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Ochain, Ochoin [armor:shield] [Celtic:ulster cycle]

Conchobar mac Nessa, Conor mac Nessa
Forms: Conchobar {cru-hoor} Conchobhar {con-ah-khar}, Cochobor {kono-cov-or, kno-chor, conn-na-hoor}, Conchubhair {Cruch-hoor}, Conchubur Concobar

Ochain [E.];
(1) Táin Bó Cúlainge
Óchaín scíth Conchobair (1st Recension, YBL line 3610?)(O'Rahilly ed., TBC 4048?);
n-óchain Conchobair (LL 102b)(Windisch ed., TBC) an eoc(hain Conchobhair) (St. 73b)(ib., fn. Windisch), an eochain Chonchubair (Add. p.223, H.1.13, p.314) (ib., fn. Windisch), *1a [OIr.]
Óchaín Conchobuir (O'Rahilly tr.) [E.]

Ócháin Conchobar's (Windisch tr.) [G.]

(2) Scéla Conchobhair mac Nessa
Ochoin (Scéla Conchobhair, LL, ed. tr. Windisch) "fair-ear" (ib., endnote) *2 [Ir.]
(3) Cath Ruis na Ríg (Battle of Rosnaree)
Innócháin scíath Conchobuir "Innócháin, Conchobar's shield" (LL text; §35) (Hogan ed. tr., "Cath Ruis na Rig," p42-3),
.i. Innochain sciath Conchobuir "The Ochain, the shield of Conchobar [E.] (LL text; §48) (ib. p50-1)
sgiaṫ ċaoṁ ċoṁragaċ ilḃuaḋaċ ilḃreaċtaċ "a comely warlike many-victoried many-hued shield..[that is the Ochaoin]" (Stowe text, §27) (Hogan, op. cit., "Caṫ Rois na Rioġ", p80-1; Ochain unmentioned in Irish text, inserted in translated text),
an Oċaoin .i. sgiaṫ Ċonċair "the Ochaoin, i.e. Conchubhar's shield" (Stowe text, §31) (ib. p88-9). *3
(4) Oidhe Chloinne-Uisneach "The Death of the Children of Usnach"
an Acéin "The Ocean" (O'Flanagan ed. tr. p.94/5)*4a,
an Aicéin "the Aicein" (Mac Curtin's ms., c.1740)(O'Duffy ed. tr., ¶25,27, p.32-3 text, p.73-5 tr.)*4b;
an Órchain "Bright-rim" (Edinburgh, Adv. Lib. ms. 53 [Glenmasan ms.]) (Stokes ed. tr., OCU "The Death of the Sons of Uisneach," in Irische Texte II, part 2, p.141/l.468 text; p. tr.)*4c
an Orchain "Orchain" (Mackinnon ed. tr., "Glenmasan ms." col. 16, p.128-31) *4d, an órchain "the Orchaoin" (Mac Giolla Leíth ed. tr., ITS edition) *4e
an 'Orchaoin "the Orchaen" (Adv. Lib. ms. 56) (Cameron ed., Deirdre, p.446/7) *4f
----- (Adv. Lib. ms. 56) (Belfast Pub. Lib. MS.37) (Ó Buachalla ed.) *4h,
the Ochain (Lady Gregory, "Fate of the Children of Usnach", Cuchulain of Muirthemne)*5a
"the Ocean" (Joyce ed. tr., "Fate of the sons of Usna", Old Celt. Rom.,p.447)*5b
[etymology:1. "Óchoin, better Ó-cháin fair-ear," (Stokes, Scéla Conc.), but also "Bright-rim" (Stokes, Uisneach). Also "Ear of Beauty" ó "ear" [OIr.] + caín "beautiful, fair" [OIr.] 2. "Moaner" (O'Curry) 3. ocían (acían, acén oicén) "The ocean (DIL)" ]

A shield borne by Conchobor mac Nessa. In both recensions of the Táin Bo Cualinge, the shield is described as having four gold corners and four gold coverings, and sustains three blows from Fergus's sword (Caladcholc R1, Caladbolg R2), so that Conchobar was able to hold the shield at respectible distance so as to not allow the rim to touch him. R2 adds the shield groaned so that the shields of Ulstermen groaned back in response. Cormac Con Longas not stayed the arm of Fergus who was about take full swing (R1 & 2), otherwise Conchobar would probably not have remained unharmed and may not have survived (R1). A host of Ulstermen is then killed by Fergus (R1) or spared from being killed by Fergus thanks to Cormac's intervention (R2), before Fergus turns his wrath on the hills of Meath.

In Scéla Conchubair (a prose tale whose folios are positioned after TBC in the LL), Ochain heads the roster as the 1st of 18 shields of Ulstermen, and is also described there as having four gold borders.

Towards the end of the Táin Bó Culainge, the Ulstermen finally recover from their debilitating spells, and the band marches to meet the Connacht army who stole the Brown Bull of Culainge. Thus in "The Array of The Host" chapter, first description of Conchobar's equipment is given by the scout Mac Roth, who saw the armies arriving at the hill in the (village of) Slemain Midi [Slemain Mide ('Slane of Meath')]. Conchobar was witnessed with a "gold-hilted sword", a "bright shield graven with animals." a "broad grey stabbing spear" (Kinsella tr., p.226)

The Battle of Rosnaree, said to have taken place in the aftermath of the TBC, with an old recension in the LL, gives an early account of how the alarm of Conchubar's shield causes the Three Waves of Erin to respond. This is probably more familiar from modern redactions and retellings of Deirdre, or the Death of the sons of Usnach.

While the older recensions of Deirdre classed as the Longes mac n-Uislenn "the Exile of.." group there is no mention of Conchubar's armaments. However, various implements belonging to him are interpolated in modernt texts, classed as the Oidhe[ad] mac Usneach or the Violent Death of the sons of Usnach.
The king's shield Ochain (or The Ocean) is provided to Conchobar's son Fiachra, who is sent out to fight Illan the Fair, son of Fergus.
When the Fiachra is imperiled, this shield called "The Ocean" issued a groan, and was responded in kind by the Three Waves of Erinn.
The noises heard in the distance attracts Conall Cernach to the scene, who, hastily concluding that it his king in danger, attacks the assailant (Naoise) from behind, without confirming identities or querying the situation.

Mesca Ulaid describes Conchoba's unnamed shield as Sc´aṫ dondċoɻ "A purple-brown shield with rims of yellow gold" (Hennessey tr.) ["Often in vague laudatory sense; Of dress ti corcrae 'purple cloak' (DIL)"];

§ Etymology
A rationalized etymology proposed by Stokes that explains the shield name as "Fair-Ear", the ear being the rim of the shield. This interpretation is perhaps hinted on the "threesome of Ochain", the wee birds [that perch? nest?] on the ears of the cows of Iuchna, which the Ulstermen plunder in Aided Conroi ("Violent Death of Curoi").
Since the shield is sometimes described as issuing alarm sounds, the explanation "moaner" is certainly apt. Professor O'Curry's suggestion is also corroborated on the Dindsenchas (geographical onomasticon) on an old name for the burial place of Niall of the Nine Hostages was Ochain, which moaned, and came to be so-called after Och Caine = Och "Ah! (interjection)" + caíne "weeping". (Cf. also Petrie ed., Senchas na Relic ).
In the modern versions of the Fate of the Children of Uisneach, the shield is spelt an Aicéin or an Acéin in some of the mss., that is, it is called "The Ocean" (ocían (acían, acén) "ocean (DIL)"), and there is further lore attached, saying that when the shield moans (as it did for Fiachra, son of Conchobar who was lent the shield), the Three Waves of Erin answer back. These waves are regarded as feminine goddesses of sort in Irish lore, i.e., as the wave-daughters of a Sea God. So it is also plausible to regard the name Aicein (or Orchain) as the phonetic transliteration of Oceanus or Okeanos, the classical personification of the sea.

1) colg glas "the Blue-green Blade" (Oidhe Chloinne-Uisneach "The Death of the Children of Usnach", ed. tr. O'Flanagan, p.94/5)*4a,
an Colgglas "the Colg Glas [green sword]" (Mac Curtin's ms., c.1740) (O'Duffy ed. tr., ¶25,27, p.32-3 text, p.73-5 tr.) *4b;
mo co(lg) "my sword" (Adv. Lib. ms. 53 [Glenmasan ms.] only) (Stokes ed. tr., OCU in Ir. Texte II, part 2, l.469|488 p.141 texts, p.169 trans.) *4c mo Co(lg) "my Sword" (Mackinnon ed. tr., "Glenmasan ms." col. 16, p.130/1) *4d, mo (co..) "my sword" (Mac Giolla Leíth ed. tr., ITS edition)*4e
----- (Adv. Lib. ms. 56) (Cameron ed., Deirdre)*4f
cul-g(h)las (Belfast Pub. Lib. MS.37) (Ó Buachalla ed. [same ms. as Hyde's text])*4h
"the Blue-green blade" (P. W. Joyce tr., "Fate of the sons of Usna", Old Celt. Rom.,p.447)*5b
"the Lightning" (Robert Dwyer Joyce, Deirdré)*5c
Chúlglaiss Chonaill Chernaig "Culglas (spear) of Conall the Victorious" (Egerton 1782) (Colloquy between Fintan and the Hawk of Achill, quatrain 94, Kuno Meyer ed. in Anecdota I, p.37; Eleanor Knott tr. in Folklore43:4)*6
2) "the Gorm Glas, the Blue Green" (Lady Gregory, "Fate of the Children of Usnach", Cuchulain of Muirthemne)*5a
a sleig trit .i. an Culghlas Conaill (Adv. Lib. MS. 53 = Glenmasan ms.) "his spear, even Conall's Culghlas" (Stokes ed. tr., OCU in Ir. Texte II, part 2, l.469|488 p.141 texts, p.169 trans.)*4c
sleg.. .i. an Culghlas Chonaill "his spear,.. to wit, the Culghlas of Conall" (Mackinnon ed. tr., "Glenmasan ms." col. 16, p.130/1) *4d, cúlghlas Conaill[?] "/Conall's cúlghlas" (Mac Giolla Leíth ed. tr., ITS edition)*4e
an chulghlas.. a chloidheamh "the Colg-glas,,, his sword " (Cameron ed., Deirdre, p.446/7Adv. Lib. ms. 56) *4f
cūl-g(h)las (Breandán Ó Buachalla, ed. "Imthiacht Dheirdre la Naoise agus Oidhe Chloinne Uisneach," ZCP 29 (1962-4),p.147)*4h
[etymology: colg "(a) anything pointed, piercing instrument; (b) sword, prob. small sword, rapier.(DIL)"; glas "descriptive of various shades of light green and blue, passing from grass-green to grey (DIL)". Thus the rough meaning is "green[ish] sword", with leeway for bluish hues.
D. Joyce's rendering "Lightning" is probably accomplished by substituting colg with bolg "lightning", although I don't know if that interpretation predated T.F.O'Rahilly.]
Name of the weapon used by Connal the Victorious to come up from behind and unwittingly slay Illan the Fair, son of Fergus (without first confirming the identity of his victim or the situation).
In Theophilus O'Flanagan's version (from an unknown ms.) and in O'Duffy's edition (Mac Curtin's transcription from1749), this weapon is Conchobar's sword, part of his full panoply that was loaned to his son Fiachna/Fiachra so the latter can face off against Illan the Fair.
But in certain texts (e.g., Adv. Lib. MS 53 [Glen Masan ms.] and MS 56) the sword's name is absent from the list of arms that Conchobar loaned, but appears later as the spear (sleg) belonging to Conall Cernach.

Accordingly, in the former group of redactions, when Conall Cernach arrives at the call of the shield Ochain, Conall finds the sword Colg-glas on the ground and picking it up, uses it against Illan the Fair, his maternal cousin, without knowing. Whereas in the latter group, Conall merely makes use of his own sword, the "Colglas Connail".

The expression "Chúlglaiss Chonaill Chernaig" is also preserved as lore in a poem ("Colloquy between Fintan and the Hawk of Achill", Anecdota from Irish Manuscripts Vol. I, p.37, line 3 [books.google]).

The name of Conchobar's sword is given as Gorm Glas in various dictionaries (Mackillop's Dict. under Conchobar; Ellis's Dict. of Celtic Mythol.; Harry Mountain's Enc. Celt.).
Notwithstanding, the name derives sofar as I can tell from Lady Gregory's retelling in Cuchulainn of Muirthemne, and and not from any transcribed version of the Aided Chloinne Uisneach as far as I can discover.
This may well be an instance of Lady Gregory's (In another instance, she simplifies the name of Cuchulainn's spear Duaibsech to Dubach).
One would speculate this is backwardation of the "Blue-green blade" (O'Flanagan translation of colg-glas). He could have just as well settled on "green blade", but he apparently conformed to the phrasing already circulating during his time in Ossianic literature, for O'Flanagan remarks "'The Blue-green Blade,' Mr. M‘Pherson retains" (footnote, p.94). However I am unable to identify his reference, since no "blue-green" sword is mentioned in Macpherson's Dar-thula.

1) an ċosgraċ acas an foġ "the Victorious and the Cast" (Oidhe Chloinne-Uisneach "The Death of the Children of Usnach", ed. tr. O'Flanagan, p.94/5)*4a,
an Cosgraċ agus an Foġ "the Cosgrach and the Fogh" (O'Duffy ed. tr., [Mac Curtin's ms.] ¶25,27, p.32-3 text, p.73-5 tr.)*4b,
an Cosgrach & a[n] Foga (I=Glenmasan ms.) var. Foga [Bernach] MS. an bogha bearrnach (II=ms. 56) "the Victorious, and the Gapped Spear" (Stokes ed. tr., OCU in Ir. Texte II, part 2, p.141/l.468 text, p.168-9 tr.)*4c
an Chorrthach, agus an bogha bearnach "the Corrthach, and the Notched-bow" (Cameron ed., Deirdre, p.446/7Adv. Lib. ms. 56) *4d
an Cosgrach agus a Foga "the Cosgrach and the Foga" [footnoted: Cosgrach 'victorious' and Foga 'gapped spear.'] (Mackinnon ed. tr., Glenmasan ms. col. 16, p.130/1)*4e,
"my two spears" (Lady Gregory, "Fate of the Children of Usnach", Cuchulain of Muirthemne)*5a
"Dart and Slaughter" (Joyce ed. tr., "Fate of the sons of Usna", Old Celt. Rom.,p.447)*5b
[cosc(a)rach "victorious, triumphant (DIL)". Modern dictionaries e.g O'Reilly lists an additional sense to the word cosgrach "slaughter[ing], massacre[ing]"; for a modern example where ċosgar is translated "slaughter" (and untranslatable as "victory"), see Cath Rois na riogh, Hogan ed., pp.74-5.
foga "A small spear, a javelin, in heroic lit. distinguished from gae and sleg (DIL)". Mackinnon adds "Fagha in Scots Gaelic applied to an industrial implement not unlike a Lochaber axe with the pointed end removed."
≅?cor(r)tharach "fringed, edged, bordered (DIL)"?
boga "bow(DIL)" + bernach "having gaps; broken; defective (DIL)"]
A pair of spears of Conchobar (Conor), lent to his son Fiachra/Fiachna, to go with the shield "Ocean" and the Blue-green sword. The spear Cosgorach "Victorious" has been rendered "Slaughter" by P. D. Joyce which according to a modern sense of the word (and for an inexplicable reason he interposes the order).

The second spear, the Foga, denotes a spear-like weapon, which is perhaps of a forked variety, except the DIL only ventures so far to say it is distinguished from the gae and sleg.

The Adv. Lib. Ms. 56 variant has, instead of a second spear, bogha bearach "notched bow" (Cameron ed., tr.). Stokes combines the readings, creating a composite fogha bearach which he translates "gapped spear". The term "gapped spear", interestingly enough "gapped spear" is the definition that Kuno Meyer provides for the gae bulga (Contribb. 236). This uses the second sense of the word, bolg 2 "'gap' is an invention of glossators" given in the DIL, citing "bolg berna" in Met. Gl. 9 sect. 5. and "balg .i. bearna" in O'Clery's Glossary. However still it maybe an invention, this means that our bogha bearach was taken to be synonymous with "bogha balg[a]".

In Mesca Ulaid (LL text l.537, Henessey ed. p.28) Conchobar is seen carrying a foga fogablaċ (foga fogablach) "forked dart", and it would seem that a corruption of this has resulted in the above forms. Conchobar's other weapons in MU are Claideb órduiɼn intuiſſil "a gold-hilted, embossed sword" [dorn "hand, sword-hilt (DIL)"; intussil leg. inlaisse "ornamented with inlaid work ? (DIL)"] and Sleg cuinſeo coɼcaɼglan in-a gelgaicc "A purple-bright, well-shaped spear " (Hennessey tr.) or "having bright purple faces (?)" (DIL, under cuin(m)siu "face"). It may be guessed that a corruption of the MU text may have resulted in the names of the weapons in OCU.

1. Croeb-ruad ‹normalized nom.› [OIr.]; Royal Branch (O'Curry tr.), the Cróeb-ruad (Stokes tr.), Craebruad, the Red Branch (Kinsella tr.).
The famous residence of Ulster kings, after which the term "Red Branch cycle" is eponymous.

2. Téite Brecc[OIr.];
[téite "(b) luxury, wantonness" (DIL) The example of T.Brecc quoted underneath. "speckled, spotted; variegated; patterned, ornamented" (DIL)] Speckled Branch (O'Curry tr.) the Téite Brecc (Stokes tr.), Téte Brec, the Twinkling Hoard (Kinsella tr.).
Where the gold, swords, spears were kept in such luxury as to appear as speckles all over.

3. Croebderg‹normalized nom.› [OIr.]; [the] Red Branch (O'Curry tr., Stokes tr.), Craebderg, the Ruddy Branch (Kinsella tr.).
Where they hung the heads and spoils as trophies.

Ol ṅguala .i. dabach Geirg "Ol nguala--that is, Gerg's vat" (Stokes ed. tr. Scé Conchubhuir); "Ol nguala the 'coal vat'" (ib. Kinsella tr., p.6); Ol nGuala (Tochmarc Emer, Harl. 5280 ed. K. Meyer);
ól ind ierngúli "the iern-gual (iron-coal)" (Tochmarc Emer, LU 10136 p.121a), "Wooing of Emer" tr. K. Meyer, Arch. Rev. I, p.69);
Aradach "ladder-vat" (Henderson tr., Fled Bricren, sect. 72)
A vat kept in Conchobar's room for providing drinks; According to K. Meyer (Arch. Rev. I, p.69, note4), "This was the name of a huge copper wine-cask, so called, according to LL., p. 258 b, "because there was a coal-fire in the house at Emain when it was drunk.-- Cf, aksi KK,m 254 b,"
Conchobar killed Gerg and took it away from Gerg's Glen. In the narrative Tochmarc Ferbe "The Courtship of Ferb", it is told how Conchobar broke up the wedding between Gerg's daughter Ferb and Maine Mórgor, killing groom and the bride's father (Gerg) --(Kinsella, intro., p.xv)

ċennċaiṁ "the polished cabinet" (O'Flanagan ed. tr. OCU pp. 34/5, 74/5, 76/7), Cennchaom, Cendcaom "Cenncaom" (ib. ["Tale of the Sons of Uisnech"], Glanmasan ms. [Adv. MS. 53] version, CR 1, p.104/5,120/1,122/3)

1) beind breccṡolais buabail "speckled-bright bugle-horn" (Mesca Ulad, LL text l.230, Hennesy ed. p.12)

---- shield, spears, sword ---
*1 Táin Bó Cúailnge (Part 22 of Lebor na hUidre)

*2 Scéla Conchobuir meic Nessa

*3 Hogan, Edmund, Rev., 1831-1917 ed., tr. Cath Ruis na Ríg for Bóinn [The Battle of Ros na Rig, Rosnaree] Todd Lecture Series IV (1892) [*MS. Egerton 106, dating to 1715] [books.google] wikisource

*4a O'Flanagan ed. Dierdri (1808) (see below). [ The modern version is from an unidentified source, O'Curry thought it to be close to T.C.D H.1.6 (now TCD 1280), but Hyde disagrees.]

*4b O'Duffy, Richard J., ed., tr., Oidhe Cloinne Uisnigh, Fate of the Children of Uisneach: presented for the Society for the preservation of the Irish language : with translation, notes, and a complete vocabulary. (Dublin : M. H. Gill, 1898.). [The manuscript from which this version is published was written by Andrew Mac Curtin of Corcomroe, Co. Clare, A.D. 1740 - preface, p. v.] [IArchive]

*4c, *4d, *4e These three editions use the 15th century Glen Masan MS., the oldest known redaction of the modern version as their base text.

*4c Stokes, Whitley, 1830-1909, "The Death of the Sons of Uisneach," in: Ir. Texte II, part 2 [Zweite Serie, 2. Heft], p. 109-184 (1887). [Text of Oided mac nUisnig from Edinburgh Advocates' Library MS. 53[LIII] (Glen Masáin MS, 15c.), and MS. 56.[LVI] for the ending after l.495). Stokes footnotes variant readings, but note that II = O'Flanagan's text, whereas LVI = Adv. Lib. 56. ] [books.google] [copy]

*4d Mackinnon, D., "The Glenmasan Manuscript", ed. tr., The Celtic Review 1 (1905-08) 3-17; 104-131. [IArchive] [books.google]

*4e Caoimhín Mac Giolla Leíth, Oidheadh Chloinne hUisneach (London : Irish texts society [#56] 1993) 219 p. [* Text is apparently a collation of Adv. Lib. 53 now in NLS and R.I.A. BIV1, with English translation of NLS 53 (Glen masan)] [snippet]

*4f Cameron, Alexander, 1827-1888, "Deirdre and the Sons of Uisneach" in Reliquiae Celticae, Vol. 2 of 2 (1894) 421-74, [ed. from Edinburgh MS. 56 with transl. and notes; with transcript only of three leaves from MS. 53 (Glen Masán MS)] [books.google]

*4h Breandán Ó Buachalla, 'Imthiacht Dheirdre la Naoise agus Oidhe Chloinne Uisneach,' (Irish text only) ZCP 29 (1962-4), pp.114-54. [MS. XXXVII (p. 1-81) of the Irish MSS. in the Belfast Public Library, written by Samuel Bryson (1778-1853). This version does not seem to contain a list of Conchubhar's armaments, but the sword cū-g(h)las appears on p.147. About the beginning 1/4 of the story was ed. tr., by Hyde in ZCP2]. A raw dump of text is at: [plos] or at [springer protocols] apparently taken from [de Gruyter Ref Global] (by subsciption/order).
Snippets: (perform a snippet search on "Fiachra" in vol.29 below, and find the relevant text on p.147) 28~30, 29, 29~30, 29~30,

Hyde, Douglas (1860-1949), ed. tr. "Deirdre", in: ZCP 2, 1899, 138-155 [books.google]. [Samuel Bryson (or Mac Brisi, or Mac Briosain)(1778-1853) 18th century ms., "an arachaised expansion of Keating's narrative." Text and translation of the prelude portion (full Irish text given by Ó Buachalla above). Hyde's perlude (English) is also included in his A literary history of Ireland from earliest times to the present day pp.303-310, and followed by a telling down to the conlusion of the tale (pp.310-318) but it is a version whereby the sons are captured by druidry, and no mention of named arms occur. ]



*5a Lady Augusta Gregory, "Fate of the Children of Usnach",p.104-142, in: Cuchulain of Muirthemne: the story of the men of the Red Branch of Ulster, (London, 1902), [books.google]

*5b Joyce, P. W. (Patrick Weston), 1827-1914 Old Celtic Romances (3rd ed., 1907) (Dublin: The Educational Co. of Ireland Ltd.; London: Longmans, Green and Co. 1920) [3rd ed. (adds "Fate of the Sons of the Usna")] [IArchive] [Gutenberg]

*5c Joyce, Robert Dwyer [M.D.], 1830-1883, Deirdrè (Boston: Roberts Bros. 1877. 262 pp.) [No Names Series] [books.google]

*6 Meyer, Kuno ed., "The Colloquy between Fintan and the Hawk of Achill", in Anecdota from Irish manuscripts, I, pp.24- [* From Egerton 1782, fo. 47a1-49b1 collated with the Book of Fermoy, p.158 and with 23. G. 12. Cp. LU. 120b30; Wh. Stokes, Lives of Saints from the Book of Lismore p. XXV, and O'Curry Manners III , p.59.] [books.google]
Translation by Eleanor Knott in Folklore 43:4.

§ Táin Bó Cúailnge "The Cattle Raid of Cooley" (R1 10c., R2 12c.)

In the TBC "the Cattle-Raid of Cooley", Cuchullain has had to fight alone for Ulster while the rest are afflicted by the pangs, the curse of Macha. But at last, the Ulstermen rise and head out in bands to meet the forces of Connacht, who had stolen the Brown Bull of Cooley.

    On the Conacian camp, the task of scouting the Ulster army is given to Mac Roth, the chief runner, he being the messenger who had initially been sent out to seek the rental of the Brown Bull from its owner, Daire. Mac Roth reports seeing the gathering of the enemy on a mountain on the plain of Meath, espies a regal figure with a forked blond beard, who carries a gold-hilted sword, "a broad grey stabbing-spear" (R1) or "broad and gray-green lance" (R2)

Fergus mac Roigh has just been equipped with the mighty sword Caladcholc (R1) or ⇒Caladbolg, and it matches up against Conchobar's shield Ochain (R2). This is one of the central conflicts, as Fergus, the ousted fromer king of Ulster battles Conchubar, the king installed afterwards. The Ulstermen hear the noise of the sword battering against the shield. The shield is given as "the Óchaíin, which had four golden points and four coverings of gold." (O'Rahilly tr., R1, line 4048?)*1. The R2 description is as follows:

    Tanic Conchobar reme go airm i cuala in cath do 5980 maidm ba trí ris atúaid. Acus gebid scíath ra sciath and, .i. ra Fergus mac Róig, .i. in n-óchain Con­chobair cona cethri óeib óir & cona cethri sethrachaib [do] derggóir. And-sain rabert Fergus tri balcbemmenda Bodba issin n-óchain Conchobair, go ro geis a scíath for Conchobar. A ra géised scíath Conchobair, ra géistis sceith Ulad uile. Gia ro bói da threisi & da tharpigi ra búail Fergus a sciath bar Conchobar, ra bói da chalmacht & da churatacht ra chongaib Conchobar in sciath, conna ra chomraic ó in scéith ra hó Conchobair cid itir.
—ed. Windisch,
"XXVII. Die Schlacht bei Gárech und Ilgárech" p.865*1 [≅ 102a]
[≅ CELT: Táin.. from the Book of Leinster, Text 39, p.131, {102a-b}
Conchobar went his way to the place where he heard the battle had gone three times against him from the north, and he lifted shield against shield there, namely against Fergus mac Roig, even Ochain ('the Fair-ear') of Conchobar with its four ears of gold and its four bracings of red gold. Therewith Fergus gave three stout blows of Badb on the Ochain of Conchobar, so that Conchobar's shield cried aloud. Whenever Conchobar's shield cried out, the shields of all the Ulstermen cried out. However great the strength and power with which Fergus smote Conchobar on the shield, so great also was the might and valour wherewith Conchobar held the shield, so that the ear of the shield did not even touch the ear of Conchobar.
—tr. Joseph Dunn 27a. "Here Followeth The Muster of The Men of Erin"*2
[≅ Cecile O'Rahilly ed., tr., Táin Bó Cúalnge from the Book of Leinster (1967) CELT: {line 4727-4762}.

*1 O'Rahilly, Cecile ed., tr., (CELT Corpus): [TBC R1 Irish text] [TBC R1 trans.] [TBC LL trans.]

*2 Windisch, Ernst, 1844-1918. Die altirische Heldensage Táin Bó Cúalnge nach dem Buch von Leinster, in Text und Übersetzung mit einer Einleitung und Wörterverzeichniss, pp. 865, 867, 874, 875 [books.google] [[copy]]

*3 Dunn, Joseph 1872-, The Ancient Irish Epic Tale Táin Bó Cúalnge, "The Cualnge cattle-raid," now for the first time done entire into English out of the Irish of the Book of Leinster and allied manuscripts, (London: David Nutt. 1914)

*4 Kinsella, Thomas tr., The Táin; translated from the Irish epic Táin bó Cúailnge (London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1970.)

§ Scéla Conchubhair "The Tidings of Conchobar son of Ness"

§ On the Lack of Consensus in the title of the Work

    The list of eighteen shields of various Ulster warriors occurs in one of the a group of "Prose Tales relating to the Táin" in the Book of Leinster (LL). Since these tales are positioned after the recension of the TBC, it makes some sense not to consider them one of the fortales (remscéla) to the Táin. However, it cannot be denied that a portion of the narrative, relating to Conchobar's birth coincides with the foretale Compert Conchubhair (Conception of Conchobar mac Nessa), and this is where confusion starts to set in.

The tract had no standard conventional title when excerpted by Eugene O'Curry in Manners and Customs II, p.333 *1. So his quoted text is described, in fine print in the margins, as the "List of celebtated Shields, in the Book of Leinster".

When Stokes edited the tract, he coined the title Scéla Conchubhair or "Tidings of Conchobar mac Nessa".

In more recent times, Vernam Hull came up with the title "How Conchobar gained the kingship of Ulster" as the title of his edition submitted to ZCP of the variant text from BB.

Kinsella includes a translation of the LL tract, with a title "How Conchobar was begotten, and how he took the kingship of Ulster" in his volume edition of The Táin. This arrangement is also very misleading because his translation is based on the 1st Recension (LU, YBL, etc.) and not the 2nd Recension (LL). Nevertheless, he opted to replace the 1st Recension foretale of the Conception of Conchobhar with the LL posttale.

§ Conchubar and the Ulster warriors surrounding him, and their shields.

In the tale it is told that Conchubar surrounded himself with the best champions and would hold banquets for them:

{MS folio 107a}
    17. [1] INd Ochoin Chonchobair and .i. sciath Conchobair: cethri imle óir impe, ocus [2] Fuban Conculainn, ocus [3] Lamthapad Conaill Cernaig, ocus [4] ind Óchnech Ḟlidais. ocus [5] ind Orderg Ḟurbaide, ocus [6] in
Choscrach Causcraid, ocus [7] ind Echtach Amairgin, ocus [8] ind Ír Chondere. ocus [9] in Chaindel Nuadat. ocus [10] ind Leochain Ḟergusa. ocus [11] ind Uathach Dubthaig. ocus [12] ind Lettach Errgi. ocus [13] in Brattach Mind, ocus [14] ind Luithech Noisen. ocus [15] ind Nithach Loegaire. ocus [16] in Chroda Chormaic. ocus in [17] Sciatharglan Senchada, ocus [18] in Chomla Chatha Cheltchair. Moo
turim dano anro boí do sciathaib and olchena.

—ed. Whitley Stokes,
"Scéla Conchobair maic Nessa"
Ériu 4, pp.23-*1
[books.google] [snippet view] [LL ≅ 107a]
[≅ CELT: The Book of LeinsterVol. 2, section 1, {107a-}

17. Therein was [1] the Ochoin of Conchobar—that is, Conchobar's shield: four rims of gold were round it. And Cúchulainn's [2] Fubán, and Conall Cernach's [3] Lámthapad, and [4] the Óchnech of Flidas, and [5] the Órderg of Furbaide, and [6] the Coscrach of Causcrad, and [7] the Echtach of Amergen, and [8] the Ír of Condere, and [9] the Caindel of Nuada, and [10] the Leochain of Fergus, and [11] the Uathach of Dubthach, and [12] the Lettach of Errge, and the [13] Brattach of Mend, and [14] the Luithech of Nóisiu, and [15] the Nithach of Loegaire, and [16] the Cróda of Cormac, and [17] the Sciatharglan of Senchaid, and [18] the Comla Chatha of Celtchar. More than can be numbered were all the other shields therein.

—tr. Whitley Stokes,
"The Tidings of Conchobar son of Ness",
Ériu 4, pp.23-
[books.google] | Celt. Lit. Collective; alt:ancienttexts]*1

    Kinsella's more recent translation to the Táin is prefaced by the Scéla Conchubhair, translated as "How Conchobar was Begotten and how he took the Kingship of Ulster," and there, the catalogue of shield-names runs thus*3:

Ochain was there, Conchobor's shield, the Ear of Beauty — it had four gold borders around it; Cúchulainn's black shield Dubán; Lámthapad — the swift to hand — belonging to Conall Cernach; Ochnech belonging to Flidais; Furbaide's red-gold Orderg; Cúscraid's triumphant sword Coscrach; death-dealing Echtach that belonged to Amargin; Condere's angry Ir; Nuadu's Cainnel — a bright torch; Fergus's hacking sword Leochain; the fearful Uathach that belonged to Dubthach; Errge's Lettach; Menn's Brattach; Noisiu's joyful Luithech; Nithach the wounder belonging to Laegaire; the bloody Croda of Cormac; Sencha's resonant shield Sciatharglan; Celtchar's Comla Catha, the Door of Battle; and other shields beyond counting.
—Kinsella tr., p.5, [snippet]

Of the roster of shields named here, the ⇒Cróda of Cormac deserves notice. The most obvious candidate for the owner is Cormac Connloinges son of Conchobar mac Nessa, except that it would seemingly contradict the narrative which explains that the very reason Conchobar had surrounded himself with these shield-bearing men was in order to give him opportunity to sire a son.
A. C. L. Brown has suggested that the owner of Cróda the "bloody" shield was in fact Cormac mac Airt from the Fenian cycle, ⇒Crimall "blood-spotted."
*1 O'Curry, Eugene, "Lect. XV, List of celebrated Shields, in the Book of Leinster", Manners II 332-3 [*]

*2 Stokes, Whitley, tr. ed. Scéla Conchobair maic Nessa "The Tidings of Conchobar son of Ness" in Ériu 4 (1910), 18-33. [books.google] Eng. tr. online: "The Tidings of Conchobar son of Ness" [Text from LL (The Book of Leinster) Vol. 2, section 1, {107a-}]

*3 Stokes, Whitley, tr. ed. Lives of the Saints from the Book of Lismore Oxford 1890, pp. xxxiv-v [Lismore frag.]

*4 Hull, Vernam, ed., "How Conchobar gained the kingship of Ulster" in Zeitschrift fúr Celtische Philologie (ZCP) 25, 1956, pp. 243-5. [Text from BB (Book of Ballymote).]

*5 Kinsella, "How Conchobar was begotten, and how he took the kingship of Ulster" in The Táin op. cit. [snippet]

§ Tabulation of edited forms

LL text
O'Curry's transcript in ( parentheses)
Stokes tr. O'Curry, Manners Kinsella tr.remark
I.Chroebruad, Chroebruaid ‹dat.›
(Chroeb ruaid)
the Cróeb-ruad the Craebh Ruaidh [the "Royal Branch"] Craebruad, the Red Branch * The palace hall of the Ulstermen.
II.Teíte Brecc, Teiti Bricc ‹dat.›
(Teite Brecc)
the Téite Brecc the Téite Brec [the "Speckled Branch"] Téte Brec, the Twinkling Hoard * The armory of Ulster that housed sparkling shields and weapons.
III.Chroibderg. Chroebdeirg ‹dat.›
the Red Branch the Craebh Derg [the "Red Branch"] Craebderg, the Ruddy Branch * The warehouse for the spoils and trophies.
1.Ochoin Chonchobair
(Ochoin Chonchobair)
the Ochoin of Conchobar Concobar's Ochain Ochain.. Conchobor's shield, the Ear of Beauty * King of Ulster.
* óchain "name of a shield belonging to Conchobar mac Nessa; expld. as `the Groaner' (< ochan) by O'Curry, Mann. and Cust. ii 321 , but prob. a compd. of 3 ó and cain (? caín) `beautiful'. " (eDIL). "bright shield graven with gold animals" (Gelscíth co t&uactue;agmílaib óir fair, (Tain YBL ll.3164-999
2.Fuban Conculainn
(Fabán Conculainn)
Cúchulainn's Fubán Cuchulainn's Fabán [the famous Dubhan already described] Cúchulainn's black shield Dubán * The great Ulster champion. Son of Deichtine, sister of Conchobar, impregnated by the supernatural Lug mac Eithlenn; though he goes by "Cuchulainn mac Sualdaim".
* fuban name of Cú Chulainn's shield, LL 107 a 3 (Ériu iv 28 ); called Duban in a later text, Ériu v 72z (from ind ḟuban ?) [vn fuba "strikes or cuts under"] (eDIL)
3.Lamthapad Conaill Cernaig
(Laṁtapaid Conaill Cernaig)
Conall Cernach's Lámthapad
Conall Cearnach's Lamh-tapaid Lámthapad — the swift to hand — belonging to Conall Cernach * Another well-known champion. Son of Finnchaem, another sister of Conchobar (thus maternal cousin of Cuchulainn); Conall is also the son of Amargin the poet; his byname Cearnach means "triumphant". Connal's shield as described by Findbhair in Fled Bricrend is scíth dond telbude, bil chonduáil crédumai "a shield brown with yellow bosses, its edge veined with bronze." Conall's shield is called Bricriu in Togail Bruidne Dá Derga. Because of his limp, highborn women of Ulster suffered from lameness out of the love of him (Serglige Con Chulaind).
* tapaid "quick; swift; active" (eDIL).
4.Óchnech Fhlidais
(Óchnech Ḟlidais)
the Óchnech of Flidas [the lady] Flidas's Ochnech Ochnech belonging to Flidais * Identification problematic. Presumably Flidas of Táin Bó Flidais, but she is not associated with the Ulster Court.
She is a married woman who falls in love with Fergus mac Róich when he with other Ulstermen are already living in exile in Connacht under the protection of Medb and Aillil. Her cows of plenty provides milk for Connacht during the cattle raid of Cooley.
Possibly a confusion with Fraoich, who also owned cows of plenty, given by his mother Bébinn of the fairy kind, although he too is on the side of Connaucht during the cattle-raid.
* óchnech "name of a shield" (eDIL)
5.Orderg Fhurbaide
(Orderg Ḟurbaide)
the Órderg of Furbaide Furbaidh's 'Red-Bordered' Furbaide's red-gold Orderg * Furbaide Ferbend, son of Conchobar mac Nessa, who would become the slayer of Medb with a sling loaded with hard cheese while she was Lough Ree.
* In the Táin (LU version), Furbaide Fer Benn, or the horned man is included in the description of Ulster warriors recited by Mac Roth for Fergus to identify; and holds a "gold-rimmed death-dealing shield" (Kinsella tr., 221, 239).
6.Choscrach Causcraid
(Choscrach Causcraid)
the Coscrach of Causcrad. Causcrad's Coscrach Cúscraid's triumphant sword Coscrach * Cuscrad [Mian or Menn "Stutterer"], son of King Conor (Conchobar mac Nessa), aka Cumscraid Mend Macha mac Concbair "the Stammerer of Macha", son of Conchobair, who got this nickname after Cet mac Mágach wounded him in the throat (Mac Dá Thó 14). In Serglige Con Chulaind, it is said the highborn women of Ulster suffered from stammering for the love of him.
* cosc(a)rach =" victorious, triumphant" (eDIL).
* Mac Roth witnessed this stammerer with an "ivory-hilted sword, the hilt cut from aboar's tusk", a "scallop-edged death-dealing shield" [Scíth béimnech co fáebar condúala fair. (condúala "scalloped, serrated; ornamented")] (Tain 4322; YBL lines 2164-3199) and "a great spear.. like a palace torch, with silver rings." [Caindel rígthaigi.. fé:than aircit imbe & im rith iar craund co sleig sair] This spear goes by the name "Caindel Chuscraid".
7.Echtach Amairgin
( " )
the Echtach of Amergen Amargin's Echtach death-dealing Echtach that belonged to Amargin * The poet Amargen mac Ecit (Kinsella 243); or Son of the smith Ecet Salach the grimy one (Kinsella 231). Amairgin is the father of Conall Cernach.
* échthach "prowessful, death-dealing" (eDIL).
8.Ír Chondere
(Ír Chondere)
the Ír of Condere Conderé's Ir Condere's angry Ir * Condere mac Echach; [pron. {kon-dirra} Heaney; "Cuinnire" in Keating's FFE]; he was the first Ulster warrior to approach Connla, the tragic son of Cuchulainn. He tried to get the boy to tell his name by eloquence, but would not force the issue by fighting.
* ír "anger, ill-feeling:" (eDIL).
9.Chaindel Nuadat
( " )
the Caindel of Nuada Nuadat's "Candle" Nuadu's Cainnel — a bright torch * Not able to identify this Nuada, unless it be Nuada Airgetlám of the TDD or Nuada Nechtan, and ancestor of Finn. In Emer, Cuchulainn refers to himself as nuada in the sense of "champion,hero".
* This shield/sword? has the same name as the spear of Cruschaid (Caindel Chuscraid) in the Tain.
* caindel (cainnel) "candle; light; candle-light; Candlemass; light; paragon; hero; plants " (eDIL).
10.Leochain Fhergus
(Leochain Ḟergusa)
theLeochain of Fergus Fergus's Leochain Fergus's hacking sword Leochain * Fergus mac Roích presumbaly is owner.
Kinsella construes sword's name as "hacking", evidently acting on Stoke's hint (Glossarial Index to his edited text), that leochain is cognate to leó .i. letrad no guin "wounding[inflicting] (death-)wound"? (given in O'Dav. [O'Davoren's Glossary, Three Irish Glossaries [b.g.] p.100]. Possibly this is lochan, lochrad "injury, spoilation" (DIL). Also léo is readily recognizable as word for "lion", while leo (sense 4) of uncertain meaning is glossed ".i. gai .." (DIL). So possible to construct the meaning "Fair Lion(?)" after the lesson of Ochanin "Fair Ear." In the oral Scottish version of Deirdre (Carmichael, p.96/7) there is a roster of animals depicted on Naoishe arms, one of which is leoghann translated "lion".
11.Uathach Dubthaig
( " )
the Uathach of Dubthach Dubthach's Uathach the fearful Uathach that belonged to Dubthach * Dubthach dóel-tenga "chafer-tongued".
úathach "horrible, dreadful" (eDIL). Uathach also happens to be the name of Scathach's daughter, and Mackillop glosses it as meaning "spectre". In Mesca Ulaid, Dubthach bears a sciath tái tailgel "silent[?] white-bossed shield" or "smooth white-surfaced shield" (Henessey tr.) "white fronted shield" (Gantz tr.). Harry Mountain, Celt. Enc. III, p.565 lists it as "sword (Uathach)".
12.Lettach Errgi
( " )
the Lettach of Errge Errgé's Lettach Errge's Lettach * Errge Echbel "Horse Mouth". Lettach is identified as sword by Harry Mountain (Celt. Enc. III); Stokes's glossarial index merely says it is Errge's shield, and DIL also only says "name of a shield".
* The man with thick horse's lips is witnessed by Mac Roth as carrying a "dark-grey shield", a banded spear, and a long sword, and identified by Fergus as Errge Echbél, the horse-lipped (Kinsella 232).
13.Brattach Mind
( " )
Brattach of Mend Mend's Brattach Menn's Brattach * Menn mac Salacada "Mend son of Sword-Heel" (Mac Dá Thó 13). Note "Mend" is also the nickname of #6.
* In the Táin, Mac Roth witnesses a man with a grey shield and silver-hilted sword, whom Fergus identifies as Menn mac Sálcada.
* brattach "1 having a cloak, mantled; 2 clothing; shield; banner, standard" (eDIL)
14.Luithech Noisen
( " )
Luithech of Nóisiu Noisé's Luithech Noisiu's joyful Luithech * Nóise [ModIr. Naoise] mac nUislenn, the beloved of Deirdre.
* lúithech "vigorous, agile, joyful, eager:.. Name of a shield (quoting this passage) (DIL)". This is listed not as a shield but Naoise's sword by Harry Mountain (Celt. Enc. IV).
15.Nithach Loegaire
( " )
the Nithach of Loegaire Laeghairé's Nithach Nithach the wounder belonging to Laegaire * One of three foremost Ulster warriors as reckoned by Bricriu in Fled Bricrenn, where (in §45)he is seen with a scíth brec béimnech "shield spotted and indented" [or perhaps a 'speckled smiting shield' with rim of bright findruine ] One of the five in Meyer's collection of "The Death-Tales of the Ulster Heroes". Stoke's glossarial index: "Nithach 17, name of Lóegaire Búadach's shield : deriv. of nith .i. guin duine "mortal wounding of a man", Corm.
16.Chroda Chormaic
(Chroda Chormaic)
Cróda of Cormac Cormac's Croda the bloody Croda of Cormac * Cormac Condlongas. In the Táin, he is "Conchobar's son, Connlongas, the leader of the Ulster exiles" (Kinsella, p.58). Thus he is among the band of men residing in Connacht, and in the Cattle-Raid, he is on the side of Aillil and Medb and Fergus; although in the final battle, he dissuades Fergus from injuring Conchobar. Cormac Condlongas also appers in the Togail Bruiden Da Derga. His death occurs in the Togail Bruiden Da Choca. He is said to be a product of Conchobar's incest with his mother. See Stokes, "On the Deaths of Some Irish Heroes", RC 23, p.332,the gloss in Laud on str. 5
* cródae "bloody, cruel, fierce; later valiant, brave; crimson, red" (eDIL)
17.Sciatharglan Senchada
( " )
Sciatharglan of Senchaid [the poet] Seancad's Sgiath Arglan Sencha's resonant shield Sciatharglan * Sencha mac Ailella. In the remscél (foretale) of the Conception and Birth of Cúchulainn, "Sencha the judge" is one of the first to offer to foster the boy Setanta (Cuchulainn). and arbitrates re the champion's portion in Fled Bricrenn; He plays a notable role in Mesca Ulad [needs to be verified]
* In the Tain proper, Mac Roth witnesses him with a "hero's shield graven with animals" and a "five-pronged spear". (Kinsella 227) * Stokes: sciath-erglan? (=glan "clean, pure, bright, exact"). airglan(e) "clearness, brightness", airglan(ad) "act of clearing" (eDIL);
18.Chomla Chatha Cheltchair
( " )
Comla Chatha of Celtchar Celtcar's Comla Catha ['gate of Battle'] Celtchar's Comla Catha, the Door of Battle * Celtchair mac Uithechair. * In the Tain, Mac Roth witnesses him with a "curved, scallop-edged shield", "a great grey javelin .. with thirty rivets," and a sword tempered seven times (Kinsella, 231).
* In other narratives, Celtchair's spear is the Lúin, and Lady Gregory's version of the Cattle-Raid interpoloates this information.
* Stokes: doorvalve of battle,.. in Cath Catharda, Pompey's shield is so called. comla "Valve of door, window; lid; covering; a gate, portcullis, grate" (eDIL);

§ Battle of Rosnaree

In the "Battle of Rosnaree" (ed. Hogan*1) as the Ulstermen muster there horses, there is a description of the moaning of Conchobar's shield, responded to by the Three Waves of Erin.

35. Is and-sin ra-tuaried Innócháin scíth Conchobuir co ro gésestar. Co ro-gésetar trí tonna Herendond Rudraigi & T,i>ond tuage Inbir. Co ro-gésetar scéith Ulad uile in n-uair sin, cach óen ra-bói ar a ṅguallib díb & i n-a cairpdib. Hogan ed.,Cath Ruis na Ríg for Bóinn, p.42 [LL text] 35. It is then that Innócháin, Conchobar's shield, was battered and it moaned; so that the Three Waves of Eriu moaned, namely, the Wave of Clidna and the Wave of Rudraige and the Wave of Tuag Inbir; so that the shields of the Ulaid all moaned at that hour, every one of them that was on their shoulders and in their chariots.
—Hogan tr., Battle of Ross na Ríg p.43

Hogan footnotes that there is "a like description of this spear in LL. 267a".

*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

§ Oidhe Chloinne-Uisneach "Deirdri, or, the Lamentable Fate of the Sons of Usnach"

Oidhe Chloinne-Uisneach "Deirdri, or, the Lamentable Fate of the Sons of Usnach" § Combat of Fiachra son of Conchobar against Iollann the Fair, son of Fergus In the modern version of Deirdre, called the Oidhe[ad] Chloinne Uisneach, Conor(Conchobar) tricks the sons of Uisneach into returning to Ireland on false promise of inviolability. The king breaches promise, and manages to bribe one of the two sons of Fergus (who swore to protect the sons of Uisneach). But Fergus's other son will not be bought out, and ferociously slays many Ulstermen that Conor pitched at them. So the king arms his own son Fiachra with his named shield, two spears and his sword as follows:

As ann sin a dúḃairt Conċúḃar, cá
h-áit a ffil mo ṁac féin, Fiaċra finn?
ataím sunna, a árd fhlaiṫ, ar Fiaċra.
Dar mo briaṫar, ar sé, as an aen aiḋċi
rugaḋ tú féin acas Iollann, acas ós íd
airm aṫar a tá argesan, beirsi m'airmsi leat.
iḋon, an Acéin, acas an ċosgraċ, acas an
, acas colg glas, iḋon, mo sciaṫ acas
mo ḋú ṡleiġ, acas mo ċloiḋeṁ mór, acas ténaiḋ calmaċt acas cróḋaċt ṁór leo.
— O'Flanagan ed., Oidhe Chloinne-Uisneach,p.94
And then it was that Conor said, "where is
my own son Fiacara the fair ?." I am here,
my sovereign," says Fiacara. "By my troth,"
says he, "it was on the same night that thou thy-
self and Iollan the fair were born; and as they
are his father's arms he hath, take thou my arms
with you, namely, the Ocean, the Victorious, and
the Cast, and the Blue-green Blade; that is,
my shield and my two javelins, and my broad
sword and exert great resolution and valour
with them."
These are the significant names of Conor's arms: "The Blue-green Blade," Mr. M'Pherson retains. Its being an appropriately descriptive name of a sword was sufficient to attrct the notice of his taste; the other names, as he thought, would encoumber his diction. Ocean is a very appropriate name for a shield in the peculiar language in which alone the word OCEAN is deriveable.
— O'Flanagan tr., p.95

In the 15th cent. Glen Masan ms. (Adv. Lib. 53), Conchobar's loan consists of:
..an Orchain 1 agus an Cosgrach1 agus a Foga3 agus mo Co(lg), agus dena calma leo.
1 Orchain: W. S.[Whitley Stokes] translates Bright-rim and derives ór from Latin ora.
2 Cosgrach, 'victorious.'
3 Foga, 'gapped spear.' Fogha is in S.G. [Scot Gaelic] applied to an industrial implement not unlike a Lochaber axe with the pointed end removed. (rest omitted).
— Makinnon ed.,"Glenmasan Manuscript", p.128,130
.. the Orchain, and the Cosgrach, and the Foga, and my Sword; and fight bravely with them.'
— ib., tr., p.129,131

Whereas in Adv. Lib. 56 redacted at a much later date, Conchobor's loan consists of
Orchaoin, agus and Chorrthach, agus an bogha bearnach 10.
10 MS. "bearrnach".
— Cameron ed.,"The Tale of Deirdre", Reliquae Celticae, p.446
the Orchaen, and the Corrthach, and the Notched-bow.
— Cameron tr., p.447

In the fight, Fiachra (Fiacara) is overcome by Iollan (Illan) and is in mortal danger, so that the shield he bears, the Ocean, roared to alert its holder's danger. "And the three princpal waves of Eirin, namely, the wave of TOTH, the wave of CLIDNA, and the wave of RORY, roared responsive to it." (Tonn Tuaithé, Tonn Cliodhná, acas Tonn Rúdhraidhe).

Conall Cernach who heard the roar assumed his king was in mortal danger, so without even checking to see who was fighting, picked up the Blue-green came up behind Illan the fair, and thrust the the Blue-green Blade (an colg glas) (p.96/7).
Conall was dismayed to learn it was his cousin Naisi he had stabbed mortally, and Conor had violated the protection given to the sons of Usnach. In fury, he avenged himself by striking off the head of Fiachra with the sword (presumably the Blue-green Blade).

As aforestated, in the two Adv. Lib. mss. 53 and 56 Conall's loan does not inclued the weapon named Colg glas. In the Glan Masan MS (MS 53), the Culghlas with which Conall slays Illan the Fair is Conall's own spear.

Do bi Conall Cernach an Dun Sobairci an inbaid sin, agus do cuala torann tuinne Rugraide. 'Is fír sin,' ar Conall, 'ata Conchobar an eigin, agus ni cóir gan a innsaige.' Agus gabais ar na srainiud ar Fiacha mac Conchobair, agus in Orchain ac buiriud agus ac beic foraigh a cáiniud a tigerna; agus nir lamsat Ulaid a tesargon. Agus tanic Conall do leth a cuil co h-illann, agus saitis a sleg trit .i. an Culghlas Chonaill
— Mackinnon ed., "The Glenmasan Ms.", Celt. Rev. I, p.130
Conall Cernach was in Dunseverick at the time, and he heard the thunder of the wave of Rugraide. 'That is true,' said Conall, 'Conchobar is in dire distress, and it is wrong not to go to him.' And he took his arms, and proceeded to Emain. And he found Fiacha, son of Conchobar, overthrown in the combat, and the Orchain bellowing and roaring terribly (?), lamenting its lord; and the Ulstermen dared not rescue him. And Conall came to Illann from behind and thrust his spear through him, to wit, the Culghlas of Conall.
— Mackinnon tr., p.131
In Adv. Lib. MS. 56, where Conchobhar's sword is not even mentioned as being loaned to his son, Connal Cernach uses his own sword Culghlas to perform the deed. Only the last bit will be quoted:

Agus tainigh do leith achúil go Iollann Fionn, agus do sháithidh20 an chulghlas, 21 iodhon a chloidheamh22 tre na chroidhe.
20 MS. "do shaighidh. 21 O'Flanagan's version has "an colg glas" (the blue blade). 22 MS. "a chliodhamh".
— Cameron ed., loc. cit.
And he came to Illann the Fair from behind him, and thrust the Colg-glas,1 that is, his sword, through his heart.
1 i.e., the "green" or "blue blade".
— Cameron tr., loc. cit.

The text that Douglas Hyde only edited and translated in its prelude was later edited in full by O Buachalla.

Se sin tráth thánaic Conall Ceárnach fā lán buile ar fhaicsin gach ár ar feadh na faithche accos Fiachra mhac Conchubhair san ēigindāil sin gur ionsoidh lollann Fionn gan fuireach's gur shāith an cūl-g(h)las trē na chlēibh.
—Imthiacht Dheirdre la Naoise, ¶36, p.147
At that time Connall Cearnach came in full fury at the scene of each slaughter from the woods to the plain, and to Fiachra mac Conchubhair engaged in pitched combat[?], and [Connal] attacked Iollann Fionn uninterrupted in full fury with the Culghlas, namely his [sword].
—attempted translation mine
*1 O'Flanagan, Theophilus, ed., tr. "Deirdri, or, the Lamentable Fate of the Sons of Usnach,..", Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Dublin I, (Dublin 1808) [books.google] [* Includes a modern version and an ancient version. First there is an extract and translation (pp.2-13) from Geoffrey Keating's Hist. of Ireland to furnish some prefatory information, followed by a poem in three quatrains (pp.14-5) entitled Trí Truaġa na sgéluiġaċta "The Three Sorrows of Story-Telling". This is followed the modern version (pp.16-134) Oiḋe Chloinne-Uisneaċ "The Death of the Children of Usnach". The manuscripts used by him is presumed lost, and discussed by Hyde, below. The other ancient version included by O'Flanagan, Longes Mic n-Uisnigh (p.145-177) does not yield any item names.

*2 D. Hyde, "Déirdre" in ZCP 2, 138- [books.google]. According to Hyde, O'Curry thinks this modern version has its source in T.C.D. H.1.6 fol. 50b taken down by Hugh O'Daly in 1758 (entitled Oiḋe Ċloinne Uisniċ. See Catalogue, p.13), but Hyde states there are too many scribal discrepancies, unless O'Flanagan has taken numerous liberties.

§ P. W. Joyce tr.,"Fate of the Sons of the Usna" Old Celtic Romances (third ed. 1907).

P. W. Joyce added a translated version of the tale in the 3rd edition of his collection of tales, but absolutely nothing was added in the preface revealing which text he may have consulted for it (in contrast to the "Fate of the Sons of Tuireann", of which he delineates the manuscript sources quite fully). So for all I know, it may be just a touched up version of extant tranlations by O'Flanagan's or O'Duffy's. He also endows his own brand English names to the king's darts, calling them "Dart and Slaughter".

Then, while the fight was still raging, Concobar called to him his son Ficra, and said to him:— "Thou and Illan the Fair were born on the same night: and as he has his father's arms, so thou take mine, namely, my shield which is called the Ocean, and my two spears which are called Dart and Slaughter, and my great sword, the Blue-green blade. And bear thyself manfully against him, and vanquish him, else none of my troops will survive."
— P. W. Joyce, OCR 3rd ed., p.447

It is interesting to note that P. W. Joyce had a younger brother who emigrated to the U.S., and there published a poeticized version in the U.S., which as Hyde notes, enjoyed great success with 20,000 copies being printed.

And now to his young son the King [Connor] did say,
"O Fiachra, on the selfsame hour and morn
Illan and you in this my house were born.
See how his father's panoply doth shine
Upon his stalwart frame! Go, thake thou mine,
My two great spears, the Victor and the Cast,
Lightning, my sword, my shield, the Ocean vast,
That on its dazzling orb all work displays
Of the Gods' hands upon the watery ways,
And roars when danger's nigh, till from beyond
High Banba's cliffs her Three great Seas respond
With turmoil furious" ..
— Robert Dwyer Joyce, Deirdrè, p.234

Subsequently, "Conal Carna,.. strong Dunseverick's lord.. drave his brand / Through Illan's back", with no indication that Conal had picked up "Lightning" from ground to commit this deed.
*1 Joyce, P. W. (Patrick Weston), 1827-1914, "The Fate of the Sons of Usna" pp. 427-454, Old Celtic Romances (3rd ed., 1907) (reprint 1920) [IArchive]; "Deirdre; or, The Fate of the Sons of Usna" pp.55-87, A reading book in Irish history: for fourth standard (London, New York: Longmans, 1901) [books.google]

*2 Joyce, Robert Dwyer [M.D.], 1830-1883, Deirdrè (Boston: Roberts Bros. 1877. 262 pp.) [No Names Series] [books.google]

§ Colloquy between Fintan and the Hawk of Achill

A conversation takes place between Fintan, the lone survivor of the deluge, and the hawk of Achill who professes to be of equal antiquity. In fact, when Fintan (in the form of a salmon, presumably) was swimming in the waters, a hawk swooped down and clutched away an eye, which it ate. The hawk of Achill confesses it had done this deed.

There follows a recounting by Fintan of the travails he suffered. And the hawk then takes his turn repeating the scenes he had witnessed, mostly of gore, where he has partaken of the blood or body parts of the fallen dead. The hawk claims to have eaten an arm of Nuada of the Tuatha de Danann. Then he mentions the Ulster warriors.

[In t-én]
87 A n-aimsir Chonchobair chaÉim . fa mór m'allud ocus m'aÉib
ac sibul chnocc ocus glenn . fam rí ar énlaith Érenn
88 Ar tháibleóir Trágha Bale . tarrla m'úid ocus m'aire
fer cúarta gacha cúaine . Cúchulainn na Crábrúde
89 An úir do thuit 'sa mebail . Cúrúi rí clainne Deghuidh
do chithius mo ṡáith da ḟuil . arna thuitimm 'san imghuin
90 úair do thuit Garb mac Sdairn . leisin Choin do bíathad baidhb
dá ṡúil in Grégaig co ngnái . do chaithius a tús deghlái
91 Menicc fúarus feóil is faidhb . ó Náissi fa nimnech airmm
nír chaithius a ḟeóil ná a ḟuil . ar a ḟeabus a n-imghuin
92 Tarrla chucum-sa cenn Cet . tar éis a ghona 's a ghlecc
do bud grimm dásachtach dhamh . tarmmuirt a ṡúil mo thachtadh
93 Do chaithius fa hanba a mét . corpán Monodhair meic Cécht
fúrus mór corp druimm ar dhruimm . ó láim choscuraig Chonuill
94 Ó deabuigh nocha dechuith . in g[c]én ro búi 'na bethaíd
do bídh na haibni lán d'ḟuil . ón Chúlglaiss Chonaill Chernaig.
—Kuno Meyer ed., "Colloquy between Fintan and the Hawk of Achill"
[The Hawk]
87. In the time of fair Conchobar Great was my renown and beauty, Wandering over hills and glens; I was king over the bird flocks of Eire.
88. My watch and my attention chanced to fall On the 'Slinger' of Traigh Baile: The man who was searching all havens, Cuchulain, of the Red Branch.
89. At the time when, by his treachery, Curoi, king of Clann Degad fell, I ate my fill of blood of his blood After his fall in the encounter.
90. At the time that Garbh, son of Starn, fell By the 'Hound' who fed scald-crows; Two eyes of the handsome Greek I ate at the beginning of the good day.
91. Often I got flesh and spoils From Naisi who was venomous of weapon; I did not taste his flesh or blood Because of his excellence in fighting.
92. The head of Cet fell to me After his wounding and his struggle; It was for me a desperate mouthful, His eyes were like to choke me.
93. I ate, enormous was his size, The body of Monodhar mac Cecht; I found many bodies back to back, From the victorious hand of Conall.
94. From the strife he did not flinch So long as he was alive; The rivers used to run blood From the Culglas (spear) of Conall the Victorious.
—Eleanor Knott tr.

Subsequently the hawk says that when he tried to pluck and eat an eye from the Hound of Culin, who seemed to lie dead, the hero drove a shaft in the bird. There follows boasts about the various bird prey it killed, and a foreboding that its death is nigh. Fintan replies that he will join him in death on the same hour.
*1 Kuno Meyer, "The Colloquy between Fintan and the Hawk of Achill," Anecdota from Irish manuscripts Vol. I, pp.24-39 [From Egerton 1782 fo. 47a1-49b1, collated with Fermoy and 23.G.12.] [books.google] [IArchive]

*2 Eleanor Knott tr., The Hawk of Achill or the legend of the oldest animals," Folk-Lore 43:4 (1932)376-409. [JSTOR]



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