LEBOR GABALA ERENN
THE BOOK OF THE TAKING OF IRELAND

Second Redaction
Stowe collection (D.5.1, D.4.1, D.1.3), Book of Lecan & Stowe D.4.3
[ ] = glossarial matter in text



SECTION VI
FIR BOLG



286. Next comes the Taking of the Fir Bolg here below. Ireland was waste for a space of two hundred years after the capture of Conaing's Tower, till the Fir Bolg came, [as we have said in the poem]. From the lands of the Greeks they came, fleeing from the impost which the Greeks had laid upon them — carrying clay on to bare rock-flags and making them flowery plains. Those men made them long canoes of the bags in which they were wont to carry the clay, and they came to Ireland, in quest of their patrimony. As everyone does, they partitioned Ireland.

With Slanga s. Dela s. Lot his third landed in Inber Slaine : his Fifth is from Inber Colptha to Comar Tri nUisce : a thousand men his tally. The second third landed in Inber Dubglaisi with Gann and Sengann : two thousand were their tally — Gann from the Comar to Belach Conglais, Sengann from Belach Conglais to Luimnech, that is, over the Two Fifths of Mumu. Genann and Rudraige with a third of the host, they landed in Inber Domnann [which is why they are called Fir Domnann] — Genann over the Fifth of Medb and Ailill, Rudraige over the Fifth of Conchobor : two thousand were their tally.

287. Those are the Fir Bolg, the Fir Domnann, and the Gaileoin.

Fir Domnann, from Inber Domnann, the name of the creek where they landed, are they called; or Fir Domnann, that is fir domuin-fonn (Men of territory-deepening), that is, men who used to deepen the mundus, or the world. Fir Bolg then, from the bags in which they used to carry the earth are they named. The Gaileoin, that is gaei-lin [javelins-reckoning] from the javelins are they named : for it was in their javelins that they were renowned. Or Gaileoin, that is gaileoin or gailfian [valour-warriors] ; the third who used to exercise authority over the other two thirds [fo ghael "under the viceroy"]. The Fir Bolg are the people of the carrying, the Fir Domnann the people of the digging, the Gaileoin the people who used to exercise authority over them.

They are one Taking and one princedom, for they were five brethren, the five sons of Dela son of Loth [son of Artuat]. In one week they landed : On Saturday, the kalends of August, Slanga landed in Inber Slaine : On Tuesday, the second pair, Gann and Sengand : on Friday the other pair, Genand and Rudraige. Thus they are one Taking, though they were differently styled. The Gaileoin is what Slanga and his people are called : The Fir Bolg is what Gann and Sengann are called, [though it is not the most special name for them] ; the Fir Domnann, named from the creek, they are Genann and Rudraige with their people. Howbeit, they are all called Fir Bolg, and thirty-seven years was the length of their reign over Ireland.

V

288. SLANGA, the eldest of the sons of Dela, a year had he in the kingship of Ireland, for no king called King of Ireland ruled till the Fir Bolg came. They gave the kingship to Slanga, till he fell in Dinn Rig, otherwise called Duma Slaini. He it is who died of the Fir Bolg in Ireland at the first.

DER

No king, so called, took the kingship of Ireland till the Fir Bolg came, and they gave the kingship to Slanga son of Dela, for he was the eldest of the sons of Dela. A year at first had Slanga, till he died in Dind Rig.

Two years had RUDRAIGE till he died in the Brug. Four to GANN and to GENANN, till they died of plague in Fremaind. Five had SENGANN, till he fell at the hands of Fiacha son of Starn. FIACHA CENDFINDAIN, five years; [all the kine of Ireland had white heads in his reign], till he fell at the hands of Rindail son of Genann. Six years had RINDAIL, till he fell at the hands of FODBGEN son of Sengann in the fight of Craeb.

FODBGEN son of Sengann, it is in his time that knots grew through trees; till he fell in Mag Murthemne at the hands of Eochu s. Erc s. Rindail. EOCHU had ten years till the Tuatha De Danann came. He was the last king of the Fir Bolg.

Fodbgen, four years till he fell at the hands of Eochu s.
Erc s. Rindail s. Genand, in Mag Muirthemne. He was the last king of the Fir Bolg. Ten years had he till the Tuatha De Danann came.

So that those are the thirty-seven years of the princedom of the Fir Bolg.

289. So that thereafter they joined the great battle of Mag Tuired in Conmaicne of Cul Tolad in Connacht. Eochu son of Erc was king of Ireland at that time. There was no wetting save only dew in that time, and there was no year without harvest. Falsehood was expelled in Ireland in his time, and by him was executed the law of justice in Ireland at the first. Nuadu son of Echtach son of Etarlam was king over the Tuatha De Danann.

Good was that king Eochu son of Erc. There was no wetting, save only dew in that time. There was no year without harvest. Falsehoods were expelled from Ireland in his time. By him was the law of justice executed in Ireland at the first. So the Tuatha De Danann offered battle or kingship to the Fir Bolg, and thereafter they joined the great battle of Mag Tuired in Conmacne of Cul. Tolad in Connachta. Eochu son of Erc was king of Ireland at that time, and Nuadu son of Echtach son of Etarlam was king over the Tuatha De Danann.

The Fir Bolg gave them battle, the Battle of Mag Tuired, and they were a long time fighting that battle. At last it broke upon the Fir Bolg, and the slaughter was pressed northward, and eleven hundred of them were slain from Mag Tuired to Tracht Eochaille. There the king [Eochaid s. Erc] was overtaken, and he fell there at the hands of the three sons of Nemed [son of Badra; Cessarb, Luam, and Luachra were their names].

290. Howbeit the Tuatha De Danann suffered great loss in that battle, and they left their king on that field,with his arm cut off from the shoulder down. Leeches were seven years working his cure, [and an arm of silver was put upon him],

(* V only *)

as one saith

1. Sreng son of Sengand with spears,
in the hard battle of Cunga of wounding,
gave a blow to noble Nuadhu,
and lopped from his right side his right arm.


No forts are reckoned as having been dug, nor lakes as having burst forth, nor plains as having been cleared, in the time of the Fir Bolg. And thereof sang Tanaide —

1. The Fir Bolg were here for a season
in the great island of the sons of Mil;
the five chiefs which they brought with them from over yonder,
I know their names.

2. A year had Slanga, this is true,
till he died in his fine mound;
the first man of the Fir Bolg of the peaks
who died in the island of Ireland.

3. Two years of Rudraige the Red,
till he died in Brug Brat-ruaid.
four of Genann and of Gann,
till plague slew them in Fremaind.

4. Five years of Sengann — they were reposeful —
till Fiachu son of Starn slew him;
five others — it was through battle —
Fiachu Cendfindan was king.

5. Fiachu Cendfhindan before all,
his name endures for ever;
whiteheaded all, without reproach,
were the kine of Ireland in his presence.

6. Till he fell at the hands of red Rindail,
he got six [years] with his free host;
The grandson of Dela fell then
in Eba, at the hands of Odbgen.

7. Four to noble Odbgen
till the battle of Murthemne of the nobles :
Odbgen died without reproach
at the hands of the son of Erc, of lofty Eochu.

8. Ten years to Eochu son of Erc,
he found not the border-line of weakness :
till they slew him on the battlefield,
the three sons of Nemed son of Badra.

9. Till Rinnal grew, there was no point
at all upon a weapon in Ireland;
upon harsh javelins there was no fair covering,
but their being rushing-sticks.

10. In the time of Fodbgen thereafter
there came knots through trees :
the woods of Ireland down till then
were smooth and very straight.

11. The pleasant Tuatha De Danann brought
spears with them in their hands :
with them Eochu was slain,
by the seed of Nemed of strong judgement.

12. The names of the three excellent sons of Nemed
were Cessarb, Luam, and Luachra :
it is they who slew the first king with a point,
Eochu son of Erc, in Ireland.

13. Thereafter the Tuatha De fought
for the Fir Bolg, it was a rough appearance.
They took away their goods
and their lordship from the Men.

 

291. Now the Fir Bolg were cut off in that battle, all but a few : and that few of the Erna went in flight from the Tuatha De Danann, and landed in Ara, and Ile, and Rachra, and in the islands of the foreigners, and in other islands as well, ut dicitur in Britain. And they were there till the time of the Provincials over Ireland [and it was they who brought the Fomoraig to the last battle of Mag Tuired]. Then the Cruithne drove them out from the islands where they were, and they came there- after to Coirpre Nia Fer, and he gave them lands. But they were unable to remain with him, for the maliciousness of the impost which he put upon them. Thereafter they came in flight before Coirpre under the protection of Medb and Ailill, and they gave them lands, and that is the wandering of the sons of Umor. [Oengus son of Umor was king over them in the East.] From them are named the lands which they received there, namely Loch Cime from Cime Four-heads, and the Point of Taman in Medraige, and Loch Cutra, and the Point of Ber, and Modlinn, and Dun Oengusa in Ara, and Carn Conall in the territory of Aidne, and the Plain of Adar son of Umor the poet, and the ridge of Asal, and the Plain of Main son of Umor the other poet, and the lake of Uar son of Umor. And they were in fortresses and in islands of the sea around Ireland in that wise, till the Ulidians crushed them, in the company of Cu Chulainn, Conall Cernach, Ros son of Deda, Cet son of Maga, etc.

 

No forts are reckoned as having been dug, nor lakes as having burst forth, nor plains as having been cleared, in the time of the Taking of the Fir Bolg.

292. Some say that of the Fir Bolg are the three communities in Ireland not of Goidelic stock : the Gabraide of the Suc in Connachta, Ui Tairsig of Laigen in Ui Failge, and Gaileoin of Laigen. So that of that wandering of the sons of Umor was the following said —

1. Know ye the history whence it is —
for it is no message of contention, —
the stone heap on which he has now been seated,
Conall the great, son of Oengus.

2. Oengus son of Umor from over yonder,
he had Conall as a son;
to Conall did Medb give
beautiful Aidne, it is not uncertain.

3. They went from the land of the just Cruithne
over the sea of the people of Umor,
to Cairpri Nia Fer
to Mide, of the midst of the Gaedil.

4. They made petition for a fair land,
the best of Breg, smooth the fortification;
Raith Celtchair, Raith Comur the fair,
Cnodba of Breg, the Palace of the wife of Elcmar,

5. Oenach Taillten, the homestead of Cermna,
Tlachtga of the three Finds of Emain,
Ath Sidi in Mide, Bri-dam ;
that is the land for which they petitioned.

6. Then it is that Coirpre demanded
of the men from over sea,
the service of Temair along with every community
if they were to plough Ireland of swift steeds.

7. They accepted four sureties
Neither more nor less;
he accepted four sureties on his part
in the matter of the great preparation of his great fort.

8. Cet mac Magach from Mag Main,
Ros mac Dedaid from Druim Cain,
Conall Cernach — a solidity skinned over —
Cu Chulaind, lord of a bag of tricks.

9. From the day when the companies settled
in the east, around Temair of bright surface,
Cairpre Nia Fer imposed upon them
a tax which they did not tolerate.

10. They came from him with their property
to Ailill and to Medb.
They struck westward, along the bright sea,
to Dun Aengusa in Ara.

11. Cime was established on his loch,
Cutra was established on Loch Cutra,
Adar took his house southward
Mil was established on Murbech.

12. Dalach was settled upon Dail;
Aenach made a fortress beside him;
Bera was settled on his headland;
Mod was settled on Modlind.

13. Irgus took Cend Boirne;
Cing settled in the land of Aigle;
Upon Laiglinne, conceal it not,
Bairnech of angry mouth was king.

14. Concraide took his fair share
on the sea, in Inis Medoin :
Lathrach took Tulach Tend,
Taman took Rind Tamain.

15. Conall took the territory of Aidne,
Conall the fair, though it was the richer :
That is the settlement of the host
of the deedful progeny of Umor.

16. From the day when Cairpre heard of it,
his temper mounted high;
he sent forth a summons, wherever they should be (?)
to his four sureties.

17. There came to him to the house
from the Craeb Ruad the two charioteers,
Ross went from the Erna without reproach,
Cet came from Connachta.

18. Bring to me, said just Coirpre
the nomad multitudes of the sons of Umor :
or let each man of you bring his head
as I pledged you for a season.

19. The wife of Mac Magach petitioned
a delay till the morning;
till Oengus the king should take
his counsel with his friends.

20. Should he go back to the east,
Or should he remain in the west, in Cruachu :
Or should the three brethren and his son
go to fight on his account.

21. This is the advice which he adopted :
against Ross he set Rind :
against Conall Cernach of many pledges
he set Cimme four-heads.

22. He set Irgus of many battles
against Cet son of Maga :
he set the best of his progeny
Conall against Cu Culaind.

23. The three men who came from the east
departed from them in valour of arms,
after slaying the four just ones
who were best of the people of Umor.

24. Conall with his father was buried
under this stone-heap with its stones :
every historian who has named it knows
that this is why it is called Conall's stone-heap.

25. The other three were buried
in the mounds of Findmagh :
thence is the Hillock of the Heads
above at firm Raith Umaill.

26. May the Lord save from every vexation
Mac Liag of the Poets' Pool :
And may He leave (?) him who has returned (?)
the white Lord, whom they found (?).

V Λ

293. The Fir Bolg divided Ireland into five portions, as we have said above. The Fifth of Gann it is, over which Cairpre Nia Fer was, that is from the Boyne to Comar Tri nUisce. The Fifth of Sengann it is, over which Eochaid son of Lucht was. The Fifth of Slaine it is, over which Dega son of Sin was. The Fifth of Genann it is, over which Ailill son of Mata was. The Fifth of Rudraige it is, over which Conchobar son of Ness was. That then is the division which shall be upon Ireland for ever, so that of it was sung —

DER

That is the wandering of the Fir Bolg men, and thereof the learned historian sang : Tanaide cecinit

1. The Fir Bolg were here for a season
in the great island of the sons of Mil;
the five chiefs which they brought with them from over yonder,
I know their names.

 

2. A year had Slanga, this is true,
till he died in his fine mound;
the first man of the Fir Bolg of the peaks
who died in the island of Ireland.

3. Two years of Rudraige the Red,
till he died in Brug Brat-ruaid.
four of Genann and of Gann,
till plague slew them in Fremaind.

4. Five years of Sengann — they were reposeful —
till Fiachu son of Starn slew him;
five others — it was through battle —
Fiachu Cendfindan was king.

5. Fiachu Cendfhindan before all,
his name endures for ever;
whiteheaded all, without reproach,
were the kine of Ireland in his presence.

6. Till he fell at the hands of red Rindail,
he got six [years] with his free host;
The grandson of Dela fell then
in Eba, at the hands of Odbgen.

7. Four to noble Odbgen
till the battle of Murthemne of the nobles :
Odbgen died without reproach
at the hands of the son of Erc, of lofty Eochu.

8. Ten years to Eochu son of Erc,
he found not the border-line of weakness :
till they slew him on the battlefield,
the three sons of Nemed son of Badra.

9. Till Rinnal grew, there was no point
at all upon a weapon in Ireland;
upon harsh javelins there was no fair covering,
but their being rushing-sticks.

10. In the time of Fodbgen thereafter
there came knots through trees :
the woods of Ireland down till then
were smooth and very straight.

11. The pleasant Tuatha De Danann brought
spears with them in their hands :
with them Eochu was slain,
by the seed of Nemed of strong judgement.

12. The names of the three excellent sons of Nemed
were Cessarb, Luam, and Luachra :
it is they who slew the first king with a point,
Eochu son of Erc, in Ireland.

13. Thereafter the Tuatha De fought
for the Fir Bolg, it was a rough appearance.
They took away their goods
and their lordship from the Men.


(* From here to the end of § D only *)


Now as for the Fir Bolg, they brought five chieftains with them ut dixi supra, to wit, Gann, Genann, Rudraige, Sengann, Slanga : those were the five sons of Dela. Their five wives next, Anust, Liber, Cnucha, Fuat, Etar, ut dictum est

1. Fuat wife of Slanga, you do not think it crooked,
Etar wife to Gann with valour,
Anust wife of Sengann of the spears,
Cnucha who was wife of pure Genann.

2. Liber wife of Rudraige of the Road,
a people sweet, that was not narrow :
Rudraige, master of wiles,
I suppose, Fuat was his wife.

So that is the division which the provinces of Ireland shall ave for ever — the way in which the Fir Bolg made it. To memorize that the historian sang as follows —

1. The Five Fifths of noble Ireland,
they received very handsome kings :
there shall remain with you by songs from me
the stockades about which they came in contact.

2. The Fifth of Medb which deeds [of valour] ennoble
so that every capacity should be manly :
from Luimnech, a leap without death,
reaching to Dub and Drobais.

3. From Drobais eastward, pleasant the recital,
the Fifth of brown-fisted Conchobor;
to Inber Colptha of the battles
the Fifth of the very boastful Ulaid.

4. From the strand of Inber Colptha thence
to the Meeting of the Three Waters,
— be a full-generous enclosure of lands named by you,
the fifth of the helmeted Gaileoin.

5. From the Meeting of the cold Waters,
the Fifth of Eochu Abrat-ruad :
to the mound over the wave,
to the Pass of roughly-wild Cuglas.

6. From Belach Conglais of horror
the Fifth of Curoi mac Daire :
a homestead upon the fruitful heavy land
to Luimnech of the long ships.

7. About the stone in cold Uisnech
in the plain of Mide of the horseman-bands,
on its top — it is a fair co-division —
is the co-division of every province.

 

Now the Galeoin and Fir Domnann were all children of Semeon. Thirty years after Genann and Rudraige the Tuatha De Danann came to Ireland.

301. The Synchronism of the kings of the world here with the kings of the Fir Bolg. It was in the end of the lordship of the Chaldeans that the Fir Bolg came into Ireland. BALLASTAR was their last prince; it is to him that there appeared the fist without a wrist, a-writing : and what it wrote was MANE, THECEL, and PHARES, "number" and "weight" and "division." Against him did Cyrus son of Darius capture Babylon, and he slew Ballastar. This is that Cyrus who released the captivity to Jerusalem, after they had been seventy years in captivity.

302. The lordship of the Persians then, after the Medes: twelve kings had they in the lordship. They spent 230 years. They were of the seed of Elam son of Sem son of Noe, and were called Elamites till the time of Perseus son of Jove : but Persians from that onward. He who was their first king was CYRUS son of Darius. Thirty years had he till he fell at the hands of the Scythians, surrounded by three hundred thousand men. It is he who brought the fifty thousand of the captivity of Jerusalem from Babylon, and five thousand golden vessels and many thousand silver vessels.

CAMBYSES son of Cyrus thereafter. Eight years, till his own magicians slew him : Eochaid son of Erc was in the king- ship of Ireland at that time. Those are the thirty-seven years that the Fir Bolg were in Ireland — from the first year of the reign of Cyrus son of Darius to the seventh year of Cambyses son of Cyrus. In his eight year the Tuatha De Danann came into Ireland, and they fought the battle of Mag Tuired with the Fir Bolg, and slew Eochaid son of Erc. Finit.



création : 30/08/2009


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