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).


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

164. There was a father's brother of Mil, Ith, son of Breoghan, with them ; he was expert and accomplished in knowledge and in learning. Once on a while when Ith, of a clear winter's evening, was on the top of Breoghan's Tower, contemplating and overlooking the four quarters, it seemed to him that he saw a shadow and 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 Breoghan, said that it was no land he had seen but clouds of heaven, and he was hindering him from going on that expedition. He did not consent to stay, however.

165. Then he brings his ship on the sea, and comes himself with his son, Lugaid son of Ith, and others of his people in it. They sail towards Ireland, and their adventures on sea are not related, save only that they took harbour in Brentracht of Magh Itha. The neighbours went to the shore to interview them, and each of them told news to the other through the Scotic language. Ith asked then the name of the land to which he had come, and who was in authority over it. "Inis Elga," said they, "Mac Cuill, Mac Cecht, and Mac Greiniu are the names of its kings."

166. 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 Dealbaeth, who had died previously. When Ith heard that, he went then with his son and with two-thirds of his people to Aileach. 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, and the cause of their meeting and assembling in one place. Ith excelled the judges of the time in cunning ; and he settled every dispute and contention between them. And he said to them —

167. "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 your land and the patrimony ye inhabit ; plenteous her harvest, her honey, her fish, her wheat, and her other grain. Moderate her heat and her cold. All that is sufficient for you is in her." Then he took farewell of them, and went to his ship.

168. The nobles plot 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 Magh Iotha, so that from him the plain took its name. He reached his ship wounded and bleeding, by the valour and bravery of his people ; so he died with them in his ship on the sea.

169. Then they reached Spain and show 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 Gaedhel in general thought that it was fitting and proper for them to go to avenge their brother on the Tuatha De Danann. They decided on this at last. They collected their warriors and their men of valour from every place where they were, through the lands and the districts, till 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. Threescore and five ships was the tale 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
Eber Finn
Airech Febra


Emer son of Ir



The last ten of those chiefs, namely Fulman, Mantan, etc., were champions.

170. To commemorate the names of those chiefs and leaders this was said ; Flann composed it —

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

2 Donn, Eremon, noble Emer,
Ir, Aimirgin without partiality,
Colptha, Airech Feabra the keen,
Erannan, Muimhne fine and smooth.

3 Luighne, Laighne, Palap the lucky,
Er, Orba, Feron, Ferghin,
Eber son of Ir, Breagha, I shall say,
Cuala, Cailnge, Bladh rough and strong.

4 Fuad, and Muirteimne with fame,
Eblinne, Nar, and Lughaidh,
Lui, and Bile, Buas with battle,
Bres, Buaighne, and Fulman.

5 Manntan, Caicher, slender Suirghe,
Én, Ún, and rigid Etan,
Sobairce, Sedga of spears,
And Goisten the champion.

6 They conquered noble Ireland
against the Tuatha De of heavy horror,
in vengeance for Ith of the steeds —
thirty, ten, and one chieftain.

171. As for the sons of Mil, they sailed in a great expedition on the sea to Ireland, and did not pause in their course till 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 ship by reason of his strength and his valour. So Eber Donn son of Mil, the eldest of them, was jealous and said —

" It is no good deed
Ir 'fore Ith to proceed "—

that is, before Lughaid son of Ith, for Lughaid had the name Ith. Then the oar that was in the hand of Ir split, so that Ir fell backwards on the thwart so that his back broke in two there ; so that he died in the following night, and they preserved his body so long as they were on the sea, till they buried it afterwards in Sceillic of Iorrais Deiscert of Corco Duibhne. Sorrowful were Eremhon, Eber Finn, and Aimirgin 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.

172. The sons of Mil advanced to a landing in Inbher Stainghe. The Tuatha De Danann did not suffer them to come to land there, for they had not held parley with them (?). They made, by their druidry, that it appeared 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 length they took harbour in Inbher Scene ; a Thursday, so far as regards the day of the week, on the day before the Calends of May, the seventeenth day of the moon ; Anno Mundi 3500.

173. Then they came in the end of three days thereafter to Sliabh Mis. Banba meets them in Sliabh Mis, with the hosts of druidry and of cunning. Aimirgin asked her name of her. She said "Banba," said she, "and it is from my name that Banba is named as a title for this country." And she asked a petition of them, that her name should remain always on the island. That was granted to her.

174. Then they have converse with Fodla in Eblinne, and the poet Aimirgin asks 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 her as she requested.

175. They held converse with Eriu in Usnech of Midhe. She said to them, "Warriors," said she, "welcome to you. It is long since your coming is prophesied. Yours will be the island for ever. There is not a better island in the world. No race will be more perfect than your race." "Good is that," said Aimirgin. "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 the island nor will thy children. A gift to me, O sons of Mil and children of Breoghan, that my name may be on this island !" "It will be its chief name for ever," said Aimirgin, "namely Eriu."

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

177. 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 muster 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 from our elements (?) on the spot." "Give the judgment, Aimirgin," said Donn. "I speak it," said Aimirgin. "Let the land be left to them till we come again by force." "Whither shall we go ? " said Eber Donn. "Over nine waves," said Aimirgin ; and he said this —

The men ye have found are of possession (?) :
over nine green-necked waves
of the sea advance ye :
unless by you power be (then) planted,
quickly let battle be prepared (?).
I assign the possession
of the land ye have found :
if ye love conceder (this) award,
if ye love not concede it not —
it is not I that say (this) to you.

178. "If it were my counsel that were done," said Donn son of Mil, "battle it would be." Nevertheless the sons of Mil went by the advice and judgment of Aimirgin from Liathdruim to Inbher Scene, the place where they had left their ships, till they passed over nine waves. "Let us trust to the powers," said the druids, "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 till they were weary. "A druids' wind is that," said Donn son of Mil. "It is indeed," said Aimirgin, "unless it be higher than the mast ; find out for us if it be so." Erannan, 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.

179. "A shame to our men of learning is it," said Donn, "not to suppress the druidic wind." "No shame it shall be," said Aimirgin, 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 waterfalls,
of waterfalls be the lake of deep pools,
deep-pooled be the hill-top wall,
a well of tribes be the assembly,
an assembly of kings be Temair,
Temair be a 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.

180. A tranquil calm came to them on the sea immediately. 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 Dumhacha. Twenty-four warriors of valour, twelve women, and four mercenaries, with their folk, are the tale that were drowned with Donn in that ship. After that, Donn was buried at the Dumhacha ; so that from him "Donn's House" 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 the aforesaid 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,' " said he. These are the chieftains that were drowned with Donn at that time : Bile son of Brighe, Airech Febra, Buas, Breas, and Buaighne. Ir was buried in Sceillic of Iorras, 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 from among their nobles up till then.

181. In the night in which the sons of Mil came to Ireland [was] the burst of Loch Luighdech over land in West Munster. When Lughaidh, son of Ith, was bathing in the lake, and Fial, daughter of Mil, his wife was bathing in the river that flows out of the lake, Lughaidh 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 Lughaidh after the woman's death, so that he said —


1 Sit we here over the strand,
stormy the cold ;
chattering in my teeth, — a great tragedy
is the tragedy that has reached me.

2 I tell (?) you a woman has died,
whom fame magnifies ;
Fial her name, from a warrior's nakedness
upon the clean gravel.

3 A great death is the death that has reached me,
harshly prostrated me ;
the nakedness of her husband, she looked upon him
who had rested here.

183. 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 she-satirist, wife of Aimirgin White-knee (she died with them on the sea while they were coming to Ireland ; so that Aimirgin said, "The harbour where we land, the name of Scene will be on it." That was true, for from her is named Inbher Scene). Fial, wife of Lughaidh son of Ith; the wife of Ir, and the wife of Muirtheimne son of Breoghan, were the other two.

184. 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. Eremon sailed after that with thirty ships, keeping Ireland on his left hand, and he landed in Inbher Colptha. These are the chieftains that were with him : Eber son of Ir, Aimhirgin the poet, Palap, Muimhne, Luighne, Laighne, Bregha, Muitheimne, Fuad, Cuialnge, Colptha, Goisten, Setga, Suirge, and Sobhairce. The three last were champions. These are the slaves that were with Eremon : Aidhne, Ai, Asal, Mide, Cuibh, Cera, Ser, Slan, Lighen, Dul, Tregha, Line.

185. In putting his right foot on shore at Inbher Colptha, it was then Aimirgin said the rhapsody —

I am 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 sunshine.
I am ***
I am a boar for valour.
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 mountain ?
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 ?
On whom do the cattle of Tethra smile ? (?)
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.

186. 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 hail —
with hundreds of salmon —
broad whale —
a port song —
a burst of fish.

187. As for Eber Finn son of Mil, he stayed in the south with thirty ships with him, till they came afterwards in the hosts of the battles that were fought between them and the Tuatha De Danann. These are the chieftains that were with Eber — Lughaidh son of Ith, Er, Orba, Feronn, Fergna, the four sons of Eber, Cuala, Blad, Ebleo, Nar, Én, Ún, Etan, Caicher, Mantan, Fulman. The six last. Én, Ún,, etc., were champions. These are the slaves that were with him : Adhar, Aighne, Deisi, Deala, Cliu, Morba, Fea, Liffe, Femen, Feara, Medha, and Olba.

188. When the sons of Mil reached one place they made no delay till they reached Sliabh Mis ; and the battle of Sliabh Mis was fought between them and the Tuatha De Danann, so that the victory was with the sons of Mil, and numbers of the Tuatha De Danann were killed in that battle. It is there that Fas, wife of Ún son of Uicce, fell, from whom is named Glenn Faise. Scota, wife of Mil, fell in the same valley; from her is named "Scota's grave," between Sliabh Mis and the sea. The sons of Mil went afterwards to Tailltin, and another battle was fought between them and the Tuatha De Danann there. Vehemently and hard-heartedly was it fought, for they were from morning till evening contending, bone-hewing, and mutilating one another ; till the three kings and the three queens of Ireland fell there — Mac Cecht, by Eremhon, Mac Cuill by Eber Finn, Mac Greine by Aimirgin, Eriu by Suirghe, Banba by Caicher, 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 Sliabh Fuad, and Cuailnge in Sliabh Cuailnge, 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.

189. After that there arises a contention between the sons of Mil about the kingship, that is between Eremon and Eber, so that Aimirgin was brought to them to make peace between them. So 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. Ireland was divided in two between them after that, the northern half to Eremon, from Srubh Brain to the Boyne, the southern half to Emer, from the Boyne to Tonn Chlidna. There were five chieftains in the division of each of them. With Eremon first, Aimirgin, Sedga, Goisten, Suirghe, and Sobhairce. Now in that year these forts were dug by Eremon with his people: Rath Beothaigh, above the Nore in Argat Ros ; Rath Oinn, in the territory of Cuala, by Eremon ; the Causeway of Inbher Mor, in the territory of Ui Enechglais, by Aimirgin; the building of Dun Náir, in Sliabh Modhoirn, by Goisten ; the building of Dun Delginnse, in the territory of Cuala, by Sedga ; the building of his fort by Sobairce in Morbolg of Dal Riada ; the building of Dun Edair by Suirghe. These are the forts built by Eber and these the chieftains that were with him : Etan, Ún, Mantan, Fulman, and Caicher were his five chieftains. Rath Uamhan, in Leinster, was dug by Eber ; Rath Arda Suird by Etan, son of Uicce ; the building of Carrig Blaraighe by Mantan ; the building of Carrig Fethaidhe by Ún son of Uicce ; the building of Dun Airdinne by Caicher ; the building of Rath Rioghbard, in Muiresc, by Fulman.

190. So that for the commemoration of certain of the aforesaid matters this was said —

1 The expedition 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.

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

3 They landed at the noble creek
which is called the white rampart ;
it was a cause of sickness, an attempt without failure,
from the sight of the warrior Lughaidh,

4 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.

5 At the end of three days, brilliant preparation,
the Tuatha De fought
the battle of Sliabh Mis, glory that was not failure,
against the great sons of Mil.

6 They won, a saying without reproach,
the battle against fair-headed Banbha,
where died Fas, woven in verse,
with the very fair daughter of Pharaoh.

7 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.

8 Over the north side, a progress without sorrow,
Eremon was taken as high prince ;
from Srubh Brain, which verses adorn,
over every tribe to Boyne.

9 These are the five guardians of control
whom he accepted to accompany him ;
Aimirgin, Setga also,
Goisten, Sobairce, Suirge.

10 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.

11 These are the five, with hundreds of exploits,
the chiefs who were subordinate to him ;
Etan, and Ún of joyous rule,
Mantan, Fulman, and Caicher.

12 In this same year
the royal forts were dug,
by the sons of Mil, honour of pledges,
after the full division of Ireland's island.

13 Rath Oinn, Rath Beothaigh here,
by Eremon in Argatros ;
in Sliabh Mis, after series of omens (?),
the building of Dun Nair by Gosten.

14 Suirghe wide-extended, who displayed valour,
built the high Dun Edar ;
and the founding, a glorious achievement,
of his fort by Sobhairce.

15 By Emer of bright valour, was dug
Rath Uaman in the plain of Leinster ;
Rath Arda Suird, it enriched him,
was dug by Etan, son of Uicce.

16 Rath Carraig Fetha thus,
was made by Ún, son of Uicce ;
and by Mantan, a glorious deed,
the founding of Carraig Blaraighe.

17 Rath Rioghbhaird in good Muiresc,
very keen Fulman built it ;
Caicher of battles, a pleasant fulfilment,
took Dum Inne in the west of Ireland.

18 These are their deeds of valour,
of the clear, glorious, great royal host ;
it was a great achievement, after battle, without stain ;
theirs was every profit, every expedition.

191. Of the adventures of the Gaedhil, from the time when they went from Scythia till they took Ireland, and of the division of Ireland between them, with their chieftains, the poet Roighne Roscadach, son of Ughoine Mor, said to Mal son of Ughoine, his brother, when Mal questioned him : "Sing thy description in the great knowledge of Ireland, O Roighne," Roighne answered him and said —

O noble son of Ugoine,
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 Cingcris 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 "Gaedhil,"
the name "Scots" spreads,
the fair daughter of Pharaoh.
They overspread lands,
burst into Scythia,
determined long combat —
the children of Nel and Noenbal.
Golamh was a young lord,
who slew the son of Neman,
escaped to Egypt,
where was Nectanebus.
Pharaoh was welcoming,
to Golamh, gave
a marriage Nectanebus,
Scota was at the Scots' head :
a name was changed from them.
they advance past Africa,
good was the man under whom they trembled ; (?)
Fenius Farsaidh, the keen,
well he spread for us a lasting name.
They approached Spain,
where was born a numerous progeny,
Donn, Airech, Aimirgin,
Eber, Ir, Colptha himself,
Eremon, Erannan,
the eight sons of Golamh.
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 enquiry,
O Son !

192. After Eremon and Emer 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, Cennfhinn 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, so that thence melody of music and harmony followed in the southern half. The poet went to Eremon, so that knowledge of poetry and song followed him in the north ever after. To commemorate this was it said —

1 The two sons of Mil, famous in dignity,
took Ireland and Britain ;
with them there followed hither
a gentle poet and a harper.

2 Cir, son of Cis, the bright poet,
the name of the harper Cendfind ;
with the sons of Mil, of bright fame,
the harper sounded his harp.

3 The princes, with many battles,
took the kingdom of Ireland ;
they did it with brightness, merry the sound,
Eber and Eremon.

4 They cast a lot swiftly
about the great men of art ;
so that there fell to the lot of the Southerner
the harper, just and fair.

5 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.

6 There fell to the lot of the Northerner
the man of learning with great excellence ;
hence the folk who brought him boast
knowledge (?) of poetry and learning.

création : 20/11/2009

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