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Luin, Lúin [weapon:spear] [Irish]

Celtchar mac Uthechair
Attributable to these owners/users:
  1. Celtchar mac Uthechair [Ir.] .. source (1) and (2)
  2. Dubthach Dóeltenga .. (3) and (4)
  3. Fedlimid, to slay Dubthach .. (5)
  4. Mac Céchit, to slay Cruscaid .. (6)
  5. Formerly to Lugh mac Ethlenn and later to [Oengus] Bimbuadach ...(7)

(1) Death of Celtchar

lūin Celtchair (Meyer ed., tr.,Aided Cheltchair Maic Uthechair "The Death of Celtchar~", Edinburgh MS. lx)*1;
"the lúin of Celtchar" (Meyer tr.,ib.)

(2) Battle of Rosnaree

manaois ṁór "great.. lance" (Hogan ed.,tr.)*2
[manaís "A large spear with broad head and sharp point" (DIL); ]

[lúin [OIr.] "lance" accord. DIL which goes on to say "Usually (and originally?) of a specific weapon, the lance of Celtchar mac Uthidir (see Études Celt. v 15 )" , but OIr. luinne means "anger, fierceness" or is a declined (genitive) form of lann "blade, sword".]

(3) Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel

Lúin úd ba Celtchair meic Uitheochair, Lúin Celtchair meic Uithechair (Stokes ed., tr., Togail Bruidne Da Derga "The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel", § 128, 129)*3;
"Luin of Celtchar son of Uthider", "Luin of Celtchar" (Stokes tr. ib.)
"Lúin of Celtchair [son of Uthechar]" (Gantz tr. ib.)

(4) The Intoxication of the Ulstermen

Lúin lúathéchtach Celtchair (Hennessy tr. ed. Mesca Ulad "Intoxication of the Ultonians")*4;
"The quick, deedful Luin of Celtchar" (Hennessy tr. ib.), the death-dealing Lúin of Cetchair (Gantz tr. p.209)

(5) Togail Bruidne Da Choca (TCD MS 1337 olim H.3.18 version)
"Luin Celtchair" (Stokes, Da Choca's Hostel, Notes, Revue Celtique 21, p.401 [notes to §59]) *5 [* Dubhtach was slain by Fedlimid using it; Not in the "A text" proper but in a postcriipt, mentioned in Stokes's endnote.]

(6) Cinaed hua Artacain (poet, d. 975),
Fíanna Bátar i nEmain (provisional title from 1st line of LL copy)
aka Aidheda forni do huáislib Erenn " (Egerton 1752 recension title)

Luin Cheltchair "Celtchair's spear" (Cinaed hua Artacain (poet), Fíanna Bátar i nEmain, str. 16 (LL. 31-2)) [in: Stokes ed., "On the Deaths of Some Irish Heroes"]) *6>, Luin Celtcair (ib., (LAUD 610, fo 74b 2)) Luin Celtchair luin Chealtchair, gloss] (ib.,(Egerton 1782, Fo 52))

(7) Tract in TCD MS 1336 (olim H 3. 17)
"Luin of Celtchair" (Hennessy, summarized by, in Mesca Ulad, preface, p.xiv)*7
Spear of Celtachar. Celtachair uses it to exterminate his own pet black dog named Dóelchu, but in the process the drip of its blood pierces his head and kills him.
The weapon is wielded by Dubthach in the Togail Bruidne Da Derga and Mesca Ulaid, and he is seen immersing the sword tip in the cauldron of bloodlike foul liquid.
Cinaed's poem on the death of Irish heroes, str. 15, claims "to the cast of Dún Lethglaisse" although variant texts bear scholia which also refers to Celtchar dying by drips from the dog. The same poem, str. 16, then states that Mac Cécht used the Luin of Celtchair to to slay Cruscaid (i.e., Cruscaid Menn, son of Conchobar, as elaborated in the Egerton MS. gloss/scholius)

The spear figured in the story of Celtachar's own undoing: Celtachar used this spear to kill his wife's seducer, who happened to be a kinsman of Conchobar mac Nessa. He was ultimately given amesty for the offense, but had to perform certain prodigious labors, 1) slaying of Conganchnes mad Dedad, "Horny-skin" who was invulnerable to most weapons and could only be defeated by a secret method; 2) extermination of the hound "Dun Mouse" (luch donn). The slain hound left three whelps, the black one of which Celtachair kept and named Dóelchú too became a menace as it grew. Celtachari reluctantly slew his dog, but the dog's blood-spill went up the shot up through his head so that he himself died.

In the Battle of Rosnaree the spear of Celtchar is not mentioned by named, and refered to only as a "great lance" (manaois mór). However, the description that the spear had to be submerged in a cauldron of foul liquid to keep it from igniting is the profile of the Luin as given in other narratives.

So in other narratives (Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel, and also in Mesca Ulad) another Ulster hero, Duthach the Chafer-Tongue (Doel-tenga) is witnessed as carrying the Luin Celtchair, and doing the work of quenching the fiery spear in a cauldron of dark liquid. The spear can forebode imminent blodspill and battle which cause its excitement ("seizure" translated as spear-ardor or spear-heat). In such state, the spear's but releases a profusion of tinder-sparks when the spear-butt is struck against Dubthach's palm. The spear is submerged in a cauldron of dark liquid, which the latter text describes as a brew of druidical making mixed from bloods of cats and hounds and druids.

The passage in the Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel also says the spear was found the battle of Mag Tured, suggesting previous ownership by the Tuatha Dé Danann.
In fact, the Luin of Celtchair was formerly the ibar alai fhidbaidha " the famous yew of the wood," the spear wielded by Lug son of Eithliu, and later on, the Crimall of Cormac mac Airt king of Tara.
An affirmation (and clarification) of this piece of lore is found in a tale of the blinding of Cormac at Tara due to this spear, in MS. H. 3. 17 (now 1336), col. 723, summarized by Henessey (Todd Lect. Series I, intro.), for which see under Crimall.

<+-- added 12.01.03 The spear was also caused the death of the sometime owner Dubhtach, by the hands of Fedlimid, according to a postscript to the (Destruction of) Da Choca's Hosterl, which tells the kingship and death of Cormac Connloinnges, son of Conchobar, but no details are given on this.

<+-- mod. 12.01.03 It is also alleged that Cuscrad [i.e. Cuscrad Menn, son of Conchobar, as elaborated in the gloss of a variant text] was slain by this spear, which was used by Mac Cécht. This is according to a 10th century poet Cinnaed's "On the Death of Some Ulster Heroes," quatrain 16. Although there is nothing more to clarify the setting, this Mac Cét;cht is probably to be identified with one Mac Cécht who is one of the leaders of the band of Connacht warriors known as the Fir Ol nEgmacht. Mac Cecht usually fights in this band alongside Cet mac Magach ("Cet son of Magu"), and O'Curry seems confused the two (Manners, p.325). The pair of them (i.e. Mac Cecht and Cet mac Magach) are responsible for the deaths of two of Cuscraid's other princes in the Battle of Airtach which tells of Cuscraid coming into kingship of Ulster. Whereas in the Cath Bóinde, which delves into the family trees of Conchobar, Medb, and Eochaid the high king, it is claimed that Mac Cecht was a nickname given to Monodar Mór son of Conra, who was the brother of ousted king of Connacht, Tindi son of Conra. Mackillop's dictionary references Mac Cecht as a warrior under the high king, Conaire Mór. -->[* Previously the mere quote was given below without explanation. A profile on Mag Cecht was newly added.]
Comla Chatha (Meyer ed., tr.,Scéla Conchobair maic Nessa in LL)*5;
Comla Catha, the Door of Battle (Kinsella tr., )
Shield of Celtchar, one of many named alongside Conchobar's Ochoin.

Daolcú (Edinburgh MS. lx ≅ Meyer ed., Aided Cheltchair Maic Uthechair "The Death of Celtchar~")*6 [Ir.];
Dóelchú (Meyer's Eng. tr., ibid.) [E.],
= lit. "Chafer-Dog" or "Beetle-Hound", but "Black Chafer" (in Meyer, notes, ibid.) [E.]
D&oaucre;elcu (Cinaed's poem on the Deaths, str. 15, Laud MS. gloss/scholius) coin (Cinaed's poem, str. 15, Egerton MS. gloss/scholius)
[daol [Ir.] doél [OIr.] "chafer (beetle)" + [OIr.] "dog"]
A black whelp that Celtchar adopted and so named, but the dog became a pest and so he was compelled to kill the dog with his own hand using his spear, the luin. But when he propped the spear up, the dog's poisounous blood that ran down touched him and that was the death of Celtchar.

Celtchar had earlier had to eradicate a pest dog named "Dun Mouse" luch donnas well. Though not explicit in the text, this dog appears to have been the parent of the litter.

Dubthach Doel Ulad (Dubthach Dóel Ulad) [Ir.]
[Dubthach, OIr. pron. f; < dub [OIr.] "black". Nicknamed Doel Ulad "chafer-beetle of Ulster" or Dóeltenga "chafer-tongued")]

Ulster hero known for his inflammatory character, later owner of the spear in the Destruction of Da Derga's hostel.

----- sword -----
*1 Meyer, Kuno, ed., "Aided Cheltchair Maic Uthechair (The Death of Celtchar mac Uthechair) in Todd Lect. Ser. XIV (1906), 4-. Quote and full citation below.

*2 Hogan, Edmund, ed. tr., Cath Ruis na Ríg for Bóinn (1892)

*3 Stokes, Whitley, ed., tr., "The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel" Revue Celtique 22 (1901) and 23 (1902). See below.

*4 Hennessy, ed. tr. "Mesca Ulad; or, the intoxication of the Ultonians., Todd Lect. Ser. I (Dublin 1889) [Internet Archive (PDF, fulltext)]

*5 Stokes, Whitley, ed. tr., "Da Choca's Hostel [Bruiden Da Chocae]", Revue Celtique 21, p.149-165, 312-327, 388-402 [(A) TCD H.3.18 (now TCD 1337) pp. 708-724[?] , 16cent.; (B) TCD H.1.17 ff. 1-.. 17cent.] Notes. on §59 explains that from this point onward, version B diverges widely from A and some of the divergent content is discussed, following which, it states on p. 401 "The version in H. 3. 18 [version A], end with a notice (obviously taken from some other tale) of the slaying of Dubhtach by Fedlimid with the famous spear called Luin Celtchair, as to which see LU. 95b, LL. 267b, O'Curry, Manners [III], 324, and Hennessy Mesca Ulad pp.xiv-xvi, 37,39" [books.google] [IArchive]

*6 Stokes ed., tr. "On the Deaths of Some Irish heroes", Revue Celtique 23 [snippet] [IArchive]. The title "On the deaths of some Irish heroes" is the rough translation of the title of the poem found in the Egerton 1752 variant copy, "Aidheda forni do huáislib Erenn" (úasal "noble(man) or lofty place"). Since the LL text is sans titre, the poem the intial line of that text Fíanna Bátar i nEmain "Champions who dwelt in Emain", is sometimes used in lieu of title.

*7 Hennessy, Mesca Ulad, p.xiv quoted under Crimall page.

----- shield -----
*1 Scéla Conchubhuir

§ Aided Cheltchair Maic Uthechair (The Death of Celtchar mac Uthechair) <1150

    In the death-tale of Celtchar*1, we learn that his wife Brig Brethach slept with Blái the Hospitaller (Blāi briuga).
    Celtchar after discovering this, visits the royal house and impales the philanderer through the chest with his spear. It drives through so hard that the spear stuck in the wattle of the wall behind. The man with the death-wound had been leaning over the chessboard where Conchobar and Cúchulinn were playing fidchell. So a drop of blood fell on the board. The text says "Now the drop was nearer to Conchobar, and it was the longer till revenge." This seems to mean that Conchobar was a closer kinsman to Blái, but Cúchulinn would have been quicker to avenge Blái (who was his foster-father), as Meyer clarifies. Celtchar flees.

[*It should be pointed out that the spear that ran through Blái was gái in the Ediburgh MS. lx, but lúin the LL (Book of Leinster) text (according to Best and M. A. O'Brien's). Meyer does not footnote this textual difference, so perhaps his reading did not find a dissimilarity. The LL version breaks off the thus lack any subsequent mention of lúin]

The counsel of the Ulstermen is that Celtchar's life should be spared despite the offense, so he is recalled, on condition that he performs certain services as penance.

The first labor was for him to eliminate the menace of Conganchnes mac Dedad [*< conganchnes [OIr.] "horn-skin" < congan [OIr.] "horn" ; Meyer uses the Irish name in the first instance but subsequently calls him Horny-skin], who was intent on avenging the death of his brother, Curoi son of Daire upon the Ulstermen. His name obviously suggests that this enemy was invulnerable to most weapons. So as a desperate measure, Celtchar gave away his daughter Niam to be wedded to Horny-skin to see if she can uncover the secret of his vulnerability. She learns that red-hot iron spits (pl. bera, sing. bior [OIr.] ) had to be thrust into his soles, and through his shins in order for him to succumb to death. "Horny-skin" was thus eliminated. The people buried "Horny-skin" and built a caern (carn [OIr.] "heap, pile") over it.

Celtchar's second labor was to eradicate a pesty dog named "Dun Mouse" luch donn *2. The dog's lair was a cave (derc [OIr.] "hollow, cavity") [it might have been a hold dug in Horny-skin's burial mound.]. Celchair went there and killed the dog by propping its jaws with wood, reaching his hand in, and ripping out its heart.

When year or so passed since the caern had been heaped, people discovered a litter of three whelps within. [* They may have been the litter of the Dun Mouse that was slain.] The (white) dog with the small spots was given to Mac Da Thó and named ⇒Ailbe (Ailbi [Ir.]), while the dun (odur (text) = odor [OIr.] "dun") was given to Culand the smith, and the black was named Dóelchú was kept by Celtachair. [* Dóelchú is as Meyer has it in his English translation and is presumably normalized Irish. His edited Irish text reads Daolcú = lit. "chafer dog" or "beetle dog". But Meyer says the meaning of the dog's name is "Black Chafer" in his notes]*3.

Alas this dog too becomes a pest and Celtchar is forced to put it down. Here runs the concluding paragraph:

    12. 'Dīnguib didiu in fochaid3 ut, a Celtchair!' ar Conchobar. Luid Celtchar dochum in glenna 'na mbōi in cú ⁊ cét laoch lais ⁊ gairmid in coin fo thrī, co facadar in coin cucu ⁊ nosdīrgenn co Celtchar co mbōi ac lige a cos. 'Is trūag ām ann-dognī an cú,' ar cách. 'Nī bīu-sa fot cinaid nī bus mō, 'ar Celtchar ⁊ atnaig builli don lūin Celtchair, co ruc a cride trithi ⁊ co fūair [bás] īarsin. 'Fé amai!' ar cách. 'As fir,' ar sē la turgbāil an gāi sūas, gur fēimid brōen fola d'fuil na con cuici ar fut an gāi co ndechaid trīt co talmain, co mbo marb de. ⁊ rolaa[d] a gāir guil ⁊ rotōgbad a lia ⁊ a lecht ann. Conid hī sin A[i]ded Blāi Briugad ⁊ Congoncnis ⁊ Celtchair maic Uihechair. Finit.
3 fochaidi E
—Kuno Meyer ed., Aided Celtchair meic Uthechair, "Death of Ulster Heroes", p.30
    12.'Free us from that pest, O Celtchar!' said Conchobar. Celtchar went toward the glen in which the hound was, and a hundred warriors with him, and three times he called the hound until they saw it coming towards them, making straight for Celtchar until it was licking his feet. 'It is sad, indeed, what the hound does,' said all. 'I will no longer be incriminated for thy sake ' said Celtchar, giving it a blow with the lúin of Celtchar, so that he brought out its heart, whereupon it died. 'Woe!' cried everybody.'‘Tis true,' said he, as he raised the spear, when a drop of the hound's blood ran along the spear and went through him to the ground, so that he died of it. And his lament was set up and his stone and tomb were raised there. So this is the Tragical Death of Blái the Hospitaller, and of Horny-skin, and of Celtchar the son of Uthechar. Finit.

*1 Meyer, Kuno, ed., tr. "Aided Cheltchair Maic Uthechair (The Death of Celtchar mac Uthechair) in Todd Lecture Series XIV (1906) (The Death-Tales of the Ulster Heroes) , pp.24- [books.google] [copy] English [Celt. Lit. Collective]. The principal manuscript used is Edinburgh MS. lx, p.9 (not available online). A truncated version is in LL [≅ CELT: The Book of Leinster Vol. 2, Section 8, {folio 118b}

*2 Meyer's notes says:
  p. 28, § 10. The monster called Luch donn, or Dun Mouse, is also mentioned in the dindsenchas of Alend (E. Gwynn, Metrical Dindsenchas II., p.80). In Fled Bricrend, §§ 22, 46, the name is applied as an epithet to Loegaire Buadach. Thurrneysen's rendering 'Másebaut,' as if Luch-thond (Sagen aus dem alten Irland, p. 35) should be corrected accordingly.

*3 Again referring to Meyer's notes:
  p. 31, l. 1. Dóelchú, Celtchar's own hound. The name of this hound is also mentined in the Dinsenchas of Sliab Callann (Rev. Celt. xvi., p.53), and in the glosses on O['] Hartacán's poem Fianna bátar i nEmain (ib. xxiii., p.3202 and 325).
Dóil, i.e., 'Black Chafer' seems to have been a common name for black hounds. One of Maelfothartaig's favourite hounds bore the same name in its diminutive form Dóiline (see Rev. Celt. xiii., p. 393)

§ Battle of Rosnaree

In the "Battle of Rosnaree" (ed. Hogan*1), the spear of Celtachair is described in detail by a witness, though the spear is not refered to specifically as lúin. The passage is evediently from in "less ancient MSS," (Egerton, 106, a MS. copied in 1715 used by Hogan), although the narrative occurs in another version, Book of Leinster (LL).

The passage was noticed by A. C. L. Brown *2 in his article decidedly says this was Lúin Celtachair.

26.. [ar sin].. fear gáireaċtaċ: gruaḋ-ċorcra a ttosaċ na buiḋne sin, ⁊ folt cas cíorr-ḋuḃ air; brat lán-ṁór leaṫan-ċorcra lais, ⁊ sgiaṫ ṁór ṁíleata ar a ċlí, ⁊ cloiḋioṁ trom toir-ċleasaċ tairis; manaois ṁór,, ġlonnaċ' ṁuirior-ṫrom, uilleannaċ, imġéar, ċóirr-leaṫan, ċeann-ruaḋ' ċrann-raṁar ré ais. Agas baḋ saṁail rÉ seol- ċrann próoṁ-loinge an seasga snáiḋte sleaṁan-ċruaiḋ do ḃí a n-ionnsma na craoiriġe crann-raiṁre ceaṫar-uillionnuiḋe do ḃí ar a láiṁ an laoiċ-ṁíleaḋ, go cceiṫre seamonnaiḃ ag a ċoṁḟo- saḋ for an ccrann ccoṁḃaingean soin. Baḋ hiongnaḋ tráṫ airġeana na sleiġe sin; óir do ṁuiġidís sraonanna teineaḋ treaṫan-ṁóire tre n-a sleasaiḃ amaċ, ⁊ ceaṫrar aṁs roiṁe ⁊ fionn-ċoire uṁaiḋe eattorro, go n-a lá fola ann; gonaḋ ann ró tomṫaoi an tsleaġ neiṁneaċ soin gaċ uair do ḃáthaḋ a neiṁe. Agas is é táinig an sin .i. Cealltaċair mac Uiteaċair;..
—"Caṫ Rois na Rioġ" (modern text, Stowe ms.),
Hogan ed.,Cath Ruis na Ríg for Bóinn, p.78
26. .. they saw.. a loud-voice cheek-ruddy man in the lead of that band, wearing curling deep-yellow hair. He wore an ample wide scarlet mantle; and he carried a great warrior-like shield on his left side, and a heavy dexterous sword over it, a great nimble-featful burden-heavy angular, keen, bill-broad, head-red, shaft-stout lance behind him: and like to the sail-mast of a large ship was the carved smooth-hard ,seasga that was in the setting of the shaft-stout four-cornered spear that was in the hero- warrior's hand, with four rivets fastening it to that firm tree.
Wonderful indeed were the attributes of that spear; for flood-great streams of fire used to burst out through its sides, and there were four hired soldiers before him with a brazen bright caldron between them, filled with blood, in which that venomous spear was dipped every hour to quench its venom. And he it was who came there, namely, Ceallthachair son of Uiteachar..
—Hogan tr., Battle of Rosnaree p.79

Hogan footnotes that there is "a like description of this spear in LL. 267a" (which is about 4/5 into the Mesca Ulad)*3

*1 Hogan, Edmund., ed., tr. "The Battle of Rosnaree" (Cath Ruis na Ríg for Bóinn) Todd Lecture Series 4, 52 (Dublin 1892). [books.google] LL {fol.171-178}.

At CELT Corpus, text digitization presumably in progress, but in the meanwhile, Irish Text can be obtained in its Book of Leinster Vol. 4

*2 Brown, Arthur C. L. "The Bleeding Lance", 23n (Publications of the Modern Language Association (PMLA) XXV, 1) points out that there is a conformity in the names of Cormac's spear and shield: [snippet view]

*3 CELT CORPUS online LL (Part 5), section 9, Incipit Mesca Ulad = fol. 261b 25.

§ Togail Bruidne Da Derga ("The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel" ) <1106 (LU)

    As already given in Kuno Meyer's notes above, during this episode of the destruction of Da Derga's Hostel, an Ulsterman named Dubthach the "Black Chafer" has inherited (or has it on loan [cf. Mesca Ulaid])
Atcondarc imdae as neasam do Coaire : tri prímláich inti, it é cétlíatha. Teóra lenna dubglasa impu. Remithir medón fir cach ball díb. Trí claidib duba dímóra léo, siathir [sithidir] claidebgarmnae cach ae. 1230] No didlastáis finnae for usciu. Lágen mór il-laim ind fir medónaig; cóica semmen trethe. Dagere cuinge sesrige a crand fil indi. Cressaigthe in fer medónach in lagin móir sin, in·gi ná tiagat a huirc ecgi essi, & benaid a h-urlond fria a bais co fá thri. Lónchore 1235] mór ar a m-bélaib. Méit core cholbthaigi. Dublind úathmar and : mescthus béos isin duiblinn isin.
    Mád chían co tairi a fobdud, lasaid for a crand. Indar-lat is drecc [var. draicc, drecc] tentide bis i n-uachtur in tigi. Samailte lat sin, a Fir rogain.
1240] ‘ Ni anse Tri laích ada dech gaibthae gaisced i nh-Érind .i. Sencha macc alaind Ailella & Dubthach Dóel Ulad & Goibnend macc Lurgnig. Ocus ind Lúin Cheltchair maic Uithidir forricht hi cath Maigi Tuired, iss i fil il-láim Duibthig Dúil Ulad. Ís 1245] bés dí inn reb sin [do dénam, Eg.] intan as apaig [n-apaid YBL] fuil námat do thestin dí, is écen core co neim día fábdud intan frisáilter gnim gona duine di. Manis-tairi sin, lassaid ar a durnd & ragaid tria fer a himorchuir no tria chomdid ( chomsid) ind rigthaigi. Mád fúasma do-berthar dí, mairfid [=?maidfid "will break/rout"?] 1250] fer cach fúasma ó bethir ocond reb sin di ón tráth co araile & nís n-aidléba. Ocus mád urchur [legthar YBL], mairfid nónbor cacha urchair, & bid rí rígdomnaaire dibergae ind nómad fear.
    Tongu a tonges nó thúath, bid sochaide forsa n-dáilfe deoga tonnaid innocht ar 1255] dorus na Bruidne ind Lúin [sin] Celtchair maic Guthidir. Tongu do dia tones mo thúath, do-to[e]ttsat {p.122} [trí] chét lasin triar sin ina cetchumscliu, & conrainfe comgnim fri cach triar isin Brudin innocht, & maidfid búaid rig airig dibergae, & immaricfa elud dóib.
    Mairg iuras in n-orgain, for Lomna Drúth, cid 1260] fóbithin in triir sin!
    Ní cumcid, for Ingcél, &r. Ocus iarsin cia acca and?
Togail Bruidne Da Derga, § 128-9
[CELT Corpus text whosel line numbering inserted]


"I beheld the room that is next to Conaire. Three chief champions, in their first greyness [* "grayhaired veterans" or "grey-cloaked men".], are therein. [The borders were black-green on the cloaks around them.] As thick as a man's waist is each of their limbs. They have three black swords, each as long as a weaver's beam. These swords would split a hair on water. A great lance in the hand of the midmost man, with fifty rivets through it. The shaft therein is a good load for the yoke of a plough-team [of six men]. The midmost man brandishes that [great] lance so that its edge-studs (?) [or the edges of its mounting?] hardly stay therein, and he strikes the haft [or butt-end] thrice against his palm. There is a great boiler [filled to the rim] in front of them, as big as a calf's caldron [caldron for boiling the shank/shoulder/calf], wherein is a black and horrible liquid. Moreover he plunges the lance into that black fluid.
    If its quenching be delayed [* or, if not kept dipped entirely for some while] it flames on its shaft and then thou wouldst suppose that there is a fiery dragon in the top of the house. Liken thou that, O Fer rogain!"


"Easy to say. Three heroes who are best at grasping weapons in Erin, namely, Sencha the beautiful son of Ailill, and Dubthach Chafer of Ulaid, and Goibnenn son of Lurgnech. And the Luin of Celtchar son of Uthider [* = Uthechar] which was found in the battle of Mag Tured, this is in the hand of Dubthach Chafer of Ulaid. That feat is usual for it when it is ripe to pour forth a foeman's blood. [or, when it fortells the shedding of enemy blood] A caldron full of poison is needed to quench it when a deed of man-slaying is expected. Unless this come to the lance, it flames on its haft and will go through its bearer or the master of the palace wherein it is. If it be a blow that is to be given thereby [* or, unleashes] it will kill a man at every blow, when it is at that feat, from one hour to another, though it may not reach him [* approach him]. And if it be a cast, it will kill nine men at every cast [melting cast (YBL)], and one of the nine will be a king or crown-prince [or provincial king?] or chieftain of the reavers.

"I swear what my tribe swears, there will be a multitude unto whom tonight the Luin of Celtchar will deal drinks of death in front of the Hostel. I swear to God what my tribe swears that, in their first encounter, three hundred will fall by that trio, and they will share prowess with every three in the Hostel tonight. And they will boast of victory over a king or chief of the reavers, and the three will chance to escape."

"Woe," says Lomna Drúth, "to him who shall wreak the Destruction, were it only because of that trio!"

"Ye cannot," says Ingcél, etc. "And after that, whom sawest thou there?"

*1 Stokes, Whitley, ed., tr., "The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel" Revue Celtique 22 (1901), 9-61, 165-215, 282-329, 390-437; Revue Celtique 23 (1902), 88
  • Togail Bruidne Dá Derga: The Destruction of Dá Derga's Hostel (Reprinted in 1 vol; Paris: Librairie Émile Bouillon 1902) [archive] (Ends incompletely after §133 on p.128).
    — (Translation only)
    Reprinted in The Harvard Classics, vol.49 Epic and Saga, [books.google]; also plain html format at Gutenberg e-text 14019 and copy 2 [no PDF]) [bundled with a text of Song of Roland, etc.] or [Bartleby]

    *2 (Irish text) Knott, Eleanor, ed. Togail Bruidne Da Derga (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1936) [Mediaeval and Modern Irish Series. , No. VIII] [CELT corpus] (section numbering used by Wh. Stokes adopted in the e-text)

    *3 Gantz, Jefferey tr., "The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel" in Early Irish Myths and Sagas (Penguin Classics) p.97.
  • § Mesca Ulad (The Intoxication of the Ultonians) <1150 (LL)

    Celtchair mac Uithidiɼ In the Mesc Ulad, *1 as follows:

    720] ‘ Unſea riu ſain anaiɼ anechtair, aɼ Cɼom Deɼil, atconnaɼc and budin ɼígda ɼomóiɼ. Oenḟer ina airenuċ ſaic; Folt fɼáeċda foɼdub faiɼ; ell nailgen iſſind ara h-oil dó. Cubuɼ fola foɼdeiɼggi iſſind óil aile dó .i. fɼecɼa mín munterda ind ara feċt ⁊ fɼecɼa andiaɼaid in feċt aile. Onċú obeli ceċtaɼ a da 725] gualand. Sciaṫ tái tailgel faiɼ. Claideb geln·duiɼn leiſ. Sleg mór mileta ɼa aiɼd a gúaland; inn uaiɼ ɼas-geib a gɼith slegi do-beir-seom béim d'erlaind in ɼógai bar a dernaind co maidend lán ármide meiċ de ſpon·cáiblib; tentidi dar a ſlind ⁊ dar a fogɼáin, inn úair 730] ɼas-geib a gɼiṫ ſlegi. Caiɼi dubḟola da lind adúathmar aidċi remi arna dénam tria druídeċt da folaib con ⁊ catt ⁊ druad, cu fobairṫea cend na ſlegi sin issind lind nemi sin in tráṫ na thiced a grith slegi.
    " Dar ar cubuɼ [is nemneċ] in tuarascbail," ar Medb.
    735] "IS nemneċ cċ 'sa tuarascbáil," ar Cúɼuí.
    "Cid ón, cía sút? " bar Ailill.
    "Dubṫaċ doel Ulad sin, " ar Cúɼúi, "fer na ra ṫuill buide ri neċ riam; ⁊ inn úair is creċ ac Ultaib ule is creċ aci-sium a oenur. In Lúin lúath échtach 740] Celtchaiɼ 'na láim ar íasacht ⁊ cori fola foɼdeɼggi rompi, ar na losced-si a crand no in fer nobiad fóthi meni fothraicthe sin ċoire fola nemi hí, ⁊ ic tarn·giri ċaṫa itá-si. ’
    — Hennessy ed., p.36-
    (above text is a admixture with the CELT Corpus text; and not all the r's and s's have been converted to the r with long leg "ɼ" and long s "ſ")
        "Here before them to the east, outside," said Crom Deróil "I saw a prodigious royal band. One man in front of it with coarse black hair. An expression of gentleness in one of his eyes; foam of crimson blood in the other eye; i.e. at one time a gentle, friendly aspect; at another time a fierce expression. An open-mouthed otter1 on each of his two shoulders. A smooth, white-surfaced2 shield upon him. A white-hilted sword with him. A large, knightly spear to the height of his shoulder. When its spear-ardour seized it3, he would deal a blow of the handle of the mighty spear upon his hand, when the full measure of a sack of fiery particles would burst over its side and edge 4, when its spear-ardour seized it. A blood-black caldron5 of horrid, noxious6 liquid before him, composed through sorcery of the blood of dogs, cats and Druids. And the head of the spear was plunged in that poisonous liquid when its spear-ardour came."{p.39}
      "By our conscience, the description7 [is venomous*]," said Medb.
      "Venomous is he whose description it is," said Curui.
      "Who, then, is he?" asked Ailill.
      "That is Dubthach the Chafer of Ulad, " said Curui; "a man who never merited thanks from any; and when a prey falls to the Ultonians all, a prey falls to him alone. The quick, deedful Luin of Celtchair is in his hand, on loan, and a caldron of crimson blood is before it, for it would burn its handle, or the man that is bearing it, unless it was bathed in the caldron of noxious blood. And foretelling battle it is."
    — Hennessy tr. p.37-

    1 "leopard" (Gantz) 2 "white fronted shield" (G), but I derive "silent white-bossed shield" using DIL; 3 'when its fury-fit seizes the spear(?)' according to DIL under grith 1 4 or, "flat of the blade" and "point" 5 "pool" (though presence of cauldron is confirmed in later line). 6 lit. "of night, nocturnal"? 7 "forth, foam"
    *1 Hennessy, William. M., ed., "Mesca Ulad; or, the Intoxication of the Ultonians" Todd Lecture Series 1 (Dublin 1889). [Book of Leinster, p. 261 and Lebor na hUidre, p. 19]
    [books.google] | [IArchive] [CELT Corpus].

    However its bibliographic source page seems mistaken in stating that the English translation is reprinted in Eleanor Hull, The Cuchullin Saga in Irish literature(London 1898). (What this anthology does contain is Windisch's "Debility of the Ultonian Warriors" Ces Nóinden Ulad). cf. also Gantz, Jefferey tr., "The Intoxication of the Ulaid" in Early Irish Myths and Sagas (Penguin Classics)

    § Cinaed ua Artacain (d.975), "On the Deaths of Some Irish Heroes"

        Mac Cécht slew Cuscraid Menn using the Lúin Celtchair according to this poem ascribed to Cináed ua hArtacáin (d. 975/6). In the Egerton 1752 variant redaction, the title bears the title Aidheda forni do huáislib Erenn which Stokes renders "On the Deaths of Some Irish Heroes." Since the the LL copy is sans title its initial line Fianna Batar i nEmain "Champions who Dwelt in Emain Macha" is sometimes used in lieu of the title.

    (LL. 31a 42)
    Fianna batar i nEmain
    i rRaith Chruachan i Temair.
    i lLúachair lúatis curaid
    i nAlind i nÍarmumain.

    Ni marat ni fil a mbá.
    cia bátar ili a n-aideda ;
    marait dia n-éis a scéla.
    acht mad duí nis dichela.

    3.      Fergus mac Leite ba laech
    luid cosin mbéist ba bidg baeth ;
    co torchratar malle
    for Fertais rúaid Rudraige.
    4.      [Atbath macc Nessa in ri
    for toeb Letrach Lamraigi,
    dos-cel Slea Sliab co rath
    ocus Fach[t]na macc Sencath.
    5.      Goet Conaire cond ferga
    i cath Bruidne Da Berga,
    i mBruidin da Coca ro class
    lechtan Cormaic Conlongas.
    6.      IN Bruidin cétna Da Coca
    dorochratar cóim occa,
    inti ba forderg fuirri
    gaeta Cacht macc Finguine.
    7.      Lia Fail i n-uachtar Bruidne
    lia foraccai ilbuidne],
    Lugaid Lamderg rodas-lá
    for Illaind macc Fergusa
    8.      I Sléib Uillind imbid glend,
    ro bíth [Furbaide] Ferbend,
    Lugaid Riab ṅderg rod-bi and
    i ndigail Cruachna Clothrand.
    9.      Amargin ba garg a glecc
    eter mor is eter bec,
    matan i n-Imluich Áë
    immalle atá a lecht Láe.
    10.       Lecht Con-rúï i Sléib Mis,
    lecht Lugdach fo lecaib lis,
    i nDún Binne brig de rói
    ro bith Fiamain macc Forói.
    11.       Docer Cuculaind co fi
    for Cness Corthe Cruamtheri,
    for Traig Baile, bressim ṅgle, dorochair Óinfer Aife.
    12.       Erc macc Corpri gáet i tress
    i cómair Themra fodess,
    atá lecht Lugdach cia thois
    fon charn i Maig Argetrois.
    13.       Lecht Fir Death forsind áth
    la Coin Culaind atchíi cách
    Cethern mac Fintain anair
    dorochair oc Smirommair.
    14.       Erca Iuchna amnas búan.
    oca togáil docer L(úar)
    oc techt immach assa thaig.
    fríth [lecht] Lóegaire Buadaig.
    15.       Atbath Celtchair conad áil
    fri Dún Lethglasse anair;
    bás Blaí Briuga tria chin mná
    i ndesciurt Oenaig Macha.
    16.       Aided Cuscraid la Macc cecht de Luin Cheltchair croda in t-echt.
    dorochair Mac Cecht iar tain
    la Conall mac Amargein.
    17.       Guin macc n-Uslend, ba helgna, ..
    20.       Conall Cernach, croda in t-echt,
    is and ro bith im-Maig Ṡlécht,
    ic Raith Cruachan, gním do rind,
    dia laim dorochair Ailill.

    21.       Ro bith Fergus matan moch
    di ṡleig Lugdach i Findloch.
    isse sin in scél dia tá
    Oenét amnas Ailella.
    22.       Mesgegra ro med cech róen
    dorochair la Conall Clóen,
    ocus dodechaid a lind
    dar Munremur macc Ger[r]gind.

    23.       [Hi] Cath Etair bitha fir
    im Mes ṅdé macc Amairgin,
    do leim assa dún immach
    dorochair Forgull Manach.

    — Cináed húa Artacá (poet),
    "Fíanna Bátar i nEmain"
    LL {fol. 31b}

      1. Champions who dwelt in Emain, in Rathcroghan, in Tara, in Luachair which heroes used to celebrate, in Allen, in West Munster.

      2. They remain not, there is not what has died: though many were their deaths, stories of them remain after them; no one save a fool will conceal them.

      3. Fergus son of Leite was a hero : he went to the monster — 'twas a silly start — so that they have fallen together on the red Fertais Rudraigi.

      4. (Conchobar) mac Nessa the king died on the side of Letir Lamraige. Mount Slea graciously hides him and Fachtna son of Sencha

      5. Conaire, wrathful chief, was slain in the fight of Bruden Dá Berga. In Bruden Dá Coca has been dug the little grave of Cormac Conlongas.

      6. In the same Bruden Dá Coca nobles have fallen by him: he who was crimson (with blood) at it, Cachit son of Fin­guine, was slain.

      7. A Stone of Fál in the upper part of the Bruden, a stone near many bands, Lugaid Redhand hurled it on Illann son of Fergus.

      8. In Sliab Uillen with abundance of glens Fubaide Ferbenn was smitten. Lugaid Riab nderg smote him there in revenge for CLothru of Cruachain.

      9. Amargain, fierce was his fight, both with great and small: in the morning in Ibliuch Aë, together (with his grave) is Laé's grave.

      10. Cú-rói's grave (is) on Sliab Mis: Lugaid's grave under leca lis: in Dún binne, -- might of the battle-field -- Fiamain son of Foroi has been smitten.

      11. Cúchulainn fell with venom on Cness Corthi Crumtheri. On Traig Baile, -- clear noise -- Aife's Only-Man has fallen.

      12. Erc son of Carbre was slain in a fray overagainst Tara on the south. Lugaid's grave is, though silent (?), under the cairn in the Plain of Argetross.

      13. Fer deadh's grave at the for, (brought about) by C&ucaute;chulain, every one sees it. Ceteern son of FIntan from the east has fallen at Smirammar.

      14. Iuchna's kine, a troublesome herd, Luar fell when destroying them. Coming out of his house the death of Logaire the Victorious was found.
      15. Celtchair perished, so that it is a shame, to the cast of Dún Lethglaisse. Blai Briuga's death through his adultery (was) in the south of Oenach Macha.

      16. The death of Cuscrad by Mac cécht with [* Celtchair's] spear — cruel the murder ! — afterwards mac cécht has fallen by Connall son of Amargen.

      17. The slaying of Uisliu's sons, — 'twas of malice afore-thought.. :
      20. Conanll Cernach -- cruel the murder -- there has he been smitten, in Mag Slecht: at Rathcroghan — deed of spear- point — by his hand Ailill had fallen.
      21. Fergus was smitten one morning early by Lugaid's spear in Findloch: that is the tale from wwhich is the « Sole keen Jealousy of Ailill. »
      22. Mesgergra, who has greatned every rout, has fallen by Conall Cloen, and his lake came over Munremar son of Gerrcen.
      23. At the battle of Howth men were simtten including Mes dé son of Amargen. In leapoing out from his fort Forgull Manach has fallen.
    — Cinaedh Ua hArtagain, poet, (d. 976),
    "Champions who dwelt in Emain.."
    ------- Variant Text (only the gloss is translated) --------
    LAUD 610, fo 74b 2
    15.       Atbath Celtchar conad ail
    fri Dun Lethglaisse amair:
    .i. Dóelcu chelch. mé co torcair bainne do neim do rind in gai i cenn Celtcair con-apad de
    bas Blai Brugu tria chin mna
    i ndesciurt Oenaig Macha

    16.       Aided Cuscraid la Mac cecht
    de Luin Celtcair, croda in t-echt,
    dorochair Macc cecht iarsin
    la Conall macc Amargein
    15. gloss (scholius?) in Luad is corrupt: "i.e. Doelcu..... so that a drop of veomo fell from the point of the spear on Celtchar's head, so that he died thereof." (Stokes, endnote).
    ------- Variant Text (only the gloss is translated) --------
    Egerton 1782, Fo 52
    15.       Atbath Celtcair conid ail
    fri Dun Léthglaisi anair:
    .i. Cealtchuir romarb Dæ coin dia luin .i. dia ghae. & braen fola in Chon iarsan ngae chuici co ndeachaid trit co talmain gurros-marb.
    bas Blai Brigo tria chin mnáa
    in ndeiscert Oénuig Macha.

    16.       Aided Cumscraidh, cruáid in técht,
    di Luin Celtchair, croda in t-echt,
    .i. Mac cecht is e ro marb Cumsgraid Mend mac Conchobair don luin Chealtchair
    dorochair Mac cecht iartain
    la Conall macc n-Amorgin
    .i. rocher Mac cécht iartain la Conall a ndighail Cumsgrade maic Conchobair.
    15. glosses in Eg. "i.e. Celtchair killed Daelcu wioth his luin, i.e. with his spear, and a drop of (Dael)cu's blood (flowed) to him along the spear, and went through him to the ground, so that it killed him." second gloss "i.e. Blai Briuga had gone with the wife of Cet or Celtchar, so that for this Cet or Celtchar killed him afterwards." 16. glosses in Eg. "i.e. Mac cécht, 'tis he that kiled Cumscraid Menn, son of Conchobar, with Celtchar's luin" and "i.e. Mac cécht afterwards fell by COnall in revenge for Cmscraid son of Conchobar" [See Tigernach, Rev. Celt., XVI, 410] (Stokes, endnotes)
    —Stokes, Whitley, ed., tr. "On the deaths of some Irish heroes", RC 23 (1902)

    O'Curry also cited this reference to the spear from the poem, but misattributes the killer's name, who is supposed to be Mac Cecht.
    From a poem on the manner of the deaths of the chief heroes of the Royal Branch, written by Cinnaeth O'Hartigain, who died in the year 975, it is stated that Cumscraigh Menn, the son of king Concobar Mac Nessa, was killed with the LUin Cheltchair, by Ceat Mac Magach, a famous Connacht champion; from which circumstance we may infer that the sepear had at this time passd, probably in the vicissitudes of warfare, from Ulster into Connacht.
    , O'Curry, Manners, Vol. II, p.325
    *1 Stokes, Whitley, ed., tr. "On the deaths of some Irish heroes", Revue Celtique 23 (1902) 303-48, [IArchive] [snippet view]

    § W. K. Sullivan, intro to O'Curry's Manners and Customs (1871)

        This association is prefigured by Sullivan who wrote the introductory volume to O'Curry's lectures.

      Professor O'Curry illustrated his Lectures on the "Weapons of Warfare of the Ancient Irish" by a series of large drawings of the mor remarkable specimens of bronze weapons in the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy, ..


     . . . On the other hand, the use of iron wepons is of much greater antiquity in Ireland than is generally supposed. There is a curious legend in the tale of the Brudin Da Derga about the spear of an Ulster chieftain, Dubthach Dael Ulad, which proves this. According to the legend, this spear had been in the battle of Magh Tuired, and had come down from warrior to warrior until Dubthach got it. When the spear got excited to slaughter, it had to be plunged into a black liquid to keep it cool758. The origin of {ccccxxxii} the legend is obviously the tempering of steel.

    In the tale of the Táin Bó Chulainge the Ulster chief Cethern has an iron shield and an iron Bir760. This word literally means a spit, but appears to have been applied to a kind of slender iron lance, like the Roman Pilum, or perhaps the lance of the Swiss foot soldiers in the fifteenth century. Lúin is also the word used to designate the lance of the Dalcassians at the battle of Clontarf761 .
    — Sullivan's Introduction to:
    O'Curry, On the Manners and Customs, vol.1
    section "Weapons of War of the Ancient Irish"

    758 The following is the passage referred to in the text, which I think worth giving in full. " I saw the couch which is nearest to Conaire ; three prime champions in it; three dark gray Lenas on them; each limb of theirs was rounder than the body of a man. They had three great large swords; each of them was larger than the lath of a weaver's loom ; they would split a hair on water. The middle man had a large Laigin or lance in his hand, which had fifty rivets through it ; its haft is larger than the yoke of a plough. The middle man so shakes that spear that it is a wonder that its uirc ecgi ( rivets) do not fly out of it ; and he strikes its haft three times upon his palm. A large vessel is placed in front of them—large as a Caire colbthaige [that is the meat boiler of a Brugh] ; in it is a hideous black liquid. The spear is plunged into that black liquid to cool it whenever it is excited to slaughter. A blaze issues from its haft so that you would think that there is a fiery pit in the top of the house. Identify these, O Ferrogan. I know them. They are the three best valour-holding heroes of Eriu, namely, Sencha the beautiful, son of Ailill, Dubthach Dael Ulad, and Goibniu, son of Lurgnech ; and it is the Luin Celtchair mic Uithidir or spear of Celtchar, son of Uthidir, which was in the battle of Magh Tuired, that is, in the hand of Dubthach Dael Ulad. It practises that feat when it foresees the shedding of the blood of an enemy by it; it requires a boiler with poison to allay it when intent on a deed of manslaughter. Unless that be ready, its haft will blaze, and it [the spear] will pass through the man who holds it, or through the high chief of the royal house" — MS. Lebor na h-Uidhri, p. 95, col. 1.
        This spear is much celebrated in Irish legendary history, and still further proves the antiquity of steel swords in Eriu. It was carried off from the court of the king of Persia by the sons of Tuirend Bicrend, whose exploits in winning the different objects that formed the Eric imposed upon them by Lugad Mac Ethlend, king of the Tuatha Dé Danand, for the murder of a personage named Cian, represent the labours of Hercules in Irish mythology. The song of Tuirend were Brian, Iuchar, and Iucharba, and were gods of the Tuatha Dé Danand. The spear appears again in story as the Gae Buaifnech or poisoned spear, and came into the possession, among others, of the celebrated king of Eriu, Cormac son of Art.—Lectures, vol. i. [* =Manners and Customs Vol. II], p.324.     Prof. O'Curry has published the Tale of the Children of Tuirend with a translation in the Atlantis, vol. iv., p. 157.
    759 Vol. i., p. 235. 760Vol. i. p. 314.



        The notion that of the Luin being identical with other well-known weapons of Irish lore has later been advocated by A. C. L. Brown:
    The LUIN is evidently identical with the venomed spear of Pezar, "king of Persia," which Lugh obtained in anticipation of the Second Battle of Mag Tured. The name of this spear was Slaughterer, and its blazing point had to be kept in a great caldron of water. It is also called "the red spear." See "The Fate of the Children of Tuirenn," translated in Joyce, Old Celtic Romances (from a MS. of about 1416), pp. 59, 71-4, 80.
    —"Bleeding Lance", 18n
    *1 Sullivan, W. K. (William Kirby, 1821-1890) in his introduction to O'Curry, On the Manners and Customs of the Ancient Irish, vol. I, ccccxxxii (1871; reprint 1971). [books.google]

    *2 Arthur C. L. Brown, "The Bleeding Lance", (Publications of the Modern Language Association (PMLA) XXV, 1) [snippet view]

    § John Revell Reinhard, Mediaeval Pageant (1935)


    "I have heard something about Celtchar," said Henry Castide, "but never the whole story. Did he not have a famous spear?" "He did so," answered Ossian, "but that is another tale, and first I will tell you about Celtchar's wife and Blái Briuga."
    ..obtained that spear as part of the eric-fine which they owed to Lugaid for the slaying of his father. Lugaid called it the Yew. When it later came into Celtchar's possession it was named the Luin Celtchair. One day Celtchar slew a pestiferous hound named Dóelchú with it, and as he raised the luin aloft after that deed, a drop of the dog's blood ran along the shaft and went through him into the ground so that he got his death. After the hero's death the luin was owned by Cet mac Magach, the famous champion of Con- naught, who slew Cumscraigh Menn, Conchobar's son with it. Two hundred and fifty years later, in my time, it belonged to King Cor­mac mac Art, who called it the Blood-spotted. Unfortunately, one of Cormac's eyes was injured by that spear, for which reason one of Ireland's wisest kings was forced to abdicate, .. John Revell Reinhard, Mediaeval Pageant (1935), p.562
    *1 Reinhard, John Revell, ed., Mediaeval Pageant (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company 1939) [snippet view p.562]



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