meyer, Revue Celtique 14



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