LEBOR GABALA ERENN
THE BOOK OF THE TAKING OF IRELAND

Third Redaction
Book of Ballymote & Book of Lecan
[ ] = glossarial matter in text



SECTION VI
FIR BOLG



294. Now as for the Fir Bolg, they brought five chieftains with them, ut dicitur : to wit, Gann, Genann, Rudraige, Sengann, Slanga : those were the five sons of Dela. And their five wives, next, Anust, Liber, Cnucha, Fuad, Altar, ut dicitur,

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.


295. The Fir Bolg separated them [selves] into three rand they divided Ireland into five]. With Slanga s. Dela s. Loth 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 Comar Tri nUisce 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[, and they are the Fir Domnann, and from them is the creek named]. Genann [s. Dela] it is, who was king over the Fifth of Medb and Ailill; Rudraige over the Fifth of Conchobor — other two thousand were his tally. Those are the Fir Bolg, the Fir Domnann, and the Gaileoin.

B

The Fir Domnann were named from the deep-lowering of the clay, the Fir Bolg were named from the bags, the Gaileoin, from their javelins were they named — gai lin that is, for the multitude of their javelins;

M

The Fir Domnann, from the deep-lowering of the earth were they named, the Fir Bolg from the bags were they named, whereas the Gaileoin, from the javelins of wounding were they named : or ga lin was the name of the sages (?) that they had;

and they are one Taking and one princedom, for they were five brethren, the five sons of Dela son of Loth. And in one week they took, [although the days were different]. On Saturday, the kalends of August, Slanga landed in Inber Slaine. On Tuesday Gann and Sengann landed. On Friday, moreover, Genann and Rudraige landed; and thus it is one Taking, though they were differently styled. The Gaileoin, from Slanga were they named. From Gann and from Sengann were the Fir Bolg named. The Fir Domnann were named from deepening the earth : they were Genann and Rudraige with their followers. Notwithstanding, they are all called "Fir Bolg" : and thirty-seven years was the length of their lordship over Ireland. Those are the five sons of Dela, namely the five kings of the Fir Bolg, Gann, Genann, Rudraige, Sengann, Slaine.

296. Slanga, the eldest of the sons of Dela s. Loth s. Toirrthecht s. Tribuat s. Gothorb s. Gosten s. Oirrthecht s. Semeon s. Erglan s. Beoan s. Starn s. Nemed s. Agnomain; and no king took, who was called "of Ireland," till the Fir Bolg came. Nine kings of them took Ireland. SLAINE had a year [till he died in Dind Rig, that is in Duma Slainge]. He is [the first] who died of the Fir Bolg in Ireland in the beginning. RUDRAIGE had five [or two] years, till he died in the Brug. GANN and GENANN, four years till they died of plague in Fremaind. SENGANN, five years, till he fell at the hands of Fiacha Cendfindain son of Starn. FIACHA, five years — white-headed were all the kine of Ireland in his time — till he fell at the hands of Rindail s. Genann s. Dela. RINDAIL, six years, and in his time points were placed on weapons, till he fell at the hands of Odbgen son of Sengann in the fight of Craeb. ODBGEN, four years, [and in his time knots grew upon trees,] till he fell in Mag Murtemne at the hands of Eochu s. Erc s. Genann s. Dela. EOCHU s. Erc, ten years had he in lordship, and there was no wetting in his time save only dew; and there would be no year without harvest; and false- hoods were expelled from Ireland in his time. By him was first executed the law of justice. Eochu fell at the hands of the three sons of Nemed s. Badra, and he is the first man who died of a spear-point in Ireland. He was king among the Fir Bolg when the Tuatha De Danann came into Ireland : Nuadu Argetlam son of Echtach s. Etarlam was king among the Tuatha De Danann at that time.

297. And the Fir Bolg gave them battle upon Mag Tuired, and were a long time fighting that battle : and it broke against the Fir Bolg, and the slaughter pressed northward, and a hundred thousand of them were slain, from there to Traig Eothaili. There was the king Eochu overtaken, and he fell at the hands of the three sons of Nemed [son of Badra — Cesarb, Luam and Luachra were their names. He is the last prince of the Fir Bolg.]

 

M

Belochus of the Assyrians was in the high kingship at that time of the fighting the battle of Mag Tuired of Cong and of the coming of the Tuatha De Danann into Ireland.

Yet the Tuatha De Danann suffered great loss in the battle, and they left the king on the field, with his arm cut from him. The leeches were healing him, [as the poet says (in) the quatrain —

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. ].


298. So the Fir Bolg fell in that battle all but a few, and they went out of Ireland in flight from the Tuatha De Danann : and landed in Ara, and Ile, and Rachra, [and Britain], and other islands besides; [and it was they who led the Fomoraig thereafter to the second battle of Magh Tuired.] And they were in those islands till the time of the Provincials over Ireland, till the Cruithne drove them out. Then they came to Cairpre Nia Fer, and he gave them lands : but they were unable to remain with him for the heaviness of the tribute which he imposed upon them. They came in flight before Cairbre under the protection of Ailill and Medb, and these gave them lands : that is the wandering of the sons of Umor. Oengus son of Umor was king over them in the east; and from them are named those lands — Loch Cime from Cime Four-heads son of Umor, the Point of Taman in Medraige from Taman son of Umor, Dun Oengusa in Ara from Oengus, the Stone-heap of Conall in Aidne from Conall, the plain of Adar from Adar, the plain of Asal in Muma from Asal son of Umor also. Mend son of Umor was the poet. They were in fortresses and in islands of the sea round about Ireland in this manner, till Cu Chulaind quenched them. Of that journeying of the sons of Umor and of the names of their men and of their lands, the historian said the following song —

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 (?).


299. And no forts or entrenchments are reckoned as having been dug, nor lakes to have burst forth, nor plains to have been cleared, in the time of the Fir Bolg. And of their seed are the three communities who are in Ireland not of Goidelic stock; to wit, the Gabraide of the Suc in Connachta, the Ui Tairsig, and the Gaileoin in Laigen. Those are the adventures of the Fir Bolg, and thereof the historian sang the following song —

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. (this quatrain R2 only)

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.

B

And it is of that Taking, of the actions of Eochu son of Erc, and to praise him, and to set forth diligently every knowledge, that Colum Cille sang this poem eloquently—

M

and And it is of that same Taking of the Fir Bolg, and of their history from first to last, and of their adventures in every land, and of the actions of Eochu son of Erc, and to praise his lord-ship and his truth, and to praise diligently everything known [of him], that Colum Cille, the chief poet of the Gaedil, sang this song, verifying his excellence —

1. Make thou my confutation, my son,
tell me tidings with strength ;
it is long since every evil was spread abroad
after the body of Eochaid son of Erc was wounded.

2. Eochu son of Erc, who was sufficient in virtue —
better than every king save stainless Christ —
that man is the first king of Ireland,
who was wounded in white Inis Fail.

3. The three sons of Nemed of battles slew him :
of the progeny of Nemed do they name warriors :
they planted stakes of anguish through him,
So that they put him under squalid heaps.

4. Within her (Ireland) there was no peace nor ease,
on the assembly there was a madness of sorrow,
From Eochaid, who was peaceful and free
till the time of the son of great Mil.

5. Great the seafarers about the season of sunrise —
the loss of the son of Erc, it was a danger in a citadel :
Men in Bags, who were great in strength,
they divided the lofty island of pure Art.

6. The plain of Eriu to Slanga, a slice
from pearly Nith southward
to the Meeting, a secret involved,
of the three waters, of the three rapids.

7. To Gann without fighting, without gloom,
He had to Belach Conglais :
Sengand from the Pass of the Hound
honour for him extended to Luimnech.

8. Memorable Genand bound his secret
from Luimnech to Ess Ruaid :
that of the very noble king Rudraige stretched
from thence to the strand of Baile [son] of Buan.

9. Hard is the group that tormented them,
The Tuatha De Danann from far away :
They landed — it was a rough bright gang —
upon the hard mountain of Conmaicne Rein.

10. They slew the enduring Fir Bolg,
and thence there were graves of champions
then there was a swelling like to anger
in lofty Nuadu Silver-hand.

11. The son of Ethliu of the combats bound,
Lug the complete, who was a man smoothly-pleasant and generous;
A great warrior, to him it was bloody and fatal (??)
In the battle of Mag Tuired westward.

12. To Ireland they reached the promontories :
The sons of stately Mil came ;
In a foundation-land, a headland southward,
It was seen from the Tower of great Breogan.

13. The first man of the seed of tuneful Bregon
belonging to them, who died in great Ireland,
was Dond son of Mil, setting aside Ir,
From whom is the name of Tech Duinn of retainers.

14. The first man who was buried without a green point
in Ireland, who was pleasant in adornment,
Ladra, rough in achievement was his strength,
From whom is named Ard Ladrann in the south.

15. The first man who was drowned, of the numbers who avenged
of the seed of the sons of Mil of multitudes of ships,
Ith son of Bregon, who was great of deeds,
The wave accounted for him upon the strand.

16. The first woman who went into cold earth
Of the company from the Tower of white Bregon,
Tea of Breg, wife of the king,
of whom is the name of Temair of the man of Fal.

17. Daughter of Mag Mor, it is no difficult dispute,
Wife of Eochu son of Dui the rough,
Taltiu, of the brink of the noble assembly,
foster-mother of Lug son of Scal Balb.

18. There is done in Brefne the enduring
a deed which shall cause much sorrow,
a sorrow ... at last
the destruction of the pilgrim from Rome.

19. The powerful son of Domnall works
destruction to the crown of his ridge — it shall be sinister —
there shall not be in Ireland, without reproach
woman or family or house or smoke.

20. I am Colum of Druim Dean
not long to him did the story bring sorrow ( ?)
The slaying of the son of Erc by the sea,
It is a cause of weeping and tears.


300. The Fir Bolg divided Ireland into five parts, as we have said above. The Fifth of Genann (read Gann) it is, over which was Cairbre s. Ross. The Fifth of Sengann it is, over which was Eochaid s. Lucht. The Fifth of Slainge it is, over which was Dedad s. Sin. The Fifth of Genann it is, over which was Ailell s. Mata. The Fifth of Rudraige it is, over which was Conchobor s. Ness. There then is the division under which the provinces of Ireland shall ever be, as the Fir Bolg divided them. To commemorate that the historian sang this song —

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.


As for the progeny of Semeon, they are all the Galeoin and Fir Bolg and Fir Domnann, and thirty years after Genann and Rudraige the Tuatha De Danann came into Ireland. That then is the Taking of the Fir Bolg down to this : and Ireland was waste for two hundred years from the capture of Conainn's tower till the Fir Bolg came.

B

Synchronism of the Taking of the Fir Bolg

M

This is the tale of the years which it contained. The Lordship of the Assyrians was then over the world, and even afterwards.

[* M proceeds to Section VII *]

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 eighth 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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