Leabhar Gabahála
The Book of the Conquests of Ireland

The Recension of Mícheál Ó Cléirigh
MS. 23K32, RIA
Ed. and Trans. R.A.S. Macalister and Eoin Mac Neill
(Dublin, Hodges, Figgis & Company - 1916).



CHAPTER V
THE CONQUEST OF THE FIR BOLG



From Adam till the Fir Bolg took Ireland, 3266

From the Flood till the Fir Bolg came into Ireland, 1024

73. Now Ireland was desert for the space of two hundred years after the departure of the three decades of men we have mentioned, till the coming of the race of the chief decade into it, as the "Fir Bolg."

74. Of the children of Neimhedh by descent were they, for Semeon, son of Erglan, son of Beoan, son of Starn, son of Neimhedh, was chief of one of the three nonads of the children of Neimhedh who went from Ireland after the destruction of Conainn's Tower, and who landed in Greece. They were there till many and divers were their children and their septs. 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.

75. Tired, weary, and despondent were they from this ; so that 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 make 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.

76. Different were their tribe-names at that time as they came, namely, Gaileoin, 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 in authority over them — Slainghe, Rudraighe, Gann, Genann, and Sengann, the five sons of Dela, son of Loch, son of Oirtheacht, son of Triobuad, son of Oturp, son of Goisten, son of Uirtheacht, son of Semeon, son of Erglan, son of Beoan, son of Starn, son of Neimhedh, son of Agnamon, etc. Now Gaileoin was the name of Slainghe and his people ; Gaileoin truly is gail-fhian, that is, the third who used to surpass the other two-thirds in valour and in equipment ; so that from the valour (gal) they took the name. Fir Bolg, again, is the name of Gann and Senghann 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 Domhnann, from "digging the earth" was it said ; that is Fir Doman-fhuinn, that is the men who used to deepen (doimh-nighim) the earth. To Rudhraighe and to Genann with their people was the name applied. And it was in Inbher Domhnann they took harbour. 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.

77. These are the creeks. Slainghe, their chief prince and elder, reached the land in Inbher Slainghe. 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 tale. Senghann and Gann in Inbher Dubhghlaise ; a Tuesday they landed, two thousand their tale. Rudhraighe and Genann landed in Inbher Domhnann as we have said, the following Friday ; two thousand, moreover, was their tale.

78. They came together thereafter in Uisnech of Meath, and they divide Ireland there in five parts. The share of Slainghe first, from Inbher Colptha to the Meeting of the Three Waters ; of Gann next, from the Meeting to Belach Conglais ; Senghann from Belach Conglais to Luimnech ; Genann from Luimnech to Drobhais ; Rudhraidhe from Drobhais to Boyne.

79. Of the aforesaid matters was this spoken ; Tanaidhe Ua Maoil-Chonaire, the learned, composed this song :

1 Ireland home of combats,
I have two things to prove it ;
it is long since she raised her omen (?),
the wave-roar of battles of the strong men of spear-fights.

2 The plain of Ith after the time of the flood
shewed that it is truth that I relate ;
the Tower of Conainn whose story we spread,
its difficulty strongly indicates it.

3 The valorous children of glistering Neimhedh,
from the enduring keen-edged destruction,
there escaped not in the west of their troops,
but three, and three nonads.

4 A nonad of them, it was no journey of pride,
of the third yonder, although they were exiles,
to the land of Greece of good knowledge, well-manned,
under Semeon, on the way of sailing.

5 Hundreds sprang from Semeon,
numerous as a legion were his flocks ;
they were not permitted to be with their youths,
but were enslaved by the Greeks.

6 This was the order of the chieftains,
carrying round of bags ; it was not renowned ;
earth on a rocky stony mountain,
so that it should be a plain flowery and covered with horses.

7 They departed without deceitful delay
over the wrathful very black sea,
from the hardly imposed servitude,
with ships and with bags.

8 These were their glorious names,
pure titles of noble deeds ;
Gann, Genann, a choice of good divisions,
Rudhraighe, Senghann, Slainghe.

9 The seed of Semeon who wounded with spear-points
a work of goodwill of the grazing of warlike deeds(?),
the white Galeoin of the scanty accoutrements,
the Fir Bolg, and the Fir Domnann.

10 The Fir Bolg from carrying the burdens ;
the Gaileoin from the service of their valour ;
a group of three on whom oppression was practised,
and the Fir Domnann from digging.

11 The warriors who went to the voyage,
I will tell, though different their names ;
by reason of the bags, as I adjudge,
that Fir Bolg is their title.

12 The Gaileoin yonder, of Slainghe the famous champion ;
the Fir Bolg, Gann and Senghann ;
Rudhraighe and Genann, let us hold,
the Fir Domhnann are they without error.

13 The tale of the five chieftains of mighty men,
five thousand, noble the calculation ;
to Fodhla it was their hope to reach ;
in one week the assembly was made.

14 To Inbher Slainghe without error
comes Slainghe with his fine division ;
to Inbher Dubhglaise, we relate,
came Gann and Senghann.

15 Genann, Rudhraighe, they mention,
excellent poets speak,
whatsoever god it serves,
to Inbher Domhnann they muster.

16 Two hundred years, in the course of time,
after Neimhedh, bright his braveries,
the Fir Bolg of tuneful palaces took
Ireland, from the sea-pool of the ocean.

17 Their division remains in entirety ;
they divided in five without subtraction,
without stumble, among their slender-sided tribe,
Ireland from pleasant Uisnech.

18 The portion of Slainghe, choice the assessment,
from Inbher Colpa is its measuring,
to the Meeting, pure is the quiet water,
of the three rivers in one.

19 From the Commar of stately stream-ships,
to white Gann the steadfast man of armies,
to Belach Conglais glorious ;
to the sportive one it was noble good fortune.

20 to Senghann thence to Luimnech,
we frame in our song affirmingly ;
thence to Drobhais rich in salmon,
the habitation of Geanann who was a man of fetters.

21 The division of Rudhraighe behold it,
declare it eloquently westward :
from Drobhais to the dewy Boyne,
sure that not unwise is what is related.

22 A man without doubt in words,
on the day of noise-shaking obscure him not ;
Ua Maoil-Chonaire of the Croichen,
O choice King of Heaven !

23 O King who created the elements
that her brightness may be noble !
give honour to her troop,
the home of combats, Ireland.

80. These are the names of the wives of the afore-said chiefs ; Fuad wife of Slainghe, Eudar wife of Gann, Anast wife of Senghann, Cnucha wife of Genann, and Liber wife of Rudraighe. To commemorate them this was said —

1 Fuad wife of Slainghe, it is no deceit in your opinion ;
Eudar was wife of Gann with valour ;
Anast wife of Senghann in his path ; (?)
Cnucha was wife of pure Genann,

2 Liber wife of Rudraighe after humiliation,
a people sweet not narrow ;
Rudraighe, lord of wiles,
I prefer to think that Fuad was his wife.



CHAPTER VI
OF THE KINGS OF THE FIR BOLG.
OF THE TIME THEY SPENT IN THE KINGSHIP, AND OF THEIR DEATHS,
THE FOLLOWING IS RELATED


81. Now no one called "king" took the kingship of chief rule over Ireland till the Fir Bolg came into it. These gave the kingship to their elder brother, that is, to SLAINGHE, so that he was the first king appointed over Ireland. One year had he in the kingship, till he died in Dind Righ ; and he is the first dead of Ireland of the nobles of the Fir Bolg. Anno mundi 3267.

82. RUDHRAIGHE his brother, two years in the kingship, till he died in the Brugh on the Boyne. 3269.

83. GANN and GENANN, four years had they in the kingship, till they died of plague in Fremhann of Meath. 3273.

84. SENGHANN, five years, till he fell by the hand of Fiacha Cinnfhionnán, son of Starn, son of Dela, son of Loch. 3278.

85. FIACHA CENDFHIONNAN, five other years, till he fell by the hand of Rionnal son of Genann. White-headed (cend-fhionna) were the kine of Ireland in the time of King Fiacha. 3283.

86. RIONNAL, son of Gennan, son of Dela, six years, till he fell by the hand of Foidbgenidh, son of Senghann, in battle in Ebha of Cairbre. It was in the time of that Rionnal that iron heads were put on spear-shafts, for they used only to be headless shafts that were in their hands before then. 3289.

87. FOIDBGEINIDH, four years had he in the kingship, till he fell at the hand of Eochaidh son of Erc, son of Rionnal, son of Genann, in Magh Muirtheimne. In the time of this Foidbgheinidh knots and knobs came into existence on the trees, for smooth and straight were the woods of Ireland till then. 3293.

88. EOCHAID, son of Erc, ten years in the kingship, till he fell at the hands of the three sons of Neimhedh, son of Badrai, of the Tuatha De Danann ; Cesarb, Luamh, and Luachra were their names, as is related below. Now good was that king Eochaid son of Erc ; there was no rain in his time but only dew. There was not a year without fruit. Falsehood used to be expelled from Ireland in his time. By him were first made right judgment, that is, just law, there.

89. Of the length of reign and the deaths of these kings it was said ; Tanaidhe Ua Maoil-Chonaire [composed it] —

1 The Fir Bolg were here a while,
in the great island of the sons of Mil ;
five chieftains they brought with them from yonder ;
I have their names.

2 A year to Slainghe, this is true,
till he died in his fine mound ;
the first king of the Fir Bolg of mountains,
who died in Ireland's island.

3 Two years strong Rudraighe,
till he died in the Brugh of cold winding-sheets ;
four to Genann and Gann,
till plague slew them in Freamhainn.

4 Five years of Senghann who was gentle,
till Fiacha son of Star[n] slew him ;
five other, it was through his fighting,
was Fiacha Cendfhionnan.

5 Fiacha Cendfhionnan beyond all,
his name shall endure to the Doom ;
white-headed all, without reproach,
were the kine of Ireland in his presence.

6 Till he fell at the hands of strong Rionnal,
he obtained six [years] with a free host ;
Ua Deala fell thereafter,
in Eabha at the hands of Foidbgeinidh.

7 Till Rionnal rose there was no point
in their possession upon a weapon in Ireland ;
upon javelins there was no good covering,
but they were long poles.

8 Four to Foidbgheinidh the noble,
till the battle of Muirtheimne of chiefs ;
till he was slain without distinction,
by the son of Erc, by lofty Eochaid.

9 In the time of Foidbgheinidh then,
came knots through trees ;
the woods till then
were smooth and very straight.

10 Ten years to Eochaid son of Erc,
he found not the brink of weakness,
till there slew him on the plain,
the three sons of Neimhedh son of Badra.

11 The names of the three sons of Neimhedh then,
Ceasarb, Luamh, and Luachra ;
by them was wounded the king by a spear,
Eochaid, son of Erc, I speak of.

12 After that came the Tuatha Dé
on the Fir Bolg who were a lasting tribe ;
through wizardry they snatched in the field
their kingship from the Fir Bolg.

90. There is no record that forts were dug, or plains cleared, or lakes burst, in the time of the Fir Bolg. The books say that of the remnant of the Fir Bolg are the Gabraidhe of Suca in Connacht, the Ui Tairsigh of Leinster in Ui Failghe, and the Gaileoin of the Gaileoin of Leinster, etc.



création : 20/11/2009


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