The Battle of Ross na Ríg : Notes

1. Navan Fort, near Armagh, on the way to Keady.

2. Debated; "it is allowed" in Anglo-Irish = is agreed on.

3. i.e. was killing him; galar also means grief.

4. Cú Chulaind's charger, The Grey of Macha, let fall big tears of blood, "cotarlaic a bolgdéra mora fola," LL. 119 b, l.3.

5. Or strongholds; baile also signifies townland.

6. Lit., of force or violence.

7. Or then.

8. Or "Medb of dark-white chariots."

9. Or "marched on," connected with éirgim.

10. Dunseverick, Co. Antrim.

11. Lit., "cow's son."

12. Medb, his former wife, inflicted such loss on him at the battle of Gairech, that he could not follow up his victory.

13. "My dear life" is an Anglo-Irish expression: it is to be found in the letters of some ladies of the kingdom of Kerry.—See Life of Count Daniel O'Connell, by Mrs. O'Connell Fitzsimon. Cf. "Your soul, how are you?" Anglo-Irish.

15. Or "a reason or cause indeed." I devide this cheville thus: fath amne; aimne = patience, O'R.; or = ita, so, in Z. Cf. fáthairgne, "cause of plunders," MS Materials, 492.

16. Echu Fedlech, the father of Medb, and father-in-law of Conor. See Irische Texte, p. 266.

17. [Irish: mór-rígain. Nicknack009]

18. Or escaped; Medb had escaped from him, and he considers that it was not a victory for him.

19. Or good and valiant.

20. i.e. this has almost killed me.

21. i.e. Ailill.

22. Or vastness of lords or multitude, dp.; it is a cheville; cf. aidble remend, W., and Adamnan, p. 274; aidble bainn, vastness of deed, S. na Rann, p. 125.

23. Cf. oenach n-uircc treith, the fair of the son of a king, Stokes' Bodl. Cormac, 26; in-óenach thuire threith, LL. 187 b.

24. I have divided this R. into verses, conjecturally; and I have hazarded a timid and tentative translation; in aim = this time, in Windisch.

25. ale bar occurs six times, and ale ar, ale far once; it seems to mean "continued." It begins sentences: Aile ar Mac Roig, Aile for Cu Chulaind, Ale leice as a Fherguis ar Medb; Aile a gilla, ar Cu Chulaind, LL. 55 a, 63 a, 61 a, 70 b.

26. Absent friends.

27. Isle of Lewis, Wars of the G. and G., Index, = Ljodús, Stokes on the Ling. Value of the Irish Annals, p. 118. Inis Cat is "Shetland," Todd in Wars of the G. and G.; and Insi Orc are the Orkneys; but Crich Cat is "Cateness", Caithness, Nennius, p. 148; written Inis Gaid in W.

28. i.e. "Big Shoes," a nickname, as Stokes surmises; cf.son of Rafer, "Big Man," infra; cf. fofer, "good man," Tl. 242.

29. i.e. Ey-Keggiar, the Faeroe Islands, Stokes, ubi supra, pp. 58, 120.

30. Some town of the Faeroe Islanders; the only word I find like this is in Dún na Trapcharla in Munster, F. Mast. an 1062.

31. Roth, Fiúit = Red and White, Norse loan words.—Stokes.

32. Sweden; or Suderoe, one of the Faeroe islands.

33. i.e. Herlingr, Stokes; Romra, g. Romrach, is an Irish word in S. na Rann, l. 3982, and LU. 40 a. Cf. Tracht Romra = Solway Frith, Adamnan XLV.

34. Probably a Pictish name, Stokes, 117, ubi supra; but Cano also is Irish, and means a file of the 4th degree.

35. Dundalk; d. Delga, LU. 68 b., shows that the nom. is not Delg.

36. Murlough, Co. Antrim, F. Masters, I. p. 26. Dunseverick Castle was in Murbolg Dalriada, ib. Muirbolc, Adamnan, p. 40.

37. Larne, Co. Antrim. Maghseimhne was in Dalaraidhe, F. Masters, Index. Inis Seimne = Island Magee.

38. Lit., its.

39. rossail or rosualt, walrus(?), LL. 118, LU. 11a; corrcind, "crane-(or round-)heads," or sword fish (corr, sharp, B. of Fenagh, 400, 298). CF. serrcend, serpent(?), Tigern. 1137; cenandan looks like ceinndán (little white head) of the B. of Armagh; il-riana means the many water-ways; rossail = ross-hwæl, horse-whale(?).

40. Larne.

41. The strand and river-mouth at Dundalk.

42. síblanga = sith-langa, long boats? Cf. sithlungi, of a long ship, Togail Troi, pp. 43, 109; sib-ín (a bulrush) is a dimin. of sib; lang appears in Erc-lang, Dúnlang, etc.: sithlongaib, LU. 80 a.

43. Supply "said Conchobor."

44. Or, why must thou have that?

45. i.e. it is due to me; it is the least I should expect in return.

46. [An archaic name for Connacht. Nicknack009]

47. midlán, half full, or quite full?

48. Or when beer was stronger than men, when they were overcome by it; flaith = prince, § 22; reign § 54; here, "a kind of strong ale," as in O'R. and W. If so, this is the oldest instance of the word in that sense. In Mid. Irish the compar. governs an accusative, firu. Noteworthy are the "we won't go home till morning"" habits of the Conchoborian Cycle.

49. bude-chaiti, lit. thank-spent(?).

50. The meaning appears to be that they could not contain themselves.

51. Or trembled, shook at this.

52. Tonn Cleena, Glandore Harbour, Co. Cork (Index to F. Masters), in the Bay of Clonakilty (C. M. Lena, 95); T. Rudr. in the Bay of Dundrum, Down; T. T. Inbir, at the mouth of the Bann, ib. Cf. LL. 168 b, B. of Ballymote, 374 a, 395 b. The waves bounded for joy (sometimes, at least?), "Do failtigeadar tri tonna no Fodla .i. T. Inbir ag freagra Thuinne R. acus T. Cliodna ag freagra don dá thonn oile," C. M. Lena, 94: there was also a famous wave, "Tonn Luim," B. of Fenagh, 146.

53. King of Munster, Man. and Cust. II. 21; Curúi or his son was K. of the other part of Munster, Cambren. Eversus, I. 453.

54. Near Abbeyfeale, ib. III. 132; Hennessy (M. Ulad v.) thinks it was further north. Temair Erand was the burial place of the Clanna Dedad who occupied a great part of Cos. Cork and Kerry. As these came southwards to it, I think it was Mt. Eagle (near Castle Island), the highest summit of Sliabh Luachra.

55. Galeóin, the Leinstermen, Sench. M. I. 70; cf. rige Coicid Galían, LU. (?). They possessed at one time the Orkneys, Nennius, 50.

56. Burgage Moat, Co. Carlow; dind, .i. dún, Stokes' Bodl. Cormac, 16.

57. A powerful race—slew Lugaid, K. of Ireland, A.D., and Cathair Mór, A.D.122 (Tigernach). They occupied the land from Glasnevin into Cavan, gave their name to (the baronies of) Leyney in Sligo and Gallen in Mayo, Cambrensis Eversus, I. 471.

58. Lit., "was allowed," = (Anglo-Irish) it was agrred on.

59. The lived near Luachair Dedad, or Slieve Logher, near Castleisland, Kerry. CF. Joyce's Keating, 166.

60. Lit., doing up, border(?), gl. limbus.

61. A summer house, .i. temair in tige, Cormac.

62. Lit., on it from above; the Brown Bull of Cooley was dead at this time, but the South-Munstermen did not know it.

63. Or falseness of hands; it seems to mean he made a false or unworthy retreat, cf. W. v. lám; gabail láma, to drive back.

64. Medb calls Conor (her former husband) "him," "the man," § 22.

65. Lit., harlot; but Ailill would hardly say that to Medb in public, though her conduct was rather light; Cú Chulaind called the ladies of Ulster "merdrecha," LU. 43.

66. Or lit., I deem thee under him (fua) as to that, or I think thee good (fua) in that. She appears to agree with his view.

67. Lit., not fear to him is a thing on this turn, i.e. there is no danger. Note the inviolability of heralds.

68. Of Feeguile, parish of Clonast, barony of Coolestown, King's Co., L. na gCeart, p. 214; LL. fol. 112 a. Gabal was the name of the river, and it is now called Fidh Gaible.

69. Lit., of; or till all the provinced of Eirin have been a place for my tent.

70. Either "Cairn na foraire ar Sliab Fuaid" (LU. 78 a b), which was near Newtownhamilton, and guarded the pass to Conor's palace of Emain. Conor's son, Cormac, is called "nia an Chairn" (H.3.18, p.594). Or (2) it was the cairn of Armagh; cf. "A Chongail Mullaig Macha," C. M. Rath, 172.

71. I take Accal to be the highest point of Slieve Bree, about seven miles due north of Rosnaree, and Slige Breg to be the road there passing Sliab Breg. Conor was not at Accall (or Skreen), "near Tara," so called to distinguish it from other places of the same name. To get near Tara he had to fight a battle on the Boyne.

72. [Irish: flath briugaid] Large landholder; nom sg. ríg briuga, LL. 160 b.

73. However numerous the enemy; but he did not do so afterwards, he prudently waited and waited for all his troops to come into the field.

74. Commanding hill, either Knowth or New Grange; the former faces Rosnaree, and commands a fine view of it. Cf. tilach airechais ocus tigernais hErend .i. Temair, Sick Bed of Cu, 384.

75. "inber," in §§ 25, 26, is the river at Rosnaree, which is not affected by the tides, and cannot be called a river moth or estuary at ten miles from the sea.

76. i.e. he went around them in a wrong direction, lost his way, or, rather, ran amuck. Cf. "They are disorganised all round like the grindings of a mill turning the wrong way" (ocus bleith muillinn tuaithfil arra), Cog. G., p. 198; "for tuaithbell," lefthand-wise, L. na gCeart, pp. 2, 12, LL. 114 b.

77. Or "he bore (drove) their right wing in on their left, and their rear on their van" (!). An Irish soldier in thePeninsular War strayed from his quarters, and got drunk. To escape being shot by Wellington's orders, he brought French prisoners to the English camp, and, when asked how he managed to disarm them, he said—"I surrounded them." If the phrase be connected with what goes before, I fancy it means, "he took their east for their west, and their south for their north."

78. Lind Féicc, g. Lind find Féic na fían, O'Hartigan's Poem in LL.

79. A great fact of wonder(?), imgen, § 26; imgén, § 27, for imchian.

80. Breadth of view(?).

81. Hence i fancy he was at Knowth or towards Slane.

82. A "ross" is a wooded promontory.

83. Sons of Derg; from § 16, 19, 29, they were evidently the Leinstermen with their headquarters at Dinn Ríg on the Barrow. Derg was probably one of the two Dergs of Bruden da Derg or Bohernabreena, S. Mor. I. 46.

84. "cairptech" or "eirr" is a warrior who fights from a chariot, not an "ara" or rhedarius. In LL. 121 a. Cu Chulaind said when Lóeg was killed, "I am now charioteer as well as chariot-warrior"; culmaire, .i. cairpthech, LU. 190 a.

85. "fer dána," man of science and art. Such men were also men of war, as appears from our text.

86. Eogan, king of Farney, Co. Monaghan, slew the children of Uisnech; he was father-in-law of Conall Cernach, LU. p. 103 b.

87. They do the same in § 16; but "What are the wild waves saying"? And what have mythologists to say about this sonant sympathy between shield and shield and shields and waves?

88. A fresh body of them came on the field under Conall Cernach, as the other Ulaid were retreating.

89. Cf. dot' ain-déoin, against thy will, C. M. Rath, 160; but innéoin, support, Hyfiachr. 254. It is clear that the Ulstermen were running away, and that our version is so full of euphemisms that it must be an Ulster one. It was ever thus, from Rosnaree to Waterloo, that accounts of battles have been written. The "glasláth" (= recruits, Ma. Mater. 102, and O'Don. Suppl.) were green or raw troops, with which cf. glas-gesceda, glas-darach, § 37, and glas-fiann (Diarm. and Grainne, 88).

90. Or it is = fri a n-ais, on their back; they must have thrown away their spears in their flight, since they had to get shillelaghs, when rallied by Conall.

91. "essairm, diairm, ócbad, gillanrad," not in dictionaries, and the English is somewhat conjectural. These four lines are a rosc.

92. rucht, §§ 39, 48; groan, O'Cl.

93. Lit., like that.

94. tigardáil (§§ 40, 41, 42, 43, 46, 49), tiger-meeting(?), tig-fardail, supreme effort (fardail, the major part of a thing, O'R/; urdail, equivalent, Atkinsons Gl.); and ct. tig-lecht, the last bed or grave; or tig-ár-dail, final-slaughter-encounter. It means fight, § 46. Cf. with these proverbial sayings those of LB. 217 b.

95. i.e. he struck Conor's shield.

96. Little steel (or hard) thing, the hard-head steeling.

97. Carpre's head appears to have been sent to his brother Ailill, and was buried in Sid Nento of Mullaghshee, near Lanesborough, LL. 121 b.

98. i.e. covered the retreat.

99. Conchobar's daughter. Nóichruthach (nóicrothach, W.) = mewly-formed or ship-shaped or of nine beauties, as in LL.

100. Lit., (according) to my will.

101. Cermna of Dun Cermna, or Old Head of Kinsale, was brother of Sebuirge of Dunseverick. CF. LL. 17 a: "Gabait Sobairche ocus Cermna Find ríge n-Erend."

102. "Conall the Cross-eyed was his name till then. For the Ulstermen had three belemishes, to wit, Cu Chulaind the Blind, and Cuscraid the Mute," &c., Talland Etair, LL. 117 a, ed by Whitley Stokes, Rev. Celt. viii., p. 60.

103. In M. D'Arbois de Jubainville's Catalogue, p. 66, Keating is the only authority for this tale. Add this from LL. and Harl. 5280, fo. 54 a, and our 2nd version, 36.

104. Not mentioned by M. D'Arbois.

105. Not in M. D'Arbois; nor is "Dergruaba Conaill," which is cited in C. M. Rath, p. 176, though he gives "Dergruathar Conaill" from p. 222 of that book; and "Aided na Macraide," LB, 139; "macrad" = the sons of Calatin, Cairpre and Cúrúi (?).

création : 30/08/2009