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Areadbhar [weapon:spear] [Celtic:ulster cycle/mythological cycle(?)]

(1) OCT=The Fate of the Chirdren of Tuireann
Aɼéadḃaiɼ, Ar-éadbair (O'Curry ed., tr., p.188/189, etc.)*1, Ar-eadbair (O'Curry, ib., footnote p.198), "Areadbhar is the name" (O'Duffy ch. 32, ed.p.27 tr.96)
Slaughterer (P. W. Joyce) [E. tr.] [The name seems just a corruption of Athibar, the incantion to recall the spear. But O'Curry evidently decomposed the word into ár "Slaughter, carnage; defeat, destruction" + adbar "matter, material; gear, equipment (DIL)" although he did not go as far as to supply any glos on the meanings of these components. P.W.Joyce acted upon this hint to call the spear "Slaughterer". ]
[pronunc. the latter element adbar is std. mod. ábhar gen. sing. ábhair IPA:/ˈaːwəɾ.o;/ /a:wər/ /AW*-wuhr/ "matter"]
Name of the spear that Lugh demanded as one of the eirics from the children of Tuirenn, and which belonged to Pisear, king of Persia. Its tip was kept in a pot of water to prevent the court (or city) from burning (loiscfeaḋ, "burning" p.205 seems closer than "melting" p.189).
This name only occurs in the full narrative version of the tale, which only exist in late redactions. Older texts containing the tale in brief are found in the Book of Invasions, with a differing list of items imposed by Lugh.

It might be pointed out that there are two segments detailing the armaments that Lug already had before he compelled the Children of Tuireann to gather the items of marvel (O'Curry p.162-3, p.176-7; O'Duffy Ch. 5, Ch. 20)

(2) LGE=The Book of Invasions
Gae Assail (MacAlister ed. tr., LGE, Poem LXVI, v.10 [after ¶318]), Gāei Assail (ib., ¶319 [1st Redaction]) "Spear of Assal" (ib., tr.) *2
[etymology: O'Curry did not attempt a meaning of the name although he did indicate how the word should be broken down by inserting a hyphen in the English text. P. W. Joyce then evidently identified the presence of the word-stem ár "slaughter", and developed his rendering "Slaughterer".]
The spear that Lugh demanded as eiric from the children of Tuirenn belonged to Assal (Easal) according to the older text, and had no specific name (epitome in the Book of Invasions). When cast with the incantation "ibar (yew)!" it never missed its mark, and could be recalled with the counter-spell " athibar (re-yew)!"

(3) Poems inserted in the OCT
eó bo háille d'ḟíoḋḃaiḃ "A [yew] tree, the finest of the wood" (O'Curry ed. tr., p.204/5)
eó buḋ h-áille d'ḟioḋḃaiḋ (eó budh háille d'fhiodhbhaidh) "A (yew) tree, the finest of the woods" (Richard J. O'Duffy Ch. 47 ed. p.42 tr. p.113)
Iḃaiɼ, an taɼm á ġa, Iubhar "Iubhar (Yew), the gifted weapon" (O'Curry ed., tr. p.210/211, inserted verse) ≅(O'Duffy, ch.54, tr. p.121)
[etymology: "3.tree, yew-tree" + budh (ba) "assertive verb, pt. tense of is 'is'; was (O'Duffy)" + is aille "most beautiful (O'Duffy)" / alai (álaind "lovely, fine, splendid" from áille "beauty") + gen. of fíodbha "wood, thicket (O'Duffy)" /fhid/fíad = "woodland, wilderness" + báid = "affection" (cf. bádach = "fond, amiable, mild")/]
Brian, son of Tuireann, posing as a poem, sings strains about the spear belonging to Pisear (two quatrains of verse are quoted), and periphrases the spear in these terms. This may be a vestige of the older tradition, since the same circumlocution occurs in other tracts, listed below.

In a later passage after having obtained the pigs of Assal without quarrel, Brian sings a poem of four quatrains, in which her refers to the spear he won from Pisear as Iḃar "Iubhar," which simply means "Yew" (as O'Curry explains in footnote).

(4) A tract in TCD MS 1336 (olim MS H 3.17), col. 723 postscripted to Expulsion of the Dessi

ibar alai fhidbaidha "the famous yew of the wood" (Hennesey, Mesca Ulad, p.xiv);

This tract provides a history of subsequent owners of the spear. It alleges that the spear "known by the name of ibar alai fhidbaidha ('the famous yew of the wood,'..)" in the time that Lug son of Eithliu was was a chief of the Tuatha de Danann, was "the 'Crimall of Birnbuadach' in the time of Cormac Mac Airt"; whilst it was called the 'Luin of Celtchair' in the time of Conor Mac Nessa".
The tract is thus summarized by Hennessey in a preface discussion, as the tract has not yet been properly edited. The narrative The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel vaguely corroborates the claim, saying that the Luin Celtachair had been found at Mag Tuired (hinting at its Tuatha Dé Dannan origin).

(5) "Dám Thrír Táncatair Ille" ("They came here as a band of three"), in LL 207b, (ed. L. Chr. Stern as eine Ossianische Ballae in Festschrift to Whitley Stokes)
na hibur alle d'fidbaid "des Waldes schönste Eibe" [G.] (Stern ed. tr. eine Ossianische Ballade, );*3
na hiḃur alle ḟiḋḃaiḋ "the finest yew among the woods" [E.] (O'Curry, preface to the Three Sorrows, Atlantis III, p.396-7);
[alai (álaind) "lovely, fine, splendid" from áille "beauty"; fhidhbaidh = fidrad, fidradaibh "trees, a wood; trees regarded as timber".);

The ballad concerns the marvelous dog Shalinnis owned by three foreigners met by the Fiana, and previously belonging to Lugh (Seebelow concerning the dog). The ballad mentions the phrase "finest yew among the woods" in reference to the dog, it seems, rather than a spear. Probably the lines explaining that it had to do with the spear were lost in transmission. Stern addresses this point in his edition to the ballad (p. 15), quote right.

As a sidenote, O'Curry in his lectures (Manners 2, p.325) states that "Lugaidh (=Lugh)..demanded the famous spear which at the time was called Ibar Alainn Fidh-bhaidhea (or, "the Yew, the finest of timber") it does not seem O'Curry pinpoints the source here, and I believe Stern (Festschrift, p.15, quoted right) is mistaken in suggesting it can be quoted out of the Book of Lecan. Rather, O'Curry seems to be citing the Book of Lecan as one of the manuscripts containing the the older version of OCT (Tuirill Piccreo story) from the "Book of Invasions."

§ A Speculation on the Name Origin

It seems rather plausible that the incantation to boomerang the spear back, "Athibar", as told in the more ancient version was corrupted into "Aréadbhar" and became attached as the name of the spear, though this cannot be proved one way or the other.

But one might guess that it is the same source as the one Hennessey names (Mesca Ulad in Todd Lect. Ser. I, p.xiv), viz., that the Luin Celtchair was "known by the name of ibar alai fhidbaidha ("the famous yew of the wood"), in a Tract in the ms. H. 3.17. [now ms. 1336], col. 723 [This tract is apparently a bridge that occurs right after Expulsion of the Déssi, but Kuno Meyer unfortunately fails to record it in his recension of Tucait indarba na nDéssi, in Anecdota from Irish Manuscripts, vol. i., pp.15-24, where variant readings from H.3.17 (denoted h) are given in footnote].
Another possble source is a certain "Ossianic ballad," but here, (probably due to a defect in the ballad's text), the phrase "finest yew in the woods" reads as if it applies to Lug's dog (Shalinnis or Failinis, below) rather than to the spear. This ballad is edited by Stern in full, but four verses (including the one which contains the phrase) are quoted in the appendix to O'Curry's edition of the OCT. "They Came a Band of Three", four strophes of which O'Curry quotes in his preface.

Perhaps in some lost ancient lore, the yew tree with a magic dog somehow. The Story of Mac Dá Thó's Pig and Hound Ailbe

§ Possible Identification with the Spear of the Four Treasures of TDD

There have been attempts to identify it with the "spear of Lug" (sleg Loga) named as one of the "Four Jewels of Tuatha dé Danann", about which is said, "No battle was maintained against the spear of Lug or against him who had it in his hand" (tr. Macalister).

Commentators also like to unify the notion of Lug's spear/dart with the weapon Lug used to slay his grandfather Balor. This is achieved by extrapolating that Lug's sling (taball) was in fact a sling-staff (crann-tabhaill).
Some go even further to say that it was a really a light-shaft of the deity Lug.

This line of consideration is no doubt encouraged by Meier suggestion that Cuchullin's spear gae-bolg was really gabul-gae "fork spear", and represents lightning.

Perhaps its origins traces back to the an ur-source akin to the keraunos (thunder-bolts) of Greek myth, crafted by Vulcan/Hephaestos and hurled by Zeus.

Luġ Láṁḟada, loinnḃéimionnaċ [Ir.]; Lugh Lamh-fada [i.e. Lugh of the long arms and furious blows] [E.] (O'Curry, text & tr. Aoidhe Chloinne Tuireann);
Lugh na lend [Ir.], Lug-na-Lend ('von den Mänteln') [tr. G.] (ballad, ed. tr. Stern); Lugh na lenn "Lugh of the Mantles" (O'Curry, preface).
["furious blows" is usually the nickname of Balor. "Lugh na lend (of the mantles)" explained by Stern as corruption of Lugh mac Ethlend. For other forms of Lug's name, see «Lugh's sling stone»]

The form "Lugh of the Mantles" occurs in the ballad regarding the wine-giving hound named Cu Cian or Salinnis. But Stern its editor thinks this a corruption of Lug mac Ethlend or "son of Ethlenn".

Freagaɼṫaċ .i. cloiḋeaṁ Mhanannáin (Freagarthach .i. colidheamh Mhanannáin) [Ir.] "the Freagarthach ["Retaliator"], Manannan's sword" (OCT, O'Curry ed.,tr. p.162/3, ) "..lit, the Responsive, i.e. -- the sword that paid back with interest the attack of its opponents" (O'Curry footnote, p.162 n147 ) "the Freagarthach, that is, the sword of Manannain" (O'Duffy tr.ch.5);
Freagarthach, the Answerer (Lady Gregory, Gods and Fighting Men, p.22)
The Answerer (P. W. Joyce, Old Celt. Rom. p.38)
Fragarach "Answerer" (T. F. Rollerston, Myth & Legends of the Celtic Race)
Frecraid (Mackillop, Dict. Celt. Mythol. and )
Sword that Lugh was seen wearing at his side, at the gathering of the Tuatha dé Danann.
It was was such that "it never wounded any one who could come away alive from it [i.e., no one survived a wound from it;] and that sword was never bared on the scene of a battle or combat, in which so much strength as that of a woman in childbirth would remain to any person who saw the sword who was opposed to it i.e. no one opposed by that sword seemed to have any greater strength.]" (O'Curry, Atlantis IV, p.163).

More of the details and minutiae of this sword will be discussed on its own pages.

T. F. Rollerston's retelling (Myth & Legends of the Celtic Race 1913) which was apparently also the first to simplifiy the name to "Fragarach", added several embellishments of his own which unfortunately seems to have propagated into dictionaries such as Mackillop's Dict. Celt. Mythology
Rollerston, even though he mistakenly identifies Duach "The Dark" as Lugh's foster-father, is emboldened to say this Duach was also lord of the Great Plain [i.e. Mag Mell] or the "Land of the Living" [i.e. Tí na mBeó], and that Lug brought out the boat and horse and the Fragarach "Answerer" of Mananan out of the Land of the Living.
Rollerston was compounding the mistake made by Lady Gregory in Gods and Fighting Men, p.62, where she misstates that Lug's foster-mother Taillte had for husband Duach "The Dark". Lady Gregory earlier (p.16) states Lug was foster-son of Taillte and of Echaid the Rough, son of Duach, which is more consistent with the Leabhar Gabhála ¶330 and Geoffrey Keating (although his FFE mentions two Eochaids wedded to Taillte).

It might also be mentioned in passing that in late redaction of the Fate of the Children of Uisneach, Naoise, the son of Uisneach and the beloved of Deirdre also professed to have owned a "sword which Manannan, son of Lir, gave to me" cloiḋeaṁ agamſa ṫug Manannán, mac Liɼ, dam (O'Duffy tr., ch. 30, p.78; O'Flanagan ed. tr. p.106,7 "sword which Mananan the son of Lear gave me")

1) Caṫbaɼɼ (Cathbharr) [Ir.], "helmet" (OCT, O'Curry ed.,tr. p.162/3, ) "the Cathbarr" (O'Duffy ch.5); [* OIr. cathbarr "helmet; head-dress, diadem;) (DIL)")].
2)Cinnḃeaɼt (Cinnbheart) [Ir.], "Cénnbhearr" (OCT, O'Curry ed., p.177), Cennbhearr (ib., O'Curry's footnote, p.176, n177), Cinnbheart (OCT, O'Duffy ed., Ch. 20) Cannbarr (P. W. Joyce, Old Celtic Rom. [3rd ed., 1879] p.49 )
[etymology: ceinnbeirt "headdress, helmet (DIL)"; which O'Curry rationalizes as cenn "head" + barr, the top, or covering.' [* bairrin, barraín, bairín "head-dress worn by a king (in his priestly capacity?); mitre (DIL)"].
P. W. Joyce, A soc. hist. Ireland I, p.124 cites an instance of cennbarr that occurs in a preface to the Táin, whose text O'Curry transcribes (in Manners 1, 157, note 234, 13th line: Cennbair con-imdenum di-glainie acas findruine..), which comes from a copy of ms. formerly of Mr. William Monck Mason.]
In the modern telling of the Fate of the Children of Tuireann, two passages give the above as the names of Lugh's helm, although these are common nouns, and mean no more than "The Helmet".
In the first passage, Lugh wears "the Cathbarr" (O'Duffy, Ch. 5) which has a jewel in the back in two in the front. The Irish text capitalized it so that O'Duffy translates it as a name, but O'Curry renders the corresponding word merely as "helmet".
In the later passage, the helmet (cathbarr) of Lugh is now named Cinnbheart ["Cennbhearr" (O'Curry tr.), "Cinnbheart" (O'Duffy tr.)]. But this too is a common noun meaning "helmet", as O'Curry points out.

1) Aonbarr
[forms] tAonḃaɼɼ Mhanannáin Aenbharr (O'Curry ed. tr., "The Fate of the Children of Tuireann", p.162-3) ; Aonḃaɼɼ Mhanannáin the Aonbhairr Mhanannain ‹gen.› (O'Curry, p.192-3) "Aonbharr of Manannain" (O'Duffy ch.5, ch.36),
Enbarr of the Flowing Mane (P. W. Joyce, Old Celt. Rom. p.38, 61)
Aonbárr, Énbarr, Enbhárr; (MacKillop's Dict.)
[etymology:: 1. "One Mane" aon "one" + barr "hair, tip (as well as mane of a horse"). (O'Curry, p.163 n.145); and Aonbharr. Compounded of aon, one, or only; and barr, top, crown, helmet. That is, the one, or only, great, grand unequalled helmet in the world. (O'Curry, p.192, n.206) 2. enbarr "froth" i.e. én "water" + barr "cacumen, spuma" (Cormac's Glossary [O'Donovan ed., p.66], also noted by Rhys, Studies in the Arth. Leg., p.411); 3. aonbárr "unique supremacy" < barr "top" (MacKillop's Dict.)]
Horse that Lugh rode, which belonged to Manannán mac Lir, much like most of the equipment that Lugh wore. It could fare over both land and sea. When asked by the sons of Tuirenn if they could borrow it on their arduous journeys to conquer the eric objects Lugh demanded, Lugh refused on account of it being a horse on loan from Manannán, and it would not be proper to make a loan of a loan. Consequently, Lugh was unable to decline when the three brothers then requested use of Lugh's currach (coracle) or boat, the Wave-Sweeper [Sguaba Tuinne [Ir.]; Scuabtuinné, that is, the Besom, or Sweeper of the Waves (O'Curry tr., p.193, 192n)].

2) Gainne & Rea (Macalister ed. tr., LG, poem LXI, str. 9); Gaine & Rea (Macalister ed. tr., LG ¶319);
According to the older version of the tale of the erics that Lugh demanded from the sons of Tuirel Briccreo, as found in the Lebor Gabála, a pair of horses belonging to the king of the isle of Sicily [on the (Tyrrhene sea)] demanded as eric.

3) Melyngan Mangre "Pale Yellow of the Stud" (Bromwich, Triad #38), Melyngan Gamre "Steed of the Yellow-white Footsteps" (Rhys)
This is the name recorded in the Welsh triads for the horse of "Lleu the half-reared", the Welsh counterpart to Lugh Lamfhada.

Sguaba Tuinne (Wave-Sweeper)
[forms] Sguaba Tuinne Scuabtuinné "Besom of the Waves" or "Sweeper of the Waves", the currach (canoe) of Manannan (O'Curry ed. tr., "The Fate of the Children of Tuireann", p.162-3);
"the Sguaba Tuinne" (O'Duffy ch.35) "the Scuabtuinne, the Sweeper of the Waves" (Lady Gregory, GaFM,p.54) "the Wave-sweeper" (P. W. Joyce, Old Celt. Rom. p.61)
The self-navigating boat (curach, a coracle or canoe) which would sail itself on command. The children of Tuireann obtained as loan from Lugh.

1) Failinis [Ir., E.] (O'Curry, ed., Fate of the Children of Tuireann in Atlantis IV, 190,191, )
[* O'Curry, 190n (footnote 201) says "Fail-inis. I don't know the meaning of this word, any farther than it seems a transposed form of Inis-fál (island of Fál), one of the ancient names of Erinn;," etc., somehow he missed the fact that the ballad he quotes out of names the dog "Shalinnis," instead of just referring to the dog as "cu cian".]
2) Ṡalinnis Salinnis [G.] (str. 12, Dám Thrír Táncatair Ille "They came here as a band of three" in LL 207b, ed. L. Chr. Stern in Festschrift to Whitley Stokes);
Failinis (str. 12, variant recension in Lismore 153b, in ZCP III, p.433)
2a) cu cian "ancient greyhound" (quoted by Curry in Atlantis III; = str. 9, op. cit. ed. Stern);
[* Note: O'Curry, quotes four strophes in his preface to the "Three Sorrows" Atlantis III, 396, and purports the source to be a "long poem" in "Dialogue of the Ancient Men" (=Acallmh) «Book of Lismore» fol. 194 but he must be mistaken, as it identically matches the ballad edited by Stern. Stern translates cú cían as fremde Hund = "strange dog".]
3) Fer Mac (Dooley & Roe tr., p.156, 172); fhermaic (O'Gr. ed., p.209) ḟermeic (Stokes ed., 5578) [Ir.]
4) Cuilen rīg goband na Hiruaidhe "whelp of the royal smith of Ioruath" (Macalister ed. tr., Lebor Gabála ¶319); cuilēn rīg goband na Hiruaithe (ib., poem XVI, strophe 14)

Many accounts say that Lug obtained a wonderful dog from the sons of Tuireann.

The LG (Book of Invasions) which gives a brief account of the various compensations that Lug obtained, both in prose and verse. The LG allows that it any pool (lind) that it comes in contact with its hide/skin (croiccenn) became wine (fín), and that it was a "a hound' by night and a sheep by day", but fails to provide a name for this dog, saying only that it belonged to the royal smith of Iruaithe [≅Norway].
But one of the genealogies in LG (¶368) refers to "the One Smith of Hiruath" where we would normally expect Goibniu to be named, so perhaps they are one and the same (cf. Ness).

The full-blown romance of late authorship, The Fate of the Sons of Tuirenn calls the dog Failinis. This is hardly a whimsically improvised name of late invention (e.g. from inversion of Inis Fail, one of the poetic names of Ireland), as it is attested in an ancient manuscript (the LL), one so-called "Ossianic ballad" which refers to the dog by the name Shalinnis [pronounced "Halinnis"], which is quite close to the dog-name recorded in the late romance.

To be more precise, the ballad equates the dog that Lug procured with a wonder dog that the Fiana witnessed, namely the Shalinnis owned by the magical threesome witnessed by the Fiana. And the similarity in circumstances makes it all but certain that that dog is identical with Fer Mac, the dog owned by the three men of Iruaithe/Iruaíth in the Acallamh na senorach under the episode of the Little Fort of the Wonders (Raithin na n-ingnad, also "the little rath of wonders" (O'Grady) and "Little Rath of Marvels" (Stokes)).

The LG says of the dog that "wine would be every water..put upon its skin", and Luchraib Lia (Luachra Lia), and it is "a hound by night, a sheep every day". The wine-producing ability is echoed in both the ballad and the Acallamh.
The Acallamh says that Fer Mac is a parti-colored dog of great size out in plain view ordinarily, but in secrecy it would shrink to the size of a wee ferret/lapdog to perform various magical wonders.

In the ballad, the hound was offered as restitution for murder, but was skinned and the hide taken to the palace of Mechi mórglonnaig.
----- spear, dog -----
*1a O'Curry, Eugene, ed. tr. "Aoidhe chloinne tuireann annso sios [The Fate of the Chirdren of Tuireann here]" (Tri Thruaighe na Scéalaigheachta III) in: The Atlantis IV, London 1863, 157-240. [books.google] (Third tale of sorrow, continued from Atlantis 3 (1862) 377-422 [books.google]) Reprinted(?) in the Gaelic Journal II, 33ff. [archives]

*1b O'Duffy, Richard J. ed. tr., Oidhe Chloinne Tuireann. The Fate of the Children of Tuireann. (Published for the Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language, Dublin 1888, pp. XX + 250) [IArchive]
[* Preface, xi-xii, O'Duffy states 'edited this text principally from a MS. lent to me for the purpose by my friend and colleague, Rev. P. A. Yorke, C. C., M.R.I.A. .. [which] date of May 32d, 1820", Collated with RiA 23 G. 10 (James Brown, of Clare, 1807) and 23 E.16 (Michael Oge O'Longan.. late 18cent.) "There is a thirdy copy in the Academy, 23 M. 47 in the handwriting of Andrew McCurtin."]

*2 R.A.S. Macalister's edition of the Lebor Gabála Érenn.

*3 opera cit.


*5 Dám Thrír Táncatair Ille "They came here as a band of three", Stern, L. Chr. ed., tr., "Eine ossianische Ballade aus dem XII. Jahrhundert", Festschrift Whitley Stokes zum siebzigsten Geburtstage..., 1900, pp. 7-12, edited from LL 207b, [Internet Archive] | or [Books.Google].

Stern, p.15 states:
"In der mehr-erwähnten Erzälung (ed. O'Duffy p.42. GJ. 2, 44) wird der Ausdruck Eó budh háille d'fhiodhbhaidh 'die schönste Eibe des Waldes' dem Könige Lug beigelegt, so wie Aillill Olom von seinem Sohne Eogan sagt: Rop có nas ind fhi 'er war eine Eibe über dem Walde' (LL 147a 32). Beides, sowohl wie ibar, bedeutet 'taxus' (LL 295a 8), den sonst seines Alters wegen berühmten Baum (RC 12, 220, SG. 245). Es ist aber wahrscheinlich, dass ibar áilie d'fidbaid ursprünglich Lugs Speer bezeichnete (in der Erzählung Aréadbhair genannt), den die Turenuiden von Assal oder Pirris oder Pisear, dem Könige von Persien, holten (p. 27); denn nach dem Buche von Lecan heisst er eibar álainnn fidhbhaidea 'the yew the finest of timber' (O'Curry 2, 325), und den Speer aus Eibenholz kennt man auch sonst 'Letum triste ferens auras secat Itala taxus', sagt Silius Italicus 13, 210. Früh scheint man die Bedeutung des gesuchten Wortes misverstanden zu haben.

{Translation: In the more frequently cited tale (ed. tr. Richard J. O'Duffy, Oidhe Chloinne Tuireann: The Fate of the Children of Tuireann, p.42. Gaelic Journal 2, 44) we find the expression Eó budh háille d'fhiodhbhaidh "A (yew) tree, he finest of the woods" (O'Duffy tr., p.113) ascribed to King Lug [* Stern seems confused here, the expression praises the spear, not Lug], and likewise Aillill Olom said of his son Eogan : Rop có nas ind fhi "he was one yew above the woods' (LL 147a 32). Both and ibar mean taxus ( Latin name of 'yew') (LL 295a 8), which in their age used to signify a famed tree [?] (RC 12, 220, SG. 245). But it seems probable that ibar áilie d'fidbaid originally signified Lug's spear (named Aréadbhair in the tale) that Tuirenn's children obtained either from Assal or from Pirris (Pisear) king of Persia (p. 27). In the Book of Lecan it is called eibar álainnn fidhbhaidea 'the yew the finest of timber' (O'Curry 2, 325), and spears of yew-wood was known since antiquity... etc.'}
Stern is probably mistaken: O'Curry cites Book of Lecan as a source of the story of the sons of Tuirill (LG, ¶319 below), not as the place where the "Yew of the finest timber" can be quoted.

§ Lebor Gabála Érenn ["Book of Invasions"] (12c.)

In the LG, Tuireann (the father of the eric-questing brothers) is styled Tuirill Piccreo (or Biccreo) and he even had another alias name, Delbaeth son of Ogma (§319, below). This is from the First Redaction (L= Leinster, F=Fermoy) collated with the Míniugud redaction (Λ = Lecan).

    319. (c) Imthechta Tuirill Biccreo & a mac, .i. Brian & Iuchair & Iucharba. Ised atfedar sund; & do Delbaeth mac Ogma ba hainm in Tuirill Piccreo, & is iat a meic ro marbsat Eithlend athair Loga, is dō ba hainm Cēn, dia luid hirricht ind oircce don Bruigh. Co ndechaid Lug do dīgailt a athar forthu, no co ro hiccdais a eiric friss. Oeus. issī in ericc conaitecht ūadaib, .i.

319. The adventures of Tuirill Biccreo and of his sons, Brian, Iuchar, and Iucharba. This is what will here be related: Now Delbaeth. s. Ogma had the name of Tuirill Piccreo, and it is his sons who slew Ethlend father of Lug, whoso name was Cian, when he went in the form of a lapdog (e) to the Brug. So Lug came to avenge his father upon them, or till they should pay him the wergild for him. And this is the wergild which he demanded of them—

i. Dā ech rīg indsi Sicil ar muir Thoirren. Gaine & Rea a n-aumamd: nīs millet gōna no tonna no tennte.
ii. Gāei Assail do dergōr druimnech; nī beō dia telgend fail; & nī. thēitt urchor nimraill acht con rāiter "Ibar" dē: dia rāiter dāna "Athibar" de, do roich ar cūlo fōchētōir.
iii. Crocenn Muicc Duisse. Cech aen fo theiged thāeb ba slān dia guin & dia galar; & mēit ceithre sechet senām he.
iiii. Oeus sē mucca Essaig, .i. a marbad-side gach n-āidche acht co ro mardais a cnāma cen chommach cen cochnom no martis bii ar gach lāithe."
u. Cuilen rīg goband na Hiruaidhe, cū n-āidchib & caera i lāithib hē, & cach lind lathir ina croccenn is fīn.
ui. Ocus fāillsiugad indse Caire Cendfinne fuil fo dīchil etir Ērind & Albain.
uii. Ocus mess na habla fuil fō muir hi fāil na hindsi sin. Conid dīb sin ro hīccadh ericc athair Logha.
Do galar Tuirill Biccreo imorro & dia "imthechtaib. Ro sīr gach follus & gach ndīamair dia hīcc & nī fuair, co ronīcc Dīan Cecht, ar ba sī a ingen, .i. Etan a mathair. Do rigne dig scethraigh dō, co ro sce trī lommanna assa beōlo. Is and atib in digh, i Cnucc Ūachtair Archae: co ro mebdatar trī lommanna as a beōlu .i. lomm n-ūar hil Loch nŪair, lomm n-iarn a Loch nIairn, lomm n-ainnind i Loch nAinind: conid ūaidib arfemet anmanda iar sin faibliud-sa: de quibus hoco carmen dicitur,

Eitsid in sencas sluagach.
1. The two horses of the king of the Island of Sicily on the Torrian Sea, Gaine and Rea are their names, and wounds, waves, or lightning hurt them not.
2. The spear of Assal of ridgy red gold: he lives not whose blood it sheddeth: and no cast 'goeth amiss so long as one saith "Yew!" of it; but when one saith "Re-Yew! " it goeth backward forthwith.
3. The skin of the Pig of Duis: every one whose side should come upon it was healed of his wound and of his sickness: and it had the greatness of four hides of old oxen.
4. The six pigs of Essach. They were slaughtered every night, and if their bones were kept without breaking or gnawing, they would survive alive every day.
5. The whelp of the royal smith of Ioruath, a hound' by night and a sheep by day. Every water which is east upon it becomes wine.
6. And the revealing of the island of Caire Cendfinne which is under concealment between Eire and Alba.
7. And the harvest of apples that are under the sea near to that island. With those things was the wergild of the father of Lug paid.

Of the sickness of Tuirill Biccreo, and of his adventures. He sought everything patent and hidden for its healing, and found it not, till Dian Cecht cured him, for Etan his mother was Dian Cecht's daughter. He made an emetic draught for him, so that he vomited forth three belches from his mouth. Where he drank the draught was in Cnoc Uachtar Archae: and three belches burst forth from his month, a cold belch in Loch Uair, an iron belch in Loch Iairn, and a ... belch in Loch Aininn, and, according to this story, it is thence they [the lakes] take their names. De quibus hoc carmen dicitur,

Poem no. LXVI.
—Macalister ed., LG, Part IV, pp.134~
And the inserted poem

Min ¶ 319 V 20 (= V 2) β 39 : Λ 28 γ 21: R 93 δ 30 (first quatrain only).

1.   Ētsid in senchas sluagach,
fochan ēigsi ilbuadach;
conēicius duib, dīgrais bairn,
imthechta Tuirill Bicrenn.       2500

2. Tuirill Piccrenn ba bechta,
athair na ndee n-airchelta;
anmand na ndea ōs gach blā;
Brian, Iuchair, is Iucharba.

3. Batar na dee īar tola       2505
hie Ethlenn (sic) athair Loga;
doluid Ethliu forsin mBruigh
i richt oircce fo diamuir.

4. Ni fitir Lugh luaigedh gail
cia dīb ro marb a athair:       2510
acht rop amairsech frī sell
ar macaib Tuirill Picrenn.

5. Iarsain siacht co dīne in trīr
conerbairt friu cenn imbrīg,
"Atmaid dam aidhedh m'athar,       2515
is foraib nī dīglathar."

6. Atbertadar fris ind fir
triana cairdine caimdil,
"Nocho chelam, cadla in cair,
his sinne ro marb t 'athair."       2520

7. Iarsin atbert friu Lugh lond,
aithesc n-imamnus n-ētromm,
"narabolcc mo menma ruib
nomfirraid do ascadaib."

8. "Caidhed asceda, cen fell       2525
conaige, a dag-meic Eithlenn?
Is fos gēba mon orta—
inne(d) dūn a n-airmearta."

9.   "Dā n-ech atā ferr fo nim,
fil oc rīgh innsi Siccīl, 2530
Gainne & Rea, regda guis,
niscumgad ēca Ernmuis.

10.   '"Gae Assail d'ōr druimneeh dīr
marb forsa telgend fuil fīr,
nicaecher imrol a gal 2535
acht cona ngairter 'Iubar.'

11.   "Dia nebur 'Athibar' fris
noinnto anna cumga chniss:
co toraigh in lāim dia luid:
nī bāig for bonnān anbsaid.   2540

12.   "Croccenn ro bae im muicc Dhūise,
ba dingantaib na dūisse,
cipē fō tēit toeb, nī tar,
ō gach galar bidh ōgh-ṡlān.

13.   "Ocus sē mucca Essaig 2545
cia norainddis for esair,
atraigtis at heat bī
acht co martais a cnāmai.

14.   "Ocus cuilēn, comul nglē,
rīg-goband na Hiruaithe, 2550
ba fin gach linn, lāthar ngell,
nos taltar ina croccenn.

15.   "Cuilēn fuil ic Luchraib Lia,
cū in aidche, caeru gach dia,
menethuccaid lib in coin, 2555
na taīt for cūl for conoir.

16.   Aidlidh abaill aillem li
dosfuil i fail Fhindchairi,
atā fo diamair amuigh—
ced dūib hēc menefagbaigh." 2560

17.   Fīrinde ocus faibled fuar
hi sencusaib na sāer-sluagh,
is don faibliud seimglicc sith,
roglen in ēricc, ētsid.

18. An galar rogab Tuirill 2565
ropo cheist dia chaem-tuirind,
coronīccastar Dīan Cēcht
tria drungo drona dagdrēcht.

19.   Do scēth trī lomand ōs blai
hi cnucc ard ūachtair Archai, 2570
lotar dar bēolu ind ḟir find
lomm n-uar, lomm n-iairn, lomm n-annind.

20.   Hit ē insin a n-anmand,
dia faemdatar togarmand,
anmand na loch, lāthar ngell, 2575
di galur Tuirill Picrell.

21.   Tuirill Piccrell can doluid?
can dia māthair dīa athair?
ciatberaid (sic), "atbērthar rib"
a āess na hēicse, ēitsidh.   2580

22.   Lotar meic Thuirill for cae
co rāncatar gach rorāi,
īar siriudh dōib in domain
fuaratar a cōem-chobair.

23.   Do dechatar ass for cúl         2585
dochum Logha co a lāech-dūn,
tucsat a lessa leo ille,
is do dālaib na hēicse.

24.   Ropadh aibind lim, a Dé,
dia saīlind, find fochraicce,         2590
aiccsin slōigh tairbertaig tigh
airbertaig aurdairc: ētsid.

25.   Lug ciar bo lerdata a lūth
la mac Cermata ar comthnūth,
gae Meic Cuill ro cliss cen clith         2595
corr briss a druim, cia etsid.


1.   Hear the history of hosts,
which the bards of manifold victory sing;
that I may tell you—an excellent exploit—
the adventures of Tuirill Bicrenn.

2.   Tuirill Bicrenn, it was exact,
father of the gods of plundering;
the names of the gods over every land
were Brian, Iuchair, Iucharba.

3.   The gods were according to will,
with Ethliu, father of Lug:
Ethliu came into the Brug
in disguise in the form of a lapdog.

4.   Lug who used to work valour knew not
which of them slew his father:
but he had his doubts for a space
of the sons of Tuirill Bicrenn.

5.   Thereafter he came to the company of the three,
and said to them without ambiguity,
"Confess to me the death of my father
and it shall not be avenged upon you."

6.   The men said unto him
by reason of his fair faithful friendliness,
"We shall not conceal, the blame is just,
it is we who slew thy father."

7.   Thereafter wild Lug said unto them,
an answer very sharp, very easy,
"That I may bear you no ill-will
propitiate me with gifts."

8.   "What are the gifts, without treachery
which thou demandest, good son of Ethliu?
and thou shalt obtain them for the slain—
give us instruction of them."

9.   '' The two steeds, best under heaven,
which the king of the isle of Sicily has,
Gainne and Rea . . . . .
they are not subject to the death of Ernmas.

10.   "The spear of Assal of ridgy fitting gold,
dead is he upon whom it casteth blood truly:
its valour does not strike in error
if only one calls out 'Iubar.'

11.   "If 'Athibar' be said to it
it returns into its leather sheath;
till it comes to the hand from which it went forth;
. . . . . .
12.   '' The hide that was about the swine of Duise
it was one of the wonders of the prize,
that he under whose side it comes—no disgrace—
shall be perfectly healed of every disease.

13.   "And the six pigs of Essach,
though they should be divided in dismemberment,
they would arise, all alive,
if only their bones were preserved.

14.   "And the whelp—a brilliant assembling—
of the royal smith of Iruaith,
wine would be every water, a foundation of pledges
which is put upon its skin.

15.   "The whelp which is in Luachra Lia
a hound by night, a sheep every day—
unless you bring with you the hound,
come not back upon your road.

16.   "Quest for the apple, most beautiful of colour,
which is about Findchairi,
it is concealed without—
if ye find it not, ye must die!"

17.   Truth and romance have I found
in the histories of noble hosts :
to romance fine, clever and enduring
does the [tale of the] wergeld belong; hear it.

18.   The disease which laid hold of Tuirill
it was a difficulty for his fair seed,
until Dian Cecht cured him
by firm troops of good spells.

19.   He belched three vomits over the plain
on the lofty upper hill of Archa
there passed the mouth of the white man
a cold belch, an iron belch, and a belch ....

20.   There are their names,
by which they assumed nomenclatures,
the names of the lakes, a foundation of pledges
from the sickness of Tuirill Biccrenn.

21. Tuirill Biccrenn, whence came he?
What of his mother or his father?
When they say "It shall be told you,"
Ye men of learning, hearken!

22. The sons of Tuirill went on the road
and reached every plain;
after they had searched out the world
they obtained fair assistance.

23.   They came thence back
to Lug to his knightly fortress:
they took thither his needs with them,
—it is of the events of poetry.

24.   Pleasant were it for me, O God,
could I expect—white the rewards!—
to see the hosts, bounteous, multitudinous,
living, glorious: hear ye !

25.   Lug, though
by the son of Cermat in mutual jealousy,
the spear of Mac Cuill leapt without concealment
and broke his back, though ye hear it!

—Macalister ed., LG, Part IV, Appendix, pp.282~
*1 Macalister, R.A.S. [Robert Alexander Stewart, 1870-1950.] ed. tr. "Section VII:The Invasion of the Tuatha De Dannan (¶305=371)" in Lebor Gabála Érenn: The Book Of The Taking Of Ireland, Part IV [=Irish Texts Society Vol. 41] (1941).

§ Oidheadh Chlainne Tuireann ["Fate of the Children of Tuireann"] (18th. cent. ~)

The story is basically a more elaborate telling of the basic tale found in ancient manuscripts, i.e. Lugh's father who transforms into a swine (little hound in ancient texts) is killed by the three sons of Turieann, and as eiric or blood-compensation, Lugh demands a list of objects seemingly of little worth, but each of the objects turns out to be some magic treasure item or other, each requiring a voyage and or daunting ordeal to obtain.

I will here sumarize the near-modern version edited by O'Curry. It begins with the mention of how Miach and his brother sets a new arm on Nuada, the repression of the Tuatha Dé Danann by the Formori.

Then there arrives Lugh Lamh-fada [i.e. Lugh of the long arms and furious blows] (Luġ láṁḟada, loinnḃéiionnaċ). And his army was the Fairy Cavalcade (Marcra Siḋe) from the Land of Promise (Thir Tarrngire).
    Then a list of his foster-brothers, the sons of Mannannan is given. [* O'Curry supplies in footnote a fuller list of Mananann's children from the Book of Lecan, which includes Ilbhreach Ildanach (or the polytechnic), who's nickname is the same as Lug's (Lugh's nickname is given as "Ioldhánach" on p. 166/167 in O'Curry's OCT, though the better known form is sam-ildanach). This Ilbreac is an important character in the Acallmh na s&eactue;norach].

§ Lugh's equipment
(p.162/3) Lugh's horse was the Aenbharr of Manannan (tAonḃrr Mhanann´in), and "she was as fleet as the naked cold wind of spring, and sea and land were the same to her, and [the charm was such that] her rider was never killed off her back".
On his back he wore Mannanan's Lorica (luireaċ Mhanann´in) [* lorica is the Roman word for a type of armor and this shouldn't really be construed as a proper name, though capitalized], and with this armor "no one could be wounded below it nor above it". (A later passage, p.215, elaborates this as being "Manannan's smooth Greek armor".) He also wore Manannan's Breast-piece (Sgaball) [* OIr. scabal "collar, shoulder-piece (part of a suit of armor) (DIL)")] And he wore a helmet (Caṫbarr) [* OIr. cathbarr "helmet; head-dress, diadem;) (DIL)")], which in a later passage ((p.176/7) is given the name Cénbhearr (Cinnḃeart) [* OIr. cathbarr "helmet; head-dress, diadem;) (DIL)")]

Lugh had the Freagarthach ["Retaliator"], Manannan's sword at his side, and it waas as sword such that
"it never wounded any one who could come away alive from it, [i.e., no one survived a wound from it;] and that sword was never bared on the scene of a battle or combat, in which so much strenth as that of a woman in childbirth would remain to any person who saw the sword who was opposed to it [i.e., no one opposed by that sword seemed to have any greater strength.]"
. The later passage (p.177) adds that sword Lugh had at his side was a "shadowy (ḟosgaḋaċ ḟírḋeas) [* foscad "shadow"; ], truly-handsome, close-edged" sword.

The shield was "black-blue (ḋuḃ-ġorm)" and marked with a design of a chafer-beetle (dhaol. And he held "two wide-socketed, thick-handled, hard-venomed spears, which had been annealed [tempered] in the blood of poisonous adders." (p.177).

In a later passage (p.215), Lugh is seen wearing the "Cochall [cloak] of the daughter of Flidais". [co&"x10B;áll, cochall "cowl, hood, hooded cloak (DIL)" ]

§ Lugh's warfare
Even though the "Irish" (the TDD) are oppressed by the Fomori, none of them dare oppose the "tax collectors" who number nine by nine. Lugh fights and brings great slaughter, killing all but nine, who go home to "Lochlainn" to report the development. Breas wll lead a fleet of troops, and Balar tells him to behead the "Ioldhánach" (the Master of many (or all) Arts), i.e., Lugh of the Long Hand, and to tie Eiré to their boat and drag it over to the north side of Lochlainn.

Lugh wants the Fairy Cavalcade from all over (presumably the sidhes), and this mission takes his father Cian into Muirthemné, and by misfortune he encounters the sons of Tuireann, with whom he and his brethren ("Sons of Cainté") have had an ongoing feud.
Cian strikes himself with the "druidic wand" (ḟleisc craoiḋeaċta) and changes him into a pig, mingling among the herd of swine. What unfolds is well known. Brian changes his brothers into hounds, and they manage to single out the transformed pig which heads for the woods. Brian makes a cast of the dart and wounds Cian, who will not be spared, but is given a chance to transform back into human shape. Cian now proclaims that if he is now killed, the fine that must be paid will be the highest fine ever paid, and the weapons used to slay him shall reveal his slayer. Brian, Iuchar, and Iucharba, the three sons of Tuireann cast stones, and reducing the warrior to a misshapen mass, and buries the corpse in a caern.

Lugh defeats Breas, but gives his oppenent amnesty until they should meet for decisive battle at Magh Tuireadh (p.179). But Lugh realizes his father is missing, and at the place of his killing, the ground speaks, and he learns the crime perpetrated by TDD on their own brethren. There is held a gathering at the House of Miodh-Chuairt (of "Meadcircling", according to O'Curry. This is the name of the Royal Banquet Hall of Tara.). It is agreed that the perpetrators should pay a fine. The brothers of Tuireann agree to pay the fine, but do not quite admit to the crime.

As is well-known, the fine Lugh imposes seems trivial to pay, at first. But these turn out to be the following nine sets of items (p.189):

Irish Eng. tr. descripton
1. [na] tr&iacutte; húḃ do Ghaġa na Hisbírne 1. [the] three Apples from the Garden of the Hesperides. [* From the east of the world; color of burnished gold; tastes of honey; "heals up the effects of bloody wounds or malignant diseases" when eaten; but does not dimiis; it can be cast to do whatever feat and will return to the palm of the caster. ]
2. .i. croiceann muice This, riġ Gréag 2. skin of the Pig of Tuis, the king of Greece [* cures all wounded and disease persons in mortal peril, and "every stream of water through which it might pass would be converted into wine for nie days"]
3. Sleaġ sáir-neiṁneaċ atá ag Pisear riġ na Persia; Aréadḃair gairmṫear ḋ 3. An excellent poisoned spear of which Pisear, the King of Persia [is possessed]; Ar-éadbair it is called. {* spelt "Ar-eadbair" in footnote}. [* cures all wounded and disease persons in mortal peril, and "every stream of water through which it might pass would be converted into wine for nine days."
Its blade is kept in a pot of water "so it should not [by its fiery heat] melt down the city in which it is kept".]
4, 5. Dá ea B; uasle, iongantaċa, ar r&eacue;, atá ag Dobar, riġ Sisle; & carbad
4, 5. Two noble wonderful steeds of Dobar, the King of Sicily/Siogar & his chariot. [* horses such that "sea and land is equally convenient to them." (úasal "high, lofty, noble (DIL)"; ingantach, hiongantach "wonderful (DIL)"); chariot of unequalled goodness (carpat "war-chariot, waggon (DIL)")]
[* In a later passage (p.204) the kingdom is not Sicily but "Sighir": riġ innsi Siġir, and translated "king of the island of Siogar [Sicily]" (p.205).]
6. [na seaċt] muca atá ag Easal rig na Coloman Orḋa 6. The [seven] pigs of Easal, King of the Golden Pillars. [* They revived the next day after being killed and impart immunity from disease or ill heath upon whoever eats the flesh.]
7. .i. cuiléan atá ag riġ na h-Iornaiḋe, agus Failinis a hainm. 7. The whelp of the King of Ioruaidhe, and Failinis is her name. [* "all the wild beasts that she should see will fall out of their standing; she is more splendid than the sun in his fiery wheels". O'Curry tentatively identifies Ioruaidhe as Iceland. ]
8. bior [folaċta] dona bearaiḃ atá ag mnaiḃ Innse Fianċaire. 8. [Cooking] spit of the spits of the women of Inis Fianchuiré [* "all the wild beasts that she should see will fall out of their standing; she is more splendid than the sun in his fiery wheels".(bearaibhbearann gen. pl. of bir "stake, spit(DIL)"). O'Curry notes Inis-fianchuiré is identifiable with the Inis Cairé Ceann-fhinné, the island of Caer (Rose) of the Fair Hair, mentioned in the Book of Lecan, which is said to be an island concealed underwater between Erinn and Albain.
* In the old tradition Findchair seems to be the hidden place of the apple. (Book of Invasions, poem LXVI, stanza 16, quoted above) ]
9. Tr&iaacute; gárṫa do léigean ar ar Chnoc Mhíodċaoin ituaisceart Loċlann. 9. To give three shouts on Cnoc Miodhchaoin in the north of Lochlainn. [* Miodhchaoin and his sons will not suffer(tolerate) shouts to be given on that hill.]

§ The Winning of the Items

The sons are dumbfounded, but they gain advice from their father Tuireann. Tuireann counsels his sons to first ask Lugh for the loan of his horse, the Aonbharr of Manannan. If Lugh expects the sons to obtain the fine, he will concede the loan, but if not, he will refuse, saying the horse does not belong to him and cannot consent to make a loan of a loan. At that point, the sons must ask for Manannan's curach (canoe) called the Scuabtuinné (Sguaba Tuinne) "Besom of the Waves", "Wave Sweeper", and Lugh cannot refuse, for he is forbidden from making refusal of a second request. And in this manner, they obtain the loan of the canoe, kept at the Brugh na Boinne. The canoe was such that at its riders behest, will sail of itself to the destination spoken.

The manner in which the sons obtained each of the fines will not be detailed here, and the focus will be on the theft of the spear. Suffice it to say, the brothers assume the shape of eagles and snatch away four apples of Hesperides (1). They went as poets to the King of Greece, who was gracious enough to offer three fills of red-gold ond the pig-skin (2), but nevertheless, the brothers took the skin by slaughter. This subterfuge having worked so well, they went again as poets to Pisear the Persian king, who praised the poem, but offered no reward save the sparing of their lives. Brian cast (the extra) apple he had and drove the king's brain into the back of his head. After a carnage, he had the princes and women of the court under their power and compelled them to relinquish the spear dipped in the pot of water (3).

After the sons have the deadly spear, and the recuperative skin their prowess in warfare are increased, so after entering service with the King of Sicily as mercenaries, they again obtain the two horses and chariot (4, 5). Assal learns of the Tuireann's deeds and gives up his pigs (6) without battle. Assal tries to pursuade his son-in-law, the king of Ioruaidh to do the same, but is refused. The sons capture the king of Ioruaidh and deliver him unscathed to Assal, after which, the prized whelp (7) is delivered.

§ Lugh's treachery Since the sons have obtained all the items so far as Lugh needs for his great battle, Lugh casts a spell of forgetfulness causing them to believe they have completed all their tasks and return to Tara. Lugh, in fear of the sons who now have the deadly arms, goes into hiding, and demands that the sons deposit the eiric items to the King of Tara. That done, Lugh reminds the sons they still have the spit and the shouts to obtain, to the utter devastation of the sons.

Brian put on his "water dress" (p.219, earraḋ uisce, OIr. errad "Harness, apparel, dress, attire, vestment, covering (often used to include full military equipment).. raiment (DIL)" ), "with the transparency of glass upon his head". This enabled to dive into the salt sea and search a forthnight till he found the submarine Island of Fiancharé. The women who lived in the isle were engaged in embroidery, etc., and Brian who spotted the spit (8), seized it and meant to carry it away. The women just laughed and let him pass unmolested, in salute to his bravery. Brian returned to land and fought Miodhchaoin and his sons in deadly battle, raising the three shouts on the hill (9).

The sons, mortally wounded, reached as far as the palace of their father, the Dun Tuirenn, to the north of Benn Edair (Hill of Howth). Tuireann and Brian thence went to Lugh to beg the use of the recupearative pigskin but was refused. Brian fell dead upon his brothers, and Tuired died too from grief.

*1 O'Curry, Eugene, ed. tr. "The Trí Thruaighe na Scéalaigheachta of Erinn III. The Fate of the Children of Tuireann (Aoidhe chloinne Tuireann)", in: The Atlantis IV, London 1863, 157-240. [books.google] (The third tale of The 'Tri Thruaighe na Scéalaigheachta' (i.e. the 'Three Most Sorrowful Tales') of Erinn, continued from Atlantis 3 (1862) 377-422 which contains overall preface). Reprinted(?) in the Gaelic Journal II, 33ff. [archives]. O'Curry apparently used a MS. in his own possession (see quote for O'Duffy's preface, below) Due to O'Curry's untimely death, not all the pieces for this publication were in perfect order, so the posthumous editors were put to task sorting the manuscripts. (Cf. the Irish text of the poem Lugh's tathlum from Mr. W. Monck Mason's MS., where the Irish text is lacking).

*2 O'Duffy, Richard J., ed. tr. Oidhe Chloinne Tuireann. The Fate of the Children of Tuireann. Published for the Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language, Dublin 1888, pp. XX + 250 [MS of William Casey, 1820]. [IArchive]:
"The Irish text was once printed some years ago in the Atlantis, vol. iv., a 'Register of Literature and Science of the Catholic University.' This text, with a translation, was edited" by Eugene O'Curry, M.R.I.A. from a MS. in his possession.
    I have edited this text principally from a MS. lent to me for the purpose of my friend and colleague, Rev. P. A. Yorke, C. C., M.R.I.A. It contains the story almost complete, is written in a neat and legible hand by one William Casey of Tralee, and bears the date of May 3rd, 1820. I collated it carefully with two very good copies of the story in the Library of the Royal Irish Academy, viz. 23 G. 10 and 23 E. 16. The for- mer of these is in the handwriting of James Brown, of Clare, and dated 1807, and the latter in that of Michael Oge O'Longan, a well- known Irish scribe and poet of the county Cork, who lived at the close of the last century.   :
There is a third copy in the Academy, 23 M. 47, in the handwriting of Andrew M'Curtin, but it is incomplete. I have not altered in the text the name Brian, as it is thus found in older references to the Children of Tuireann, although in these MSS. the acknowledged leader of the Sons of Tuireann is given in all cases as Uar.   :
Preface, xi-xiii.

*3 Joyce, P. W. (Patrick Weston), 1827-1914, tr. "The Fate of the Children of Turenn; or, The Quest for the Eric-Fine", in Old Celtic Romances (London: C. Kegan Paul & Co.,) [books.google] [copy] ; (London: David Nutt / New York: Macmillan & Co., 1894), [books.google]. In Joyces's later edition is a discussion of the codices (Preface, p.xi) "There are several good copies in the Royal Irish Academy: one in R.I.A 23.G.10 transcribed by Patrick Brown of the county Clare, in 1805; another in 23. E. 16, written out by Michael Oge O'Longan, in 1797; and a third (imperfect) in 23. M. 47, copied by Andrew Mac Curtin, in 1734. ".
O'Curry's edited text notes at the bottom of p.204 that "Mac Curtin's fragment ends here".

*4 Thurneysen, Rudolf, "Tuirill Bicrenn und seine Kinder", Zeitschrift f¨r Celtische Philologie XII 239-250.

*5 Scéla, Aided/Oidheadh Chloinne Tuirend

§ The Four Jewels of the Tuatha De Danann (9th c.[?])

    The story of the Four Treasures brought out of the four cities of the Tuatha Dé Danann is found in the Lebor gabála Érenn "Book of Invasions", and the treasures named are the Lia Fail (Stone of Destiny), the sword (of Nuada), the spear (of Lug), and the cauldron of the Dagda.

Nothing in sword of Nuada.

This was brought from either Findias or Gorias, and was an irresitible sword which no one could withstand, and some ms. mention its poisonous property.
In one of the redactions, the prose narrative is accompanied by verse (Macalister's R3 ¶356 M 278 = third redaction in YBL, δ 39 =>)


Macalister's transcription/translation

A Findias tugad cloidheam Nūadhat, & nī tērnadh neach ūadha ar a nemnide, & ō dabeirthea as a thindtig bodba nī geibthea fris.

"ar a nemnide" omitted in B.
—Macalister ed. Lebor gábala VII, ¶357
From Findias was brought the sword of Nuadu, and no man would escape from it by reason of its venom, and when it was drawn from its battle-scabbard there was no resisting it.
Macalister's tr.
Vernam Hull's text and trans.
(YBL=Yellow Book of Lecan; BB=Book of Ballymote)
{prose part}
.. A Gorias tucad in claidheb bai ic Nuadaid.
Claidheb Nuadad, ni·thernad neach ara n-dergad …. O da·berthea asa thindtig bodba, ni gebti fris inti a m-bid laim.
{verse part}
  1. Lia Fail a Failias anall,
    Gesed fo rigaib Erend.
    Claideb lama Loga luidh
    A Goirias,—roga rocruid.

  2. A Findias tar fairrgi i fad
    Tucad sleg nemneach Nuadat.
    A Murias, main adbol oll,
    Coiri in Dagda na n-ardglond.
—Vernam Hull's transcription

From Gorias was brought the sword which belonged to Nuada. …
… No-one escaped from the sword of Nuada after he had been wounded by it, and when it was drawn from its warlike scabbard, no-one could resist against him who had it in his hand. :
{verse part}
  1. From Failias (came) hither the Lia Fail,
    Which shouted under the kings of Ireland.
    The sword in the hand of the nimble Lug
    From Gorias (it was procured), —a choice of vast riches.
  2. From far-away Findias over the sea
    Was brought the deadly spear of Nuada.
    From Murias (was conveyed) a huge and mighty treasure,
    The caldron of the Dagda of lofty deeds.
Vernam Hull tr.

It is probably worth recording Macalister's explanations on the names of the cities and the druids, in his notes at the end of the volume:

"Fāilias" is apparently from "fāl", "hedge," with a backward glance at the name of Lia Fāil, whatever that may signifiy; "Goirias" from "gor", "fire"; "Finnias" from "finn", "white"; "Muirias" from "muir", "sea" — these etymologies lie on the surface, but they do not reveal the essential meanings of the names, if any. In "fire" and "sea" (=water) we might see a reference to two of the four elements of ancient philosophical speculation, but the connexion which we should have to trace between the other two names and "earth" and "air" could only be longe petitum..
As for the names of the sages, they have at least a superficial appearance of having been adapted from biblical sources: Moirḟesa = [Liber] Sapientis, Esrus = Esdras, Usicias = Ezechias, Semias = [Ne]hemias.
— Macalister, LG Part IV, p.293

§ Ossianic Ballad: Dám Thrír Táncatair Ille

This ballad from the Book of Leinster, folio 207b, was ed. tr. in German by Ludwig Christian Stern, without any title except to call it eine Ossianische Ballade. But it might also be referred to by its opening line, Dám Thrír Táncatair Ille "They came here as a band of three".

Eugene O'Curry certainly happened upon this ballad, and indeed quoted four quatrains of the ballad in the preface (Atlantis III, p.396).
This is atterbuted "long poem" in the Book of Lismore, fol. 194, but this must be the wrong folio number because, since on that leaf is the Fenian narrative, Acallamh na sénorach (Colloquy of the Elders). Actually it seems that the aleternate recensin of the ballad occurs on Book of Lismore, fol. 153, and is given in ZCP III, p.433 [?].
Curiously, he failed to note that the ballad actually gives the name of the dog as Ṡalinnis. O'Curry does however, include the lines where the dog is said to be the same one as the one owned by Lug ("of the Mantles"), and ones which referred to the dog as cu cian "ancient grayhound" as well as Na hiḃur aille i ḟiḋḃaidh "the finest yew among the woods", suggesting some possibly connection with Lug's spear, which would strike on its own by the pronouncement of the word ibar "yew".

Dám thrir táncatar ille . da cur ra 1) Find na fénne
  sirtis lind cach móin 's2) cach mag . in triar uallach ingantach
Da bátar athaidh3) sin fhéin . in triar tháncatar do chéin
  selg leó i cumma chaidchi . feiss fo leith cech óen aidchi
Óen chú álliu dath . . . . ba cú adbul ingantach
  cóica foirrged digail . . . . ó thráth éirgi co nóin . . .
Lodsat in triar sin ré coin . fescur i Carn-Feradaig
  tucsat a cú comoll ngle . sís fon tiprait fír-usce

5 Fín dia éis usce in topair . rop álaind ind ur(chomair)
  gabait ar a ól co 'án . co tánic cucu Dubán
Ro marbad leó lathar ngle. Dubán mac Bresail Bairne
  na tísad in géim na cend . i fiadnaise fían Hérend
Rap ingnad re Find iar sin . líni Dubáin meic Bresail
  cen fhis a aideda ind fhir . rop a cheist mór 'ca muntir
Atrubairt friss a dét fiss . re mac Cumaill cen éslis
  'In triar út tánic dar muir . romarb Dubán mac Bresail

10 Is si siút accu in cú chían . isí robúi ic f(ro)mud níad
  cen fhiss tucsatar ille . cuilén ríg na Hiruathe
Isí robói ic Lug na lend . tucsat meic Turend Bicrend
  ri cóicat mbliadan mbil . na hibur alle d'fidbaid4)
In cú-sain ba 'aidble a gluind . [f]srisna gebthe crúas comlaind
  ba ferr ua cach máin chaidche . caer thened hí sin naidche
Búada aile ar in choin cháim . ferr in máin sin na cech máin
  midfhín no ásad de . dia fothraicthe a fír-usce
Anmand na tri láech lán . Sela is Dorait is Domnán
  ainm in chon co cæme chniss . tucad co Find Ṡalinnis'
'Am marbad' ar fíanna Fáil . 'i cinaid marbtha Dubáin
  cáchan a fuirech i fat . étig in gním daronsat'

15 Ní mairfind(se)' ar Find féin . 'sib a thriar thánic du chéin
  má tá acaib ícc and sin . intí ar nersaib mebail'
'Atá occunn}at us">acaind ícc sin fer . a fhlaith fhénnid na ngaedel
  ar cú duitsiu5) féin is ferr . inna árdrígi Hérend'
Tucait rátha frisin ríg . grían is esca is muir is tír
  cach beó in chon do immach . co bráth itir allmarach6) Marbait iarsain in coin crúid . lodsat sech Albain sairtúaith
  rucsat croccend in chon sair . co tech Merchi mórglonnaig
Tinólais Find fíanna Fáil . gabait dar muir co mórgráin
  tinóiltir dún sin tír thair. Bretnaig Cruthnig Albanaig

20 rucsammar lind cloich cach fhir . in lín robammar d'fhíanuaib
  co rothadsem ar in muig . ria comriachtain dia cathaib
Guth cach óen fhir re Find féin . eter shen is óc din fhéin
  'Ní thechiub co techea in chlach . ar úamain na nallamarach'
Marait ua clocha is tír thair . máil robammar nar cathaib
  romarbsam ilar naicme . dar chursem (cath) conphatte
Moncheó is Máen [* Lism. Meircheo ocus Maon] a athair . nonbur dóib ria scathaib
  ní geibtis ar nairm co nág . ropo doilge na cach dám.

4) Ms. na hibur alle bidbad.
—Stern ed.
They came here as a band of three, to Finn of the Fianna In amity, [to roam] with us over each moor and each plain, the proud, wondrous threesome.
They were for a while with the Fianna, the three who came from afar, Hunting with us through the day, sleeping separately by night.
A hound here [with them] of beautiful color, a huge, wondrous hound, [Its] punishment quells fifty [vermins] from the time at dawn to dusk.
The three go with their hound, an evening to Carn Feradaig [= Seefin]; In clear agreement, they took it down to the water-spring.
5 Spring-water turned into wine was, by the comely dog at the fork of river; They began to drink comfortably until Dubán surprised them.
Slain he was, inflicted the utter [death-wound], Dubán son of Bresal of Bairenn; His cries did not bring[?] the Fianna of Eirenn to witness.
Finn wondered about the body (i.e. his whereabouts) of the lineage of Dubán mac Bresail: Because they knew nothing of the man's final-fate, his family asked much of his whereabouts.
Ask he did the Tooth of Wisdom, Mac Cumall, without disdain (stint?): "The threesome who came out of the sea had slain Dubán mac Bresail.
10 That which I see is the hound of yore that had been with (i.e. belonged to) Fliuchnad(*) the champion. Brought hither without knowledge (i.e. secretly) was the whelp of the King of Iruaidhe [≅Iceland].
It was this that (belonged to) Lug of the Mantle, brought by the sons of Turend Bricrend; For a period of fifty fine years, it was the [most] lovely yew among the woods/timber.
'This dog was one with greatness of deeds; agaisnt it there was no besting its hardness of combat; It was better than any treasure ever, a fireball at night.
Other virtues had this precious/noble dog; A better treasure than any treasure; Mead or wine was produced by it, when bathed in spring water.
The three full-fledged[?] heroes are called Sela, Dorait and Domnán; [* Lism. Sél, Donait and Domhnán] The dog of the fairest figure, Shalinnis[* pronunc. hal-inish; * Lism. Failinis] was brought to Finn.
'They must be killed,' said the Fíana of Fál (Ireland), 'for they are guilty of slaying Duba. How long[?] shall we tarry? Grim was the deed that was done.
15 "I would not kill," said Finn, "you threesome who came from afar, if you pay for what you have done, for ignominious encounter[?].
"We have with us the payment, O prince of the Fiana of the Gaels! Our dog is worth more to you than the High-Kingdom of Ireland."
They vouched to the king by the sun and moon and sea and land, Each being[?] carried off the dog for judgment as in [their own] foreign land [?].
Then they killed the hardy dog, and moved away northeast to Alba, They took his pelt east to the house of Merche [* Lism. Meirce] of the Great Deeds.
Finn amassed the Fiana of Fál, crossing the greatly-fierce sea, We gathered on the dry lands of the Britains, Picts, Albans.
20 We took a stone with us, each man of us who were warriors, and piled them on the plains, in front of where the two hosts met.
Each one of the warriors gave voice to Finn, both young and old: "I will not take flight from the stones for fear of the foreigner."
What remains are the stones in the east country, we were heroes in our ranks. We slew multitudes of clansmen, and fought ferociously. Moncheo Maen "the Mute" (*) and his father [* Lism. Meircheo and Maon his father], with nine men for their protection, our weapons did not gain us the battle (i.e. victory or advantage), it was calamity upon each [war-]party.
(*) line 10: f(ro)mud is illegible in this text, in the Lismore copy it reads fliuchnud, but this too is of uncertain meaning, and the DIL suggests "Perhaps a proper name." (*) line 23: Stern in footnote emends this epithet to Máil "Edle" i.e. "the Noble", this being the same as Finn's boyhood name, Demne Mael. However, Maen "the Mute" is quite smilar to Mind "the Stutterer", which is attested in both a name and nickname (see the eighteen shields of Ulstermen in the Scéla Conchubhar, under Ochain).
— tr. mine
O'Curry's excerpt thus:

Isi siú accu in cu cian,
Issi ro boi ac Fluċnad niadḋ;
Can fis turcratr ille,
Cuilen rig na hiruaide.

Isi ro bin ac Luġ na lend,
Tusat mic Tuireand Bicreand,
Re re caecait bliadain bil,
Na hinḃr aille i ḟiḋḃaidh.

In cu sin ba haiḋbli gluind,
Fris na gaḃṫai i cruas coṁluind
Ba ferr na caċ main ca ċiḋċi,
Caor ṫeineḋ gaċ naon orḋċi.

Buaḋa aile ar in coin caoiṁ,
Ferr in ṁáin sin na caċ main,
Mid no fin not ġasad de,
Da fotraici a fir uisce.

O'Curry's preface to the three sorrows, Atlantis III, p.396.
{His citation of Book of Lismore fol 194 is errorneous; fo. 153 is correct.}
This was the ancient grayhound,
It was it that was owned by Fliuchnad the Knight,
Unknown they hither brought
The whelp of the King of Iruaidhe.

It was it that had been with Lugh of the Mantles,
Given him by the sons of Tuireann Bicreann;
For the space of fifty flowery year,
It was the finest yew among the woods

That hound of mightiest deeds,
Which was irresistable in hardness of combat,
Was better than wealth ever known,
A ball of fire every night.

Other virtues had the beautiful hound.
Better this property than any other property.
Mead or wine would grow of it,
Should she bathe in spring water.
translation, ibid., p.397

The recension of the poem in its entirety was printed in ZCP III, from text supplied by Stokes. The ZCP says the Lismore copy is more ancient, but it runs the same number of lines and more or less the same text except spelling variations. In Lismore, the hound is called Failinis.

As O'Curry says, any water in which this dog bathed or dipped in turned into wine (ballad, v. 4, Fí dia és usce in topair "Into wine turned water in plenty [?]") owned by three foreigners who came to the Fianna offering military service.

But the threesome killed Dubhan son of Bresal for learning this secret, and Finn by chewing his thumb (i.e., using his tooth of wisdom (v. 8, dét fiss Wissenzahan [G.]) discovered the perpetrators and the history of the hound, which was that it was the whelp of King of Iruaidhe (v. 9, ríg na Hiruathe könig des Norwegs [G.]) owned by Fliuchnad, given to the Lugh of the Mantles (v. 10, Lug na Lend) by the sons of Tuireann.

The ballad goes on to say that the hound had extraordinary powers, the duress of battle did not affect it, it was better than all treasure, and glowed like fire at night. Its owners were called Sela, Dorait, Domnán, and the hound itself was Salinnis. It generated mead and wine when bathed in water. The hound is offered as recompense for the murder, but the Fenians kill it, and bring its hide (croccend) to the court of Mechi mórglonnaig [=glonnach "of mighty deeds"]

Where the dog is periphrased as the cu cian [* which O'Curry renders "ancient grayhound" and Stern as "strange/foreign hound"] this is highly suggestive of Cian, which is the name of Lug's father, killed by the sons of Tuireann. Moreover, Cian, Cu, and Cethen are brothers (sons of Cainté in the the tale of the "Fate of the Children of Tuireann", O'Curry ed. p.169ff. Sons of Dian Cécht according to Lebor Gabála, ¶314, etc.)

It should also be noted that though in the OCT (Fate of the Children of Tuireann) Cian transforms himself into a muc "pig", according to the older LG (Book of Invasions) tract Cian changes himself into an oircce "lap-dog" (Lebor Gabála ¶319 & Verse LXVI). There seems to be some ambiguity as to the latter word however. ("oircne, said to be a lap-dog, but strangely like diminutive from orc = porcus (Three Irish Glossaries, li). orc can also denote 'salmon'.
*1 Dám Thrír Táncatair Ille "They came here as a band of three", Stern, L. Chr. ed., tr. (into German), in: "Eine ossianische Ballade aus dem XII. Jahrhundert", Festschrift Whitley Stokes zum siebzigsten Geburtstage..., 1900, pp. 7-12, edited from LL 207b, Available online at [Internet Archive] or [Books.Google].

*2 Notice on Festschrift above, Zeitschrift für Celtische Philologie, III, p.432- [books.google]. Prints the Book of Lismore, fo. 153 b. recension of the ballad (provided by Wh. Stokes).

*3 Gerard Murphy, Ossianic Lore and Romantic Tales of Medieval Ireland, (reprinted in: Early Irish Literature, London 1966, pp. 145-193) p.160: "... tells of the strange visit to the Fiana of a triad of magic brothers with a marvelous hound who had the gift of converting water into mead or wine. The hound is identified in the ballad with the hound which Tuirinn Bicreo's three sons procured for use by Lugh before the Battle of Moytirra." [cf. Scéla].

§ Acallamh na Sénorach

In the Acallamh na senorach, Fer Mac is a parti-colored dog of great size [but could shrink to the size of a lapdog/ferret], brought by three warriors from Irúaith

The warriors' names were later identified as Dub, Ág, and Ilar. They are first mentioned in the onomasticon of the Little Fort of Wonders (Dooley &. Roe tr., pp. 152-4) [Dooley & Roe tr., pp.152-4; ráithán na ni(o)ngnad (O'Gr. ed., p.206) [Ir.]; 'the little rath of wonders' (O'Gr. tr., p.233)]. And the fort was so named after the three men and the dog.

The hound was white, blue, black, and so forth, so that every color in the world was represented in it. It could belch out gold and silver and fine wine. With its tail it could summon magical wind that blew away arms and weapons, as well as men. It could ward against any beast, and could empty streams with a great bounty of otter and salmon.

Initially, the men professed the dog as being able to ward off all wild beasts of Ireland. (This matches with the description of the eric hound in the later Sons of Tuireann romance).

Later, when Finn needed to pay off seven poets with 150 ounces of gold and silver, the men provided these, belched out by the bitch.

As another feat, the warriors caused the three hundred and twelve horns of Finn to be filled thrice by some secret means (it becomes clear later that the hound belched the drinks as well).

The three warriors had specifically forbidden the fiana from watching them at night. But two sons of kings of Ulster, Donn and Dubán decided to peek, and paid with their lives. What they saw was that the hound which was of great size by day had shrunk to the size of a ferret, and was issuing from its mouth choice liquors (or liquors of their choice) into a cup held in front of it. Here, the warrior called the dog by its name, Fer mac. (The dog's name is also later mentioned in a lay recited by Cailte).
When they noticed being watched, the dog summoned a wind of druidry with its tail, causing the two spies to drop shield and spear. (The dog in a later event blew away the sons of Úar) The three warriors killed them, and the bitch blew its breath on the bodies, turning them into dust with no blood or bone remaining.

The Oakwood of Conspiracy (Dooley & Roe, p.172) was where the Fían conspired to kill the three warriors and the bitch because of their secret ways, erecting a wall of fire around them at night. This ill-will was despite their great help, as Caílte pointed out: one warrior(Dub) was skillful at healing using herbs, the second (Ág) will give whatever requested, and the third (Ilar) would provide for any shortage complained of, and with his flute could put any men to sleep no matter how gravely ill. The bitch could catch salmon and otter though the hunt should be empty of game. (Or, in its presence such a bounty was provided in rivers that no salmon nor otter remained uncaught.) Finn first suggested they leave, but the men objected. Then Finn asked their names, and granted them protection so long as he was leader.



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