The Death of Curoi Mac Dari

Adaigh ConRoi
Egerton 88
Version I

Translate into english by Erik Stohellou
© Erik Stohellou - 2011

1. When the Ulstermen were in Emain, they saw a Fer Ecencaill1 coming to them about the Plaine of Emain . He called for Blathin, Conchobor's daughter, and she led her away with him to his will. (However?) she loved the warlock and wizard Curoi, Dare's son. That was Echde Echbel (horse mouth), who did so, and none of the Ulstermen contrived it, just Curoi alone.

2. Echde now lived in Aird Echdi in Cenn Tire Fer Ecencaill2. He had three excellent cows that were sprinkled throughout and beautiful. Hence it is said "the three Echde's erca (speckled)". He had brought them from the great world3 of the expedition, of which he had brought the belt of Uar (?) of the brave and the chessboard of the son of Solomon. These three cows were accustomed to *** (Ulster) to seek from Aird Echdi to Magee and Larne4. A copper caldron that was their calf. Sixty sextarii [one sextarius = 0.546 liter], that was the filling of the caldron from day to day. Hence said Cuchulainn in the Siaburcharpat:

"The caldron was in the castle,
the calf of the three cows;
thirty cows in his throat,
they did not fill it out.

They (the three cows) tended to go to this caldron
- Delightful was the competition -
and they went not away from it again
until they filled it completly.

Much gold and silver was there (or in it)
- good, was the profit -
and I took this caldron,
together with the daughter of the King."

3. The grazing of their country annoyed the Ulstermen. They guarded their land. They locked the cows. These escaped. The Ulstermen went across the sea after the cows until they were located at Echde's tower. They were all gone (?) besides Conall and Loegaire . (However) Cuchulainn went not, none of them like to do it (?). Finaly went Cuchulainn (then). When he got into a boat, he saw a young man from an inconspicuous appearance: a gray skirt, a gray coat, a muirnech5 of copper in his coat.

4. They sat together on (?). Three nights' hospitality were granted to them. The Ulstermen rose after Echde was asleep. They took the caldron with them and the girl and the cows and many other treasures. After they had traveled a great distance, Echde followed them across the sea. The loot was given to Curoi6, that he get Echde off their back. The young man jumped (?) from the ship, so that *** in a great flood (strong wave?), the southman was near him. This was *** his soul. Echde fell. He died.

5. The Ulstermen and the young man came to Ireland. They asked him to take all the treasures, but to let the cattle and the girl until the end of a year with them. Repeatedly he was asked to to the same until the end of three years. He did so. At the end of the (third) year he came. Finally they were liars, they would not let him take them (the cows and the girl), and the appointments were canceled.

6. Then he kidnapped at their own hand, the cows and the boiler and the Maiden. Cuchulainn followed him. He put his hand7 (?) on the handle of the boiler. The young man turned against him. He threw him (Cuchulainn) through the earth, once up to his knees, another time to his rump, the other time up to his waist, the other up to his armpits.

7. Thereafter he led the cows and the girl to Caher Conree between *** and the sea in the west. There the cows let their milk flowing, thereafter without being milked, they were hanging around. From this there grew a herb. Its name is bo-Eirne. For Curoi is one of the Erainn.

8. Later came Ferchertne Curoi's poet, with an ailges8 to the Ulstermenn to carry away the Liath of Macha9. He took it away because of their honor10. After a month he came again. The "People of the Wording" used to praise the Ulstermen's Midchuairt (the hall for feasts) and their king and queen. Once he was irritated. He said, Curoi Dare's son was more glorious than they. [In the following verses, in detail untranslatable, he boasts that the three Echde's erca were in Curoi's possession.] Since 'twas now knew that it was Curoi, who had come to him (Cuchulainn) and had insulted him. The Ulstermen were greatly vexed.

9. After that Cuchulainn went in the form of a poor (beggar) in Caher Conree. He recognized Conchobar's daughter. He told (?) her his walks around the Ulstermen and her father's sake, lest she betrays the man. He (Curoi) had a copper vessel, from which he used to beat (loot) Albion and the other islands of the sea up to the "great world"11.

10. Then the woman betrayed him. As he told to the woman, in his simplicity, to comfort her in her grief, that a source was in the west at the side of Sliab Mis, in which a salmon used to appear at the end of seven years, a golden apple12 is in its interior, this apple can (only) be cut with his own sword, his soul was in it.

11. Seven years had been the woman in the West, till Cuchulainn came in the form of the leper, seven more years from then on, until the salmon appeared. Now she waited that lucky (?). The Ulstermen came and were all at north outside of Caher . The man threw great stones at them, so that they could not approach. Then the salmon was killed (?) by Cuchulainn. This soon took the force and the bravery from Curoi. And he said: "No secret for women! No jewel for slaves! "'Then Cuchulainn killed him. And they were victorious over him.

12. Two of his men retaliated him then. Luach the Great13 (?), Curoi's charioteer, climbed in Coirbre's chariot, the son of Conchobor, and chased him down on the rock, so that they perished. Ferchertne the poet - as he was brought to Blathin, he drove her a spear between her two breasts, so that she died. He too was killed instantly. Therefore, "Blathin's grave" is at the Shannon estuary with the grave of Ferchertne.


1. ie an inhabitant of the peninsula of Cantire in Scotland, as shown in §2.

2. i.e. in Cantire.

3. "The great world" is, as §9 shows, the countries beyond the English island.

4. On the north east coast of Ireland.

5. muirnech, usually an epithet of manais "spear", here seems to mean a clumsy clip or pin.

6. This is the young man

7. or "jumped" or "threw a stone?"

8. a request, leaving no room for denial.

9. Cuchulainn's horse.

10. Their honor forbade them to refuse the requested horse to the poet.

11. This probably means that Curoi was then absent.

12. Or a golden ball.

13. Maybe Luagmar.

© Erik Stohellou - 2010
Sources : Rudolf Thurneysen, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 9