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[AU rig'it. ruMrvml ] 





ERINN . V . . . . . . 122 

(VII.) OF BUILDINGS, FURNITURE, ETC. (continued). Of the number 
and succession of the colonists of ancient Erinn. Tradition ascribes 
no buildings to Parthalon or his people ; their sepulchral mounds at 
Tallaght near Dublin. Definitions of the Rath, the Dun, the Li*, 
the Caiseal, and the Cathair; the latter two were of stone ; many 
modern townland- names derived from these terms ; remains of 
many of these structures still exist. Rath na Righ or " Bath of the 
Kings", at Tara ; the Teach Mdr Milibh Amus, or " Great House of 
the Thousands of Soldiers". Several houses were often included 
within the same Rath, Dun, Lis, or Caiseal. Extent of the demesne 
lands of Tara. The Rath or Cathair ofAileach ; account of its building ; 
the houses within the Rath as well as the latter were of stone ; why 
called Aileach Frigrind ? Aileach mentioned by Ptolemy. Account 
of the Rath of Cruachan in the Tain Bo Fraich. The " House of the 
Royal Branch". Description of a Dun in Fairy Land. The terms Rath, 
Dun, and Lis applied to the same kind of enclosure. The Foradh at 
Tara. Description of the house of Cred. Two classes of builders, 
the Rath-\mi\Aer, and the CatseaZ-builder ; list of the professors of 
both arts from the Book of Leinster. Dubhaltach Mac FirbissigKs 
copy of the same list (note) ; his observations in answer to those who 
deny the existence of stone-building in ancient Erinn. The story of 
Bricnu's Feast ; plan of his house ; his Grianan or " sun house" ; his 
invitation to Conchobar and the Ultonians ; he sows dissensions 
among the women ; the Briathar Ban Uladh ; his house was 
made of wicker-work. 


ERINN . . . . . . . 2338 

(VII.) BUILDINGS, FURNITURE, ETC. ; (continued). The description 
of buildings in our ancient MSS., even when poetical in form, and 
not strictly accurate as to date, are still valuable for the object of 
these lectures. Veracity of the evidence respecting the " Great 


Banqueting Hall" of Tara in the time of Cormac Mac Airt, as given 
by Dr. Petrie ; no record of the changes which took place at Tara 
subsequent to that time. Residences of the monarchs of Erinn after 
the desertion of Tara. Desertion of other celebrated royal residences : 
fimania, CruacJtan, etc. Division of the people into classes ; this 
division did not impose perpetuity of caste; increase of wealth 
enabled a man to pass from one rank to another ; crime alone barred 
this advancement; the qualifications as to furniture and houses of 
the several classes of Aires or landholders ; fines for injury to the 
house of the Aire Reire~ Breithe"; of the Aire Desa ; of the Aire-Ard; 
of the Aire Forgaill; of the king of a territory. Law against damage 
or disfigurement of buildings and furniture ; of the house of a B6- 
Aire; of the house of an Aire-Desa; of the house of an Aire-Tuise; 
of the house of an Aire-Ard. Law directing the provision to be 
made for aged men. Shape of houses in ancient Erinn ; construction 
of the round house ; reference to the building of such a house in an 
Irish life of St. Colman Ela ; a similar story told of St. Cumin Fada. 
No instance recorded of an ecclesiastical edifice built of wicker work ; 
two instances of the building of oratories of wood ; story of the 
oratory of St. Moling; quatrain of Rumand Mac Colmain on the 
oratory of Rathan Ua Suanaigh ; account of Rumand writing a poem 
for the Galls of Dublin ; he carries his wealth to Cill Belaigh ; state- 
ment of seven streets of Galls or foreigners at that place; import- 
ance of the account of Rumand. 

ERINN . .... 3963 

(VII.) OF BUILDINGS, FURNITURE ; (continued). Of the Gobban 
Saer ; mistakes concerning him ; explanation of his name ; he was 
a real personage. Old Irish writers fond of assigning a mythological 
origin to men of great skill or learning. The legend of Tuirbhi, the 
father of Gobban Saer ; observations of Dr. Petrie on this legend ; 
error of Dr. Petrie. Story of Lug Mac Eithlenn, the Sabh Ildenach 
or " trunk of all arts". TuirbJii a descendant of Oilioll Oluim. Re- 
ferences to Gobban Saer in ancient Gaedhelic MSS. ; one in the 
Irish life of St. Abban ; the name of the place where Gobban built 
the church for St. Abban not mentioned ; another in the life of St. 
Molina. The name of Gobban mentioned in a poem in an ancient 
Gaedhelic MSS. of the eighth century ; original and translation of 
this poem (note) ; original and translation of a poem of St. Moling 
from the same MS. which is also found in a MS. in Ireland great 
importance of this poem (note). Oratories generally built of wood, 
but sometimes of stone. Ancient law regulating the price to be paid 
for ecclesiastical buildings ; as to the oratory ; as to the Damh-liag 
or stone church ; explanation of the rule as to the latter (note) ; as 
to the Cloicteach or belfry. Explanation of the preceding rule quoted 
from Dr. Petrie ; reasons for reexamining these rules. Dr. Petrie's 
opicion about the Round Towers unassailable. Law regulating the 
proportionate stipends of Ollamhs ; stipends of the CWawzA-builder ; 


Dr. Petrie's observation on the passage regarding the stipend of the 
Ollamh-builder ; dwelling houses omitted from the list of buildings ; 
mistake made by Dr. Petrie about the passage concerning the Ollamh- 
builder ; author's correction of this mistake : meaning of the word 
Coictighis, new interpretation by the author. Artistic works of 
the 0/7awA-builder ; the lubroracht or working in yew-wood ; carv- 
ing in yew-wood at Emania arid Cruachan, and in Armagh cathe- 
dral. Romantic origin of work in yew-wood legend of Fintann, 
son of Bochra ; no trace of the doctrine of metempsychosis among 
the Gaedhil; legend of Fintann, continued. List of articles of house- 
hold furniture mentioned in the laws regarding lending or pledging. 
Law regarding the house of a doctor. 

ERINN ....... 64 8G 

(VII.) OF BUILDINGS, FURNITURE, ETC. ; (continued). Stone 
buildings; Cathairs and Clochans; O'Flaherty's notice of the Clo- 
cfians of the Arann Islands ; Clochans still existing in those islands ; 
Clochans on other islands of the western coast. Mr. Du Noyer's 
account of ancient stone buildings in Kerry ; his ethnological com- 
parisons ; summary of his views ; apart his speculations, his paper 
is important. Different members of the same family had distinct 
houses in ancient Erinn. Mr. Du Noyer's claim to priority in 
the discovery of the stone buildings of Kerry inadmissible ; Mr. R. 
Hitchcock had already noticed them ; ancient burial grounds also 
noticed by the latter in the same district. The two names of 
" Cahers " given by Mr. Dn Noyer, not ancient ; his opinion of the 
use of Dunbeg fort not correct ; this and the other forts did not 
form a line of fortifications. Instance of a bee-hive house or Clochan 
having been built within the Rath of Aileach. Limited use of the 
term Cathair; the same term not always applied to the same kind of 
building. Tale of the dispute about the " champion's share"; Smith's 
notice of Sliabh Mis and Cathair Conroi ; story of the dispute about 
the " champion's share" (continued). The " guard room" or " watch- 
ing seat". The position of Cathair Conroi not exactly ascertained. 
Story of " the slaughter of Cathair Conro?', Reference to Cathair 
Conroi in the tale of "the Battle of Ventry Harbour". Modern 
hypothesis of the inferiority of the Milesians. Stone-building in 
ancient Erinn not exclusively pre-Milesian. The Aitheach Tuatha or 
Atticotli. The Firbolgs still powerful in the sixth century. Town- 
land names derived from Cathairs. No evidence that the Milesians 
were a ruder race than their predecessors in Erinn. 


(VIII.) Early sumptuary law regulating the colours of dress, at- 
tributed to the monarchs Tighernmas and Eochaidh and Edgudach. 
Native gold first smelted by luchadan, and golden ornaments made 
in Ireland in the reign of Tighernmas. The uses of colours to distin- 
guish the several classes of society, also attributed to the same 
Eochaidh; the nature of those colours not specified. Household 


utensils, ornaments, and variously coloured dresses of Ailill and 
Medhbh mentioned in the tale of the Tain Bo Chuailgne ; the mate- 
rial or fashion of the dress not specified. Medhbh' 's preparation for 
the war of the first Tain ; description of the parties summoned. De- 
scription of the Ultonian clanns at the hill of Slemain, forming the 
army in pursuit of Ailill and Medhbh, by the herald of the latter, 
Mac Roth, from the tale of the Tain Bo Chuailgne; his description 
of Conchobar Mac Nessa ; of Causcraid Mend ; of Sencha ; of Eogan 
Mac Durthachla ; of Laegaire Buadach ; of Munremur ; of Connud ; 
of Reochaid; of A margin ; of Feradach Find Fechlnach ; of Fiachaig 
and Fiachna ; of Cehchair Mac Uthair and his clann ; of Eirrge 
Echbel ; of Mend, son of Salcholgan ; of Fergna ; of Ercc, son of Car- 
pri Nia Fer and his clann; of Cuchulaind's clana. Note: Cuchu- 
laind is removed to Muirlheimne after his fight with Ferdiadh, to get 
the benefit of the healing properties of its stream or river ; enumera- 
tion of them ; while there, Cethern, who had gone to his assistance, 
arrives covered with wounds, and is visited by physicians from the 
enemy's camp, whom he drives away ; Cuchulaind then sends for Fin- 
gin Fathliagh, who examines each of his wounds, and Cethern de- 
scribes the persons who gave them his description of Illand, son of 
Fergus; of queen Medhbh; of Oil and thine; of Bun and Mecconn; 
of Broen and Bnidni, sons of Teora Soillsi, king of Caille ; of Cormae 
\Mac\ Colomarig and Cormae the son of Matlefoga ; of Mane Math- 
remail and Mane Alhremail, sons of Ailill and Medhbh ; of the 
champions from Iruade [Norway]; of Ailill and his son Mane; of 
the marrow bath by which Cethern was healed, whence the name of 
Smirammair, now Smarmore, in the county Louth. Medhbh enume- 
rates her dowry to Ailill ; gifts promised by her to Long Mac Emonis ; 
gifts promised by her to Ferdiadh ; one of those gift?, her celebrated 
brooch, weighed more than four pounds. Story of Mac CongKnde ; 
his extravagant dream ; his description of a curious dress of a door- 
keeper; analysis of the dress the Cochall, the lonar, the Och- 
rath ; analysis of Mac Conglinde's own dress ; his Leinidh. Distinc- 
tion between the Le~ine and the Leinidh the latter was a kilt. De- 
scription of the dress of the champion Edchu Rond in the tale of the 
Exile of the Sons of Duildermait ; he wore a kilt. Ancient law regu- 
lating the wearing of the Leinidh or kilt, and the Ochrath or panta- 

ERINN ...... . 108134 

(VIII.) DRESS AMD ORNAMENTS (continued). Constant references 
to fringes of gold thread ; mention of this ornament in the account 
of Medbh's visit to her chief Druid in the commencement of the Tain 
Bd Chuailgne, description of Fedelm the prophetess weaving a 
fringe; the fringe sword or lath mentioned in a poem of Dalian For- 
gaill (circa A.D. 560). Ancient laws relating to the pledging of orna- 
ments, etc. ; law relating to the pledging of a needle ; the pledging 
of a queen's work bag ; the work bag of an Airech Fcibhe. The legal 


contents of a workbag formed only a small part of a lady's personal 
ornaments. Eeferences to dyeing, weaving, embroidering, etc., in 
the ancient laws regulating Distress ; objects connected with those 
arts for the recovery of which proceedings might have been taken 
under those laws. Coloured thread and wool paid as rent or tribute, 
The dye-stuffs used were of home growth. Legend of St. Ciaran 
and the blue dye stuff called GJaisin. Summary of the processes in 
the textile arts mentioned in the extracts quoted in the lecture. 
Reference to embroidery in the tale of the Tochmarc nEimire, and 
in the Dinnseanchas. Coca the embroideress of St. Columcille. The 
knowledge of the Gaedhils about colours shown by the illuminations 
to the Book of Kells. Reference in the Book of Ballymote to the 
colours worn by different classes. Cloth of various colours formed 
part of the tributes or taxes paid as late as the ninth and tenth cen- 
turies. Tributes to the king of Caiseal according to the Book of 
Rights from: Ara ; Boirinn; Leinster ; Uaithne; Duibhneach and 
Drung ; Corcumruadh ; the Deise ; Orbraidhe. Stipends paid by the 
king of Caiseal to the kings of Kerry ; Raithlenn; Ara. Tributes to 
the king of Connacht from Umhall ; the Greagraidhe ; the Conmaicne; 
the Ciarraidhe ; the Luighne ; the Dealbhna ; Ui Maine. Stipends 
paid by the king of Connaeht to the kings of : Dealbhna ; Ui Maine. 
Tributes to the king of Aileach from : the Cuileantraidhe ; the Ui 
Mic Caerthainn ; Ui Tuirlre. Stipends paid by the king of Aileach 
to the kings of : Cinel Boghaine; CinelEnanna; Craebh; Ui Mic 
Caerthainn ; Tulach Off. Stipends paid by the king of Oriel to the 
kings of: Ui Breasail; Ui Eachach; Ui Meith ; UiDortain; Ui 
Briuin Archoill; Ui Tuirtre; Fear a Manach; Mughdhorn and Ros. 
Stipends paid by the king of Uladh to the kings, of: Cuailgne; 
Araidhe; Cobhais ; Muirtheimne. Tributes to the king of Uladh trow. 
Semhne ; Crothraidhe ; Cathal. Gifts to the king of Tara. Stipends 
paid by the king of Tara to the kings of : Magh Lacha ; Cuircne ; Ui 
Beccon. Tributes to the king of Tara from : the Luighne ; the Feara 
Arda; the Sailhne; Gailenga ; the Ui Beccon. Stipends paid by the 
king of Leinster to the: Ui Fealain; the chief of Cualann; Ui 
Feilmeadha ; king of Raeilinn; Ui Criomhthannan. Tributes to the 
king of Leinster from the : Galls ; Forthuatha ; Fotharta ; men of 
South Leiuster. Gifts from the monarch of Erinn to the king of 
Emain Macha. Stipends of the king of Emain Macha to the kings 
of : Rathmor ; Ui Briuin ; Conmaicne. Gifts bestowed on the king of 
Leinster by the monarch of Erinn whenever he visited Tara. Gift 
of the king of Leinster on his return from Tara to the king of 
Ui Fealain. Gifts of the monarch of Erinn to the king of Caiseal 
when at Teamhair Luachra. Stipends given by the king of Caiseal 
at the visitation of the monarch of Erinn to the : Deise ; Ui Chonaill. 
Stipends paid by the king of Connacht to the kings of: Ui Maine; 
Luighne. Colours of winds, according to the preface to the Seanchas 




(VIII.) DRESS AND ORNAMENTS (continued). Of Conaire Mor, 
monarch of Erinn (circa B.C. 100 to B.C. 50) and the outlawed sons 
of Dond Dess, according to the ancient tale of the Bruighean Da- 
derga ; the sons of Dond Dess associate with the British outlaw Ing- 
eel to plunder the coasts of Britain and Erinn ; the monarch, in re- 
turning from Corca Bhaiscinn in the Co. Clare, being unable to reach 
Tara, goes to the court of Daderg ; Ingcel visits the court to ascer- 
tain the feasibility of plundering it ; he gives descriptions on his re- 
turn to his companions of those he saw there, and Ferrogain iden- 
tifies them ; IngceVs description of the Ultonian warrior Comae 
Conloinges and his companions ; of the Cruithentuath or Picts ; of 
the nine pipe players ; of Tuidle the house steward ; of Oball, Oblini, 
and Coirpre Findmor, sons of Conaire Mor ; of the champions Mai 
Mac Telbaind, Muinremor,a.n(iBirderg ; of the great Ultouian cham- 
pion Conall Cearnach ; of the monarch himself, Conaire Mor ; of the 
six cup bearers ; of Tulchinne, the royal Druid and j uggler ; of the 
three swine-herds ; of Causcrach Mend ; of the Saxon princes and 
their companions ; of the king's outriders : of the king's three 
judges ; of the king's nine harpers ; of the king's three jugglers; of 
the three chief cooks ; of the king's three poets ; of the king's two 
warders ; of the king's nine guardsmen ; of the king's two table 
attendants ; of the champions Sencha, Dubthach Dael Uladh, and 
Goibniu; of Daderg himself ; of the king's tliree door keepers; of 
the British exiles at the court of the monarch; of the three jesters 
or clowns ; of the three drink bearers. Summary of the classes of 
persons described. The exaggerations of such descriptions scarcely 
affect their value for the present purpose ; very little exaggeration on 
the whole in the tales of the Bruighean Daderga and Tain Bo 
Chuailgne. Antiquity and long continued use of the colour of cer- 
tain garments shown by the tale of the Amhra Chonrai, by Mac 
Liag's elegy on Tadgh O'Kelly, and also by a poem of Gillabrighde 
Mac Conmidhe. 



(VIII.) DRESS AND ORNAMENTS (continued). Very early mpntion 
of ornaments of gold, etc., e. g. in the description of Eladha the 
Fomorian king, in the second battle of Magh Tuireadh. Champions 
sometimes wore a finger ring for each king killed. Allusion to 
bracelets in an ancient poetical name of the river Boyne. Ornaments 
mentioned in a description of a cavalcade given in an ancient preface 
to the Tain Bo Chuailgne, and in the description of another caval- 
cade in the same tract. Some of the richest descriptions of gold and 
silver ornaments are to be found in the romantic tale of the " Wan- 
derings of Maelduirfs Canoe" (circa A.D. 700). Bronze Buidne for 
the hair in Dr. Petrie's collection. Ornaments described in the tale 
of the Tochmarc Bee Fola. Story of Aithirne Ailgisach, king Fergus 


Fairge, and the gold brooch found at Ard Brestine ; the finding of 
ornaments unconnected with human remains explained by this tale. 
Mention of a large sized brooch in the legendary history of Queen 
Edam. Ancient law respecting the mode of wearing large brooches. 
Large brooches mentioned in the tale of the " Wanderings of 
Maelduin's Canoe". Thistle headed or Scottish brooches ; reference 
to Scottish brooches in the story of Cano son of Gartnan. Carved 
brooches mentioned in the tale of the Bruighean Daderga. Refer- 
ence to a carved brooch in the Book of Munster. Another reference 
to a carved brooch in a poem ascribed to Oisin. Brooches of bronze 
and Findruine. Chased gold pins used down to the beginning of the 
thirteenth century. Of the different kinds of rings. The Fainne 
used to confine the hair. Hair rings used in the seventeenth cen- 
tury. Fails were worn up the whole arm for the purpose of bestowing 
them upon poets, etc. ; example of this from the Book of Lismore. 
Of the bracelet called a Budne r Buidne, or Buinne. 


(VIII.) DRESS AND ORNAMENTS (continued). Anonymous notice 
of Irish Torques ; description of two found at Tara ; accounts of 
Torques found in England ; no account of Torques in the works of 
older Irish antiquaries ; those found at Tara bought in 1813 by Alder- 
man West of Dublin ; the author does not agree with the anony- 
mous as to the mode of production of the Tara Torques. Uses of the 
Tara Torques ; reference to such a ring of gold for the waist in an 
ancient preface to the Tain Bo Chuailgne; another reference to such 
a ring in an account of a dispute about the manner of death of 
Fothadh Airgteach between king Mongan and the poet Dalian For- 
gaill from the Leabhar na k- Uidhre ; Caihe's account of his mode of 
burial ; a hoop or waist-torque among the ornaments placed on 
Fothadh's stone coffin. Story of Cormac Mac Airt and Lugaidh 
Laaa, showing one of the uses of rings worn on the hands. Orna- 
ments for the neck ; the Muinche ; first used in the time of Muine 
amhon (circa B.C. 1300) ; mentioned in a poem of Ferceirtne on Curoi 
Mac Daire ; also in account of the Battle of Magh Leana. The 
Niamh Land or flat crescent of gold worn on the head, as well as 
on the neck. The Neck-Torque of Cormac Mac Airt. Descriptions 
of the dress and ornaments of Bee Fola. The Muinche mentioned 
in the tale of the " Wanderings of Maelduin's Canoe", and in the 
story of Cano. Muinche and Land used also for the neck ornaments 
of animals and spears. Use of the term Muintorcs. Of the Mad- 
Land mentioned in the Tain Bo Fraich. The ferrule of a spear 
called a Muinche in the account of the Battle of Magh Leana ; dis- 
covery of such a ring in Kerry ; the term also used for the collars 
of gray hounds, chiefly in Fenian tales. Mention of the Tore in its 
simple form in the Book of Leinster. Of the Land or lunette; it 
formed part of the legal contents of a lady's workbag, and of the 
inheritance of daughters. The Land was worn on the head as well 


as on the neck, as shown by the descriptions of Conaire Mar's head 
charioteer and apprentice charioteers ; and also of his poets. 


(VIII.) DRESS AND ORNAMENTS (continued). Of Ear-rings: the 
Au-Nasc mentioned in Comae's Glossary, and in the accounts of 
Tulchinne the druid and juggler, and the harpers in the tale of the 
Bruighean Daderga. Of the Gibne : it was a hadge of office, especially 
of charioteers ; it is mentioned in the description of Rian Gabkra, 
Cuchulaind's charioteer ; and also in a legend about him in Leabhar 
na h- Uidhre ; the word Gibne is explained in an ancient glossary in 
a vellum MS. ; the story of Edain and Midir shows that the Gibne 
was not worn exclusively by charioteers. The spiral ring for the hair 
mentioned in the " Wanderings of Maelduin's Canoe". Men as well 
as women divided the hair. Hollow golden balls fastened to the 
tresses of the hair ; mention of such ornaments in the tale of the 
Bruighean Daderga ; curious poem from the tale of Eochaidh 
Fedhleach and Edain (foot note); golden balls for the hair also men- 
tioned in the " Sick Bed of Cuchulaind"; two such balls mentioned 
in the tales of Bee Fola and Bruighean Daderga, and only one in that 
of the " Sick Bed". The Mind oir or crown not a Land or crescent ; 
it is mentioned in the Brehon Laws, and in a tale in the Leabhar na 
h- Uidhre ; the second name used in the tale in question proves that 
the Mind covered the head. The Mind of Medb at the Tain Bo 
Chuailgne. The Mind was also worn in Scotland, as is shown by the 
story of prince Cano. Men also wore a golden Mind, as appears 
from the Tain Bo Chuailgne ; this ornament called in other parts of 
the tale an Imscind. The curious Mind worn by Cormac Mac Airt 
at the meeting of the States at Uisnech. 


(VIII.) DRESS AND ORNAMENTS (continued). Story of a Mind 
called the Barr Bruinn in the tale of the Tain Bo Aingen. Another 
legend about the same Mind from the Book of Lismore ; another 
celebrated Mind mentioned in the latter legend ; origin of the ancient 
name of the Lakes of Killarney from that of Le'n Linfhiaclach, the 
maker of this second Mind. The ancient goldsmiths appear to have 
worked at or near a gold mine. Le'n the goldsmith appears to have 
flourished circa B.C. 300. The names of ancient artists are generally 
derived from those of their arts, but that of Len is derived from a 
peculiarity of his teeth ; this circumstance shows that he was not the 
legendary representative of his art, but a real artist. Gold orna- 
ments found in a bog near Cullen in the county of Tipperary ; cir- 
cumstances under which they "were found, and enumeration of the 
articles found note. Cerdraighe or ancient territory of the gold- 
smiths near the present Cullen. Pedigree of the Cerdraighe of Tu- 
lach Gossa ; this family of goldsmiths are brought down by this pedi- 
gree to circa A.D. 500; the eldest branch became extinct in St. Mo- 


themnioc, circa A.D. 550 ; but other branches existed at a much later 
period. The mineral districts of Silvermines and Meanus are not far 
from Cullen. The At and the Cleitme. The Barr, Cennbarr, 
Eobarr, and Righbarr. The goldsmith in ancient times was only an 
artizan ; other artizans of the same class. Creidne the first Cerd or 
goldsmith ; his death mentioned in a poem of Flann of Monaster- 
boice ; this poem shows that foreign gold was at one time imported 
into Ireland. The first recorded smelter of gold in Ireland was a 
native of Wicklow. References to the making of specific articles not 
likely to be found in our chronicles ; there is, however, abundant evi- 
dence of a belief that the metallic ornaments used in Ireland were of 
native manufacture. 

ERINN \ :'' . .. . . ''.' ' ' ; . 212233 

(IX.) Or Music AND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS. Antiquity of the 
harp in Erinn. The first musical instrument mentioned in Gaedhelic 
writings is the Cruit, or harp, of the Daghda, a chief and druid of 
the Tuatha D Danann ; his curious invocation to his harp ; the three 
musical feats played upon it ; examination of the names of this harp ; 
the word Coir, forming part of the name of the Daghda's harp, came 
down to modern times, as is shown by a poem of Keating on Tadgh 
O'Coffey, his harper. The Daghda' 's invocation to his harp further 
examined ; the three musical modes compared to the three seasons 
of the year in ancient Egypt ; myth of the discovery of the lyre ; Dr. 
Burney on the three musical modes of the Greeks ; the three Greek 
modes represented by the Irish three feats ; conjectural completion 
of the text of the Daghda's invocation ; what were the bellies and 
pipes of the Daghda's harp ; ancient painting of a lyre at Portici, 
with a pipe or flute for cross-bar, mentioned by Dr. Burney. Legend 
of the origin of the three feats, or modes of harp playing, from the 
Tain Bo Fraich ; meaning of the name Uaithne in this legend. No 
mention of strings in the account of the Daghda's harp, but they are 
mentioned in the tale of the Tain Bo Fraich. Legend of Find Mac 
Cumhaill; Scathach and her magical harp; Scathach' s harp had 
three strings ; no mention of music having been played at either of 
the battles of the northern or southern Magh Tuireadh ; this proves 
the antiquity of those accounts. The Daghda's harp was quadran- 
gular; a Greek harp of the same form represented in the hand of a Gre- 
cian Apollo at Rome ; example of an Irish quadrangular harp on the 
Theca of an ancient missal. Dr. Ferguson on the antiquity and origin 
of music in Erinn ; musical canon of the Welsh regulated by Irish 
harpers about A.D. 1100 ; his account of the Theca above mentioned, 
and of figures of the harp from ancient Irish monumental crosses 
which resembled the old Egyptian one ; he thinks this resemblance 
supports the Irish traditions; Irish MSS. little studied twenty years 
ago, but since they have been ; from this examination the author 
thinks the Firbolgs and Tuatha De" Danann had nothing to do with 
Egypt, but that the Milesians had. Migration of the Tuatha D 


Danann from Greece; the author does not believe they went into 
Scandinavia ; he believes their cities of Falias, Gorias, etc., were in 
Germany ; they spoke German, according to the Book of Lecan. 
The similarity of the harps on the monument of Orpheus at Petau in 
Styria and on the Theca of the Stowe MS. may point to Murrhart as 
the Murias of the Tuatha De~ Danann. 

EBINN ....... 234256 

(IX.) OF Music AND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS (continued). Le- 
gendary origin of the Harp according to the tale of Imtheacht na 
Trcm Dhaimhe, or the " Adventures of the Great Bardic Company" ; 
Seanchan's visit to Guaire ; interview of Marbhan, Guaire's brother, 
with Seanchan ; Marbhan's legend of Cuil and Canodach Mhor and 
the invention of the Harp ; his legend of the invention of verse ; 
his legend concerning the Timpan ; the strand of Camas not identi- 
fied. Signification of the word Cruit. The Irish Timpan was a 
stringed instrument. Another etymology for Cruit ; Isidore not the 
authority for this explanation. Reference to the Cruit in the early 
history of the Milesians. Eimher and Ereamhon cast lots for a poet 
and harper. Skill in music one of the gifts of the Eberian or 
southern race of Erinn. Mention of the Cruit in the historical tale 
of Orgain Dindrighe or the " destruction of Dindrigh". First oc- 
currence of the word Ceis in this tale; it occurs again in connection 
with the assembly of Drom Ceat, A.D. 573 ; Aidbsi or Corns Crondin 
mentioned in connection with poems in praise of St. Colum Cille, 
sung at this assembly ; meaning of the word Aidbsi ; the author 
heard the Crondn or throat accompaniment to dirges ; origin of the 
word "crone"; the Irish Aidbsi known in Scotland as Cepog ; the 
word Cepog known in Ireland also, as shown by a poem on the 
death of Athairne. The assembly of Drom Ceat continued ; Dalian 
Forgailfs elegy on St. Colum Cille ; the word Ceis occurs in this 
poem also ; Ceis here represents a part of the harp, as shown by a 
scholium in Leabhar na h-Uidfire ; antiquity of the tale of the " De- 
struction of Dindrigh" proved by this scholium ; the word Ceis 
glossed in all ancient copies of the elegy on St. Colum Cille ; scho- 
lium on the same poem in the MS. II. 2. 16. T.C.D.; gloss on the 
poem in Liber Hymnorum ; parts of the harp surmised to have been 
the Ceis, the Cobluighe or "sisters", and the Leithrind ; Leithrind 
or half harmony, and Rind or full harmony; difficulty of determining 
what Ceis was ; it was not a part of the harp ; summary of the 
views of the commentators as" to the meaning of Ceis. Fourth re- 
ference to the word Ceis in an ancient tale in Leabhar na h- Uidhre. 
Fifth reference to Ceis in another ancient poem. Coir, another term 
for harmony, synonymous with Ceis ; the author concludes that Ceis 
meant either harmony, or the mode of playing with a bass. The 
word Gles mentioned in the scholium in H. 2. 16. is still a living 
word ; the Crann Gleasta mentioned in a poem of the eighteenth 
century; this poem contains the names of the principal parts of the 


harp; the names of the different classes of strings are only to be 
found in the scholium in the Leabhar na h-Uidhre to the ', elegy on 
St. Colum Cille. 

ERINN . . * .... 258278 

(IX.) Music AND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS (continued). Reference to 
the different parts of a harp in a poem of the seventeenth century. 
The number of strings not mentioned in references to harps, except 
in two instances ; the first is in the tale of the lubar Mic Aingis or 
the " Yew Tree of Mac Aingis"; the instrument mentioned in this 
tale was not a Cruit, but a three stringed Timpan ; the second refer- 
ence is to be found in the Book of Lecan; and the instrument is eight 
stringed. The instrument called " Brian Boru's Harp" has thirty 
strings. Reference to a many stringed harp in the seventeenth cen- 
tury. Attention paid to the harp in the twelfth and thirteenth cen- 
turies. Reference to the Timpan as late as the seventeenth century, 
proving it to have been a stringed instrument. The Timpan was 
distinguished from the Cruit or full harp. No very ancient harp 
preserved. The harp in Trinity College, Dublin ; Dr. Petrie's account 
of it ; summary of Dr. Petrie's conclusions. Dr. Petrie's serious 
charge against the Chevalier O'Gorman. Some curious references 
to harps belonging to O'Briens which the author has met with: 
Mac Conmidhe's poem on Donnchadh Cairbreach O'Brien ; Mac Con- 
midhe's poem on the harp of the same O'Brien ; the poem does not 
explain how the harp went to Scotland. What became of this harp ? 
Was it the harp presented by Henry the Eighth to the Earl of 
Clanrickard ? Perhaps it suggested the harp-coinage, which was in 
circulation in Henry the Eighth's time. The Chevalier O'Gorman 
only mistook one Donogh O'Brien for another. There can be no 
doubt that this harp did once belong to the Earl of Clanrickard. If 
the harp was an O'Neill harp, how could its story have been invented 
and published in the lifetime of those concerned ? Arthur O'Neill 
may have played upon the harp. But it could not have been his ; 
this harp is not an O'Neill, but an O'Brien one ; Dr. Petrie's antiqua- 
rian difficulties : author's answer ; as to the monogram I. H. S. ; as 
to the arms on the escutcheon. The assertion of Dr. Petrie, that the 
sept of O'Neill is more illustrious than that of O'Brien, is incorrect. 

ANCIENT EHINN ...... 279 303 

(IX.) Music AND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS (continued). Donnchadh 
Cairbreach O'Brien sent some prized jewel to Scotland some time be- 
fore Mac Conmidhe's mission for DonnchadKs harp. The Four 
Masters' account of the pursuit of Muireadhach O'Daly by O'Don- 
nell ; O'Daly sues for peace in three poems, and is forgiven ; no copies 
of these poems existing in Ireland ; two of them are at Oxford. The 
Four Masters' account of O'Daly's banishment not accurate ; his 
poems to Clanrickard and O'Brien give some particulars of his 
flight. Poem of O'Daly to Morogh O'Brien, giving some account of 


the poet after his flight to Scotland. The poet Brian O'Higgins and 
David Roche of Fermoy. O'Higgins writes a poem to him which is 
in the Book of Fermoy ; this poem gives a somewhat different ac- 
count of O'Daly's return from that of the Four Masters. O'Daly 
was perhaps not allowed to leave Scotland without ransom ; what 
was the jewel paid as this ransom ? The author believes that it was 
the harp of O'Brien. This harp did not come back to Ireland 
directly, and may have passed into the hands of Edward the First, 
and have been given by Henry the Eighth to Clanrickard. The ar- 
morial bearings and monogram not of the same age as the harp. 
Objects of the author in the previous discussion. Poem on another 
straying harp of an O'Brien, written in 1570 ; the O'Brien was Conor 
Earl of Thomond ; the Four Masters' account of his submission to 
Queen Elizabeth ; it was during his short absence that his harp 
passed into strange hands; the harp in T.C.D. not this harp. Mr. 
Latngan's harp. Owners of rare antiquities should place them for a 
time in the museum of the R.I.A. Some notes on Irish harps by Dr. 
Petrie. " He regrets the absence of any ancient harp"; " present in- 
difference to Irish harps and music" ; " some ecclesiastical relics pre- 
served" ; Dr. Petrie would have preferred the harp of St. Patrick or 
St. Kevin ; " our bogs may yet give us an ancient harp"; Mr. Joy's ac- 
count of such a harp found in the county Limerick ; according to 
Dr. Petrie, this harp was at least 1,000 years old. What has be- 
come of the harps of 1782 and 1792? A harp of 1509. "Brian 
Bora's" harp is the oldest of those known ; the Dalway harp is next 
in age ; the inscriptions on this harp imperfectly translated in Mr. 
Joy's essay. Professor O'Curry's translation of them ; Mr. Joy's de- 
scription of this harp. The harp of the Marquis of Kildare. Harps 
of the eighteenth century: the one in the possession of Sir Hervey 
Bruce ; the Castle Otway harp ; a harp formerly belonging to Mr. 
Hehir of Limerick ; a Magennis harp seen by Dr. Petrie in 1832; the 
harp in the possession of Sir G. Hodson ; the harp in the museum of 
the R.I.A. purchased from Major Sirr ; the so-called harp of Carolan 
in the museum of the R.I. A. The harps of the present century all 
made by Egan ; one of them in Dr. Petrie's possession. Dr. Petrie's 
opinion of the exertions of the Harp Society of Belfast. " The Irish 
harp is dead for ever, but the music won't die". The harp in Scot- 
land known as that of Mary Queen of Scots. Rev. Mr. Mac Lauch- 
lan's " Book of the Dean of Lismore"; it contains three poems 
ascribed to O'Daly or Muireadhach Albanach ; Mr. Mac Lauchlan's 
note on this poet ; his description of one of the poems incorrect as re- 
gards O'Daly ; Mr. Mac Lauchlan not aware that Muireadhach Alba- 
nach was an Irishman. The author has collected all that he believes 
authentic on the Cruit. The statements about ancient Irish music 
and musical instruments of Walker and Bunting of no value ; these 
writers did not know the Irish language ; the author regrets to have 
to speak thus of the work of one who has rescued so much of our 


(IX.) OK Music AND MDSICAL INSTRUMENTS (continued). Names 
of musical instruments found in our MSS. The Benn-Buabhaill; 
the Corn-Buabhaill a drinking horn The Benn- Chroit. The Buinne. 
The Cuir-Ceathairchuir. The Corn; the Cornaire or horn-player 
mentioned in the Tain Bo Fraich, in the " Courtship of l< J erb", and 
in a legendary version of the Book of Genesis ; no reference to 
trumpets in the Tain Bo Chuailgne, but the playing of harps in the 
encampments is mentioned ; instance of musicians in the trains of 
kings and chiefs on military expeditions : the Battle of A Imhain 
and the legend of Dondbo. Musical instruments mentioned in the 
Tale of the Battle of Almhain, and in the poem on the Fair of Car- 
man. The Cornaire, or horn-blower, also mentioned in the poem on 
the Banqueting- House of Tara. The Craebh-Ciuit, or Musical 
Branch, mentioned in the Tale of Fled Bricrind or " Bricriu's Feast"; 
the musical branch a symbol of poets and used for commanding si- 
lence, as shown by the Tales of ' Bricriu's Feast", and the " Court- 
ship of Emer"; the Musical Branch mentioned in the Tale of the 
" Dialogue of the Two Sages" ; and also in the Tale of the " Finding 
of Comae's Branch"; and lastly in a poem of about the year A.D. 
1500 ; the Musical Branch symbolical of repose and peace ; it was 
analogous to the Turkish silver crescent and bells ; some bronze bells 
in the museum of the E.I. A. belonged perhaps to such an instrument. 
The bells called " Crotals" described in the Penny Journal; Dr. Pe- 
rt trie's observations thereon; "Crotals" not used by Christian priests; 
explanation of the term; the Irish words crothadh, crothla, and 
clolhra; they are the only words at all like crotalum, except crotal, 
the husks of fruit, i.e. castanets ; bells put on the necks of cows, and 
on horses ; the Crotal not known in Ireland. The Crann- Cidil, or 
Musical Tree ; it was a generic term for any kind of musical instru- 
ment, e.g. a Cruit, a Cuisle, or tube, or a Timpan. The Cuiseach : 
mentioned in the poem on the Fair of Carman, and in the Tale of 
the Battle of Almhain. The Cuisle another name for Crann 
Ciuil; Cuisle a living word meaning a vein, or a kind of cock : men- 
tioned in the Book of Invasions ; Cuisle explained in H. 3. 18. T.C.D., 
as a Musical Tree. 

(IX.) OF Music AND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS (continued). The 
Fe.ddn ; mentioned in the Book of Lismore ; Feddn players mentioned 
in the Brehon Laws. The Fidil or Fiddle ; mentioned in the poem 
on the fair of Carman, and in a poem written in 1 680. The Guth- 
Buinde ; mentioned in an Irish life of Alexander the Great ; the 
Cedldn also mentioned in this tract ; incorrect meaning given to this 
word in Macleod's and Dewar's Dictionary ; Cedldn not a diminu- 
tive of ceol, but the name of a tinkling bell; the Cedldn mentioned in 
the Irish life of St. Mac Creiche. The Gulhbuine also mentioned in 
an Irish tract on the Siege of Troy. The Ocht Tedach. The Oircin; 
mentioned in the Irish Triads ; one of the bards of Seanckan Tor- 
VOL. II. 2* 


peisfa " Great Bardic Company" called Oircne ; no explanation of 
Oircne known, except that it was the name of the first lap-dog. Of 
the Pip or Pipe, and in the plural Pipai or Pipes ; mentioned in the 
poem on the Fair of Carman ; the only ancient reference to the 
Pipaireadha, or Piobaire, or Piper, known to author is in a frag- 
ment of Brehon Law. Of the Sloe ; mentioned in a paraphrase of the 
Book of Genesis in the Leabhar Breac, and in the version of the 
" Fall of Jericho" in the same book ; and again in describing the 
coming of Antichrist ; and m the plural form Stuic in the poem on 
the Fair of Carman, and in the Tain Bo Flidais. Another instru- 
ment, the Sturgan, mentioned in this tract ; and also in a poem on 
Randal lord of Arran. The Sturaanuidhe or Sturgan player men- 
tioned in Keating's " Three Shafts of Death". Specimens of the Corn, 
Sloe, and Sturgan are probably to be found in the Museum of the 
E.I.A. The Corn was the Roman Cornua. The Stoc represents the 
Roman Buccina. The Sturgan corresponds to the Roman Lituus. 
Mr. R. Ousley's description of the Stuic and the Sturgana in the 
Museum of the R.I. A. Ancient Irish wind instruments of graduated 
scale and compass ; the trumpets mentioned in Walker's Irish Barda 
first described and figured in Smith's History of Cork ; Walker's 
observations on them ; they are figured in Vetusta Monumenta ; a 
similar trumpet found in England ; the author agrees with Walker 
that there must have been another joint in the trumpets ; discre- 
pancy between the figures of Smith and the Vetusta Monumenta ; 
Smith's opinion that they were Danish, erroneous; Smith's error 
that the Cork trumpets formed but one instrument, reproduced by 
Mr. R. MacAdam ; Sir W. Wilde's novel idea of the use of the 
straight tubes ; his idea that they were part of a " Commander's 
Staff", borrowed from Wagner; Sir William Wilde's illustration of 
the use of the straight part of a trumpet as a " Commander's Staff", 
unsatisfactory ; his separation of the straight tube from the curved 
parts in the Museum of the R.I. A. a mistake which ought to be cor- 
rected. Sturgana, Stuic, and Coma in the Museums of the Royal 
Irish Academy, and Trinity College, Dublin. 

(IX.) Music AND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS (continued). The word 
Teillin, the name of a harp in Welsh, is not applied in Gaedhelic to a 
musical instrument ; meaning of Telyn according to Owen's Welsh 
Dictionary ; Telyn originally perhaps a derisive name ; Caradoc'a 
account of the introduction of harp music from Ireland into Wales ; 
author unable to find what Welsh word Caradoc used for harp; the 
Telyn and Cruth were the Cruit and Timpan of Ireland ; Owen's 
definition of a Welsh Cruit. The Irish Cruit was a lyre, and not a 
cithara. The Welsh Crud or Crowd could not represent the Irish 
Cruit. The Welsh word Telyn apparently the same as the Irish 
Teillin, applied to the humming bee and humble bee; Teillin occurs 
in the Dinnseanchas ; also in a poem about Marbhan and Guaire ; 
and in one by O'Donnelly written about 1680. The word Teillin 


applied to the humming of bees ; it has become obsolete in Ireland, 
but not in Scotland ; occurs in the Highland Society's dictionary as 
Seillean. Tdijn could not be a modification of the Greek Chelys. 
Some think the fiddle represents the ancient Cruit ; the poem on the 
Fair of Carman proves this to be erroneous. Of the Timpan : Cor- 
mac's derivation of this word gives us the materials of which the in- 
strument was made; the Timpan mentioned in an ancient paraphrase 
of the Book of Exodus ; also in the Tale of the Battle of Magh Lena ; 
and in that of the Exile of the Sons of Duil Dermaid; another 
reference in the Dialogue of the Ancient Men ; the passage in the 
latter the only one which explains Lethrind ; in this passage Lethrind 
signifies the treble part ; another description of the Timpan given in 
the Siege of Dromdamhghaire. The Timpan was a stringed instru- 
ment played with a bow ; this is fully confirmed by a passage from a 
vellum MS. compiled by Edmund O'Deorain in 1509. The same 
person may have played the harp and Timpan, but they were two 
distinct professions. The Timpan came down to the seventeenth 
century. Important passage from the Brehon Law respecting the 
Timpanist ; it would appear from this that, in addition to the bow, 
the deeper strings were struck with the nail. Harpers and Timpanists 
are separately mentioned in the Tochmarc Emere. The harper alone 
always considered of the rank of a Bo Aire; the timpanist, only 
when chief Timpanist of a king. Relative powers of the harp and 
Timpan illustrated by a legend from the Book of Lismore. Pro- 
fessional names of musical performers ; the Buinnire ; the Cnaimh- 
Fhear ; the Cornair ; the Cruitire ; the Cidslennach; the Feddnach ; 
the Fer Cengail ; the Gi aice ; the Pipaire ; the Stocaire ; the Stur- 
ganaidhe ; the Timpanach. 

(IX.) OF Music AND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS (continued). The par- 
ticular kinds of music mentioned in ancient manuscripts : the Aidbsi; 
the Cepoc. Cepdc only another name for Aidbsi ; the word Cepdc 
used in Ireland also, as shown by the Tale of " Mac Datho's Pig", 
and in an elegy on Aithirne the poet. Aidbsi or Cepdc a kind of 
Crondn or guttural murmur. The Certan referred to particularly in 
the Cain Adam/main. The Crondn, mentioned in the account of 
the assembly of Drom Ceat; and also in the Adventures of the 
" Great Bardic Company". The Crann-Dord; it consisted of an ac- 
companiment produced by the clashing of spear handles, as shown 
by a passage in the Tain Bo Chuailgne ; and in a legend from the 
Book of Lismore in which the term occurs. Other musical terms 
used in this tale : the Dor dan ; the Fodord ; the Abran ; the Fead ; 
the Dord Fiansa ; the Dord ; the Fiansa,- the Andord; the latter 
word occurs in the Tale of the "Sons of Uisnech" 1 ; this passage shows 
that the pagan Gaedhil sang and played in chorus and in concert ; 
though Dord and its derivatives imply music, the word Dorddn was 
applied to the notes of thrushes. Character of the Crann-Dord shown 
by a passage from the " Dialogue of the Ancient Men" ; and by 


another passage from the same Dialogue in a MS. in the Royal Irish 
Academy ; the Dord-Fiansa was therefore a kind of wooden gong 
accompaniment. The Duchand, explained as Luinneog or music - r 
Luinneog obsolete in Ireland, but used in Scotland for a ditty or 
chorus ; Duchand was prohably a dirge ; Duan, a laudation ; Duchand 
occurs in Cormac's Glossary explaining Esnad ; the latter a moaning 
air or tune in chorus. The Esnad. Ihe Three Musical Modes. 
The Ge'im Druadh or " Druid's Shout", mentioned in the Tale of the 
Battle of Almhain. The GoJghaire Bansidhe,orvr&i( of the Bansidhe* 
mentioned in the Tain Bo Fraich ; it probably came down to a late 
period. The Gubha. The Logairccht or funeral wail, occurs in 
Cormac's Glossary at the word--4>m^; meaning of the latter term. 
The Luinneog. The Samhghuba, or sea nymph's song as it is ex- 
plained in an old glossary. The Sian or Sianan, applied in the Tale 
of the Battle of the second Magh Tuireadh to the whizzing of a 
spear ; applied to a song in the Tale of the Sons of Uisnech ; and 
also in the wanderings of the priests Snedgus and Mac Riaghla ; it 
designated soft plaintive music. Sirectach applied to low music ; 
synonymous with Adbond ; the larter word occurs in the Festology 
of Aengus Ceite De'; Adbond Trirech, or triple Adbond, explained in 
Michael O'Clery's glossary as the Three Musical Modes ; Trirech 
occurs in Zeuss' Grammatica Celtica ; Trirech was applied to a 
species of lyric poetry ; the term Trirech not exclusively applied to 
the music or quantity of verse, but also to a particular kind of 
laudatory poem ; the stanza in question sings to the air of " For 
Ireland I would not tell who she is''. 

(IX.) OF Music AND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS (continued). The 
ancient lyric verse adapted to an ancient air referred to in last lec- 
ture ; the existence of old lyric compositions having a peculiar struc- 
ture of rhythm adapted to old airs still existing, unknown in the 
musical history of any other country ; many such known ; there ex- 
ists in the Book of Ballymote a special tract on versification contain- 
ing specimen verses ; the specimens are usually four-lined verses, 
but they sing to certain simple solemn airs ; these are chiefly the 
poems called Ossianic; the author has heard his father sing the 
Ossianic poems ; and has heard of a very good singer of them named 
O'Brien ; the author only heard one other poem sung to the air of 
the Ossianic poems; many other old poems would, however, sing to 
it. The tract on versification contains specimens which must read 
to music at first sight ; three examples selected. The first called 
Ocht-Foclach Corranach Beg, or, "the little eight-line curved 
verse"; this class of poems written to a melody constructed like that 
known as the " Black Slender Boy"; description of this kind of 
verse. The second is the Ocht Foclach Mor or ' great eight line 
verse"; this stanza was written to the musical metre of an air of 
which the first half of " John O'Dwyer of the Gien" is an example; 
description of this kind of verse. The third is the Ocht Foclach Mar 


Corranach, or " great curving eight line verse"; measure, accents, 
cadences, and rhyme are the same as in the second. Another speci- 
men of verss from a long poem in the Book of Lee an ; the kind 
called Ocht Foclach hi-Eimhin, or the " eight line verse of 0' h- 
Eimhin*'; the Ui or prefixed to the name of the author of the poem 
does not necessarily imply his having lived after the permanent as- 
sumption of surnames ; description of this kind of poem ; this poem 
written to a different kind of air from the other stanzas quoted ; 
will sing to any one of three well known airs. The author does not 
Bay that these verses were written for the airs mentioned, but only 
that they sing naturally to them. That these stanzas were not 
written by the writers on Irish prosody to support a theory, is shown 
by poems in the Tale of the Tain Bo Chuailgne ; e.g. the poem 
containing the dialogue between Medb and Ferdiad; musical 
analysis of this poem ; there are five poems of the same kind in this 
tale. The author does not want to establish a theory, but only to 
direct attension to the subject. Antiquity of the present version of 
the Tain Bo Chuailgne : the copy in the Leabhar na h- Uidhri ; the 
copy in the Book of Leinster. At least one specimen of the same 
kind of ancient verse in the Dinnseanchas, e.g. in the legend of Ath 
Fadad, or Ahade : the Dinnseanchas, was written about 590 by 
Amergin, chief poet to Diarmait, son of Fergus Ceirbheoil ; these 
various compositions are at least 900 years old, and prove that the 
most enchanting form of Irish music is indigenous. The author is 
conscious of his unfitness to deal with the subject of music tech- 
nically; complaint on the neglect of Irish music; appeal to Irish- 
men in favour of it. 

No clear allusion in the very old Irish MSS. to dancing. The modern 
generic name for dancing is Rinnceadh; it is sometimes called 
Damhsa ; meaning of those terms. Fonn and Port the modern 
names for singing and dancing music ; Michael O'Clery applies the 
term Port to lyric music in general. Cor, in the plural Cuir, an old 
Irish word for music, perhaps connected with Chorea ; the author 
suggests that Port was anciently, what it is now, a "jig", and Cor, 
a "reel"; "jig" borrowed from the French or Italian. Rinnceadh 
fada, " long dance", not an ancient term ; applied to a country 
dance. Conclusion. 

I. The Fight of Ferdiad and Cuchulaind, from the Tain Bo 

Chuailgne . . . . . . . 412-463 

II. Two Old Law Tracts : 

1. The Crith Gablach ..... 465-512 

2. A Law Tract without a title, on the classes of society 513-522 
III. The Ancient Fair of Carman 523-547 

Glossarial Index of Irish Words . . . 549-604 

Index Nominum ...... 605-634 

Index Locorum ...... 635-653 

General Index 654 


The following errors have been noticed in preparing the Index : 





note I, 

with water, 

with water between them. 


line 3, 








>, 12, 





Cradbh dearg, 

Crobh derg. 







four times seven, 

twice seven. 



and perfect. 

and a perfect. 



[of the posts.] 

the front posts. 



with salt ; and a vessel 

with condiments, and a ves- 

of sour milk, 

sel of skimmed milk. 



the mouth, 

a mouth. 








on Ollamh, 

an Ollamh. 








sons of. 



three times three thou- 

three Triucka Ceds in it. 

sand men, 









a man of hound-like, 

and he fierce and terrific. 

hateful face, 


., 25, 

close napped cloak, 

cloak with little capes. 


M 4, 

a dark gray long wooled 

a loose fitting dark gray 







M 11, 

after me there, add with a glossy curled head of 

hair upon him. 








two wood rings, 

two kings of Caill, 


,, 48, 

of the household youths 

sons of. 



note 59, col. 

1, line 13 6f, 



line 45, 

with Bille, 

with seven Bille. 



Page 106 19, n Mac, Mac. 

1 10, note 71, col. 2, line 1 1, pi j\|\i, V u W- 

111, line 6, fastening, fastenings. 

131 . , 25, m n. Fortharta, Fotharta. 

136 9, fifty, seventy. 

149 8, white shirt and collar, white collared shirt. 
29, sons renowned for valour, sons of Ersand (jamb) and 

Cornlad (door). 

157 ,. 15, after silver and, add flesh-mangling spears with 
veins of gold and silver, and Crcduma (bronze). 


157, note 234, col. 2, line 4, AC im ce6 fej\, AC oi 6]\ im cec fejv 

165, line 3, yellow silk, yellow silk with silver upon 


166, side note line 2, reference of carved in reference to carved brooches 
Book of Munster. in Book of Munster. 

186, line 40, side note, dress of Riangabhra, dress of Laegh, son of Rian- 


, 192 4, Fair haired woman, fair woman. 

196 2, places, pieces. 

9, Lacair, Idn ecair. 

197 ,. 11, In a former lecture an In a former lecture I gave 
account, an account. 

215, note 297, lie ic, lleic. 

202, line 16, " Lady Nar of Badbh Dearg's mansion". The lady 

Nar mentioned in this tale, was daughter of Loch, 
son of Doire Leith, of the Cruitentuaith or Irish 
Picts, and wife of Crimthan Nia Nar, and not 
Nar Tuathcaech of Badbh Derg's mansion, who 
was swineherd to Badbh Derg, and a great war- 
rior. See Jjindsenchas, MS. Book ofLecan. 


219 20, rings, coils. 

220 23, hills, Sidhe. 

245 ,. 40, after last line add: "and it was together they made 
that music". 


249 6, the Ceis, the musical Ceis. 

251, note 328, col. 2, line 1, leigef " cure", is ^CA^A-D, parting in Leb. 

na h- Uidhri, p. 9. 

254, line 5, counter part strings LetJirind with its strings hi 

of that part hi their it. 
proper places, 

2, Laoighseal, Laoighseach. 

36, in position, in a position. 

7, Croibhdhearg, Crobhdearg. 

305, line 12, Cruiseach Cuiseach. 



Page 308, note 352, col. 1, line 8, bA CA^, bACA]\. 

312, note 359, col. l.line 15, 



313 360, col. 2, 

vol. ii, 

vol. i. 

328 ,, 377, col. 2 line, 3, 

oo eAtiti, 

oo ceAnn. 

339, line 26, side note, 

also a poem, 

also in a poem. 

342 15, side note, 

Stuie or Sturgana, 

Sluic and Sturgana. 

344 4, 

may seem, 

may be seen. 

357 17, 

Dusky Tellins, 

buzzing Ciarans. 

364 17-18, side note, 

there were, 

they were. 


Inis Cathargh, 

Jnis Cathagh. 

373 30, et seq., 

lady Luain, 

lady Luan. 

375, note 429, col. 2, line 4, 



379, line 36, 

Dord Fiansa, 

Crann Dord. 

J,, 37,) 

Crann Dord, 


380 t,, > 

This mistake is repeated, pp. 379-380. See 

Introduction, p. cclix. 

417 38, 

will kill, 

wilt Mil. 

418 39, 



467 2 (marg. note), 




Aire De&a, Aire Tuisi, 

Aire~ Desa, Aire' 

Ard, Air Tuisi. 


497 37, 

a cow, 

a new calved cow. 

500 39, 


bond C tiles. 


501 38, 

ten not, 

ten on. 


[DeliTered 6th July, 1869.] 

(VII.) OF BUILDINGS, FURNITURE, ETC., in ancient Erinn. Of the number and 
succession of the colonists of ancient Erinn. Tradition ascribes no buildings 
toParthalon or his people; their sepulchral mounds at Tallaght near Dublin. 
Definitions of the Rath, the Dun, the Lis, the Caiseal, and the Cathair; the 
latter two were of stone ; many modern townland-names derived from these 
terms ; remains of many of these structures still exist. Rath na Righ or 
"Rath of the Kings', at Tara; the Teach Mor Milibh Amus, or "Great 
House of the Thousands of Soldiers". Several houses were often included 
within the same Rath, Dun, Lis, or Caisea I. Extent of the demesne lands 
of Tara. The Rath or Cathair of Aileach; account of its building; the 
houses within the Rath as well as the latter were of stone ; why called 
Aileach Frigrind? Aileach mentioned by Ptolemy. Account of the Rath 
of Cruachan in the Tain Bo Fraich. The " House of the Koyal Branch". 
Description of a Dun in Fairy Land. The terms Rath, Dun, and Lis applied 
to the same kind of enclosure. The Foradh at Tara. Description of the 
house of Crude". Two classes of builders, the .KaM-builder, and the Caiseal- 
builder ; list of the professors of both arts from the Book of Leinster. Dubhal- 
tach Mac Firbissigh's copy of the same list (note) ; his observations in answer 
to those who deny the existence of stone- building in ancient Erinn. The 
story of Bricrind's Feast ; plan of his house ; his grianan or " sun house" ; 
his invitation to Conchobar and the Ultonians ; he sows dissensions among 
the women; the BriatharBan Uladh; his house was made of wicker-work. 

IN the last Lecture I concluded what I had to say concerning the 
Arms, the Military System, and the modes of Warfare, of the 
ancient Gaedhil. I now proceed to the consideration of their 
Domestic Life ; and, as the erection of dwellings, and with these 
the adoption of means of defence against external aggression, 
must have been the first care of every people where society 
began to be formed, we may naturally commence with the 
arrangement of their houses and the appliances of comfortable 
life within them. 

In dealing with this subject I shall naturally go back first to 
the very earliest colonists of ancient Erinn ; and in doing so, I 
must premise by repeating the caution I have already intimated, 
that here again I adopt the number and succession of these 
colonists, as I have hitherto done, simply in the order in which 
I find them in the ancient " Book of Invasions"; because the 
time has not yet come for entering on the consideration of the 
grounds upon which those ancient accounts have been, or to 
what extent they ought to have been, so implicitly relied on by 
the Gaedhelic writers of the last eighteen hundred years. With- 
out at all then entering at present into any investigation of the 
VOL ir. 1 


LBCT. xix. l on g discussed question of the veracity of our ancient records 
and traditions, which declare that this island was occupied in 
succession by the Parthalonians, the Nemedians, the Firbolgs, 
the Tuaiha DS Danann, and, finally, the Milesians or Scoti ; 
or from what countries or by what routes they came hither ; it 
must strike every unprejudiced reader as a very remarkable 
The scow fact, that the Scoti, who were the last colony, and consequently 
monuments the historians of the country, should actually have recorded, by 
predecessors. name an( l local position, several distinct monuments, still exist- 
ing, of three out of the four peoples or races who are said to have 
occupied the country before themselves. And although much 
has been incautiously written of the tendency of our old Scotic 
writers to the wild and romantic in their historical compositions, 
I cannot discover any sufficient reason why they should con- 
cede to their predecessors the credit of being the founders of 
Tara, the seat of the monarchy, as well as of some others of the 
most remarkable and historic monuments of the whole country, 
unless they had been so. 

Etymological speculations and fanciful collations of the an- 
cient Gaedhelic with the Semitic languages, were taken up by 

n . .-.. **' 

a few very incompetent persons in this country within our own 
memory, and carried to such an extent of absurdity, that both 
subject and the authors became a bye- word among the truly 
learned historians and philologists of Europe. Still, etymology 
and philology must have an important bearing on the ethno- 
logical history of Europe. It forms, however, no part of my 
present plan to enter upon any arguments based on these studies ; 
though I may of course have occasion now and again to refer 
to proofs or illustrations ascertained by their means. 
NO imiiaings It is a remarkable fact, and one not to be despised among the 
evidences of the extreme antiquity of the tradition, that no 
account that has come down to us ascribes to the Parthalonian 
colony the erection of any sort of building, either for residence 
or defence. Parthaion and his people came into the island 
A.M. 2520, B.C. 2674 (according to the chronology adopted 
in the Annals of the Four Masters) ; and although the descen- 
dants of this colony are said to have continued in Erinn for 
over three hundred years, still no memorial of them has been 
preserved save what we may find in a few topographical names 
derived from those of their chiefs, excepting only the ancient 
sepulchral mounds still remaining on the hill of Tamhlacht (or 
Tallaght, in the county of Dublin), where the last remnant of 
this colony are recorded to have been interred, after having 
been, as it is said, swept off by a plague. The word tamh in 
the Gaedhelic signifies a sudden or unnatural death ; and leacht 



a monumental mound or heap of stones ; and hence those ancient LF.CT. xix. 
monumental mounds have from a period beyond the reach of 
history preserved the name of Tamhleachta Muinntire Phar- 
tolain, that is, the Mortality Mounds of the people of Par- 

Thirty years after the destruction of the people ofParthalon, The forts of 

v .1 -r- TIT -\i T-JI 2. T 1 Nemlndh. 

according to the J^our Masters, jNemhidli came into .brinn at 
the head of a large colony ; and although this colony also re- 
mained in the country for three hundred years, we have no re- 
cord of any sort of buildings having been erected by them, any 
more than by their predecessors, excepting two only, both of 
which are said to have been erected by Nemliidh himself; 
namely, Rath-Cinn-Eich, in Ui Niallain (now the barony of 
Oneilland in the county of Armagh) ; and Rath Cimbaoith, in 
Seimhne (which was the ancient name of that part of the sea- 
board of the present county of Antrim, opposite to which lies 
Island Magee). 

That these Raths, or Forts, of Nemliidh could not have been 
of any great extent or importance according to our present no- 
tions, is evident, since we find it stated in the " Book of In- 
vasions", that Rath-Cinn-Eich, (lit. the Horse-Head-Fort), was 
built in one day, by four Fomorian brothers, who it would 
appear were condemned by Nemliidh, as prisoners or slaves, to 
perform the work, but who were put to death the next day 
lest they should demolish their work again. No trace of these 
ancient edifices now remains, at least under their ancient names. 

It may be as well to state here what is exactly meant by the 
different words Rath, Dun, JAs, Caiseal, and Cathair; the pre- 
vailing names for fortified places of residence, as well as for the 
fortifications themselves, among the Gaedhil. 

The Rath was a simple circular wall or enclosure of raised The Rat *- 
earth, enclosing a space of more or less extent, in which stood 
the residence of the chief and sometimes the dwellings of one 
or more of the officers or chief men of the tribe or court. Some- 
times also the Rath consisted of two or three concentric walls or 
circumvallations ; but it does not appear that the erection so 
called was ever intended to be surrounded with water. 

The Dun was of the same form as the Rath, but consisting The Dun, 
of at least two concentric circular mounds or walls, with a deep 
trench full of water between them. These were often encircled 
by a third, or even by a greater number of walls, at increasing 
distances ; but this circumstance made no alteration in the form 
or in the signification of the name. Dun is defined strictly in 
so authoritative a MS. as the ancient Gaedhelic Law tract pre- 
served in the vellum MS. H. 3., 18. T. C. D., thus: " Dun, i.e. 

1 B 


LECT. xix. two walls with water" . (1) The same name, according to this 
derivation, would apply to any boundary or mearing formed of 
a wet trench between two raised banks or walls of earth. 

The lit. The Lis, as far as I have been able to discover, was precisely 

the same as the Rath; the name, however, was applied gene- 
rally to some sort of fortification, but more particularly those 
formed of earth. That this was so, we have a curious confirma- 
tion, in the life of Saint Mochuda, or Carthach, (the founder of 

origin of the once famous ecclesiastical establishment of Lis-M6r, now 

SwrorLis- Lismore in the county of Waterford). The life states, that when 

more - Saint Mochuda, on being driven out of Ratliin (his great foun- 
dation, near the present town of Tullamore, King's County), 
came to the place on which Lis-M6r now stands, with the con- 
sent of the king of the Deise he commenced forthwith to raise 
what is described as a circular enclosure of earth. A religious 
woman who occupied a small cell in the neighbourhood, per- 
ceiving the crowd of monks at work, came up and asked what 
they were doing. " We are building a small Lis here", said 
saint Mochuda. " A small Lis ! [Lis Beg\\ said the woman: 
" this is not a small Lis, [Lis Beg~\, but a great Lis [Lis M6r^\ 
said she ; and so we are told, that church ever since continued 
to be called by that name. It matters little to the present pur- 
pose whether this legend is strictly true or not ; but it is quite 
sufficient to show what the ancient Gaedhils understood the 
word Lis to mean. 

So much for the Rath, the Dun, and the Lis, all of which 
were generally built of earth. The Caiseal and the Cathair are 
to be distinguished from these especially, because they were 
generally, if not invariably, built of stone. 

The Caiseai The Caiseal was nothing more than a Stone Rath or enclosure 
within which the dwelling-house, and in after times churches, 
stood ; and the Cathair, in like manner, was nothing more than 
a Stone Dun, (with loftier and stronger walls), with this ex- 
ception, that the Cathair was not necessarily surrounded with 
water, as far as I know. 

were of No reliable analysis of the term Caiseal is to be found among 

the writings of the Gaedhils ; but our experience of existing 
monuments enables us to decide that the Caiseal and Cathair 
were both of stone ; and that the words are cognate with the 
British " Caer", the Latin " Castrum", and the English " Castle". 
There can be no doubt, however, but that our ancient writers 
often used the terms Dun, Rath, Lis, and Cathair, indifferently, 
to designate a stronghold or well-fortified place ; and these terras 
afterwards came to give names to the towns and cities which in 
(1 > original: -oun .1. -oA 6t<v6 im vnrce. 


time sprang up at or around the various forts so designated, or LECT xix. 
in which those fortified residences were situated, which natu- 
rally became the centres of increasing population Thus we Names of 
have Rath-Gaela, (now the town of Rathkeale, in the county of towns 
Limerick) ; Raih-Naoi (now the town of Rathnew, in the county f^^,^ 
of Wicklow) ; Dun-Duibh-linn, (now the city of Dublin) ; Dun- ^*. etc - ' 
Dealca, (now the town of Dundalk, in the county of Louth) ; 
Dun-Chealtchair, which was afterwards called Dun-da- Leath- 
Ghlas, (now the town of Downpatrick, in the county of Down) ; 
Lis-Mor, (now the town of Lismore, in the county of Water- 
ford) ; Lis Tuathail, (now the town of Listowel, in the county 
of Kerry) ; Cathair-Dun-Iascaigh, (now the town of Cahir, in 
the county of Tipperary); Cathair-Chinn-Lis, (now the town 
of Caherconlish, in the county of Limerick) ; etc., etc. 

Remains of many of the residences and forts known as Rath, Remains of ^ 
Dun, Lis, and Cathair, still exist throughout Ireland, some ofetc.tni 
which belong to the most remote antiquity. The Cathair or existln fr 
Stone Fort is seldom or never met with but where stone is in 
great abundance ; such as in the counties of Kerry and Lime- 
rick; in Burren, in the county of Clare; and in the Arann 
Islands, on the coast of Clare, in which there are fine examples 
of these stone edifices, though singularly enough, still bearing 
the names of Duns, such as Dun-^Enghuis, Dun-Ochaill, Dun- 
Eoghanacht, and Dubli Chathair, (or the Black Fortress) , on the 
great or western island; and Dun-Chonchraidh, on the middle 
island; these remarkable fortresses on the Arann islands, are 
referred to the Glann Umoir, (a Firbolg tribe, who occupied 
the seaboard of Clare and Galway, shortly before the Christian 
era), excepting one, Dun-Eoghanacht. This fort must have 
been erected after the close of the third century, when the 
Eoghanachts, (that is, the descendants of Eoghan Mar, son of 
Oilioll Oluim, king of Munster), took their tribe-title from that 
chivalrous prince, in whose time, and for centuries afterwards, 
those islands belonged to Munster. 

In any attempt to treat of the early or primitive buildings or Rath na 
habitations of Erinn, we must of course give the first place to xara. at 
Tara, which, according to all our old accounts, had been first 
founded by the Firbolgs, the third in the series of the early 
colonists of the island. In the ancient account of the battle of 
the first or Southern Magh Tuireadh, we are told that the Fir- 
bolgs, who had been dispersed into three pai-ties on their ap- 
proach to the Irish coast by a storm, had, on their landing, re- 
paired by one consent to Rath na Righ, (i.e. the Rath or Palace 
of the Kings), at Tara. And again, when Breas goes out from 
the camp of the Tuatha D Danann to meet Sreng, the Fir- 


LECT. xix. bolg warrior whom they saw coming towards them, Breas asks 
Sreng where he had slept the night before ; and Sreng answers, 
that it was at " the Rath of the Kings at Tara". 

It is stated in an ancient poem on Tara, the author of which 
is not known, that the " Rath of the Kings" was first founded 
by Slainge, one of the Firbolg chiefs ; and it is rather singular 
that, in the time of Cuan O'Lothchain, who died in the year 1024, 
this same Rath-na-Righ was the most conspicuous and by far 
the most extensive enclosure upon or around the Hill of Tara ; 
and that it was within its ample circuit that, in an earlier era, 
the palace of the monarch Cormac Mac Airt, as well as other 
edifices, once stood. This will be very plainly seen from the 
map of ancient Tara, prepared by the officers of the Ordnance 
Survey, from Cuan O'Lothchain's poem (described in a former 
lecture) (2) for the illustration of Dr. Petrie's History of the An- 
tiquities of Tara Hill, published in the year 1839. (3) 

There were two remarkable buildings at Tara in ancient 
times, namely, the Teach M6r Milibh Amus, i.e. the " Great 
House of the Thousands of Soldiers" ; and the Teach Midh- 
chuarta, i.e. the " Mead-circling House", in other words, the 
great Banqueting House or Hall of Tara. 

The "Great The "great House of the Thousands of Soldiers" was the 
Thousands of particular palace of the monarch ; it stood within the Rath-na~ 
soldiers". Righ^ or Rath of the Kings, and was called also Tigh-Temrach, 
or the House of Tara. Of its extent and magnificence in the 
time of King Cormac Mac Airt, in the middle of the third cen- 
tury, we may form some notion from an ancient poem preserved 
in the Book of Leinster, and ascribed to Cormac File, or the 
poet." The precise time of this writer I have not been able to 
ascertain, but he must have flourished in or before the middle 
of the tenth century ; since we find Cineadh O'Hartagan, who 
flourished at that period, set down in the Yellow Book of Lecan, 
the Book of Ballymote, and others, as the author of the same 
poem. Dr. Petrie has published this poem in his essay on the 
" History and Antiquities of Tara Hill". w 

The following short account of the extent and arrangement 
of the Great House of the Thousands of Soldiers, is translated 
from the Book of Leinster (folio 15). 

"As regards the arrangement of the Palace of Tara by Cor- 
mac, it was larger than any house. The Rath was nine hun- 
dred feet in Cormac s time. His own house was seven hundred 
feet; [and there were] seven bronze candelabras in the middle 
of it. [There were] nine mounds around the house. There 
were three times fifty compartments (imdadh} in the house; 
<*> See Lect. vii., ante, vol. i. p. 140. ( P. 143. (<> P. 199. 


and three times fifty men in each compartment ; and three times LECT. 

fifty continuations of compartments (airel) ; and fifty [men] in The " Great 
each of these continuations. Thousands'^ 

" Three thousand persons, each day, is what Cormac used to Soldiers " 
maintain in pay ; besides poets and satirists ; and all the stran- 
gers who sought the king : Galls ; and Romans ; and Franks ; 
and Frisians; and Longbards; and Albanians, [i.e., Caledo- 
nians] ; and Saxons ; and Cruithneans, [i e., Picts] ; for all these 
used to seek him, and [it was] with gold and with silver, with 
steeds and with chariots, [that] he paid them off. They used 
all come to Cormac, because there was not in his time, nor be- 
fore him, any one more celebrated in honour, and in dignity, 
and in wisdom, except only Solomon, the son of David". 

It is not easy to conceive how this " Great House" of Tara 
could have received into its compartments, and sub-compart- 
ments, the " thirty thousand men", which, on the authority 
both of the prose and the verse account in the Book of Lein- 
ster, it is stated to have accommodated ; but although no plan 
of the Great House has been preserved to our time, the plan of 
the Teach Midhchuarta, or Banqueting Hall of Tara, as pre- 
served in the Book of Leinster and in the Yellow Book of 
Lecan, enables us to form some idea of the arrangement. I 
must, however, add, that even the whole compass of the Rath- 
na-Righ, or Rath of the Kings, within which the " Great House" 
stood, could not possibly accommodate anything like the num- 
ber of persons just mentioned. The enclosure of this Rath of the 
Kings, when measured in 1839 by the officers of the Ordnance 
Survey , (5) was found to measure across, from south-east to north- 
west, within the ring, only 775 feet. 

It may be noted here, that the Rath, Dun, Lis, or Caiseal, Thez>, 
which formed the fortification of ancient residences, often con- often con- 
tained within them more than one house ; and thus the whole 
ancient city of Tara was composed of seven Duns, or enclosures, 
each containing within it a certain number of houses. We 
learn this fact from an ancient poem of thirty-seven stanzas, of 
which there is an old paper copy in the Library of Trinity 
College, Dublin, (MS. H. 1, 15). This poem begins: 
" The plain of Temair was the residence of the kings". (6) 

The following are the twenty -eighth, twenty-ninth, and 
thirtieth stanzas of this valuable poem : 

" The demesne of Temur they ploughed not ; 

It was seven full baiUs [townlands], seven full lisses 

(5 > See Petrie's Hiitory and Antiquities of Tara Hill, page 128 
(''original: b&iVe n* ^15 t\of cemjv&6. 


Seven ploughs to each, full lis; 

Of the. best class land was fair-skinned Temur. 
" The demesne of Temur was a pleasant abode ; 

A mound surrounded it all around ; 

I know besides the name of every house 

Which was in the wealthy Temur. 
" Seven duns in the Dun of Temur, 

Is it not I that well remember ; 

Seven score houses in each dun, 

Seven hundred warriors in each brave dun". 
We find from this poem that the demesne-lands of Tara, 
which were never distributed or cultivated, consisted of seven 
bailes, that is, "ballys", or townlands, as they would be now 
called ; and from an ancient poem which I took occasion to 
print some years ago in connection with the Historic Tale of 
the *' Battle of Magh Leana", (1) it will be found that a baiU 
contained grazing for three hundred cows, and as much of tillage 
land as seven ploughs could turn over in the year. This was 
the quantity of land that by law appertained to the dun or lis. 
And as the demesne of Temair contained seven such batiks, the 
quantity was equal to the feeding of two thousand one hundred 
oows, and the ploughing of forty-nine ploughs, for a year. 

The next great building, in point of antiquity and historical 
reminiscence, is the great Rath, or rather Cathair, of Aileach (in 
the county of Derry), so well described by Dr. Petrie, in the 
Ordnance Memoir of the parish of Templemore. This great 
Cathair is said to have been originally built by the Daglida, 
the celebrated king of the Tuatha De Danann, who planned 
and fought the battle of the second or northern Magh Tuireadh, 
against the Fomorians. The fort was erected around the grave 
of his son Aedh, (or Hugh), who had been killed through 
jealousy by Corrgenn, a Connacht chieftain. 

The history of the death of Aedh, and the building of Aileach, 
(or " the Stone Building"), is given at length in a poem pre- 
served in the Book of Lecan;^ which poem has been printed, 
with an English translation, (but with two lines left out at verse 
38), by Dr. Petrie, in the above Memoir. The following ex- 
tract from this curious and important poem, beginning at verse 
32, will suffice for my present purpose: 
" Then were brought the two good men 

In art expert, 

< 7 > Cath Mhuight Lcana, etc., pub. by the Celtic Society ; Dublin, 1855 ; 
pp. 106-7, note (t). 

(*) See also Lect. vii , ante, vol. i. p. 151, 


Garbhan and Imcheall, to Eochaid [Daghda], 

The fair-haired, vindictive ; The Rath or 

And he ordered these a rath to build, 


Around the gentle youth : 
That it should be a rath of splendid sections 

The finest in Erinn. 
Neid, son of Indai, said to them, 

[He] of the severe mind, 
That the best hosts in the world could not erect 

A building like Aileacli. 
Garbhan the active proceeded to dress 

And to cut [the stones] ; 
Imcheall proceeded to set them 

All around in the house. 
The building of Aileactis fastness came to an end, 

Though it was a laborious process ; 
The top of the house of the groaning hostages 

One stone closed". 

In a subsequent verse of this poem, (verse 54), the author says 
that Aileach is the senior, or father of the buildings of Erinn: 
" It is the senior of the buildings of Erinn, 

Aileach Frigrind: 
Greater praise than it deserves, 

For it I indite not". 

It appears clearly from this, very ancient poem that not only Tim/row 
was the outer Rath, or protective circle of Aileach, built of stone houses wero 
by the regular masons Imcheall and Garbhan; but that the of 
palace and other houses within the enclosure were built also of 
stone, (nay, even of chipped and cut stone). All these build- 
ings, probably, were circular, as the house or Prison of the 
Hostages certainly must have been, when, as the poem says, it 
was " closed at the top with one stone". This, however, is a 
matter concerning which I shall have something to say in a 
future Lecture. 

The time to which the first building of Aileach may be re- 
ferred, according to the chronology of the Annals of the Four 
Masters, would be about seventeen hundred years before the 
Christian era. But another and much later erection within the 
same Math of Aileach is also spoken of in ancient story, and as 
having conferred a name upon this clebrated palace. 

It is stated further in this poem, that Aileach in after ages ob- why called 
tained the name of Aileach Frigrind, as it is in fact called in the 
stanza quoted last. According to another poem'- 95 (written by 
Flann of Monasterboice), and preserved in the Book of Lein- 
(9 > See Lect. vii., ante, vol. L, p. 153. 


LECT. xix. gter, this Frigrind was a famous builder, or architect, as he 
would be called in our day. Having travelled in Scotland he 
was well received at the court of Ubtaire, the king of that coun- 
try, where having gained the affections of the king's daughter, 
the beautiful Ailech, she eloped with him, and he returned to 
his own country with her. Fearing pursuit, however, he 
claimed the protection of the then monarch of Erinn, Fiaclia- 
SraibhthinS, (the same who was slain in the battle of Dubh- 
Chomar, in Meath, A.D. 322) ; and the monarch accorded it 
at once, and gave them the ancient fort of Aileach for their 
dwelling-place for greater security. Here Frigrind built a 
splendid house of wood for his wife. The material of this 
house, we are told, was red yew, carved, and emblazoned with 
gold and bronze ; and so thickset with shining gems, that " day 
attach and night were equally bright within it". I may observe that 
yy ttoiemy. Aileach is one of the few spots in Erinn marked in its proper place 
by the geographer Ptolemy of Alexandria, who flourished in the 
second century, or nearly two hundred years before the time of 
Frigrind. By Ptolemy it is distinguished as a royal residence. 
To proceed to the next in order of importance of the great 
royal residences of Erinn, we find in an ancient tale, called 
Tain Bo Fraich, or the carrying off the cows of Fraech Mao 
Fidhaidh, (a tale which in fact forms part of the Tain So 
Chuailgn), a curious instance of the existence of more than 
one house within the great Rath of Cruachan, the residence 
of the kings of Connacht. 

Fraech Mac Fidhaidh was a famous warrior and chieftain : 
his mother, Be-binn, was one of the mysterious race of the 
Tuatha DSDanann, and by her supernatural powers, according 
to this tale, her son was enabled to enjoy many advantages 
both of person and of fortune over other young princes of this 
time. After some time, accordingly, he was encouraged by his 
mother to seek an alliance with the celebrated Ailill and 
Medbh, the king and queen of Connacht, by proposing for the 
hand -of their beautiful daughter, the celebrated Finnabhair, 
[" the fair-browed"]. So his mother supplied him with a gor- 
geous outfit; and Fraech set out for the palace of Cruachan, 
with a train of fifty young princes in his company, as well as 
attended by all the usual retinue which accompanied friendly 
progresses of this kind, such as musicians, players, huntsmen, 
hounds, etc. Arrived at Cruachan, they alight, and take their 
seats at the door of the royal Rath; a steward then comes from 
king Ailill to inquire who they were and whence they came ; 
and he was told (the tale goes on to say) that it was Fraech 
Mac Fidhaidh ; and the steward returned and informed the 


king and queen : " The man is welcome", said Ailill and L*CT. xix 
Medbh; " and let them all come into the lis", said Ailill. 

" A quarter of the Dun", proceeds the story, " was then Description 
assigned to them. The manner of that house was this: There oruaeM*. 
were seven companies in it ; seven compartments from the fire 
to the wall, all round the house. Every compartment had a 
front of bronze. The whole were composed of beautifully 
carved red yew. Three strips of bronze were in the front of 
each compartment. Seven strips of bronze from the founda- 
tion of the house to the ridge. The house from this out was 
built of pine, [gius]. A covering of oak shingles was what was 
upon it on the outside. Sixteen windows was the number 
that were in it, for the purpose of looking out of it and for ad- 
mitting light into it. A shutter of bronze to each window. 
A bar of bronze across each shutter ; four times seven ungas of 
bronze was what each bar contained. Ailill and Mebdh's com- 
partment was made altogether of bronze ; and it was situated 
in the middle of the house, with a front of silver and gold 
around it. There was a silver wand at one side of it, which 
rose to the ridge of the house, and reached all round it from 
the one door to the other. 

" The arms of the guests were hung up above the arms of all 
other persons in that house ; and they sat themselves down, and 
were bade welcome". 

Such is the description of one of the four " royal houses" 
which, in the heroic age of our history, that of Ailill and Medbh, 
(the century preceding the Christian era), are said to have 
stood within the ancient Rath of Cruachan. 

The description of the Craebh-Ruadli, or house of the " Royal The House 
Branch", at E mania, the capital city of ancient Ulster, (as des- R f ya? 
cribed in the Ancient Historic Tale of Tochmarc nEimirS, or Branch - 
" the Courtship of the Lady Emer by Cuchulainn"), agrees very 
nearly with this description of the house at Cruachan; and we 
know that there were three great Houses at least within the 
circle of the great Rath of Emania, raised by queen Madia, 
more than three hundred years before the Christian era. 

Again, we find the same general features of a royal fort Description 
alluded to in a short description of another Dun, or enclosure, Fai*y L"IKL 
(preserved in the Book of Ballymote and in the Yellow Book 
of Lecan), in a romantic account of the adventures of king 
Cormac Mac Airt in the Land of Promise, or Fairy-land, of the 
Gaedhils. According to this wild story, as Cormac was traver- 
sing this unknown land in search of his wife, " he saw another 
very large, kingly Dun, and another palisade of bronze around 
it; four houses in the Dun. He went into the Dun; and he saw 


X1 *. a very large house, with its rafters of bronze, and its wattling of 
silver, and its thatch of the wings of white birds ; and he saw, 
too, a sparkling well within the Lis, and five streams issuing 
from it, and the hosts around, drinking the waters of these 

From these various descriptions of Tara, Aileach, Cruachan, 
the Craebh Ruadh, and the Dun in the Land of Promise, it 
will "be seen that our old writers applied the terms Hath, Dun, 
and Lis, indiscriminately, to the earthen enclosure or fort within 
which the houses of the ancient Gaedhils stood. We have 
seen also that these enclosures frequently contained more than 
one " house"; and we know, from actual existing monuments, 
that the " Math of the Kings" at Tara contained, besides the 
" Great House of the Thousands of Soldiers", at least two other 
remarkable edifices ; though, whether they were houses or mere 
mounds, it remains yet to be shown with certainty. The first 
of these was the Mur Tea, or Mound of Tea, the wife ofEremon, 
one of the Milesian brothers who took Erinn from the Tuatha 
D6 Danann. It was because Tea was, in accordance with her 
own request, buried in the rampart of this primitive " house", 
that the name of Tea-Mur (that is, Teas Mur, or rampart, now 
Tara), was first given to the hill by the Milesians. A small 
mound remained still, at the time of Cuan O'Lothchain, about 
the year 1000, as the remains of this once famous mound; but 
all vestiges of it have now disappeared, though its situation is 
still pointed out as a little hill which lies to the south, between 
the Foradh and Cormac's House. 

e Foradh There was a second and more important building within the 
Rath of the Kings, besides Cormac's Great House. This was 
the edifice called the Foradh, large remains of which still exist, 
adjoining the Great House of Cormac. This does not appear 
to have been a house at all, but rather, what its name implies, 
the mound upon which the royal residents of Tara used to sit, 
to enjoy the sports which were celebrated on the slopes to the 
west and south of it. 

\ jv ouse o f I introduced into a former Lecture (10) a poetical description, 
from one of the ancient Fenian Poems, of the mansion-house of 
a young princess of Kerry, in the time of Finn Mac Cumhaill; 
but the subject is so appropriate to the purpose of the present 
Lecture, that I feel I cannot with propriety omit to notice it 
again here. I allude to the story of the Courtship of Crede 
and Gael, preserved in the Book of Lismore in the Royal Irish 
Academy, which contains the curious poem descriptive of the 

( I0 ) Lect. on the MS. Materials of Ancient Irish History; p. 309 ; and AFP. 
No. XCIV. ; p. 5<J4. 


construction of the lady's mansion, as well as of the rich furni- LECT. xi 
ture contained within it. The following verses are those to The house 
which I especially allude : 

" Delightful the house in which she is, 

Between men, and children, and women, 

Between druids and musical performers, 

Between cup-bearers and door-keepers. 
" Between horse-boys who are not shy, 

And table servants who distribute ; 

The command of each and all of these 

Hath Crede the fair, the yellow-haired. 
" It would be happy for me to be in her dun, 

Among her soft and downy couches. 

Should Credd deign to hear [my suit], 

Happy for me would be my journey. 
" A bowl she has whence berry-juice flows, 

By which she colours her eye-brows black ; 

[She has] clear vessels of fermenting 'ale ; 

Cups she has, and beautiful goblets. 
" The colour [of her dwi\ is like the colour of lime, 

Within it are couches and green rushes ; 

Within it are silks and blue mantles ; 

Within it are red gold and crystal cups. 
" Of its grianan [sunny chamber] the corner stones 

Are all of silver and of yellow gold ; 

Its thatch in stripes of faultless order, 

Of [birds'] wings of brown and crimson-red. 
" Two door-posts of green I see ; 

Nor is its door devoid of beauty ; 

Of carved silver, long has it been renowned, 

Is the lintel that is over its door. 
" Credos chair is on your right hand, 

The pleasantest of the pleasant it is ; 

All over a blaze of Alpine gold, 

At the foot of the beautiful couch. 
" A gorgeous couch in full array, 

Stands directly above the chair, 

It was made by [or at?] TuiU, in the east, 

Of yellow gold and precious stones. 
" There is another couch on your right hand, 

Of gold and silver, without defect; 

With curtains, with soft [pillows] ; 

And with graceful rods of golden bronze. 
" The household which are in her house, 

To the happiest of conditions have been destined ; 


Gray and glossy are their garments, 

3 house of Twisted and fair is their flowing hair. 

" Wounded men would sink in sleep, 

Tho' ever so heavily teeming with blood, 
With the warbling of the fairy birds 

From the eaves of her sunny grianan. 

# # * * # 

" One hundred feet are in Credos house, 

From the one gable to the other; 

And twenty feet in measure, 

There are in the breadth of its noble door. 
" Its portico with its thatch 

Of the wings of birds, blue and yellow ; 

Its lawn in front, and its well 

[Formed] of crystal and of carmogal [carbuncles ?] 
" Four posts to every bed, 

Of gold and of silver gracefully carved ; 

A crystal gem between every two posts ; 

They are no cause of unpleasantness. 
" There is a vat there of kingly bronze, 

From which flows the pleasant juice of malt; 

There is an apple-tree over the vat, 

In the abundance of its heavy fruit". 


This poem is of especial value, inasmuch as it describes with 
such minuteness not only the form, size, and materials of what 
a poet in the earliest period of our literature would have re- 
garded as a beautiful house, but also the nature, position, and 
materials of the principal articles 1 of furniture in a mansion of 
those primitive times. 

To return now to more general considerations : 

> Rath- It appears from our ancient authorities, that the pagan Gaedhil 
caiseai- had two classes of professional builders: the Rath-bhuidM, or 
der< J?aZ/i-builder, who built the Rath, Dun, and Lis, which were 
formed of earth ; and the Caisleoir, or CaismZ-builder, who built 
the Caiseai, the Cathair, and the Dun when it was constructed 
of stone. These authorities go as far as even to preserve the 
names of some of the most ancient professors of both arts, not 
only in Erinn, but even in the far east. Thus, the Book of 
Leinster (fol. 27, b) presents us with the following list, headed: 
" Hi sunt nomina virorum componentium lapides": which I 
believe is bad Latin for, " These are the names of the men 
who built in stone". "Cabar was the Caiseai [i.e. stone-work] 
builder of Tara ; Ilian was Solomon's Caiseai builder. Canor 
was Nimrod's Caiseai builder. Barnib was the C&iseal builder 


of Jericho. Cir was the Caiseal builder of Rome. Arann LECT - 
was the Caiseal builder of Jerusalem. Alen was the Caiseal The Rat 
builder of Constantinople. Buchur was the JRath [i.e. earth- th^cofc 
work] builder of Nimrod. Cingdorn was Curoi-Mac-Daire'a builder - 
stone (Caiseal) builder", [who built for him Cathair Conroi, 
the ruins of which may still exist, somewhere to the west of 
Tralee, in the county of Kerry]. Goll-Clochair, the son of 
Bran, it was that built Caiseal [Cashel], the place so-called, for 
^Engus Mac Nadfraich. Rigrinn [elsewhere Frigrinn\ was 
the stone (caiseal) builder of Aileach, assisted by Gablan the 
son of U-Gairbh. Traighlethan was the .RaifA-builder of Tara. 
Blocc, son of Blar, was the Rath-builder of Cruachan. Blanc6, 
son of Dalran, was the Rath-builder of Emania. Balar, 
the son of Buarainech, was the .Ra^A-builder of Breas [the 
king of the Tuatlia D6 Danann], and who built for him Rath- 
Breisi, in Connacht. Crichel, the son of Dubhchluitht, was the 
Rath-builder of Alinn" 1 (in Leinster). Dubhaltach Mac Fir- 
bissigh, commonly called Dudley Mac Firbis, the last great 
antiquary of that celebrated Connacht family, has preserved a 
copy of this list of builders, in prose and verse, with some slight 
differences, in the preface to his great genealogical work, com- 
piled in the year 1650. (11): 

( J1 ) " Here", he says, " are the names of some of the masons (or builders) who 
are called the masons (or builders) of the chief stone buildings. 

" Alian was Solomon's Caiseal- builder. Cabur was the Caiseal- builder of 
Temair. Barnib was the C"aisea/-builder of Jericho. Bacus was the Rath- 
builder of Nimrod Cingdorn was Curoi Mac Daire's Caisea/-builder. Cir 
was the Catseo^-builder of Rome. Arann was the CaiseaZ-builder of Jerusalem. 
Oilen was the Caisea /-builder of Constantinople. Bole, the son of Blar, was 
the /2a<A-builder of Cruachan. Goll of Clochar [now Hamster, in the county 
of Limerick] was the Caiseal- builder of Nadfraech [who founded the first stone 
building at the place still called Cashel]. Casruba was the Caiseal builder of 
Ailinn. Ringin, or Rigrin, and Gabhlan the son of U- Gairbh, or Garbhan the 
son of U-Gairbh, were the two CatseaZ-builders of Aileach [near Derry]. 
Troiyhltthan was the .Ra^A-builder of Temair. Bainchtf or Bailchn, the son 
of Dobhru, was the Rath- builder of Emania. Balur, the son of Buan-lam- 
hach, was the Rath-builder of Rath-Breisi [in Connacht]. Crichel, the son of 
Dubh-chruit, was the .Ra/A-builder of the Rath of Ailinn" [in Leinster]. 

" And these", he continues, " were the chief stone-builders, as the poet 

" Ailian with Solomon of the hosts, " In Constantinople, with activity, 
A beautiful, noble Ceu'sea/-build- Cleothor was powerful in his art; 

er ; With Nimrod, without fear of 

With Nimrod, as graceful builder, weakness, 

Caur it was that built a Caiseal. Bacus the noble was Rath-bvul- 

" Barnab in his own good time, der. 

Was the Catsea/-builder of Jeri- " Curoi's Caisea^-builder was gifted 

cho's land ; Cingdorn ; 

Rome took Cir, graceful was his With the son of Natfraech was 

chisel ; Goll of Clochar ; 

Arann was the mason of Jerusa- Casruba was the priceless Caineal- 

lem. builder, 


LECT. xix. M.SLC Firbis, in answer to those who would deny the existence 
of stone-building in ancient Erinn, offers some fair remarks, from 
which I quote the following passages : 

"It is only because lime- cast walls are not seen standing in 
the place in which they were erected a thousand and a half, or 
two thousand, or three thousand and more years since, what it 
is no wonder should not be ; for, shorter than that is the time 
in which the ground grows over buildings when they are once 
ruined, or when they fall down of themselves with age In 
proof of this, I have myself seen within (the last) sixteen years, 
many lofty lime-cast castles, built of limestone; and at this day, 
(having fallen) there remains of them but a mound of earth ; 
and hardly could a person ignorant of their former existence, 
know that there had been buildings there at all. Let this, and 
the works that were raised hundreds and thousands of years 
ago, be put together [compared], and it will be no wonder, 
were it not for the firmness of the old work over the work of 
these times, if a stone or an elevation of earth can be recognized 
in their place. But such is not the case, for such is the dura- 
bility of the ancient work, that there are great royal raths and 
lisses in abundance throughout Erinn ; in which there are many 
hewn, smooth stones, and cellars or apartments, under ground, 
within their enclosures, such as Rath Mailcatha, at Castle Con- 
nor, Bally-O'Dowda in Tir Fhiachrach, on the brink of the 
[river] Muaidhe [Moy]. There are nine smooth stone cellars 
under the mound of this rath ; and I have been within in it, and 
I think it is one of the oldest raths in Erinn ; and the height of 
its walls would be a good height for a cow-keep". 

I make this quotation from Mac Firbis only for what it is 
worth ; for he does not absolutely assert that the masonry con- 

Who used to have great stone- Was the Rath-builder of the noble 

hewing hatchets. king of Emanla. 
"The two Caiseal- builders of armed " Balur, of whom it was worthy, 

Aifeach, It was that formed the strong 

Rigru and Garbhan son of U- Rath-Breis; 

Gairbh ; Cricel the son of Dubhrailh, with- 

Troigltlhan, an hereditary beauti- out reproach, 

ful builder, Was the acute builder of Aillinn. 
Was the .RaM-builder of the strong " May the high and happy heavens 

king of Temair. Be given to Domhnall, the son of 

"Bole the son of Blar, from sweet Flanncan, 

Ath- Blair, Who has composed a poem, no in- 

Was the .KctfA-builder of the circu- direct numbers, 

lar Cruachan ; From Ailian down to Aillinn. 

Bainche the gifted, from Bearbha, [Ailian". 

I have not been able to obtain any other reference to Domhnall, the son 
of Flanncan, the author of this poem ; but I am satisfied the poem as it stands 
is as old as the tenth century. 


tained lime and mortar ; and there can be no denial of the ex- 
istence of stone forts in this country from the earliest times, as 
evidenced not only by our oldest historical records and tradi- 
tions, but by the very great number of them of the remotest 
antiquity, which still remain in wonderful preservation. 

The following extract from a large fragment of a curious 
and very ancient tale, preserved in the Leabhar na h-Uidhre 
(R.I A.), will tend to explain more closely the actual mode 
of building, and the materials of those ancient houses of which 
I have been speaking. The story is referred to a remote period 
in Irish History ; and the substance of it may be told in a few 

In the time of Conchobar Mac Nessa, the celebrated king s , tol> y of the 
of Ulster, who was contemporary of our Saviour, there lived in ancHna.- 
Ulster a famous satirist, called Bricrind Nemh-thenga, or " Bri- 
crind of the Poisoned Tongue", (from whom Loch- Brier end, 
now called Loch-Brickland, in the county of Down, derives 
its name). Bricrind was a constant guest at the court of King 
Conchobar, at Emania; where it may well be supposed the 
purchase of silence from his bitter tongue brought him many a 
gift from a people always, even to this day, peculiarly sensitive 
to the shafts of satire. This Bricrind once proposed to himself 
to prepare a great feast for the king, the knights of the Royal 
Branch, and the other nobles of Ulster, and their wives ; not, 
however, out of gratitude or hospitality, but simply to gratify 
his mere love of mischief, and to work up a serious quarrel, if 
possible, by exciting such a spirit of envy and jealousy among 
the ladies, as would draw their husbands into war with one 
another. In the very commencement of the tale, in which 
these scenes are related, occurs a passage which I may trans- 
late directly from the original, because it bears at once on our 
present subject. 

"Bricrind of the Poisoned Tongue had a great feast for 
Conchobar Mac Nessa, and for all the Ultonians. A full year 
was he preparing for the feast. There was built by him, in 
the meantime, a magnificent house in which to serve up the 
feast. This house was built by Bricrind at Dun-Rudhraidhe, 
[probably the exact place now called Dundrum, in the county 
of Down], in likeness to [the house of] the Royal Branch at 
JEmain-Macha, (or Emania), except alone that his house excel- 
led in material and art, in beauty and gracefulness, in pillars 
and facings, in emblazonments and brilliancy, in extent and 
variety, in porticoes and in doors, all the houses of its time. 

" The plan upon which this house was built was on the plan plan of hu 
of the Teach-Midhchuarta, [i.e. the great Banqueting House of'" 1 
VOL. ir. 2 


his grianan 
or sun- 
house ; 

his invita- 
tion to Con- 
chobar and 
the Ulto- 

Tara]. [There were] nine couches in it from the fire to the 
wall : Thirty feet was the height of every gold-gilt bronze front 
of them all. There was a kingly couch built for Conchobar ' 
[the king] in the front part of that kingly house, above all the 
other couches of the house ; [and it was] inlaid with carbuncles, 
and other brilliants besides, and emblazoned with gold, and 
silver, and carbuncles, and the finest colours of all countries; 
so that day and night were the same in it. The twelve couches 
of the twelve heroes of Ulster were built around it. The style 
of the work, and the material, were equally ponderous. Six 
horses were [employed] to draw home [from the wood] every 
post ; and [it required] seven of the strong men of Ulster to 
entwine (or set) every rod; and thirty builders of the chief 
builders of Erinn were [engaged], in the building and the 
ordering of it. 

" There was a grianan (or sun-house) built by Bricrind for 
himself, on a range with the couches of Conchobar and the 
heroes of Ulster. That grianan was built with carvings and 
ornaments of admirable variety ; and windows of glass were set 
in it on all sides. There was one of these windows set over his 
own couch ; so that he could see the state of the entire of the 

eat house before him from his couch ; [he built this] because 
e well knew that the [great chiefs of the] Ultonians would not 
admit him [to feast] into the [same] house [with them]. 

" Now, when Bricrind had finished his great house, and his 
grianan, and furnished both with coverlets and beds and pil- 
lows, as well as with a full supply of ale and of food, and when 
he saw that there was nothing whatever in which it was defi- 
cient, of the furniture and the materials of the feast, then he went 
forth until he arrived at Emain-Macha, to invite Conchobar, 
and the nobles of the men of Ulster along with him. 

" This was the way, now, on which the Ultonians held a fair 
at Emain-Macha. He receives welcome there, and he sat at 
Conchobar's shoulder; and then he addressed Conchobar and 
the Ultonians : ' Come with me', said he, ' to accept a banquet 
with me'. ' I am well pleased', said Conchobar, ' if the Ulto- 
nians are pleased'. But Fergus Mac R6igli, and the nobles of 
Ulster answered, and said: ' We shall not go', said they, 'be- 
cause our dead would be more numerous than our living, after 
we should be set at variance by Bricrind, if we were to go to 
partake of his banquet'. ' That will be worse for ye, then, 
indeed', said he, ' which I shall do to ye if ye do not come 
with me'. ' What is it thou wilt do then ?' said Conchobar, 
1 if they do not go with thee ?' " [They then argue for some 
time ; and at last :] ' It is better for us to go', said Fergus Mac 


RoiqJi; ' what he has said he will verify', said he. But as a LECT. xix 
precaution against his subtle tongue, Sencha the son of Ailill, 
the chief poet of Ulster, advised them : ' Since', said he, ' there 
is an objection to going with Bricrind, exact securities from 
him ; and place eight swordsmen around him for the purpose of 
conveying him out of the house when he has shown them the 
feast'. So Furbaide Ferbeann, the son of [king] Conchobar, 
went with this message, and told Bricrind. ' I am well pleased', 
said Bricrind, ' to act accordingly'. So the Ultonians went 
forth from Emain- Macha ; each division with his king; each 
battalion with its chief; and each company with its leader". 

The story goes on to describe how, on the way, Bricrind he sows 
contrived to sow jealousies among all the principal champions, amon^'tiie 
by flattering each separately at the expense of the others ; so womeu > 
that, when they took their places in the banqueting house, he 
could see from his grianan that they were soon almost at dag- 
gers drawn. It then proceeds. 

" It happened just to his desire, that, at this very time, 
fedelm Noi-chridhe, [i.e. " the Ever-blooming Fedelm"] the 
wife of LaeghairS Buadhach, was leaving the house with fifty 
of her attendant women, to take the cool air outside for a while ; 
and Bricrind accosted her, and said. ' Well done this night, 
thou wife of Laeghaire Buadhach; it is no nickname to call 
thee Fedelm the ever-blooming, because of the excellence of 
thy shape, and because of thy intelligence, and because of thy 
family. Conchobar, the king of the chief province of Erinn, 
is thy father, and Laeghaire Buadhach thy husband. Now I 
would not think it too much for thee that none of the women 
of Ulster should come before thee into the banqueting house ; 
but that it should be after thy heels that the whole band of the 
women of Ulster should come, [and I say to thee that] if it be 
thou that shalt be the first to enter the house this night, thou 
shalt be queen over all the other women of Ulster'. Fedelm 
went forth then as far as three ridges out from the house. 

" Immediately after, came out Lendabair, the daughter of 
Eoghan Mac Duirtheacht [king of Farney] , and wife of Conall 
Cearnach [the great champion] ; and Bricrind addressed her, 
and said. ' Well done, Lendabair 1 , said he ; ' it is no nickname 
to call thee Lendabair , [i.e. the Favourite], because thou art the 
beloved and desired of the men of the whole world, for the 
splendour and lustre [of thy beauty]. As far as thy husband 
excels the warriors of the world in beauty and valour, thou ex- 
cellest the women of Ulster'. And so, though much of flattering 
praise he had bestowed upon Fedelm, he lavished twice as much 
upon Lendabair. 



" Emer, Cuchulainn's wife, came out next. ' A safe journey 
to, O Emer, daughter of For gall Manach\ said Bricrind: 
' thou wife of the best man in Erinn : Emer of the beautiful 
hair. The kings and the princes of Erinn are at enmity about 
thee. As far as the sun excels the stars of heaven, so far dost 
thou excel the women of the whole world, in face, and in shape, 
and in family, in youth and in lustre, in fame and in dignity, 
and in eloquence'. So, though great the flattering praise he be- 
stowed on the other women, he lavished twice as much upon 

" The three women moved on then till they reached the same 
place, that is, three ridges from the house ; and none of them 
knew that the other had been spoken to by Bricrind. They 
returned to the house then. They passed over the first ridge 
with a quiet, graceful, dignified carriage; hardly did any one of 
them put one foot beyond another. In the second ridge their 
steps were closer and quicker. The ridge nearest to the house 
[in getting over it] each woman sought to forcibly take the lead 
of her companions ; and they even took up their dresses to 
the calves of their legs, vying with each other who should 
enter the house first ; because what Bricrind said to each, un- 
known to the others, was, that she who should first enter the 
house should be queen of the whole province. And such was 
the noise they made in their contest to enter the kingly house, 
that it was like the rush of fifty chariots arriving there ; so that 
they shook the whole kingly house, and the champions started 
up for their arms, each striking his face against the other 
throughout the house. 

" ' Stop', said Sencha, [the judge], ' they are not foes that 
have come there ; but it is Bricrind that has raised a contest 
between the women since they have gone out. I swear by the 
oaths of my territory', said he, ' that if the house is not closed 
against them, their dead will be more numerous than their living'. 
So the door-keepers shut the door immediately. But Emer, 
the daughter of Forgall Manach and wife of Cuchulainn, ad- 
vanced in speed before the other women, and put her back to 
the door, and hurled the door-keepers from it before the other 
women came up. Then their husbands stood up in the house, 
each of them anxious to open the door before his wife, that his 
own wife should so be the first to enter the house. ' This will 
be an evil night', said Conchobar the king. Then he struck 
his silver pin against the bronze post of his couch ; and all im- 
mediately took their seats. ' Be quiet', said Sencha [the judge] ; 
' it is not a battle with arms that shall prevail here, but a battle 
of words'. Each woman then put herself under the protection 


of her husband outside : and it was then they delivered those 
speeches which are called by the poets the JBriatharchath San the snath. 
Uladh, the ' battle-speeches of the women of Ulster' ". ' 

We must for the present pass over these long-celebrated 
speeches, remarkable though they are in point of mere lan- 
guage, as examples of the copiousness and delicacy of the 
ancient Gaedhelic tongue in terms of laudation, such as these 
three princesses of Ulster lavished on their husbands on this 

At the conclusion of the harangues, the champions Laeghair6 
Buadhach and Conall Cearnach rushed suddenly at the wooden 
wall of the house, and, knocking a plank out of it, brought in 
their wives. Not so Cuchulainn; "he raised up", the story 
tells us, " that part of the house which was opposite his couch, 
so that the stars of heaven were visible from beneath the wall ; 
and it was through this opening that his wife came in to him". 
And the tale goes on to say that, " Cuchulainn then let the 
house fall down suddenly again, so that he shook the whole 
fabric, and laid BricrincTs grianan prostrate on the ground, so 
that Bricrind himself and his wife were cast into the mire, 
among the dogs. Then Bricrind harangued the Ultonians, and 
conjured them to restore his house to its original position, as it 
still remained inclined to one side. And all the champions of 
the Ultonians united their strength and exerted themselves to 
restore the balance of the house, but without effect". They 
then begged of Cuchulainn to try his own strength on it, which 
he did, and alone restored the house to its perpendicular. 

This is an extravagant tale in form ; and a great part of it 
may at first sight appear somewhat irrelevant to the purpose of 
this Lecture. It was proper, however, to give so much at least 
of the story as to explain the occasion of the singular perform- 
ance attributed, in the exaggerated language of the poet, to 
the hero Cuchulainn, who fills completely the part of Hercules 
in our ancient tales. And it happens that none of the other 
great houses already mentioned have been described, in some 
respects, with the same minuteness as to form, material, prepa- 
ration for building, furniture, and internal arrangement, as this 
celebrated house and yrianan of Bricrind. For instance : we 
are told that there were six horses to carry home every post or m^rf 
plank of the walls ; that it took seven of the stoutest men in ^ c r ^ r ' 
Ulster to weave or interlace between the upright posts, each of 
the stout rods which, like basket-work, filled up the space be- 
tween these posts ; and there were thirty builders or carpenters 
besides. The rods thus used were, I believe, uniformly of 
hazle, perhaps because that was the smoothest of all the forest 


LECT. xix. trees. Again, we are told, that this house was supplied with 
glass windows ; and that it was supplied, as well as BricrincTs 
own grianan, with coverlets, beds, and pillows. And we 
learn that the panels and posts of these beds or couches, (for 
they answered both purposes,) were gorgeously adorned and 
emblazoned. So that, making due allowance for the poetry of 
the description, this house of Bricrind must have been an ele- 
gant, as well as a commodious building ; and though we must 
not take the description as representing more than the poet's 
ideal of what he would have regarded as a splendid house in 
his own time, still there can be no doubt but that such edifices 
as that described, were in their main characteristics the prevail- 
ing form of house in ancient times in this country ; and in fact 
the use of the wooden basket-work building, with its decora- 
tions, came down, as we shall soon see, to a comparatively late 
period of our history . (10) 

[('> See INTRODUCTION on the similar houses of the Gauls and the illustra- 
tions from the Colonne Antonine in the Louvre, Figs. 64, 55.] 


[Delivered 12th July, 1859.] 

(VII.) OF BUILDINGS, FORNITDBE, ETC. ; (continued). The descriptions of 
buildings in our ancient MSS.,even when poetical in form, and not strictly 
accurate as to date, are still valuable for the object of these lectures. Veracity 
of the evidence respecting the " Great Banqueting Hall" of Tara in the time 
of Cormac Mac Airt, as given by Dr. Fetrie ; no record of the changes which 
took place at Tara subsequent to that time. Residences of the monarcha 
of Erinn after the desertion of Tara. Desertion of other celebrated royal 
residences, Ernania, Cruachan, etc. Division of the people into classes ; 
this division did not impose perpetuity of caste ; increase of wealth enabled 
a man to pass from one rank to another ; crime alone barred this advance- 
ment ; the qualifications as to furniture and houses of the several classes of 
Airs or landholders ; fines for injury to the house of the Air Reirt Breithe ; 
of the Aire" Desa; of the Airt-Ard; of the Aire Forgaill; of the kkig of a 
territory. Law against damage or disfigurement of buildings and furniture: 
of the house of a Bo-Air^; of the house of an Air-Desa ; of the house of an 
Airtf-Tuise ; of the house of an Air^-Ard. Law directing the provision to be 
made for aged men. Shape of houses in ancient Erinn ; construction of the 
round house ; reference to the building of such a house in an Irish life of St. 
Colman Ela ; a similar story told of St. Cumin Fada. No instance recorded 
of an ecclesiastical edifice built of wicker work ; two instances of the build- 
ing of oratories of wood ; story of the oratory of St. Moling ; quatrain of 
Rumand Mac Colman on the oratory of Rethan Ua Suanaigh ; account of 
Rumand writing a poem for the Galls of Dublin ; he carries his wealth to Oil 
Belaigh; statement of seven streets of Galls or foreigners at that place; 
importance of the account of Rumand. 

IT is of very little moment to the history of the country whe- 
ther the descriptions, preserved in our ancient manuscripts, of 
the " Great Houses" of the Royal Branch, of Emania, in Ulster; 
of the " Great House" into which Fraecli, the son of Fidhadh, 
was ushered with his followers, at Cruachan, in Connacht ; or 
of the " Great House" which Bricrind built at Rath Rudhraidhd, 
in Ulster (all these accounts referring to the period of the In- 
carnation), be strictly correct in all their dates, or tinged with 
somewhat of the story-teller's exaggeration. The imagination 
of writers say of the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries must 
have been grounded, at least, on what they were accustomed 
to see about them ; and they must have described (be it indeed 
with some colouring as to accessories) merely that state of things 
which still continued in vivid recollection, if not in actual exist- 
ence, in their time In this way even the most poetic accounts 
are important to history; just as those of Homer are so with 
reference to similar matters, although mixed up with so much 
of the fabulous and the impossible in action. 


LECT xx. As to the character of the " Great House of the Thousands of 
Soldiers", and the Great Banqueting House at Tara, in the time 
of Cormac Mac Airt (that is, in the middle of the third century), 
and in the reign of Laegliaire Mac Neill (that is, at the time of 
the coming of Saint Patrick in the fifth century), no candid reader 
will for a moment refuse credence to the evidences of them pub- 
lished by Dr. Petrie in his admirable Essay on the History and 
Antiquities of Tara Hill, at least to the extent to which their 
probable veracity is measured by that thoughtful and most cau- 
tious writer. 

Of the changes or improvements, if any, in the mansions of 
Tara, between the death of Laegliaire Mac Neill and its total 
desertion as a royal residence and seat of the central government 
of the kingdom (about the middle of the sixth century), no 
record has come down to us, as far as I know. Neither have 
we any account, that I have seen, of the style or particular 
character of the dwellings of the monarchs, or of the provincial 
kings of Erinn, who succeeded Diarmait, the son of Fergus 
Cerrbheoil, the last occupier of the Great House of Tara, down 
to the final overthrow of the monarchy in the twelfth century. 
Residences For, after the desertion of the ancient seat of the supreme 
monarchs of royalty, each of the succeeding monarchs fixed his residence in 
thedesemon soni e part of his own provincial territories ; so, the Clann 
of Tar*. Colmain, or Southern Ui-Neill, who were the hereditary prin- 
ces of Tara and Meath, and who subsequently took the name 
of 0'Maeilsheachlainn,had their chief seat at Dun-na-Sciath, on 
the bank of Loch Aininn (now called Loch Ennel, near Mul- 
lingar, in Westmeath) ; whilst the northern Ui-Neill, subse- 
quently represented by the O'Neills, whenever they succeeded 
to the monarchy, held their court and residence at the ancient 
provincial palace of Aileach, near Derry, of which mention 
was made in the last Lecture; and when Brian Borumha 
came to the supreme throne in the year 1002, he continued to 
reside at the celebrated Ceann-Coradh (a name which signifies 
literally, the " Head of the Weir", at the place now called 
Killaloe, in the county of Clare), a place about a mile south by 
east from Grianan-Lachtna, near Craig-Liath, the once noble 
residence of his great-grandfather Lachtna, some traces of which 
even still remain. 

So also, when Torloch M6r O'Conor, and his son Rudh- 
raidhe after him, became monarchs, in the first part of the 
twelfth century, they had their residence on the bank of Loch 
En (a place now represented, I believe, by the castle of Ros- 
common). This is sufficiently shown in the Annals of the 
Four Masters, at the year 1225. For, it appears that, in that 


year, Hugli O'Conor having succeeded his father, Cathal LECT. xx . 
Cradbh-dearg (i.e " of the Red Hand"), in the kingship, dis- 
possessed an important chief, named Donn-6g Mac Erachtaigh, 
of his lands; that Mac Eraclitaigk invited O'Neill to his as- 
sistance against his own king; and that the latter proceeded to 
Athlone, in the neighbourhood of which he remained two 
nights, and totally plundered Loch En, from whence, we are 
informed, he carried off O'Conor's jewels. It seems, however, 
that this place was abandoned afterwards by the O'Conors; 
as I find, from two contemporaneous poems in my own pos- 
session, that Aedh, the son of Eoglian O'Conor, removed their 
residence from Loch En to Cluain Fralch (a place near Strokes- 
town, in the same county), where he built a residence, in the 
year 1309. It is in description and praise of this new palace 
of Cluain Fraich that the two poems to which I allude (and to 
which I shall have occasion to refer again) were written. 

It appears from an ancient poem, also in my possession, that Emania, 
Emania ceased to be the royal residence of the kings of Ulster etcTaiso*' 
after the death of Ferghus Fogha, in the year 331 ; Cruachan, deserted - 
to be the residence of the kings of Connacht, after the death of 
Raghallach in 645 ; Caiseal (Cashel), to be the residence of the 
kings of Munster, after the death ofCormacMac Cuilenndin in 
1)03 ; Nds [now Naas], the residence of the kings of Leinster, after 
the death of Cearbhall, son ofMniregan, in 904 ; and Aileach, to 
be the residence of the kings of Ulster of the Ui-Neill line, after 
the death ofMuircheartach, the son ofJViall Grlun-dubh, who was 
killed in a battle with the Danes, at Ath Firdiadh (now Ardee), 
in the year 941. The poem in which these facts are preserved, 
was written about A.D. 1620, by Eochaidh O'h-Eoghusa, for the 
revived castle of Mac-Dermot's Rock, of Loch Ce. 

Having disposed, so far, of our reference to special buildings 
and residences of the higher classes, in the more ancient time, 
we proceed now to the consideration of the dwellings of the 
less exalted classes, the arrangements of which were, in some 
respects, regulated by law according to the rank of the owner. 

The people in ancient Erinn were divided, as I explained on 
a former occasion, 00 into several classes ; those who had no Division of 
land nor dwellings; those who had land at rent not amount- in'to classes; 
ing to the value of that number of cows which was required to 
support the rank of a cow-chief, or rich grazier ; those who had 
the required quantity of land to entitle them to that rank ; and 
the degrees of that rank itself, in accordance with the increased 
number of cows or their grazing ; and lastly, those who inherited 

< in See Lect. ii., ante, vol. i. p. 33 et seq. [See also Appendix for the entire 
of the fragment of the Crith Gabhlack referred to in Lect. ii. 


this division 
did not 
of caste. 

Of the furni- 
ture and 
houses of 
the several 
classes of 

of the Og 

of the So 

of the Bo 
Febhsa ; 

or otherwise obtained any quantity of land for an absolute 
estate ; and of whom, again, there were three ranks. 

The general name for a man of any one of these classes was 
Airk, or Flaith, that is, something like our landlord; a term 
which may be applied at the present day to a man who lets 
ten acres of land, as well as to the man who lets ten thousand. 

The law did not impose perpetuity of caste upon any of 
those ranks, but left it open for them to ascend still higher in 
the scale of social dignity, should the prudence or industry of 
any man, or any of the chances of life, enable him to acquire 
more land and cattle; provided only that his moral status in 
society was not impeachable, this being always deemed essential 
by the social law of the country. Thus, no perjurer, no thief, 
no receiver of stolen property, no absconder from his lawful 
debts, no murderer, no homicide, no unlawful or unnecessary 
wounder of another, could ever legally rise in the scale of 
society, \intil he had made full and ample satisfaction, ac- 
cording to law, for his misdeeds. All the professors of the 
mechanical arts were eligible to rise in rank in the same man- 
ner, under the same conditions. 

I have already in a former Lecture explained from the ancient 
laws the nature of the different ranks of the AirSs, or land- 
holders, and the qualification of each rank in point of wealth. * 
I shall only here repeat so much of the laws respecting the 
different classes of society, as regards the size, the furniture, and 
the appointments of the houses allowed to or required to be 
kept by each of them, according to his rank ; because these 
laws contain much important information as to our immediate 

1st, The Og Air, or Young A ire. He was required to have 
a fourth part in a ploughing apparatus, namely, an ox, a sock 
(or plough -share), a goad, and head-gear for the control of the 
ox. He had a share in a kiln ; a share in a mill ; a share in a 
barn; and an exclusive cooking-caldron. His house was or- 
dained to be nineteen feet long, and his kitchen, or store room, 
thirteen feet. 

2nd, The Aitheach ar Athrebha, or Bo-AirS, who succeeded 
his father. He counted his stock by tens : he had ten cows, 
ten pigs, ten sheep, and a fourth part of a ploughing machine, 
namely, an ox, a sock, and a goad, and head-gear for control. 
He had a house twenty feet long, and a store room of fourteen 

3rd, The Bo-AirS Febhsa, or Best Cow-keeper. He had the 
land of four times seven Cumhals: his dwelling house measured 

< 12 -' Ubi supra, p. 35. 


twenty-seven feet, and his store room fifteen feet ; he had also LECT. xx. 
a share in a mill, in which his family and his refection-com- 
panies ground their corn ; he had a kiln, a barn, a sheep-house, 
a cow-house, a calf-house, and a pig-sty ; and he had within the 
enclosure of his dwelling-house six ridges of onions, and one or 
more of leeks [etc.]. 

4th, The Bo-Aird Gensa, or Chaste Cow-keeper. The furni- of the R O 
ture of his house (the dimensions of which are not given) in- 
cluded a large caldron, with its hooks and its bars ; a vat for 
brewing ale; and an ordinary working boiler, with minor 
vessels ; as well as spits, and flesh-forks ; kneading- troughs, and 
skins (to sift meal and flour on); a washing-trough, and a 
" head-bathing basin" ; tubs ; candlesticks ; knives (or hooks), 
for cutting or reaping rushes; a rope; an adze; an auger; a 
saw ; shears ; a forest-axe, for cutting every quarter's fifQ-wood ; 
every item of these without borrowing ; and a grinding-stone ; 
a billet-hook ; a dagger for slaughtering cattle ; perpetual fire, 
and a candle in a candlestick, without fail [i.e. he was bound 
to keep a fire always kindled, and lights in the evening] ; and 
perfect ploughing apparatus, with all its necessary works. 

5th, The AirS Reire BreitM, or the Judgment-distributing of the AM 
Cow-keeper. He had seven houses ; namely, a kiln, a barn, a smtM ; 
mill (that is a share in it) for his grinding purposes ; a dwelling- 
house of twenty-seven feet in length, with a store room of 
twelve feet ; a pig-sty ; a calf-house ; and a sheep-house. 

The fines appointed by law for injury to the house or furni- fines for 

c r ,1 1 11 i i v injury to the 

ture ot a man ot this class, may also be quoted as recording hou>e or 
some further particulars, thus. He was entitled to five seds, ti'ieTftT 
[the sed was sometimes a calf, and sometimes a heifer, or a c ^|. of 
cow], for a person climbing over the Us (or rampart of his 
house), without his leave ; but it was lawful to open its gate 
from without. Five seds for opening the door of his house 
without consent ; a cow for spying into it ; a calf for taking a 
handful of its thatch off; a year- old calf for two (handfuls); a 
two-year-old heifer, for an armful ; a three-year-old heifer (not 
bulled), for half a bundle ; a cow for a whole bundle, as well 
as restitution of the straw ; five seds for entering his house or 
his cow-house by breaking the doors ; a calf for breaking the 
withe (of the door) below ; a yearling for breaking the withe 
above; a heifer for breaking a wattle below; an older heifer 
for breaking a wattle above [that is, should the cow-house door 
be fastened by a wattle or bar, and not by a twig or gad, below 
and above] ; a yearling for disfiguring the door-posts of the 
front of his house ; a calf for the door-posts of the back of his 
house. The seventh part of the price of honour of every rank 


is paid for stealing anything out of his lawn (or green); a 
calf foi disfiguring the lintel of his back door ; a yearling for 
the lintel of his front door ; for stripping his couch, if it be a 
lock (of hair) from its pillow, two pillows are to be paid for it ; 
if it be a lock from the part on which he sits, two skins are to 
be paid ; if it be a lock from the foot, a pair of shoes are to be 

From these extracts we may form some idea of the style of 
the establishment of what, in old times, was looked upon as a 
farmer or landholder of the middle rank; but there is very 
much more connected with his position, privileges, and lia- 
bilities, too minute to be introduced into a lecture of this kind, 
and too technical to be understood without explanatory notes, 
which would lead us too far from our immediate object. All 
this information, however, will appear in the forthcoming pub- 
lications of the Brehon Law Commissioners. 

6th, The next Aird, or landlord, was the AirS-Ddsa ; that 
is, an Aire who possessed Des, or free land derived from his 
father and grandfather. Of this class of A irh there were four 
ranks, of which the simple AirS-Desa was the lowest. The 
dwelling house of the Air6-D6sa was twenty-seven feet long, 
with a proper store house ; it was to have eight beds, with their 
furniture in it, as well as vats and caldrons, and the other 
vessels becoming the house of an Air6, together with keeves. 

7th, The AirS-Ard, or High Aird, was so called because 
he was higher than the simple AirS-Desa, and took precedence 
of him. His dwelling house was to be twenty-nine feet in 
length ; his store house nineteen feet. Eight beds were to be 
in the dwelling house, with their full furniture, befitting the 
house of an Aird-Tuisd, with six brothrachs (or couches), with 
their proper furniture of pillows, and (stuffed) skins for sitting 
upon: he was also to have proper stands (or racks) in the 
house, furnished with vessels of yew of various sizes, and iron 
ones for different kinds of work; and bronze vessels, with a 
(bronze) boiler, in which would fit a cow, and a pig in bacon, etc. 

8th, The Aire-Forgaill, the third of this rank of Airds, so 
called because his evidence is good against all those before 
enumerated, wherever he undertakes to deny a charge ; because 
his qualifications are higher than those of his fellows, as thirty 
feet Avas to be the length of his dwelling house, and twenty 
that of his store house. The furniture of his house was of the 
highest order. 

9th, From those intermediate ranks of society we pass to 
the king of a territory or province. And the proper establish- 
ment for a king who is constantly resident at the head of his 


people (or territory) was as follows. Seven score feet of pro- LECT. xx. 
perly measured feet is the measure of his dun (or circular fort) 
each way ; seven feet is the thickness of its mound at top ; 
twelve feet at its base. He is a king only when his dun is 
surrounded with dreclita giallna, that is, with a trench made 
by his own tenants. Twelve feet is the breadth of its mouth 
and its depth ; and it is as long as the dun. Thirty feet is its 
length at the outside. Clerics are to bless his house ; and every 
one who damages it is to pay a cart load of wattles, and a cart 
load of rushes by way of fine. 

Such were, shortly, as indicated by the laws, the different 
classes of private houses in ancient Erinn, as distinguished from 
those great edifices of which I spoke in the last Lecture. But 
the Laws contain many passages in which still more minute 
details concerning the arrangement of personal residences are 
happily preserved to us. 

There is one chapter, or version, in particular, of the special Law against 
law against damage or disfigurement of buildings and furniture, house-Tana 
preserved in another part of the ancient code, which is so furniture : ~ 
curious and precise, that I think it will not be deemed an un- 
necessary repetition of some part of what has been already said 
on the subject. This law was specially intended to punish 
disfigurement by scratching or cutting the door-posts, the 
columns, and the fronts and heads of beds and couches. It 
runs as follows. 

" The house of a Bo-AirS (or Cow-chief). To disfigure its f f a ? < * 
south door-post, a sheep is paid for it ; a lamb for its north door- 
post : why is the south side more noble ? Answer. Because 
it is it that is in the view of the good man [of the house], who 
always sits in the north end (or part) of the house: because 
that is the part in which the good man always sits. Its lintel : 
a sheep for disfiguring its front ; a lamb for the back (or in- 
side). The incasement of his bed (or his couch) : a dairt [i.e. 
yearling calf] for it in front ; a sheep for the back. 

" The house of an Aire-Desa. For cutting its south door- of a Awe- 
post, there is a dairt (or yearling,) paid ; a sheep for the northern 
post. The door of this house receives the finish of a Gaulish 
axe (Gaill biaiC), and carving (aurscartadh). To disfigure 
(or cut) its south door-post, so as to render it useless, there is 
a cow paid for it ; and a heifer for the other post (at the back 
of the house); and restitution, [that is, posts in place of them]. 
It is the same that is paid for its lintel, and the fronts of his beds, 
(and couches) receive the finish of a channel- plane (rungcin) : 
should they be disfigured in front, there is a cow paid ; and an 
heifer for the back. If they be disfigured so as to be rendered 


xx. useless, there are fwe.seds, that is, a cow and a heifer, paid for 
the front, and restitution [of the posts] ; a cow only for the 

iri- "The house of an Aire-Tuise. Both its doors receive the 
finish of a channel plane (rungcin) and carving (aur scar tad] i). 
For disfiguring its south door-post there is a cow paid ; and a 
heifer for the northern. The same is paid for its lintel. For 
disfiguring the front of his bed (or couch), five seds, or a cow 
and an heifer, are paid ; and a cow for the backs. For dis- 
figuring it till it is rendered useless, there is half a cumhal, 
or a cow and an half, paid for the front ; and five seds, or a 
cow and an heifer, paid for the back. 

*ArT Air& " ^ e h use f an Aire-Ard. Its door-posts and the sides of 
its beds receive the finish of a diversifying plane (rungcin) ; and 
the carvings on his bed must be of the best kind that can be 
found in any house. For its disfigurement in its southern door- 
posts, five seds, or a cow and a heifer, are paid ; a cow for the 
northern posts. It is the same for its lintel. For disfigurement 
of the sides of its beds from the front, there is half a cumhal, or 
a cow and a-half, paid ; five seds, or a cow and a heifer, for the 
back ; for its disfigurement till it is rendered useless, there is 
a cumhal, or three cows, paid for the front, and half a cumhal 
for the back", [etc.]. 

These regulations contain abundant evidences of the amount 
of ornament and workmanship bestowed upon our domestic 
architecture and furniture in the earliest times. 

And here, before we pass from the special subject of the 
houses ordered by law to be kept by particular classes of men, 
and for particular purposes, let me make one more extract. It 
is one not merely useful in connection with my immediate sub- 
ject (as affording yet some further information as to the nature 
of the construction and furniture of ancient dwelling-houses), 
but interesting as a very curious instance of the care for the 
welfare of the people which so very strongly marks the code of 
our ancestors. It proves that even two thousand years ago, the 
legislators of ancient Erinn did not forget to make provision 
for those of the population who through age or infirmity were 
no longer able to take care of themselves, by working for their 
subsistence upon their share of the tribe-land. The article of 
law in question is that which prescribes directions for the houses 
in which " superannuated men" were to be provided with the 
means of comfortable existence, and is as follows : 

Law " The special law of a superannuated man's rent, that is, a man 

provision for who has fallen into old age. He has a foster-child to whom he 
the aged. sa y g : Q o f rom me t o mv family, and tell them that they shall 


maintain me'. They come to him ; and they say unto him : LECT. X x. 
' What rent [or maintenance] shall we give thee ? How many 
items of maintenance are allowed by the law ?' Answer. Three : 
maintenance in food, maintenance in attendance, maintenance 
of milk. The maintenance in food is, half a bairgliin (or cake) 
of wheaten meal, with salt ; and a vessel of sour milk. The 
maintenance of attendance is, to wash his body every twentieth 
night, and to wash his head every Saturday. The maintenance 
of milk is, one milch-cow every month throughout the year. 
His house of maintenance is to be seventeen feet long ; it is to 
be woven [as basket-work] till it reaches the lintel of the door ; 
there is to be a wing [or weather-board] between every two 
weavings from that up to the ridge ; there are to be two door- 
ways in it : a door to one, a hurdle to the other. A chest to be 
at one side of the house, a bed at the other side ; it is to have a 
kitchen [or store-house] to it. In the fort [or enclosure] of 
maintenance [that is, the little garden within which the house 
stood], there can fit but four ridges; that is, two ridges at each 
side of the house : twelve feet is to be the length of each ridge ; 
and eight its breadth. The bundle of firewood of maintenance 
is to consist of seventeen sticks, each tree of which should be of 
such size that, if split into four parts, each part would be suffi- 
cient for the handle of a forest-axe or hatchet. [As to] the can 
(ploif) of maintenance, seven hands is to be its circumference at 
the base; six hands in the middle; and four hands at top". 

From the measurement of the buildings described in the fore- Sha P e f 

,11 . > n 11 houses in 

going extracts, the houses in ancient iLrinn would appear to ancient 
have been in some instances of a rectangular or oblong form. El 
There is, however, absolute proof of the existence of round or 
circular houses, made chiefly, or wholly, of wicker-work ; and 
it is even probable that this was the more general form. The 
plan of this description of house was very simple, and may be 
seen still preserved in the wicker or wattle sheep-cots in many 
of those parts of Ireland where timber is abundant enough to 
render its use more economical in raising these simple tempo 
rary structures, than either stone or earth. 

The plan of the round house was precisely that of the ordi- construction 

v . i . , J n ., , of the round 

nary tent or pavilion, with one exception in detail, however, house. 
While the usual canvas tent rises tapering, from a certain 
extent of circumference, to the top of a central upright pole, 
the round wicker-house was built by setting up perpendicularly 
a number of poles or posts, of more or less solidity, ranged in a 
circle of the necessary diameter, and at equal distances from 
each other. The interstices between these poles or posts were 
then filled up with stout hazle and other rods, in the form of 


T.ECT. xx. wicker or basket-work, until it reached the required height of 
the wall. In the meantime there was firmly set up in the centre 
within, a stout post, called a tuireadh, of length commensurate 
with the required height of the roof; into which were inserted 
by mortices, or otherwise attached, a certain number of rafters, 
which descended slantingly all round to the tops of the upright 
posts of the wall, into which they were received by tenon and 
mortice, or otherwise attached, in the same way as at the roof- 
tree. The number of these main rafters, as we shall call them, 
need not, and could not, have been great ; because, according as 
their distance asunder increased as they radiated from the centre, 
cross-beams or pieces were inserted between them, as often as 
was needed, until at last a regular shield-roof, with a sharp 
pitch, was formed above ; across the rafters and ribs, thus in- 
serted were then laid bands or laths, or narrow slips of wood, 
which were fastened with pegs, or with gads, that is, twisted 
withes, forming a regular network from the top of the roof-tree 
to the walls. On these, again, were laid or fastened, at short 
distances, what may be called a sheeting of rods and thin 
branches of trees, stretching from the roof-tree to the wall. 
And now, the shell of the house being finished, it was thatched 
with straw, rushes, or sedge, and neatly fastened down with 
what are now Anglicised " scollops" (from the Gaedhelic word 
scolb, literally, a thin twig pointed at both ends), an ancient art 
of which the use, as we all know, is not yet forgotten among us. 
I cannot say how they staunched the walls of the round wicker- 
house, whether with clay, moss, or skins ; but it appears, from 
what we have seen in the last Lecture, that some houses at least 
were covered with the wings and skins of birds, though probably 
only by way of ornament. 3) 

There is a curious reference to the building of a round wicker- 
house preserved in the ancient Gaedhelic Life of Saint Colman 
Ela, of LannEla (now called Lynally, in the King's County). 
The story is this 

Account of The celebrated Saint Baoithin, the nephew of Saint Colum 
of e a b rou d nd g CUM, was placed by the latter under the tuition of Saint Col- 
life of 'st* man ^ a ' ^ aoi ^ in ' s understanding was clear and acute enough, 
Caiman ha. but his memory failed him, and all his master's instructions 
availed him nothing. It happened that one day, Saint Colman 
was so irritated at the dulness of his pupil that he struck him ; 
whereupon the latter fled from the church into the neighbour- 
ing wood, to hide himself, to avoid his lessons. Here, how- 
ever, he discovered a man, alone, building a house ; and the 

c 3 ) [See INTRODUCTION on the similar Gaulish houses figured on the Colonne 
Antonine in the Louvre.] 


process is described, for the story says, that according as he 
came to the end of setting or weaving one rod into the wall, he ~ 
would immediately introduce the head of another; and so 
worked on, from rod to rod, setting one only at a time. Slow 
as this process appeared to the young student, still he saw the 
house rising apace ; and he said to himself: " Had I pursued my 
learning with this assiduity, it is probable that I might have be- 
come a scholar". A heavy shower of rain fell at the same time, 
and Baoithin took shelter from it under an oak-tree. Here he 
perceived a drop of the rain dripping from one leaf of the tree 
upon a particular spot. The youth pressed his heel upon this 
spot, forming a little hollow, which was soon filled up by the 
dripping of the single drop. Baoithin said then : " Ah ! if I had 
pursued my learning even by such slow degrees, I would Doubt- 
less have become a scholar"; and then he spoke this lay: 
" Of drops a pond is filled; 

Of rods a round-house is built ; 

The house which is favoured of God, 

More and more numerous will be its family. 
" Had I attended to my own lessons 

At all times and in all places, 

Tho' small my progress at a time, 

Still I would acquire sufficient learning 
" [It is a] single rod which the man cuts, 

And which he weaves upon his house : 

The house rises pleasantly, 

Tho' singly he sets the rod. 
" The hollow which my heel hath made, 

Be thanks to God and Saint Colman, 

Is filled in every shower by the single drop ; 

The single drop becomes a pool. 
" I make a vow, that while I live, 

I will not henceforth my lessons abandon ; 

Whatever the difficulty may be to me, 

It is cultivating learning I shall always be". 

A similar story is told of the celebrated Saint Cumin Fada, similar story- 
Bishop of Clonfert (who died A.D. 661), as to his having taken ^umin Iw*. 
a lesson in perseverance from seeing a little pool formed by the 
dripping of a single drop, and seeing a house rising to comple- 
tion by the weaving in of a single rod at a time. 

It does not appear that, even so late as this period (the 
seventh century), stone dwellings were in much repute or use, 
excepting ecclesiastical edifices ; and that these too were fre- 
quently if not generally built of wood down to the seventh and 
eighth centuries, we have the clearest proofs. It appears, how- 

VOL. ir. 3* 


I.ECT. xx. ever, from anotlier passage in the Life of Saint Colman Ela, 
quoted above, that stone buildings must have been occasionally 
used at the same time as wood. Thus says the Life : 

" One of the days that Colman was building the causeway 
which is situated at the rock on the western side [of the Church] 
[it happened that] there was no one engaged in setting the 
stones in the walls of the church, nor in the Caiseal [i.e. the 
encircling wall], nor in the Tochar [i.e. the causeway], on that 
day, who did not receive attendance from Duinechadh, who 
was the " second son of the king of that country, but who thus 
showed his humility and the fervour of his faith". 

In dealing with the subject of the dwelling houses and other 
buildings here in the early ages after the introduction of Chris- 
tianity, it would be impossible to separate the ecclesiastical and 
the laical buildings ; because the builders and architects of both 
were the same. The same architect planned the great stone 
church and the belfry, as well as the oratory, which was 
sometimes built of stone, but more generally of timber, in the 
first three centuries of our national Church. 

It does not appear in any ancient writing with which I am 
acquainted, that any kind of ecclesiastical edifice was built of 
basket or wicker work, like the houses of the laity just de- 
scribed. There are, however, at least two instances on record 
of the actual building of oratories, or small churches for private 
prayer, of wood, and instances of such interest that I cannot 
but cite them here. Both are connected with the life of the 
celebrated builder, Gobban Saer, of whom I shall have some- 
thing to say by and by. 

story of the The first of these instances is that of the oratory of Saint Mo- 
thforato^- li> n g f Tech Moling (now Saint Mullin's, in the county of Car- 
^ s *- low), and is recorded in the ancient Gaedhelic life of that saint. 

Moling. r _ 1 f* . . .... i n i i ... , _ 

ihe story as so singularly told, wild as it is in part, that 1 can- 
not but give it in full. But it is, of course, only valuable in 
our present inquiry as preserving a statement of the materials 
of which the oratory was built. It is as follows: 

" It was at this time the great ancient yew tree called the 
Eo Rossa [i.e. the Yew of Ross] was blown down. This 
famous tree became the property of Saint Molaist of Leithglinn, 
who had it cut up and distributed among the saints of Erinn. 
Saint Moling went to him and asked him for a share of the 
Yew of Ross; and Saint Motise presented him with as much 
of it as would make shingles for his oratory. Saint Moling 
then brought Gobban Saer to build his oratory. His com- 
pany consisted of eight carpenters and their eight wives, and 
ight boys. They continued with the saint for a whole year 


without commencing the work, and during this time their en- 
tertainment was never the worse. Gobban used every morning story of the 
to press them to go to the wood ; and what he said every day the'orafory 
was : ' Let us go in the name of the Heavenly Father to-day'. ^ 
Then at the end of the year he said: 'Let us go in the name 
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost'. 

" They went then at the end of the year to the wood, Saint 
Moling and Gobban, and having found a suitable tree, they 
began to cut it down. The first chip that flew from the tree 
struck Saint Moling on the eye and broke it ; he drew his cowl 
over it ; and, without informing them of what had happened, 
he bade them work well, while he should return home to read 
his office : this he did, and had his eye miraculously healed. 
Gobban and his assistants soon returned from the wood ; and 
the oratory was built forthwith. 

" In the meantime Gobban's wife, Ruadsecli Derg, had re- 
ceived a milch cow as a present from the saint. This cow was 
soon after stolen by a notorious thief named Drac, who in- 
fested the neighbourhood. The woman went to Saint Moling 
to complain of this. The saint sent a party of his people in 
search of the thief; and they found him roasting the cow at a 
large fire on the brink of the Barrow. When he saw them he 
quickly climbed a high tree which stood near ; but one of the 
men wounded him with a spear, and he fell down into the 
river and was drowned. The party took up the carcase of the 
cow, one side of which had been put to the fire ; and they 
rolled it up in the hide, and carried it back to the saint, who 
by his prayers called it to life again, in the same condition 
that it had been before, except that the side which had been to 
the fire remained of a dark gray colour ever after. Gobban's 
wife having heard that the cow had been recovered, came 
again to the saint requesting that it should be restored to her. 
To this request, however, Saint Moling did not accede ; and 
the woman returned in high anger to her husband. 

"Gobban had just finished the building of the oratory at this 
time ; and his wile addressed him, and said that she would not 
henceforth live with him, unless he should demand from the 
saint as the price of his work what she should name. ' It shall 
be done so', saidGobban. ' Well then', said she, ' the oratory is 
finished, and accept not any other payment for it but its full of 
rye'. ' It shall be so done', said Gobban. Gobban went then to 
Saint Moling; and the latter said to him, ' Make thy own de- 
mand now, because it was thy own demand that was promised to 
thee'. 'I shall', said Gobban; ' and it is, that its (the oratory's) 
full of rye be paid to me'. ' Invert it', said Saint Moling, * and 

8 B* 


LECT. xx. turn its mouth up, and it shall be filled for thee'. SoGobban ap- 
storyofthe plied machinery and force to the oratory, so that he turned it 

building of r . , , 'T i i ^> ' r> i i 

the oratory upside down, and not a plank 01 it went out of its place, and 
Moiing. not a joint ofa plank gave the smallest way beyond another. 

" Saint Moling, on hearing his exorbitant demand, sent im- 
mediately to his paternal relatives, the Ui-Deagha, on all sides, 
for assistance to meet it ; and he spoke the following poem : 
" Grief has seized upon me, 

Between the two mountains, 
Ui-Deagha by me upon the east, 
Ui-Deagha by me on the west. 
" There has been demanded from me 
The full of a brown oratory 
(A demand that is difficult to me) 
Of bare rye grain. 
" If you should pay this to him, 

He shall not be much a gainer ; 
It shall not be malt, of a truth, 
It shall not be seed, nor dried. 
" The Ui-Deagha, to serve me, 
Will relieve me from grief; 
Because I must desire 
To remain here in sorrow. 

" On receiving this message the Ui-Deagha assembled, from 
the east and from the west, to him, until the hill was covered 
with them. He then explained to them the demand which had 
been made upon him. ' If we had the means', said they, ' you 
should have what you want ; but in fact we have not among all 
Ui-Deagha more than the full of this oratory of all kinds of 
corn'. ' That is true', said he ; ' and go ye all to your houses 
for this night, and come back at rising time on to-morrow, and 
reserve nothing in the way of corn, and nuts, and apples, and 
green rushes, until this oratory be filled'. They came on the 
morrow, and they filled the oratory, and God on this occasion 
worked a miracle for Saint Moling, so that nothing was found 
in the oratory but bare rye grain. So Gobban took away his 
corn then ; and what he discovered it to be, on the next day, 
was a heap of maggots". 

The second of the two instances on record of the building of 
a wooden Duirtheach, or oratory, though not in connection with 
the name of any architect, and although the passage describing 
it has already been published in Dr. Petrie's Essay on the Round 
Towers (page 348), is, however, so valuable in relation to my 
subject, that I cannot omit to give it here. 
, " It is found", [says Dr. Petrie") "in an account of the cir- 


cumstances which occasioned the writing of a poem for the LECT - X x. 
Galls, or foreigners of Dublin, by the celebrated Irish poet Quatrain of 
Rumann, who has been called by the Irish writers the Virgil of Moratory 
Ireland, and whose death is thus entered in the Annals of^ 7 ^"" 
Tighernach at the year 747 : ' Ruman Mac Colmain, Poeta *<"?* 
optimus quievif. It refers to the building of the duirtheach 
tnor, or great oratory of Ratliain Ua Suanaigh, now Rahen, 
[near Tullamore] in the King's County; and the original, 
which is preserved in an ancient vellum MS. in the Bodleian 
Library at Oxford, is said to have been copied from the Book 
of Rathain Ua Suanaigh : ' Rumann, son of Colman, i.e. the 
son of the king of Laegaire, [in Meath], of the race of Niall, 
royal poet of Ireland, was he that composed this poem, and 
Laidh Luascach is the name of the measure in which he com- 
posed it. He came on a pilgrimage to Rathan in a time of 
great dearth. It was displeasing to the people of the town that 
he should come thither, and they said to the architect who was 
making the great duirtheach [or oratory], to refuse admittance 
to the man of poetry. Upon which the builder said to one 
of his people: Go meet Rumann, and tell him that he shall not 
enter the town until he makes a quatrain in which there shall 
be an enumeration of what boards there are here for the build- 
ing of the duirtheach. And then it was that he composed this 
quatrain : 

" ' O my Lord ! what shall I do 
About these great materials ? 
When shall be [seen] in a fair jointed edifice 
These ten hundred boards ?' 

" This was the number of boards there, i.e. one thousand 
boards; and then he could not be refused [admittance], since 
God had revealed to him, through his poetic inspiration, the 
number of boards which the builder had. 

" He composed a great poem for the Galls of Ath-Cliath Poem of 
[that is, the Foreigners of Dublin] immediately after, but the t^oGaitt r 
Galls said that they would not pay him the price of his poem ; of 1JubUlu 
upon whieh he composed the celebrated distich in which he 

" ' To refuse me, if any one choose, he may 1 ; 
upon which his own award was given him. And the award 
which he made was a pinginn [or penny] from every mean 
Gall, and two pinginns from every noble Gall so that there 
was not found among them a Gall who did not give him two 
pinginns, because no Gall of them deemed it worth while to 
be esteemed a mean Gall. And the Galls then told him to 
praise the sea, that they might know whether his was original 


x. poetry. Whereupon he praised the sea while he was drunk, 
when he spoke [as follows] : 

" ' A great tempest on the Plain of Lear 1 " [i.e., the sea]. 

" And he then carried his wealth with him to Cell Belaigh 
in Magh Constantine [or Constantino's Plain, near Rathan], 
for this was one of the churches of Ua-Suanaigh, and the 
whole of Magh Constantine belonged to him. For every plain 
and land which Constantine had cleared belonged to [Saint] 
Mochuda ; so that the plain was named after Constantine. At 
Mention of this time Cell Belaigh had seven streets of Galls for foreigners] 

seven streets .. , , .. 1r _... L. e.j 

of foreigners in it ; and Kumann gave the third [part] ot his wealth to it be- 
&eteigh. cause of its extent ; and a third part to schools ; and he took a 
third part with himself to Ratham, where [in course of time] 
he died, and was buried in the same bed [or tomb] with Ua- 
Suanaigh, for his great honour with God and [with] man". 

This extract contains for us an undeniably curious piece of 
history. First, it gives us a clear idea of the materials of which 
the great oratory at Rathan was built, and of the size of it } 
which could not have been inconsiderable, since there were no 
less than one thousand planks prepared for its use. 

It also supports the old account, which states that Constantine, 
the king of the Britons (perhaps of AilcluaicM in Scotland) 
retired from the care of his government, and entered the mo- 
nastery of Rathan, under Saint Mochuda, who preceded Ua- 
Suanaigh. All our old martyrologies give this fact, and assign 
the llth of March as the festival day of this royal penitent. 

A second curious fact established, to my mind at least, by 
this story, is that of the existence of" seven streets-" exclusively 
inhabited by foreign pilgrims or students at Cill Belaigh, in the 
middle of the eighth century. And a third remarkable fact is 
that of the residence in Dublin of a large population of foreigners 
so early in this century ; for it is only towards the close of that 
and in the beginning of the succeeding century that our annals 
begin to notice the descent on our coasts of the nostile foreigners 
whom we call Danes. There is no doubt, however, but that 
there were foreigners settled in Dublin, and in other parts of 
the east and south-east of the island, in the peaceful pursuits of 
trade and commerce, long tefore the fierce invaders of the ninth 


[Delivered July Uth, 1859J 

(VII.) OF BUILDINGS, FURNITURE; (continued). Of the Gobban Saer; mistakes 
concerning him; explanation of his name; he was a real personage. Old 
Irish writers fond of assigning a mythological origin to men of great skill 
or learning. The legend of Tuirbki, the father of Gobban Saer ; observa- 
tions of Dr. Petrie on this legend ; error of Dr. Petrie. Story of Lug Mac 
Eithlenn, the Sabh lldenach or "trunk of all arts". Tuirbhi a descendant of 
Oilioll Oluim. References to Gobban Saer in ancient Gaedhelic MSS. ; one 
in the Irish life of St. Abban ; the name of the place where Gobban built 
the church for St. Abban not mentioned ; another in the life of St. Molina. 
The name of Gobban mentioned in a poem in an ancient Gaedhelic MSS. of 
the eighth century ; original and translation of this poem (note) ; original 
and translation of a poem of St. Moling from the same MS. which is also 
found in a MS. in Ireland great importance of this poem (note). Ora- 
tories generally built of wood, but sometimes of stone. Ancient law regu- 
lating the price to be paid for ecclesiastical buildings ; as to the oratory ; 
as to the Damh-liag or stone church ; explanation of the rule as to the latter 
(note) ; as to the Cloicteach or belfry. Explanation of the preceding rule 
quoted from Dr. Petrie ; reasons for reexamining these rules. Dr. Petrie's 
opinion about the Round Towers unassailable. Law regulating the propor- 
tionate stipends of ollamhs; stipends of the oZ&zmA-builder ; Dr. Petrie's 
observation on the passage regarding the stipend of the ollamh -builder; 
dwelling houses omitted from the list of buildings; mistake made by Dr. 
Petrie about the passage concerning the ollamh- builder ; author's correction 
of this mistake : meaning of the word Coictighis, new interpretation by the 
author. Artistic works of the o//wA-builder , the lubroracht or working in 
yew- wood ; carving in yew- wood at Emania and CruacAan, and in Armagh 
cathedral. Romantic origin of work in yew wood legend of Fintann, son 
of Bochra ; no trace of the doctrine of metempsychosis among the Gaedhil ; 
legend of Fintann, continued. List of articles of household furniture 
mentioned in the laws regarding lending or pledging. Law regarding the 
house of a doctor. 

IT would have interrupted too much the thread of the last lec- 
ture, as well as unreasonably prolonged its length, if I had in- 
troduced what I have to say concerning Gobban Saer, when I of Gobban, 
alluded to his works in connection with the wooden oratory Saer ' 
of Saint Moling. I shall, therefore, begin the present lecture 
with some observations concerning this remarkable man. This 
is the more necessary because his name has been associated so 
long with modern legendary lore, that, I believe, many persons 
are content to doubt his existence altogether, and to look upon 
him as an impersonation of building or architecture in our na- 
tional mythology. Some writers, again, whose want of acquaint- Mistakes 
ance with the ancient language, and whose ignorance of the al)01J 
genuine history and archaeology of the Gaedhils, betray them 
into so many fanciful speculations, nay, even into the assuinp- 


of his 

a real 

A mytho- 
assigned to 
men of 
great skill or 

tion of theoretic facts, if I may so call such inventions, accept 
the Gobban Saer indeed as a personage who had a real exist- 
ence, but, in order to assist in supporting a whole series of false 
theories concerning the history and the life of our remote ances- 
tors, refer back his era, together with that of the Round Towers, 
to pre-historic times. It is, therefore, very necessary to show 
that the celebrated builder in question, as well as his works 
(some of the Round Towers included), belonged to a time not 
only quite within the historic period, but more than a century 
after the time of the mission of Saint Patrick. 

And, first, as to the name, Gobban Saer. The man's Chris- 
tian name was Gobban, a word which means literally one with 
the mouth like the bill of a bird ; and the word saer signifies, 
in the old as well as in the modern Gaedhelic, both a carpenter 
and a mason, and generally a builder ; so that Gobban Saer sig- 
nifies, simply, Gobban " the Builder". That Gobban is not a 
fanciful or merely mythological name is well shown by the fact 
that Cill-Gobbain, now Kilgobbin, near Dundrum, in the county 
of Dublin, is named after a saint of this name. Very little is 
known of the real history of this remarkable man, and it was 
only lately that the precise period at which he lived has been with 
certainty ascertained. Dr. Petrie, in his unanswerable Essay on 
the Round Towers and other ecclesiastical buildings of Ireland, 
published in 1845, gives all that could then be found concerning 
him, among our ancient writings at home and the popular tra- 
ditions of the country. Some small additional information has, 
however, been since discovered, which I shall give hereafter. 

It is not necessary for my present purpose that I should quote 
from Dr. Petrie, anything more than his belief in the real exis- 
tence of Gobban Saer, and his high character as an architect, 
because the original passages from native Gaedhelic authorities, 
printed in his beautiful book, I shall give also from the original 
sources, and with my own independent translation, though these 
can, indeed, differ but little from the translation given by him, 
in which I had some small share myself. 

Our old Irish writers were very fond of tracing to some ro- 
mantic and mysterious origin, men who at any time had exhi- 
bited artistic or scientific skill, or philosophical knowledge of an 
uncommon and extraordinary order, and particularly those who 
were, or who were supposed to be, ofTuatha De Danann descent. 
Such were, for instance, Manannan Mac Lir, the great mariner; 
Dianceclit, the great physician ; Goibniu, the great smith ; bug 
Mac Eitldenn, the great polytechnic trunk or block ; and so on. 
And so in accordance with this tendency of our ancestors, we find 
that, in order, it would appear, to give our Gobban Saer a claim 


to an hereditary and mysterious excellence in his art, they give LECT. xxr. 
him a father of equally mysterious origin and talents. The 
legend of Cobban's father is given in the well-known ancient 
topographical tract called the Dinnseanchas, where it professes 
to trace the origin of the name of Traigh Tuirbhi, now the 
strand of Turvey on the coast of the county of Dublin. This 
curious legend, taken from the Books of Lecan and Ballymote, 
and which is also given by Dr. Petrie, is as follows : 

" The strand of Tuirbhi, whence was it named? Answer: The legend 
It is not unpleasant to tell. Tuirbhi Traghmhar, that is, Tuir- thefather'of 
bhi ' of the Strand', the father of Gobban Saer, it was he that s r an 
owned it [the strand] and the land. He it was that used to 
throw a cast of his hatchet from Tuladh-an-Bhiail, [that is, Hill 
of the Hatchet] , in the face of the flowing tide, and it used to 
stop the [flowing of the] sea, and it [the sea] used not come in 
past it. His true pedigree is not known, unless he was one of 
the disgraced men who fled from Tara before [that is, from] the 
/Safe/i Ildanach (or Polytechnic Block), and who remain in the 
Diamhraibh (or deserts) of Bregia [now Diamor, in Meath]. 
Hence the strand of Tuirbhi dicitur". 
This legend is next thrown into verse as follows : 
" The strand of Tuirbhi received its name, 

According to authors I relate, 

[From] Tuirbhi of the strands, [lord] over all strands, 

The affectionate acute father of Gobban. 
" His hatchet he would fling after ceasing [from work] 

The rusty-faced, black, big fellow, 

From the pleasant Hill of the Hatchet, 

Which is washed by the great flood. 
" The distance to which his hatchet he used to send, 

The tide beyond [or within] it, flowed not ; 

Though Tuirbhi in his land in the south was strong, 

It is not known of what stock was his race. 
" Unless he was of the mystical black race, 

Who went out of Tara from the heroic Lug, 

It is not known for what benefit he avoided to meet him, 

The man of the feats from the strand of Tuirbhi". 
On this wild and unsatisfactory legend the thoughtful and Dr. Petrie 
accomplished Doctor Petrie makes the following remarks : foregoing 

" It is not, of course, intended to offer the preceding extract le s end - 
as strictly historical : in such ancient documents we must be con- 
tent to look for the substratum of truth beneath the covering of 
fable with which it is usually encumbered, and not reject the 
one on account of the improbability of the other; and, viewed 
in this way, the passage may be regarded as, in many respects, 


LECT. xxi. of interest and value, for it shows that the artist spoken of was 
not one of the Scotic or dominant race in Ireland, who are al- 
ways referred to as light-haired ; and further, from the supposi- 
tion, grounded on the blackness of his hair and his skill in arts, 
that he might have been of the people that went with Lugaidh 
Lamhfadha from Tara, that is, of the Tuatha De Danann race, 
who are always referred to as superior to the Scoti in knowledge 
of the arts. We learn that in the traditions of the Irish, the 
Tuatha De Danann were no less distinguished from their con- 
querors in their personal than in their mental characteristics. 
The probability, however, is, that Turvey was a foreigner, or 
descendant of one who brought a knowledge of art into the 
country, not then known, or at least prevalent". 

Error in There is an error in the reading of the above legend, where 

oteervatiras. it is conjectured that Tuirbhi, the reputed father of Gobban Saer, 
was descended from one of the party of artists who went forth 
from Tara along with Lug Mac Eithlenn; that Lug, who was 
the great stock or trunk of all the arts and sciences in Erinn, 
according to our ancient writers, who was king of the Tuatha 
D6 Danann, and whose exploits at and before the battle of the 
second Magh Tuireadh, have been already mentioned at consi- 
derable length in a former lecture. 

story of The story of Lug as a man skilled beyond all others in the arts 

Eithienn. and sciences, is as follows : When he came first to Tara, he 
introduced himself as a young man possessed of all the arts and 
sciences then known, at home and abroad ; and hence it was that 
he was afterwards called the Sabk lldanach, that is, the " stock 
or trunk of all the arts". When first he came to the gate of 
Tara, the door-keeper refused to pass him in unless he was the 
master of some art or profession. Lug said that he was a saer, 
that is, a carpenter or mason, or both. The door-keeper an- 
swered that they were not in want of such an artist, as they had 
a very good one, whose name was Luchta, the son of Luchad. 
The young artist then said that he was an excellent smith : " We 
don't want such an artist", said the door-keeper, " as we have a 
good one already, namely Colum Cuaellemeach, professor of the 
three new designs" [greisd]. Lug then said that he was a cham- 
pion : " We don't want a champion", said the door-keeper, " since 
we have a champion, namely, Ogma, the son of Eithlenn". " Well 
then", said Lug, " I am a harper". " We are not in want of a 
harper", said the door-keeper, " since we have a most excellent 
one, namely, Abhcan, the son of Becelmas". " Well then", said 
Lug, " I am a poet and an antiquarian". " We don't want a man 
of these professions", said the door-keeper, " because we have 
already an accomplished professor of these sciences, namely, En, 


the son of EiJwman\ " Well then", said Lug, " I am a necro- LECT. xxi 
mancer". " We are not in want of such a man", said the door- story of 
keeper, " because our professors of the occult sciences and our JMMmn. 
druids are very numerous". " Well then, I am a physician", said 
Lug. " We are not in want of a professor of that art", said the 
door-keeper, " as we have an excellent one already, namely, 
Diancecht". " Well then, I am a good cup-bearer", said Lug. 
" We don't want such an officer", said the door-keeper, " because 
we are already well supplied with 'cup-bearers, namely, Delt, 
and Drucht, and Daiihe, and Taei, and Talom, and Trog, and 
Glei, and Glan, and Glesi". [These, I may observe, are all fe- 
male names.] " Well then", said Lug, " I am an excellent arti- 
fex (cerd)". " We are not in want of an artifex", said the door- 
keeper, " as we have already a famous one, namely, Creidne the 
artificer". " Well then", said Lug, " go to the king, and ask him 
if he has in his court any one man who embodies in himself 
all these arts and professions ; and if he has, I shall not remain 
longer, nor seek to enter Tara". It is needless to say that the 
king was overjoyed to lay hold of such a wonderful person as 
Lug, and that he was immediately admitted into the palace, 
and placed in the chair of the ollamh, or chief professor of the 
arts and sciences. 

Lug, as we have already seen, rendered the Tuaiha D& Da- 
nanns the most important services in the battle of the second or 
northern Magh Tuireadh, which they fought against the Fomo- 
rians, and in which he slew his own grandfather, Balor " of 
the evil eye". After this he became king of the Tuaiha D6 
Danann, over whom he reigned forty years, until he was slain 
by Mac Cuill, one of the three sons of Cermai, son of the 
Daghda Mor, who were the joint kings of Erinn when the 
Milesians arrived, and conquered them. 

I have gone into this digression for the purpose of showing 
that this Lug, who was otherwise, or poetically, called the Sabh 
lldanach, never fled from or left Tara accompanied by any 
number of artists ; but the great probability is, and indeed it is 
so stated in the prose and verse accounts above quoted, that 
when the artists of the court of Tara found themselves so far 
overshadowed by the superior abilities of the newcomer, they 
retired in disgrace to the solitudes of Bregia, or the eastern parts 
of Meath, where the fruitful imagination of our romancists 

E reserved them in concealment, even down to Tuirbhi, the 
ither of the celebrated Gobban Saer, who lived to the close of 
the seventh century. And notwithstanding the veil of mystery TUMM a 
which the poet throws over the lineage of the talented Tuirbki, of "Si/io"/' 
there can be little doubt but that he was descended, if he ex- Ol "' im - 


to Oobban 
Saer in 
MSS. ; 

one in the 
life of St. 

A bli an ; 

The name of 
the place 

Oobban built 
the church 
not given. 

isted at all, from no other than Teige, the son of Cian, son of 
Oilioll Oluim, the celebrated king of Munster. This Teige, in 
the third century, settled in the territory which runs along the 
coast from the river Boyne [_Boind\ to the river LifFey, where 
his descendants continued to rule as chiefs until supplanted by 
the Danes in the ninth century; and their chief descendants 
were, in latter times, represented in the family of Mac Cormac. 

To proceed, however, with the account of the Gobban Saer : 
I have never had the good fortune to meet with any old written 
reference to him but in two instances, although 1 have read a 
great many of the lives of our Irish saints, with whom, he is 
believed, on the authority at least of more than one tradition, to 
have maintained a close professional intercouse. But these two 
instances conclusively establish the date at which he flourished. 

We read in the ancient Irish life of Saint Abban, a distin- 
guished saint of Leinster, of which I possess a copy, that after 
he had travelled into Connacht and Munster, and founded many 
churches in those provinces, he returned to his native province, 
and decided on settling down there for the future. " There 
was", says the writer of this life, " a distinguished builder resid- 
ing convenient to Saint Abban, and Gobban was his name; and 
it was his constant occupation to do the work of the saints in 
every place in which they were ; until at length he had lost his 
sight because of the displeasure of the saints, on account of his 
dearness and the greatness of his charge. Saint Abban went to 
him to ask him to build a church for him. Gobban told him 
that it was not possible because of his being blind. Saint Ab- 
ban said to him, you shall get your sight while you are doing 
the work, and it shall go from you again when you have finished 
the work. And so it was done, and the name of God, and of 
Saint Abban, were magnified by this". (16) 

It is to be lamented that the writer of the life does not give 
the name of the place where Gobban built this church for Saint 
Abban. The life states that his chief monastery was at Camros, 
but does not name the chieftaincy. The name Camros, however, 
remains still as that of a townland in the parish of Offerlane, 
barony of Upperwood, and Queen's County ; but I am not aware 
of the existence of any ecclesiastical ruin remaining in it. There 

(1S ) [original: t)Aoi An Aile fAon An6nA6 A^com-po^tif -oo AbAn, ACUJ* 
5ob<vn A Aitim, Acuf no DU-O e AjtiAcugAX), oibneAchA MA tiAotri T>O oetiAtVi 
AH JAC Aic AmbiO'oir 50 no OAVUvo 6 te hoinbine HA TIAOITI Ain An A 
jroncA, Acuf An rh^i-o At6ig. cei-o AbbAn -DA lAnnAir -oo oenAiti 
x>6, At>benc JobAn riAn bo h6i'oin x>o An bA OAVl. Aifbenc 
, t>o ebAir\ -oo nofc An -peti b6in Aig t>enAni nA hoibne, ACUJ* 
c iAn nt>6AnArh nA noibne, Acuf no ponA'6 gA6 ni -6iob pn, 
"oo mAnA'o Auim -oe, Acuf AbAin -oe fin.] 


is another Camros near Barry's Cross in the county of Carlow. 
This parish of Offerlane is situated in the western side of the 
Queen's County, adjoining the King's County, where there is a 
church and parish still called Killabban, situated in the eastern 
part of the Queen's County, in the barony of Ballyadams, and 
on the boundary of Kildare, There is reason to think that this 
may be the real church of Saint Abban, and that the name 
Camros is a mistake of some old transcriber, for Cnamh-ros, 
which was certainly situated in the place now occupied by 
Cil Abbain, or in its immediate neighbourhood. Bishop Ibar, 
Saint Abbarfs maternal uncle, died in the year 500; so that 
Abban himself must have lived far into the sixth century. 

The second, and only other mention that I have found of The second 
Gobban Saer, is that in the life of Saint Moling (of Tech Mol- T GobianSaer 
ing, now Saint Mullin's, on the river Barrow, in' the county of 
Carlow), which I gave in full in the last lecture. This Saint 
Moling fills a distinguished place in the civil as well as in the 
ecclesiastical history of ancient Erinn : his father was chief of the 
territory of Ui-Deaghaidh, in the south-eastern part of the pre- 
sent county of Kilkenny, and his mother was the daughter of a 
Munster chieftain, of the county of Kerry. 

So far, we are able to follow with certainty the history of 
this celebrated architect of the Milesians. I have, however, 
the satisfaction of being able to refer, in corroboration of the 
authenticity of these references to Gobban in the lives of the 
Saints, to a Gaedhelic manuscript so old as the eighth century, Mention of 
now in the monastery of Saint Faul in Carinthia. From this MS. of a 
ancient manuscript, through the kindness of my learned friend, 8thcentury ' 
Mr. Whitley Stokes, I am in possession of two or three stanzas 
of a poem, into which the name of Gobban Saer enters ; but 
as yet I have not been able to ascertain whether these stanzas 
stand as mere fragments in the book, or whether they have 
not been transcribed as specimens by a distinguished scholar, 
Herr Mone of Carlsruhe. In any case they seetn to form only 
a fragment of a longer poem. The language is very archaic 
and obscure, so that it is very difficult to make a satisfactory 
translation of it. I should not indeed have attempted to do 
so before collating my text with the original manuscript, were 
it within my reach. The Suibne Geilt, to whom the poem is 
attributed in the ancient codex, ended his life at Tech 'Moling 
as a much favoured member of the household of St. Moling, 
for whom Gobban Saer built the oratory just described. He 
was therefore coeval with St. Moling and with Gobban Saer, and 
his testimony may be regarded as that of an eye witness. 
This poem consequently affords a piece of very important evi- 


LECT. xxr. dence in favour of the Christian character of the round towers, 
Mention of if indeed any further evidence beyond what has been already 

Gubban m a . i TV T -i -i mi t> 11 i \ 

MS. of the given by Dr. Petrie were needed. The following is the best 
tury " translation I can offer of it: 

Suibne, the mad, Barr Edin. 
A mairiu I have heard in Tuaim Inbir, 

Nor is there a house more auspicious, 

With its stars last night, 

With its sun, with its moon. 
Gobban made there 

A black Conecestar and a tower, 

My believing in the God of Heaven, 

That raised the choicest towers. 
The house of the Ire Fera Flechod, 

The place [house] of the chief Virgin he built 

More conspicuous than the orchard's food, 

And it without an Udnucht upon it. (17) 

The same MS. contains two other poems, one a speech of 
the devil to St. Moling after he had failed to seduce him into 
his own allegiance. It begins : 

He is pure gold, he is a nimbus around the sun. 

Suibne 501 1c bA^p e-oin, 

( 17v m<vif\iu* cl/un In cuAnn inbip tnu chjvi'oecAn -o\& -ou mm 

m IAII cecht>Air ber fefcu, if 1:6 ctigA COIJA po-ocoig. 

COHA ecUnnAib A^IJA, } . r en4rlec1ioT>, 

A e r c U .f ^^ J JJ j ^ . 

in pn foiVpTii^ bit)i lubgupc 

conecefCAj\J -ouib A'f coi|\; Ofe cen utmucclf n-imbi. 

* Mairiu is perhaps an obsolete form of a verb derived from mair=m6r t 
great, with the archaic verbal ending -in instead of the more usual - ughudh. 
Cf. mairiughudh, nwruyhadh to praise, to exalt, to magnify, Cf. also Murug- 
hadh, building, from mur, a stone wall, and -itghudh, the participial ending of 
a verb, and mi>t aiyhim, I wall in or fortify, etc., so that mairiu might also be 
translated " a house-building". 

t These lines indicate the antiquity of the custom of drawing auguries 
from the heavenly bodies, as to the auspiciousness of commencing a house. 

} Conecestar duib, a black penitentiary or house of mortification, from 
cestar, is mortified or castigated. Cf. Cottae clu, a house of good fame, a 
place where renown is fostered and preserved. MS. Egerton 8tf, Brit. Mus. 
80, a. 3. voce, ah. The word may also be read as an obsolete form of con- 
fecestar, may be seen, the/ being elided; and if the u in dmb could be over- 
looked, and the o in toir (a towerj made a, the line might be read, " That 
it may be perceptible to you in history"'. 

Ire Fera Flechod, the land or territory of the Fera Flechod. 

|| Aigder, chief Virgin, the Blessed Virgin, from aig, a chief, as in aige 
jine, a family chief, and der, a daughter, a virgin, as in ainder, a maid. 

^f Udnucht was the hurdle roof of a round house, upon which the thatch 
was laid. It also meant a palisade or hurdle fence which marked an invio- 
lable sanctuary. The absence of an Udnucht implies that it was easily ac- 
cessible to all, and as visible as the apples in an orchard. 


Of this poem I have a copy from a vellum MS. 0?a) of the twelfth ^CT. xxr. 
century. The second poem is a panegyric on a king of Leinster 
named Aedh, of which the following is a translation: 
Aedh great to promote" happiness, 

Aedh ready to dispense hospitality, 

The thorny rod, the most beautiful 

Of the nobles of cleared Roerin. 
The body which enshrines the wisdom of faith, 

A great splendour under choicest thatches, 

Who was exalted above all generations 

Of Maisten of smoothest meadows. 
The son of Dermot dear to me, 

Whatever is desired is not difficult to him. 

To praise him, richest in treasures, 

Poems shall be sung by me. 
Beloved the name, the fame is not new, 

Of Aedh who lowered not his dignity ; 

The chaste form, the fame unconcealed, 

Whose patrimony is the smooth Liffey. 
The descendant of Muireadhach without disgrace, 

A chosen cliff of loudly proclaimed dignity, 

A descendant whose like has not been found 

Or kings of the clans of Cualann. 
The chief, these are his inheritance, 

All good be to him [from] God in the highest, 

The scion of the reproachless race 

Of the renowned kings of Marggae. 
He is the stem of a great illustrious noble tree, 

For battle he is a prop of valour ; 

He is a silver sprig of exalted power, 

Of the race of a hundred kings, a hundred queens. 
At ale-drinking emulatory poems are sung 

Between chivalrous people ; 

Sweet-singing bards extol 

Through foamy ale the name of Aedh. Aedh great. (18) 

When we remember that the book in Carinthia containing 
these poems is considered by so competent a judge as Herr 

(i?) if O p gUn, ir neiu 5|\ei. MS. H. 2, 18, T.C.D., f. 204, b a. ; Book of 
Ballymote, K.I. A., f. 140, b.a. ; Book of Lismore, part ii. f. 25, a.a. ; MS. 
Laud. 610, Bodleian Library, Oxford. 

oVl J^M An-otTO tt-Arie, ou A]\cl,ti fech CAch n-1roine 

Ae-o fonn r|\i ftnlce-o -pete, TVI ttioifcen mine m 

111 -oeit oeWi, A f dioemem WA|xmACA ^1 <> A 

01 mnvsuft noepenn ^e-oe. ^ ^^ ^ 

1n chU comj\Af COITO cpe-OAit, A mol^yo tnAifpu mAernb, 

chocAi'o c5Aib, 



Mention of 
Cobban in a 
MS. of the 
8th century. 

built of 
wood, but 
of stone. 

Mone to be of the eighth century, and that St. Abban, with 
whom Gobban was contemporary, lived perhaps to the middle 
of the sixth century, or little more than one hundred and fifty 
years before the presumed date of the codex, we have, I think, 
good evidence of the real existence of Gobban Saer as an 
architect ; and also of the authenticity of our Gaedhelic records, 
and of the truth of the statements so frequently made in our 
manuscripts of later date, that they were compiled from more 
ancient books. 

I have dwelt too long, I fear, on the subject of these wooden 
oratories, to which, after all, we have so few historical references ; 
the subject, however, is not an unimportant one, as it shows, as 
far as we can ascertain, that those edifices were often, probably 
generally, if not always, built of wood, where that material was 
most abundant ; while it is certain that, in the stony and rocky 
countries on the south and west coasts, and on the islands, they 
were built of stone, that being the most abundant and ready 
material. And the same rule that applies to these sacred edifices 
will doubtless apply as well to the ordinary edifices for human 
habitation, whether round, oval, or quadrangular in shape. 

Before passing from this subject I must mention another, 
indeed I may say the most important, reference to the special 
law which regulated the remuneration for building such edifices 
in the ancient times ; a law which, it is very probable, arose 
from the circumstance of the exorbitant prices which such dis- 
tinguished builders as the Gobban Saer, and other men of his 
class of abilities, had put upon their works, in the seventh 
and eighth centuries. This important regulation is found in a 
distinct article in a volume of the Brehon Laws, (l9) and with a 
notice prefixed recommending special attention to it. The 
article, as will be seen, deals with the group which, of old, 
formed a regular ecclesiastical establishment, namely, a Duirth- 
each, or oratory, a Damh-liag, or stone-built principal church, 
and a Cloicteac/i, or belfry, or bell-house, as it is more appro- 

1nrr)Ain nA-Ainni, nic 
Aet>A nAx> Aljvolig -015114; 
in cnuch glAii, cLu tiA-o cliche, 

01AM -OUchAIJ ilplie VlJ'OA. 

Aue tnuinetMich cen 
AVL co^u rni on'O'ouin - 
Aue m -pnich MAcli ArnniAit, 

111 Af -pine cen 

01 nigAib niAffAib mAn^g 

1f bun cnumn mAin tniAi) 
pni baijj if bunAt) pnint>Ae 
if gAr-ne ALCAIC ATVOT) 
01 chlAint) cneic nig, ceic 

1m> -plAich, ifpet> A onbbAe, 
CAch rriAicn -06 tie no An-ot>Ae, 

Oc conmAim gAibcin t>uAnA onengA 
1dt\ "oneppA -oAenA ; 
Anbencec bAincm bint>i 
cni tAicn linm Ainm n-AeuA. 
Ae-o oUU 

Class H. 3, 17, in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin. 


priately termed in the Gaedhelic, and with the proportionate LKCT - xxi. 
price paid for the building of each. 

" If it be an Oratory", [says this rule] " of fifteen feet, or less stothe 
than that, that is, fifteen feet in its length and ten in its breadth, 
it is a samaisc [or three-year-old heifer] that is paid for every 
foot of it across, or for every foot and an half in length ; this is 
when it is thatched with rushes; and if it be a covering of 
shingles, it is a cow for every foot of it across, or for every foot 
and an half in length. If it be greater than fifteen feet, there 
is a samaisc paid for every two-thirds of a foot across of it, or 
for every foot in length : this is with its covering of rushes ; if 
it be a covering of shingles, there is a cow for every two-thirds 
of a foot across of it, or for a foot in length. 

" That is the price of the oratories, according to law ; and a 
third of it goes to art [that is, to the builder] , and a third to 
material, and a third to food and to attendance and to smiths ; 
and it is according as smiths may be wanted that this is assigned 
to them ; and half the third goes to the smiths alone [if they 
be wanted at all], that is, a sixth part; the other sixth to be 
divided into two parts between food and attendance, one-twelfth 
to each of them ; and if a division should remain, where smiths 
are not required, it is then to be divided into two parts between 
food and attendance. If it be a work for which land is re- 
quired, [that is, the site of which must be purchased], and at 
which a smith is not, a third [goes] to art, and a third to land, 
and a third to material and to food and to attendance : half of 
that [last third] goes to material alone, that is, a sixth; the 
other sixth goes to food and attendance, that is, a twelfth part 
to each of them. 

"The Damhliag [or stone church]. If it be a covering of as to the 

t -I ,i , . .1 /. J.T. f Damhliag: 

shingles that is upon it, the price or it is the same as oi an ora- 
tory which is equal in size to it. If it be a covering of rushes 
[' wakes' is clearly a mistake here ; and we must read if it be 
a roof of stone] that is upon it, the proportion which stone 
bears to wood, it is that proportion of full price that shall be 
upon it; and the proportion which wood bears to stone, it is 
that proportion of half price that shall be upon it ; and the divi- 
sion which shall be made of these proportions is, the division 
which was made at the oratory . (20) 

< s ) It has been found very difficult to understand clearly this very curious 
old mode of computation, nor has it, up to this day, been clearly explained by 
any one. I shall, however (with the condition of correcting the word rushes 
in the text to what it really must have been stone), endeavour to explain the 
meaning of the writer's words, as that meaning appears, at least to my own 

The writer says, that when the stone church was roofed with timber and 
VOL. II. 4 

LECT. xxi 

as to the 

Dr. Petrie's 


The belfry \_Cloicteacli\. The base of this is measured with 
the base of the stone church, for determining its proportion; 
and the excess which is in the length and breadth of the stone 
church over that, that is, over the measure of the belfry, is the 
rule for the height of the belfry ; and should there be an excess 
upon it, that is, upon the height of the belfry, as compared with 
the stone church which is of equal price with it, the propor- 
tionate price [of that excess] is to be paid for the belfry". 

The necessity of making the translation as literal as possible, 
so as to express as nearly as could be done the peculiar idiom of 
the original, in the latter article, as well as in the two previous 
ones, renders a short explanation necessary. And yet, the rule 
laid down here for the height of the round tower or belfry, in 
proportion to the dimensions of the church, to which it was a 
mere appendage, is quite simple and intelligible; and as the 
whole article respecting the three edifices has been published by 
Doctor Petrie in his " Round Towers", I may as well quote for 
you, from that admirable work, the cautious but accurate read- 
ing of this rule by its learned author, and the decided proofs of 
its correct application which his extensive researches enabled 
him to put on record. 

" It is not, of course, necessary to my purpose to attempt an 
explanation of the rule for determining the height of the belfry ; 
7 et as a ma tt er f interest to the reader, I am tempted to hazard 
a conjecture as to the mode in which it should be understood. 
It appears then, to me, that by the measurement of the base of 
the tower, must be meant its external circumference, not its 
diameter ; andj in like manner, the measurement of the base of 
the Damhliag must be its perimeter, or the external measure- 
ment of its four sides. If, then, we understand these terms in 
this manner, and apply the rule as directed, the result will very 
well agree with the measurements of the existing ancient chur- 
ches and towers. For example, the cathedral church of Glen- 
dalough, as it appears to have been originally constructed, for 
the present chancel seems an addition of later time, was fifty- 

covered with shingles or boards, the price of building it was the same as the 
price of building an oratory of the same dimensions altogether of wood. But 
if the roof were stone [not rushes, which would be nonsense], then the full 
price which should be paid for it would be determined by the proportions which 
the price of a house built altogether of stone would bear to one built altogether 
of wood ; and this is clearly explained immediately after, when the writer says 
of the proportion which wood bears to stone, that that was the half price which 
should be paid for it. In other words, when the church was stone, and stone- 
roofed, as was often the case, the price of building it was double that of the 
wooden oratory of the same dimensions ; and the wooden oratory was but half 
the price of the stone-roofed church. This rule appears to have been modified 
in after times, as we shall see further on. 


five feet in length, giving a perimeter of one hundred and eighty- 
four feet. If from this we subtract the circumference of the 
tower, at the base, or foundation, which is fifty-two feet, we shall 
have a remainder of one hundred and thirty-two feet, as the pre- 
scribed height of this structure ; for, to its present height of one 
hundred and ten feet should be added from fifteen to eighteen 
feet for its conical roof, now wanting, and perhaps a few feet at its 
base, which are concealed by the accumulation of earth around 
it. In cases of churches having a chancel as well as nave, the 
rule thus understood is equally applicable; for instance, the 
church of Iniscaltra gives a perimeter of one hundred and sixty- 
two feet, from which deducting forty-six feet, the circumference 
of the tower, we have one hundred and sixteen feet as the pre- 
scribed height of the latter, which cannot be far from the actual 
original height of the tower ; for, to its present height of eighty 
feet must be added ten or twelve feet for the upper story, which 
is now wanting, fifteen feet for its conical roof, and a few feet 
for a portion concealed at its base". (21) 

It may, as I have observed, appear to some persons that an Reason for 
article which has been already published, which does not deal these rale g 
with the dwellings of the people, but with ecclesiastical build- 
ings, need not be republished here. To such an objection I 
may answer, that I was myself the first who had the good for- 
tune to discover this most important little tract, in the year 
1837, at a time when the round-tower controversy had attracted 
a degree of critical examination and public discussion which it 
never enjoyed before. And although the article was published 
in Dr. Petrie's work, yet, considering the suddenness of its 
discovery, and the extreme caution observed in its translation, 
as well as the entire abstinence of the editor from any attempt 
to deal with the discrepancies and ambiguities of the text, I 
believe I may, with some advantage, at this distance of time, 
and with a much more mature acquaintance with such writings 
now than then, take advantage of this opportunity of reex- 
amining the meaning of this piece, and of leaving on record, 
to be confirmed or refuted by future inquirers, of greater ability, 
the reading which I am about to give, and which so little differs 
from the reading published fourteen years ago, that I am myself 
surprised that it could have been so well understood then. 

I shall also bring under the reader's notice, and chiefly for 
the reasons just mentioned, another article connected with build- 
ings in ancient Erinn. This second piece was also published 
by Dr. Petrie ; for, I may say, there was no reference whatever 
which, at the time, could be discovered in our ancient manu- 

< J1) Petrie's Round Towers, p. 361. 

4 B 


xxi. scripts bearing in any way on the erection of ecclesiastical and 
other buildings, that was not pressed into the pages of Dr. 
Dr. Petrie's Petrie's book i and it is satisfactory to that eminent scholar and 

opinion . _' , . . . " , i i /r> T 

about the artist, and to those who lent their more humble efforts to relieve 
him of some part of his laborious investigations, to say, that 
although all our ancient Gaedhelic manuscripts at home, and 
several in England and in foreign countries, have since that 
time undergone a much more thorough examination, nothing 
has been discovered indeed nothing, I believe, ever can to 
throw the smallest doubt upon the clear conclusions on the ori- 
gin and uses of the round towers of Ireland, to which, after long 
thought and research, he had come. 

The following is the article to which I have just alluded; it 
is found in a Brehon Law tract preserved in the Book of Bally- 
mo t e> in the Royal Irish Academy, and also in a fragment of 
another copy of the same tract preserved in a vellum manuscript 
of the same date, 1391, in the library of Trinity College, Dub- 
lin. (22) The tract is one which defines the rank and privileges 
of all the higher classes of ecclesiastical and civil society, the 
fines and penalties for injury, death, or dishonour, brought upon 
any of them, and the public stipends which the chiefs or ollamhs, 
and the other professors in the various departments of literature 
and the social arts, received from the chiefs, provincial kings, 
or the monarchs of Erinn, when attached to their respective 
courts. The stipend, however, advanced in proportion to the 
rank of the patron, as we may easily believe that any of the 
ollamh professors of the monarch received a much higher sti- 
pend than he would under a provincial king or a chief of one 
or more territories. These dignities and stipends were not 
arbitrarily and immediately conferred by king or chief. The 
man who aspires to an ollaveship in any profession or art, should 
submit his works for examination by one or more ollamhs, who 
pronounced judgment on it, (23) and if the judgment were favour- 
able, the king, or chief, as the case might be, conferred on the 
candidate the rank and degree of an ollamh or master in all the 
departments of his profession ; such as, if he were on ollamh 
in building, he should be a master of all the varieties of the arts 
of a mason and a carpenter. And at the same time that these 
were necessary qualifications of the ollamh, there was a sai or 
chief professor of every one, or more, of these arts, who had also 
some privileges. It was the same with poets, lawyers, judges, 
doctors, etc. (24) 

W Class H, 2, 16. 

< 23 ) See Agallamh an da Shuadh, or the Dialogue of the Two Sages. 

(a4 > It is not to be supposed, however, that the ollamh in many arts, or the 


These proportionate stipends are all set out in the present I-BCT. rx 
tract, and the section of it that I have to deal with at present, 
is that which regards the ollamh, or chief professor of the build- 
ing art, and which is as follows : 

"If he be an ollamh builder he advances to twenty seds in stipend of 
his pay; that is, if he be a chief who professes the mastership of buUderT 
the building art, there are twenty-one seds assigned to him for 
his stipend. There are twenty-one cows to the chief master in 
the building art ; and a month's refections, that is, a month is his 
full relief of food and attendance ; for, although from remote times 
the chief builder was entitled to more than this in reward of the 
versatility of his genius, or his being master of many arts in va- 
rious other departments, the author [of these laws, i.e., the legis- 
lator] felt a repugnance to allow him more than an equality 
with the chief poet, or with the chief professor in languages, or 
with the chief teacher. Wherefore, what the author [legislator] 
did was, to allow him to have two principal arts fundamentally, 
namely, stone-building and wood-building ; and of these to have 
the two noblest exclusively, namely, the damhliag [or stone 
church] , and the duirtheach [or oratory] . He had twelve cows 
for thfese, that is, six cows for each ; and his superiority was re- 
cognized over the other arts from that out ; and he was to take 
an equivalent to a sixth [of their price] out of each [work of] 
art of them, that is, his own sixth, six cows for iubroracht, [that 
is, vessels and furniture from the [wood of the] yew-tree] ; and 
six cows for coictighes; and six cows for mill-building; take 
three cows from these [which] added to the twelve cows which 
he has exclusively, and they make fifteen cows. Four cows 
for ships, and four cows for barcas, and four cows for curachs 
[canoes] ; take two cows from these, which added to the fifteen 
cows above, and they make seventeen cows. Four cows for 
wooden vessels, namely, vats and tubs, and keeves of oak, and 
small vessels besides ; and two cows for ploughing machinery ; 
one cow out of these added to the seventeen cows above makes 
eighteen cows. Two cows for causeways, and two cows for 
stone walls, and two cows for stepping stones [in swamps and 
rivers] ; a cow out of these added to the eighteen cows above, 
and it makes nineteen cows. Two cows for carvings, and two 
cows for crosses, and two cows for chariots ; a cow out of these 
added to the nineteen cows above, and it makes twenty cows. 

professor of one art or science, was debarred by his public stipend from follow- 
ing his profession at large and receiving its emoluments. This would be quite 
absurd, because, for instance, in the case of the ollamh builder, twenty-one 
cows would be but a poor reward for the exercise of his versatile genius : he 
ranked with the chief ollamh in poetry, who also received twenty-one cows for 
his stipend, and twenty-one cows for every poem which he wrote. 


LKCT. xxi. Two cows for rod [or wicker] houses, and two cows for shields, 
and two cows for casks ; a cow out of these added to the twenty 
cows above, and it makes twenty-one cows for the chief builder, 
in that manner ; provided he is master of all these arts". (26) 
Dr. Petrie's It is but justice to Dr. Petrie to quote his observations on this 
out ' a article, as far as it regarded the object of his Essay. " It is to be 
passage" 8 regretted", he says, " that of the preceding curious passage, 
which throws so much light upon the state of society in Ireland 
anterior to the twelfth century, but two manuscript copies have 
been found, and of these one is probably a transcript from the 
other, for it seems in the highest degree probable that by the 
occasional omission or change of a letter, the sense of the origi- 
nal commentary has been vitiated. Thus, where it is stated that 
six cows was the payment for kitchen-building, which is the 
same as that for building a damhliag, or duirtheach, it would 
appear much more likely that the word originally used was cloic- 
tighes, or belfry-building, which we may assume was a much 
more important labour than the other, and which, if the word 
be truly coicthiges [rectd, coicthiyis] is omitted altogether,though, 
as I shall show in the succeeding section from another commen- 
tary on the Brehon Laws, ranked amongst the Irish as one of the 
most distinguished works of the saer, or builder. But till some 
older or better copy of the passage be found, it must of course 
remain as of no authority in reference to the Round Towers ; and 
I have only alluded to it with a view of directing attention to 
the manuscript copies of the Brehon Laws not immediately 
within my reach". 

Such are Dr. Pe trie's judicious observations, and it does ap-> 
pear rather strange, at first view, that the cloicteach, or round 
tower, should have found no place in this enumeration of build- 
ings, unless, as he has conjectured, that it might be concealed by 
misspelling in the word coictighis, which only wants the letter 
en apparent I after the initial c to make it the round tower. Yet, however 
the'same m strange the absence of the cloicteach from the list may appear, it 
passage; j g not more so> nor even as much so, as the total absence of all 
allusion to dwelling-houses, except to the inferior kind which 
were built with wattles and wicker-work. 

There is another remarkable fact that cannot be passed over 
in the article, and it is this : It sets out with stating that the 
ollamh or chief builder of a territory received from the chief 
an annual stipend of twenty-one cows in right of his office ; and 
the writer then goes on to show how these twenty-one cows were 
calculated, counting one by one the various works of art of which 

(") See original and also a similar translation in Dr. Petrie's Essay on the 
Towers, p. 341. The original tract is in H. 2, 16, 930, T.C.D. 


the ollamh was master, and upon the prices paid for which the LECT. xxi. 
calculation of that stipend was made. And there is a simple 
rule laid down for this calculation, namely, that for every build- 
ing, or work of art, for which six cows were paid, there was a 
cow allowed to his stipend ; not that it was taken from the actual 
price, and given to him, but calculated on the price. And where 
single works of art did not cost six cows, the writer groups them 
into twos and threes until they amount to six cows ; and for the 
ollamh- mastery in these arts there is another cow put to his 
stipend ; and so on to the end, where we find the sum total of 
twenty-one cows, premised in the rule, completely made up, and 
this without any shortcoming on account of the absence of the 
cloicteach or of the dwelling-house, either of which, most cer- 
tainly, the word coictighis was intended to signify ; for it will 
be clear to any one that a kitchen could not enter' into the group 
of buildings in which it is found. 

The mistake a very natural one in the state of antiquarian mistake 
researches at the time into which Dr. Petrie and those who r>r. Petrie 
endeavoured to assist him (of whom I was myself one), fell, was p^ g e" 8 
this : we thought that the twenty-one cows was the entire actual 
pay of the o^amA-builder ; that he received six cows for build- 
ing an oratory, six cows for building a church, and a cow out of 
every six cows paid for the other enumerated groups. I have 
shown, however, that this was not the case. And notwithstand- 
ing that we had seen, in a former article, that an oratory of 
fifteen feet in length and ten feet in breadth, when covered with 
shingles, and at the rate of a cow for every foot in breadth, cost 
ten cows, and that the church and the belfry were paid for at 
the same rate ; still, when we found it stated in the present rule 
that the o^/aw/i-builder, in more remote times, received a higher 
rate than this, we took it for granted, and it is no matter of sur- 
prise, that it was a higher price for the building of these several 
edifices that was meant by it, and that the cloicteach, which we 
thought ought to appear in this group, was, though of equal im- 
portance with its fellow-buildings, thrown by some mistake or 
accident into the next incongruous group, and wiitten inaccu- 
rately by leaving the letter I out of it. 

This view of the case, however, appears to me to be a mis- a ^ thor>s 
taken one ; and I now believe the calculation of the ollamtis this 
stipend did not imply the appropriation by him of any part of mistake; 
the price paid to any other builder for his work, nor even to 
himself; but that, on the contrary, if he were the builder of the 
oratory, the church, and the tower, himself, he was paid the full 
price set forth in the former rule, quite independently of his 
stipend of twenty-one cows a year which he received from his 


xxi. chief in right of his ollaveship. In this view of the case, which 
I am now confident is the correct one, it was not at all necessary 
to introduce the tower, because of its being clearly implied in 
the group. I have now to consider the real signification of the 
word coictighis, and endeavour to explain the apparent absence 
of the dwelling-house from the above list of works. 

me.Hihi<rof This word cdctighis, is compounded, according to the pub- 
coictighls; lishcd translation, of coi'c, a cook, and tighis, the plural oftigh, 
a house, that is, literally, " cook-houses". But from the fact, as 
before stated, of finding it grouped with works of so high an 
order of art as mills, and the manufactures from the yew-wood, 
we are, of necessity, driven to find another and more congenial 
signification for it. It is curious enough that, without altering 
a letter, such a signification, on a further examination of the 
Brehon Laws, has been found ; a signification too, which, leaving 
the idea of a belfry out, fills up in the most satisfactory manner 
the other defect which appeared in our list of works, namely, 
the absence from it of the. dwelling-house. 

new inter- The word coic-tighis> in the sense in which I now propose to 
the author, take it, will remain still composed of the same identical letters, 
and compounded exactly of coic and tighis, as before, the latter 
part retaining its former proper signification of houses, but the 
first part changed from " cook" to "five"; so that, in place of 
translating the compound word " kitchens", or " cook-houses", 
I propose now to translate it " five-houses", and for the follow- 
ing reasons: First, it is quite unreasonable to suppose that 
such an important item as the building of the superior class of 
dwelling-houses should be omitted from the above list of works, 
whilst the building of the inferior class those formed of wattles 
and wicker work is introduced, and classed in price with the 
making of shields and casks, for each of which two cows was 
the pay of the artist. Secondly, we know now, from these very 
laws, that the regular establishment of a farmer of the first class, 
as well as of a chief, consisted of five houses ; and that if he were 
deficient in any one of these houses, he was not entitled to the 
full privileges and dignity of his rank. Thus saith the law in 
this respect: that is, " the five privileges are a great house, a 
cow-house, a pig-sty, a sheep-house, and a calves'-house". (?6) 

Even a slave, when he came to possess these coic-tighis, or 
five-houses, with the lawful stock that required them, became 
forthwith emancipated. 

I need not, I think, pursue this argument any farther, as the 
object I have in view is, not to criticise any one, but to set 

original: 1ciAc n& cuic cujVba, cecVi tn6^, bo-ceAd, -poil-tnuc, 1/iAf; 
H. 3, 18, p. 12l. T.C.D. 



myself and others right as far as I can, in a matter that some LE CT xxi 
years ago presented apparent contradictions which it was then 
found difficult to explain. But before passing from the imme- *^*^ 
diate subject of these remarks, namely, the article from the oiiamh- 
Brehon Laws which enumerates the various artistic works of bu 
which the o^aw/i-builder was master, I must bring that enume- 
ration or list of works more directly under the reader's notice 

It may be remembered that the first item in the list is the 
ecclesiastical establishments, consisting of a wooden oratory, a 
stone church, and a stone round tower or belfry ; and these, we 
have seen, were the works which required and received the 
highest exercise of the builder's art, both in stone and wood- 
work. For the building of these three edifices, according to 
certain proportions of one witli another, the builder received 
thirty cows ; but out of this he was to supply materials, trades- 
men, labourers, and sometimes even the site of the edifices. It 
does not appear, however, that the other requisite buildings which 
must have formed part of the establishment, were included in the 
sum of thirty cows, such as a cook house, refectory, dormitory, 
the ordinary residence of the clergyman, and so forth. 

The next exercise of the artist's skill was the lubroracht, or the iut<ro- 
working in iubar, or yew- wood. The working in this material w'orkinK in 
must have embraced a wide range of objects, as it formed, with y ew - wooa - 
some exceptions, the material of all the most elegant articles of 
furniture in beds, bed-posts, buckets, cans, mugs, medars, [or 
square mead-drinking mugs], cups, and sometimes large vessels ; 
as well as, we may fairly infer, various other articles of conve- 
nience and ornament for the houses of the higher classes of so- 
ciety. The stealing, breaking, or defacing of this class of articles 
came within the range of the criminal law, which injury to 
similar articles manufactured from any other native wood, did 
not. The yew was also largely used in cornices, wainscoting, 
or some such ornamentation of houses, from the very early times, 
as may be seen from the description of the palace of the Royal 
Branch oiEmania, and of the house assigned toFraech, the son of 
Fidhadh, at Rath Cruacliain, mentioned in a previous lecture. (27) 
Where the palace of the Royal Branch is described it is said, (28) Carved yew 
i.e. "ornamentation of the red yew in it". And where the and "" 
house in Rath Cruachain is described, it is said, (29) i.e. 
mental carving of red yew upon the entire of it". We are told 
in this tract that the house itself was built of gius, what we now 

<* 7 ) Lect. xix., ante, vol. ii. p. 10. 

(*") original : e-j\rcoj\ oin oe]\cc iubAf\ Atro. 

(9> original: Au^fcAjvoAT) oo oe|\g iubAj\ ipo bpechc imcliAin 


LECT. xxi. ca ll " deal" ; and I am obliged to use the general term ornamen- 
tation, because there is nothing from which I could understand 
the precise character of the work in yew. I have, however, 
been so fortunate as to meet with one passage, which clearly de- 
fines the use to which the yew was put in the particular case 
to which it refers. This passage occurs in a poem of forty- 
seven stanzas, or one hundred and eighty-eight lines, written 
by Giolla-Brighde Mac Conmidhe, a distinguished Ulster poet 
who flourished between the years 1220 and 1250, in praise and 
description of the cathedral of Armagh founded by Saint Patrick. 
The only copy of this curious and important poem in Ireland, 
so far as I am aware, is a fine one in my own possession. The 
verses 6, 7, and 12, bear particularly on the subject J am at 
present discussing, and are as follows: 

" The church of Armagh, of the polished walls, 

Is not smaller than three churches ; 

The foundation of this conspicuous church, 

Is one solid, indestructible rock. 
"A capacious shrine of chiselled stone, 

With ample oaken shingles covered ; 

Well hath its polished sides been warmed, 

With lime as white as plume of swans. 

carving in 

Arm^h d ' 

" Upon the arches of this white-walled church, 
Are festooned clusters of rosey grapes, 
From ancient yew profusely carved; 
This place where books are freely read". (ao) 
I have quoted these verses in order to show that down to the 
middle of the thirteenth century the cathedral of Armagh, though 
its walls were built with chiselled stone, was covered with oak 
shingles or boards in place of slates ; and in the second place, that 
the arches at least of that venerable historical edifice were fes- 
tooned with clusters of the ripe vine-berry, carved from ancient 
yew, and apparently coloured to imitate the natural grapes, proba- 
W [original: 

Airvo riiAcA An rhtnr\ 6tnr\f\ 

AiT) cr\i ceAtn-puiVL 
ATI ceAin-pAiVl bjvic bAt>bA 
tiA tic ceArmcranrn 
ttliorm luch-orhA-p cloiclie 
fVmnceAc'h oAr\Ach -o 
oo c6ix>eA'o1i A cAob 
1e TieoV, n- 

<Vr\ -pouAigli An ceAmpAill 
cAortA "oe riA n'o' 
t>o gelicliA c 

From the Book of Fearan Connaill.'] 


bly some part of a more ancient roof of the church itself. From 
this curious fact, for, as a fact I am satisfied to receive it, we 
may easily imagine in what way the yew was applied to the 
adornment of the ancient palace of the Royal Branch at Emania, 
the Great House in Rath Cruachain, and many others which 
may be met with in our old writings. 

The romantic origin ascribed by the poets to the manufactur- Romantic 
ing even of vessels for domestic use from the yew-tree, is pre- worktoyw 
served in our ancient writings. We are told that in the days wood; 
of the monarch Dermot Mac Fergusa Cerrbheoil, who died at 
Tara in the year 558, there appeared an ancient sage who had 
outlived the general deluge. This man's name was Finntann, the 
son of Bochra, and he was one of the three men who came to 
Erinn along with the lady Ceasair, a short time before the de- 
luge. But, as the legend is short, and as it may not be generally 
known, I shall tell it in a few words, as recorded in the Book 
of Leinster. 

When Noah received the command of the Lord to build the Legend of 
ark, and the number of persons he should take into it, he had son of""* 
a fourth son whose name was Bith, or Life, who was not in- Bochra - 
eluded in the number. Bith, accompanied by his daughter 
Ceasair, went to his father begging to be taken into the ark, 
but Noah refused, and desired them to take shipping and sail 
to the western borders of the earth, where, probably, the deluge 
would not reach them. This they did, in three ships, two of 
which were lost; but the third, containing fifty women and 
three men, reached the coast of Kerry, and landed safely in that 
country. Among the women who arrived in safety was the 
lady Ceasair, and the three men were her father, Bith,Ladhra, 
and Finntan, the son of Bochra, son of Bith, son of Noah. 
The whole party, however, are stated to have died before the 
flood came, except Finntann, who, when it commenced, was cast 
into a deep sleep which continued for twelve months, until the 
waters were dried up, when he found himself in Dun- Tulcha, 
his own former residence, a place situated somewhere near the 
head of Kenmare Bay, in Kerry. Here he continued to live, 
contemporaneously with the various succeeding series of colo- 
nists, and down, as I have already said, to the time of the 
monarch Dermot, in the middle of the sixth century, before 
whom he appeared at Tara, accompanied by eighteen compa- 
nies of his own descendants ; but it does not appear who his wife 
was. To show the antiquity of these tales, and that they are 
not isolated stories found only in some local compilation, I may 
mention that, in the very ancient account of the battle of the 
first or southern Magh Tuireadh (fought between the Firbolgs 



No trace of 
the do. trine 
of metemp- 
among the 

Legend of 
son of 

and the Tuatlia D& Danann), it is stated that the Firbolgs sent 
for Finntann, to take his advice on the course they should adopt 
towards their enemies ; and also that thirteen of his sons took 
part in the battle. 

While speaking of this Finntann, the son of Bochra, I wish to 
correct an error in which some persons have been indulging for 
many years; namely, that the ancient Gaedhils, Pagan and 
Christian, believed in the doctrine of the transmigration of souls 
in other words, that when people died their earthly existence 
was not terminated, but that their souls were transferred to 
other corporeal forms, generally to animals. I would not think 
it necessary to notice the subject now, however important it 
would be in connection with the psychology of the Gaedhils, 
but that the opinion that the belief in metempsychosis did really 
exist among the people of ancient Erinn has been more than 
once lately put forward with all the pomp of supposed historical 
data, and on the authority of a gentleman whose mere word 
has, for many years, been deemed sufficient guarantee for the 
value of any assertion connected with Irish archaeology and his- 
tory. I have applied myself to test these opinions by the simple 
evidence of that history to which appeal has been made with so 
much confidence ; and, in the course of an examination of the 
original of the celebrated legend ofFinntann, I have found abun- 
dant proof of the entire absence of foundation for the reckless 
assertions which have been made on the authority of this tract. 
This subject, however, would evidently require so much space 
for its discussion as to lead me into an unwarrantable digression, 
if I were to go into it here in full ; and I therefore content myself 
for the present with denying that there are any data in our ex- 
isting Gaedhelic literature which could give the slightest sup- 
port to the opinion that the doctrine of metempsychosis existed 
among the ancient Gaedhils, either Christian or Pagan. 

To return then to the account of old Finntann, who is said, 
as I have above mentioned, to have survived the deluge, and 
whom I left on his arrival at the court of the monarch, Dermot 
Mac Fergusa Cerrbheoil, at Tara (about the middle of the sixth 
century), I shall now tell, in as few words as possible, how this 
strange event was supposed to have occurred. 

In the time of the monarch Dermot, land, it would appear, 
began to become scarce, and the descendants of Niall of the 
Nine Hostages, who at this time were the owners of all East 
and West Meath, and who are commonly called by English 
writers the southern Hy-Niall, became dissatisfied with the 
waste of the great extent of the royal demesne of Tara, which 
was never allowed to be cultivated, or otherwise to contribute 


to the support of the royal establishment. The monarch heard 
these complaints, and said that he was quite willing to con- Legend of 
tract the limits of the royal demesne in accordance with their siTo""" 
reasonable wishes, provided any one could be found to show foiuimled. 
that it now exceeded what it had been in all times from the 
foundation of the monarchy. They then sent for the oldest and 
most intelligent men of the country. These were Cennfae- 
ladh, the successor of Saint Patrick at Armagh ; Fiachra, the 
son of Nadruig; Cennfaeladh, the son of A Hill; Finnchadh 
of Leinster; Cualadh from Cruaclian; Conaladh; Bran-Bairne 
from Burren, in the county of Clare ; Duban, the son of Degha; 
and Tuan Mac- Carrill (of whom I may have more to say here- 
after). The latter five sages were commanded to appear forth- 
with at Tara ; and when they arrived, and heard the point that 
was proposed to them to settle, they all declined to offer any 
opinion on it as long as their senior by an immense distance 
in age and in wisdom was still living, and accessible for consul- 
tation, namely, Finntann, the son ofBochra, who was the son of 
Bith, son of Noah, and which Finntann resided at Dun Tulcha, 
in the south-west of Kerry. 

Bearran, CennfaeladJis servant, went then to request Finn- 
tann's appearance at Tara. Finntann acceded to the request, 
and appeared at the palace, accompanied by eighteen companies 
or bands of men nine before him, and nine after him all his 
own descendants. He received a hearty welcome at Tara from 
king and people, and, after resting himself, he related to them 
his own wonderful history, and that of Tara from its very foun- 
dation: " That is very good", said they, when he had finished, 
" and we should like to know from you an instance of the 
tenacity of your own memory". " You shall have it", said he : 
" I passed one day through a wood in West Munster : I brought 
home with me a red berry of the yew tree, which I planted in the 
vegetable-garden of my mansion, and it grew there until it was 
as tall as a man. I then took it out of the garden, and I planted 
it in the green lawn of my mansion ; and it grew in the centre 
of that lawn until an hundred champions could fit under its 
foliage, and find shelter there from wind, and rain, and cold, 
and heat. I remained so, and my yew remained so, spending 
our time alike, until at last its leaves all fell off from decay. 
When afterwards I thought of turning it to some profit, I went 
to it and cut it from its stem, and I made from it seven vats, 
seven keeves, and seven stans, and seven churns, and seven 
pitchers, and seven milans [i.e. an urna], and seven medars, 
with hoops for all. I remained still with my yew- vessels, until 
their hoops all fell off from decay and old age. After this I 


t,Ecr. xxr. re-made them, but could only get a keeve out of the vat, and a 
stan out of the keeve, and a mugr out of the stan, and a cilorn 
[pitcher] out of the mug, and a mildn [an urna] out of the cilorn, 
and a medar out of the mildn; and I leave it to ' Almighty God' ", 
said he, " that I do not know where their dust is now, after their 
dissolution with me from decay". 

Such is the legendary account of the first manufacture of 
household vessels of yew, valuable at least for the list it con- 
tains of the different household utensils of the earlier ages. 
List of We find also in the laws concerning the lending or pledging 

household of certain articles of house furniture, that, if they were not re- 
furmture. s t ore( j after one day's notice, a " smart" fine fell upon the per- 
sons who overheld them ; and among these were the following 
articles : A flesh fork, and a boiler ; a kneading-trough, and a 
sieve ; a wide-mouthed pan, or vat ; a narrow-mouthed barrel, 
or churn ; a mirror, for men and women to view themselves in 
when preparing to attend a fair or assembly ; play-things for 
children, to drive away decline from them, such as " kittens", 
" pups", balls, " hurlies", etc. ; bridles with single and double 
reins; hatchets and forest-axes; the iron reaping-hook of a 
widow's house, which she had for reaping the straw and rushes 
of her house, and also to cut ivy and holly with; the chess- 
board of a gentleman's house; the salt of a farmer's house; 
griddles, and gridlets, or the small spatulas with which the 
cakes were turned on them ; candlesticks of various kinds ; bel- 
lows and flanges, with which to blow the fire in respectable 
houses ; the cilorn, or pitcher with a handle at its side ; or the 
milan, or medar; and any or all of the seven requisites of a gen- 
tleman's house, namely, a caldron ; a keeve ; a water-cask, or 
bucket; a pan ; a plough ; a horse-bridle, and a brooch ; and all 
articles manufactured from the yew-tree ; and besides these, all 
beautiful drinking vessels, such as goblets of glass and of silver, 
with cups, mugs, and flagons of bronze, brass, or copper. These 
fines extended to the over-holding or withholding of splendid 
clothes and trinkets, from men and women, at the approach 
of a fair or assembly, as well as to chariots and various other 

It would be difficult to bring together and arrange in any 
readable order, all the various articles of household furniture, 
domestic economy, and personal ornament, to be met with in 
our ancient laws and historical and romantic tales and poems. 

Law regard- There is, however, a passasre in the laws which shows with what 

ing the . , ., ' . n i . i- f . -IT 

house o 

by even formal legislation in the olden time. The passage in 

house of a. jealous care the arrangements for domestic life were guarded 
by even formal legislation in the olden time. The passage in 
question has reference to the house of a doctor, and provides as 


follows: " He shall arrange his lawful house; a house of great LECT. 
work ; it shall not be a dirty, slovenly house ; it shall not be one 
of the three houses; [i.e. a cow-house, pig-house, or sheep- 
house.] There must be four doors upon it ; so that the sick man 
may perceive it from all sides ; and there must be a stream of 
water passing through its middle". 


[Delivered July 19th, 1859.] 

(VII.) OP BUILDINGS, FURNITURE, ETC. ; (continued). Stone buildings ; Ca- 
thairs and Clochans ; O'Flaherty's notice of the Clochans of the Arann Islands i 
Clochans still existing in those Islands ; Clochans on other islands of the west- 
ern coast. Mr. Du Noyer's account of ancient stone buildings in Kerry; his 
ethnological comparisons; summary of his views; apart his speculations hia 
paper is important. Different members of the same family had distinct 
houses in ancient Erinn. Mr. Du Noyer's claim to priority in the discovery 
of the stone buildings of Kerry inadmissible; Mr. R. Hitchcock had already 
noticed them ; ancient burial grounds also noticed by the latter in the same 
district. The two names of " Cahers" given by Mr. Du Noyer, not ancient ; 
his opinion of the use of Dunbeg fort not correct ; this and the other forts 
did not form a line of fortifications. Instance of a bee-hive house or Clochan 
having been built within the Rath of Aileach. Limited use of the term 
Cathair ; the same term not always applied to the same kind of building. 
Tale of the dispute about the " champion's share" ; Smith's notice of Sliabh 
Mis and Cathair Conroi; story of the dispute about the "champion's 
share" (continued). The ' guard room" or " watching seat". The position 
of Cathair Conroi not exactly ascertained. Story of " the slaughter of 
Cathair Conroi". Reference to Cathair Conroi in the tale of " the Battle of 
Veiitry Harbour". Modern hypothesis of the inferiority of the Milesians. 
Stone-builJing in ancient Erinu not exclusively pre-Milesian. The Aitheach 
Tuath or Auicotti. The Firbolgs still powerful in the sixth century. Town* 
land names derived from calhairs. No evidence that the Milesians were a 
ruder race than their predecessors in Erinn. 

buudin s- ^ SHALL conclude the present division of my subject that of 
the buildings and domestic furniture of the people of ancient 
Erinn by some observations upon the stone erections of the 
primitive periods of our history, and particularly upon those 
constructed for the purpose of the fortification of the settlement 
of a tribe, or the palace or court of a king, the remains of some 
of which fortunately still exist in a state which allows us, even 
at the present day, to form some conjectures as to the original 
design of their first builders. 

Cathatrs and The subject of ancient cyclopean architecture that is, that 
of buildings of stone constructed without mortar or application of 
the mason's hammer has for a long time occupied the attention 
of Irish antiquaries, particularly those edifices which are known 
by the names of cathairs and clochans. The cathair was always 
a stone fort or wall of enclosure; while the clochan, as it is 
called, is a small hut, generally of one chamber, built of un- 
cemented, undressed stones, usually circular, in the form of a 
bee-hive, but sometimes oval or lozenge-shaped, and in a few 


instances square within though circular without. Both cathairs LKCT. xxn. 
and clochans are found chiefly, if not exclusively, on the south 
and west coasts of Ireland, and on the islands of these coasts, 
but particularly in the district lying to the west and north of 
the town of Ventry in Kerry. 

The first antiquary who appears to have paid any attention 
to these clochans on the western coast, was Roderick O'Flaherty, 
the author of the Ogygia, in his Chorographical Description of 
West Connacht, a work written in the year 1684, and which 
was edited by the late James Hardiman for the Irish Archaeo- 
logical Society in 1846. O'Flaherty, in describing the Arann 
Islands, on the coast of Clare, in the Bay of Gal way, speaks as 
follows : 

" The soil is almost paved over with stones, soe as, in some 
places, nothing is to be seen but large stones with wide open- 
ings between them, where cattle break their legs. Scarce any 
other stones there but limestones, and marble fit for tomb-stones, 
chymney mantel-trees, and high crosses. Among those stones 
is veiy sweet pasture, so that beefe, veal, mutton, are better and 
earlier in season here than elsewhere ; and late there is plenty 
of cheese and tillage-mucking, and corn is the same with the 
sea-side tract. In some places the plow goes. On the shore 
grows samphire in plenty, ringroot or sea-holy, and sea-cabbage. 
Here are Cornish choughs, with red legs and bills. Here are 
ayries of hawkes, and birds which never fly but over the sea ; 
and, therefore, are used to be eaten on fasting-days; to catch 
which people goe down with ropes tyed about them into the 
caves of cliffs by night, and with a candle-light kill abundance 
of them. Here are severall wells and pooles, yet in extraordi- 
nary dry weather, people must turn their cattell out of the 
islands, and the corn failes. They have no fuell but cow-dung 
dryed with the sun, unless they bring turf in from the western 
continent. They have cloghans, a kind of building of stones o'Fiaherty's 
laid one upon another, which are brought to a roof without any cjochanfot 16 
manner of moitar to cement them, some of which cabins will Arann; 
hold forty men on their floor ; so ancient that no body knows 
how long agoe any of them was made. Scarcity of wood, and 
store of fit stones, without peradventure found out the first in- 
vention"/ 30 

Of the clochans mentioned above by O'Flaherty, several re- eiocham stui 
main still on the Great or Western Island of Arann; some of the S ishfndr 
them in ruins, and others still in a state of good preservation. of Arann; 
Of these latter, four or five are to be seen in the immediate 
vicinity of the beautiful little ruined church called Tempall an 
< Page 68. 

VOL. II. 5 


LECT. xxii. Cheathrair Aluinn, or the " Church of the Four Beautiful Per- 
sons". These " four beautiful persons", according to the bishop 
Malachias O'Cadhla, or Kiely (who so informed Father John 
Colgan, about the year 1 645), were Saint Fursa, Saint Brendan 
of Birr, Saint Conall, and Saint Bearclian. One of these cloclians 
is in almost perfect preservation ; it is built of dry stones, and 
measures about twenty feet in length, about nine in breadth, and 
nine in height to the top of the arch. It stands north and south, 
and had three doors, one at each side, nearly in the middle, and 
one in the east end, and it has a square aperture in the top near 
the south end, made, probably, to answer the purpose of a chim- 
ney. There is a square apartment, now in ruins, projecting from 
the south jamb side of the door on the western side of this clochan, 
with an entrance immediately at the same jamb, on the outside 
of the main building ; but there is no communication with this 
apartment from within. The work of the whole is of the rudest 
and simplest character ; and most probably when it was inhabited 
it must have been covered with sods, or the interstices at least 
stuffed with moss or mud to keep out the wind. This edifice 
was occupied by a poor school-master within the memory of some 
people still living on the island ; but it does not appear to have 
undergone any change whatever from its original condition, 
during this or any other occupancy. There are three or four 
other cloclians a little to the west of this, but they are now re- 
duced to heaps of ruin ; still one or two of them appear to have 
been circular, and one of them has the remains of a little porch 
which stood against, and appears even to have entered into, the 
main wall, immediately adjoining the north jamb of the door in 
the east side. There may be many more in this immediate neigh- 
bourhood, but to one so much burdened with lameness as I am, 
it would have been a work of no ordinary trouble to move among 
the rugged rocks and constantly recurring dry stone walls with 
which the place is beset ; and I did not venture to attempt this 
on the occasion of my late visit to the island. 

There is another clochan, one at least, in more perfect preser- 
vation, situated between Murvey Strand and the Seven Churches 
of Saint JBrecan, on the left hand side of the road ; but I was not 
able to visit it. There is another also, in ruins, near Tempall 
Benen, in the eastern part of the island ; and there are some two or 
three, irT ruins, within the great stone fortress of Dun Concraidh, 
on the middle island. 

ciotjiantw Besides these clochans on the Arann Islands, there are four 

teiaiVdsof the more such edifices of bee-hive form, in ruins, on the island of 

w. coast. j n ^ s ftluaire on the Connacht coast, together with three small 

churches. There are others of them again on Ard-Oilean, or 


High Island, where Saint Fechin founded a church in the sixth '-TOT, 
century. The island of Tnis-Erca too, near lids- Bo-finne (now 
Boffin, off the coast of Galway), contains the ruins of an ancient 
church, called Saint Leo's church, and near it is a cross called 
Leo's Flag. On the south shore of this island there is a cave 
called Uaimh Leo, where the saint is said to have passed much 
of his time in prayer and meditation. There is here also a ruin 
called Clockan Leo, in which he is said to have dwelt. Coming 
back again southward, we find a clochan of the bee-hive shape 
on the Bishop's Island, a little to the west of the mouth of the 
bay of Kilkee on the Clare coast. I know this island well from 
my earliest boyhood, and have seen the clochan from the main- 
land, from which the island is distant but a short space ; but I 
have never been on the island, and can only speak of the pre- 
cise form of the " bishop's house", as it is popularly called, on the 
authority of the fishermen, who are almost the only persons able 
to climb the steep precipitous cliffs which wall it in. I may here 
mention that the name clochan for this, or indeed for any other 
kind of habitation, is not known in any part of the county of 
Clare that I am aware of. 

I have been induced to go thus minutely into an account of J* r - D ? 
these curious old edifices, on account of some statements made account of 
by Mr. George V. Du Noyer in a paper read by him before 
the British Association for the Advancement of Science, at Kerry - 
its meeting in Dublin in 1857. (32) The preface to Mr. Du 
Noyer's paper is so short that it will occupy less time and 
space to give it as it stands than if 1 were to make any ana- 
lysis of it. 

" The earliest vestiges", says Mr. Du Noyer, " which are still 
in existence, of any dwellings of the inhabitants of Ireland, con- 
sist generally of a simple circular mound of earth, surrounded 
by one or more fosses and earthen ramparts ; but they are for the 
most part so defaced by time, that archaeologists have passed 
them by as undeserving of attention. When, however, we find 
stone buildings of an equally remote period occurring in groups, 
surrounded by a massive circular wall, as if intended for warlike 
defences, and in detached houses comprising one, two, or three 
apartments, more or less circular in plan, and all evincing con- 
siderable skill and ingenuity in their designs, the investigation 
of them is attended with no little interest; for it may throw 
some light on the social condition of a race who occupied Ireland 
at a period so remote, that scarcely a trace of their arts has been 

(Mi " Q n t/ ie remains of ancient Stone-built Fortresses and Habitations occur- 
ring to the West of Dingle, county of Kerry?', and published in the fifty-seventh 
number of the Journal oj the Archaeological Institute. 

5 B 


LECT. xxn. preserved to us, and even their specific name as a people has 
Mr. DU not been rescued from oblivion. 

accoun 8 t of " It was my good fortune", he continues, " in the summer of 
buiidiTin 6 1856, while engaged on the Geological Survey of Ireland in the 
Kerry. Dingle promontory, to meet with an extensive group of such 
buildings. They are known as Cahers and CIoghauns, (33) and 
had till then escaped the notice both of tourists and antiquaries. 
These buildings, amounting probably to seventy or eighty in 
number, are in the parishes of Ventry, Ballinvogher, and Dun- 
quin, and occupy, in groups as well as singly, the narrow and 
gently sloping plateau which extends along the southern base 
of Mount Eagle, from Dunbeg fort or Caher on the east to the 
village of Coumeenole on the west, a distance of three miles. 
An ancient bridle-path, still in use, winds along the slope of the 
hill near the northern limit, and was near the original road which 
led to them. They occur principally in the townland of Fahan : 
hence the collection of buildings which I am about to describe, 
may with propriety be called the ancient Irish city of Fahan. 
Proceeding west from the coast-guard station at Ventry, along 
the bridle-road just alluded to, at a short distance south-east of 
Fahan village, we arrive at a group of small Cloghauns, or bee- 
hive shaped huts, which appear to have served as an outpost, 
to guard the place on that side from any hostile surprise ; and 
close to them, nearer to the sea, are two groups of standing stones 
called gallauns, which mark the eastern limit of the city. 

" The Caher or fort of Dunbeg [little fort], which protected 
the city of Fahan on the east, is the first of these structures which 
requires a detailed description. By reference to the map it will 
be seen that it lies due south of the present village of Fahan on 
the sea coast. This remarkable fort has been formed by sepa- 
rating the extreme point of an angular headland from the main 
shore by a massive stone- wall, constructed without cement, from 
15 to 25 feet in thickness, and extending 200 feet in length 
from cliff to cliff. This wall is pierced near its middle by a 
passage, which is flagged overhead, the doorway to which is at 
present 3 feet 6 inches high, 2 feet wide at top, and 3 feet at 
its present base, having a lintel of 7 feet in length ; as the pas- 
sage recedes from the doorway it widens to 8 feet, and be- 
comes arched overhead ; to the right hand, and constructed in 
the thickness of the wall, is a rectangular room perhaps a 
guard-room measuring about 10 feet by 6 feet, and communi- 

(29) n c a h er signifies a circular wall of dry masonry, as well as a fort or stone 
house of large size. Cloghaun, as here used means, a hut or house formed of 
dry masonry, with the room or rooms dome-shaped, having each stone over 
lapping the other, and terminating in a single stone". 


eating with the passage by means of a low square opening, LBCT. xxir. 
opposite to which, in the passage, is a broad bench-like seat ; a 
second guard-room, similar to the one just described, has been 
constructed in the thickness of the wall on the left hand of the 
main entrance, but unconnected with it, the access to this being 
from the area of the fort through a low square opening"/ 30 

Further on Mr. Du Noyer gives us a little of that kind of ** 
speculative ethnology which now too commonly passes for ethnological 
science, and which many writers, too superficial to follow out goal 1 *;" 1 
the true and only method by which archaeology, like all other 
sciences, can progress, namely, patient research and careful in- 
duction from facts, usually indulge in to the great injury of true 
knowledge. As I shall have to notice these speculations of Mr. 
Du Noyer, I cannot avoid adding the following extract from his 
paper: " The smallness of the sleeping-chambers and of the en- 
trances leading into them is very remarkable; indeed this addi- 
tion to the Cloghaun is a singular feature in the habits of the 
people who used them. Taking both into account, we may sup- 
pose that the attainment of warmth by animal heat was the chief 
object they had in view in their construction; if so, it at once 
lowers them to the scale of the Esquimaux, whose circular In- 
glb'e, or stone huts, closely resemble the smaller and more insig- 
nificant of our Cloghauns ; indeed the resemblance may go even 
yet further, for it is likely that in many instances there were 
long covered stone passages, conducting to the door of the Clogh- 
aun, similar in design to the long, low, and straight stone pas- 
sages, covered with sods, which lead into the winter Inglb'e. 
When we consider what an important addition to our comfort 
is a chamber set apart for sleeping in, no matter how small it 
may be, we are surprised to find that so few of the Cloghauns have 
this important addition to them; it is sufficient, however, to 
know that such was sometimes required, and we may regard this 
fact as evincing some degree of refinement in a people whose 
habits must have been rude and simple". 

These conclusions of Mr. Du Noyer's amount simply to this : summary of 
that some of the ancient Irish people built beehive-shaped houses 
of stone, without cement, sometimes of small, and sometimes of 
comparatively large dimensions, for at this day sixty men might 
stand together on the floor of some of them ; that some of these 
round houses were divided into two or three apartments ; that 
some of the apartments were pretty large, and some small ; and 
that in some of the buildings there was no second apartment at 
all. The additional apartments in the former class of buildings 
were believed by Mr. Du Noyer to be sleeping-rooms ; and taking 

(34 > See INTRODUCTION, Figs. 56, 57, and 58. 


LKCT. xxn. the smallest of them for his rule, he delicately concludes that the 
sleeping parties were composed of savages of both sexes, hud- 
dled together promiscuously for the purposes of animal warmth ; 
and then, arguing from this assumed fact, he at once leaps to the 
conclusion that such a people must have been lower even than 
the poor Esquimaux of North America in the scale of human 
civilization. Then again, this estimate of the people being taken 
for granted, he deems it conclusive as to the remote antiquity 
of these dwellings, and of the people who built them ; and he 
unhesitatingly assures us accordingly, that neither the buildings 
nor the builders have any place in our oldest traditions or his- 
torical documents. 

It is sufficient to summarize, as I have just done, the conclu- 
sions to which Mr. Du Noyer has arrived, to show how illogical 
and gratuitous they are. It would surely be a waste of time, 
and not very complimentary to the reader's intelligence, to dis- 
prove them. Indeed I would not have noticed them at all, only 
that the passage affords an admirable example of the modern 
ethnological theories put forward with such parade by popular 
writers Apart from these absurd ethnological comparisons, Mr. 
Du Noyer's paper is a valuable and important contribution to 
Irish topographical archaeology, illustrated as it is by admirable 

In all the civilized countries in the world there have been, 
and must continue to be, two extremes of society, one high and 
one low; and to judge of the high by the low is what no man 
of intelligence would think of. And so, in the case of the edi- 
fices at Glennfahan, if we find the house of one apartment, we 
also find, alongside of it, perhaps, the strong cathair enclosing 
within it two, three, four, or more, small and large houses ; but 
we are not to infer from this fact that these enclosed houses were 
inhabited by different families ; for we have distinct statements 
in our ancient records that different members of the same family 
had distinct houses, and not apartments within the same rath, 
dun, lis, or cathair; that the lord or master had a sleeping- 
house, his wife a sleeping-house, his sons and daughters, if he 
had such, separate sleeping-houses, and so on, besides places of 
reception for strangers and visitors. 

I shall presently refer to the buildings described by Mr. Du 
Noyer, but before doing so I must correct a mistake which he 
has made regarding the first discovery of the stone buildings of 
the Dingle promontory. The mistake occurs in the following 
note which he has appended to his paper: " In reply to some 
remarks which have reached me relative to the bee-hive houses 
of the county of Kerry and other districts, especially in the west 

members of 
the game 
family had 

Mr. Dn 
claim of 


of Ireland, I feel called upon to state distinctly that, until I LECT xxn. 
examined and sketched the Fahan buildings, in the summer of 
1856, they had lain unknown to, or at least undescribed by, any 
tourist or antiquary; even that acute observer and recorder of 
so many of the pre-historic relics of the Dingle promontory, the 
late lamented Mr. Hitchcock, passed them by without exami- 

Now, in justice to the late lamented Richard Hitchcock, it must not admis- 
be said that Mr. Du Noyer does not here deal quite fairly with s 
him. It is true that Mr. Hitchcock did not write, or at least did 
not publish, any description of the Clochans at Ventry ; but on 
the other hand it is certain that he did not pass them by with- 
out examination. Mr. Hitchcock's antiquarian researches were 
chiefly, if not wholly, confined to the discovery and sketching 
of stones with ogham inscriptions, and these he did discover, and 
preserve in sketches, with wonderful industry and accuracy. His 
too inadequate means, and the impossibility of his absenting him- 
self long from his official duties in Dublin, could not, of course, 
permit him such opportunities and so much time for collateral 
examinations, as Mr. Du Noyer enjoyed in the fulfilment of his 
professional duties on the Geological Survey of Ireland ; but that 
Mr. Hitchcock saw, and, I believe, examined them, is beyond 
dispute. For, in a manuscript book of " notes on oghams", in 
Mr. Hitchcock's handwriting, deposited with his other books 
after his death in the Royal Irish Academy, by his widow, we 
find at page 103, where he is describing the ogham on the 
Dunmore stone in the townland of Coumeenvole, the following 
words : " The locality of this ogham inscription appears on 
sheet 52 of the Ordnance Survey of the county [of Kerry], 
where the stone is named ' monumental pillar'. Cloghauns are 
very numerous to the south-east, and there are also a few calu- Ancient 
ragk burial grounds. The townlands of Coumeenole, South ground 
Glanfahan and Fahan, at the sea-side, are actually filled with ^M* 
cloghauns". district. 

This note was written in the year 1850, and I think it shows 
clearly enough that Mr. Hitchcock not only discovered the 
" cloghauns" at Ventry, but discovered among, or about them, 
what appears to have escaped Mr. Du Noyer's notice, at least 
some few ceallurachs, that is, sites of ancient churches and burial 
grounds. And it is not at all improbable that all these beehive The bnii 
houses described by Mr. Du Noyer were in fact but the cells of described 
Christian hermits, like all the other buildings of the same class ^o^r'a'i'e 
known along the western coast of Ireland. It is quite clear, how- prubabiy 
ever, that the Glenfahan " city", so called, has not yet received 
a thorough antiquarian examination ; and until it shall have been 


LECT. xxn. properly investigated, I do not wish to be understood as expres^ 

sing any positive opinion upon this conjecture. 

The names of Mr. Du Noyer has recovered but two names of" cahers" among 
by Mr. r>u en the group at Ventry, and both these names, in the form in which 
ancient. he puts them, are grammatically inaccurate : one is caliernamac- 
tirech, which he translates "the stone fort of the wolves"; and 
the other, caher-fada-an-dorais, or the "longfoit of the doors". 
These are certainly names either entirely modern, or else inac- 
curately taken down. I cannot, however, examine them further 
at present, and shall therefore return to the immediate subject 
of this lecture. 
The fort of Jn the first place, there is nothing extraordinary or peculiar, 

Dnn-bognot , , . -1 1 r * * 

peculiar. nor anything necessarily implying a very remote antiquity, in 
the " caher" or Fort of Dun-beg (a word which signifies the 
little dun or fort), on which Mr. Du Noyer expatiates so warmly, 
and which evidently received its name of Dun-beg to distinguish 
it from Dun-m6r (or the great fort), also described by Mr. Du 
Noyer. The latter was constructed in a manner exactly like it, 
by drawing a thick wall or mound of earth, lined with stones on 
the inside, across the narrow neck of another point of 'land which 
projects into the Atlantic ocean about three miles or so due-west 
from the Dun-beg, a point which forms, I may observe, the most 
western point of land in Europe. 

Mr. DU Mr. Du Noyer believes that the Dun-beg fort in the east was 

ofthViwe of intended as a protection to the supposed " city" of Fahan, which 
noTcorrect? ne thinks lay scattered over a distance of three miles west from 
it ; but he gives no place in the protective idea to the Dun-mdr 
fort which is at the other end of the line, although it is quite 
clear that the idea which suggested the erection of the one must 
have suggested the erection of the other ; and if the idea of both 
was the protection of the presumed " city", there was a very 
lamentable defect in the design, for, whilst one or both ends of 
the " city" may have had the benefit of protection from one or 
both of the forts, the whole sea and land lines in front and rear 
of the " city" were left without any protection whatever. It 
cannot, of course, be supposed that a stronghold erected on a 
point of land projecting considerably into the sea beyond the 
front line, and at one end of the presumed " city", could have 
formed any possible protection to it, while its front and rear were 
quite exposed by water and land; and the same objection holds 
good as regards the Great Fort at the other end. 

this and the These forts in fact were not intended for the immediate pro- 
dHi'ao't'form tection of anything but what happened to be permanently (or at 
6 a ^ even t s occasionally, in time of danger) kept or placed within 
their walls If the fort of Dun-beg had been multiplied into a 


line of forts or " cabers", or continued into such a wall as formed LKCT XXTT - 
itself, but carried on northwards from it to the harbour of Smer- 
wick, that is, across the entire neck of the head-land, then indeed 
would there have been a protection for the inhabitants of Fahan, 
as well as for all the others within this line. Again, there is not an ^ are not 
anything in the character of these particular cathairs and cloch- 
ans to warrant the conclusion that they belong to an age of an 
antiquity beyond our historic period. And it can be shown from 
the most ancient historical authorities which we possess, that the 
two kinds of building to be found at Glenn Fahan, namely, the 
stone forts now called " cahers", and the bee-hive stone houses 
found within them, now called clochans, have their types in one 
of the most ancient buildings indeed the most ancient now 
identified in Ireland, namely that of Aileach in the county of 
Donegal, of which I have already spoken. 

This ancient Rath of Aileach, as you may remember, was ori- A ciochan 
ginally built by orders of the Daghda Mor the great king of the ^ of 1 
the Tuatha De Dananns around the sepulchre of his son, four- Atleach - 
teen hundred years it is supposed before the Christian era. We 
are told that the work was performed by his two caisleors, or 
stone-castle builders, namely Garbhan and Imcheall. Garbhan 
is recorded to have shaped and chipped the stones, while Imcheall 
set them all round the house, until the laborious work was fin- 
ished, and until the top of the house called that of the " groan- 
ing hostages" was closed by a single stone. This house was one 
of those within the circle of the great rath, which contained, of 
course, all the various houses or buildings requisite for the esta- 
blishment of the king even of a very comparatively small num- 
ber of subjects ; the whole ending with that very necessary ap- 
pendage to a king's palace in those days, a house or prison for 
hostages and pledges. As this house is described as having been 
closed at the top with one stone, there can be no doubt of the 
shape of 'it, a shape which was probably common to it with all 
the others. 

And here, as to the name of cathair: it is remarkable that in Limited use 
the old poem already quoted, as well as in several other pieces in caMa>. el " 
prose and verse which refer to this ancient structure (" the senior 
or parent of all the edifices of Erinn", as the poem calls it) 
this stone building never goes by the name of cathair. The old 
poem calls it alternately rath, and dun, and even caislen, or 
castle, but never cathair; nor do we find any other edifice of the 
early Firbolgs, Tuatha D& Danann, or Milesians, called a cathair, 
except in one instance alone, where it is stated in an ancient poem 
that Tara was called Cathair Crofin in the time of the Tuatha 
D& Danann. And this fact holds good even to a comparatively 


LKCT. xxn. late period as regards the Firbolgs. On their return to Erinn 
after an absence of several hundred years, after the battle of 
Magh Tuireadh (under the designation of the Clann Umoir), the 
people of this race received liberty from Ailill and Medbh, the 
king and queen of Connacht, to settle in the western half and 
on the sea-board of the present counties of Galway and Clare, 
as well as in the Arann Islands. And here, where they raised 
for themselves, as on the Arann Islands, those enormous fortresses 
of stone, some of which remain in wonderful preservation to this 
day, these fortresses were never called cathairs; and those on the 
Arann Islands are still, as well as in all ancient times, called duns, 
and named after their respective builders or owners, as Dun- 
^Enghuis and Dun-Ochaill, on the great island, and Dun-Chon- 
chraidh, on the middle island. There is also, indeed, on the 
great island, another most ancient fortress, bearing the name of 
no particular person, but called simply Dubh-Chathairf^ or the 
" Black Cathair". These are all built of stone, and I imagine 
simply because no other material could be procured on those 
rocky islands. 

It is remarkable that there are no clochans, or bee-hive houses, 
remaining around any of these great forts, whilst they are found 
with the Christian churches ; save that there are some traces of 
the ruins of such edifices within the area of Dun- Conchraidh on 
the middle island ; though whether they were of the same date 
as the fortress cannot now be ascertained. 

It may be remembered that the period to which the erection 
of these edifices is referred by all our old writings, is the century 
immediately preceding the Incarnation. And to show that in 
those ancient times this people were not wedded to any parti- 
cular descriptive names for their residences, (36) we find from the 
same authorities, that others of the Clann Umoir gave other 
names to their residences, as in the case of Daolach, who, with 
Endach, his brother, settled on the river Davil (on the coast 
of Burren, in the county of Clare), whose dwelling was called 
Teach Eandaich, literally Eandactis House ; and this house was 
most undoubtedly built of stone, since other materials are as 
scarce in tke district as in Arann; and as it was intended 
for a fortress as well as a residence, it must have been of large 
dimensions, and could not, therefore, have been of the bee-hive 

( 35 ) This Dubh Chathair would seem to be a common modern name, like Mr. 
I)u Noyer's " Fort of the doors", etc. This fortress is not apparently coeval 
with the others on the islands: why has it no name? The name could not 
have been lost, any more than the others, 

(36 ) Just as at the present day large mansions, some of them castellated, are 
called " halls", " houses ', "courts", " manors", etc. Cathair is like the French 
chateau (a castle or grand residence). 


shape. This house is not now known, as far as I am aware, LRCT. xxu 
though the locality still bears the ancient name of Daolach. 

While, however, we have no account of stone-built cities, 
towns, or even villages, in ancient Erinn, it is yet certain that 
wherever the provincial king, or the chief and leader of a terri- 
tory, as well as the head of a tribe, had his residence, it was sur- 
rounded by a town or village, as the case might be ; and that 
the houses were built of such materials as were most convenient 
and compatible with the position and resources of the inhabi- 
tants. And we may, I think, also reasonably suppose, if we do 
not actually believe it, that wherever the requirements of posi- 
tion, or the peculiar taste of an individual chief or tribe, made 
stone the material of the " head-house" of the territory, there 
the houses of the next in importance at least, if not all the houses 
of the tribe which must have surrounded it, were built, if pos- 
sible, of the same material. 

As an instance of the character and condition of the dun, 
rath, or cathair, in very ancient times, I may be permitted to 
give you here a short extract from an ancient tract preserved in 
Leabhar no, h- Uidhre, a manuscript of about the eleventh cen- 
tury, preserved in the Royal Irish Academy, and so often quoted 
in the course of these lectures. The story from which I am 
about to quote is one which grew out of that Bricrind's Feast, 
already described. 

Cuchulainn, Conall Cearnach, and Laeghaire Buadhacli were Taie of the 
the great leading champions of Ulster at the period of, as well aioutthe 
as a short time previous, to, the Incarnation. Between these jJhjJU?* 10 * 
three knights of the Royal Branch of Ulster there had been for 
a long time a dispute as to which of them was best entitled to 
what was called the curadh-mir, or " champion's share" at table 
at all the great feasts and solemnities of the province. After 
having submitted their case together with their respective claims, 
to several parties for arbitration, but without success, they were 
at last advised to repair to the cathair, or mansion of Curoi 
Mac Ddire, king of West Munster. And this cathair was 
situated on a shoulder of a high mountain which is said to be 
called even to this day Cathair Conroi, and which is a part of 
Siiabh Mis, situated on the peninsula which separates the bay 
of Tralee on the north from the bay of Dingle or Castlernaine 
on the south, in the county of Kerry. 

As to this mountain, Smith in his History of Kerry, published smith's 
in the year 1756, and at page 156, says: " On the top of this ^SI 
mountain is a circle of massy stones, laid one on the other in 
the manner of a Danish intrenchrnent : several of them are from 
eigth to ten cubical feet, but they are all very rude. 


LECT. XXK. From the situation of the place, it resembles a beacon or 
place of guard to alarm the country ; but from the prodigious 
size of the stones, it rather seems to be a monument of some great 
action performed near this place, or perhaps a sepulchral trophy 
raised over some eminent person. 

" This piece of antiquity stands on the summit of a conical 
mountain, which is more than seven hundred yards above the 
level of the sea, and forms a kind of peninsula between two very 
fine bays. The country people, from the height and steepness of 
it, and the largeness of the stones, will have it to be the work and 
labour of a giant, and it seems indeed wonderful how human 
strength, unassisted by engines, could possibly raise stones of 
such a prodigious weight to the summit of so steep and high a 

Dr. Smith adds two notes, one on the way in which stones 
of enormous size and weight were carried, in comparatively mo- 
dern times, in other parts of the world, for purposes and to situa- 
tions similar to the present ; and in the other note he gives from 
Keting's History of Ireland, the popular but ancient story of the 
destruction of this formidable fortress. 

fiTute* th ^ u * * re ^ urn to our story. The three contending champions 
about the t of Ulster set out from Emania, and in due time arrived at Cathair 
sifaie^'con- 8 Conroi. Curoi, the lord of the fortress, was not at home on their 
arrival, being absent on a foreign expedition, so that the visitors 
were received by his wife, the beautiful Blathnaid. When night 
came the lady told the three knights that when her husband was 
leaving home he acquainted her with this intended visit, and re- 
quested that they should keep watch over his palace during their 
sojourn, each in turn to watch a night, according to seniority. 
This request was at once acceded to ; and Laeghaire Buadhach, 
the eldest of the three, undertook the watch for the first night. 
After this the story proceeds in an exaggerated strain of fable ; 
but even in the midst of the greatest extravagance of incident, 
it contains so many details of the form and the various appur- 
tenances of an ancient fortified mansion, that I believe I shall 
best make use of the piece by translating a portion of it with all 
its extravagance, just as it stands in the original: 

" Laeghaire Buadhach then went to the watching the first night, 
because he was the senior of the three of them. He was in the 
warder's seat after that until the end of the night, when he saw 
a champion away from him as far as his eye could reach, on the 
sea to the west, coming towards him. Huge, and ugly, and hate- 
ful appeared this champion to him, for it seemed to him that his 
head reached the sky in height, and he could plainly see the 
broad expanse of the ocean between his legs. The phantom 


came towards him, with only his two handsful of oak saplings, LECT. xxu. 
and each bare pole of them was sufficient to make the swingle- story of the 
tree of a plough, and no pole of them required the repetition of abontthe 
the one stroke of the sword by which it was cut from its stem. 8 h c a re^. 8 
He threw one of these branches at Laeghaire, but Laeghaire tinuedl 
evaded it. He repeated this twice or thrice, but none of them 
reached Laeghaires body or shield. Laeghaire cast at him a 
spear, but it did not reach him. He stretched his arm towards 
Laeghaire then, and the arm was so long that it reached over the 
three ridges that were between them at the casting, and he then 
grasped him in his hand. Though large and though portly a 
man was Laeghaire, he fitted in the one hand of the man whom 
he encountered, with as much ease as would a child of one year 
old ; and he pressed him between his two palms, in the same way 
that a chessman is pressed in a groove. When* at length he was 
half dead in that way, he threw a cast of him over the cathair 
from without, so that he fell upon the bench at the door of the 
royal house [within], and the cathair was not opened for that 
purpose at all. The other two champions and all the inhabi- 
tants of the cathair thought it was by a leap over the cathair 
that he came from without, in order to leave the watching to the 
other men. They spent that day together till the evening, when 
the watch hour came, when Conall Cearnach went out to the 
warder's seat, because he was older than Cuchulainn; but he met 
with exactly the same adventure which Laeghaire met with on 
the previous night. The third night came, and Cuchulainn took 
his place in the warder's seat. This was precisely the night upon 
which the three green men of Seiscenn Uairbeoil, and the three 
BuagelUaigh [or itinerant cow-keepers] ofBregia, and the three 
sons of the musical Dornmar, had appointed to come to the 
cathair. It was, too, the night which had been prophesied that 
the monster which inhabited the lake near the cathair would 
devour the occupants of the whole establishment, both man and 
beast. Cuchulainn, however, continued to watch throughout the 
night, and he experienced many mishaps. When midnight came, 
he heard a loud noise approach : ' Speak, speak !' said Cuchu- 
lainn ; ' whoever are there, let them speak if friends, let them at- 
tack if foes'. Thereupon there was set up a fearful shout at him. 
Cuchulainn sprang upon them then, so that it was dead the nine 
men came to the ground. He then cut off their heads and placed 
them near him in the watching-seat. Suddenly nine more shouted 
at him ; but, to make the story short, he killed the three times 
nine plunderers in the same manner, and he heaped up their 
heads and their arms in one heap in the same place. He kept 
his place after that till the end of the night, tired, weary, and 


. xxn. fatigued, when he heard the uprising of the lake, as if it were 

M,.I-V of tue the noise of a great sea His ardour induced him, notwithstand- 

abdutthe ing his great fatigue, to go to see the cause of the great noise 

8hare P co n. s which he had heard, and he presently perceived the tumult 

tmued. which the monster had produced. It appeared to him that there 

were thirty cubits of it above the lake. It then raised itself up 

into the air, and sprang towards the cathair; and it so opened 

its jaws that the vat of a king's house might enter them. He 

[Cuchulainn] then executed his form-chleas, and sprang up [in 

the air too], and with the velocity of a twisting- wheel flew 

around the monster. He closed his two hands around its neck 

then, and then directed one of them to its mouth and down its 

throat, and tore the heart out of it. He then cast it from him 

upon the ground, and he plied its sword upon it, cutting it to 

pieces, and carried its head to the watching-seat, where he placed 

it along with the other heads. 

" Cuchulainn took some rest after these mighty exploits, un- 
til the dawn of the morning, when he saw the great phantom 
coming from off the western sea towards him". But, without 
repeating details, it is sufficient for our present purpose to state, 
that his good fortune and his stout heart and arm stood to him 
on this occasion as it did in his previous encounters, and that 
he overthrew the phantom giant, as he did the lest of the ene- 
mies of Curois court. 

Our hero then bethought him that his companions, who pre- 
ceded him in the wardership the two previous nights, must have 
jumped over the wall of the cathair, as they had been seen to 
fall from the air within, when cast over by the giant, and he de- 
termined not to be outdone by them in this stupendous feat. 
The story then goes on in the same extravagant style of lan- 
guage which we meet in the tale of the battle of Magh-Rath 
(published by the Archaeological Society), and in many other 
such pieces, as follows : 

" He attempted twice to leap over, but he failed. ' Alas !' 
said he, ' that I have taken so much trouble hitherto to secure 
the " Champion's share", and to lose it now by failing to take 
the leap which the other knights have accomplished'. What 
Cuchulainn did at these words was this: He would fly from 
where he stood, at one time, until his face would come plump 
against the cathair. At another time he would spring up into 
the air, so that he could see all that was within the cathair. 
At another time he would fall down and sink to his knees in 
the ground, from the pressure of his ardour and his strength. 
At another time he would not disturb the dew from the top of 
the grass, from the buoyancy of his spirit, and the velocity 


of liis motion, and the vehemence of his action, such was the LECT - xxu - 
bounding fury into which he had been excited. At last, in story of the 
one of these furious fits he flew over the cathair from without about the 
and alighted in the middle of the cathair within, at the door of share P con- 8 
the royal house ; and the place [or print] of his two feet remains tinued - 
still in the flag which is in the middle of the cathair, where it 
stood at the door of the royal house. He entered the house 
then, and heaved a deep sigh: upon which Blathnaid, the 
daughter of Midir and wife of Curoi, said : ' That is not a sigh 
after treachery', said she ; ' it is a sigh after victory and tri- 
umph'. The daughter of the king ofFirfalgia indeed knew what 
difficulties had beset Cuchulainn on that night. They had not 
been long there after that when they saw Curoi entering the 
house, having with him the battle suits of the three nines Cu- 
chulainn had slain, together with their heads and the head of 
the monster. He said then after having put all the heads 
down on the floor of the house : ' The youth whose trophies of 
one night are all these', said he, ' is a youth most qualified to keep 
perpetual watch over a king's dun\ And Curoi then awarded 
Cuchulainn the ' Champion's share' at all the feasts of Ulster, 
and to his wife precedence of all the ladies of Ulster, at feasts, 
fairs, and assemblies, the queen of the province excepted". 

I have not, as will be seen, been deterred by the wildness 
of this very ancient tale from quoting directly from the origi- 
nal, as much of it as bears directly on the condition and circum- 
stances of this ancient cathair, of the existence and rational his- 
tory of which there cannot be the least doubt. 

It is of some importance in the discussion on ancient stone 
edifices, to find still in existence one not only of undoubted 
authenticity, but even preserving through ages down even to 
the present day the name of the man for whom it was built, as 
well as that of the man who built it ; for in the list of builders 
in stone who were attached to certain great men, already quoted 
from the Book of Leinster, Gingdorn is set down as Curoi Mac- 
DdirPs caisleoir, or stone-builder. 

The description of this cathair when occupied is important, The "guard 
in as far as it explains on authority the actual use and intention ""watc-wng 
of those small internal and external chambers, the ruins of which seat "' 
are found among the " cahers" and " cloghauns" represented in 
Mr. Du Noyer's beautiful plates, and to some of which he pro 
perly gives the names of " guard rooms". One of these des- 
cribed in connection with Cathair Conroi is called a suidhe- 
faire, or " watching-seat", and was one of those situated outside 
the wall. 

The royal mansion of Curoi Mac Ddir6 t king of West Mun- 


U. g ter, which stood in the middle of this once great catliair, was, 
no doubt, one of considerable dimensions, and built of stone ; 
but unfortunately, as no trace of it is known to remain now, and 
as no precise description of it is given in our story, we are left 
to guess that it was probably a building somewhat of the size 
and form of the house of the royal branch at Emania, or of the 
house in Rath Cruachain which I have already described. Even 
f *ke exac ^ situation of the historic Cathair Conroi has not been 
i not satisfactorily ascertained ; although Dr. Charles Smith in his 
certo/nedf " History of Kerry, already quoted, places it on the very summit 
of a conical mountain of that name, and describes by this title 
the highest of the Sliabh Mis range, a mountain 2,100 feet above 
the level of the sea. This, however, could scarcely be correct, 
as no human dwelling, much less the fortified palace of a king, 
would be placed in so inaccessible a position. And, therefore, 
the heaps of large stones which Dr. Smith mentions as exist- 
ing on the top of this mountain, if they be ancient remains at all, 
must probably be those of a ruined sepulchral monument, and 
not those of Curois Cathair. 

On the Ordnance Survey map Cathair Conroi is marked but 

at an elevation of one thousand feet above the level of the sea, 

and at or near the source of the little river Finnghlais, which 

runs down the side of the mountain and falls into the bay of 

Tralee near its western extremity. This would certainly be the 

story of the proper position for Cathair Conroi, according to the old topo- 

nameof the" graphical tract called the Dinnseanchas, which professes to give 

T yMais f " m ~ the OI> ig m f th e name of this stream. And as this story too has 

reference to Cathair Conroi, and as the substance of it, given 

in a few words, may enable some one who hears or reads them 

to identify with certainty the site of this famous cathair, I shall 

briefly narrate it here. 

We have seen before how graciously the lady Blaihnaid, king 
Curoi Mac Ddires wife, had received the three rival champions 
of Ulster at her court, and how warmly Curoi himself, on his 
return home, had eulogized Cuchulainri's valour in guarding his 
court. Yet, notwithstanding these commendations from Curoi, 
there existed an old cause of dissension between him and Cuchu- 
lainn. Curois wife, the beautiful J3lathnaid, was the daughter 
of Midir, king of the island of Firfalgia, which some of our old 
writers say was a name for the present Isle of Mann. In a suc- 
cessful attack made on this island by the chief heroes of Ulster, 
headed by Cuchulainn, and assisted by Curoi Mac Ddird, who 
joined them in disguise as a simple champion, the chief prize 
among the spoils obtained was the king's daughter, this lady 
Slat/maid. Accordingly, on the return of the party to Ulster, 


Cuchulaind, on the division of the spoil, claimed the fair prin- LECT. xxn. 
cess as his share. To this, however, Curoi Mac Ddire objected, 
and said that, as the highest exploit connected with the assault 
on Midirs court had been performed by him (Curoi), he thought 
it but fair that he should carry off the highest p^rize. A combat 
ensued, in which Curoi's more mature strength, joined with equal 
military skill, prevailed over the more youthful Cuchulaind. The 
latter was left vanquished on the field, tied hand-and-foot, and his 
long hair cut off close to the back of his head by the sword of his 
proud conqueror. Curoi and his beautiful captive set out then, 
and arrived in due time at the famous Cathair on Sliabh Mis. 

It does not appear that Cuchulaind had any subsequent know- 
ledge of the fate of the fair captive until he saw her in the court 
of her husband ; and it seems that it was then for the first time 
that he discovered who his victorious antagonist* for her posses- 
sion had been, as Curoi had gone on the expedition completely 
disguised. It would seem, however, that some understanding story of "the 
of a friendly nature sprang up between Cuchulaind and his fair S caa^ r c 
hostess during his short sojourn at her court, from what we are Chonrai "- 
told in the old story of Orgain Cathrach Chonrai (or " the Slaugh- 
ter of Cathair Chonrai"), which was one of the Great Stories the 
ollamh was accustomed and bound to relate before the king. In 
this old story we are told that, in some time after the visit of 
the three Ulster knights to Cathair Chonrai, the lady Blathnaid 
sent a secret message to Cuchulaind, inviting him to come at an 
appointed time, and well attended, to the foot of the hill upon 
which her court was situated, and to stop at an appointed place 
on the brink of the river which flowed down by the Cathair, until 
he should see its waters changing colour, and then rapidly to 
ascend the mountain to the Cathair, where she would contrive 
to place her husband, unarmed, in his absolute power. All 
this was done accordingly ; and Cuchulaind had not remained 
long watching the flowing water of the river, until he saw it sud- 
denly change in colour from dark to white. This change of 
colour was produced by the spilling of several tubs of milk into 
the stream, where it passed by the Cathair, by orders of the 
lady Blaithnaid; and soon this silent message informed Cuchu- 
laind that all was ready. 

Cuchulaind immediately ascended to the Cathair, which he 
found, as was promised to him, open and unguarded. He 
found the royal mansion within in the same condition ; and, on 
entering that, the lady Blathnaid sitting on a couch by the side 
of her husband, who lay asleep with his head in her lap, his 
sword and spears hanging on a rack over the couch. Cuchu- 
laind's first care was to secure the sword and spears ; and then 
VOL n. 6 


Reference to 
Chonrai in 
the tale of 
the "Battle 
of Ventry 

giving the sleeping warrior a smart prick of his sword in the side, 
to awaken him so that it should not be said he slew him while 
in his sleep he cut off his head. 

The court was next stripped of all its valuables ; and Cuchu- 
laind with the treacherous Blathnaid, taking with them a quan- 
tity of rich spoils gathered from all parts of the world, returned 
in safety to Ulster. If the, stream which passed by Cathair Chon- 
rai had received a name before this time, it thenceforth lost it, 
for it is ever since, even to this day, known as the Finnghlais, 
or " white-stream". And therefore any person taking this white- 
stream, still so well known in the locality, as his guide, and fol- 
lowing it up the mountain, may perhaps discover the ancient 
Cathair Chonrai, some vestiges of which must still exist. 

Cathair Chonrai appears to have been well known at the time 
of writing the old tale called Cath Finntragha, or Battle of Ven- 
try Harbour. The name Ventry is a vulgar anglicised form of 
Finntraigh; a name which literally signifies " white-strand", and 
which is very applicable to the shore of that famous harbour, 
which is covered with beautiful white sand. 

In this old story we are told that when Find Mac Cumhaill 
was marching from the eastern parts of Ireland to the great 
battle of Ventry, he passed over the river Maige, in the county 
of Limerick, into Ciarruidhe Luachra, or Kerry, and then passed 
over the long white strand (of the bay) of Tralee, with his left 
hand to Cathair na-Claen Ratha, which was called Cathair 
Chonrai, and to Sliabh Mis, and so from that to the mouth of the 
Labhrand, and so on to Finntraigh [Ventry]. 

I cannot take upon myself to say that the places mentioned 
in this march are all correctly set down ; but the reference to 
Cathair Chonrai appears to be correct, as it was after Find had 
passed over the strand of Tralee, that he is said to have passed 
by it leaving it on his left ; and this would exactly agree with the 
position on the map of the river Finnghlais, which falls into 
the western extremity of the bay of Tralee. 

Another curious bit of additional information, if it be correct, 
is supplied by this tale, namely, that Cathair Chonrai was also 
called Cathair na-Claen Ratha, that is, the " Cathair of the slop- 
ing Rath" ; and probably Claen Rath, or " sloping Rath" only. 
And this may lead farther to the identification of the old Cat- 
hair, since, perhaps, it may be still known under the name of 
Cathair na-Claen Ratha, or of Claen Rath only. 

So much for the construction, position, and history of one of 
the most celebrated of the ancient stone buildings of the Mile- 
sians, of which we are fortunate in having an example pre- 
served so well in the description of Cathair Chonrai. 


Some writers, I know not why, have assumed that the more M:CT. 

ancient colonists of Erinn, the Firbolgs and Tuatha D6 Danann, Modem 
from a superiority of knowlege and taste, erected stone buildings the infe- sU ( 
in preference to earthen ones ; whilst their successors, the Mile- M?!<Miuu. the 
sians, being of a lower order of intellect, and having reached only 
a lower scale of cultivation, were content with forts and houses 
built of earth, or of wood. Nothing could be more unfounded 
than this assertion. And I have already, I think, fully shown its 
fallacy by placing before the reader a list of the buildings ascribed 
during the first occupation of this island, to those two colonies, 
in which our oldest chronicles and traditions ascribe but the one 
single stone building of Aileach, to the Firbolgs and Tuatha D6 
Danann. And if the Firbolgs, who, after centuries of absence, 
returned to Erinn a short time before the Incarnation of our 
Lord, erected for themselves some fortresses of stone on the 
western coast of Erinn, where no other building material could 
be found, yet, nothing remains in writing, in tradition, or in any 
existing monumental ruin, to show that those chiefs of that tribe 
who at the same time settled inland, in the territories of South 
Connacht and North Munster, where stone was scarce and other 
material abundant, built their fortresses and residences of the 
former and not of the latter. It may also be asked why did not 
the Firbolgs and the Tuatha D& Danann erect some stone build- 
ing at Tara during their successive occupations of it? Surely, 
if they preferred stone to wood, they would have been more 
likely to have indulged that taste at the seat of royalty than 

All that can be said in favour of this modern theory of the 
superiority of the older colonists over the Milesians, is, that tra- 
dition ascribes necromantic power and a superiority of inven- 
tive genius to the Tuatha De Danann; but among the speci- The most 
mens of ancient personal decorative art which have come down works' are 
in such abundance to our .own times, nothing has been as yet Mllesmn - 
found to equal in ingenuity, or in artistic taste and excellence, 
articles, such as brooches, girdles, and torques, in the precious 
metals, the fabrication of which can be clearly shown to be 

Then, as regards those stone buildings about the southern and stone 

f T i -i i it f TT 7 7 m ,7 T\ i buildings not 

western coasts of Ireland, being all of Firbolg or Tuatha De an pre- 
Danann, or of pre-historic erection, whatever may be said in Ml 
favour of the hypothesis as regards all places on the coast north 
of the Shannon, there can certainly be no reason for extending 
it to the coast south of that river. 

There is to be found in the Books of Ballymole and Lecan, Thexeac 
and in Dubhaltach Mac Firbhisigh's Book of Genealogies, a Atticou 


LECT. XXIT. very curious list of the tribes who took part in the great Aith- 
each Tuatha revolution in the first century, and of the dispersion 
and enslavement to some extent of these tribes, in the same 
century, by the monarch Tuatlial Teachtmhar, on recovering the 
throne of his father, who had been killed in that revolution/ 3 " 
Those revolutionary tribes are very generally believed to have 
been the oppressed and degraded descendants of the pre-Mile- 
sian colonists ; but, although great numbers of them belonged to 
the earlier races, yet a great many of them belonged to the de- 
cayed Milesian race also, as well as to the Picts who had settled 
in the east of Ireland. These revolutionists have been called 
Attaeotti by modern Irish writers; but, whether they really 
were the Attaeotti of Romano-British history is a question 
that, I fear, will never be cleared up. It is, however, certain 
from the detailed list just alluded to, that they consisted not 
all of one race, but of a number of tribes belonging to the 
various races which then inhabited the country. There can 
be no doubt, however, that among those revolutionary tribes 
there was a large proportion of the Firbolg race, who, from 
a list of the battles in which they were defeated, appear to 
have been in valour and social position the most formidable 
opponents that Tuatlial had to contend with. And it is not 
to be supposed that, when these various tribes were reduced 
to the condition of rent-payers to the state, they therefore dis- 
appeared, or even sunk into insignificance. It was not so: 
The/'ir- for, we find about the close of the sixth century that the 
stm powerful whole country of Ui-Maine, in the present counties of Gal- 
ceatury! xtl1 wa j an ^ Roscommon, was in the actual possession of the Fir- 
bolgs when, about that time, it was forcibly wrested from 
them by Maine M6r of the race of Colla da Chrioch, ances- 
tor of the O'Kellys of that country. There is a curious and 
somewhat romantic account of this conquest in the Life of Saint 
Greallan, patron of the territory, preserved in the Royal Irish 
Academy, an extract from which is published in the " Tribes 
and Customs of Hy-Maine", printed in 1843 by the Irish 
Archaeological Society. 

Now, the Firbolgs down to the historic times preserved ter- 
ritories and importance ; and we have very fair evidence to show 
that, during a space of more than a thousand years, they held 
possession, one way or another, of the whole province of Con- 
nacht, often as sovereigns. It would be but reasonable, there- 
fore, to expect if " cahers" and stone-building were peculiar 
characteristics of their civilization that vestiges of such build- 
ing should even still remain, in connection with the townland 
< 3n See in Appendix the note on this subject. 


and other topographical names, without any reference to the LECT. xxn. 
immediate presence or absence of stone in any particular dis- 
trict of their extensive territory. I have made out a list from 
the census of 1851 of all the townland names in Ireland, as 
taken from the Ordnance Survey, into the names of which the 
word Cathair enters, and, as the list is not long, I shall, without 
going into the local distribution of the names, give a summary 
of it here. 

In the whole province of Ulster there is not one townland Towniana 
taking its name from a Cathair. In Leinster there are but two derived 
one in the county of Longford, and one in the Queen's County. cSo<r. 
In Munster there are 151, distributed as follows among the 
counties: Clare, 58 ; Cork, 32 ; Kerry, 35 ; Limerick, 17 ; Tippe- 
rary, 5 ; and Waterford, 4. In Connacht there are 91, distribu- 
ted as follows: Gal way, 67; Mayo, 22, of which there are 15 
in the inland barony of Castlemaine ; and in Roscommon there 
are 2 ; thus showing, among the many thousands of townlands 
in Ireland, that there are but 244 which take their names from 
Cathairs; whilst the number of names compounded of Dun, Lis, 
and Rath, is very great, but particularly the latter, which is 
more than three times the number of all the others. Nor can 
this paucity of Cathairs, to be found at the present day in our 
topography, be ascribed, to any extent, to modern changes; 
since we find that they held exactly the same places and pro- 
portions in the inquisitions of Leinster and Ulster, taken in the 
reigns of Elizabeth, James the First, Charles the First, and 
Charles the Second, and published so far as these two pro- 
vinces about thirty years ago, under the direction of the Irish 
Record Commission. 

It is also worth noticing that while the county of Galway 
preserves the names of sixty-seven Cathairs, of these only six 
are found in the eastern or Shannon-board baronies of the 
county, while in the neighbouring baronies of Athlone and 
Moycarne, in the county of Roscommon, there are none to be 
found. And yet we know that the eastern parts of Galway 
and Roscommon were the places longest and last held by the 
Firbolgs in Erinn. 

From all that I have said, then, it may be collected concern- NO evidence 
ing the primitive colonists of Erinn, as we find them set down imedaai 
in our chronicles, as well as in our oral traditions, and what is ce e than der 
even more important in our topographical names, that nothing the previous 

f , i ,, . i ^colonists. 

now remains to show, with any certainty, that the periods ot 
occupation of the various races were marked by any distinct 
characteristics of civilization or social refinement. And surely 
it is not to be supposed that the Milesians, who came in the last, 


LECT. acxii. even if they were, as pretended a ruder race would continue 
to adhere to their own less refined habits and tastes, after they 
had become masters of the country, and that in presence of the 
superior civilization of their now fallen predecessors, who still 
remained in peace under their rule, and lived in important 
numbers around them. 


[Delivered July 5th, I860.] 

(VIII.) OF DRESS AND ORNAMENTS. Early sumptuary law regulating the co- 
lours of dress, attributed to the monarchs Tighernnias and Eochaidh Edgu- 
dach. Native gold first smelted by luchadan, and golden ornaments made in 
Ireland in the reign of Tighernmas. The uses of colours to distinguish the 
several classes of society, also attributed to the same Eochaidh ; the nature 
of those colours not specified. Household utensils, ornaments and variously 
coloured dresses of Ailill arid Medhbh mentioned in the tale of the Tain Bo 
Chuailgne ; the material or fashion of the dress not specified. Medhbh's pre- 
paration for the war of the first Tain ; description of the parties summoned. 
Description of the Ultonian clanns at the hill of Slemain, forming the 
army in pursuit of Ailill and Medhbh, by the herald of the latter, Mac 
Roth, from the tale of the Tain Bo Chuailyne ; his description of Conchobar 
Mac Nessa ; of Causcraid Mend ; of Sencha ; of Eogan Mac Durthachta ; 
of Loaegaire Buadach ; of Munremur ; of Connud ; of Reochaid ; of Amar- 
gin ; of Feradach Find Fechtnach ; of Fiachaig and Fiachna ; of Celtchair 
Mac Uthair and his clann ; of Eirrge Echbel; of Mend, son of Salcholgan; 
of Fergna ; of Ercc, sou of Carpri JVfc Fer and his clann ; of Cuchu- 
laind's clann. Note: Cuchulaind is removed to Muirtheimne after his fight 
with Ferdiadh, to get the benefit of the healing properties of its stream 
or river ; enumeration of them ; while there, Cethern, who had gone to his 
assistance, arrives covered with wounds, and is visited by physicians from 
the enemy's camp, whom he drives away ; Cuchulaind then sends for Fin- 
gin Fathliagh, who examines each of his wounds, and Cethern describes 
the persons who gave them his description of Illand, son of Fergus ; of 
queen Medhbh ; of Oil and Othine ; of Bun and Mecconn ; of Broen and 
Brudni, sons of Teora Soillsi, king of Caiile ; of Cormac \_Mac~] Colomarig 
and Cormac the son of Maelefoga ; of Mane Mathremail, and Mane Atl- 
remail, sons of Ailill and Medkbk; of the champions from Iruade [Nor- 
way] ; of Ailill and his son Mane ; of the marrow bath by which Cethern 
was healed, whence the name of Smirammair, now Smarmore, in the county 
Louth. Medhbh enumerates her dowry to Ailill; gifts promised by her to 
Long Mac Emonis ; gifts promised by her to Ferdiadh ; one of those gifts, 
her celebrated brooch, weighed more than four pounds. Story of Mac Con- 
glinde ; his extravagant dream ; his description of a curious dress of a door- 
keeper ; analysis of the dress the Cochall, the lonar, the Ochrath ; analysis 
of -Mac Cong lindens own dress; his Leinidk. Distinction between the Leine 
and the Leimdh the latter was a kilt. Description of the dress of the 
champion Edchu Rond in the tale of the Exile of the Sons of Duildermait ; he 
wore a kilt. Ancient law regulating the wearing of the Leinidh or kilt, and 
the Ochrath or pantaloon. 

IN the last four lectures I applied myself to tlie subject of the 
dwellings of the people of ancient Erinn, the forms in which 
their houses and their strong places were built, the materials 
used, and the manner of building adopted in those early ages. 
I proceed now to give some account of the personal dress and 
ornaments, and of the laws connected with dress, its materials 
and manufacture, as we find them described in our ancient 



law regu- 
lating the 
colours of 

First smelt- 
ing of gold ; 

and making 
of golden 

writings, as well as the various sumptuary laws by which parti- 
cular robes and ornaments were regulated in very early times. 

One of the earliest entries in our ancient books connected with 
my present subject, and referring to a period usually considered 
so remote as fifteen hundred years before the Christian era, is a 
notice of a sumptuary law regulating the colours to be worn in 
dress. Such a law implies necessarily a considerable advance 
in the arts connected with weaving and dyeing. The intro- 
duction of diversity of colours in dress is attributed to the mo- 
narch Tighernmas, who is said to have reigned at the remote 
period just mentioned. To the monarch Eochaidh Edgudach 
or " Eochaidh, the cloth designer", is attributed the extension 
and complete establishment of this early sumptuary law. The 
Book of Leinster, which is the oldest authority that I am ac- 
quainted with on this subject, thus speaks of it: " Tighernmas, 
the son of Ollaig, then assumed the sovereignty, and he broke 
three times nine battles before the end of a year upon the de- 
scendants of Eber. It was by him that drinking horns (or 
cups) were first introduced into Erinn. It was by him that 
gold was first smelted [the word used means literally boiled] 
in Erinn, and that colours were first put into cloths (namely 
brown, red, and crimson), and ornamental borders. It was by 
him that ornaments and brooches of gold and silver were first 
made, luchadan was the name of the artificer who smelted the 
gold in the forests on the east side of the river LifFey. And 
Tighernmas was seventy-seven years in the sovereignty, and he 
nearly extirpated the descendants of Eber during that time. 
And he died in Magh Slecht, in the great meeting of Magh 
Slecht, and three-fourths of the men of Erinn died along with 
him, whilst adoring Crum Cruach, the king-idol of Erinn ; and 
there survived accordingly but one-fourth of the men of Erinn. 
. . . The one-fourth who survived of the men of Erinn gave 
the sovereignty to Ecchaidh Edgudach, the son of Daire 
Domthig, of the seed of Lugaidh, the son of 7<7i". (38) It 
(38) [original: ^AbAr cijjennrnAr l/xocun. ttibt/iA'OAin innij;Ain nenenn, 

ACAp 1-p bee nAn otnLgen'o ClxMn-o 
eben Ar m ne pn. ConenbAitc im 
tTlAig SLecc imrnon'OAil tnAij Stecc 
ACAp ceonA cechnArncViAnA -pen 11- 
enenn TnAVle nir, 1C A-onAT) cnoitn 
cnoic, nig-TOA-ilL nenenn. ConAcennA 
AtntAicipn ACC cencecnAmcViA -pen 
nhenenn . . . Do t\Ac m cech- 
nAtncnu cnennA -o-penAib (enenn)ni- 
ge xio CocnATon B'ojti'OAd ITIAC DAine 

Domcnig, T)O pi- l/UJ'OAC 1TIAC ICA". 

H. 2. 18. f. 8. b. col. 2. mid.] 
Word effaced, but was probably that in brackets. 

WAC o/iAij; |MJe 1A^\ ctAntiA conn 
[?....] cAin ACA-p bfMfi-p cjvinoi 
CACA -pe citro bLiA-oriA -po|v CLAHTO 
eben. 1^ teir CUCA cui-pn Acuif 
in henen. 1^ ter |\o benbA-o on 
An ctii" m henmn, ACA-p [CUCA-O*] 
OACA fon ecAije ACA^ concAnA [.1. 
ruiAtnnA oeA^jA, ACA^ concnA] 1f 
teif oenA'6 CumcAige ACAf bnecc- 
nAfA oin, ACAI' Anjic in lienenn. IUCA- 
OAH Ainm nA cervoA no benbAX) mon 
[?] tijre. AcAf bAi. 


was by this Eocliaidh, we are told by Keating, on the authority xxm. 
of a similar ancient record in existence in his time, but now 
lost, that cloth was first coloured crimson, blue, and green, in 
Erinn. It was by him that various colours were introduced variety, of 
into the wearing clothes of Erinn, namely, one colour in the dresTfirJt 
clothes of servants ; two colours in the clothes of rent-paying ^Js h dk " 
farmers ; three colours in the clothes of officers ; five colours in classes ; 
the clothes of chiefs ; six colours in the clothes of ollamhs and 
poets ; seven colours in the clothes of kings and queens. It 
is from this that (says the old book) the custom has grown 
this day, that all these colours are in the clothes of a bishop. 

Although the number of colours, which are here mentioned 
as having distinguished each of the seven classes into which 
the people of Erinn at so early a period had been divided by 
the Milesian colonists, are given, yet we have' no description 
specifying what these colours were exactly, which were then exact naiur 

1 j? J i-v J J i i of these 

employed in dress, excepting brown, red, and crimson, which colours not 
Tighernmas is stated to have previously established. It could 8 P ecified - 
scarcely be expected, indeed, that such a description would 
survive to our times in any other way than by accidental refe- 
rences in the course of history to the costume or wardrobes of 
particular individuals. And although we may not find any 
personal description identical with that of the higher classes in 
the above list, it happens that we have a very ancient reference 
to, and even an enumeration of, the various colours which 
were used in the select wardrobe of royalty, at a period which, 
though far within that of Tighernmas, is yet remote enough 
from us indeed. I allude here to the account of the display of 
their valuables of all kinds, made by the celebrated Medbh, 
queen of Connacht, and her consort, A Hill, as described in the 
opening of the ancient tale of the Tain Bo Chuailgne, so often 
quoted from in the course of these lectures. 

Ailill and Medbh, it may be remembered, flourished in the Household 
century immediately preceding the Christian era. The reader ornaments, 
will, doubtless, remember the account of their conversation in ^^ r a e ^ of 
tile palace of Cruachan, said to have been the remote origin of MedMh; 
the celebrated war of .the Tain Bo Chuailgne. They had been 
boasting of their respective possessions, and comparing their 
wealth together, when, at last to settle their dispute, they pro- 
ceeded to make a complete examination of their furniture and 
trinkets. They had brought unto them, says the tale, the most 
brilliant of their jewels and valuables, that they might know 
which of them had the most of jewels and wealth. There were 
brought before them also, it continues, their vessels of carved 
yew, and their two-handled keeves, and their iron vessels ; their 


xxm. small wooden vessels ; their cauldrons and their small keeves ; 
their rings, and their bracelets, and their robes, and their thumb- 
rings, and also their clothes ; and of these clothes the colours 
enumerated are these : crimson, and blue, and black, and green, 
and yellow, and speckled, and pale, and gray, and blay, and 
striped. (39) Now, if we consider the tale of the Tain Bo Chuailgne, 
from which the above enumeration is taken, to have been ori- 
ginally written even as late as the time set down for the recovery 
of a much older version in the seventh century, no one will 
deny that the list of primary colours which it contains, indepen- 
dently of combinations, is ample enough. But the existing tale 
bears internal evidence of being composed of fragments of a tho- 
roughly pagan tale connected anew into a connected narrative. 
material or It does not appear from the passage in question what the 
the h dress f not materials of the robes alluded to were, but we may presume 
specified. ^ a ^. they were native wool and flax, and probably imported silk, 
or Siriac, as it is called in some of our ancient tracts. Neither 
does it appear of what shape or fashion were the robes, nor of 
what particular articles they consisted. Indeed almost all our 
personal descriptions are silent on the number of garments 
worn by either men or women, as it seldom happens that any 
distinguished persons, except warriors in or going to battle, are 
described, and in those cases the description is of a very general 
character. As instances, however, of the diversity of colours 
which distinguished various classes in ancient times, and the 
general character of their clothes, we shall have to draw again 
to a great extent on the same grand old tale of the Tain Bo 

I have in former lectures sufficiently described the origin of 
the war of the Tain Bo Chuailgne, and need not therefore say 
anything further on that subject here, and may consequently 
take up the story where the preparations for the war commence. 
MedMh's When queen Medbh, stung by the refusal ofDaire Mao Fiachna 
Fo7 war ; * to sell or lend his famous bull the Donn Chuailgne, had vowed 
vengeance against the whole province of Ulster, and had de- 
termined to get possession of the bull by force, she bethought 
her of the means of carrying her plans into execution. She 
accordingly summoned to her court the seven Maims her sons, 
with all their followers, and their cousins, the seven sons 

W [original: UUCA-O -061 b AtibA cucu, A fArme, ACAf A fAtge, ACAf 

CAf.iu "OA fecAib co fefCAif CIA t>ib A f.of.riAfCA, ACAf A n-ojvotife, ACAf 

OArnbA-o liAfeoic, ACAf tn6ine, ACAf A n-ecgu'OA, ecif. cof-CAif., ACAjp 

itroiriAffA. CtiCAti 6ucA A n-eMA, gof-iTi, ACAF "Ofb, ACAf UAine, btntfe, 

ACAf A M-t)Ab6A, ACAf A tt-1Af.r>l,ef- ACAf bf.6CC ACAf LACC11A, Ot)Of., 

cAif., A rnilAin, ACAf A t6commAif., AtrAt), ACAf f.i<\bAC. Ht 2. 18t 41. 

ACAf A t1-t>f.otlVlA6A. CUCA1C "OAtlA b. COl. 1.] 


Magach, with their followers, and Cormac Conloingeas, the son 
of Conchobar, king of Ulster, who had been in exile in her 
kingdom, with his exiled followers, numbering about fifteen 
hundred men. 

These three parties immediately answered the queen's um- description 
mons, and appeared before the palace of Cruachan; and they parties 
are separately described in the tale in the following order. The by r ned 
description, though short, will be found very important for 
the purpose I have at present in view. The first party carne 
with black uncut hair; they wore green cloaks, with silver 
brooches ; the shirts which they wore next their skin were in- 
terwoven with thread of gold. The second company had closely 
cut hair, light gray cloaks, and pure white shirts next their 
skin. The third and last party had broad cut, fair yellow, 
golden loose flowing hair upon them ; they wore crimson em- 
broidered cloaks, with stone set brooches over their breasts (in 
the cloaks) and fine long silken shirts, falling to the insteps of 
their feet. 

But there is yet another passage containing references still Description 

J 3 i ,1 i .. of costume of 

more minute, and much more numerous, to the characteristic Irish cianns 
differences of costume, used by different leaders and their cianns y?, ** 
(no doubt the far originals of the Scottish tartans), as well as 
to the details of personal clothing. It is where, after the retreat 
from Ulster, the army of Connacht under queen Medbh is over- 
taken by the Ulstermen under Conchobar Mac Nessa at Slem- 
ain (now well known as the townland of Sleamhain near Mul- 
lingar in the county of Westmeath). Here Ailill and Medbh 
held a council ; and Ailill ordered his herald Mac Roth, to go 
forward to observe the approach of the enemy ; and when he 
had carefully ascertained their military order, their dress, their 
weapons, and their numbers, to return to him with the infor- 
mation. Mac Roth went forth and took up a favourable posi- 
tion at Slemain, where he waited until the Ultonian chiefs 
with their respective cianns had arrived, and having viewed and 
well noted their appearance, he then returned to Ailill and 
Medbh, with whom was Fergus the exiled prince of Ulster, to 
inform them of what he had seen. 

I have already quoted the descriptions of the arms given by 
Mac Roth^ and shall therefore confine myself now to those of 
the costume of the warriors of Ulster, both as to colour and mate- 
rials, only adding figure, face, hair, complexion, etc., which are 
almost as necessary to our present purpose of endeavouring to 
form an accurate idea of the appearance of the nobles and chief- 
tains of those early days. 

<*> Lect. XV., ante, yol. i., p. 315. 


The first party described by Mac Roth consisted of three 
Mac Roth's times three thousand men, according to the story ; and after de- 
of s concA"r scribing how they raised a mound for their chief to sit on, the 
the'hm^f at P oet i c herald continues : " A tall graceful champion of noble, 
siemain; polished, and proud mien, stood at the head of the party. This 
most beautiful of the kings of the world, stood among his troops 
with all the signs of obedience, superiority, and command. He 
wore a mass of fair, yellow, curling drooping hair. He had a 
pleasing, ruddy countenance. He had a deep blue, sparkling, 
piercing, terrific eye in his head ; and a two branching beard, yel- 
low, and curling upon his chin. He wore a crimson, deep-bor- 
dered five folding Fuan, or tunic; a gold pin in the tunic over 
his bosom ; [and also] a brilliant white shirt, interwoven with 
thread of red gold, next his white skin". (41) Such is the descrip- 
tion of the renowned champion Conchobar Mac Nessa himself, 
the king of Ulster. 

of causcraid The next company at the hill of Siemain was under twice 
three thousand, and, says Mac Roth, " this party too was led by 
a comely man. He had fair yellow hair upon him. He had 
a glossy curling beard. He wore a green cloak wrapping him 
about ; and there was a bright silver brooch (Cassari) in that cloak 
at his breast. He had a brown-red shirt, interwoven with thread 
of red gold, next his skin and descending to his knees". (42) This 
was Causcraid Mend Macha, son of the king Conchobar. 

Xhe third company is described by Mac Roth as similar to 
the last in order, in number, and in dress. " There was", he 
said, " a comely broad headed champion at the head of that 
party, with long, flowing, brown yellow hair ; he had a sharp 
black blue eye rolling restlessly in his head. He had a divided, 
curling, two-branching narrow (or confined) beard upon his chin. 
He wore a black-green, long-wooled cloak, wrapped around him ; 
and a foliated brooch (Delg Duillech) of Findruine in that cloak 
at his breast. He had a white shirt, with a collar, next his 
skin. A bright shield with devices in silver hung at his shoulder. 

<*') [original: octac pecA J?ACA bnucc 6f Abntnnne; teme 
M-AinAjvo M-AfvoniiM fonuAVlA6 m 6utpACA6 bA "oenj; mcl/iut) -oo oenj; 
Ainmuc MA buiT>tii pit. CA1M1U xn 6|\ fniA geVLcVmefr. H. 2. 18. f. 65. 

l. 1. 

in oommn nicA cAetMMACAin, col. 1.] 
ecin A fluoj^Yib, eci|\ unut>, ACAf ( 42 > [original: 1fey. CAIM AMT> -DMA, 

g^Ain, ACAf bAij;, ACAf cofcut). 111 Aifinuc MA bm-one pM cAe'cefp"- 

Vot,c fiMtibtn-oe if f6 CAff -oefj* otc pirobtii'oe fAin. tltcA eicp ini- 

ojvurmiec cobAc fAfM'oe [.i. fAin,]. cA-pf itntriA fmec. t)|\AC uAtii'oei fO|\- 

CuiM-opu t&em copcAngLAM tei|". ciput mime ; CA^AM eel A-pgic ir 

Tlofc ^o 5^Aff joffA^'OA, iffe cicAfv- 1M bnuc 6fAbj\uiMMi. L6iMi-on -0011- 

OA A'ouAcnmAn IMA diMt) ; U^CA "oe- tieng MiitecA bA "oeng iM^tiux) "oo 

buit)e uncAff bA 'oe^j; 6n, fni gel tMefpi CAUfcuLgo 

concnA conncnAnAfi stumb 'od. H, 2. 18. f. 65. col. l.J 

inibi e6 6i\ in 


A silver-hilted sword in a flaming scabbard at his side. A spear 
like a column of a king's palace beside him". This champion 
sat upon a mound of sods in presence (or front) of the first 
champion (king Conchobar) who came to the hill, and his 
company sat around him. (43) " Sweeter to me", continues Mac 
Roth, " than the sound of triangular harps in the hands of pro- 
fessional performers on them, were the melodious sounds of the 
voice and the eloquence of that young hero, when addressing 
him who had first come to the hill, and advising him in all 
things". (44) This was Sencha the orator: he was king Concho- 
bar's chief minister at the time. 

" There came another company to the same hill of Slemain of 
of Midhe", said Mac Roth. " A fair, tall, great, man was at th 
the head of that party, of a florid, noble, countenance : with 
soft brown hair, falling upon him in thin, smpoth locks upon 
his forehead. He had a deep gray cloak wrapped around him, 
and a silver brooch in the cloak at his breast. He wore a soft 
white shirt to his skin". (45) This was Eogan Mac Uurthachta, 
chief ofFernmaige, now Farney in the county of Monaghan. 

Another clann is described by Mac Roth as advancing fiercely of 
and in greater disorder. All of them, he said, had their clothes Bl 
thrown back. " A large-headed, warlike champion took the 
front of that party ; a man of houndlike, hateful face. He had 
light grisly hair, and large yellow eyes in his head. He wore a 
yellow, close-napped cloak upon him ; and a gold brooch (Delg) 
in that cloak at his breast. He had a yellow fringed shirt next 
his skin". (46) This was Loegaire Buadach, that is " Loegliaire 
the victorious", chief of Immail in Ulster. 

The next clann is described as having " a thicknecked, cor- of^/m- 
pulent champion at their head ; he wore black, short, bushy r * 

(* 3 > [original : t,Aec CAern cent)- choepg chAnic ipn cutAig, ACAf AC 

lecTiAM m Ainmuch nA bvn-oni fin; cAbAinu CACA cornAinle -06. H. 2. 

folc OUA'IAC oon-obui'oe fAin; flof c 18. f. 65. col. 2.] 
ouiVled -Dub-jonm fon foltiAniAin < 45 > [original: en pn-o 

mA cnnro. UtcA 6icp uncAff ip^ mAinintic nAbwoni pn, if 

LAc im6Ae1immAfmec. t)nAC gonmAinec; -potc oon-o cetnm 

Afr bA toff ifoncipuL mime; ife pUm CAnAite bAn A ecun. 

ouitted -oe pn'onume -pn O]\ACC ^o^tAfr 1 piitni'O mime, 

bnucc 6fA bntune. tine gel cuVpA- "oel^ Angle ifin bnticc 6f A bnumni. 

CAC fni cne-pp Jet rciAc co cuAgmi- lenni 50^ mAnAife6 fni chnep;. 

lAib An^Aic ma fAin. UlAet'oonn H. 2. 18. f. 65. col. 1.] 
fint) AngAic m mciuc bAtibA |TA- (46 > [original : Ldec cen-ornAn cti- 

coimm. cune nigcnige fni A Aiff. ACA m Ainmuc nA bu-ompn ; 1|*6 

H. 2. 18. f. 65. col. 2.] CICAJVOA UAcnniAn. ^olc n-ecnotn 

( 44 > [originals ACC bA bmmtin n-gneltiAc ^Ain, rule butie tnonA 

limnA fogon 6ec Tnent>cnocc i1A,A- nA cmt). "bnAcc buitje CAiclAiriAfi 

WAID fuA-o ICA pnfenmm, bm'ofog- imme ; oelg oinbuTOe pn bnticc 6f 

A jotA ACAf A inlxibnA m Abntnnne. L6ne bt)e con^cA|\Acn 

AC ACAUxMtn m dclAig fni cnnep; H. 2. 18. f. 65. col. 1.] 



of Connud: 

hair, and he had a scarred crimson face, and gray sparkling 
eyes. A wounding shadowy spear over him. A black shield 
with a hard rim of white bronze hung at his shoulder. He 
wore a dark gray long-wooled cloak with a brooch of pale 
gold in that cloak at his breast. A shirt of striped silk lay next 
his skin. A sword with hilt of ivory, and an ornamentation 
of gold thread upon the outside of his dress" . (47) This champion 
was Munremur the son of Gercin, chief of the territory of 
Modurn in Ulster. 

The next clann had " a broad-faced thickset champion at its 
head. And he was irritable, and had prominent, dull, and 
squinting eyes. He wore yellow, close curling hair. A streaked 
gray cloak hung upon him, with a bronze brooch at the breast. 
He wore a shirt with a collar, descending to the calves of his 
legs on him. An ivory-hilted sword hung at his left hip". (48) 
This was Connud the son of Morna, from Callaind in Ulster. 

The leader of the next clann described by Mac Roth appears 
to be a specimen of manly beauty according to the herald's 
ideas. No more comely champion had yet arrived, he says : 
and he describes him as having a head of bushy red yellow hair ; 
a face broad above and narrow below [the true Celtic head of 
Ireland] ; a deep gray, flashing, flaming, brilliant eye in his head, 
and pearly white teeth. He wore a white and red cloak or 
wrapper, and a brooch (Eo) of gold in that cloak at his breast. 
He had on a shirt of kingly silk, turned up with a red hem of 
gold, next his white skin". (49) This was Reochaid the son of 
Fatheman from Rigdond in Ulster. 

of Amargin The next clann is distinguished by Mac Roth as steady and 
diversified. " A beautiful, active champion was at the head of 

of Reo 

[original : 1&e6 mtmnemtin 
m Aip.mu6 nA btn-om pn; 
otc' 1 oub cobAc p.Ain, pittip cne-oAc 

COnCAfVOA f"UA, nope f\O gt^ApP 1*&1 tt- 

nentJA nA cnint). JAe ptilec 50 pop- 


btiAt,it> pnt>ntmn f.Ain, bnAcc ot>on- 
'OAbAchuAp'LAeirnrne. bnecnApbAn 
oin ip m bnucc 6pA bntimne. Leine 
cnebnAiT) rice p/niA cnep. CtAit>eb 
co n-etcAio "oec, ACAJ" co n-inroeriATn 
6p.priAic A|\ A ecAig IIYITMAIJ; A nec- 
CA11A.-H. 2. 18. f. 65. col. 1.] 

(t8 ) [original : \xxec cece^ecAn 
com|\eniciiMn Ai|\iirucriAbtii'oni pin. 
1pe Ampc o'oo^'OA. 1pe -oepipc 

CA^b^A, Cp-Un-O^OpC O'OA^'OA Tl-A-O- 

A-pt) inA euro. ITol/c butje nocApp 
f Aifv. C]\un-opciAU "00^5 co m-bi u 

Apu ; rAe ptm-olecAn, rlegpocA MA 
IAHTI. bp.ACC |\!AbA6 imme, eo tun* 
ipin b|\ucc Ap A bt\uinm. tem tu\j- 
PACAC 1 cAupcut JA foncmb -06. 
Cotg T>6c 1A-|A nA copp-bA-pAic 61/1. 
H. 2. 18. f. 65. 6. col. 1.] 
( <9 > [original: tli comcig txiefi if 
nA in IACC p. Ai1m Airmen A- 
pn. potc cobAc tjeng bixe 
p.Ain ; Aget> pocAin pontecAn l,Aipp; 

pope -pOgtApp gOppA^TIA, 1p6 CAin- 

oel.'OA gAneccAc nA cmt>. ^en coin 
cucnuniniA ire pACA podAet p.otecAn, 
b6oit "oeing cAnAiiie ieirp; -o6oic 
niAm'OAnetnAn'OA; conp jet ctiepcA. 
CAppAn jet^eng 1 p-Atii UApu ; e6 
oin ipn bnucc op Abntunm. t6ne 
te pp.6t j\ig mA -oengpilLiu-o t>e 
oeng on, pni set cnef p. H. 2. 18. f. 
65. 6. col. 2.] 


this company; he wore a blue, fine-bordered shirt next his 
skin, with carved and interlaced clasps of white bronze, with 
real buttons of burnished red gold in its openings and breast. 
He wore above it a cloak mottled with the splendour of all the 
most beautiful of colours". (50) This was Amargin, the son of 
Ecelsalach the smith, the good poet from the river Buais in 

The next clann was that of Feradach Fin Fechtnach of Slebe ' 
Fuaid in Ulster, described as a champion entirely fair, hair, no 
eyes, beard, eyebrows, and dress/ 50 

At the head of the next company the herald describes " two of 
soft youths with two green cloaks wrapped around them, and 
two brooches (Cassdri) of shining silver in these cloaks over 
their breasts ; they wore two shirts of smooth yellow silk next 
their skins". (52) These were Fiachaig and Fiachna, the two 
younger sons of king Conchobar himself. 


Another clann noted by Mac Roth in his poetical report is 

-, -i -I ,< i i . j c. j i L -tfac Uthair 

described as " overwhelming in magnitude ; faery-red in a heat ; and MS 
a battalion in numbers ; a rock in strength ; a destruction in clann ; 
battle ; as thunder in impetuosity. The chieftain at its head 
was [one certainly of no very enviable style of beauty ; for he 
is described as] " an angry, terrific, hideous man, long-nosed, 
large-eared, apple-eyed ; with coarse, dark-gray hair. He wore 
a striped cloak, and instead of a brooch, he had a stake (Cuaille) 
of iron in that cloak over his breast, which reached from one 
shoulder to the other. He wore a coarse, streaked shirt next 
his skin". (!)3) This was the great Celtctiair Mac Uthair, from 
Dun- da-leth- glass, now Downpatrick in Ulster. 

The next in order among the clanns of Ulster is reported of Eirrge 
by Mac Roth as, firm and furious, hideous and terrible ; " its 
leader a champion, one of whose eyes was black, and the other 
white ; a wrynecked man with long hands ; he had brown, thick, 

(0) [original : laec AtAitro ef CAIT> get, AngAic if nA bttAccAib Af A 

in Anmucn MA btnx>ni pn ; gontn -mb-fum-nib ; T>A lene "01 rletrmn pcu 

AnAnc cAel, conj\AnAo, 50 fcuAgAib bui'oe rniA cnepfAib. H. 2. 18. f. 66. 

pcip5cipk;4pn'onuini,5ocnAppib a. col. 1.] 

01 tp -oeligci -oenggoin jron bejMiA- < 53 > [original: 1f bAtni-o Af\tn6ic; 

OA1D, ACAf bpoUukij; -oo |T]\1 ctieff. if rene |\UA-O lofp.; if CAC Atin 

t)|\Acc bomiriAnAd co m-buAiT) CAC i^Att) A|\ m]\c;if D]\AC; 

OAfcA cTiAfM-pp.-H. 2. 18. f. 65. 6. col. 1.] if CO^AITOAH cA|\pige. 

( 51 ) [original: tAec pirobui'oe in JAC; tiAcTimAi\, 1^55^1 

AH\inucVi HA btmm pn. prco uite, in nA bui-om -pn ; 1^6 p\6nmAn, 

^en fAin ecin, fotc ACA^ no|*c ACA^ ubAtL nuifc ; f otc n-gAnb n- 

ut6A ACA|" ADnAccun AcAfoece'Lc. Acn. OnAcc nibAin mime; 

H. 2. 18. f. 66. a. col. l.J lAinn ipn bnucc 6f A bnumm, con 

< M > [original : "OiAf iriAec oclAc geib on gUAl/Aint) 50 A nAile -06. 

m Ainmu6 nA bu-ompn. TJA bnAcc l,6ne gAnb cnebnAit) pAi 6nep". H. 

^onciput impti, -OA 6Ap;An 2. 18. f. 66. o. col. 1.] 

of Salchol- 


curling hair. He wore a black flowing cloak with a brooch 
of red bronze over his breast; and an embroidered shirt next 
his skin". (54) This was Eirrge Eclibel from Bri Ergi in Ulster. 

of Mend son We have next a clann with a large fine man at its head. He 
had foxy red hair, and foxy red large eyes in his head, and he 
wore a speckled cloak. (55) This was Mend the son of Salcholgan, 
from the headlands of the river Boind. 

of Fergna; At the head of the next clann that came to the hill ofSlemain 
was a chief described as a long-cheeked swarthy man with black 
hair upon him, and long- limbed. " He had a red longwooled 
cloak, with a clasp of white silver in it, over his breast, and a 
linen shirt next his skin". (56) This was Fergna the son ofFind- 
conna the king of Burach in Ulster. 

of Ercc :son of Then we have a company described as steady, and different 

^er^and^ws from the other companies: "some of them had red cloaks; 

ciann; others gray cloaks, others blue cloaks, and others cloaks of 
green, blay, white, and yellow ; and these cloaks all floating 
splendidly and brightly upon them". " There is", said Mac 
Roth, " a red speckled little boy, with a crimson cloak, among 
them in the centre ; he has a brooch (E6) of gold in that cloak 
over his breast : and a shirt of kingly silk interwoven with red 
gold next his white skin". (57j This was Ercc the son of Carpri 
Nia-Fer, monarch of Erinn, and of Fedilm Nucruthach (lite- 
rally Fedilm the ever blooming), daughter of king Conchobar. 
This was the Ercc mentioned in a former lecture, at whose 
death his sister Acaill died of grief, and was buried on the hill 
of Acaill, so called after her, and now known as the hill of 
Skreene, near ancient Tara. 

of Cuchu- Lastly a clann is described by Mac Roth, which counted, he 
said, no less than thirty hundred blood red, furious warriors, 

l 54 ) [original : 1f h-1 bale bnucn- ot>on'OA in Ainmu6 MA buit)ni fin. 

niAn, iffi eidj; UAchrnAn ; l,Aec [ATIA- otu oub fAin ; fich bAVlnA-o .1. 

f Ain ?] bnuAf AC beLtriAn itiAit\inuc CAffA fACA. "bnAcc "Deng f.A cAflAi 

MAbuwnpn. 1fhe tecjteoin, leicVi irnme; bnecnAf bAn AngAic if i 

inditTOjlAnrpA-oA [m Ai-pmucli riA bu- b-|\uc 6f A "bjvuinm. t6m linxd -jr|\i 

mw fin;] vote oont) no cAff fAin. cnerf. H. 2. 18. f. 66. a col. 2.] 

bnAccTJubLuAfCACitmne; noccnetJA ("'[original: 1f hi f offu-o ecfA- 

fin bnucc Af A bnumm. lem -oeng niAit nif nA bu^omb Aite, AitL bnu- 

fCAigchi fni cneff. H. 2. 18. f. 66. ice -oeing; AitL bnuicc gtxxiff, AitL 

a. col. 1.1 bnuicc ^uinrn, AiLl, bnuicc uAne, 

(M) [original : |?en m6nbnefCA m bLAe [bLAnA], bAnA, bui-oe; ICIAC 

Ainmuc nA bui'om pn. ^obc nuAT)- Atte ecnoccA UAfU. tln > ofe i o mAc 

oeng f Ain. Sute nuA'O'oengA monA m-becTn-bnecTDeng com-bnucc con- 

nA cVimt). Sicnicnin ni Cnummcin C-J\A ecunnu bAn met>6n DA'oerpn. 

meoin miLe-o ceccAnnAi, wnA nig e6 6inipn bnucc 6f A bnumm, tene 

nofc nuAx* nAtnonA fAitec UMff. -oe fpoi f.15 bA oengpnctiu'o t>e 

DnAcc bnecc imme. H. 2. 18. f. 66. oengon fpi gel 6neff . H. 2. 18. f. 

a. col. 2.J 66. a. col. 2.] 

(56) [original : t/Aec tecconf OCA 


white, clean, dignified, crimson faced men. They had long 
fair yellow hair [upon them], splendid, bright countenances, 
and sparkling kingly eyes ; and they wore glossy, long, flow- 
ing robes, with noble brooches (Deilge) of gold, pure shining 
gauntlets (larndota), and shirts of striped silk. (58) These were 
the men of Muirtkeimne, the hereditary patrimony of Cuchu- 
laind, the great hero of the tale. 

These descriptions are surely specific enough to afford us a 
very vivid glimpse of the dress and accoutrements, as well as 
the personal appearance of the Gaedhelic warriors of two thou- 
sand years ago. But the same remarkable tale contains much 
besides on the subject. (59) 

( M ) [original : HA-O UACCI cjvicliA- ecAige tij'OA ten-omAffA, 
c6c im>i, JMAMMA feocVi|\A fO|\ t>efv- 6tvoA Atneg'OA, lAjwoocAib oerro- 
JA, pj\ pi gtAiri 5tiij\tn dioj\cA]voA. gLAtiA ; L6nci pci ' fpebriAl-oe. H. 
tnongA J?ACA finbuToi, gtiup A\AJ& 2. 18. f. 66. col. 1.] 
ec^odcAi ; ^uifc petVu ^J'OAI'OI ; 

t9) [All the clanns whose dress and personal ornaments are described in the 
text belong to the Ultonian party; there are, however, some descriptions, 
though not so full in other parts of the tale of the Tain Bo Chuailgne, of the 
champions of Conuacht, and the allies of Ailill and Medhbh, a few of which 
may be given here, in order to show that, so far at least as that tale is con- 
cerned, there is no evidence of difference of costume and arms between the 
ruling class in the northern and western parts of ancient Erinn. 

After the great combat between Ferdiadk and Cuchulaind, the latter was 
obliged to retire from before the enemy, and betake him to his bed of green 
rushes, in order to obtain relief from the fearful wounds which he had received 
from Ferdiadh. He had not remained long in this position, when some of his 
northern friends arrived to his assistance; finding him, however, in a very 
dangerous state, they took him away to his native Muirtheimne, to whose 
streams and rivers, and the plants which grew in them, the Tuatha D Danann 
had communicated healing properties. The names of these healing streams 
were: Sais, Buain, Bithlain, Findglais, Gleoir, Gleanamain, Bedg, Tadg, 
Telameit, Hind, Bir, Brenide~, Dicaetn, Muach, Atiliuc, Comung, Culend, Gai- 
nemain, Drong, Del/, Dubglas. While Cuchulaind was taking the benefit of 
these waters, the famous Cethern, who was described in Lecture xv. (vol. i., 
p. 313), as making such haste from the north to the assistance of Cuchulaind, 
that he could only arm himself with an iron spit, arrived. Making straight 
for the camp of the invaders, he attacked like a maniac every one he met with 
his spit, and received in return so many wounds, that he was at length obliged 
to withdraw to where Cuchulaind was undergoing medical treatment. 

Having arrived there, Cethern asked Cuchulaind to procure him some medi- 
cal attendance. The latter immediately complied with his request, by inviting 
a party of medical men from the enemy's camp to come out to him, as none of 
the Ultonian physicians were at the time available. The angry northern 
champion, rendered fretful by his many wounds, had no patience for the dila- 
tory deliberations of the doctors, and he accordingly dismissed them with blows 
and wounds, some, as we are told, to a bed of sickness, and some to death. 
Cuckulaind, therefore, sent his charioteer Laegh for Fmgin Fathliagh (or Fin- 
gin the prophetic leech or physician), king Conchobar Mac Nessa's chief phy- 
sician, to Ferta Fingin on the brow of Slebe Fuaid, in the present county 
of Armagh. The physician returned with the messenger, and the narrator of 
the tale avails himself of the dialogue between Fingin and his patient in the 
presence of Cuchulaind, to introduce to the reader by descriptions of their 
forms, dress, personal ornaments and arms, several of the champions of the 
VOL II. 7 



gifts to 

oorn fiAccfA oen fef. An-o cuit>- 
mAite f.Aif ; bfAcc gof-m 1 pttiut) 
mime, oetg n-A^jic if m bjvucc 
Af A bf umne ; cf ommfdAch 50 

fAebtlf COntmAtAC ; f A1f. 

ctncfint> m nA IAUD, fAgA 

HA f.Aff AT>. "Oo bef c m put 
Tlucfom put tVi-bic 
r>6. tlA CA fecAmmAf m fef 
Ate bAf CucutAint), 1ttAnt> 
cteff mA6 Vefguf A fAin, ocAf ni bA 
oticfAcc teif -oo chuccimpu -OA 
__ H. 2. 18. f. 61. col. 2. 

At the opening of the pillow controversy already spoken of, 
between queen Medbh and her consort Ailill, the irritated 

invading force. These descriptions it is, which it is proposed to add by way 

of supplement to those of Mac Roth in the text. 
"The physician having arrived at Cetherria bed, the latter exhibits his 

wounds to him one by one, and asks his opinion of each. 

fe^Aif pngm m put pn : pn- " Fingin examined that blood :' This 

tAt ecf om mtmchf ACCAC Ant>f o, Ate is a light unwilling wound', said the 

bAf m tiAig, ocAf n^ bef At) immu- physician, 'and it will not carry thee 
1f p"f Am, Ate bAf Cechenn, off very soon'. 'True', said Cethern, 

'a single man approached me there; 
a blue cloak wrapped around him, a 
brooch of silver in that cloak at his 
breast; a curved shield with sharp 
carved edges upon his shoulder; a 
flesh- seeking slegh (or light spear) in 
his hand, and a Faga Faegablaige (or 
a small down-headed spear) near it. 
It was he that gave this wound ; and 
he got a slight wound from me'. ' We 
know that man', said Cuchulaind, ' he 
is Illand, the accomplished warrior, 
son of Fergus, and he was not desirous 
that thou shouldst fall by his hand'. 

" ' Look at this blood [wound] for 
me, my good Fingin', said Cethern. 
Fingin examined this blood : ' This is 
the deed of a haughty woman', said the 
physician. 'It is true', said Cethern, 
' there came to me one beautiful, pale, 
long-faced, woman, with long flowing 
golden yellow hair upon her; [she had] 
a crimson cloak, with a brooch of gold 
in that cloak over her breast; a 
straight-ridged slegh (or light spear) 
blazing red in her hand. She it 
was that gave me that wound; and 
she got a slight wound from me'. 'We 
know that woman well', said Cuchu- 
laind, 'she is Medhbh, the daughter 

EIACG f.An congf Ammumpn. DA of Echaid Feidlig, the daughter of 
UAit> ocAr corcon ocAr commAi- the high king of Erinn [and queen 

of Connacht] ; it is she that came thus 
unto me. She would have deemed it a 
great victory and a triumph that thou 
shouldst have fallen by her hands'. 

" ' Look at this blood [wound] for 
me, my good Fingin', said Cethern. 
Fingin examined that blood : ' This 
is the deed of two champions', 
said the physician. 'It is true in- 
deed', said Cethern; 'two men came 
to me there with two glossy curled 
heads of hair; two blue cloaks wrapped 

CC TJAITI m ftnt feo t>nA, A 
f)opA trhmpn, bAn Cecnenn. 
m fuit fin : "bAn 
d An-o f o, Ate bAf. m 
1f fin Am, Ate bAn Cechenn, 
oen ben Ant?, ben 
6Ain bAnAined, teccAn fACA m6n, 
monng 6n buToe funnr, bnAcc con- 
cnA jjen'OAici impi, e6 oin if m 
bnucc 6f A bnumm ; fteg -oif.iu6 
onumnec AJ\ 'oengtAfpyo nA tAim. 
RA benc m fuit pn, ponmf A ; nuc 
p fuit m-bic UAimfe ti6. UACA 
f ecAmmAf. in mnAi pn, Ate bAf. Cuc- 
titAin'o, ttle-ob mgen ecliAit) ^ei-o- 
tig, mgen Af.'onig h Cf-enn, Ap t>A 
fAn congnAmmumpn. t)A 
ocAf cofcon ocAf commAi- 
oitim te jiA T)o fAicefcepi OA 
UmAib.-H. 2. 18. fol. 61. b. a. col. 1. 

fedA IACC oAm m piitfe no A mo 
popAtrhmjin, bAf, Cechenn. ecAif 
pnpn m fuitrem : jAtA6 X>A fen- 
neTo Ant) fo, Ate bAf, m tiAig. 1ffin 
Am, bAf. Cechenn, tJA 
f A oiAf Ant), t>A chot)mAite 
DA bf.ACC A gonmA 1 ptti 
oetp Af-rAic if nA bf ACCAib 6f 
m-bf unnib ; muncobfvAc Af-pc oen- 
git im bf,Agic deccAinnAi -oib. H6- 
CA fecAmmAf. m -oif fem, Ate bAn 
, Ott ocAf Ocntne fAin, 

around them ; brooches of silver in 
the cloaks over their breasts ; a chain 
of bright silver around the neck of 
each of them*. ' We know these two 



queen does not hesitate to say to her husband, that she had 
paid him a high compliment, when she selected him as her 

oo fAin muncin AitiUlA ocAf rtle-o- 
bA. H. 2. 18. f. 61, b. a. col. 1. 

ecA IACC txwri m jrtnlf eo no A mo 
popA pngin, fon Cechenn. ecAif 
pngm in pnlfAin : 'OomniAccA- 

CAttfA -O1 Af OAC feWtte AtTO, COtl- 

gnum n-An-peivoAToe fonno ; cu- 
mAing bin inniumf A cedcAnnAi -oili, 
cumAnngfA in m-binfA cni fin t>An,!t 
riAi oibpum. JTeCAif pripn in put 
pn. "Dub tile, in piitpyo, Ate ban 
intiAij;. Cn^ 6nix>e T>O cnACAin -OAIC 
co n-T>ennA 6noif -oib cnic 
ocAf ni pincAnAim-peA tec 
A6c -oo gebAin'oye -oAicfeo 130 
rAib ted ocAf ^Anfen ni nACAc 
bencAif immucA. 
in T)if |"Ain, A^6 
t)un ocAf ITlecconn fAin, -DO fAin, 
muncin AXitit/tA ocAf ffleDbA. t)A 
oucnAcc leo reA t>o ^AecAif c6fu tiA 
UmAib. H. 2. 18. f. 61. b. a. col. 1. 

ecA LAC OAITI in ^uilfeA no A mo 

inpn, An ceuhenn. 

m puitfAin : ' 
OA nig CAille AiTOf o, AtebAn m LiAig. 
1f pn Atn, bAn Cechenn, oomniA6- 
A 6cLA6 AijjfinnA AbnAC- 

monA Ant>, 50 mmoAib 6irv 

-OA bnAcc UAne ijroncipu'L 
impu ; -OA CAffAn get, Angle if 
bnACCAib Af A m bnunnib ; -OA 
cuicnmm mA LimAib. 1c 
nA ^uti -oo bencACAn ^o^ 
in UAig: 1c cnAef X>A 6uACAn 
co coniAnnecgACAn nennA nA 
inmuc, ocAf ni h-An^ AICC 
HA CA fecAmmAn m t>iy 
Cuctit-um-o, t)noen ocAf 
f Am, meic cheonA SoiLVp, X>A niAC 
n^s CAitLe. t)A buAit), oc&if do^-cun, 
ocAf domniAi'oib Leo giA oo fAe 
CAircefu Uo. H. 2. 18. f. 61. b. a. 
col. 1. 

m puifeA no A mo 

m -pinl pAin : ConngAj* 
b|\AcViAn An-o^o, At/e bAn m 
1r fin Am, bA]\ Cecnenn ; -oomniAc- 
cecnijL&i Ant), 

men well', said Cuchulaind, ' they are 
Oil and Othme, of the special house- 
hold of Ailill&M Medhb/t'. 

" ' Look at this blood [wound], for 
me, my good Fingirf, said Cethern. 
Fingin, looked at that blood, [and Ce- 
thern said] : ' There came to me two 
young warriors, who have not as yet 
come to full manhood ; each of them 
thrust a spit into me, and I wounded 
each of them in return with this spit'. 
Fingin examined that blood [wound]. 
' This blood is all black', said the 
physician. ' It was through thy 
heart they pierced thee, so that they 
formed a cross in ( thy heart, and I 
cannot pronounce a cure here; but I 
can procure for thee such plants of 
healing and saving properties as shall 
save thee from an early death'. ' We 
know these two men", said Cuchu- 
laind, ' they are Bun and Mecconn, 
of the special household troops of 
Ailill and Medhbh. It would be pleas- 
ing to them that thou shouldst receive 
thy death wounds from their hands'. 
' ' ' Look at th is wound for me, my good 
Fingin', said Cethern. Fingin looked 
at this blood [wounds] : ' These are 
the red rush of two woodrings', said 
the leech. ' True', said Cethern, ' there 
came to me two fair-faced youths, 
with large blue eyes and with golden 
diadems on them; two green cloaks 
wrapped around them; two brooches 
of bright silver in these cloaks over 
their breasts ; and two flesh-seek- 
ing spears in their hands'. ' The 
wounds they have given thee are 
invisible wounds : it is down thy 
throat thou hast received them, where 
the points of the spears met within 
thee, and a cure is not easy here'. 
4 We know these two well', said Cu- 
chulaind, ' they are Broen and Brudni, 
of the household youths of Teora 
Soillsi, the two sons of the king of 
Caille. They would consider it a vic- 
tory, and a triumph, and a cause of uni- 
versal exultation, that thou shouldst 
receive thy death wounds from them'. 
"'Look at this blood [wound] for 
me, my good Fingin", said Cethern. 
Fingin looked at that blood [wound]. 
' This is the jointdeed of two brothers', 
said the physician. ' True indeed', 
said Cethern, ' there came two kingly 



husband, while he was only a younger son of the king of 
Leinster ; and she reminds him that she had presented him at 

buit>e f.o]\]\o ; bounce 
JTA bo-pp 1 fO}\cipub irnpu ; oebgi 
otubbecA t>o pnt)-[\tiiniti if HA bfVAc- 
CAib 6f A m-b|\urmib ; mAnAifi be- 
nA bAmAib. flACA 

LAiri'o, Co^mAC [ITIAC] cobortiAfvig 

fAHI, ACAf CO]MDAC 1TIAC ttlAebefOgA, 

oo fAiti irmnci-p AibibbA ocAf THer>- 
bA. "DA >OUCI\ACC beo geA T>O fAe- 
cAi-pcefu -OA betriAib. H. 2. 18. f. 61. 
b. a. col. 1. 

bAcc t>Atr> in piibfeA tio A 
IMA jbopA 1115111, <M\ Cechepn. fTe- 
diAif ptipn m pnbfAiti : ACCAC 
DA n--oe]\b|\ACAj\ Airofo, A^ in biAij;. 
1f p-p Am, Ate bA^\ CecVie|\ti, -ooin- 
|MAccA|\rA txiAf mAecVi octAc Am>, 
cotncofmAibe -oibVinAib, fobc 
bA]\ in -OAI^A MAI -oib, -pole 

imp-u, X)A . 

j"An reb A7\pc if HA bf\ACCAib Af 
A Tn- o-[\tinib ; t>A bem t)i fbernAin 
ficA buix>e f]\iA cneffAib; cbATobi 
5ebt>ui|\n fAf. A c-perpAib ; t)A geb 

ydAC CO CUAgmiblAD AfglC JT 

po|VAib ; "OA fbeig CUIC-JMITO 50 
CAnAib A^c t>enpb IMA 
HA CA f ecAmmAn in -oif f Am, uc u|. 
CucubAin-o, 111 Atie tn Acnem Aib f Ain, 
ocAf ttlAne AcpemAib, T>A ITIAC Aibib- 

bA OCAf 1TleTbA. OCAf bA bUATO OCAf 

cofcup ocAf commAi'oium beo jAe 
l\o f AecAircefu "OA b*iriAib. H. 2. 
18. f. 61. b. a. col. 2. 

bAc t>Atn in -ptnb^eA A mo 
i, bA|\ Cechefui. "OoiTi- 
-oiAf OAC 6inne AVCO, 

n-ecp-oe, ice 
ro^o, ec 
ceccAjuiAi tiib, 

i -oibputn. 1p6- 
in -ptub fAin : AcATnAinfi 

MA -pUltl |VA be|\CACA]\ JTOJVC, Abe A^\ 

in biAij, gotroA j\ub'OACA|\ f6ice -oo 
inmuc, con-oA n-nnbin x>o 
ic cbiAb, itnmAtv tvbubb 1 v&- 
bubb, HA mA^\ cepcu 1 ^Afbuig, 
co HA6 ^Aib feic icij\ ICA iminu- 
Vunng, ocAf ni 'oefgetiAiinfe ice 

champions to me, with yellow hair 
upon them ; black gray cloaks with 
fringes wrapped around them; and 
foliated brooches of Findruiniu in 
their cloaks at their breasts ; broad 
green Manaise (or spears) in their 
hands'. ' We know these two very 
well', said Cuckulaind, 'they are 
Cormac, [son of] Colamarig, and Cor- 
mac, the son of Maelefogha, of the 
special household of Aililla.n& Medhbh. 
It would be delightful to them that 
thou shouldst receive thy death wound 
at their hands'. 

" ' Look at this blood [wound] for 
me, my good Fingin\ said Cethern. 
Fingin looked at that blood [wound] : 
' This is the deed of two brothers', said 
the physician. ' True indeed', said 
Cethern, ' there came two young war- 
riors to me resembling each other, one 
had curling [dark] hair, and the other 
curling yellow hair ; two green cloaks 
wrapped around them, with two 
brooches of bright silver in their cloaks 
at their breasts ; two soft smooth shirts 
of yellow silk to their skin ; two bright 
hilted swords at their girdles; two 
bright shields with fastenings of 
bright silver upon them ; and two flesh 
seeking sleghs (or light spears) with 
bright veinings of pure bright silver on 
their handles'. ' We know these two 
very well', said Cuchulaind, 'they 
are Mane Mathrcmail, and Mane 
Athremail, two sons of Ailill and 
Medhbh. And they would deem it a 
victory, and a triumph, and a cause of 
universal exultation, that thou shouldst 
fall by their hands'. 

" ' Look at this blood for me, my good 
Fingin', said Cethern. ' There came to 
me there two young champions with 
clear, noble, manly features, and with 
wonderful foreign clothes upon them. 
Each of them thrust a spit into me, 
and I sent this spit into each of them'. 
Fingin examined the wounds [blood] : 
'They have inflicted dangerous wounds 
on thee', said the physician, ' for they 
have severed the strings of thy heart 
within the*, so that it plays in thy 
body like an apple in the air, or a ball 
of thread in an empty sack, so that 
there is not a string sustaining it, and 
I cannot perform any cure in this 



the outset with twelve suits of robes, a chariot worth three 
times seven cumals (or sixty-three cows), the breadth of his face 
of red gold, and a bracelet of Findruine or carved white metal 
(silver bronze) to fit his left wrist. (60) The breadth of his face 
of red gold spoken of here, and of which we shall have occa- 
sion to speak again, was doubtless one of those deep crescents 
of red gold of which there are so many magnificent specimens 
preserved in our national museum in the Royal Irish Academy. 
Again, when queen Medbh is inducing one of her warriors, 
named Long Mac Emonis, to fight Cuchulaind in single com- 
bat, she " promises him great rewards, namely, twelve suits Giftspro 
of robes, and a chariot worth four times seven cumals or 
eighty-four cows, and her daughter Findabair to wife". (6I) And 
again, when queen Medbh summoned ferdiadh .to fight Cuchu- 

Ale bA^ CucuiAitro, 
penne-OAib nA Vi- 
ooen coij'c o Ait/ilt 
A]\ "DAIS -DO 5011 Api. 
fecA IACC oAm in 

e no A mo 


T A1ri 


fi|v Am, bA|V CecViejvn, 

-OA fe| 
-oe]\cA Ati-o, 50 

6f AflV&lg UAfU 

nmpu, cLdTobi 6|\-otii]Mi 
bAj\ A c]\effAib, 50 jr 
A|\gic 6en 



place [here'.] ' We know these two 
fAin -oe very well', said Cuchulaind, ' they are 
two choice champions of Irruade 
[Norway] who were sent specially by 
Ailill and Medhbh to kill thee'. 

" ' Look at this blood [wound] for 
me, my good Fmgin', said 
Fingin examined the blood [wounds] 
and said : ' This is the joint piercing of 
a father and son', said the physician. 
' True', said Cethern, ' there came to 
me there two large men with flaming 
eyes, having diadems of lustrous gold 
on their heads, with kingly dress upon 
them, with long gold hilted swords at 
their girdles, in scabbards of bright 
shining silver, with frettings of mot- 
tled gold on their lower ends'. ' We 
know these two very well', said Cuchu- 
laind, 'they are Ailill and his' son 
Maine", who have inflicted those 
wounds upon thee. They would think 
it a victory and a triumph, and a cause 
of universal exultation, that thou 
shouldst fall by their hands' ". 

Notwithstanding the unfavourable opinion pronounced by Fingin upon some 
of Cethern's wounds, he succeeded, we are told, in curing him, or at least in 
enabling him to share again in the' conflict. This he is said to have done by 
means of a curious bath formed of the marrow of a great number of cows 
which Cuchulaind had killed for the purpose. The place where this bath was 
prepared received the name of Smiramair or the Marrow-bath, which is still 
preserved in that of Smarmore in the county of Louth.] 

(o) [original : CucAfA co|\ ACAf (6l) [original: JetlA^rne'obmop- 
coibcVn -otnc AtriAit Af -oech c6ic comA -oo, .1. cimcedc -OA j:ej\ -oeg 
oo mriAi, .1. nmcliAc t>A -pejvoec "0*6- "oo ecgut), ocAf CAfvpAc cecpe f ecc 
CAC, CA]APAC CJYI fecc curiiAt, com- cuiriAL, ocAf pwoAbAip t>otrmAoi". 
tecec c-AigcVn t>o x>e|\g 6p, com- Prof. O'Curry's copy. Fol. 53ofH. 2. 
t^om -oo iMge-6 cli oo pn^-o^uim. 18, which must have contained this 
H. 2 18. f. 41. b. a. col. 1.] passage, is now apparently wanting.] 

r A rnAc j'Ain ITlAne, con- 
uLe. t)A buAiT) OCA^ cor- 
commAiT)itim teo jeA fo 
-CIA lAmAib. H. 2. J8. 
f. 61. b. a. col. 2. 


laind in that great combat described in a former lecture, (63> 
which proved fatal to himself at A th Ferdiaidh (now Ardee) 
we are told that when he came to the queen's pavilion, " he 
was honoured and supplied with the best of food, and plied 
with the choicest, most delicious, and most exhilarating of 
liquors, until he became intoxicated and hilarious. And he 
was promised great rewards for undertaking to fight and com- 
bat, namely, a chariot worth four times seven cumals or eighty- 
four cows ; and suits of clothes for twelve men, of cloth of all 
colours ; and the size of his own territory of the smoothest part 
of Magh Ai (in the present county of Roscommon) free of rent 
and tribute, and of attendance at court or upon expeditions ; 
without any forcible exaction whatever ; and to his son and his 
grandsons and great-grandsons to the breast of eternity, and 
end of the world ; and the queen's daughter (Findabair) as 
his wife, and the brooch (E6) of gold which was in (queen) 
one of them, Medbh's mantle over all that", or, as she is made to say in the 
brooc d h, copy of the Tain preserved in the vellum MS. H. 2. 16. T.C.D. : 
nior g e h tHan " My spear brooch (Duillend-Dealc) of gold which weighs thirty 
lour pounds. Ungas (or ounces) and thirty half Ungas and thirty Crossachs, 
and thirty quarter [Cmssac/isT. (63) 

Persons often find it difficult to believe that some of the gold 
bracelets and silver brooches to be seen in the museum of the 
Royal Irish Academy could, from their massiveness, have ever 
been worn as personal ornaments; but after this great gold 
brooch of queen Medbh, which, according to our calculation, 
must have weighed more than four pounds Troy, we need won- 
der no longer at the weight of those that have come down to 
us from those remote ages. I have indeed so frequently had 
occasion to refer to the use of these large heavy pins in nar- 
rating more than one historical event or anecdote, that I need 
scarcely insist on the abundance of evidence we possess as to 
the use of brooches even larger and heavier than those in 
the museum of the Academy : and there is in fact a fragment 
of one such silver brooch in that museum, sufficient to show 
how easily queen Madia Mongruadh might have marked out 
the tracing of the great Rath of Emania with hers. 
story of Mac There is another curious reference to the imaginary costume 
of an imaginary individual, preserved in the Leabhar M6r JJuna 
JJoighre (now called the Leabhar JBreac) in the Royal Irish 

( f>2) [See Lect. XIV., ante, vol. i., p. 302 ; and also Appendix, where the 
whole episode descriptive of this fight is given.] 

(83i r_s e e Appendix, where the original of this passage will be found as 
part of the text of the whole episode of the combat of Cuchulaind and Fer- 


Academy ; but, although the dress is imaginary as regards its xxm - 
materials (indeed of the most ludicrous character), the descrip- story of Mac 

f *M. Liii i 11.1 1.1 Conglinde; 

tion given ot it is not the less true and valuable as regards the 
names and the destination of the different articles spoken of. 
The tract in which we find this reference, is of a very wild 
character. I have already briefly alluded to it in a former lec- 
ture/ 60 but I shall have to refer here to some parts of it more 

The story commences with informing us that about the time 
to which it refers (say about the year 740) there were at the 
great college of Armagh eight divinity students, who in after 
life became distinguished personages in their country. One of 
these students was Anier Mac Conglinde , a youth not more dis- 
tinguished for his literary acquirements, than Jie was for his 
natural talent and his inclination for bitter sarcasm and satirical 
rhyming. Mac Conglinde after some time discovered that his 
vocation for the Church was doubtful, while his preference for 
poetry and history was every day becoming more and more ap- 
parent. At last he retired from Armagh and resorted to his 
former tutor at Roscommon, where he devoted himself for some 
time to the cultivation and study of his favourite pursuits. At 
length he bethought him of the best place in which to com- 
mence his practice in his new character ; and having heard that 
Cathal Mac Finghuine, king of Munster (who died in 742), was 
suffering from a demoniac, voracious, unappeasable appetite, 
he decided upon paying him a visit and endeavour to cure him 
of his malady. " With this intention Mac Conglinde\ the story 
says, " sold the few effects that he possessed for two wheaten 
cakes and a piece of cured beef; these he put into his book- 
wallet ; after which he shaped for himself a pair of Cuarans, or 
shoes, of brown leather, seven times doubled. He arose early 
the next morning ; tucked his Leinidh above his hips ; he put on 
his white cloak of five doubles, firmly wrapped about him, and 
with an iron pin (Milech) in that cloak at his breast. C65) Thus 
accoutred Mac Conglinde went on to Cork, where he heard the 
king of Munster was making a visitation of his territories ; and 
after some adventures he found himself in the royal presence. 
The young poet had then recourse to various devices to draw 

<"> See Lect. IV., ante, vol. i., p. 81. 

(6i ) [original : IAJ\ fin necA-o iti T>O m A^A-TO fin. AcnA6c tnoch 

m-bec fpn6'oi boi ACCA, .1. fon t>A iA|\nAbA|\Acn ; ACAf cAbAit) A tem-o 

bAintm to 6ntncne6c ACAf fon m An'ogAbAit of rneLLAib A lAnuc; 

cnochc fen-fAiVle co dtp t>An ACAT* cAbAit* A tummAin fin'o f.on- 

oof AtAf. ; f,AC fin mA ceig Libain ; COCDAU;A 1 foncipAL irnme; miLecn 

cutriAif t>i6uA^An co- lAf-nAige UAfu mA bnucc. Leabhar 

oo -ooiTotecViAn, tin. fillce Breac, f. 97. a.] 


forth the demon which it was believed had taken up his abode 
story of Mac in the king's stomach and tormented him with an unappeasable 
appetite. One of the devices to which he had recourse was, to 
exhibit to the eyes of the king food of the most tempting char- 
acter, but, Tantalus-like, in such a way as that although it came 
up to his lips, he had not the power to touch it. Another of his 
plans was to give a vivid and tormenting description of plenty 
of viands and sumptuous food which he had seen in his di earns 
or his imagination. Nothing can be more grotesque or extra- 
vagant than this description as preserved in the piece before us. 
But though it is impossible not to laugh at it, it contains how- 
ever much detail of quite serious importance with reference to 
our present subject, 
tusextrara- The extravagance to which I allude may be iudged by the 

gant dream; > ,, ~ .. , , J , 3 . b . ',. , 

commencement ot Mac Longlmde s story to the king, in which 
he describes how he was carried in his dream to a lake of new 
milk, in which stood an island of wheaten bread, and a mansion 
built of butter, cheese, sweet curds, and various kinds of pre- 
parations of milk, as well as of many sorts of flesh and fleshy 
substances. Having reached the brink of the lake, he found 
there a little boat made of fat beef, and well graved with 
suet, with seats of sweet curds, with prow of lard, with stern 
of butter, with sculls (or paddles) of marrow, and with oars of 

Having found himself rowed over in this singular equipage 
to this singular island, Mac Conglinde landed and walked up 
to the mansion, where he met the doorkeeper; and of him 
he speaks in these words, in which the most minute account 
is given of the several articles of dress worn by such a func- 
tionary, and in which the only absurd portion consists of the 
ludicrous character of the materials of which they were sup- 
posed to have been made. 

hjsdescrip- " Comely was the face of that young man", said Mac Con- 
curSou a dress fflinde; " his name was Maelsaille (fhat is, a person dedicated to 
^*t meat), and he was the son of Mael-imme (that is, of a person 
dedicated to rich butter), who was the son of rich lard. There he 
stood", continues Mac Conglinde, " with his smooth Assai or 
sandals of old hung beef upon his feet; with his Ochraih or 
trews of sweet curds upon his shins ; with his Inar (tunic, or 
frock) of fresh fat cow-beef upon his body ; with his Cris or 
girdle of salmon fish around him ; with his Cochall, or cape, 
of Tdscaidh, or fat heifer beef, upon his shoulders ; with his 
seven Corniu or garlands of butter around his head; with 
his seven rows of onions in each garland of them separately; 
with his seven epistles of sausages around his neck, with Bille 


or bosses of rendered lard upon the head of each epistle of 
them". (66) 

I shall not at present follow Mac Conglinde's humorous des- analysis of 
cription farther. Let us stop to analyze the doorkeeper's dress, 
so precisely and minutely noted, and, abstracting from it the 
absurdities of the fanciful materials mentioned, we can very 
easily call up the image of a man in the costume of the time. 
And in fact it happens, most singularly, with the exception of 
the sandals, the girdle, the garlands, and what is called the 
Epistle or necklace, there is still in existence in the Museum of 
the Royal Irish Academy an ancient and most faithful copy of 
the doorkeeper's dress : that is, as regards the principal articles 
of which it consisted, namely the trews, the frock, and the cape. 
Of these last three articles of dress it is quite unnecessary to 
say any more here, as they come within the knowledge of 
every one. We all know that the Cochall is the ordinary cape the coctMii; 
or short cloak for the shoulder, such as is worn at this day. 
Secondly, the Jnar, or tunic, is almost identical with the tight, the /nor,- 
military frock of modern times, but without a collar of any 
kind as far as we know. The third article of the dress, the 
Ochrath, or trews, was a very graceful fashion of tight-fitting theOcAraW 
pantaloons, reaching from the hips to the ankles These three, 
it will be remembered, were the principal articles of Mac Con- 
glinde's doorkeeper's dress, and they are sufficiently explicit. 
Not so, however, with Mac Conglinde's own dress, as described analysis of 
at the opening of the tale. There we are told that the night Knde^v'n 
before his depaiture for Roscommon, our young poet made for dress; 
himself a pair of Cuarans, or shoes, of brown leather of seven 
doubles. He arose in the morning, and of course dressed him- 
self. The particulars of the dress are not given, but we are 
told that he tucked up his Leinidh over his hips, and wrapped his Leinidh. 
his white cloak around his body. Here we have no account 
of the pantaloons, nor of the frock, because they were close 
fitting articles, that required no tucking up to facilitate the 
traveller's motion. The white cloak does not demand any 
particular attention ; but the Leinidh which he tucked up above 
his hips, is an article that has not hitherto attracted the notice 
of any writer on Irish antiquities. 

< 6S ) [original : t)A cam -oelb in6- All tnfcAr-cAi-o mime ; COMA ii. con- 

claijr pri, ACAf bA h6 A c6rnAiMm .1. MibirnmeimAchiM-o; ocAfbACAn .titf. 

mAel/rAit/le mAC ITlAi'Limtne true M-imAine -oo p|\fcAinmn i o incA6 co- 

totoMgi, cotiA AffAib flemnA feM- ^AIITO oibfi'oe jrotecn ; COMA .utf. 

r<MVle 1M1A bviMMu ; COTIA ochftAib t>o n-epirVib "oo cAelAMti inbTo fo brux- 

biu'o fCAibt/ine miAttirtjpb ; COMA gAic, COMA .uii. m-biVle TJO btoMAig 

Vi-iMAn bo-fAille imme; COMA cnir bpuci ^on CIM-O CACA h-epirti t>ib- 

oo tecnAn finerc CAnir ; COMA coch- p-oe. Leabhar Breac, f. 100. b.] 



^t'ne e and h 

was a tut. 

of the cham 

he wore a 

The word jLeine, though written in two different ways, and 
signifying two different things, is and must be invariably pro- 
nounced the same way. When it signifies a shirt, as it does at 
^ ie P resen t day, it is witten Leine; but when, as in the present 
case, it signifies a sort of petticoat or kilt, it is then written 
Leinidh; but I am not able to explain the reason of the differ- 
ence in orthography. I am very well aware that these words 
have been often thoughtlessly and carelessly written, one for the 
other, even in very old manuscripts ; whenever we find a person 
described with a Leine of some beautiful stuff placed upon his 
white skin, we may, however, be certain, whatever the orthogra- 
phy may be, that the article spoken of is a shirt. And again, 
when we find a person described with a Leinidh having a costly 
border or fringe, and descending to his knees, we may be 
equally certain that the article spoken of was a kilt or petticoat. 
I happen to have met two references to the word in its latter 
signification, that leave no doubt of its distinctive character 
and its assigned place on the human body. 

In the ancient tale called Loinges nMac nDuildermaita, or the 
Exile of the Sons of Uuild&rmcdt, we are told that on a certain 
occas i n as Ailill and Medbh, the king and queen of Connacht, 
were in their palace of Cruachan, the warder of the castle 
came out and informed the queen that he saw a body of men 
corning towards them from the south : and then the story says 
that, " as they were looking out then, they saw the cavalcade 
upon the plain ; and they saw a champion leading them, having 
on a crimson four-folding cloak, with its four borders of gold 
upon it; a shield with eight joints of Findruine at his back ; a 
Leinidh reaching from his knees to his hips ; fair yellow hair 
upon his head, falling down both flanks of the steed he rode ; 
a bunch of thread of gold depending from it of the weight of 
seven ounces; and it was hence he was called Edchu Rond 
[that is, Edchu of the gold thread or wire]. A gray black- 
spotted stallion under him, [having] a golden mouthpiece in 
his mouth; two spears with ribs of Findruine in his hand, 
and a gold-hilted sword upon his side". (67) This splendid cham' 
pion was the king of Ui Maine in the present counties of Gal- 
way and Roscommon, and one of the Firbolg race. 

combit) ^on x>ib ftepAib itroeicli ; 
nono oin eifjvtce jvoibe corricnom 
.1111. numgi, bA -oe no nAimmmge* 
etjcti Ronx) f Ain. jAbAin bnec glA- 
fA pottn'om, conAbeVUc oin -pniAe ; 
-oArAi conA nApiA-oAib finT>nume 
mAUyirn, ctoi'oib ojvouinnn fon A 
niff. H. 2. 16. col. 9G1, line 6.] 


< 67 ) [original: . 
iAn fin, cotropACACAfv 
mAj ; ACAf conACACAn m 
netnib, ACAJ* bnAc concnA cecnAn, 
O1A bAit mirm, conA ceoueonAib oin 
[recte onAib] ^Ain ; fdAch 6ono6c 
nAifl.ib f inx>ntnne yonA mum ; X/ene 
conA ct/A-jx AngAic mirm o Ajjlun co- 
fo-obnunn ; 


Here, I think, there can be no doubt of the precise character 
and use of the LSinidh; and the following passage from the 
ancient Gaedhelic Triads, gives us even the very law which re- 
gulated the wearing of the Leinidh, as well as of the Ochrath, 
or trews ; and the length of the hair (or beard). Thus speaks 
this Triad: 

"Three legal handsbreadths, that are, namely a hands- Law regnia- 
breadth between his shoes and his Ochrath, or pantaloons ; a weiring of 
handsbreadth between his ear and his beard (or hair) ; and a U 
handsbreadth between the border of his Leinidh and his knee. (68) 

I need not, I think, say another word to show what the Och- loons. 
rath and the Leinidh were, but it would appear from the absence 
of the Leinidh in the description of the fat doorkeeper, that that 
article of dress was not worn by the inferior people, but that it 
appertained to the higher classes and to the professions. The 
identification of this article of dress is, I must confess, a late 
discovery, and time has not allowed me to pursue the subject 
farther at present ; but I have no doubt but that I shall be able 
hereafter to add to these descriptions some more striking illus- 
trations from some of the illuminations to be met with so often 
in our ancient books and from our sculptures/ 69 ' 

(68) [original : C]\1 bAfA cedcA (.1. bAf eidj\ cu^feAn Ateine AjjAr & t 
ijieAdA). "OAf eicifv A tiffA (.1. (.1. cvnpcefv te n-6|\ no te nimio 

1 MA VlAltc A^Af A OCfWkfc AM 6ct11 (.1 imiott tAfAtte)". H, 1. 

(.1. Ate), bAj* eicin A u (.1. A cttiAf) 15. p. 955, line 7.] 
AgAr A bepnAc (.1. rnuttAd A 61MM), 

(9) [ Vide postea, Lecture xxv. vol. ii. p. 143, where a striking illustration of 
the nature of the Leinidh is given from the tale of the Bruighean Da Derga~\ 


[Delivered July loth, I860.] 

(VIII.) DRESS AND ORNAMENTS (continued). Constant references to fringes 
of gold thread ; mention of this ornament in the account of Medbh'a visit 
to her chief Druid in the commencement of the Tdin Bo Chuailgne, de- 
scription of Fedelm the prophetess weaving a fringe ; the fringe sword or 
lath mentioned in a poem of Dalian Forgaill (circa A.D. 560). Ancient 
laws relating to the pledging of ornaments, etc. ; law relating to the pledging 
of a needle ; the pledging of a queen's work bag ; the work bag of an Airecn 
Feibhe. The legal contents of a work bag formed only a small part of a lady's 
personal ornaments. References to dyeing, weaving, embroidering, etc., in 
the ancient laws regulating Distress ; objects connected with those arts for 
the recovery of which proceedings might have been taken under those laws. 
Objects connected with the textile arts mentioned in other ancient laws. 
Coloured thread and wool paid as rent or tribute. The dye-stuffs used 
were of home growth. Legend of St. Ciaran and the blue dye stuff called 
Glaissin, Summary of the processes in the textile arts mentioned in the 
extracts quoted in the lecture. Reference to embroidery in the tale of the 
Tochmarc nEimire, and in the Dinnseanchas. Coca the embroideress of 
St. Columcilte, The knowledge of the Gaedhils about colours shown by the 
illuminations to the Book of Kells. Reference in the Book of Ballymote to 
the colours worn by different classes. Cloth of various colours formed part 
of the tributes or taxes paid as late as the ninth and tenth centuries. Tri- 
butes to the king of Caiseal according to the Book of Rights from : Ara ; Boi- 
rinn ; Leinster; Uaithne ; Duibhneach and Drung ; Corcumruadh ; the Deise ; 
Orbraidhe. Stipends paid by the king of Caiseal to the kings of Kerry ; 
Raithlenn; Ara. Tributes to the king of Connacht from Umhall; the 
Greagraidhe ; the Conmaicne; the Ciarraidhe; the Luighne ; the JDealbhna 
Ui Maine. Stipends paid by the king of Connacht to the kings of : Dealbhna ; 
Ui Maine. Tributes to the king of Aileach from : the Cuileantraidke ; the 
Ui Mic Caerthainn ; Ui Tuirtre. Stipends paid by the king of Aileach to 
the kings of : Cinel Boghaine ; Cinel Banna ; Craebh; Ui Mic Caerthainn ; 
Tulach Og. Stipends paid by the king of Oriel to the kings of: Ui Brea 
sail; Ui Eachach ; Ui Meith ; Ui Dortain; Ui Briuin Archoill ; Ui 
Tuirtre ; Feara Manach ; Mughdhorn and Ros. Stipends paid by the king 
of Uladh to the kings of : Cuailgne ; Araidhe ; Cobhais ; Muirtheimne. 
Tributes to the king of Uladh from : Semhne ; Crothraidhe ; Cathal. Gifts 
to the king of Tara. Stipends paid by the king of Tara to the kings of : 
Magh Lacha ; Cuircne ; Ui Becon. Tributes to the king of Tara from : 
the Luighne ; the Feara Arda ; the Saithne ; Gailenga ; the Ui Beccon. 
Stipends paid by the king of Leinster to the : Ui Fealain ; the chief of 
Cualann ; Ui Feilmeadha ; king of Raeilinn ; Ui Criomhthannan. Tributes to 
the king of Leinster from the : Galls ; Forthuatha ; Fotharla ; men of South 
Leinster. Gifts from the monarch of Erinn to the king of Emain Macho. 
Stipends of the king of Emain Macha to the kings of : Rathmor ; Ui Briuin ; 
Conmaicne. Gifts bestowed on the king of Leinster by the monarch of 
Erinn whenever he visited Tara. Gift of the king of Leinster on his 
return from Tara to the king of Ui Fealain. Gifts of the monarch of Erinn 
to the king of Caiseal when at Teamhair Luachra. Stipends given by the 
king of Caiseal at the visitation of the monarch of Erinn to the : De.ise ; Ui 
Chonaill. Stipends paid by the king of Connacht to the kings of : Ui Maine ; 
Luighne. Colours of winds, according to the preface to the Seanchas Mor. 


IN the last lecture, I brought together a considerable number 
of general descriptions of the costume of kings and warriors 
armed for battle, taken chiefly from the historic tale of the great 
war between Connacht and Ulster in the time of Conchobar Mac 
Nessa, about one thousand nine hundred years ago. I purpose 
in this lecture to give as detailed descriptions of the manufacture 
of ornamental dresses, as the accounts preserved in our old books 
will enable me to do. 

We have seen, and shall see hereafter, in the description of 
the clothes of men and women, constant reference to borders, 
or fringes of thread of gold and other materials and of various 
colours. And in fact we find a very circumstantial, and there- 
fore most interesting, reference to the actual manufacture of this 
beautiful ornament at the beginning of the tale of the Tain Bo 

When the three great parties already spoken of, consisting of Mtdmn, 

n/i J-LII j.1. 'A. c nr Tlsittoher 

queen Medbh s seven sons, their cousins, the seven sons of Mag- chief drmd 
hack, Cormac Conloingeas, the exiled Ulster prince, and their gr^t e rlw: 
followers, had arrived at the palace of Cruachan and quartered 
themselves for the time on the surrounding territory, queen 
Medbh herself began to entertain serious thoughts on the pro- 
bable results of the great war on which she was about to enter. 
To satisfy herself as far as possible, the queen ordered her chariot 
and drove to the residence of her chief Druid, and demanded 
knowledge and prediction of the future from him. " Numbers", 
said Medbh, " shall separate from their companions and from 
their friends this day, and from their country, and from their 
lands ; from father, and from mother ; and if they do not all re- 
turn in safety, it is upon me their groans and their curses shall 
be poured out ; however, there goes not forth and there remains 
not at home any one more precious to us than ourselves, and 
ascertain thou for us", said she, " shall we return or shall we 
not". And the Druid answered: " Whosoever returns not, you 
yourself shall return". (70) 

The story then goes on as follows : 

" The charioteer then turned the chariot, and Medbh returned description 
back. She saw what was a surprise to her, namely, a single the pro-"* 
woman sitting upon the shaft of the chariot beside her in her app^?ldto 
presence. What the woman was doing was, weaving a border her when 
with a sword [that is, a lath or rod] of Findruini (or white 

(70) [original : SodAit>e rcA^Af f]MA 6eic itnmaS ACAf tii AnAti-o ijruf Af 

6oemu ACA]* J^MA 6<yi]voiu fuiro int>iu, oiUii \,im> ol/oAmnuc f At>efpn, ACAf 

A]\ rneub, ACAf p|A dj\i<5, ACAf n\i4 fincAffu tun m cecAtn po TIA cecAtn. 

fepant) ; f]MA AcliAifv, ACAF f]MA rciA- AcAf |\A f\Ait> in t>i\ui : " Cip6 no n* 

CAit\, ACAf mem iirec uU in imflAti, cic cicpAfu -pefpn". H. 2. 18. f. 42. 

jwifA ca m-benjTAc An oftiAit) a. col. 2.J 

A mAllAcVicAin. AI\ AI pn ni 


bronze) in her right hand, having seven ribs of red gold in its 
points (or ends). She had a green spot-speckled cloak upon 
her ; and a round heavy headed brooch (Bretnas) in that cloak 
over her breast. Her countenance was crimson, rich-blooded ; 
her eyes gray and sparkling ; her lips red and thin ; her teeth shin- 
ing and pearly, so that you would think it was a shower of fair 
pearls that had been set in her head ; like fresh Partaing [Coral] 
were her lips ; as sweet as the strings of sweet harps played by 
the hands of long practised masters, were the sounds of her voice 
and her fine speech ; whiter than the snow shed in one night 
were her skin and her body appearing through her dress ; she 
had long, even, white feet; and her nails were crimson, well 
cut, circular, and sharp; she had long fair yellow hair; three 
wreaths of her hair were braided around her head ; and another 
braid descending as low down as the calves of her legs". m) 

Queen Medbh questioned this strange visitor as to her name 
and the cause of her visit. The lady answered that she was a 
handmaid of her own, from the fairy mansion of Cruachan; that 
her name was Fedelm the prophetess ; and that she had come 
to tell her royal mistress beforehand, the losses and misfortunes 
which would result from the intended expedition. The pro- 
phetess then in a poem of ten stanzas, describes minutely the 
person of Cuchulaind, who was to bring such losses and disasters 
upon the queen ; and disappears. 

the weaving Xhe most remarkable matter in this short description is the 
or fringe The fact of the speaker being engaged in weaving a fringe or border 
tantVart'of" i n the same way that such an operation is carried on at this day : 
this descrip- f or the poetical sword which she made use of for the purpose is 

tion. i. ,. . -iTiiif 

represented by the less costly sword-like lath ot our more matter 
The fringe- of fact times. The fringe sword or lath is mentioned also in the 
ancient and obscure poem, believed to have been written by 
Dalian Forgaill for the shield of Aedh or Hugh, king of Oirg- 
0* (circa Jiialla or Oriel about the year 500. 

A.D. ooO). 

< 71 ) [original: 1mp<yif m C-AJVA m An-oAplec bACAj\ -ppofrA piro-ne- 

cAnpAC, ACAJ* -oo cAec trieDD jro]\ triAn-o epccAir IDA ceiro ; copriAil 

cutu. ConAccAi ni fNApinpiA-o 16, T>O TIUA pA^cAing A beoil ; birmToip 

.1. in ri-Aeti mriAi pop pejACAif in cecA Tnent>-6f\oc ACA feinm AllAtri- 

nA JTAfVfVA'O 1ttA P OOCU1T). 1f Alb flJVfUA-O, buTO-fOpJ^ AgOCA ACAf 

boi iiro in-oen ic pgi dopp- A CAIH u]\LAbt\A ; git/roifx |ne6cA 

CAj* ctAi'oeb -prTopuini IHA -piiget) -ppi oen Ai"o6i cAi'o'Lec A cni|"|' 

IAIITI oeiff> conA fecc n-A|-l,ib oo ACAf A coltA, ]*e6 A tnmcA6 ^etcAip ; 

oepjop 1HA oeffAib. t>]\Acc bA\.l,A- C^AIJCI ^ecA ficVisetA ; irigtn co]\- 

bpecc UAm impi ; bpectiAf copy\Ac C^A, COJM, cpun-o-gepA, 16; -potc 

c|\en-ceiro pn b|\ucc of A b]\unm. -pirobutu JTACA po^dp'OA f nppi ; ce- 

copcfVA 6|vumAine6 16; fvofc O^A c-|\i11p TJA -pule imrnA cerro; 

edcAd 16; beoil "oe^A cpilif Atle combenAT) -pofCAt) ^JM 

oeic niAttroA nemAiroA, colpfeA. H # 2. 18. f. 42. a col. 2.] 


ts and 


This singular composition consists of twenty- one stanzas, the 
fourteenth of which runs as follows : 

[" It was not woven with a beam or heddles 
Nor a wooden lath of the whitest 

Nor [was it] the handiwork of a dexterous embroideress, 
Nor did red fastening fasten it.] (72) 

This is said of the king of Oriel's shield Dubhghilla, and from 
the negative allusions to the absence of the weaver's beam, the 
weaving swords, or heddles, the hand of an expert woman, and 
the fastening pins in its manufacture, it is evident that the shield 
was one of those formed of wickerwork or woven laths. 

It would be easy to multiply examples of the references to rich 
borders or laces in our old historic and romantic tales, but the 
following one or two instances will be sufficient to illustrate this 
article of our ancient luxury. 

The following curious enactments found in the ancient Insti- Ancientiaws 
tutes of Erinn commonly called the Brehon Laws, relate to the 
pledging of certain articles peculiarly appertaining to women, o f o 

j-f ... . - . r , . J ff , , . ' ments a 

and is ot great interest in connection with the present subject, articles 
These laws were enacted to provide against the loss or mis- women" 8 to 
appropriation of articles of domestic use, as well as of personal 
adornment and convenience, when these happened to have been 
pledged and not delivered up when demanded, and upon pay- 
ment of the sum lent ; in which case the overholders were liable 
to " smart" fines. And these fines varied according to the im- 
portance of the article to the owner, as for instance : if a man or 
woman pledged a ring, a bracelet, or a brooch, and wished to 
release it on the eve of a great fair or assembly, the disgrace of 
the owner for having to appear without his proper ornaments 
or not at all, was included in the calculation of the fine for over- 
holding the article. (73) Thus says the law : " If there happens to 
be a day of solemnity, such as Easter or Christmas, or an assem- 
bly, such as a fair, or a convocation of the state, to entertain a 
question, by a king, or by a synod [of the clergy], if his pledged 
('*) [original: .1. nip fige-o AggAntriAin n<x Actxyi'OTnib. 
Hi CAiVl jA-pmAn ^A pje 
tli ctox)bi cpoinn co n-gite 
tli tAtriAc -oA^-mnA -ojnjme 
tli t>e]i5 Ai^je 5<Mpij;e. H. 3. 18. p. 560 ] 
< 73 > [original : IDA cectnai l/ich t<M- ment of the Seanchas Mor in H. 2. 15. 
die, no -OAit, no cnoncornnAcc CUAI- T.C.D. quoted in this lecture are con- 
cVie, niAini coine A gelt -06, no fee tained, as well as I can recollect, on 
bep-o pu, T)0fti tAn log Aetiecli -oo pp. 27 to 30 of that MS. It was not 
CAcn, jx> miAt), LA e^Aicc -oo neoch available to me for collation, arid the 
oo nuinmefem -01 pniAcVicAib octif references to the pages where given 
AichgenAib. H. 2. 16. f. 30? The ure consequently only approxima- 
whole of the passages from the frag- tions ] 


article is not restored to the pledger, that is his brooch, and 
everything which is composed of [gold or of] silver, or an article 
equal to it in value, there shall be a fine of dishonour, and other 
enumerated fines, together with restitution of the pledge [upon 
the overholder]". (74) 
the pledging The law then goes into more minute details as follows : 

" What has the law laid down as the fine of a pledged needle ? 
Answer it is a dairt [or yearling calf] that is paid as the fine for 
it. If it be a cloak needle, it is a heifer that is paid as its fine. 
And it is the same fine that is paid to any person [for needles], 
but women are the most proper to put them in pledge". (75) 

This article is further explained as follows : " What does the 
law lay down as the fine of a pledged needle ? Answer A 
dairt [or yearling calf] worth four screpalls [of three pennies 
each] is what is paid as the fine of the needle, that is of the fine 
needle. That is to say : a yearling calf to every woman what- 
ever as the fine for her needle, except the embroideress, for, as 
regards her, it is the value of an ounce of silver that shall be 
paid her as the fine for her needle ; provided, however, that this 
may not be paid her except for the needle with which she 
works her ornamentation, that is, her embroidery". (r6) 

This article is further explained by another section, which 
says : 

" The lawful right of the pledged needle of an embroideress 
is laid down by the law. It is in ornamentation she is paid as 
far as the value of an ounce of silver ; because every woman who 
is an embroideress is entitled to more profit (or value) than 
a queen". (7?) 

This is a remarkable instance of protection to skilled industry 
so many ages ago ! The law proceeds : 

< 74 ) [original : ticri tAicne, .i.cAiyc cAite .1. -oAinc -oo CA6 mnAi uile A 

no noclAig, -oAil, .1. oeriAig, cho- ftnVlem A TTIACAICI cenmocu in 

comnAcc cuAiche, .1. im cAingin -pni -ojvumig, UAifx niA-o ip-oe iy tog 

pig, no yen AT), A geVboo, .1. A-oeAlg, nuinp Aingic biAf -01 A f/tnVlem 

ACAfooneochifAic'oe Aingi-o, pniAc- ATTIACAICI ; no -ono, conA beit fin 

CA1D, .1. -oAincib, AlchrtnAtb, .1. nA T>1 Accipn -piAt-pec T>A nmpieA-o A 

nAijroe. H. 2. 15. f. 30?] rum-oenAm, .1. A -opuinecViviy". [tloch 

(*) [original ; Cvo -popyo no ftm>i- ir corn-cine .1. neocri yecim gone-6 

ge-o cecVicA piVlemA 51 11 piACAice comoj\ mni if T>in -ou JAC nidc 

l/A-peine? tlm. t)Ainc-oinenAninnA T>ume gA mi p. Acne ic mnA .1. 

puiLtemA rroe. TTlA-obnACTTiACAc IT* ACCAIJUTI com-o IA-O nA mnA if coin 

coubcAcri niA ftnLLemp-o. nocVi IT* -OIA cAbAinc mgitt. H. 2. 15. Vide 

com-oir\e -01 cecli nechc, ACC ic mnA ante, p. 111.] 

ACA contn T>1A CAbAinc mgett. H. (77 ) [original : UecncA puttemA 

2. 15. Vide ante, p. 111.] 5 1 ^t fnACAice, -onuimge IA feme. 

< 76 ) [original : Ci-o -ponfo .1. CIA A|\A 1m-o6nmAib -oinenAn corxnuicce tog 

rAmAigeA -otige-o ytntlem gitl piA- nmnge Anjic; Ain iry mo -oo cnonbu 

CAi-oe -OA neinmx) fenecAiyi 1 t)Ainc, -ooyti CAcnben bey -onuinecri to 

.1. -oAince .1111. ycnebutt iyeA-6 einm- -oAice nignA. H. 2. 15t Vide ante, 

fcej\ mA fuiVLemp-oe ,1. nA rriACAice p. 111.] 


" The lawful right of the pledged needle of an embroideress xxiv. 
is laid down in the law. She is paid the value of an ounce of 
silver in ornamentation [which we may suppose means materials 
for ornamentation], for every needle which she has [pledged]". 
" Or it is half an ounce of silver she is paid for the needle with 
which she works her ornamentation ; and the same to her, as 
to any other woman for every needle which she has from that 
out. The greater profit [which the embroideress was entitled 
to beyond the queen], consisted of Breac-Glas [green-spotted 
cloth] and Srol [i. e. satin or silk], and fringes (or borders) ; 
and that all these ornamentations were worth an ounce of 

In the following article the contents of a queen's workbag the pledging 
are minutely recorded. 

" The lawful fine of the pledged workbag of the king's wife. 
If it contains but two of its lawful articles, there are two ounces 
of silver paid for it. (78; 

" If it contains its legitimate property, namely, a veil of one 
colour, and a Mind or crown of gold, and a Land, or crescent 
of gold, and thread of silver. This then is the workbag of the 
wives of the kings, and when all these articles are in it, three 
cows (or six heifers) are its fine : and if they are not in it, it 
is double of every article which is in it [that is paid], until it 
reaches the thiee cows, and when it does so reach, it goes no 

And again the law says, " If it contains its legitimate pro- 
perty, namely, a veil of one colour, and thread of silver, and a 
Land, or crescent of gold, and a Mind or crown [of gold] if 
all these are in it, it is three ounces [of silver that are paid]. If 
it is one of them that [it contains] it is one ounce that is 
paid. But if the four articles are in it, it is three cows that 
are paid for it ; and if they are not [in it] it is double [the 
value] of every article that it contains [that is paid for it] until 

(77 > [original: CechcA ftnltemA- temAgill IATJAIJI rnriA in ni. m<yo 

. H. 

finlleniA gilA, piA- oei-oe -Gib, ic -01 uinge. H. 2. 15. 

CAice HA onumige. 1mt>entn<yib, .1. Vide ante, p. 111.] 
einnicentoguinj;! Ainji-o oinroenATn ( 79 ) [original : lA-OAige, .1. 

61 111 JAC piACAit) uiu bif Aid. tlo mA beich COTIA cnochgUfAib, .1. 

if tec tnnjp Aipjit) -01 if An ftiACAi-o -CIA f.Ab fi 50 HA cocAf Aib otigceA- 

OA iroenAnT) A 'inroenAm ; ACAf cue- 6Aib, .1. cAille Aen -OAce, ACAf mitro 

nuniA -01, ACAf -DA JAC ITUTA! eite 111 O1]\, ACAf tAITO O1f , ACAfpAITO AinglT), 

A6 piAcAi-o tnle bif Aice o Vifomi- .1. iAX)A6bAri nA^vig feo, ACA^ obero, 

ITIAC. "Oo chojVbA, .1. -oo b^eActAf MA neidi fin mci 1-p cni bA mAruit- 

ACAr n\ot, ACAf conj\cAnAib ; ACAf tem, ACA|- mAnA nAbA-o, 

cu]\AC pu um^e tuie nA inroenniA. AA nei6 bif inn no 50 niA nA 

H. 2. 15. Vide ante, p. 111.] cni bA, ACAJ* ono fiA nAdo ceit> 

(78 > [original: CechcA ptnttemA CAinpb. H. 2. 15. Vide ante, p. 

5iVliA p OAij;ernttAnig, .i.-oVige'o fuil- 111.] 

VOL. II. 8 



the work- 
bag of the 
wife of an 

The legal 
contents of 
a work bag 
only a small 
part of a 
lady's per- 
sonal orna- 
ments, etc. 

it reaches three cows, and when it reaches [the three cows] it 
goes no further". (80) 

The law then passes from the professional and from the ama- 
teur embroideress and from the king's wife, to the wife of an 
Airech Feibhe, or chief of dignity, of whom it says: 

" The workbags of the wives of the noble [or lord] grades, 
that is, a workbag with its legitimate property of [silver] thread, 
with a veil, and with a diadem of gold, and a silk handkerchief, 
and if so, there are three heifers paid as its fine ; and if these are 
not in it, it is the double of every article which is in it that is 
paid until it reaches three heifers"/ 80 

This text is further explained as follows : 

" If it be a bag without its legitimate property, namely, a 
veil, and silver thread, and a crescent of silver, and a diadem 
of gold ; or what contains a painted mask, that is, what contains 
a painted face, [or mask] for assemblies, namely, the banner or 
the handkerchief of silk, or the gold thread, that is when it does 
not contain those things ; and if those things were contained in 
it, three heifers [would have been the lawful fine for it] ; but 
when those [articles] are not in it, it is double the value of 
everything which is in it until it reaches the three heifers [that 
is paid for it, but when it so reaches] it goes no further". (82) This 
is a very curious entry regarding ladies' dress, and indicates, I 
think, a peculiar and advanced state of civilization. 

So much then for the legal protection of an embroideress in 
ancient Erinn, and for the legal requisites of what is, I believe, 
in our times called a lady's workbag or work-box. We must 
remember, however, that the articles required by law to consti- 
tute the contents of a lady's treasure bag, formed only a small, 
though an important part of the articles intended to grace and 
decorate her person. Neither her ordinary nor her state gar- 
ments are enumerated here; neither are her rings, bracelets, 
clasps, anklets, brooches, earrings, necklaces, or torques, nor the 

(so) [ or igi na i : cechcAi, .1. 

, ACAfnon-o, ACAJ* tArro 01^, 
mint) niA beic nine tnle ic 
ceonA tnnge. fflAT) en x>ib er 6n 

tMnre. tlO TMACA1C MA CfMtin 1t1C1 ^f 

cni OA inA -ptnVletr) ; ACAf WATIA JTUI- 
tec ir TnAbUvo CACH neich innci co 

|\1A C|M bA, ACAf OJ\O flA ttOCO C&1C 

CAirxfib. H. 2. 15 f. 28.] 
< 81 ) [original: CechcA 
.1. 1A-OA6 bAfl riA ng^AX 
1AT3A6 coriA uodAf cecticA 
gu cAille, ACAf gu mint) oi, 
bnei'ori'OA, ACAf cni rAtnAifce in 
f uillem, ACAf niAm tn tec reo inci 

gAd neid tnl inci,rio t;ti fA 
tiA CJM i"AmAi^ce. H. 2. 15. f. 29. a.] 
() [original : TTlAmp iAt>Ac1i, .1. 
niAtiAp ciAg gAn A coco'p otigceAfi, 
.1. CAiVle, ACAJ" pori'o, ACAf IAITO 
Aii\ric, Aco,r mmt) oin ; m COMAI 
pecnAl,, .1. no m coimex>Af ecorc 
OA^A com, .1. m meinp, no m bneit> 
|^X>A, no m nAiiroi, UAin no6o ntnt, 
An-o mm pn ; ACA|* T>A rnbec; nAbA-o 
cni rAWAifci ; UAin nAd fuiL ir oiAb- 
IAX> gA6 nei6 tut mci no 50 niA nA 
cni rAtnAirci ; ACAr noco c6i-o CAII\- 
pb.-H. 2. 16. f. 29. a.] 


golden balls, rings, and pins of her hair, all of which articles, XXIV 
we know, were worn by the ladies of those times at the great 
fairs, assemblies, and state meetings of the country. 

In a similar law to that just referred to, we find some details References 
regarding the dyeing of cloth, weaving it, and preparing it for weavfngf 1 
use, all which were employments of women. It is only from f^'etc." in 
these allusions that we can discover clearly what they had to tneAnctent 

i mi i T 11 i Lawsregula- 

wear in those ancient times, ihe law 1 allude to is one regu- ting re- 
lating the recovery of debts by distress or seizure, and the time 
allowed for the distrained property to remain in the hands of the 
owner, in order to give him time to procure means to pay the 
debt. This law was general and complicated ; and the time of 
stay, as it was called, varied according to circumstances, from 
the immediate carrying away of the distress, to a period of one, 
two, three, five, ten, and fifteen days, or more. Two days, 
however, was the stay of sale of all seizures made on the part 
of women only, either for their pay as manufacturers, or for 
articles connected with their manufactures, sold, lent, or taken 
away from them. The following are the items for the recovery objects con- 

/> i i IT i ' -i c i i r nected with 

ol which women had recourse to the aid ot the law, as tar as those arts 
this particular enactment is concerned. corery of' 

1. The price (or wages) of hand produce [labour], that is, the ^edhigs " 
price of what she produced with her hand, namely, teasing and might have 

* , . , r - , t\ t i i been taken 

colouring and weaving (wool), the price or pay being one-tenth under the 
part of each work [i.e. of the value of the woven piece] . (83) 

Also for napping [or also sleeking] the cloth, half the wages 
of the weaving woman, i.e. the wages given, i.e. the price of 
weaving/ 80 

2. For materials, such as of gray flax and gray woollen yarn, 
when upon the spindles. (85> 

3. For a flax -spinning spindle. (86) 

4. For a spindle, i.e. a wool-spinning spindle, or a spindle of 
weft. (86) 

5. For a foot-bag, that is, a bag [which contains the sorted 
wool], and which is placed under (or at) the woman's feet, out 
of which she combs (or cards) her materials, that is, the comb- 
ing (or carding) bag. (87) 

< B3 > [original: AchgAbAit Aite, .1. < 8& ) [original: 1m CAch tiAA-obun, 

AI\ ACA AtiA-o tiAiti. 1m togtAtricno- .1. gtAf ^ t1 - ^ 1 f 1 feincpb, .1. ptiAc 

|\Ait, .1. 1m tog in cofVAit) T>O rrt fi g^T ottA. Ibid.] 

6 tAim,.i.bocAt>, ACAf bnecA-o, ACAJ* (8 ^ [original: 1m pencAtp, .1. tin. 

yige, .1. -oecVimA-o CACHA oitA. 1m -pi'miAine, .1. ottA no m fepcAif 

Seanchits Mor, Harleian MSS. 432. toim, .1. mrroicli. Ibid.'] 

Brit. Mus. f. 10. a. a.] < w > [original : 1m pep botg, .1. 

4 > [original: 1m ^ob^McJie, .1. te imin botg bip -po p&p focpAige, Af 

tiA pubA oon mnAi 151, .1. pubA bepn- A dnAtin A Abjuip, .1. m cinbotc.-/6.] 
.1 tAg fige. Ibid.] 




objects con- 
nected with 
those arts 
for the re- 
covery of 
which pro- 
might have 
been taken 
under the 

6. For a Feith-Geir, which puts a sharp [smooth] face upon 
her weaving. C88) [This, I believe, was the sleeking stick or 
bone which weavers still use to close and flatten linen cloth on 
the breast beam of the loom while in process of being woven.] 

7. For all the weaving implements, i.e. for all the instru- 
ments used in weaving, including beams and heddles, that is, 
weaving rods. (89) 

8. For the flax scutching-stick, i.e. by which the flax is 
scutched. For the distaff or flax rock [or for] the spindle for 
spinning wool. (90) 

9. For a rolling beam, that is, the beam without the radia- 
ting head, without sharp points. (91) [This was, I believe, the 
front beam of the loom upon which the warp was rolled up to 
be woven.] 

10. For a border (or fringe) sword, that is, [the sword or 
lath] upon which the border (or fringe) is woven. (92) 

11. For materials, that is, for the finished material, the mate- 
rial which wants only to be woven ; that is, the white balls, 
the white (bleached) thread. (93) 

12. For the instrument of the manufacturing woman, namely, 
the winding bars, that is, the tree upon which she prepares the 
yarn, the winding reel. (94) [This was not the vertical reel upon 
which the skene of yarn was formed from off the spool or the 
spindle, but it was the horizontal reel upon which the skene of 
yarn, when taken off the vertical reel, was laid, and wound off 
into balls or bottoms, as they still call them in the rural districts.] 

13. For a border fringe upon itself, [i.e. cloth having a bor- 
dered edge or fringe made of its own warp, and not sewed on] . (96) 

14. For the facilitator of her handiwork [namely], that which 
facilitates to her the work she produces from her hand ; the 
pattern piece of leather, which is placed before her, in which 
is delineated the pattern of the work. (96) 

(88) [original: 1m -pec [no fi-6] cViAine, .1. AfAj^gcneniti 
gein [.1. -po bein -peic gen oAn A 

figi.] Ibid, and vol. i. p. 152 of Sen- 
chus Mor of Brehon Law Commis.] 

(89) [original: 1m Aicer> pge tute 
.1. comobA-p nA pige t>o gAnmnib 
ocur DO ctAi-ormb .1. nA flACA pge. 
Harl. MSS. 432, fol. 10. a. a ] 

(90) [original: 1m ^rtefc "Lin, I.DA 
ftefcchen. m tin. 1m cuicit, .1. ctn- 
cit tin, .1. m j?enuAir> .1. nottA. 

( 91 ) [original: 1m tugAnmAin, .1. 
tugA gAnmAn, no tingUA gAnmAn, .1. 
m gAnmAn cen buiun [cenbAin], .1. 
cen fAebAn. Ibid.} 

(92 ) [original: 1m ctoitiem con- 


<93 ) [original : 1m Abnur, .1. At>bAn. 
ACC A -i, .1. nA ceincte 

c -pnn. Ibid.} 

[original : 1m como-pAin, HA- 
[.1. mi At\ A comoibnijenn in 
A h-AonAf], .1. cnAnn co- 
[.1 m cnAnn COCAJVOA.] no 
[.1 . cnAnt>A becA A cmn coi\- 
Ainf e, .1. gnim An 5nim.-/6.] 

(95) [original. 1m concAin, .1. inni 
jr 61 n Ibid } 

(96) [original: 1m Aifce tAmcno- 
rvAit), .1. u-pAice te m uonAt) t>o gn^ 6 
LAim ; m nuAc te'ob mA ^AT)nAip, .1. 

m gnefA mnci. Ibid.} 



This most curious fact, of a pattern, cut or painted, by an xxiv. 
artist or designer in leather, was probably made available for objects con- 
figured weaving as well as embroidery and other needlework, those am 
Several bones of animals have been discovered, and are now in cove^of" 
the museum of the Royal Irish Academy, containing patterns wh i, c . h P r - 

,..,, . 11 f, J i i TIT ' t ceedings 

of illuminated letters for ancient books, and delicate mterlacings might have 
for such letters, or for the embellishment of shrines, croziers, under the 11 
covers of books, etc. ; and an ancient box or pouch of strong laws - 
leather, with various interlacings and grotesque figures, embossed 
by pressure, and which was intended for, and used as, a case for 
the ancient Book of Armagh, is now preserved, as well as the 
book itself, in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin. There 
is good reason to believe that this case was made in the tenth 

14. For a wallet with its contents, that is, a Jbag with what 
is put to keep in it. For the material, that is, the Aiteog, that 
is, the string that is about it, that is, about its mouth. (97) 

15. For a Crioll, that is, a bag formed of strips of leather 
stitched together with a thong. (98) 

[This CWoW-making was a trade in itself, but included the 
making of leather bottles. The maker was called a Cliaraidhe, 
from Clera, a word synonymous with Crioll; and he was also 
called a Pataire, from Pait, a bottle, when he practised that 
branch of the trade. The brogue-maker, or Cuaranaigh, some- 
times made bag and bottle making part of his trade.] 

16. For a leathern tube-bag, that is a bag (or case) with a 
wooden tube, that which encased the cosmetic or oil bottle. (99) 

17. For a Rinde [that is, a round wooden bucket] . (100) 

18. For a Cusal [that is, a long wooden bin (or box).] These 
were small wooden repositaries of prepared materials, which the 
women kept in ancient times". (10i) 

19. For a needle [i.e. the thread passes through its eye"J. ( i*? 

20. For ornamentation thread, that is, coloured thread. (103) 

21. For a Scaideirc, that is, the reflector of the woman's 
image, that is, a mirror". (l04) 

< 97 > [original: 1m IA-OAJ; COMA (10 ) [original: 1m nm-oe, .1. m 

econcAig, .1. in ciAt cur ATII ecAjv- rocA. Ibid.'] 

cnAn mnci. 1n [im] cAOj\ur, .1. A-I- ( I01 > [original: 1m churAi1,.i. JJAI- 

ceog, .1. in lomAn bir im be, .1. im A IMC, .1. cn-uinx) nignix), .1. cnAntJ 

beoui. Ibid.'] becA no bic ACA AMAVloc im 

(98) [original: 1m cniot, .1. im AbnAr. IbidJ] 

cnoiAtt, cj\o fUAiscnen -o'l AttAib, ( ' 02 ) [original: 1m rnAcnAic, 

no cno ArpoiAlA/Aib. Ibid.'} r6c inu -piAtt mA cno. lbid.~\ 

<"> [original: 1m cnAn-obotg, .1. (103 > [original: 1m piAiche I 

tecliAin, .1. boLg Af Ambit) cnAnn- .1. pi AC T)ACA. lbid.~\ 

.1. bir ron JDAIC (I04) [original: 1m rcAi-oeinc, 
T CAC t>enc nA mbAn, .1. 



objects con- 

nected with 

the textile 



thread and 

rent oi^trl* 

For Focoisle ben, that is, anything which one woman borrows 
from another". 00 " 

TO this curious list of articles, connected with the manufac- 

. , . . i -i -t -t > f n / 

ture oi domestic clothing, may be added the following tew items, 
which are found in the Brehon Laws, wliich relate to a separa- 
^ on between husband and wife, when each of the parties took 
of the common property, as it stood at the time oi separation, 
an amount proportioned to their respective stocks when first 
married, the property of the wife not resting in her husband 
under the Irish law. The following is an extract from the 
law alluded to : 

" Four divisions there are upon wool [at the time of separa- 
tion], of which the woman takes a seventh part, if it be only 
in the fleece, and a sixth part if it be in flakes, and a third part 
when almost ready [for the rock], half after oil was put into it, 
and also when in cloth". U06) 

" Four divisions there are upon the Glaissin [that is, the dye- 
stuff] . A ninth part for plucking it, a sixth part for bruising 
it, and until it is applied to the colouring, that is, until the wool 
passes from the Glaisin into the first, or ground colour. A third 
part, if it has passed out of the first dying into the second She 
takes half if it is fully dyed. (107) 

" Four divisions that are upon flax for her. She takes but 
a measure of the seed if it is only standing, that is, if the flax 
be still growing, or in bundles unbroken. She takes a sixth 
part if it is broken. She takes half if it has passed front the 
scutch". u08) 

To these curious references to the materials of cloth, and linen, 
and their manufacture, to be found in our ancient laws, I shall 
here add another small item from an ancient tract called the 
Book of Rights, published by the Celtic Society in the year 
1847. This curious book gives an account of the tributes and 
services paid by the various chiefs and territories of Erinn to 
the provincial and petty kings, and these again to the monarch, 
as well as the monarch's stipends and presents to these in return. 

Among the tributes and services paid to the king of Leinster 

tl 5) [original : ocoifleben An 
A^Aite, .1. bejvir in ben 6 c6iti. 
Harleian MSS. 432. fol. 10. a. a.] 

(io6) [original: CecheonA J\ATVOA 
yuit jx>n ottAin-o .1. ti 111 [,uii.?] mAt> 
Afi lx>m}\A'o, ACAf .111. e-o AVloAib, 
ACAf c|\iAn A cincho A'obAtArn, teen 
o t)o cAe beoit, mi) icif\ Abntif ACAf 
ecAcn. H. 2. 15.] 

(l0 ') [original: CecneonA bi ^o]\ 
.1. noniA-o AJ\ nA bAin .ut. 

e iAn HA mmupyo, co cechc A cno 
[.1. Afin njtAiptt inA cec cno]. CniAri 
iAj\nA cec coxxvo [.1. ir m cnu CATIAI- 
p], teen mA-o co cAi-oe. H. 2. 15.] 
( 108 ) [original : CecVieo|\A JXAITOA -01 
Of\ I/in, her CnAjuiif -01 niA'o fon A 
coif bech m tm, no IMAX> Ar ctiApAib 
cen chuAgAin. Se i pr e10 WAO mnA|\- 
A [mAin -oAncAi]. tech o'oo 601 
octAn. H. 2. 15.] 


are the following few: "The burnishing, and renewing, and *xiv. 
washing, and cleansing of his court was performed by the Cocarts 
of the lower order of the people ; and the supply of his court 
with crimson [thread] and crimson dye, and red, and light blue 
thread, and white, and blay, and yellow, and ' bindean wool', 
from the better class of (7ocarfe". (109) 

Here we see how the manufacture of cloth, and the supply 
of its materials, were distributed among the lower and middle 
classes of peasants in ancient times, so that it could never cease 
to be cultivated in a respectable degree, since even the king's 
wardrobe as well as his presents were supplied from the wool 
and yarn dyed and spun by them. 

Another curious fact connected with those manufactures was, The dye 
that it appears that the various dye-stuffs were of home growth 86 
or produce. 

The first part of the process of wool dyeing is called in Irish 
Ruamadh, oiRimeing, and this is effected by steeping and boiling 
the wool with the twigs or brushwood of the alder tree, to which 
they give the name ofjRuaim, or " Rime". This process produces 
a good reddish brown colour, and forms the ground for black, 
blue, or red : green I have never seen produced at home, ex- 
cept by one woman, Catherine Collins, an intelligent mantua- 
maker in Clare, who kept her knowledge a profound secret all 
her life. 

If the colour is to be a black, after the wool is " rimed" as 
described above, it is again put down with a black sediment, 
which is taken up from the bottom of certain pools, ponds, and 
holes, in the bogs and boggy borders of lakes, and which is 
called Dubh-Poill or black of the pond, a stuff which imparted 
a strong but rather dull black colour ; the addition, however, of 
oak chips or twigs improves the undecided colour to a clear 
glossy jet black. Now, of course, logwood and copperas, when- 
ever they can be readily got, are generally substituted for the 
bog stuff and oak chips. In order to dye the same " rimed" 
wool of a splendid crimson red, they cultivated a plant in 

( 109 > [See original in Leabhar na g-Ceart or The Book of Rights, p. 218. 

The following is the poetical account of these tributes : 
The unfree tribes, a condition not A tribute in washing and in cleans- 
oppressive ing. 

That are on his [the king's] own There is due of the best party of 

lands ; these 

Servile rent by them, it is the truth, Ruu and purple of fine strength 

Is to be supplied to the palaces of Red thread, white wool, I will not 

the chief king. conceal it, 

The tribute which is due of these Yellow blaan and bindean. 

[Is] of fire-bole and wood ; Leabhar na g-Ceart, p. 223.] 

[Also] the renewing of his cloaks, 
constant the practice 


XXIV - ancient Erinn which they called Rudli and Roidh; but as the 
plant is not now known in the country, I cannot designate it 
by any more intelligible name. In the ancient laws it classed 
with corn and onions ; and they speak of a ridge ofJRudh or Roidh 
as they would of a ridge of onions or corn. 

The other ingredient already mentioned, which is called 
Glaissin, and with which they produced the various shades of 
blue, appears to have been the plant now called " woad", for- 
merly much used by dyers. 0101 The late Mr. Francis Ma- 
hony, of Limerick, made a handsome fortune by the culti- 
vation in fields of this plant, and its application to the purposes 
of dyeing, which he carried on very extensively for many 

Legend of There is a curious reference to the application of the Glaissin, 
in colouring wool, preserved in the ancient Gaedhelic life of St. 

caued tn 0tew- Ciaran of Clonmacnoise, who died A.D. 548. The following 
* n - is a literal translation : 

" On a certain day Ciarari's mother was preparing Glaissin. 
And when she had it ready to put the cloth into it, then his 
mother said to him : ' Go out, Ciaran', said she, ' people do not 
deem it lucky to have men in the house with them when they 
are putting cloth down to be dyed'. ' May there be a dark 
gray stripe in it then', said Ciaran. And so of all the cloth 
that was put into the Glaissin, there was no piece of them with- 
out a dark gray stripe in it. 

" The Glaissin was prepared again, and his mother said to 
him : ' Go thou out now this time, Ciaran, and let there be no 
dark gray stripe in the cloth this turn' ". 
It was then he said : 

" Allelujah Domine. 
May my mother's Glaissin be white ! 
Every time it comes back to thy hand 
May it be as white as bone ; 
Every time it comes out of the boiling, 
May it be whiter than curds". 

And so every piece of cloth that was put into it after this was 

" The Glaissin was prepared the third time. ' Ciaran\ said 
his mother, ' do not spoil the Glaissin upon me this turn, but let 
it be blessed by you', [this Ciaran did] and after it was blessed 
by Ciaran, there was not made before or after it a Glaissin 
as good as it, for though it were all the cloth of all the Cinel 

Oio) [The j sa tis tinctoria (Lin.~) Glastum or Guadum. The French call it 
Pastel; the Italians, Guado&nd Glastro; and the Spaniards, Pastel and Glasto. 
See on this subject Introduction.] 


Fiachrach [that is, the people of the south-eastern part of the 
present county of Galway] that had been put into its after-dye, Legend of st 
[i.e. the mother-liquor of the dye vat], it would colour it blue; 
and it afterwards made blue the hounds and the cats and the trees 
which it touched". 010 

This curious legend supplies us with an interesting bit of 
ancient social history, and it is valuable, not only for the dis- 
tinct manner in which we are told that manufactured cloth was 
dyed in the piece, but also for the antiquity of the superstition 
which deemed it unlucky to have men in the house at the time 
of putting the cloth into the dye. This superstition does not, 
to my knowledge, exist now, but there are certain days of the 
month and week upon which no housewife in Munster would 
put wool or cloth down to be dyed. 

In these few extracts we have allusions to all the processes 
of the manufacture of cloth in ancient Erinn. In the extracts 
from the laws, as well as from the Book of Rights given above, 
we have the processes of dyeing, carding, spinning wool, and 
weaving it into cloth. We have also the progress of the pre- 
paration of flax the pulling of it out of the ground, the tying 
of it in bundles, the retting or steeping of it in water, the taking 
of it up and drying, and tying of it into bundles again ; the break- 
ing of it with a mallet, and the scutching of it. [The cloving 
and hackling are omitted, unless we take the combing, as of the 
wool, to be the hackling of the flax.] We have it put on the 
rock or distaff; spun upon the spindle ; formed into skenes from 
off the spindle upon the vertical reel ; taken off the vertical reel 
in skenes ; [boiled with home-made potash, and put out on the Summary of 
grass to bleach, which is omitted here, though the bleached theTexuie n 
thread is spoken of;] we next have the skene when bleached tionJcun" 
laid on the horizontal reel, and wound up into balls for warp- ^ 
ing, as well as for weft [warped then upon the wooden pins, 

(Hi) [original: "1nA ruviti LA t>o Cec cAnci Am lAim 

wAcAin CniAnAin, oc t>entim jjtAipie flop pVichen cnAtm 

ctino -pA6c co CAbtnnc emn^ mnci. CAC ci A bnuc, 

1S Ann no nAi"6 AmACAinp^if. AtriAd flop giticen gnuc. 

com A ChiAnAin m HATJA teortim Ce6 et>u6 -am t>e nACA-6 mnci no- 

pn An Aeinci p/MA t>AcuA i 6 ex>uig. bAenjjeAt lAnpn. T)o jjmce-p An 

SniAb o'Otin Annpjm on ot CiAj\An. cpeAt 1 p>cc mgtAipn. A ChiAnam 

t)o neo6 cnA "oo etmc CUCA-O ipn oi AtriACAin nA mitt umAm mnofA 

rigtAip'n ni nAibi nAc necud oi'b cen mngtAipn ACC bennaccAn IAC hi. 

pneib ntn-oin Ann. t)o gnicin T)onip Onor 1 benAib timonno ChiAnAin. tli 

m 5tAifin conT)ebAinc A mAcAin fni- oeAnnA'o poimpi nA nATJiAij gtAipn 

ptim. eincp miA6 -oAn mpeccfA A but) commAi6 niAfAn cit> e-o&c cem- 

ChiAnAm ACAf nA bi"6 fniAb o-oun uit pA6|\A6 uiti -oo benci mA hiAn- 

Ann A cVnanAin nofA. It 1 Ann pn CAin nof sonm-pA-o ACAt 1 nogonmA'6 

oo nAiiipum. fA teoi nA conu ACAf nA CACU mA 

aVLetuiA tjomine cnunt>A p^if AcomnAicex)' 1 . Book of 

flob geAt jjtAipn mo muim Lismore, f. 78. b. col. 1.] 


either driven into the walls of a house, or on a frame specially 
made for the purpose], and then put into the loom and woven. 
On the subject of embroidery and elegant needlework, it would 
be very easy indeed to extend this lecture much farther ; but for 
the present I will content myself with a very few references of 
striking interest. 

Reference to In the ancient tale called Tochmarc nEimire, that is, the court- 
thetaie of ship of the lady Emer % described in a former lecture, we are 

marl cf> 

wnen Cucliulaind, the great champion of Ulster, came 
in his chariot from Emania to Lusk, in the present county of 
Dublin (where Forghall Monach Emer's father kept his high 
court of universal hospitality), he found her sitting on the lawn 
of her father's court surrounded by fifty young ladies, the 
daughters of the surrounding gentlemen, whom she was in- 
structing in needlework and embroidery. 

and in the Again, in the ancient topographical tract called the Dinn- 

hat ' seanchas, and in that article of it which professes to give the 

derivation of the famous and well known hill and Rath of Mais- 

tin, now called Mullaghmast in the county of Kildare, we find 

the following curious passage: 

" Maistiu [from whom the hill is named] was the born daugh- 
ter Q Aengus Mac Umor, and embroideress to Aengus Mac Inog. 
She was the first person that formed the figure of a cross in Erinn, 
in the breast border of Aengus 1 tunic". 12) The Aengus Mac 
Umor mentioned here, as the father of the lady Maistiu, was that 
Aengus of the Firbolg race who, shortly before the Incarnation, 
built the great stone fort on the great island of Arann, so well 
known to this day as Dun Aenghuis, and of which I had much to 
say in a former lecture. The other Aengus, who, I dare say, 
was the first that was ever decorated with the order of the cross 
at the hands of a fair lady, was the celebrated Tuatha De 
Danann chief of Brugh na Boinne, or " the Palace of the Boyne", 
near Slane, of whom so many mythological legends are still 
preserved in Ireland. 

But no sooner did Christianity raise its heavenly banner in 
our island, than the charming ingenuity of woman was put in 
requisition to adorn with befitting dignity and splendour the 
glorious and devoted soldiers of the Cross. St. Patrick kept three 
embroideresses constantly at work, with, we may be sure, a suffi- 
cient staff of assistants. These were Lupait, his own sister, and 
Ere, the daughter of king Daire, and Cruimthoris of Cenngoba. 

Ctca, the em- St. Colunib Cille also had his special embroideress, whose name 

broideress of 
St. Colwi.b 

CUM. (H2) [original : "Aifd itijjen jjen- conroeAtb chpoifi p|Mf Atiepititi ; 

m Aengtif A tnAc pimoip bArro^um- Acoj^cAin bpotlAich iriAip Aen- 

AengufA TTIAC 1005 4-p pup S^fA*. Book of Lecan, f. 233. a. b.} 


was Coca, from whom Cille Choca, now Kilcock, in the county xxiv. 
of Kildare, is named. This pious lady is mentioned in a note 
to the Feilire Aengliuis, or Festology of Aengus the Ceile De or 
Culdee at her festival day, the 8th of January. This note is as 
follows : " Ercnat, the virgin nun, was cook and robe maker to 
St. Columb CilU, and her church is Cille Choca [or Kilcock] in 
Cairbre ua Ciardha [now Carbury, in the county of Kildare]. 
Ercnat was her true name, which means an embroideress, be- 
cause Ercadh, in the ancient Gaedhelic was the same as draw- 
ing and embroidering now ; for it was that virgin who was the 
embroideress, cutter, and sewer of clothes to St. Columb Cille 
and his disciples". 

The intimate acquaintance of the ancient Gaedhils of Erinn The know- 
with the cardinal colours in their highest degree of purity, and colours of 
with a great variety of other shades and tints r can be clearly gho^nt>y hils 
established by existing evidence of a very certain character. j* BOOK of 
The Book of Kells, which is an ancient copy of the four Gos- 
pels, preserved in the library of Trinity College, Dublin, con- 
tains in its pictorial representations, as well as in its illumina- 
tions of the written text, a display of beautiful colouring, suffi- 
cient 'of itself to prove the taste and knowledge of the beautiful 
in colours possessed by our remote ancestors. The figures in 
the Book of Kells are no doubt ecclesiastical and scriptural; 
but this circumstance does not in the least invalidate our claim 
to originality in the production and combination of the colours 
used in the vestments there pourtrayed. On the contrary, the 
fact of finding them in illuminations such as these, still preserv- 
ing all their brilliancy, in a book written, perhaps, about A.D. 
590, only bears the stronger evidence to the truthfulness of the 
use of brilliant dyes in the colouring of costume to which atten- 
tion has been directed in the course of these lectures. The purity 
and brilliancy of the green, the blue, the crimson, the scarlet, 
the yellow, and the purple of the book, like its penmanship, 
stand perhaps unrivalled, and can only be realized by an actual 
examination of this very beautiful manuscript itself. 

This book, it has been always believed, was written by the 
hand of St. Columb CilU himself, the original founder of the 
church of Ceanannus, now called Kells, in the county of Meath ; 
and the following passage from the Annals of the Four Masters 
will show the esteem and veneration in which, from its anti- 
quity and splendour, it was held even at the beginning of the 
eleventh century : 

" The great gospels of [St.] Columb CilU was sacrilegiously 
stolen at night out of the western sacristy of the great stone 
church at Ceanannus [or Kells]. It was the chief relic of the 



Reference in 
B. of Bally- 
mote to 
colours worn 
by different 

Clothes of 
formed part 
of the tri- 
butes or 
taxes paid as 
late ta the 
ninth and 
tenth cen- 

Tributes to 
the king of 
from : A.ra ; 


Lclnster ; 

western world, even as regarded its shrine of human workman- 
ship ; and it was found in twenty nights and two months, after 
all its [ornamentation of] gold had been stolen off it ; with sods 
turned over it". ms) 

I have found in the Book of Ballymote a curious old 
stanza, headed with these Latin words: 

" Ordo vestimentorum per colores"; that is, the order of the 
cloths according to their colours. 
" The following is the stanza : 

" Mottled to simpletons ; blue to women ; 
Crimson to the kings of every host ; 
Green and black to noble laymen ; 
White to clerics of proper devotion". u) 
It is probable that this stanza is only a fragment of a longer 
poem, since we have undoubted authority that at the close of 
the ninth century (say about the year 900), clothes of various 
colours such as cloaks, tunics, mantles, and capes, continued to 
be paid by way of tribute or tax to and by the monarch, the 
provincial kings, and their subordinate kings. The following 
stanzas from the Book of Rights will show to what extent this 
reciprocity of stipends, or presents, and tributes existed between 
the supreme and petty rulers of the land in ancient times. 
To the kings of Cashel were paid as follows : 
" Two hundred wethers from the host were given ; 
An hundred hogs in statute tribute ; 
An hundred cows that enriched the farmer's dairy ; 
An hundred green mantles from the men of Ara. (U>1 
" A thousand oxen, a thousand cows I exact ; 
To the palace in one day I ordain, 
A thousand rams swelled out with wool, 
[And] a thousand cloaks from JBoirinn. (n& 
" He himself, the king of noble Cashel, is entitled 

To three hundred suits of cloths at Samhain [from 

Leinster] ; 

To fifty steeds of a dark gray colour 
In readiness for every battle. 017 ' 
" This is what is due, and no falsehood : 
Fifty oxen and fifty cows, 
Fifty steeds with noble bridles, 

C' 13 ) Annals of Four Masters. Dr. O'Donovan's Edition. Year A.D. 1006. 

(iu) Original : Orvoo tiefcunen- CopcAin -oo ^15*1^ &<vcri floijj 
cor\um pepcotoper, .1. OJVOTIA nerxxd UAine if t>ub t>o tAecfwit) rveit 
OACAib. 1?i TIT) x>o 6t,eif\cib cr\Ab4it> CJUIAIT) 

topee t>o -oTUifcAib, goTrni TJO TtitiAib [no COITV]! folio 161. b. 

(> 16 ) Fee for original Lf.abhar nu g-Ceart, p. 44. 

<"> Ibid., p. 48. < 117 > Ibid., p. 54. 


And an hundred cloaks of the cloaks of UmalL (iltl) 
" Three hundred hogs from the men of Uaithne 

To Cashel without failure ; 

Three hundred mantles of bright mixture, [i.e. varigated] 

With an hundred strong milch cows. 0191 
" Thirty short cloaks well stitched, 

Which with crimson are trimmed ; 

Thirty good cows from the men of Dulbhneach, 

Thirty oxen from Drung. ( 
" There are due from the county of Corcumruadh 

An hundred sheep, an hundred sows ; 

A thousand oxen from brown JBoirinn, 

A thousand cloaks not white/ 120 
" Ten hundred oxen from the Deise, 

A thousand fine sheep, 

A thousand cloaks with white borders, 

A thousand cows after calving/ I22) 
" An hundred from the men of Orbhraidhe 

Of cows are given to him ; 

An hundred white cloaks to fair Cashel, 

An hundred sows for the sty"/ 123) 

Such were the tributes, including those in clothes, which the 
king of Cashel received from his tributaries; and from the 
scanty number of garments with which he presented them in 
return, it is evident that by far the greater part of his stock was 
bestowed on persons of inferior rank, in his own tribe perhaps, 
including his men-at-arms. Thus : 

" Seven mantles with wreaths of gold, stipends 

And seven cups for social drinking, tog ot 

Seven steeds not accustomed to falter, f"ki" gV 

To the king of Kerry of the combats. 024) Ken r; 

" The prosperous king of Raihlenn is entitled 

To the stipend of a brave great man; 

Ten swords, and ten drinking horns, 

Ten red cloaks, ten blue cloaks. (m) 
" The king of Ara of beauty is entitled 

From the king of Eire of the comely face 

To six swords, six praised shields, 

And six mantles of deep crimson"/ 126) 
The tributes of the king of Connacht come next, of which Tributes to 
our poet says : 

" Five score cows long to be praised, 

i> Ibid., p. 56. < 119 > Ibid., p. 62. <>* Ibid., p. 64. 

<') Ibid., p. 64. M) Ibid., p. 66. (> Ibid., p. 66. 

<*> Ibid., p. 74. < 128 > Ibid., p. 82. < Ibid., p. 86. 




the Oreag. 
raidhe ; 

the Conrft- 
aicne ; 

the Ciarr- 

the Luighne ; 

the Deal- 
bhna ; 

Ui Maine. 

paid by the 
king of Con- 
nacht to the 
kings of: 
Dealbhna ; 

Ui Maine, 

Tributes to 
the king of 
from : the 
traidhe ; 

Five score hogs of broad sides, 

Five score mantles of beautiful colour, 

From Umall to the king of Connacht. (127) 
" Three score hogs, great the tribute. 

And three score kingly cloaks, 

Three score milch cows hither come, 

From the Greagraidhe of the fine trees. (128) 
" Twelve score of costly cloaks, 

Two hundred cows without error in reckoning, 

Eighty hogs of great report 

Are due from the Conmaicne.^^ 
" Three score red cloaks, not black, 

Three score hogs of long sides, 

From the Ciarraidhe, a hard sentence, 

And all to be brought hither together. (130) 
" Thrice fifty bull-like hogs, 

And all to come hither at Samhain; 

Thrice fifty superb cloaks 

To the king of Connacht and Cruachan (l3iy 

[From the Luighne]. 
" Three times fifty crimson mantles it is known, 

Without injustice, without transgression, 

Of the Dealbhna are these due 

To the king of Connacht at Cruachant 13 
" The great tribute of Ui Maine of the plain 

Is well known to every historian ; 

Eighty cloaks, it is no falsehood, 

Eighty hogs, a weighty herd". 033) 

Next come the disbursements of the king of Connacht, as 
our poet sings : 

" Entitled is the king of Dealbhna of Druim Leith 

To six swords and six shields, 

Six steeds, six tunics with gold [embroidery], 

Six drinking horns for banquets. (134) 
" Entitled is the king of Ui Maine the illustrious 

To seven cloaks, seven horses over the valley, 

Seven hounds to follow the chase, 

And seven bright red tunics". (135) 

Next come the tributes paid to the king of .Aileach or Tir 
EogJiain in Ulster : 

" An hundred sheep, and an hundred cloaks, and an hundred 

OW) Ibid., p. 98. 
< I30 > Ibid., p. 102. 
c 1 ") Ibid., p. 106, 

< 128 > Ibid., p. 98. 
< l ) Ibid., p. 102. 
< 1M > Ibid., p. 112. 

<>> Ibid., p. 100. 
H") Ibid., p. 104. 
< 13S > Ibid., p. 114. 


And an hundred hogs are given to him, 

From the Cuileantraidhe of the wars, 

To the king of Aileach, beside labour. (136) 
" An hundred beeves from the Ui Mic Caerthainn, the m MC 

And an hundred hogs not very trifling, 

Fifty cows in lawful payment, 

Fifty cloaks with white borders/ 1350 

" An hundred milch cows from the Tuathas of Tort [ Ui v% Tufrtre. 

Fifty hogs in bacon, fifty (live) hogs, 

With fifty coloured cloaks to him are given 

From Dun na h- Uidhre in one day". (138) 

When the king of Aileaoh was- not himself the monarch of stipends 
Erinn, he was entitled to three hundred suits of clothes from Mng of 
the monarch; and of the distribution of these three hundred 
suits among the king of Aileach's subordinate kings or chiefs, 
the poet sings only of the following : 
" The king of the Cinel Boghaine the firm 

Is entitled to five steeds for cavalry, 

Six shields, six swords, six drinking horns, 

Six green cloaks, six blue cloaks. (139) 
" Entitled is the king of Cinel Eanna 

To five beautiful powerful steeds, 

Five shields, five swords for battle, 

Five mantles, five coats of mail. (140) 
" Entitled is the king of Craebh to a gift, 

Three strong steeds as a stipend, 

Three shields, three swords of battle, 

Three green cloaks of uniform colour. 041 ' 
" Entitled is the king of Ui Mic Caerthainn 

To three tunics with golden borders, 

Three beautiful statute mantles, 

Three befitting bondwomen. (U2) 
" Entitled is the king of Tulach Og ** o g . 

To fifty serviceable foreign bondmen, 

Fifty swords, fifty steeds, 

Fifty white mantles, fifty coats of mail". (W3) 
Next comes the king of Oirqhialla or OrieFs distribution of sti .P e " d , 

i -," -, *S -i . /> i i pa 1 * by the 

rich garments among his subordinate kings, ot which our poet fcing of oriel 
sings: o? : the 

" The stipend of the king of Ui Breasall is 
Three crimson cloaks of lightning lustre, 

( 186 > Ibid., p. 120. (> 37 > Ibid , p. 122. < 138 > Ibid., p. 124> 

< 139 > Ibid., p. 130. < 140 > Ibid., p. 130. < U1 > Ibid., p. 132. 

C 142 > Ibid., p. 132. 0> Ibid., p. 134. 



Ui Eachach 


Ui Dortain ; 

Ui Briuin 



Fear a Ma- 
nach ; 


and lias. 

paid by the 
king of 
Uladh to the 
king of : 


Five shields, five swords of battle, 

Five swift steeds of beautiful colour/ 140 
" Entitled is the king of Ui Eachach the noble 

To five crimson square cloaks, 

Five shields, five swords, five drinking horns, 

Five gray dark-forked steeds. (U5) 
" Entitled is the king of Ui Meiih the hero, 

From the king of Macho. [Oirghialla] of great assem- 

To four swords, four drinking horns, 

' Four cloaks, four iron-gray steeds. (146) 
" The stipend of the king of Ui Dortain is 

Three crimson cloaks with borders, 

Three shields, three swords of battle, (147) 

Three white mantles, three coats of mail. 
" Entitled is the king of Ui Briuin Archoill 

To three tunics with golden borders, 

Six steeds, six heavy bondmen, 

Six befitting bondwomen" . (148) 

The king of Ui Tuirtre was further entitled to gifts from the 
king of Oirghialla, such as : 

" Eight bay steeds are due to him, 

Eight crimson cloaks of beautiful texture, < 

Eight shields, eight swords, eight drinking horns, 

Eight hardworking, dexterous-handed bondmen. 49) 
" Entitled is the great king of Feara Manach 

To five cloaks with golden borders, 

Five shields, five swords of battle, 

Five ships, five coats of mail. 
" Entitled is the king of Mughdhorn and Ros 

To six bondmen of great vigour, 

Six swords, six shields, six drinking horns, 

Six crimson cloaks, six blue cloaks" . (li0) 
Next comes the distribution by the king of Uladh, or Ulidia, 
that is Down and Antrim, of his gifts among his chiefs, firstly 
to the king of Cuailgne, as our poet sings : 
" Fifty swords, fifty shields, 

Fifty cloaks, fifty gray steeds, 

Fifty capes, fifty pack-saddles, 

And fifty pleasing coats of mail. 51) 
" Twenty speckled cloaks, no small present, 

Twenty mantles of softest sheen, 

('*') Ibid., p. 146. 
< 7 > Ibid., p. 150. 
< 150 > Ibid., p. 154. 

('") Ibid., p. 148. 
< 148 > Ibid., p. 150. 
< IM > Ibid., p. 158. 

<>"> Ibid., p. 148. 
<") Ibid., p. 152. 


Twenty drinking-horns, twenty quern-women, 

To the valorous king of Araidhe."^ 
" The stipend of the victorious king of Cobhais 

Ten drinking horns, ten wounding swords, 

Ten ships to which crews belong, 

Ten cloaks with their borders of gold. (1M> 
" Entitled is the heroic king of Muirtheimne the hero ? ^ u i r - 

To six tall drinking horns full of ale, 

Ten ships to the champion of Ealga [Erinn], 

Ten steeds, ten scarlet tunics". (164) 

Next come the tributes paid to the king of Uladh by his sub- Tributes to 
ordinate chiefs and tribes, among which we find the following, p/L^om: 
as sung by our poet: 

" Three times fifty excellent cloaks from Semhne, semfwe; 

This from all, 

Three times fifty excellent dairy cows, 

All within two days/ 155) 
" There is due from Crothraidhe of the fleet, croth- 

Bear it in thy memory, 

An hundred wethers, an hundred cows not sickly, 

And an hundred cloaks. (156) 
" Three hogs from the lands of Cathal, CaaMl - 

Not very severe, 

Three hundred well coloured cloaks, 

He is entitled to in the north"/ 157 ' 

Next comes the hereditary king of Tara and Meath, with his Gifts to king 
gifts from the monarch, when he was not himself the monarch 
of Erinn ; and his own liabilities to the petty kings and chiefs 
of Meath, as our poet sings. 

" An hundred swords, and an hundred shields, stipends 

The king of Tara of lords is entitled to, E? T^ato 1 " 8 

An hundred suits of clothes, and an hundred steeds, 

An hundred white cloaks, and an hundred suits of 

mail/' 58) . 
" Entitled is the king of Magh Lacha HW* 

To five shields, five swords of battle, 

Five short cloaks, and five steeds, 

Five white hounds, in a fine leash/ 1 * 
" Entitled is the king of Culrcne of the shore Cuircnt; 

To six shields and six horses, 

Six cloaks and six shepherds, 

Six drinking horns, full, ready for use. (160) 

<>) Ibid., p. 158. < 153) Ibid., p. 164. <>> Ibid., p. 166. 

Ibid., p. 170. < 1M > Ibid., p. 170. t l 7 > Ibid., p. 172. 

< 118 > Ibid., p. 178. <> Ibid., p. 178. < I60 > Ibid., p. 180. 

VOL. tl. 9 




Ui Beccon ; 

Tributes to 
the king of 
Tara from : 

the Luiyhne , 

The Feara 
Arda ; 

the Saithne 

Gailenya ; 

the Vi 

paid by the 
king of Lein- 
ster to the : 

Ui Fealain; 

chief of CWL- 

" The stipend of the king of Ui Jleccon is, 

Five swift ready steeds, 

Five speckled cloaks of permanent colour, 

And five swords for battle". 060 

Next come the tributes paid to the king of Tara, or Meath, 
from his territories, and of which the poet sings: 
" Thrice fifty white cloaks, from the Luighne, 

Thrice fifty hogs, as were reckoned, 

Thrice fifty beeves, without default, 

To be brought to great Teamair.^ 6 ^ 
" An hundred beeves from the Feara Arda, 

An hundred white wethers besides, 

An hundred hogs, heavy to be remembered, 

An hundred cloaks the enumeration of the great 

Luighne. W3} 
" An hundred best cloaks from the Saithne, 

An hundred sows, a stock of wealth, 

An hundred beeves from the plains, 

And an hundred wethers to be slaughtered. 060 
" Three hundred hogs from the territory of Gailenga, 

Three hundred wethers, three hundred white cloaks, 

Three hundred oxen, great the relief 

To the Claen Raith [at Tara] ye have heard. (lw) 
" Sixty cloaks from the Ui Beccon, 

Sixty beeves, great the strength, 

With sixty excellent sows, 

And sixty tunics (?) to the great hill" [of Teamair\^ 

We come next to the king of Leinster, and his rights and 

liabilities when not himself monarch of Erinn. He was, among 

other presents from the monarch, entitled to fifty short cloaks 

and ten kingly mantles. Of the king of Leinster 's liabilities to 

his tributaries, we take the following stanzas from the poet: 

" Six drinking horns, six rings to the Ui Fealain, 

Six white cloaks at the same time, 

Six swift steeds, with their caparisons, 

Though they boast of this it is not brotherhood. 06 " 
" Eight ships from the champion to the chief of Cualand 

With sails and with sailing masts, (l68) 

Eight drinking horns, eight keen-edged swords, 

< l 2 > Ibid., p. 186 
<>> Ibid., p. 188. 

<' Ibid., p. 182. 
<> Ibid., p. 186. 
< I67 > Ibid., p. 204. 
(168) [ocVic totijCA 6'n 

Co feotAio co 

Dr. O'Donovan translates the second line: 
" With sails [and] with satin flags (banners)".] 

Ibid., p. 186. 
Ibid., p. 190. 


Eight tunics, eight gold worked mantles. xxiv. 

" Seven steeds to the fair Ui Feilmeadha, utFen- 

Vehement men, and vengeful [are they ;] 

Five curved drinking horns, with five cloaks, 

Five mantles let it be remembered. 0650 
" Ten carved clasps to the king of Radlinn, ktngof Rot- 

And six royal steeds, I reckon, 

Six mantles also to the champion, 

Six bondsmen to the same warrior. 070 ^ 
" Six steeds to the Ui Criomhthannan as ordered. *' otomA- 

. . , , . . t/iannan. 

bix oxen in good condition, 
Six drinking horns to hold in their hands, 
Six mantles without mistake"/ 171 * 

Next comes the tribute received by the king of Leinster Tributes to 
from his tributary tribes, from which we select the following, Letnster 
as sung by the poet; 

" Seven hundred pigs in bacon, seven hundred hogs, G*II ; 

Seven hundred oxen, seven hundred good wethers, 
Seven hundred cloaks, and seven hundred cows, 
From the lands of the Galls all in one day. (17J) 

" Two hundred cloaks, no falsehood, Forthvatha; 

An hundred heavy hogs, heavy the herd, 
And two hundred lively milch cows, 
From the lands of the tribes of the Forthuatlia.^ 1l) 
" From all the Fotharta Frthart; 

Are due two hundred prime cows, 
And two hundred statute cloaks, 
Two hundred wild oxen tamed. (174) 

" Two hundred beeves, great the progeny, men of south 

Two hundred cloaks, and two hundred milch cows, 
Two hundred wethers, great the relief 
From the men of south Leinster". (175) 

We come next to the king of JSmain Macha, that is Emania Gifts from 
in middle Ulster, and we have an enumeration of the gifts which O f ErtSS'to 11 
the king of that important territory was entitled to from the ^maln & of 
monarch of Erinn, as well as his own liability to his tributary Macha. 
chiefs, and theirs to him in return. From the list of the gifts 
from the monarch to the petty king, as sung by our poet, we 
take the following stanza: 

" Twelve spears on which there is poison, 
Twelve swords with razor edges, 
Twelve suits of clothes of all colours, 

< w > Ibid., p. 208. ("> Ibid., p. 200. < Ibid., p. 216. 

< I7I > Ibid., p. 218. <>"> Ibid., p. 220. < 17 <> Ibid., p. 220. 

<") Ibid., p. 220. 




Stipends of 
the king of 
Macfia to the 
kings of : 


Ui Briuin ; 

Gifts be- 
stowed on 
the king of 
Leinster by 
the monarch 
whenever he 
visited Tara. 

Gift of king 
of Leinster 
to the king 
of the Ui 

Gift of the 
monarch of 
Krinn to 
king of Cai- 
seal when at 

For the use of the sons of high chiefs". 76) 
We find the king of Emanicis gifts of clothes to his tribu- 
taries as limited as those made to himself by the monarch of 
Erinn. These gifts appear to have been limited to two chiefs 
only, the king of Rath Mor Muighe, i.e. of Magli Line, and the 
king of the Conmaicne in Connacht, who were of remote Ulto- 
nian origin. Thus sings the poet : 

" Entitled is he [the king of Raihmor] shall any ask it? 
Unless he be king over the men of Ulster, 
To eight coloured cloaks and two ships, 
With a bright shield on each shoulder. (m) 
" Entitled is the king of the noble Ui Briuin 
To his truly noble French steed ; 
Entitled is the king of the fair Conmaicne 
To a steed and a choice of raiment". (178) 
We are told that whenever the king of Leinster paid a state 
visit to Tara, he received from the monarch 
" Seven chariots adorned with gold, 

In which he goes forth to banquets, 
Seven score suits of well coloured clothes, 
For the wear of the sons of the high chiefs. 079 ' 
" Upon which he goes back to his house, 

The king of Leinster, with the champions, 
Until he reaches the palace of Nas after a journey 
Until he distributes his stipends". 

Among these stipends, however, which the king of Leinster 
distributed after his return from Tara, we only find one of the 
chiefs entitled to a present of garments ; as the poet sings : 
" Entitled is the king of fair Ui Fealain 

To seven coloured cloaks, for cheerful banquets". <180) 
We further find in this book, that the monarch of Erinn was 
bound by ancient usage to accept of a periodical invitation to 
a feast from the king of Cashel at Teamhair Luachra (an 
ancient palace situated in the neighbourhood of Abbeyfeale, on 
the borders of the counties of Limerick and Kerry). Here the 
monarch was bound to remain for a week, and in the meantime 
to hand over to the king of Cashel the gifts and stipends of de- 
pendance to which he was entitled from him. Among these 
were : 

" Eight score of cloaks in cloaks, 

Eight bright shields over white hands, 
Seven plough yokes in full range, 
And seven score short horned cows". (181) 

<') Ibid., p. 242. 
<'"> Ibid., p. 251. 

Ibid., p. 244. 
( 8 ) Ibid., p. 250. 

< 178 > Ibid., p. 246. 
<" Ibid., p. 254. 


The king of Munster then distributed to his own subordinate xxiv. 
chiefs and to their ladies his gifts and stipends in this manner, stipends 

i_ ,1 given by the 

as sung by the poet : *i ng O f cw- 

" Eight good steeds of high degree "suation'of 

Are due to the king of the noble Deise, t] } e monarch 

A 1 1 , 1 1 I. J Of Erinn to 

And eight green cloaks besides, the-. 

With eight brooches of Findruine [or white bronze] . (182) Deisf>: 
" Entitled is the king of the fair Ui Chonaill u* Chonaui. 

To an Easter dress from the king of Caiseal, 

His beautiful sword of shining lustre 

And his spear along with it". (I83) 

Again we find the provincial king of Connacht liable, among stipends 
many other things, to the following items: SngofCon- 

" Entitled is the king of great Ui Maine $gg $ : the 

To four drinking horns for drinking occasions; ut Maine; 

To twenty cows and twenty steeds, 

To two hundred suits of clothes no false award/ 180 
" Entitled is the king of the valiant Luiglme Luigtm*. 

To four shields for victories, 

Four tunics with red gold, 

Four ships, not a bad gift". (185) 

I must, however, close here these extracts, having only desired 
to show at how early a period ornament was systematically ap- 
plied to dress in ancient Erinn. I shall only add one more ; 
because in leaving the subject of dresses of different colours, I 
cannot but lay before the reader a very curious example of a 
theory of colours in connection with the phenomena of winds, 
which I would wish to be able to investigate at much greater 
length than my narrow limits at present will allow. 

Of the acquaintance of the ancient Irish with the nature and Colours of 
combinations of colours, an instance is preserved in the preface to cording to 
the Seanchas M6r, that great law compilation, which is believed 
to have been compiled in St. Patrick's time. The writer of 
this preface, which is evidently not as old as the laws them- 
selves, when speaking of the design and order of the creation, 
gives the following poetical description of the nature and charac- 
ter of winds. 

" He (the Lord) then created the colours of the winds, so 
that the colour of each differs from the other ; namely, the white 
and the crimson ; the blue and the green ; the yellow and the 
red ; the black and the gray ; the speckled and the dark ; the 
dull black (ciar) and the grisly. From the east (he continues) 
comes the crimson wind ; from the south, the white ; from the 

< IM > Ibid., p. 256. 083) ibid p. 258. () Ibid., p. 264. 

(') Ibid., p. 264. 


north, the black ; from the west, the dun. The red and the 
Colours of yellow are produced between the white wind and the crimson; 
co"ding a to the green and the gray are produced between the grisly and the 
&<**t white ; the gray and the dull black are produced between the 
grisly and the jet black ; the dark and the mottled are produced 
between the black and the crimson ; and those are all the sub- 
winds contained in each and all the cardinal winds". (186) 

It would be a curious speculation to inquire into the mean- 
ing of this strange theory of coloured winds ; but it contains at 
a glance evidence at least of the existence, when this most 
ancient preface was written, of a distinct theory of the relations 
and combinations of colours. 08 " 

( I8fi ) [original: tlo'oeVb 'oonA'OA- njjAui npt ocur copc^A bic; m 

t& riA ttjAet, conit> -pain -OAC CAA UAine ocuf in glAr itij\ tti tump 

gAeice tcib f]M A^Aile, .1. gel ocur ocur iti ^legit, bic ; in VIAC ocr in 

co|\c-f\A, gt/A-p ocu^ WAine, bui-oe CIAJ\ icij\ m uit>i|\ ocup m cijvoub 

ocufoepg, -oub ocuf tiAt, in A^AT) bic; in cemin ocuf in AtAT> 1C1|\ m 

ocuf m citnin, in C1A|\ ocuf in OTJUH- -oub ocu-p in co|\c|\A bic. Com x)i 

< AriAi|\ in 5Aec CO]\CJ\A, ATieA]' in fogAicin CA6 pjMmgAic inpn. Pre- 

' geAb, A CUA16 ATI -oub, AniAp AH face to Seanchas Mdr, Harleian MSS. 

ot)tip. 1ti "06^5 ocur m buit)e ici]\ 432, Brit. Mus.] 

(U7) [This theory of coloured winds apparently refers to the more character- 
istic colours which the clouds assume about the rising and setting sun, and 
which to a certain extent seem to depend upon the wind which blows at the 


[UeUvred July 12th, I860.] 

(VIII.) DRESS AND ORNAMENTS (continued). Of Conaire Mor monarch of 
Erinn (circa B.C. 100 to B.C. 50) and the outlawed sons of Bond Dess, 
according to the ancient tale of the Bruighean Daderga ; the sons of Dond 
Dess associate with the British outlaw Ingcel to plunder the coasts of Bri- 
tain and Erinn ; the monarch in returning from Corca Bhaiscinn in the Co. 
Clare, being unable to reach Tara, goes to the court of Daderg ; Ingcel 
visits the court to ascertain the feasibility of plundering it ; he gives de- 
scriptions on his return to his companions of those he saw there, and Fer- 
rogain identifies them ; Ingcel's description of the Ultonian warrior Cor- 
mac Conloinges and his companions ; of the Cruithentuath or Picts ; of 
the nine pipe players ; of Tuidle the house steward ; of Oball, Oblini and 
Coirpre Findmor, sons of Conaire Mor ; of the champions Mai Mac Tel- 
baind, Muinremor and Birderg; of the great Ultonian champion Conall 
Cearnach ; of the monarch himself, Conaire Mor ; of the six cup bearers ; 
of Tulchinne the royal Druid and juggler ; of the three swine-herds ; of 
Causcrach Mend ; of the Saxon princes and their companions ; of the king's 
outriders; of the king's three judges; of the king's nine harpers; of the 
king's three jugglers; of the three chief cooks; of the king's three poets; 
of the king's two warders; of the king's nine guardsmen ; of the king's two 
table attendants; of the champions Sencka, Dubthach Dad Uladh and 
Goibniu; of Daderg himself; of the king's three door keepers; of the 
British exiles at the court of the monarch; of the three jesters or clowns; 
of the three drink bearers. Summary of the classes of persons described. 
The exaggerations of such descriptions scarcely affect their value for the 
present purpose ; very little exaggeration on the whole in the tales of the 
Bruighean Daderga, and Tain Bo Chuailgne. Antiquity and long conti- 
nued use of the colour of certain garments shown by the tale of the Amhra 
Chonrai, by Mac Liag's elegy on Tadgh O'Kelly, and also by a poem of 
Gillnbrighde Mac Conmidhe. 

IN the last two lectures I gave a short account of the military 
dress, chiefly in regard to colour and ornaments, of the ancient 
Irish, as preserved in the old historic tale of the Tain Bo Chu- 
ailgne. This was followed by a long account from the Brehon 
Laws and the life of St. Ciaran of Clonmacnois, of the mode of 
colouring and treating wool and flax, preparatory to their being 
manufactured into cloth, the instruments used in the various pro- 
cesses, and the laws which protected the workers, who, as far 
as we know, were always women, in the recovery of their wages, 
and any part of their property when pledged. I shall now pro- 
ceed to give some account of the civil dress, worn in courts, at 
state assemblies, public fairs, and great festivals, still treating the 
subject as far as can be in chronological order; and although we 
have not yet exhausted the rich descriptive stories of the Tain 


** v - Bo Chuailgne, we shall now draw upon sources scarcely, if at all, 
laid under contribution hitherto ; and of these sources the tale 
of the Bruighean Daderga, will be the chief. As I have given 
in a former lecture 0881 an ample sketch of the tale of the Bruig- 
hean Daderga, I shall only have occasion to describe it here in 
the briefest manner. 

of connire The reign of king Conaire Mor, or the Great, who assumed 
outlawed e the monarchy of Erinn a century before the Incarnation, was a 
KwotDond p ros p er0 us one to his country, and extended to a period of fifty 
years. His rule of justice was so strict that several lawless and 
discontented persons were forced to go into exile. Among the 
most desperate of these outlaws were the monarch's own foster- 
brothers, the four sons of Dond Dess, an important chieftain of 
Leinster. These refractory youths, with a large party of fol- 
lowers, took to their ships and boats and scoured the coasts of 
Britain and Scotland as well as of their own country. Having 
the latter met on the sea with Ingcel, the son of the king of Britain, who 
wftiuhe for Jiis misdeeds had been likewise banished by his own father, 
faw^/^-et both parties entered into a league, the first fruits of which were 
to plunder the plunder and devastation of a great part of the British coast : 

the coasts; ,, r , . , ,, , ' , r , i> T\ 

after which they were to make a descent on that 01 .brinn. 
During this time the Irish monarch had occasion to go into 
Corca Bhaiscinn, in the present county of Clare, to settle some 
difference which had sprung up between two of the local chiefs. 
On his return, and when approaching his palace at Tara, with 
a very small retinue, he found the whole country before him 
one sheet of fire ; the plunderers having landed in his absence 
and carried fire and sword wherever they went. The king 
accordingly turned away from Tara, taking the old Bothar 
Chualaiid which was the great road that led from Tara, through 
Dublin, into Leinster; and having crossed the LifFey in safety, 
the monarch he repaired to the court of Daderg, which was situated on the 
reach T, river Dothra, or Dodder (at the place now called from it 
SSrtof/to. Bothar na Bruighne, that is, " the road of the court") near 
derg-, Tallaght in the present county of Dublin. This was one of the 
six courts of universal hospitality, which at this time were estab- 
lished in Erinn ; and in this court the monarch was received with 
the honour which his own dignity and munificence procured for 
him everywhere within his dominions. 

The plunderers having satisfied their vengeance, and loaded 
their vessels with spoils, put to sea again, and running along 
the coast in the direction of the hill of Howth, thev perceived 
the monarch and his small but splendid company driving along 

(188) |-g ee l^ ec t ures on the MS. Materials of Ancient Irish History, Lect. 
xii , p. 258.] 


the road towards Dublin. His own foster-brothers, who were *xv. 
among the leaders on board, immediately recognized him, and 
guessing the cause of his journeying in such a manner in such 
a direction, they took proper measures to keep him in view to 
the end of his journey. 

The British outlaw chief, Inqcel, having received information fngeei visits 

, ,, . i * i i i i the court to 

of the monarch s resting place, ran his vessels on shore some- ascertain 
where to the south of the mouth of the Liffey, and undertook 
when he came on shore to go with a small party to Daderg's 
court, and ascertain with his own eyes the feasibility of plun- 
dering it and killing the monarch. On his return to his people, 
they formed a circle round him and the five sons ofDond Dess. 
Ferrogain, one of the five foster-brothers, was well acquainted 
with the monarch, and the functions and names of all the 
officers and official attendants who formed his ordinary com- 
pany at Tara, and who attended him on all his excursions. Fer- 
rogain therefore questioned the chief as to what he had seen 
in Daderg's court. The chief described the different groups gives de- 
which he had seen there, and Ferrogain identified them ; and MS return 
it is this curious dialogue, which constitutes the chief part of there. 1 and r 
the story, and, like the Tain Bo Chuailqne. contains those Ferrogain 

J i r- i i T identifies 

minute accounts of costume, etc., for the sake of which 1 pro- them. 
ceed to make extracts at length. , 

Ferrogain speaks first. 

" I ask thee, O Jngcelf didst thou examine the house well?" 
said Ferrogain. 

" My eye cast a rapid glance into it, and I will accept it as 
my share of the plunder, such as it is", said Ingcel. 

" Well mightest thou do so if thou didst get it", said Fer- 
rogain, " it is the foster-father of us all that is there, the high 
king of Erinn, Conaire, the son of Eterscel"\ 

" I ask what thou sawest in the champion's seat of the house, 
before the king's face on the opposite side?" said Ferrogaint 189 ^ 

" I saw there", said he, " a large dark faced man with bright 
sparkling eyes, beautiful well set teeth, a face narrow below and ^? ce t ^ n d ^ 
broad above, and flaxen fair golden hair, upon him. He wore cormaT 
well-fitting clothes ; a silver Milech or brooch in his cloak, and Conloinilei 
a gold-hilted sword in his hand. He had a shield with golden 
bosses ; and a flesh-piercing spear in his hand. A manly, comely, 
crimson countenance has he, and he is beardless". 

089) [original: CACC uroepcACAfti- ul/i -pi Atro Ajvofi Jiefietin 
Ace6 cotnmAic A Inject? ^op e|\- THAC ecef\rceoit. CACC cm ACCOH- 
tlol/A mo fuil/pe IAIACCUAIJVO -OApcfu ifitro jroctui femmtjA in 

Ant), Acuf j6bAic mi J^ACU AmAit, cige, ^|\1 enec nigi-pn t 

ACA 1f T>eicbip -OA1C A vngceit, Leabhar na h-Uidhre, f. 61. a. col. a.] 




and of his 
nine com- 

of the 
tuath or 

" Pass that man by for the present", said Ferrogain; " and 
after him who didst thou see there ?" (190) 

" I saw there three men behind him, and three men before 
him, and three men close in front of the same man. Thou wouldst 
think that it was one mother and one father they had ; and they 
are all of the same age, the same form, the same beauty, and same 
resemblance. They had long polls of hair ; and green cloaks ; they 
had Tanaslaidhe, or brooches, of gold in their cloaks ; bent shields 
of red bronze upon them ; ribbed spears above them ; a bone- 
hilted sword in the hand of each man of them". (191) 

Then Ferrogain identifies them as Cormac Conloinges, the 
son of Conchobar, king of Ulster, and his nine comrades. 

" 1 saw there another couch", said Ingcel, " and three men 
in it three great brown men, with three round heads of hair, 
of equal length at poll and forehead. They wore three short, 
black cowls, reaching to their elbows, and long hoods to their 
cowls. They had three enormous black swords, and three black 
shields over them; and three black [handled] broad green 
gpears over them [that is, standing by their sides and reaching 
above their heads"]. 

" It is not difficult for me to identify them", said Ferrogain : 
" I am not acquainted in Erinn with three such, unless they 
are those three [champions] from Pictland (Cruithentuath), who 
have passed into exile from their own country, and are now 
among king Conaire's household. Their names are Dubloinges, 
the son of Trebuait, and Trebuait, the son of Lonscae, and Cur- 
nach, the son of Ui Faich. These are the three heroic victory- 
winning champions of Cruitentuaih [Pictland] . (192) 

(190) [original: AcconT>Anc Anx) 
olfe, fen gontriAinec mAn nofc 
nglAn rigteon'OA t<Mf, -oeic gen 
coin, Aige'o focAel fontecAn, l/mt)- 
fotc pnn fonon'OAe fAin. onci 
coin imbi ; rm tec Ainjic ititiA bnuc, 
Acuf ctAToeb oinntnnn 
SCIAC cocoicnoc oin f Ain ; 

concontJA lAif, ofe AitiulAc. 
irmAc m fen fin, Acuf iAn pn CIA ACA 
AITO. Leabhar na h-Uidhre,f. 61. a. 
col. 2.] 

< 191 ^ [original : AccontiAnc AITO 
cniAn fen f jvif AiiiAn, Acuf cniAn 
fnif AnAin, Acuf cniAn An beta mT> 
pn cecnAi. AcAntec if oentnAcliAin 
Acuf oenAcViAin ooib; ice comAefA, 
comcone, comAlti, coftnAite titi. 
CutmonjAe fonAib ; bnuic 1 
inifju uli ; CAnAfl/AToe oin 
bnucA ; cuAnfceic cnen-o 

Af Aib ; 

CAC pn t)ib Ibid., f. 01. a. 
col. 2.] 

(192) [original: Accont>Anc Ant> 
inroAe, Acuf cniAn m-oi cni oon'opn 
tnonA, cni cnvun'obencA fonAib, ice 
comtebnA roncut Acuf ecun. Cni 
genn cocAiVl nubAe impu, coutm, 
ceinnit)i f OCA fon VIA cocl,Aib. Cnt 
c^A-mib -oubA -oimonA "Leo, Actif ceo 
|\A T)ubbocc6ci UAf Aib ; Acuf ceo|vd 
oubfiegA tecAnjlAff A UAff Aib. . . 
1f Anx)fA xiAnif A A f AtriAil. riif fe- 
CAf.f A m he-nm mcniAnpn, mAnitjli^ 
in cniAn iicuc t)i CnuicencuAic, -00 
T>e6cACAn f ontongAif Af A cin, con-oA 
pt hi cej;LAc CnotiAine. 1ce AnAn- 
niAiTo, "Oubtomjef UIAC CnebuAic, 
ACAf CnebuAic THAC 61 totif cAe, Acwf 
CunnAc iriAc Hi t^Aic. Cni LAIC ACA- 
oec gAibce gAif cet) IA CnuicencuAic 
mcniAnpn. Ibid, f. 61. b. col. 1.] 


" I saw there", said Ingcel, " a couch and nine persons upon 
it ; they had fair yellow hair, and were like in beauty ; they wore of the nine 
speckled, glossy cloaks, and had nine ornamented quadrangular players; 
caps (Tennei) over them. The emblazonment which is upon 
these quadrangular caps would be sufficient light for the royal 
house. These are nine pipe-players who came from the fairy hills 
of Bregia to Conaire to do him honour. Their names are Bind, 
JRobind, Riarbind, Sibe, Dibe, Deichrind, Umal, Cumal, Ciall- 
glind. They are the best pipe players in the whole world". (193) 
These nine names, I may observe, are symbolical of the nine per- 
fections or highest performances of music, but, with the excep- 
tion of the first and second names, they are now unintelligible. 
The first two names, Bind and JRobind, that is, sweet and more 
sweet, or melodious and more melodious, are still living words. (194) 

" I saw there", said Ingcel, " a couch with one man on it. of ^' 
He had coarse hair, so coarse that if a sack of wild apples were steward*; 6 
emptied upon his head, not an apple of them would fall to the 
ground, but each apple would stick upon his hair. He wore his 
great woollen cloak around him in the house. " Every discus- 
sion that arises in the house about seat or bed", .said Ingcel, " is 
submitted to his decision. If a needle dropped in the house, its 
fall would be heard when he speaks. A huge black tree or mast 
stands over him ; it is like the shaft of a mill with its cogs and 
wheel and axle. That man", said Ferrogain, " is Tuidle of 
Ulster, house-steward to [king] Conaire. He is a man", conti- 
nues Ferrogain, " whose decisions are not to be impugned. He 
is the man that supplies seat, and bed, and food, to every one. It 
is his household staff (or wand) that stands above him". (19i) 

" I saw another couch there", said Ingcel, " and three persons of obaii, 
upon it. Three soft youths with three Sirechdai [or silken] cloaks ?"rpV? nd 
upon them, and three brooches (Bretnassa) of gold in their cloaks. ^sot r ' 

[original: Accon'OApc AITO inroAi ACAf o6nj?e]MHci. ItlAeljjAjvb Conai 
Acu-p nonbup UTOI ; tnongAe yoppii-oi, CIA jx>cej\cA IMIAC pAt)- or ' 

prco buTM foj\Aib,ice cotnAll/i tnte ; ubuVl jx>f\ ArnAit, tn -podpice-o ubutt 

-oib O\t< 

bpec tijA impu, Actif noi -oib fO]\t<vp, A6c nogiugtA'o CAC 

cmtie cetAi\66i]\e CUTHCACCAI UAfAib. ubuti ^o|\ A pnnA. Ab|\AC foL6triA^ 

t)A te6|\ rmttre ifi"Wi5 615 A cum- cA|\if ifincig. CAC min|\erAin bi^ 

CAC fit fofvf nA citimb cecA]\66|\ib 1-pn cng iTnfui i oiti no tigi 1-pn Af\eij\ 

liipn. . . Tlonbuf cuflenriAC inrin CIAJJAIC ti. t)o foecfA-o -pnACAC 

T)O]\OACCACA^ coConnAi|\e A]\ A A1|\- ifincig, ^ocecl/AfCAi A contn mcAn 

rceUwb Apt) bp^g 1ceAnAnniAn i o tAb|\Ar 060^. 'Otibci\Aii'oin6|\uAro ; 

DIITO, flobint}, ftiA|\biiro. Sibe, T3ibe, coftnAil, -p]M mot mutin-o cotiAfdA- 

t3eic]\irix), tlmAt, CtttnAt, CiAtLgtmt). cAib ACA-p A cetTOfuyij; Acu'p Ai|Mn- 

1ce cuftenriAij ACA t)ec -pit ipn -oo- cmt). . . . CtiTote UtA'6 
mon. Leabhar nah-Uidhre,i.6l. 

col. 2.] ceti AU|\cuAf ACC A bjAeic iiropn pn 

< 194 ) [See postea, the lectures on 1fep conmc fuit>e, Acuf ti 
music.] biAT) -oo 6Ac. 1fi Ato^g 

(i> [original : AcdoiroAixc Ant> pnt t'tAfA. Ibid., i. 61. b. col. 2.] 


xxv - They had three yellow golden heads of hair. When anger seizes 
upon them, their golden-yellow hair reaches to the points of their 
shoulder blades. When they raise their eyes, the hair rises up, so 
that it descends no lower than the tips of their ears. It is more 
curled than the forehead of a bleating ram (retha copad). A 
golden shield and a candle of a royal house was over each of them. 
Every one in the house admires their voice, their deeds, and 
their words. Continue thy identifications, O Ferrogairi". Fer- 
rogain now shed tears until his cloak in front was wet, and no 
voice was heard from his head until a third part of the night was 
past. " Alas !" said Ferrogain, " then, I have good cause for 
what I do ; these are Oball, and Oblini, and Coirpri Findmor 
[that is, the fair and tall], the three sons of the king of Erinn". U96) 
of the cham- " I saw there a couch", said Ingcel, " and three men in it; 
5/a"W three large brown men, having three large brown beards. Long 
T Muinre- ^ick legs had they : 'thicker than the body of a man was every 
mor, and limb of theirs. They had three brown curled heads of hair 
majestically upon them. They wore red-spotted white kilts. 
Three black shields with devices of gold, and three flesh-piercing 
spears, hang above them; and each of them has a bone-hilted 
sword". These were Mai Mac Telbaind, Muinremor Mac Gerr- 
cind, and Birderg Mac Ruain, three regal stems, three heroes 
of valour, three victory winning champions of Erinn. (w) 

Then follows a strange description indeed. 

of the great " I saw there on an ornamented couch", said Ingcel, " the 

tampion most beautiful man among the champions of Erinn. He had 

c^rnach & splendid crimson cloak upon him. One of his cheeks was 

whiter than snow. Whiter and more red-tinged than the fox- 

glove was the other cheek. One of his eyes was bluer than the 

violet ; and the other blacker than the back of a cockchafer. As 

d96) [original : Accont>A]\c An-o ObAll, ACAf Oblim, ACAf C6ir\p|\i 

imx>Ae Acur c)MA]\ inn, .1. CJM 1?im>iri6pciM rmcrog he-perm uipm 

moecoclAij; ACtif CJM b^tnc pr\ec- Leabhar na h-Uidhre, f. 62. a. col. 2] 
DAI irnpu, ceor\A bj\ecnArrA OJTOAI (197 -> [original : AccotroAnc AIIT> 

intiA rnbr\AccAib. Ceor\A tnongA inroAe ACAT- cjMAp irroi ; ctMtton-ofiix 

opbuTii for\Aib. 1ncAn folonsAC A m6]\A, cr\i oon'o bepcA -po^Aib. 

bAi]\bciti CAC1M01M5 in mong opbu- "btun-o coVbcAe pemnAe leo: r\emi- 

01 T>6ib cob^Aine A mnroAe. 1ti 6ip met)on fir\ CAC o&\A, oib. C^\1 

conocbAC A^po'pc conocAib in -oont) fmlc CA^A -po^-pAib co|\e- 

conriAd ii*tiu I\IITO A nuAe. tno^cint). CeopA termA bpecxjepgA 

CAfpci|\ t\ece copAX>. Coic r\oc 6i]\ irnpti. C|\1 ouibfc&ic cocuAg mitib 

ACAT- cAin-oet ^igcije UAV- CACAO. o^r\, ACAr ceo|\A ftegA coici\tn i oni 

n AC oum pi ipn dg A|\ cAceip guc, tJAr-Aib ; ACA^ cLMiro -oec CAd pr* x>ib. 

ACAf jnim, ACAr bpeicip. SAinAit . . . triAl mAc CelbAirro ACAT- tnuin- 

IAG A -p 1 |\|\05Ain. tloci -p e r o 5 Ain t\eTnof\ HIAC 5e|\i\ciiTo ACA^ Di|\-oer\5 

comboft-iuc A b^Ac fop A beLvib, TMAC tlUAin, c|\i ^Mg'OAninAe, cr\i IAIC 

ACAf ni VI^CA^ pic AfTAcnTo co c^i- gAite, CJM IAIC ACA^oe lApcu'L 5*rci'o 

AM riA VIAIOCL A becu ! or T?er- 111 Viertenn. Ibid , f. 62. b. col. 1.] 
1-poeicbirv "OAm ; AtToogmti, 


large as a reaping basket is the bushy head of golden hair which *xy. 
is upon him. It touches the lower tips of his two shoulder blades. 
It is more curled than the forehead of a bleating ram". (198) 

This was the celebrated ConaU Cearnach, one of the great 
champions of the Royal Branch' of Ulster. 

" I saw there a couch", said Ingcel, " and its ornamentation of the 
was more splendid than all the other couches of the court. It <mn*r 
is curtained around with silver cloth, and the couch itself is 3for; 
richly ornamented. I saw three persons on it. The outside 
two of them were fair both of hair and eyebrows, and [their skin 
was] whiter than snow. Upon the cheeks of each was a beauti- 
ful ruddiness. Between them in the middle [sat] a noble cham- 
pion. He has the ardour and the action of a sovereign, and the 
wisdom of a historian. The cloak which I saw upon him can be 
likened only to the mist of a May morning. A different colour 
and complexion are seen upon it each moment ; more splendid 
than the other is each hue. I saw in the cloak in front of 
him a wheel brooch of gold that reaches from his chin to his 
waist. Like unto the sheen of burnished gold is the colour 
of his hair. Of all the [human] forms of the world that I have 
seen, his is the most splendid. I saw his gold-hilted sword laid 
down near him. There was the breadth of a man's hand of the 
sword exposed out of the scabbard : From that hand's breadth 
the man who sits at the far end of the house could see even the 
smallest object by the light of that sword. More melodious is 
the melodious sound of that sword, than the melodious sounds 
of the golden pipes which play music in the royal house". (199) 

And here follows a poem by Ingcel containing a minute des- 
cription, so minute that I cannot do better than give it here at 

(we) [original: Accon-oApc 411-0 m 6clAd ecopno imme-oon. "Optic ACAp 
un-oAe cumcAccAe, pep ApcAmetn gnim p\tnpec Uxip, ACAp comAipti 
oo bAe6Aib he-perm. OpAcc cApcop- pendAt). t)pAc Accont>Apc imbi ip 
cpA imbi. 5iLicip pneccAe mt>ALA- cubep ACApceo cecAttiAin. 1pAinT>Ac 
5puAi-o -oo. " -oepgicip pion An ACAp ecopc cAcAhtiAipi cA-obAcpAip; 
5PUA1-O riAile. 1p glApi-oipt bujjA in- Ail/oiu CAC -OAC AlAiVm. Accon-oApc 
OA^A puil; ip -oubicip -opium nx>Ai1 pot noip ipin bpuc Ap A belxvib A-o- 
in cptnl Aile. tYleic cliAb btiAtiA COITIAIC tiApme6 coAitnVitro. 1f cop- 
in -oopbiti p^n-o popopt>A pi pAip. mAil ppictn-otig n6ip poptopcci -OA6 
"benAi-o bpAim A-OAim-OAe. 1p CAppi- ApuVlc. t)ineoc Accon-OAipc -oe -oet^ 
oip nete coppA-o. na bAib befeA ipi -oelb Ap At-oem -oib. 
h-Uidhre, f. 62. b. coL 2.] Accon-oApc A clAin-o nopt>uipn occo 

(199) [original: Accon-OApc Ant> cip. ftoboi Aipcipl^ime -om ctAin-o 

irnt)Ae ACAp bACAitniu AcomfeAd ot- |rpi cpttAiLL AnedcAip : AnAipfrp LA- 

OACA im-OA-oA m cip otdenA. S6oV mipn rep nobfo m Aipciup m cigi 

bpAcnAip5-oi-oiimpe, ACApcumcAige dp- c6bAt> ppigic ppi popcA-o in 

ipin-oim-OAe. Accont)ApccpiApninni. clAin-o. 1pbmm bm-opogposo-o in 

1n t>iAp imeicnAnAc -oib pnnA -oib ctAin-o, ol-oAp bm-opo^pA nA cwp- 

UtiAib conAroicAib ACAP A bpACAib, len-o n6j\-OAe rodAtiAc ceol ipn-o 

ACApiC5iLicippne6cAe. Tlu-oiu-o p6A' pi^cig- ibid., f. 62. b. col. 2.] 
e. tn6ec 


xxv - full length. It mentions almost every article of dress or orna- 
of the ment in which a painter should pourtray an Irish king: (20o; 

monarch r .. T ,, 4,, . , . A - 

Conaire _ 1 Saw a tall lllustl'lOUS chlCI 

Starting forth upon the lovely earth, 

Full -waxing in the springtide of dazzling beauty, 

Of features gentle, yet of proportions bold. 
" I saw a renowned placid king, 

His legitimate place rightfully occupying, 

From the threshold even to the wall, 

For his couch. 
" I saw his two blueish-white cheeks, 

Dazzling white, and like unto the dawn 

Upon the stainless colour of snow. 

Two sparkling black pupils 

In dark blue eyes glancing, 

Under an arbour of chafer-black eyelashes. 
" I saw his bright lordly diadem, 

With its regal splendour, 

Radiating its lofty refulgence 

Upon his illustrious face. 
" I saw the splendid Ardroth 

Encircling his head, enwreathing 

With his hair its brightness, 

The sheen of gold most brilliant, 

Above his curling yellow locks. 
" I saw his many-hued red cloak of lustrous silk, 

With its gorgeous ornamentation of precious gold be* 
spangled upon its surface, 

With its flowing capes dexterously embroidered. 
" I saw in it a great large brooch, 

The long pin was of pure gold ; 

(oo) [original : 

l\6mife fvoopcAe -peccfuic, & S^T cowoecAe. 

CAIN cjuic ciAVLACAfv. Acciu AJVOJ\OC 
Acciu cl/oc|Mj cofco-oA6, irnmAcetro, co 

coctigAib innAce]\c ^Ain-o doip, comt) 

comcedbtn-o 6 cjVAin-o CO^AIS, ^ofTOAc H 

|ro A ftn-oi. -pi UA]"A 

Acciu AiroAngiMiAi-o ngo^mgel^A, Ac6iu Ab|VAc ne|\g mt'OACAd n6ice6 

com-ofTM-pAtnun ptro ptnned'OAe ppic, 

fU|\ -OAC I'oep'OAc; pieccAi'oe. A^ x>eibio]\ troiniAiffe 

CM'oibfuitib ^elt s^AffAib 5"LAtinu Ati]\'o6ii\c f^ecciff e - 

A t\ofc po bugA'6 cemmu Acuinf- Ait betro AUXCUAIC rro 

cti, Acdiu oelg riAiro otl/A-obol/, 

cAincocti-o icei\c1ec6oi\ iroub -oe6|\ tuti inclxM^e ; 
nt>6etAb|\AC. tAfl"Ait) A^ tuc tAtie'pci, 

Amint) fitro ^ACA, IxMne A CUAIJVO cot\co|\5etnniA6 


Bright shining like a full-moon x 

Was its ring, all around, a crimson gemmed circlet of the 

Of round sparkling pebbles, Swoir 

Filling the fine front of his noble breast 

Atwixt his well proportioned fair shoulders. 
*' I saw his splendid linen kilt, 

With its striped silken borders, 

A face -reflecting mirror of various hues, 

The coveted of the eyes of many, 

Embracing his noble neck enriching its beauty. 

An embroidery of gold upon the lustrous silk 

[Extended] from his bosom to his noble knees. (201) 
u I saw his long gold-hilted sword, 

In its scabbard of bright silver, 

Which through shields on champions cuts, 

Until it reaches the illustrious blood. 
" I saw his resplendent beautiful shield, 

That towers above innumerable troops, 

Inlaid with sparkling gold 

On its polished rim of white metal, 

Luminous like a glowing torch. 
" A truncheon of gold, long as a king's arm, 

Was near him on his right, 

Which when grasped by the proud chief, 

Summons forth, of hardy curly heroes, 

Three hundred fighting champions 

Around the victory-winning kingly chief, 

And vultures from their eyries. 

It is a court, a woful house I saw.] 

" The noble warrior was asleep, with his legs upon the lap 
of one of the men, and his head in the lap of the other. He 

cAej\A c^\eci|\ conrjvAicce, Acciu AfdAc necj\occ n<vi tetrad, 
conjAib A]voei6 troen'otnAifre put tiAfononjAib -oimef, 

ecep A-OA Jet, gUAl^irro coij\. c^ecujx oio^ oibted 

Atenie tig-oAe lim-oe, Afco^\ fceo bit bAn b^uc, 

bAti-o pjxedcAfi, Oj\opiAi tic tuAcec. 

o -oeiib iVoACAig, CU^M -oio]\ inctAij^i tAtti jug, 


o A-obixun-o coujxjttitie. c^vi CCAX) co 

boiob hi tnb^om 
A|\ 6ei]\i\[r\]? coic^oc, if b^T)in bp6nci5 ACCIU. 

COtll-O n\1Cl\UA1t> t1AU]VOA1pC MAIf- ACC1U ^t&li t1A]\X> nAIJXeg'OAe. 

ci^\. Leabhar na h-Uidhre, f. 63. a. col. 1.] 

(2oi) [This passage clearly proves that the Leinidh was a kilt or petticoat 

reaching to the knees. See on this subject Lect. XXIII., ante, vol. ii. p. 106.] 



of the six 


awoke afterwards out of his sleep, stood up, and spake these 
words : 

" I have dreamed of danger-crowding phantoms, 
A host of creeping treacherous enemies, 
A combat of men upon the [river] Dothra; 
And early and alone 
The king of Teamair was killed". (202) 

" Identify for us, O Ferrogain, who it was that spoke that 
lay", said Ingcel. 

" I do know his like", said Ferrogain; " it was not a sight 
without a king [thou sawest] indeed, it is the king most noble, 
most dignified, comely, and most powerful that has come of the 
whole world; the most polished, smooth, and precise that has 
ever appeared ; namely, Conaire M6r, the son of Eterscel; it is 
he that was there, the high king of all Erinn". (203) 

I believe it would be difficult to find in ancient poetry any- 
thing nobler or more beautiful than this vivid picture of a 
chivalrous king of the heroic ages in Erinn. 

The tale continues: 

" I saw there six men in front of the same couch, with fair- 
yellow hair. They wore green cloaks around them with 
brooches of red bronze fastening their cloaks ; their faces were 
half red, half white, like Conall Cearnaclis. Each man of them 
is practised to throw his cloak around another quicker than a 
wheel in a cascade, and it is doubtful whether thy eye could 
follow them. These", said Ferrogain, " are the six cupbearers 
of the king of Teamair, namely, Uan, Broen, and Banna [that is, 
froth, drop, and stream], Delt, and Drucht, and Dathen? ^ 

" I saw there", continued Ingcel, " a large champion in front 
f tne same couch, in the middle of the house. The blemish 
o f baldness was upon him. Whiter than the cotton of the 

(202) [original: Tloboi in 
m6ec6clAC niAcoc'Lti'o, ACAf ACOffA 

cG uroAtAfif., ACAf A ceiTO inucc 
Afv&ile. 'Oof.ivif Aij; lAjuim Aff A 

6ocLut>, ACAf ACfVAl\ACC, ACAf -J\O- 

"Oomm A^fAf minet) immex> 
en ' 

inoicro o]\- 
CAe. Leabkar na h-Uidhre, f. 

63. a. col. 2.] 

(203) [original: SAtnAit tec A i]\- 
^\OfjAin ciAj\ocACAiti in tATOpn. Tim. 
OAinf A A fAmAit fof 1P^Pl^o5Airi ; MI 
e^ce cenpg 6n inm, ife f i AfAHO]\Ai'6 
[ATH^VA], ACAf Af of.'oni'oem, ACAf Af 
, ACAf AfcumAdcoin CATIIC in 

ootnon tfli ; ifh6f.i Af.btAcetri, ACAf 
Af -minem, ACAf Af bect>A -DO OAtiic, 
.1. ConAif.e rnof. m AC ecepf ceoit ; if 6 
fit AITO AJVO^M Vie^enn uti. Ibid., f. 

63. a. COL 2.] 

( 204 ^ [original : ACCOITOA^ c an-o 
f efpuj\ A^ belxvib TIA mnroA'D c6cnA, 
mongA-pin'obu'oi -po]\Aib. "bjunc uAtn- 
T)! impu, TjeiLg c|\et)A m AU|\fio- 
cti-o Ambjuuc; ice [tefc oep^A] te6 
jAby\A AtnAit diotiAfL Ce]\tiAd. fo- 
ceijvo CA6 r.ej\ AbjVAc itnAHAite, ACAJ* 

in-OA A^cec -oo fuit . . . HIM. 
T)ATnfA on. S6 -oAteniAin ytit Cem- 
^A[cn] itifin, .1. UAn, ACAf O]\6en, 
ACAf DAnnA, "Oetc ACAf "Of-ucc ACAf 
X)Acen. Ibid., f. 63. b. col. 2.] 


mountains (205) is every hair that grows upon his head. He had *xv. 
ear-clasps of gold in his ears ; and a speckled white cloak upon 
him. He had nine swords in his hand, and nine silvery shields, 
and nine balls of gold. He throws every one of them up [into 
the air], and none of them fall to the ground, and there is but 
one of them at the time upon his palm ; and like the buzzing 
of bees on a beautiful day, was the motion of each passing the 
other". " Yes", said Ferrogain, " I know him ; he is Tul- 
chinne, the royal druid of the king of Teamair; he is Conaire's 
juggler: a man of great powers is that man". (206) 

" I saw three men in the east side of the house", said Ingcel, of the three 
" with three black tufts of hair. They wore three green frocks sw 
upon them, and three black kilts [plaids or shawls?] wrapped 
around them. Three forked spears stood above them by the 
side of the wall. Who were these, Ferrogain 9 They are the 
king's three chief swine herds, Dubh, Dond, and Dorcha", 
answered Ferrogain. iw) 

Ingcel then describes the dress of the king's head charioteers. 
As this description is important in connection with the gold or- 
naments worn on the head, I shall reserve it for a future lec- 
ture/ 10 * 

" I saw another couch", said Ingcel, " eight swordsmen on it, of Cautcrach 
and a young champion between them. He had black hair, and ' 
stammers in his speech. All in the court listen to his counsel. 
The most beautiful of men is he. He wore a shirt, and a white 
and red cloak, and a silver brooch in his cloak. Ferrogain 
said this was Causcrach Mend Macha, [that is stammering Caus- 
crach of Emania] , the son of Conchobar [king of Ulster] , who 
is in hostageship with the king [Conatre], and his guards are 
the eight swordsmen around him". (209) 

(208) [Canach sleibe, the Eriophomm polystachion or common Cotton Grass. 
The name no doubt was applied also to Eriophorum vaginatum, or Haretail 
Cotton Grass, which in Ireland is a much rarer species than the Eriophorum 

(ioe) [original: AccorcoAfc AIVO tn6if inn fen fin. Leabhar na h- Ui- 
bonf 6ctAe6 A]\ betxub nAiwoAe dhre, f. 63. b. col. 2.] 
cecnAe, f of U\n m cige. A6if miiLe ( I07 > [original: Accon'OAfc cfiAf. 
f-Aif. mmtlft CATIAC fleibe c<\6 itiAiffciun in cige, cfi -oubbencAe 
pnnA AfAf cfiAnA 6eiro. tlnAfcA f.onAib. Cni -po^ci UAni'oi impn, 
6i]\ IITIAO ; b)\Ac bpecLig-oA imbi. C]\1 oublennA CAI^ fin. CT\I gAbuL- 
ix. ctAinT) mA tAitn, ACAf tioi fc6it gid ^AfAib Viicoib f.pAije'o. . . . 
Aingwoi, ACAf .ix. nubtA 6in. fo- CiAfuc A ^nixogAin. tlm. Ot 1Pen- 
6eif.t> ced A1 oib inA^'OAe, ACAf ni f>orAiti, cf.1 tnuccAiT)! m-onig pn, 
iuic ni "oib fO|\\,Ai\, ACAf ni bi ACC T)UD ACAf Dorro ACAf tJofidA. Ibid., 
oen T>ib f 0^ Aooif ; ACAf if cumniA f. 64. a.] 

ACAf cimtif.e6c bee iLL6 Anti cA6Ae ( 208 > Postea, Lecture xxvii., vol. ii. 
rec AfAite fUAf. .... Tim. p. 183. 

innf A Af AmAit of. f-effogAin CAut- ( 209 > [original : -Accon-OAf. c im- 
cinne fig -ofuc fig Cemf Ad, cief- TJAI nAili, odcuf. ctAi'obed mci, ACAf 
fAmnAC diotiAife mfin : fef COWAIC maetoclaed ecof f o. tTlAel-oub fAif, 
VOL. II. 10 


xxv - We have next a description of the dress of apprentice chariot 

drivers, which I shall also reserve for a future lecture. (210) 
of the Saxon " I saw", said Ingcel, " in the north side of the house nine men, 
their com" with nine yellow heads of hair, wearing nine shirts upon them, 
pamons; an( j n ' ne cr i mson kilts around them, and without brooches in 
the cloaks. Nine broad spears and nine curved red shields 
hung over them. " I know them, said he ; " they are Osalt and 
his two companions ; Osbrit the long-handed and his two com- 
panions ; and Lindas and his two companions. These are three 
Saxon royal princes, who abide with the monarch"/ 210 
of the king's " I saw three men more", said Ingcel; " the three have bald 
ers; heads upon them; they wear shirts and cloaks wrapped around 
them ; and a whip (or scourge) is in the hand of each. I know 
them", said he, " they are JEchdruim, Echruid, Ecliruathar, 
the horse-back boys [or outriders of horse expeditions]. They 
are the king's three riders, that is, his three esquires (RitaffJ*** 
of .the " I saw three others on the couch along with them", said Ing- 

j k udges* hree cg l- " -A- comely man whose head was shorn was the first, and 
two young men along with him with long hair upon them. 
They wore three kilts of mixed colours, with a silver brooch in 
the cloak of each of them. Three swords hung over them at 
the wall. I know them", said he, " they are Fergus Ferde, and 
Ferfordae, and Domaine Mossud, the king's three judges". (213) 
of the "I saw nine others in front", said Ingcel, " with nine bushy 

harpers 6 curling heads of hair, nine light blue floating cloaks upon them, 
and nine brooches of gold in them. Nine crystal rings upon 
their hands ; a thumbring of gold upon the thumb of each of 
them ; ear clasps of gold upon the ears of each ; a torque of silver 
around the neck of each. Nine shields with golden emblazon- 
ments over them on the wall. Nine wands of white silver 
were in their hands. I know them", said he, " they are the 

ACAf betnAjronmen'o teifp- ConcuA- -OAdoniAtcA; Ofbnic t&mpocA ACAf 

fee Aep MA bntmni till Acorroetj;. A TjA dotnAtcA ; l/iiTOAf ACAf A X)A 

AiVoeni -01 OAinib h&. CAitnp imbi, coniAl,CA. Cni nigxioirmA -oo SAXAn- 

ACAf bnAc geUoenj;, eo Ainpc mtiA MAib fin pteAt) ocon-onig Ibid., f. 

bfioc tlo Fecuj\r A fin ot ^eiA^o^An, 64.a ] 

.1. CufcpAi'6 metro tTlACA tnAc Con ( su > [original: Accon p OA|\c cniAn 

dobAin -pit hinjpAtnAi tAf m ^15. nAiLi, CO^A mAetA fonAib ; cni 

AcomecAitJi mm m COCCA|\ pbimmi. tenci impu, ACA^ cni bnoic ni fx>f\- 

Leabhar na h-Uidhre, f. 64. a.] cepul, ; fnAij;eVl itiAtn CAdAe. tluf- 

(*io) [Posted, Lecture xxvii., vol. ii., ^recAnfAfin ot^e, .1. ed-o^uim, ed^MU-o, 

p. 183.] CdnuAtAn, cni niAncAij in-onig pn, .1. 

(') [original : ACCOM-OATVC ipnt) A cni nicini Ibid., f. 64. a.] 

ACUAIO T)in rig nonbun, noi ( 213 ^ [original: Accont)Anc cni An 

ronbui-ei ironAib, noi cAimp nAil,i ipn -oinroAi ocAib. |Ten cAin 

impu, noitennAe concnAiT>i no^Ab A mAetA-o Vn cecAt), xnociAig 

cenroetgAe mtjib. tloi niA- Wif co mon5*ib jronAib. CeonA 

, noi cnomfceit t>frin5 tiAfAib. LentJA ctmiA^c'OAi impu, e6 Anpc 

Ruffec*niAin oL ^e, .1. OfAlc ACA^ A imbnoc cAe6 nAixub. Cni 5Arcit> 


king's nine harpers, namely, Side and Dide, Dnlothe and Deich- * * y 
rinni Caumul, and Cellgen, 01 and Olene, and OlchoF .<"** 

"I saw three more on the couch", said Ingcel, " wearing f the king's 
shirts of full length ; carrying quadrangular shields in their giers ; JU8 ' 
hands, with bosses of gold upon them, and having with them 
balls of silver, and slender long darts. I know them", said he, 
" they are Cless and Clessine and Clessamunn, the king's three 
ordinary jugglers". (21i) 

" I saw three men cooking", continued Ingcel, " dressed in of the three 
long aprons (Berrbroca) ; a fair gray-haired man, and two youths 
along with him". " I know them", said Ferrogain; " they are 
the king's three chief cooks, namely, the Dagdae, and his two ap- 
prentices, Seig and Segdae, the two sonsof/fo/rof the one spit". (216) 

Inqeel next describes the dress of the king's three poets, of the kin s' s 

i i -i Tin , i -i-i -i "M three poets; 

which to avoid repetition 1 shall omit here, but the reader will 
find it in a future lecture. (217) 

" I saw there", said Ingcel, " two young warriors standing of the king's 
over the king, bearing two bent shields and having two great ^nsT" 
swords. They had red kilts, and brooches of bright silver in 
their cloaks. They", [said Ferrogain,"] " are Bun and Meccun, 
the king's two wardens, the two sons of Maffir Thuili"? 1 

" I saw", said Ingcel, " nine men upon a couch there in front of the king's 
of the same king's couch. They had fair-yellow hair ; they wore men ; eua 
aprons (Berrbroca), and little speckled mantles, and carried pro- 
tecting shields. Each of them had an ivory-hilted sword in his 
hand, and every man who attempts to enter the house, they 

. . TltifferA|\- ACAf tjbtAAif<5ic, 

fot> olfe, repguf -pep-De, fepfOtvoAe, fi ten. noffecuf,fA ob fe Cleff, 

ACAf "OomAme rnofftro, cf.ibf.i6e- ACAf Cl^efp 110 * ACAf CteffAtnunn, 

triAin itrorwc fin Leabharna h-Ui- CTM clerrAtnnAir itronicpn. Ibid.,f. 

d/ire, f. 64. b.J 64 b.] 

(2i) or iginal: AcfiotroA^c nonbup ( 216 > ^original: Acion-oA^c C|\1A|\ 

f|\i AtiAip, noi mongA cpAe oc -o^tiAm putAdcA itnbe|\i\bj\6cAib 

cAffA fOT\]\Aib, .ix tnb]Aoic incbAifpb; fe^x pn-otiAu, ACAf t)i 

A tuAfcAig im^u, ix rroetce ocLAig MA ^AH^A-O. ftuffecu^f A fin 

itiAmb|\ACAib. ix pAitge gtAnA oL p e ^5'An ; cpi pTMtnpiLACCO|\e 

Afc 6ip imop-oAin 11^0^15 pn, .1 in t3AgioAe, ACAf A-OA 

u6 noi^ itii66Aft <pp> 'OAtcAe, .1. Seig, ACA^ Seg^Ae, -OA 

mumce Ait\cic unbtXAgAic CAdAe. WAC ftofii\ oenbe^o Ibid., f. 64. b.] 
13C mbuiLc contndAib opt)Aib UAfib ( 2I7 ) Postea, Lecture xxvii., vol. ii., 

ix. pte^cA jnn<oAj\cic itiA p. 183.1 

ftofecopfA fin ol/fe. not < SI8) [original: Accor-oAfvc An-o t>A 

in-of.15 mt>pn, Sice ACAf 6ctAe6 mnAfeffom of cmt) iwopir, 

X)utoce Acuf "Oei6f.inni, OAcnomfdACACAf OAben'o ctAit>iub 

CAumul, ACAf CetLgen, Ot ACAf niA|\A occo. tennA -oepcA itnpu, 

Ol/ene, ACAf Ol,6oi Ibid., f. 6t. b.] weici fin-OAif-jn; if HA bf.ACAib. 

(*i6) [original: Accont>Af.c cf-iAf. "bun ACAf tTleccun pn olfe oe &o- 

tiAiVe ifin i oAif.i i oi, c6onA cAirtip inecAib m f.ig ifin, TJA niAc 

nifo-oicib impu ; fciAfcA cetf.ocAif.1 cViuiib Ibid., f. 65. a. col. l.J 
inA tAWAib, coceLAib oin fOf.Aib, 

10 B 


threaten to strike with the swords, and no person dares ap- 
proach the couch without their leave. I know them", said 
Ferrogain, " they are ' the three Early Mornings' of Meath ; 
the three symbols of victory of Bregia; the three pillars of 
Mount Fuad. These are the king's nine guardsmen", said 

of the king's " I saw another couch there", said Ingcel, " and two men on 
attendants; it, bold, gross and stout-firm. They wore aprons {Berrbroca); 
and their complexions were dark-brown. They had hair short 
at their polls, and high upon their foreheads. As swift as a 
waterwheel do they run past each other. The one to the [king's] 
couch, the other to the fire. I know them", said Ferrogain, 
" they are Nia and Bruthni, [king] Conaire's two table atten- 
dants"/ 22 * 

of the " I saw", said Ingcel, " a couch, the nearest to [king] Conaire, 

b- and on it three prime champions. They wore black-blue kilts. 
Every limb of theirs was thicker than the body of a man. They 
carried black, huge swords, each of them longer than the sword 
(or lath) of a weaver's beam ; they would cut a hair upon water ; 
and the middle-man of them had a great spear in his hand. 
These were three victory- winning, valiant champions of Erinn, 
namely Sencha the beautiful son of Ailill, and Dubthach Dael 
Uladh, and Goibniu the son of Lurgnech ; and the spear 
of Celtchair Mac Uithidir, which was in the battle of Magh 
Tuireadh, was in the hand of Dubthach Dael Uladh".^ Celt- 
chair Mac Uithidir was a famous Ulster champion whose 
residence was Dun Cheltchair, now Downpatrick, in the county 
of Down. His famous spear here alluded to was traced up to 
the battle of the second or northern Magh Tuireadh. The 

(i9i [original : Ac6ont>Anc nonbun ectin. IcluAfr-oin noc buALe cedcAn 

in nn-DAe ATTO A|\ b6l/Aib TIA itntxvi x>e fedAnAite. IrroAtAViAi ooiro im- 

[hurroAe] cecnAe ttlonijAefin'obu'oi OAI, AtAite-oonceni-o. . . tlm. OAtrifA 

funoib, benpbnoeA impu ; ACAf coc- tliA ACA^b^ucm -o A ^of^mefeCVi on- 

line bpeccA, ACA^ ^c^ic b6imnecA Aipe inpn. Ibid., f. 65. a. col. 1.] 

pu|\Aib. CtAirfo t>ec ilViim CA& pfv lM1 ) [original: AccorroAfvc miDAe 

oib, ACAf CA6 |re^ TJO tAec irAcec, Af nefAtn t>o ClionAii\e, CJM p|MtniAi6 

potoimecAp Ab&itn coftiA ctAint), inn. tenriA-oubglAffAirnpu. tletm- 

nit,omecA|\ ne6 'ou'L oorco inroAe Ci]\ rtietjon -p|\ cAcbAtt, t>ib. C]\1 

cen AipiAf Afic t)6ib. . . nm. OomfA ctAint) roubA oim6|\A teo, pAinp 

on C^M tno6 tnAcmj; tTli-oi ; CJM bA- ctAirco ngAfVTntiAe cAdAe ; tioTjiTDtAf- 

getcAig O^e^; c|\i fofcAi^ Sl/ebe CAif pntiAe fOfwirciu; tAg^n moi\iL- 

pUAic. Tlonbon comecAit>e HTO]\i5 UAIITI itro-pn metjdtiAig . . Ct\i tAi6 

fin Leabhar na h-Uidhre, f. 65. a. ACAtied 5*1 bee 5Aif c6t> m he^enn, .1. 

col. 1.] SendAinAC AtAin-oAibttA,ACAf "Oub- 

(230) [original : Accont>Anc imt)Ae CAC T)6eL tlUvo, ACAf Joibnent) mAC 

nAile nAnt), ACA^ tdAr IITOI ic6 "OAm tungmg ; ACA-J* in'ol/um ChetcdAin, 

OAbdA bAlc^emnA DennbnocA im- mAC tlcTOifv foi\|Mdc TIICAC tTlAigi 

pupcegonm-oonnAin'opn. CuLtnon- Cunet>, iffi fil.itl.Aini "Ouibfeec X)Ail. 

gA cumni fonAib, ic6 AU|\A|VOA fon tJl/A*. Ibid., f. 65. b. col. 2.] 


description of it in the tract relating to that battle is highly **T. 

" I saw another couch there", said Ingcel, " and one man on it of Daderq 
with two gilles (or pages) in front of him ; one fair, the other w 
black-haired. The champion himself had red hair, and had a 
red cloak near him. He had crimson cheeks, and beautiful 
deep blue eyes, and had a green cloak upon him ; he wore also 
a white shirt and collar, with beautiful interweaving [of gold 
thread] upon him ; and a sword with an ivory hilt was in his 
hand ; and he supplies every couch in the court with ale and 
food, and he is incessant in attending upon the whole company. 
Identify that man, Ferrogain. I know that man", said he. 
" That, is Uaderg himself. It was by him the court was built, 
and since he has taken [up his] residence in it, its doors have 
never closed, except the side to which the wind blows, it is to 
that side only that a door is put. Since he has taken to house- 
keeping, his boiler has never been taken off the fire, but con- 
tinues ever to boil food for the men of Eiinn. And the two 
who are in front of him, these are two boys, fostersons of his, 
namely the two sons of the king of Leinster, whose names are 
Muredacli and Corpri^ 

" I saw there three men on the floor of the house at the of the king 1 * 
door", said Ingcel, " they had three clubs with chains in their keepers ;*" 
hands. Each of them is swifter than a wild cat running 
around the other as they rush towards the door. They 
wore speckled aprons (Berrbroca) and pale cloaks. Identify 
those for us, O Ferrogain. These are the three door-keepers 
of the king of Teamair who are there, namely, Echur and 
Tochur and Techmang, three sons renowned for valour and 
combat". (223) 

[original : ACCOHT>A]AC inroAe g^bAif ct\eb<vo m CUCCAT> AdAijM TJO 

AITO, ACAf oeiife^ itice, ACAf tetux), ACC no bi-o oc b^uifc bit) t>o 

DA 51\A,A A^Abet&ib; ACAf oitnoing jrefVAib heperm. AcAf in -oiAf pi AJ\ 

Of\Aib, m OA'LA TIAI if t>ub, A^Aite, Ab6tAib t>A tjAtcA t>ororn, itroA rciAc 

ifptro. Tpotc-oepsfofxpn'otAec, ACAf pn,.i.'OAni3iC}\i5t,Af;en, .i.fflvmeT>Ad: 

ACi\Aic i oei^5l^if. 'OAri5i\uAi'oclio]\- ACAf CojvpiM Leabhar na k- Uidhre, 

COJVOA tAif, ]\oyc ^ojUAf ^o 6Ain f. 65. b. col. 1.] 

OCCA, ACAf b]\Ac UAniT)i imtm; tene (* 23 > [original: Accon-OApc Atro 

get cul/pACAC contjeg inctAit} imbi ; CfiA]\ poi\ LA|\ in dge ocorcoopuf, 

CACAO t>ib cim- 

OAe ipn cig'o ACAV biur), offe 6uVlAf\Ai1e'oo<itim in -oo-pAi-p. Oe^yv- 

coffAtAfc oc cimcif ecc incfioig uti. bp6cA itnpu ice b]\ecd ACAr bjunc 

SAmAitt 3. A. 1f. ft. tlin. tlo]:ecu|\- l,A6cnAe t6o. SAmAit b 3. A. 1f. ft. 

TA mtiA p|\ufin, 'OA'oe'psA m^Ain if CJM -oo]\fAit)e ^15 UetnpAd mpti, .1. 

HontiA'oin b^uijeAn, ACAr 6 Gcup ACAfCocup Acuf CecniAtig, c^i- 

^ebA-on^ ]\o-outiAic At)Oi-fVfe, true e^fAWo ACA^ comtAX). Ibid., f. 

o x)o fvij;neT> ACC tec oiAtnbi 05. b. col. 2.] 
, if fpif bif in com LA. 


_ r ** Y - " I saw there", said Ingcel, " a couch, and three times nine 

ofthe men on it; they had fair-yellow hair, and were all of equal 
British out- beauty. Each wore a small black mantle, and a white hood 

laws at the / . , , , ,, '. 1 . 

court of the upon each mantle, and a red tutt upon every hood, and an iron 
ch; brooch in the breast of each mantle; and each carried a huge 
black sword under his cloak, and they would sever a hair upon 
the surface of water ; and they had shields with sharp etchings 
upon them. Identify those for us, O Ferrogain". "They", 
said Ferrogain, " are three times nine youthful outlaws of 
Britain"/ 224 ' 

of the three " I saw there", said Ingcel, " three jesters at the fire. They 
jesters; wore three dark gray cloaks; and if all the men of Erinn were 
in one place, and though the body of the mother or father of 
each man of them were lying dead before him, not one of them 
could refrain from laughing at them". " These were Mael 
(bald), and Milithi (pale), and Admilithi (more pale), the three 
jesters of the king of Erinn who are there", said Ferrogain^ 

Lastly, and to end my long list of extracts, Ingcel says : 

of the three " I saw there a couch and three persons on it. They wore 

bearers. three gray, floating cloaks around them. A cup of water was 

before each man of them, and a tuft of watercress (s2S) upon each 

cup of them". Identify those for us, O Ferrogain. " They 

(22) [original: Accont>Anc ATI im- mic rnbAitfe rrt torvecnAib irtpn __ 

DAe, ACAJ* c|\i nonbun inci; mongA Leabhar na h-Uidhre, f. 65. b col. 2.] 

pnt> bvroi fojvAib, ice cornAVli. Cod- (225 ) [original : AccorroApc Am> 

tene -cub imcAd n6enfen -oib, ACAf cniAf\ pincuicbi-oi hicwo cetie-o. Cni 

cenmu'o prro fP CA cocull, ACAf bjunc ot>r\A inrpti; ono becif pp. 

ctnrtce 1 oer*5 fon cac cenntn-o oib, henen m oen tnAjpn, ACA^ 66nobeC 

ACAf T)eL5 niAronx) in AtinfLori CA6 cotAin-o AmAtAf no ACAf\ A|\bel,Aib 

CodAitt ; ACAT- cl/Aitro t)ub -oiAmAri CAC pr\ x>ib, ni ip oeLr'A'o tied T>ib cen 

ro br\uc CA6 |nr\ T)ib, ACAf no'o'i'o- J;AHYI ^mpu .......... 

afCAif pnnA porktir'ciu ; ACAf fceii tlin. ITlAe'L, ACA^ tnitici, ACAf A-o- 

cont)tiA,A ^or\Ai SAtnAi, miici, cr\icuicirvic 
Is. A. -p. n. tlm. X)iber*5 cr\i [rAi] Ibid., f. 65. b. col. 2.] 

(226) ^Birur, the Nasturtium officinale (R. Brown). The common Spanish 
name of this plant is Bfrro. This name is thoroughly Spanish, as is proved by 
the popular expression andar d la ftor del btfrro, applied to strolling or strag- 
gling about, being borrowed from its mode of growth. The Basque name is 
Berro-azarra. Those words are evidently cognate with the Irish, and are, I 
think, Celtic and not Basque. The Spanish names of several other water- 
plants are connected with Btfrro, thus the Great Water Parsnep (Sium lati- 
foliutn) is called Berrera and Berrdza. The common cabbage Btrza also 
appears to contain the same root. Was the latter name given to cabbage when 
first introduced as a substitute for Water cress ? In Cormac's Glossary (Stokes' 
edition) the word biror is given: biporv .1. bij\ cipr\A no froich, hon .1. mong 
tnriop "om mong cnipn.AG nor^odiAi. "Biror, i.e., grass of a well or stream, 
hor (or or), i.e., the mane (that is, the growth). Biror consequently means the 
mane (or growth) of the well or stream". This derivation is at all events in- 
genious, for there cannot be a doubt that Birur contains the same root as Bir- 
cli, a water stream, and Bir, a well, a word which is still preserved in the 
Wallon tongue in the form of Sure, though now applied to a coal pit, that is, to 
the deep well or shaft by which the water is pumped up and the coal extracted.] 


are Dub (black), Dond (brown), and Dobur (dark), the three xxv - 
drinkbearers of the king of Teamhair'\ a2r) 

In this very minute account we have not only a description summary of 
of the mode of arrangement of a regal household in the king's ofper"" 
presence, but descriptions of the dress of several champions, and Described, 
also of the characteristic costumes and insignia of such of the 
monarch's household attendants and officers as happened to ac- 
company him in his ordinary excursions. We have the monarch 
himself, his sons, his nine wonderful pipers or wind instrument 
players, the king's cupbearers, that is the cupbearers of his whole 
table or company ; the king's chief druid-juggler, his three prin- 
cipal charioteers ; their nine apprentice charioteers, his hostages, 
the Saxon princes and their companies, the monarch's equerries 
or outriders, his three judges, his nine harpers, his three ordinary 
jugglers, his three cooks, his three poets, his nine guardsmen, and 
his two private table attendants ; then we have Daderg him- 
self, the lord of the mansion, the monarch's three doorkeepers, 
the British outlaws or exiles, and finally the king's private drink- 
bearers, who were always prepared with three cups of water and 
three bunches of watercresses in them. But it may be objected 
to these descriptions, that the whole story with its gorgeous illus- 
trations is only poetry, and the romantic creation of a fertile ima- 
gination. There is, no doubt, a certain degree of exaggeration 
in many of the descriptions, and there are some among those 
which I have not quoted that are wholly improbable. But 
the existence of such poetical excrescences, or the introduction The exaggo- 
of fairy mansions or Tuatha D6 Danann courts, no more in- S ncii > de f 
validates the descriptions of what was undoubtedly real, though scarcely 113 
somewhat highly coloured, than the corresponding exaggera- &Seci th eir 
tions and supernatural agencies do those in the Iliad of Homer. 
Indeed, it must be admitted that the descriptions in this tale, 
and in that of the Tain Bo Chuailgne also are on the whole very very uttie 
little exaggerated, and bear the stamp of truth upon them. As ttorfoauie 
regards the colours of the various cloaks described, we have tales* f "the* 
so many ancient references to them, that there can be no ra- % r $/ r he " n d 
tional doubt of their having existed in remote times. Then as TvLTSo * n 
regards the brooches, rings, bracelets, neck torques, diadems, CAM<M ^ n ' > 
circlets, and crescents of gold and silver, for the head, neck, and 
arms, the articles themselves still preserved in such great abun- 
dance, afford the most complete evidence of the accuracy of 
the tale ; while, with the exception of the extracts from the 

127 [original : AccotroA^c Ant> fop CAd cu*6. SAiriAil. t. S. A. . tl. 

inTOA ACAf C1\1A1MIVO1. CjVlbfUlIC S^AIf Tlltl t)ub, ACAf 'Ootlt), ACAf t)obt)p, 

lAiAfcA6Aitnpvi. CUA6 uf ce A^b6LAiD cj\i oeogbAini nic CempAc itipn. 
CA& )?i]\ x>ib, ACAf popp -oo bi]\u|\ Leabhar na h-uianre, f. 66. a. col. 2.~\ 


ancient tale of the Tain Bo Chuailgne already quoted, there is 
no known existing authority for the manner of wearing them 
so decided or reasonable as this. It is to be regretted indeed 
that it was not at Tara the scene of this most curious and im- 
portant tale was laid, as then we should have doubtless had a 
glowing description of the regal magnificence of the time in 
its most ample dimensions ; but it is no small evidence of the 
authenticity of the descriptions and incidents of the piece that 
it is a private house is made in the story to be the scene, and 
an unexpected incident the cause, of the death of the splendid 
Conaire M6r. 

It would be tedious and unprofitable to attempt to trace the 
modifications of fashion from the eighth down to the twelfth and 
fifteenth centuries. These, indeed, are periods within which I 
have scarcely entered at all in the course of these lectures ; and 
although the references to costume during those times are abun- 
dant and striking, still, as it is possible that the fashions may 
have been more or less influenced by the more intimate con- 
tact and connection with other countries, they would not tend 
to throw much light back on the more ancient and far more in- 
teresting times which it is the special object of these lectures 
to illustrate. 

Of the antiquity and the long continuance of the colour of cer- 
tain garments in ancient Erinn, I may be allowed to refer in 
conclusion to two very brief, but very valuable instances. 

There is an ancient, but very little known tale or piece, 
treasured in some of our old MSS., under the title of Amhra 
Chonrai, that is, the death song or funeral oration of Curoi. 
This was the celebrated Curoi Mac Daire, whose history, and 
the account of whose residence at Cathair C/wnrai in the county 
of Kerry, I have already given at some length in a previous 
lecture. (228) 

Curoi, as, on the occasion just alluded to, I showed had been 
treacherously killed by the Ulster champion Cuchulaind. After 
j^jg death, his household bard Ferceirtne wrote a panegyric on 
him, in which, among others of his noble deeds, he enumerates 
the gifts and presents made by him to himself in the course of 
his professional connection with him. These gifts consisted of 
drinking horns, forts, houses, sheep, hogs, bondmaids, garters 
(Fernu) of gold, head pieces or circlets of gold (Eoburrudoir), 
white ancillae or anklets of silver, or of Findruine, white discs 
or dishes of silver, neck rings or torques of gold, a scarlet cloak, 
scarlet horse- saddles or cloths, balls of gold for jugglery tricks, 
Bollans or small drinking vessels, Tailliamna^ or slings, Rv.ctha.8, 

() Ante, Lecture xxii., vol. ii. p. 75, et seq. 


which are explained as scarlet frocks, hats, white silver brooches, xx 
chessboards set with precious stones, bridles, and other gifts too ~ 
numerous to name in this place. Of all these, however, the 
only articles we are immediately concerned with here are the 
scarlet cloaks (Lor Lethna), and the Ructha, which our ancient 
writer glosses as either scarlet frocks (Inar) or scarlet panta- 
loons (Triubhas). 

The colour of the garment in either case is one of rare occur- 
rence, and it is on this account that I have deemed it worth 
while to quote another passage of a much more recent date, 
from which the scarlet Inar, or frock, would appear to have 
been a garment of rather general use, or else perhaps the badge 
of a particular tribe or clann. The passage to which I allude 
is from a poem by Mac Liag, preserved in the fragment of the by M 
great Book of Ui Maine in the British Museum, and which I 
have so fully described in a former lecture. (229) This poem^is 
an elegy on the death of the bard's patron Tadgh O'Kelly, who 
was killed at the battle of Clontarf, in which he recounts all the 
exploits and triumphs of his life, and his munificence to all 
men, but more especially his gifts to himself. Among the many 
gifts which the sorrowing bard acknowledges to have received 
from his noble patron, after his various triumphs, he mentions 
the following, in the thirty-fourth and thirty-fifth stanzas of his 
poem : 

Tadgh gave me on the day [of the battle] of Loch Riach 

An hundred cows, an hundred swords, an hundred shields, 

An hundred oxen for the ploughing season, 

And an hundred halter horses. 
He gave me on the night [of the battle] of Glenngerg 

An hundred cloaks and an hundred scarlet frocks, 

Thirty spears of bloodstained points, 

Thirty tables and thirty chess boards/ 230) 

And the use, and therefore the manufacture, of similar dresses and als 
of the same bright colours, continued at least two hundred years 
later, as is proved by a quatrain from a spirited poem written by 
Gillabrighde Mac Conmidhe for Donnchadh Cairbrech O'Brien, 
upon the occasion of his inauguration at Limerick, after the death 
of his brave father Domhnall M6r O'Brien in the year 1194. I 
give this stanza from the poet's vivid description of the person 
and bearing of the young Dalcassian prince, merely to carry 

() [Vide ante, Lecture vi., vol. L, p. 124.] 

(jso) [original: cup CATII Ai-oce 

cur t)Arn CA-OC, IA IOCA fliAch c. OJ\AC, if c HI 

c. DO c. cLAToitn, 6. fdAch, c]Ait>A fl>eAj b^uA'6 

c. T)O T)AtTiAib f\e huAij\ tiAip, x. [xxx?] rAiVbe x. [xxx 

c. eAch tiAx>AfOAif\. O'CuiTy s copy from the original.] 


down the chain of evidence regarding colours from the more 
ancient to the more recent, though still remote, times. Thus 
speaks the poet : 

A dark brown red mantle, and a gauntlet, 
A splendid shirt under his glossy hair, 
A brown satin tunic lustrous and light, 
A keen fine large eye of bright deep blue. (231) 

(23o [original: fn cf uit 6o]Aj\tr>6ij\ MJJCAJ; otiinn 

ourm t>eAf\r if 'LAtVionn, ngtAif. 

'cei o ccAif , O'Conor Doris MS., O'Curry's copy, 

vol. ii., p. 641, No. =L. 


[Delivered July 17th, I860.] 

(VIII.) DRESS AND ORNAMENTS (continued). Very early mention of orna- 
ments of gold, etc., e.g. in the description of Eladha the Fomorian king, in 
the second battle of Magh Tuireadh. Champions sometimes wore a finger 
ring for each king killed. Allusion to bracelets in an ancient poetical name 
of the river Boyne^ Ornaments mentioned in a description of a cavalcade 
given in an ancient preface to the Tain Bo Chuailgne ; and in the descrip- 
tion of another cavalcade in the same tract. Some of the richest descriptions 
of gold and silver ornaments are to be found in the romantic tale of the 
" Wanderings of Maelduin's Canoe" (circa A.D. 700). Bronze Budne for the 
hair in Dr. Petrie's collection. Ornaments described in the tale of the 
Tochmarc Bee Fola. Story of Aithirne Ailgisach, king Fergus Fairge, and 
the gold brooch found at ArdBrestine ; the finding of ornaments unconnected 
with human remains explained by this tale. Mention of a large sized brooch 
in the legendary history of Queen Edain. Ancient law respecting the mode 
of wearing large brooches. Large brooches mentioned in the tale of the 
"Wanderings of Maelduin's Canoe". Thistle headed or Scottish brooches; 
reference to Scottish brooches in the story of Cano son of Gartnan. Carved 
brooches mentioned in the tale of the Bruighean Daderga. Reference to 
a carved brooch in the Book of Munster. Another reference to a carved 
brooch in a poem ascribed to Oisin. Brooches of bronze and Findruine. 
Chased gold pins used down to the beginning of the thirteenth century. Of 
the different kinds of rings. The Fainne used to confine the hair. Hair 
rings used in the seventeenth century. Fails were worn up the whole arm 
for the purpose of bestowing them upon poets, etc. ; example of this from 
the Book of Lismore. Of the bracelet called a Budne. 

I PROCEED now to another branch of the subject of dress ; that, 
namely, of the ornaments made of the precious metals, used by 
the people of ancient Erinn. 

All our ancient histories and romantic tales abound in refer- very early 
ences to splendid vesture and personal ornaments of gold, silver, ornaments of 
precious stones, and fine bronze, from the first battle of Magh j^ 1 etc< ' 
Tuireadh (said to have been fought more than seventeen hun- 
dred years B.C.), down to the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. 
Thus, in the battle of the second, or northern Magh Tuireadh, 
fought between the Tuatha D6 Danann and the Fomorians, we 
are told that Eladha, king of the Fomorians, appeared suddenly 
before a Tuatha D6 Danann maiden in Connacht, dressed as 

" He had golden hair down to his two shoulders. He wore ln . 41 ?e de- 
a cloak braided with golden thread ; a shirt interwoven with Eladha, the 
threads of gold ; and a brooch of gold at his breast, emblazoned k 
with brilliant precious stones. He carried two bright silver 


XXVI - spears, with fine bronze handles, in his hand ; a shield of gold 
over his shoulder ; and a gold-hilted sword, with veins of silver 
and with paps of gold". (233; 

We are further told, that at parting, the splendid Fomorian 
left the maiden his ring of gold, which he took off his middle 

champions It would appear, too, that in ancient times (yet times more 

wo'reae'nger recent than that of the battle of Magh Tuireadh), some cham- 

kto| kuied Ch pi ns wore a gold ring on their fingers for every king they had 

killed in battle. As an instance of this fact, we are told in the 

Book of Lecan, that Lughaidh Laga, a prince and warrior of 

Munster, had slain seven kings in successive battles ; of which 

freat achievement the famous Cormac Mac Airt, monarch of 
rinn (whose father, Art, was one of the seven), said: " His 
hand does not conceal from Laga what number of kings he has 
killed" ; that is to say, " there were seven Fails [Buindt], or 
rings of gold, upon his hand [that is, upon his fingers"] . (283) 
Allusion to The river Boyne, from the clearness of its waters, was poeti- 
an^andent 1 cally called Righ Mnd Nuadhat; that is, the wrist or forearm of 
P"f*l c *i .. Nuadhafs wife. This lady was one of the Tuaiha D6 Danann : 

1 11 1 f* 1 i 

nver Boyue. and the poetical allusion to her arm originated from her keeping 
it constantly covered with rings or bracelets of gold to bestow 
upon poets and musicians. 

ornaments The following gorgeous description of a cavalcade is preserved 

mentioned / , 30.0 i 

in a descrip- in one ot the ancient prefaces to the 1 am J3o Chuatlgne, con- 
in tained in an ancient vellum manuscript, sold in London in the 
A y ear 1 ^ 9 ' w * th th . e books an( * MSS. of Mr. William Monck 
e; Mason, but of which I have a copy. The story relates that 
Bodhbh Dearg, the great Tuatha D6 Danann chief of the hill 
or mountain now called Sliabh na m-Ban in the county of Tip- 
perary, went one time on a friendly visit to his cousin Ochall 
Oichne, the great chief of the ancient hill of Cruachan, in the 
county of Roscommon, afterwards the royal residence of the 
kings of Connacht. The people of Connacht had a great 
meeting to receive Bodhbh, at Loch Riach (now Loch Reagh). 
Splendid indeed was the calvacade that attended Bodhbh on 
the occasion, says the story : " Seven score chariots and seven 
score horsemen was their number. And of the same colour 
were all their steeds ; they were speckled ; they had silver bri- 

232 [original: Hloggo^buToe^oi^ cnetmtriAe; coicpoic oij\UAf 

50 Atiib guAiVUb. t)|\Ac 50 f^ecAib cio'oib oivotiijvn go fecAToib A-IJV- 

01 oj\piAc imbe; A'leriegonA'oiri'ole geAc, &cAf 50 ci6ib 6i]\. Egerton 

OAib -oe o]\piA6 ; "oe\,c noi-p A-p Ab- MSS., 5280, Brit. Mus., commencing 

, 50 fo^fAriA'6 x>e tiic tog- f. 52.] 

AITO. X)1A gelgAe Aif ritje, (2J3 > [See original, note, Lect. xxvii., 

itroib Tje postea, Vol. ii., p. 177.] 


dies. There was no person among them who was not the son 
of a king and a queen. They all wore green cloaks with four 
crimson Heo, or pendants, to each cloak; and silver cloak- 
brooches (Broth-Gha) in all their cloaks; and they wore kilts 
with red inter weavings, and borders or fringes of gold thread 
upon them, and pendants of white bronze thread upon their 
leggings or greaves (Ochrath), and shoes with clasps (Indeoify 
of red bronze in them. Their helmets were ornamented with 
crystal and white bronze ; each of them had a collar (Niamh- 
Land) of radiant gold around his neck, with a gem worth a 
newly calved cow set in it. Each wore a twisted nng (Bouinde 
do At) of gold around him worth thirty ounces (ungas) [of gold]. 
All had white-faced shields, with ornamentations of gold and of 
silver. They carried flesh-seeking spears, with ribs of gold and 
silver and red bronze in their sides ; and with collars (or rings) 
of silver upon the necks of the spears. They had gold-hilted 
swords with the forms of serpents of gold and carbuncles set in 
them. They astonished the whole assembly by this display"/ 230 

The same tract contains similar descriptions of other caval- 
cades of a like kind, such as the following short one : 

When the great Tuatha De Danann chief of Cruachan saw and ! ? *^ e 
the magnificence of his southern friends' retinue, he called a of another 
secret meeting of his people, and asked them if they were able ttle a same M 
to appear in the assembly in costumes of equal splendour with tract 
those of their visitors ? They all answered that they were not ; 
upon which Ochal, their chief, said that they were dishonoured 
for ever, and that they should acknowledge their own poverty. 
Whilst the noble chief was thus giving vent to his mortification, 
they saw coming towards them from the north of Connacht a 
troop of horsemen, namely, " Three score bridle steeds and 
three score chariots. All the steeds were black: one would 
think that it was the sea that had cast them up ; they had bri- 
dle-bits of gold. The men wore black-gray cloaks, with crimson 
loops ; a wheel-brooch (Roth) of gold at the breast of each man of 

(234 ) [original : tm.xx.CAppACACAp -otnb ; niAtnVitArm oip 

tin xx. rriApcAd bA Vie AVUon. AcAp cecTi piup, geim piu lA-utgAit) 11015- 

oetroAc pop A nedimb tnle, .1. bpic ecViccAp int>A pippine. ttotnwoe T>O 

uilejACAp ppem Aip5it>i ppiu. Thcon- AC im ce6 pep piu JCXX.A-O Vnimge. 

bui Ann ACC tnAC pic ACAp pigno. SceicVicViut,5etTlopopuibuil,e,cotir)- 

"bpmc ViuAtii'oi irn-ptnb uite, ACAJ* imcVietvouiboipocAf Apcctn-o. [AcAp 

cecpe Vieo copqvA pop J;AC bpuc; pteAjAib coicjvmnecA conAftiAib oip 

mbpocVigViAApsAdtiAiribpActiiblivM- ACAp Aipgit)] ocApcpe-owmtmnACAe- 

Vib ; ACAp tence coniroepg irrotAt), bui o ; ocAp 50 tnunclup ApgAit) mATn- 

ocAp cocopcApdAib oppnAic imjotnb. bpAig-oib riApte^. CtAit>urn opT)ipn 

Vn pnx>pume Ap A nocVipuib ; cotroetbuib tiAtpAfi -oiop ocup cViAp- 

com int>eoit t>o cpettumo im- mostit ftup. ^op UApnAipuc in-oti- 

-OAfl. CennbAip coninroeiitiin tiuo uite copp n-oeipium minimpiTi.] 
gtAime Ac*p pin-opume pop A cen- 


them. Kilts of perfect whiteness, with crimson stripes down 
their sides upon them. Black hair upon every man of them, and 
so sleek, that you would think it was a cow that licked them 
all. They carried shields with emblematic carvings, and sharp 
scolloped rims of Findruine, at their shoulders. Ivory set swords 
at their sides, inlaid with figures of bronze. A pointless spear 
in the hand of each man of them, with rivets of silver. Fifty 
coils (Torrockta) of burnished gold around each man. They 
had no sandals on their feet, nor head pieces (Cennbair) upon 
their heads, except a few of them. They did not come directly 
into the assembly, but set up a camp of their own ; after which 
they came to the assembly three score in chariots, and the 
other three score on horseback". (235) 

This party appears to have come in the same way as Bodhbh 
to the great meeting of the men of Connacht at Loch Riach; 
they were under the command of a man named Fergna, chief 
of that territory in Ulster which afterwards received the name 
of Dal Riada. At this time Bodhbh Derg had in his service a 
professional champion whose name was Rind; and it happened 
also that Ochall the Connacht chief had in his service at the 
same time, and in the same capacity, this champion's brother, 
whose name was Falbhar; but neither of the chiefs knew that 
their champions were brothers. In the course of the meeting 
Bodhbh challenged his friend Ochall to find him a man to 
match his champion Rind in single combat. Ochall imme- 
diately produced Falbhar, and thus the two brothers entered 
the circus, and unexpectedly met in deadly combat. The battle, 
however, soon became general ; the Connacht men had the worst 
of it ; but the two brothers survived to act other prominent parts 
in the wild mythological history of these remote times. 
some of the Among the romantic and highly-coloured descriptions into 
criptfons e of which personal ornaments of gold and silver enter, some of the 
furor orna- richest will be found in the ancient tale of the Wanderings of 
ments are to Maelduin's Canoe (Imramh Curaigh Maeilduin). The incidents 
the taie of of this tale are assigned to a fixed date far within the period of 

the Wander- 

^faeiduin'a (238 - ) [original : .1. CJM.XX ei6 fo A fitronunii noAitcriijjib fop A tntmnb. 
Canoe. fniAtitnb, ACAJ" cni .xx. CAJDAC. eicVi ColgA -oeco teo fo A cuirnb, co 


oubti fUcViuib tuLe : 1n oAnlAcc rtnrijvib Vi-utnAe -fOAib. Hloe'L 


if tnuip ^opiAit>fiuc ; belA/51-6 oi|\ ml,LAirii JAC, -pi|\ oib, 

^niu Vitnli. di oubglxiffo collAMD Ainccic. CoecA coj\Aclhc -oio|\ ro-p- 

cojACfVArp im-pu ; t\ocVi oifv foj\ toifcci im JAC riAi. Hi bACA|\ lAl/lxx- 

b]\uirmib JAC p^ -OID. leirtd IAITI- iccfVAitro unpu, HA cermbAip imo 

A, cormejTiAicli co]\c|v&ib 1A^\- gcenntn-p, ACC IIUACA'O tiib. Itroei^Y 1 - 

CAebuib impu. tnTDpuc ci|voub gAigi tied In-pn t>A|\ec1ic, oo-po|\be|\- 

T?e|\ -oib, nTOA|\ tAcc, if bo cACAn in-ounAc ; CAX>efpnLocw]\ CJM 

ig cecViAe. SceicVi cojrecVi- xx. -oib A cAipciti,ocAf limneochu 

Ittib controuAtAe, ACAf comtntib cni .xx. \\ lnnx)A|\ec1ic.] 



our undoubted history namely, about A.D. 700; and having xxv 
in a former lecture (236) given a full account of the history and 
nature of the piece, I shall not now go into it again. I proceed 
at once to the description of the lady in the Twelfth Island 
reached by the voyagers, when she comes out to them, after 
their three days of enchanted sleep. 

" Upon the fourth day", the story says, "the woman came forth 
to them, and splendidly did she come there. She wore a white 
robe and a twisted ring (Budne, or Buinne) of gold confining her 
hair. She had golden hair. She had two shoes of silver upon 
her crimson-white feet ; a silver brooch, with chains of gold in 
her robe ; and a striped smock of silk next her white skin". (237) 

This story, it is true, is a wild legend of magic ; but the de- 
scription is certainly that of a rich dress, such as the writer was 
accustomed to regard as beautiful among those worn by the 
ladies of the very early period in which this tale was written. 

It will be perceived that among the personal ornaments of 
this lady there are two articles that do not often appear in 
such descriptions, namely, a silver brooch with chains of 
gold attached ; and a spiral ring of gold to confine her hair. 
This ring was, in fact, used only when the long hair of the 
head was plaited, or rolled into one roll at the poll ; and it was 
on this roll that the spiral ring was put, to keep it from unrol- 
ling, and for an ornament. There are a few ancient specimens 
of this ornament in plain gold, and some in bronze, preserved 
in the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy. But Dr. Petrie's 
collection contains a beautiful, if not unique one, in gold bronze. Bronze 
This beautiful ring is formed of a hollow or half cylindrical fh^hai 
thin fillet of elastic bronze ; tapering from a breadth of about 
three-quarters of an inch at one end, to an obtuse point at the 
other. It has been coiled up spirally from the broad end, so 
that the whole fits, circle within circle, in the one great circle 
at the broad end ; or, if the spirals are not pressed home, it will 
form a regular cone, with all the external appearance of a solid 
ropelike body. When the hair was rolled up, and the ring put 
upon it and expanded, from the thick butt of the hair down to 
its small top, the whole ring, from its convex spiral surface, 
appeared like a golden rope closely twisted around the hair. (2S8) 

(236) [The only reference to this tale oin itntn A momj;. rnong ojvou funn 
in any previous lecture is to be found X)A rnAetAn Ainjpc imtriA cof f A geni- 
al p. 289 of the Lectures on MS. Mate- concj^Ai ; bnecnAf A^CAIX) conb|\ep- 
riah of Irish History.'] mo oinmAbnuc; Acuf tene fneb 

(37) [original: 1fin cetnArntro nuit>e ricu f|\iA gel cnef. Leabhar 

tou lAnutn oottAnt) m bAttfcut, An- na h-Uidhre, fol. 26. b. bot. et seq., 

oocum, ACAJ- bA hAltnnn em CAIIAIC and Egerton MSS., 5280, Brit. Mus.] 

Ann. t>f\Ac j;eAt inipe, ACAf bumne (238 > [See fig. 66.] 


xxvi. It would be impossible for me, with any degree of consecu- 
tive arrangement, to press into one lecture all the references to 
those personal ornaments of gold, silver, bronze, and precious 
stones, which in the course of my readings I have brought to- 
gether ; and I shall therefore, for the present, content myself 
with a few only, and first translate the following extract from 
a very curious story in an ancient MS. written in a very ancient 
style of diction. 

ornaments Diarmait and JSlathmac, the two sons of Aedh Slaine, were 
the C taie e of ln joint monarchs of Erinn for eight years, until they were both 
T Be?Frta C carried off by the great mortality in the year of our Lord 664. 
Our legend tells us: " That Diarmait, the son of Aedh Slaine, 
was king of Temair [or Tara], and had in pupilage and hostage- 
ship from the province of Leinster, Crimhthann, the son of 
Aedh [king of that country] He [Diarmait] went one day to 
Ath Truim [Trim], in the territory of J^aeghaire, and his pupil 
Crimhthann along with him, and attended by but one servant. 
They saw a woman coming over the ford [on the Boyne] from 
the western side, in a chariot. " She had on her [feet] two 
pointless shoes of white-bronze (Findruine), ornamented with 
two gems of precious stones; her kilt was interwoven with 
thread of gold; she wore a crimson robe, and a brooch of gold, 
fully chased and beset with many-coloured gems in that robe. 
She had a necklace of burnished gold around her neck ; and a 
diadem of gold upon her head. She drove two black- gray 
steeds at her chariot with two golden bridles ; and the yoke of 
the horses had trappings of silver". (239) After some parley, 
Diarmait took her with him to Temair. She, however, soon 
cast her attention on his [DiarmaiCs] pupil, that is, iipon 
Crimhthann, the son of Aedh. The youth consented to meet 
her at Cluain da Chaileach (near the place now called Baltin- 
glass, in the county of Wicklow), at the third hour (or nine 
o'clock) on the Sunday following, in order to elope with her. 

The story goes on to say, that: " The lady, Bee Fola, lost 
her way in the wood of Dubhthar [near Baltinglass] ; and that, 
seeing a fire, she went towards it, and there saw a young warrior 
cooking a pig. He had on a silk tunic of pure crimson, with 
circlets of gold and of silver ; he had a helmet of gold and 
silver and crystal upon his head ; he had meshes and gems of 
gold upon every lock of his hair, down to the blades of his 

(239) [ or igi na i : t)A'mAetArr A~pn- tor ce im A bf\AAic. ; nutvo noip pop 
optnne inrpe, TJA gem t>o tic to- A euro. DA eAcVi -oubgtAfA pon- 
eifcib ; tene po'oepgin'otAic cAjvpAc T>A riAtt oip pjvm ; 

co rn\>|\eA6c^A'o njem nit- H. 2. 16. f. 765 ; H. 3. 18. f. 757.] 
OACA6 ifin bptic. Ttlunci -016^ fop- 


shoulders ; he wore two balls of gold upon the two forks or xxvi. 
divisions of his hair (\n front), each the size of a man's fist. He 
had a gold-hilted sword at his girdle; and he had two sharp 
flesh-seeking spears between the leathers of his shield, with 
rings of white bronze upon them. He wore a many-coloured 
cloak. His two arms were covered with bracelets of gold and 
silver up to his elbows". (210) 

The next example is equally curious. There is a story told story of 

XT. r> 1 f T f .' 1 Pl p/ltWizrneau 

in the " Book or Lemster ot a satmcal poet or the province or the brooch 
Ulster, in the reign of king Conchobar Mac Nessa, whose name sresifne; 
was Aithirne Ailgisach, or Aithirne " the covetous". 

Aithirne took it into his head to make a visitation of the 
other provinces of Erinn, for the purpose of raising contributions 
from the kings and chiefs, under the the terror of his satirical 
tongue. Having arrived in South Leinster, he met the king 
and people of that country assembled to meet him at the hill of 
Ard Brestine, a place which still preserves its ancient name, 
situated near Ahade (Ath Facial), about three miles south of 
Tullow, in the county of Carlow. 

The Leinster men were prepared with rich presents for the 
poet to purchase off his good words; but the satirist would 
accept nothing but the most valuable jewel on the hill, though 
no one knfw what or where that jewel was. Whilst the king 
and his people were at a loss what to do in this difficulty, " there 
was a young man careering a steed on the hill, and in one of 
the turns that he made close to the royal seat, the horse threw up 
a clod of earth from his hinder legs, and which clod fell in the 
lap of the king, Fergus Fairge, who immediately perceived in it * 
a brooch (Dealg) of red gold weighing eighty ungas or ounces. 
" What have I got in my lap, O Aithirne?" said the king to 
the poet. " Thou hast got a brooch (dealg) there", said Aithirne; 
and Aithirne then recited this verse : 

" A brooch that has been found in Ard Brestine, 
From the hoofs of a steed it has been got ; 
Over it have been delivered many just judgments, 
When in the cloak of Maine, son of Durthacht". 
(240) [original: "OofnAlA j?on trie- im A derm ; rnocoit ACA^ pchip oin 
nuJATi Ann co CJ\A -OAi-ocln concA- im CAch n--ouAt T>IA rule, conici 
CAncAt>An [con-oocAnlActin, H. 3. 18. cLdn A TJA mroAi ; -DA u OAVl oin f on 
756, hot.] com AtcAi cono mAnbfAC tjei gAbAt Atnonp, met) jreAjvoopiti 
An mile ACAV lui-o fi nicnAnt) -pon ceAccAn nAi. AciAi'oeb ojvouinnn 
cechet). xXmbAi ipn cnun-o conf-ACAi A|\A cnif; ACAf A TJA fl/eg coicjvmtn 
m cei -pon Ixxn nA CAitli. tuiu ^00 icin teACAn A fceic, co cobnuit) 
um m cenet). Con^ACAi m octAch fin-onume -ponA. t)nuc iltJACAcli 
unon cem ocunpiAtn nATnuici 1nAn [t-eif, H. 3. 18. 757]. A -OA tAim 
rif\ect>Ai ime consLAnconcAin ACAf iAnA T>1 f Aitpb oin ACAf AHCAIC co 
co cinctAib 6in Acuf ALCAIC ; cenn- A -oitnVlinn. H. 2. 16. col. 766. ; H. 
bAnn won ACA^ Angxic ACAf gtAinne 3. 18. 757-] 

VOL II. 11 


xxvi. " This brooch", said he, " is what I should prefer, because it 

was my mother's brother that put it into the earth, when de- 

feated in a battle along with the Ultonians, namely, the battle 

of Ard Brestine". The brooch was there given to him. (24l) 

the finding This curious, and probably true story, gives one satisfactory 

of ornaments , , r> ,1 , i -i n i 

unconnected reason why ornaments ot the precious metals, and ot bronze, as 
m h ainsTl- n we ll as arms an ^ various other articles, have been, and still con- 
puined by tinue to be, turned up from the earth in places where no human 

this tale. . i / 1 T 11 i i i 

remains are to be touncl. It would appear to have been the 
custom in ancient as well as in modern times, for retreating 
individuals or armies, to hide or destroy their most precious 
treasures, in order that they should not fall into the hands of 
their pursuers. 

Mention of a Another example of a very large sized brooch occurs at a 
b^wfch'iu very early period of history indeed. There is a fragment of a 
of Queen* 7 story preserved in Leabhar na h- Uidhre in the library of the 
Royal Irish Academy, relating to the birth and after history of 
a celebrated lady of ancient Erinn, whose name was Edain, and 
who became the wife of the monarch Eochaidh Fedhleach, one 
hundred years before the Incarnation. The lady Edain was 
the reputed daughter of an Ulster chieftain, whose name was 
Etar; and after her birth, the story says : 

"Edain was educated at Inbiur Cichmuini [in the east of 
Ulster], by her father Etar, and fifty maidens along with her, 
the daughters of neighbouring chiefs, and who were fed and 
clothed by Etar as the companions of his daughter. One day 
that all the maidens were bathing in the bay, they saw from the 
water a horseman riding towards them over the plain. He had 
under him a curveting, prancing, broad-rumped, curly maned, 
curly haired bay steed. He had on a long flowing green cloak, 
gathered around him, and a shirt interwoven with thread of red 
gold (under that). A brooch (Ed) of gold in his cloak [across] 
which reached his shoulders at either side. He had a shield of 
silver, with a rim of gold, at his back, and with trappings of silver 
and a boss of gold ; and he had in his hand a sharp-pointed spear, 
[original : t)ui CJ\A rnA-^cAfi 1C t>etc Ati-o, ot Altitun ; i 

oocurn nA ViAipeccA nolin^et) UA-oib. "OeAtc fit iriAjvo " 

1pe6c ATI-O t>iti ocfout) in-oeid -oAf\ t)o cptnb e 

cotpifcA. "Do ctnjM-OA^ An ceich foe CAnif jmcA-6 tnof mbpec cepc, 

in6f\ tJA -oibct\oib [A|\cAi\coib] mi\o Imbrue tTlAim tTlAc T)U^CACC. 

A1|\15 T)uine ifiiTOAiiMucc comcA]\- 1|"e itroel^pn ^opAt -oAmfA, ojWicTi- 

IA inucVic iiro|\i5, .1. ^e^pif A ^1^50 AI^, .1. b^ACAip TTIACA^A fo i o]\ACAib 

tluACA ilecVic], conAccA fe^ OCAJ' "oo ^AC iCAlxviri, IAI\ 

pt) itrof oit) -oonteic AI^ CACA po^ul/tcti, .1. CAC 

i|\]\AbACAi\ cecp pcic im, if Atrofiri tJoiAACAt) -06 

oite^56i\. CITJ fit imticVic- Harleian MSS., 5280, Brit Mus. j 

A AcViAii\m ? ot 111^1. ACA and H. 2. 18. f. 74. a. a. top.] 



covered with rings of gold from its socket to its heel. He wore 
fair yellow hair, coming over his forehead, and his forehead was 
bound with a fillet of gold to keep his hair from disorder". (242> 

This richly-dressed man was Midir, the great Tuatha De 
Danann chief of Bri Leith in the county of Longford, whose 
history we shall not follow farther at present, since our concern 
now is with his dress only. And even as to this, the only cir- 
cumstance connected with it which we shall now direct atten- 
tion to is the great size of his brooch of gold, and the fact of his 
wearing it across his breast, reaching from shoulder to shoulder. 
No brooch of this description has been yet discovered in Ireland. 
Here, then, is another curious fact illustrative of the way in 
which these ancient massive brooches were worn. We find, in- Ancient law 
deed, in a passage from the Brehon Laws, that men were legally the P mode g of 
bound to wear, or perhaps rather to curtail, their brooches, {^rgQ ing 
whether they wore them at their breasts or at their shoulders, brooches; 
in such a way as that they should not be dangerous to the per- 
sons around them ; a very good proof that they were the large, 
long-spiked pins, of which specimens are found in the museum 
of the Royal Irish Academy. The following is the passage 
alluded to: " Men are guiltless of pins" [that is, it is safe for 
the men to wear their brooches] "upon their shoulders or 
upon their breasts ; provided they don 't project too far beyond 
it ; and if they should, the case is to be adjudged by the crimi- 
nal law". (243) Yet these large brooches, and other over large 
ornaments, continued to be worn. For, we are told in the 
story of the Navigation of Afaelduiri's ship, already quoted, that 
the wanderers came to an island, landed, and entered a great 
house, where 

" They saw ranges (or ranks) upon the wall of the house all lar s 

-\ r ii ii /? j.1 p brooches 

round from one door-post to the other : nrstly, a range or mentioned 
brooches [Bretnassa] of gold and silver, stuck by their shanks " the 6 " win- 
into the wall; another range of great necklaces \_Mun tores], ^^f*,? f ., 
like the hoops of large tubs, made of gold and of silver ; canoe". 

(42) [original : At,cA iA}\om GcAin i\of Aige-o ApJAlxvirm ^o|\ CAC tec. 

oc 1nbiui\ Ci6tni IA ecAi\, ocAf SCIAC Ai^txroi, convmbiul, oi|\ imbi 

V- ingen impe, -01 mgenAib cu-pec, foj\ ArnvMn,fciACj\ACAfV5ic Atro, ocAf 

ACUJ* bA Vierfeom no-OA biACAt) ocAf cut, noij\ JTAIJ\ ; ocAf fteg coicjvitvo 

no necet) Af\ comAicecc e-uAit Am- co-peirAn oif\ impi ointomj co cfvo 

51111 t)o 5i\ef. IA riAtro ooib AH 11150- inAl^im. oU; firi'o-bui'oi pM^x co 

ntnb uiVib ipn-oinbiuj\ OCA -pocpoc- liecun, fnice oi|\ fo^ A ecun conriA 

vo, conACACAf in mApcAc irATi mA5- ceil^et) A f olc jr OA51'O. Leabhar no, 

cucu -oon X)ui|-ci. e6'oon'ocuA5tnA|\ A- Uidhre, folio 81, col. 1.] 

fO|\un fO|\tecAn cArmonsAdcAycAi^- t243 > [The MS. eontaining this pas- 

dec foArtn-oiu. A p-oAtbfAc uAine sage not being available to me, I can- 

lupl/tiu'o irnmi, ocAf iene fo-oe^ not give the original.] 
nitivro imbi. AcAf eo oi]\ HIA b|\uc, 

11 B 


*xvi. and a third range of great swords, with hilts of gold and 
silver". 1240 

Now, it matters little to our present purpose, that this is an 
imaginative and exaggerated description. Our business is with 
the writer's evident acquaintance with the general existence and 
use of these precious ornaments in his own country ; a fact 
sufficiently clear from the accuracy of his description. 
Thistle- Among the brooches in the collection of the Royal Irish 

brooches. Academy are some with round knobs, a little below the head, 
and deeply carved diagonally, so as to give the knob, with its 
flat-topped head, the exact appearance of a thistle head. I am 
not aware that our Scottish kindred have as yet put forth any 
claims to the exclusive right to this ancient type of their modern 
national emblem. Neither am I aware that they have as yet 
discovered any specimens of this brooch in their own country, 
or that there is any particular reference to it, or to any other 
type, in their ancient writings. The only reference I have met, 
with regard to Scottish brooches, is found in a very ancient 
story in my possession, which relates the adventures of Cano, 
the son of Gartnan, and grand-nephew to Aedh Mac Gartnan, 
king of Scotland, a contemporary of St. Colum CilU. 
Reference to This young prince, Cano, was compelled to fly from Scotland 
brooches in into Ireland, to avoid the jealousy of his grand-uncle, who had 
cono'sonof already slain his father, and killed or dispersed all his people. 
This was about the year 620. After the death of his father, the 
young prince took counsel with his people, as the story tells us, 
in these words: " Well, now", said Cano, " it is better that we 
avoid this man, who has killed my father. We are not nearer 
to him than the man he has killed". " Where shall we go to?" 
said his people. " We will go into the land of Erinn", said he, 
" to a friend of ours". He caused canoes to be made. They 
went to the sea shore. This was the order in which they went 
down to the sea : fifty warriors ; a crimson five-folding cloak 
upon each man, two flesh-seeking spears in his hand, a shield, 
with a rim of gold at his back, a gold-hilted sword at his girdle, 
his gold-yellow hair falling down at his back. This too was the 
order in which their fifty wives accompanied them : each wore 
a green cloak, with borders of silver, a smock interwoven with 
thread of red gold, brooches (Deilgi) of gold, with full carvings, 
bespangled with gems of many colours, necklaces (Muinci) of 

(2) [original : ConAccACAt\iAj\fir> AgAf A^pc, triAp cifclu -oubcA ce- 

c6of\A fj\ecA ifin'O'ppAigi'o inctnge 6Ae; in tpej* fT e ^ t>ic"L<xi'obib rno-p- 

iminAcuAiivo on-oujAfAitro -OIA ^Ati : Aib conim p ooj\r>Aib 6ij\ AgAf Aipgic. 

ffiec AITO cecAtnur 1 -01 bpecriAfAib Leabhar na h-Uidhre, fol. 26, col. 1. 

6ir> ACAf A^-IC ACAf Acof A ifiiTo^Ai- See also Harlcian MSS., Tract 1. 5280, 

51-0; ACAf fpec t>o tntmcopcAib 61^ Brit. Mus.] 



highly burnished gold, a diadem (Mind) of gold upon the head 
of each. The fifty servants that attended them wore tunics of 
yellow silk. A chess board (Fithchell) upon the back of each 
servant, with men of gold and silver. A bronze Timpan (or 
harp) in the left hand of each servant ; and two gray hounds, in 
a silver chain, in his right hand. (245) 

Such then, is the very remarkable description of the noble 
Scottish exile and his retinue, on their visit to the monarch of 
Erinn, Diarmait, the son of Aedh Slaine, who received them 
hospitably, and rejected all the offers and solicitations of 'the 
King of Scotland, to betray them into his hands. I may remark 
further, in reference to these carved, or thistle-headed brooches, 
that not one of them has been yet discovered, with any kind of 
emblazonment or gems or composition; while several of the 
other types are found richly set with stones. 

Again ; in the ancient tale of the Bruighean Vaderga, or Da- Carved 
derg's court, we have the monarch Conaire Mtfr's own reasons mentioned 
for seeking the hospitality of Daderg's mansion, when forced to $ the tale 
fly from Tara, to avoid the plunderers and rebels who made a 
sudden irruption into the district. This is the monarch's claim on 
Daderg, and in his own words: " Daderg of Leinster", said 
Conaire, " came to solicit gifts from me ; and he did not come 
to find a refusal. I bestowed upon him an hundred high class 
cows ; an hundred fat hogs ; an hundred crimson-mixed glossy 
cloaks ; an hundred blue-coloured death-giving swords ; ten 
carved brooches (Deilci) of gold; ten keeves, fine noble vessels; 
ten slaves ; ten ewes ; three times nine white hounds in their silver 
chains ; with an hundred gifted steeds, as fleet as roebucks"/ 246 ' 

We have another reference to the carved brooch, such as the 

<*) [original: fHAic C^A op CAHO, 5'o. ich6ett f. o\\ mtiin CA 

if f.eAf.f. x>un imgAbAit in-o f-if-f e, f co &f.Aib oif, ACAf Aif-git). 

tt1A|\b Af. ttACAIf.. til f.A1Cf1U AJV CA1f>- Cf\e-OA 111 1A11T1 cLl 1t1 glU,A J T>A mi- 

OeAf -DO 1HAf 1tt fCAf. f.O mAj\b. C1A CO111 Af. flAbf,A AI^JI'O 111A l/Aim 'Oeif. 

LeAt i\ejmA? A-|\ A muincei\. fte^- H. 2. 16. col. 789, mid.] 

mAic icif ne^in-o co in-b^ACAU -otm. ^ 248) [original: 'OA'oeiAgA -oitAsmb, 

t)o gmceAfx cu|AAc 1/Aif. tocA]\ oo- ot ConAiiAe, pimc cucumfA em ol. 

CUm C]\ACCA. 1f AmlAI'O T)0 T>ec1lA- COMA1t\e 'OO CUItlglT) AfCet>A, ACAf til 

OA^ -oocVium mA]VA, .1. coecA tAec; (6uit)6i > o conepA. tlAni|\ufA imcec 

bfVAG CO|VC|\A coic "oiAbAlcA im coc mbo boftAtiA ; pAtin -im cec muc 

MAI, T)A fteig coic]MnT)i inA tAitn, muccg^AfpA; J\AIIM imcec mbpAC cw - 

tciAcco m-buAitij; OI^^AIIA, ctoiT)eb nAgArcl/ife ectic; \\&t\r\ imcec n^Air- 

o|votiifvn fo^A cyvif, A mong oixbtiToe cet) ngo^m -OA^A nsubAe; pArm im- 

OA|\A Ai-p. AY Am I/AIT) oo > oeACA'OA'j\ -oeic rrdeitci Tje|\CA p oio|\t)A ; -j\An im 

in coecA bAti : b|\AC ViuAine co cof- -oei6 n-oAbcA T>e oLcA -oeic -oonriAe ; 

cAjwib A^vgAic, tetie co M--oen5 irro- i\Anri im .x mogu ; JAAMH im x meite; 

l,eAT> 01^, -oeiL^i oii\ tAnecAi|\ co pArm im c^i .ix. con nengel ititiA 

m-b]\eAccf AT> n-jem mVoACAd, ftAb^A'DAib Ai^woib ; |\Atiti im c. 

muinci -016^ )?oj\toircci, m-m-o oi|\ MCC mbuAt)A, Viife-o^An^Aib off n6g. 

f.opA cint) CACAL 1n coecA 11-51 tl,A Leabhar na h-Uidhre, f. 59, col. 1 

itiAf\A T)O ficA buiti impu co n-Af.- and 2.] 




Reference of 
in book of 

reference to 
a carved 
brooch in a 
ascribed to 

Scottish ladies are represented above as having worn. This 
reference is found in the ancient Book of Munster, where we 
are told that after the unfair death of Eoghan M6r, king of 
Munster, at the hands of the friends of Conn of " the Hundred 
Battles", in the battle of Magh Leana, in the King's county, 
fought A.D. 180, we are told that after this occurrence, Mac 
Niadh, the son of Eoghan, the deceased king, threatened Conn 
with a new war unless he was paid the usual eric, or composi- 
tion, for the death of his father. To this condition, we are 
told, king Conn was advised to assent; and therefore there were 
paid to Mac Niadh two hundred riding steeds, and two hun- 
dred chariots, and Conn's own ring of gold, and his precious 
carved pin or brooch, and his sword and shield ; with two hun- 
dred ships, two hundred spears, two hundred swords, two hun- 
dred hounds, two hundred slaves, and Sadhbh Conn's daughter 
to wife. 

I shall only give one more reference to this carved brooch, 
which, however, does not in this instance appear under the 
name Dealg, but under that of E6. This reference occurs in an 
ancient poem ; ascribed to Oisin, the celebrated son of Find 
Mac CumhailL 

It appears that a dispute arose in the presence of Find Mac 
Cumhaill among some of his warriors as to their respective pro- 
ficiency in chess-playing. The sons of Cruimchenn boasted that 
they would beat the celebrated Diarmait O'Duibhne and his 
comrade at this old game. Find, however, made peace between 
the disputants, and Oisin says : (247) 

" He, Diarmait of the brown hair, then challenged them, 

The sons of Cruimchenn of the martial deeds, 

Two Fails of gold from each of them 

To stake upon the one game. 
" It was not long after getting rid of our anger, 

Till we saw coming towards us over the plain 

A large, beautiful, admirable young champion, 

Stern, manly, and truly brave. 
" A silver sandal on his left foot, 

With shining precious stones beset ; 

A golden sandal on his right foot: 

Though strange, it was no ungraceful arrangement. 

< 247 ) [original: 
Tlof jpeAttnA-o IA-O 
mAc Cpuimcinn 


irn -OA f.Ait 6if\ cedcA]v6e Aff ALCAIC irtiA coif cli, 

x>o cAbAipc AiiAon cLuice. 5 t/ij;Aib UogmApA 1i ; 

doif n-oeif : 

cotin iot>Aj\ 


cugAin f AH 
ocUxec mop, AtAirm, 


" A cloak over his breast the champion bore, 
And a kilt of fine soft satin ; 
A brooch (E6) well carved of brown gold, 
In the splendid cloak of graceful points. 
" A helmet of yellow gold upon his head, 
With carved lions, at full spring ; 
A green shield at his back was seen, 
With art of maiden hands displayed". 

I have quoted more from this poem than was strictly neces- 
sary for my immediate object ; but the whole passage is so curi- 
ous, and at the same time illustrative of the subject of dress and 
ornament, that I could not well omit any of it. I shall return 
further on to the first stanza when discussing the subject of Fails. 

But the splendid pins of ancient times were not always of the Brooches of 
precious metals. Besides the brooches of gold and silver to which Fmdmfne. 
we have so many ancient references, we have in the Tain Bo 
Chuailgne, instances of brooches of Umha, or ordinary bronze, 
and of Findruine, about which we are at a loss to know whether 
it was a distinct metallic alloy, a kind of white bronze, or gold, 
or silver, or some special style of carving and ornamentation of 
white metal. 

Before passing away from the subiect of these old brooches, chasedgoia 

i T .1 ' T T i i-n -i Pins used 

however, 1 think 1 may be justified in giving some reason to down to the 
think that the use of chased gold pins came down to a compa- thw"en 
ratively late period. From a poem, written about the year 1190, century. 
by GillabrighdS Mac Conmidhe, a distinguished poet of the pro- 
vince of Ulster, for Dermot O'Brien, chief of the Dalcassian 
race of Munster, and of which I possess, I believe, an unique 
copy, we discover that the manufacture of costly brooches and 
such articles had not then gone out of use. The poet com- 

Elains of some hardships the lay literary orders of Ireland were 
ibouring under at the time, and calls on the great Dalcassian 
chief to take the lead in redressing and correcting them. He 
dwells in glowing terms on the beauties and importance of gene- 
ral literature, but more particularly on poetry, which was his 
own profession. He compares the effect of his art on the words 
of a language, to the impress of the artist's hand on the raw ma- 
terial of gold ; and in illustration of the latter idea, he writes the 
following stanza : 

nocAf\ be AH GitvoeVt Auroeif. 50 neAlcA-ib leotriAn 

bj\Ac o-p Abpuinne 5011 lAec, fciAfc tiAine OJ-A -o^tntn JATI ACC, 

if teineT) -oomiii f]\oiVl ITIAOC ; 50 ng^ef ingine ITIAC'DACG. 

e6 1A|\ HA eAcco]\ o'o|\ oorm, MSS. Koyal Irish Academy, No. 

oo bi ipn mbi\Ac mbUic mbeAtin- ZL (H. & S. collection), p. 441, bot., 

. and !4 2 8tanza 41 
ot\buit>e ittiA ceAtin 


" The gold brooch (Dealg}, though it gets the praise, 
When the artist makes it lustrous by his art, 
It is to the artist the praise is really due, 
Who thus has beautified the brooch". (248) 
Although I have not exhausted my list of pins under various 
names, I must through want of space pass for the present to the 
consideration of some other personal ornaments of the people of 
ancient Erinn. And as the ornaments nearest to the pins in 
order and frequency of allusion are perhaps rings, I shall pro- 
ceed to describe them next. 

of thediffe- Of rings there was a great variety, under the various names 
rings. Fail) Fainne or Faidne, Fiam, Ornasc, Dornasc, Orduise, Budne 
or Buinne, Fornasc, Nose, Idh, etc. The Fail, I believe, was 
an open ring, or bracelet, for the wrist, arm, or ankle. Fainne 
continues to be the ordinary name to this day for a closed finger 
ring. The Fiam was a chain which went round the neck. The 
Ornasc was also a finger-ring. The Dornasc was a bracelet for 
the wrist. The Orduise were rings for the thumbs. The Budne 
was a twisted or corded ring, bracelet, or circle, formed out of 
one twisted bar or several strands of gold or silver. The Nasc 
was a fillet-ring, or garter, and when compounded with the 
word Niadh, a champion, it signified something like a knight 
of the garter, exactly as these words are understood at this day ; 
because the Nasc- Niadh was in fact worn on the leg ; but the 
wearer was obliged to establish his title to it on the field of 
battle, sword in hand. In those remote, and, if you will, rude 
times, the fawning on prime ministers seems to have been but 
a poor way of obtaining decorations and dignities. 

Of the Fornasc I cannot well form an idea. The name occurs 
in the enumeration of the trinkets of king Ailill and queen 
Medbh in the opening of the Tain Bo Chuailgne, along with the 
Fainne, the Fail, and the Orduise; and as the word is com- 
pounded of the intensitive or super- adjective prefix for, and the 
noun Nasc, it very probably was the general name for those 
splendid gold bracelets, or armlets, which terminate at the extre- 
mities in cups of various degrees of depth and regularity of shape. 
The Fainne Of the Fainne, or ordinary finger-ring, we find a reference 
confine the which shows that the article which bore that name was used 
for other personal purposes. Thus, in the Courtship of Maine, 
the Connacht prince, and Ferb, the daughter of Gerg, preserved 
in the " Book of Leinster", we are told of Maine and his atten- 
dants, that: 

< 248 ) [original. Af t>on eAfvo Ap mo Af motxyoh, 

An "oeAtj oif\ dt)n e liiotcAip, AH -oeAts "oo oAcliujViA'oVi. 

niAttiAf ceAjXT) cy\ec 1 n moclix)Aib1i, O'C. MSS.,L. of Saints, vol. ii.,p. 283.] 


" They all had green shields ; and if they owed a dish of gold, xxvi. 
or silver, or bronze, one rivet from the spear of each man would 
pay it ; and all with their hair confined by Fainnes, or rings of 
gold". (2 * 9) 

I have already shown in a quotation from the Navigation of Hair rings 
Maelduins Ship, and elsewhere, that the hair was sometimes seventeenth 
confined by a spiral ring of gold or other metal. This custom centur y- 
came down to a very late period, as we find from a poem of 
Eochaidh 'Beoghusa, poet to Mac Guire of Fermanagh about 
the year 1630. The subject of this poem, which consists of 
forty-one stanzas, is a lament on the flagging energies of the 
Irish in opposing the English oppressor and wrong-doer. In 
comparing the then living generation with those which had 
gone before, he bursts into the following passionate strain in 
the tenth stanza: 

" No youth is now seen in the gage of combat, 
Nor a warrior's armour close by his bed, 
Nor a sword sucking the palm of the hand, 
Nor does the frost bind the ring of the hair". (250) 

Of the Fail, which appears to me to have been an open brace- fans worn 
let, I have already, from the Courtship of Bee Fola, given a arm.'forVhe 6 
most important instance of their being worn on the arms all up blowing* 
from the wrist to the shoulder ; and the same is told of NuadcCs theni u P n _ 
wife, a Leinster lady, that she had her arms covered with Fails 
of gold, for the purpose of bestowing them on the poets and 
other professors of arts who visited her court. That this species 
of munificence was not of a limited character, many instances 
could be adduced; but, as the case requires but little if any 
illustration, a little incident from the ancient tract of the " Dia- 
logue of the Ancient Men", in the " Book of Lismore, will be 
sufficient as an example. 

" Cailte, the faithful lieutenant of Find Mac Cumhaill, being example of 
travelling through the country of Connacht on a certain day, Book of 
met a certain chieftain's wife, attended by ten fair ladies. After Lism 
some conversation as to whence Cailte had come and whither he 
was going, the lady, perceiving that he had a musician with him, 
asked : ' Who is this musician in thy company, O Cailte f said 
the lady. ' Cos Corach, the son of Caincinde, the best musician 
of all the Tuatha D6 Dananri 1 , said Cailte, ' and even the best 
musician in Erinn or Alba! [that is, Scotland]. ' His counten- 
ance is good', said the lady, ' if his performance is equally good' 
(2) i have not been able to find this passage.] 
<*) [original: 

11 i pMjjcep 5itA,e Ag geAll, cpeAfA, til ceAngtAtin peAoi'6 fAiritieftntc. 

U6ic Uitri |\e ctnlc, _MSS. K.I.A. Mo. =2= (O'Gara MS.) 
p ^ stanza 10.] 


X * VI - ' On our word', said Cailte, ' though good his countenance, his 
music is better'. ' Take thy Timpan, O young man', said she. 
He did take it, and played, and freely performed for her. The 
lady then gave him the two fails that were upon her arms". (251) 
It would appear from the first stanza of the poem attributed 
to Oisin, which I quoted above, (252) that these fails or armlets 
were sometimes pledged as stakes at the chess board. 
of the From the bracelet called the fail, let us now pass to the ring, 

cjied a or bracelet, which was called Budne, or JBuinne. The word 
literally means a wave of the sea, or, in domestic art, the wave 
or strong welt of rods which basket-makers weave like a rope 
in their work, to give it strength and firmness. In the metallic 
arts, this kind of work was produced by two different modes. 
The first was by twisting a round, square, or flat bar of metal, 
so as to give it a spiral or screw form. This is the ordinary 
mode still. The second mode was, by taking a solid square bar 
or prism of metal, and cutting out of it with a chisel along the 
lines of the longitudinal edges, at the four sides, all the solid 
metal, to within a thread or line of the centre, and leaving 
standing, along the edges, a thin leaf of the metal ; so that when 
the whole is cleared out, what was a solid bar before, now con- 
sists of a mere skeleton, formed of four thin leaves standing out 
at right angles from a central axis, and proceeding, as it were, 
along its line, from the two solid ends, which were not at all 
hollowed out. Two specimens of Budnes, or ropes of gold, 
manufactured after the latter mode, have been found together 
at Tara, one smaller and more delicate than the other; the 
smaller one was perhaps intended for a woman. I shall have 
more to say on these two ornaments in the next lecture. 

(**i) original: Cnec in cAinfroed -oeAlb, if t^PF A Ainp-oedc. 5eib 

tic AtrpAn,f\A A CnAiLce ? An, An mgen. t>o cimp<vn A oc"LAig, Ajvp. AgAf |\o- 

CAf ConA6 171AC CAinC1TTD1 AinpT>e6 Ab AgAf nobd 1CA f epIAT), AgAf 1CA 

C. O. t). tnl/i AJ\ CAitce, AgAf in cAin- fAei^feinm. Cue iA|\uin An mgen 

p-oec if fe|\n A neijvmn AgAf A nAU- m-OA f AlA-6 boi imniA tAthtnb -60. 

DAin. AY ITIAIC A'oeAlb, An An mgen, Book of Lismore (O'Curry's copy, 

mAfA tnAich A Ai^pcer*. X)An An R.I.A.), f. 239. a. col. 1.] 
tn-bneicen Am, An. CAitce, 51-6 TTIAIC A (2M ) Ante, voL ii. p. 166. 


[Delivered 19th July, I860.] 

(VIII.) DRESS AND ORNAMENTS (continued). Anonymous notice of Irish 
Torques; description of two found at Tara; accounts of Torques found in 
England; no account of Torques in the works of older Irish antiquaries; 
those found at Tara bought in 1813 by Alderman West of Dublin ; the 
author does not agree with the anonymous writer as to the mode of pro- 
duction of the Tara Torques. Uses of the Tara Torques ; reference to such 
a ring of gold for the waist in an ancient preface to the Tain Bo Chuailgne ; 
another reference to such a ring in an account of a dispute about the man- 
ner of death of Fothadh Airgteach between king Mongan and the poet Dal- 
ian Forgaill from the Leabhar na k- Uidhre ; CaUte's account of his mode of 
burial ; a hoop or waist-torque among the ornaments placed on Fothadh'a 
stone coffin. Story of Cormac Mac dirt and Lugaidh Laga showing one of 
the uses of rings worn on the hands. Ornaments for the neck ; the Muinche ; 
first used in the time of Muineamhon (circa B.C. 1300) ; mentioned in a poem 
of Ferceirtne on Curoi Mac Daire; also in account of the Battle of Magh 
Leana. The Niamh Land or flat crescent of gold worn on the head, as well as 
on the neck. The Neck-Torque of Cormac Mac Airt. Descriptions of the 
dress and ornaments of Bee Fola. The Muinche mentioned in the tale of 
the " Wanderings of Maelduin'a Canoe", and in the story of Cano. Muinche 
and Land used also for the neck ornaments of animals and spears. Use of 
the term Muintorcs. Of the Mad-Land mentioned in the Tain Bo Fraich. 
The ferrule of a spear called a Muinche in the account of the Battle of Magh 
Leana ; discovery of such a ring in Kerry ; the term also used for the collars 
of grayhounds, chiefly in Fenian tales. Mention of the Tore in its simple 
form in the Book of Leinster. Of the Land or lunette ; it formed part of 
the legal contents of a lady's workbag, and of the inheritance of daughters. 
The Land was worn on the head as well as on the neck, as shown by the de- 
scriptions of Conaire Mor'a head charioteer and apprentice charioteers ; and 
also of his poets. 

I SHOULD not have ventured to offer so unartistic, and indeed 
so very dry, a description of the very beautiful ornaments to 
which I alluded at the end of the last lecture, while I might 
have availed myself of a very learned and artistic description 
already published, but that I differ in opinion with the writer 
of that description, whoever he may be, as to the manner of 
manufacture and mode of wearing them. The description or Anonymous 
account of these ornaments of which I have just spoken ap- ? r sh eo 
peared anonymously in " Saunders's News-letter" of the 31st of Tor< i ue ; 
December, 1830; and as it contains all that is known of the 
history of these articles, and the thoughts and observations of a 
scholar, I shall quote from it as much as appears pertinent to 
my present purpose. The article in question is headed " Anti- 
quities : The Irish Torques". After which it proceeds : 


xxvii. Two specimens of this ancient, and now extremely rare 
description ornament, were discovered about eighteen years ago, in some 
at Tara-"" 1 reclaimed ground, at Tarah, in the county Meath. They are 
wreathed bars of pure gold, nearly five feet in length, bent 
into a circular form, flexible, but returning with elasticity into 
their natural curved shape ; each bar consists of four flat bands, 
most accurately united along one of their edges, and then 
closely and spirally twisted throughout the whole length. The 
extremities end in smooth solid truncated cones, suddenly re- 
flected backwards so as to form two hooks, which can be 
brought naturally to clasp in one another. Perpendicularly 
from the base of one of these cones proceeds a gold wire, a 
quarter of an inch thick and eight inches long, terminating 
also in a solid conical hook. This last appendage is deficient 
in every other torque that we have seen or read of, and adds 
considerable difficulty to what already existed in explaining 
the use of these expensive and singularly wrought ornaments 
The weight of the larger is about twenty-five ounces ; of the 
lesser, fifteen ounces. 

" Three particulars contribute to render these ornaments 
objects of great interest to the antiquarian their invariably 
wreathed or twisted form ; the perfect purity of the gold they 
are composed of; and, lastly, there being no other ornament in 
the use of which so many nations have conspired. The Egyp- 
tians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, and almost every people of 
ancient Europe, have adorned themselves with them in the 

accounts of early periods of their history Of English writers 

found e tn Lhuyd is the first who published an account of the torques. 
England, The Qne he Describes was found A.D. 1692, at Harlech, Merion- 
eth ; its weight, eighty ounces ; length, nearly four feet. An- 
other is described by Woodward, in his ' Collection of Curiosi- 
ties', published in 1728. In 1787, a torque weighing thirteen 
ounces was discovered by a labourer at Ware. Fearing that it 
might be claimed by the lord of the manor, he sold it to a 
Jew, who melted it ; a drawing, however, had been previously 
taken, and appeared in the ' Gentleman's Magazine 1 for Sep- 
tember, 1800. 

no account " It strikes us as not a little singular that this splendid proof 
the works of of the ancient wealth and adornment of our island should hi- 
ies; therto have escaped the observation of every Irish antiquarian. 
No trace whatever can be discovered in the writings of Keat- 
ing, Ware, Pocock, or Ledwich, which manifests the least ac- 
quaintance with it. It has even eluded the research of the pa- 
triotic Vallancey. 

" The specimens which have given rise to this article", con- 


tinues the writer, "were purchased in the year 1813 by the 
late Alderman West, and have since remained at his estab- those found 
lishment in Skinner Row, open to the inspection of the cu- bought m 
rious. They are evidently the production of the most re- Axeman 
mote antiquity, and, with the exception of two others, much West- 
smaller in dimensions and inferior in design, are the only 
relics from the existence of which we can lay claim to an 
ornament so much prized by the civilized portion of the an- 
cient world. On no other occasion have two torques been 
discovered together. The regal solidity of the one is con- 
trasted with the feminine lightness of the other ; and, if we 
are allowed to annex any importance to the site where they 
were found, we consider it rather surprising that monuments 
such as these should have so long remained unnoticed by the 

" We are induced to offer the foregoing remarks in hopes that 
the attention of the curious will be directed to the acquisition 
of these invaluable ornaments, which will be offered for sale, 
this day, by the executors of the late Mr. West". 

With the deepest respect and gratitude to the, to me un- Author does 
known, writer of this learned and candid article, I feel that witifanony- 
I must differ from his assumption and conclusions as to the to S the itei 
mode of manufacturing these two particular ornaments, and their u c d t f f a p ,' 
object and use. I do not believe indeed they bear ample use of the 
evidence to the contrary that they were produced by twisting Torques ; 
a wreathed bar of gold. Neither do I believe that these capa- 
cious circlets were ever intended to be worn as torques at the 
neck, although there is good reason to believe that ornaments 
of a similar form, but of much narrower compass, were so worn. 
In support of my first opinion I have only to direct an examina- 
tion of the article itself, to convince any one, in my mind, that 
it was chiselled out of a solid bar of gold. In support of my 
second opinion, as to the object and use of ornaments of this 
size and type, I trust I shall be able in a few words to show, 
that they were not ornaments for the neck, as well as what they 
really were. I believe that they were girdles, or circlets, to go uses of the 
round the body ; and it is singular that Gibbon, in his edition of Torques; 
Camden's ' Britannia', comes to the same conclusion, but with 
some modification ; he thought they were belts from which the 
ancients suspended their quivers of arrows. There appears to 
me no better way of disposing of this curious and long standing 
question, than by bringing forward one or two examples from 
our ancient writings, in which various kinds of personal orna- 
ments are enumerated, and by contrast and external knowledge, 
to define the use and place of each, and see if among them, there 



reference to 
such a ring 
of gold for 
the waist iii 
an ancient 
preface to 
Tain Bo 

Another re- 
ference to 
such a ring 
from the 
Leabhar na 

about the 
manner of 
death of 
Dalian For- 
gaill and 
king Mon- 

shall not be found an appropriate description, name, and place, 
for these very articles. 

It may be remembered that at the opening of the last lec- 
ture, (253) I translated from an ancient Gaedhelic MS., a gorgeous 
description of the cavalcade which attended upon Bobhdh Dearg, 
the great Tuatha DS Danann chief of Magli Femhen, in Tippe- 
rary, when he went on a visit to his friend Ochall Oichne, at the 
hill of Cruachan in Connacht. Upon that occasion we are told 
that each man of the seven score charioteers and seven score 
horsemen of the retinue, wore, among other ornaments, a helmet, 
or cap (Cend-Barr), beset with crystal and Findruine upon his 
head ; and a radiant blade (Niamh-Land) of gold around his 
neck, with a gem worth a new milch cow set in its centre (Fir- 
sine) ; and a wavy ring (Bouinde do At or Bunne do At) around 
each man, worth thirty ounces or ungas of gold. 

Here we have the three most costly articles of personal orna- 
mentation, set out with so much precision as to leave no diffi- 
culty whatever about their identification. There is, first, the 
Cend-Barr, or cap, or whatever its form may have been, upon 
the head, ornamented with crystal stones and Findruine. There 
is, in the second place, the Niamh-Land, or radiant crescent, of 
gold, with a gem worth a new milch cow, around the neck. 
This was a torque or gorget of the level fashion, and from its 
name, which is not an uncommon one, it could not possibly 
have been a spiral or twisted article. Next comes the Bunne 
or Bouinde do At, that is, the wavy or twisted ring, which we 
are told each man wore around him ; and from its size, estimated 
by its value or weight of thirty ounces, it requires no argument 
to prove that it could only have been worn where we are told, 
around the body. 

I shall only give one other reference to the wavy ring, or 
Bunne do At, where it is placed in such a contrast as, like the 
last case, to leave no room to doubt its use and destination. In 
an ancient story preserved in Leabhar na h- Uidhre in the library 
of the Royal Irish Academy, we are told, that at a certain time 
a dispute in historical questions arose between Mongan, king 
of Ulster, who died in the year 620, and Dalian Forgaill, so 
well known as the writer of the celebrated elegy on the death 
of Saint Colum CilU. The king Mongan one day asked the 
poet, where and what was the manner of the death of Fothadh 
Airgteach [one of the three Fothadh brothers, who reigned 
conjointly over Erinn for one year, between the years of our 
Lord 284 and 285] ; the poet answered that Fothadh Airg- 
teach had been slain in the Dubthir of Leinster [now Duffern 
< 253 > See Lect xxvi., ante, vol. ii., p. 156. 


in the county of Wexford] . The king Mongan said that this xxvn. 
was not true, whereupon the poet said that he would satirize 
him for presuming to doubt his veracity, and not only that, 
but that he would satirize his father, and mother, and grand- 
father, who were a long time dead ; that he would satirize the 
waters of the country, so that no fish could live or be caught 
in them ; the trees, so that no fruit should be borne by them ; 
and the plains, so that they should for ever remain barren of any 
produce. The king then agreed to pay to the poet whatever 
he should demand as far as three times seven cumhals, or sixty- 
three cows, if in three days' time he should not be able to prove 
that the poet's account of the death of Fothadh Airgteach was 
not true. This offer was accepted by the poet, out of respect 
to Breothigirn, the king's beautiful and bountiful wife. 

At the end of three days of great anxiety to the king and 
queen, a strange warrior appeared at their court with the head- 
less handle of a spear in his hand. He made his way into the 
palace, took his seat near the king, and asked what they were 
concerned about. " A wager I have made", said Mongan, " with 
yonder poet about the place of death of Fothadh Airgteach; 
he said it happened in Dubthir of Leinster: I said it was 
false". (254) The warrior said it was false on the part of the 
poet. You will be sorry, said Dalian Forgaill [the poet], to 
have contradicted me. I shall not, said the warrior, I shall 
prove it. " We were along with Find Mac Cumhaiir, said the CaUMs ac- 
warrior, " on our return from Alba [now Scotland] , when we co 
met with Fothadh Airgteach here at Ollarbha [near Larne in 
the county Antrim]. We fought a battle there. I threw a 
spear at him", said he, " which passed through him and entered 
the ground on the other side of him ; and it left its iron blade 
in the ground there. This", said he, " is the handle which 
was in that spear. The bald rock from which I threw that 
cast will be found there ; and the blade of the spear will be 
found in the ground ; and the tomb of Fothadh Airgteach [will 

l: ItricornAncAntnon- f ecu cumat : .... 

gAtt A plit> IAA tiAtro, ciAnA-oe-ofod- CnAc mbAGAn Atvo At^gAnan pen 

ATO Aingcig ; Afb&nc pongolA, goice t>un nAi6 An -oef, Abnuc hipunci- 

itn 'Ou bcAin iAigen. ^be^ctnon^Ari put, uni, Acuf TMcelcun mriA tAim 

bA 56 ; apbenc in t^ 1 tiot> nAinpeo nA-obuenbec. Colmj; n^TT* cnAn-o- 

Ait> Aicjptro, Acuy no AenpAD A ACAin, fin GAJUIA ce6jvA J\AA cAtnbdi ron 

Actif A-mAGAin,Acuf A fenACAin, ACUf Un tif ; 'oifu-oivi comboi jron LAn 

oo ce6nu-o ronAntifcm connA gebtA in-o nig feAige ; oifti'oiu comboi ecen 

iAfc mA mbenAib, wo cednux) fon THon5An ACU^ pnAigi'o ^on 

A ^ret)Aib conA cibnicAif conA'o, AtiAnc. 1n pti m lAncAn in 

fonA niAige corncif Atnbnici cAi'ddi |rni nig AniAn. SegAin incefc 

CACA6LAint)e. t)o fAnnAi-o tnongAn 1715, -peAt) mijocUsiis ou-OAmc. CTO 

t6 iDifecAib cocici ^ecc cu- t)AeAn fun-o oipitnu, 

no oAfecc cumAt, no cni ITlongAn, ACUJ* m pii ucuc im 



a hoop, or 
among the 
placed on 
stone coffin. 

be found] near it, a little on the east. There is a stone coffin 
around him there in the ground. His two Fails [or bracelets] 
of silver, and his Bunne do At, and his neck-torque \_Muintorc\ 
of silver, are laid upon his coffin ; and there is a rock standing 
at his tomb ; and there is an Ogham inscription in the end which 
the ground of the rock; and what is written in it is: 

is in 

' Eochaidh [or Fothadh] Airgteach is here, who was killed by 
Cailte in battle, on the side of Find". Our warriors buried him 
as I have described", continues the young man, " and his funeral 
obsequies were performed [by us]". 

It remains only to be told, that the warrior who had so timely 
come to the relief and rescue of king Mongan was no other than 
the spirit of the celebrated Cailte, the cousin and special favour- 
ite of Find Mac Cumhaill. This Mongan was the most learned 
and wise layman of his time : so remarkable were his knowledge 
and wisdom that people believed him to be Find Mac Cumftaill 
himself; and this belief or fact is asserted in the present legend. 
It is not, however, with Mongan personally that I am at pre- 
sent concerned, but with the important facts, for such I take 
them to be, connected with the tomb of the monarch Fothadh 
Airgteach. Of some of these facts I hope to make important 
use in my future lectures, if I be spared, and to the others I 
shall now refer with as much brevity as possible. 

Indeed I have but to call attention back to the articles which 
are stated in this curious legend to have been deposited upon 
the stone coffin of king Fothadh Airgteach. These were his two 
Fails, or armlets of silver; his two Bunnes do At, or twisted 
hoops, but whether of silver or gold is not stated, and his Muin- 
torc, or neck-torque of silver. Here, as in the former case 
and in the absence of the diadem which is not mentioned we 
find the three most important articles of ornament grouped in 
such a way as to leave no doubt in my mind of the use of each. 

fom ipti 

"Oubcop t/Agen : Ap\ubAf\cfA if 56. 
<V]"bef\c in coclAd bA 56 -ootro pLnx 
th-o AIC tig ol, ^o^olt ciVle -OA 
TJummAicgeoT). tli bAAfon o\, in 
c6clA6, ppoinpci]\. b<ini^i|Mii IAC- 
|~A bApn ot in coclAd ; A-OAUCC ob 
tTIonjAn rnmAicpn bAmAtMii tA'pirro 
C^A olfe oulo'omup oiALbAe. itn - 
mA|\nAcmA|\ pvi 'Pocti'o nAifvgcec Vn 
pjnt) ACCUC pof\OL1of\bi. p6im- 

t)1A l\of A A^OU'Ofl ; ACUf fO- 

AtiAi|\ iAf\rm 1-pn 


CO]\ fA1|\ CO r^C Cf\1C CoVUlI 

Acf conpxcAb A 

cto6e nmbi AITO 
A tJif AiL AIJAJIC, Acuf A t>i butine x>o 
AC, ACUf A muinco|\c Aipjic fop A 
dom|\Ai]\ ; AC|" ACA coipce ocAulAi-o ; 
ocf ACA ogotn ipti cint) pt lii cAl- 
lx\m tin coi|\ci ; in L AITO : eo- 
cuit* Aif\gceAC 
itnmAejviuc pM 

0che f.1. -oo gmcef] tAf in6cl,Ai6 
A|\i6c fAtnLAi-o ule ACUf p3)?ei\cA. 
Leabhar na h-Uidhre, f 83. b. a. col. 


It is remarkable, however, that there are two Budnes, or hoops, xxvu. 
mentioned here, but whether accurately or not, we have not now 
the means to ascertain. It is remarkable too, that while we are 
told the armlets and necklace were of silver, the metal of which 
the Budne or twisted ring was made is not specified: and 
might not this reserve imply that the article was invariably 
made of gold? 

As I have already stated, Budne was a name descriptive of 
artistic fashion, and not of size or particular destination, and it 
is therefore that we have found it already confining a lady's 
hair, and in the following instance adorning a warrior's hands. 
Lugliaidh Laga, as stated already, was a distinguished prince story of 
and warrior of Munster, brother to Oilioll Oluim, the celebrated Ab-T&na 
king of Munster in the middle of the third century, and ances- j,aga^ow- 
tor of all the great families of that province. When Cormac jj? se 
Mac Airt came to the sovereignty of Erinn in the year 227, 
he was immediately opposed by the three Ferguses, brothers, 
princes of Ulster, who drove him out of Tara, and forced him, 
to fly to Munster for relief. His father's sister, Sadhbh, was the 
wife of Oilioll Oluim, the king of that province, and to her 
grandson, Tadhg, the son of Cian, son of Oilioll Oluim, he ap- 
plied for relief and assistance to regain his inheritance. Tadhg 
consented, but advised the deposed monarch to procure the 
assistance of Lughaidh Lagha, his, Tadhg's, grand-uncle, who 
was a superannuated warrior, and who had on a former occa- 
sion cut off Cormac's father's head in the battle of Magh Mue~ 
ruimhe in the county of Galway. 

Cormae succeeded in this, and the Munstermen, under the 
command of Tadhg and Lughaidh, marched into Meath, and 
past Tara, to the place called Crinna, near the present ruined ab- 
bey of Mellifont. Here the hostile forces met ; the Ulstermen were 
defeated, the three Ferguses killed by Lugaidh, who presented 
their three heads to Cormac; whereupon Cormac said: "His 
hand does not conceal from Laga that he has slain kings". And 
this is explained by the statement that he had " seven Buinni 
or twisted rings on his hand or on his fingers". This is found 
in the Book of Lecan, folio 124, a. ; but in another reference to 
the same fact, at folio 137, b.a., of the same book, it is made 
seven Failgi or rings of gold upon his hands. (255) Whether the 
number of these J3udni, or Failgi, worn by the warriors in 
general in the olden times, bore any relation to the number of 

(855) pThe original of the passage at The following is the original of the 

f. 124. a. (marg. col. mid.) is: 1r ce passage at f. 137. b. a. (top): Hi ceiV, 

Afbepc COJMTIAC fjMr m eiL A A ooit> op IAJA poVi&]M6 oo^igAi, 

OOTO -pop VAJA |\obi f\igA, .1. AreAcVic .1. AfeAtc FAttgi oij\ itriA LAim. See 

nxn oij\ iniA OOTO no tnA meoj\. also Lect. xxvi., ante, vol. ii., p. 156.] 

VOL. II. 12 


_ X _ XV1T - kings or chiefs slain by them in battle, I cannot say, but in the 
remark of king Cormac upon Lughaidh's hand, there is good 
reason to believe that he implied this curious fact. 

Before passing away from this class of ornaments, I mean the 
ring, I shall have to speak more particularly, but still briefly, of 
the neck -torques, or gorgets, which have been so often inciden- 
tally introduced into those lectures. 

ofornaments The necklace, or gorget, like the smaller rings, had several 
ec ' names, such as Muinche, Muintorc, Land, Fiam. Of these the 
Muinche, as the word literally signifies, was a generic name for 
any kind of ring or bracelet for the neck. The Muintorc, which 
is a name compounded of Muin, the neck, and Tore, a torque, 
means of course, a neck-torque. The Land was simply a blade 
or leaf of gold or silver, and Fiam was a real chain of either of 
these metals. The Muinche and the Muintorc, from what is 
known of them, were evidently blades or leaves of gold or silver, 
of a certain artistic fashion. While the Land, as its name im- 
plies, was a simple flat, or level blade of metal ; and the Fiam 
was a chain of some fashion, or mode of linking, of which no 
specimen has as yet come within the range of my knowledge/ 256 ' 

The There is mention of a Muinche, however, with a qualification, 

which leads me to think that it was not a blade or leaf of metal, 
but a wreath, a Budne, or twisted ring of metal, on a smaller 
scale than the Budne, which Went around the body ; this was 
the Muinche do At. It must be admitted too. that the name 
Muinche is often applied to any kind of ring or band for the 
human neck, or for the neck of a spear, a dog, or for any other 
purpose of that kind. The following recapitulation of the refe- 
rences to this article of personal ornament which have from time 
to time been introduced into these lectures may be useful. The 

First used in first reference to the Muinche that I am acquainted with occurs 
in the " Annals of the Four Masters", so far back as the year of 
the world's age 3872, or about one thousand three hundred 
years before the Incarnation. Thus speak the Annals : 

" At the end of the fifth year of [the Milesian monarch] 
Muineamhon, he died of the plague in Magh Aidhne. It was 
this Muineamhon that first placed Muinches of gold upon the 
necks of kings and chiefs in Erinn". 

And we are told by the old etymologists that this man's real 
name was Maine Mor, or Maine the great, but that after his 
institution of the order of the collar of gold he received and re- 
tained the name of Muineamhon, that is, of the rich neck, from 
muin, the neck, and main, richer. 

The next instance of the Muinche that I remember occurs in 
(256) [-g ee gg > 57 (Fig. 3, pi. xvii., Miscellanea Graphicd)]. 


the dirge already quoted, which was composed by the poet x 
Ferceirtne for his master and patron Curoi Mac Daire, king of mentioned m 
West Munster, in which he enumerates all the gifts and pre- FerceMne 
sents that he had received from the deceased chief, among ^^atre 
which he reckons ten Muinchi do At, which, if I properly un- 
derstand the words, were full rings, or bracelets, wreathed and 
hooked behind. 

Again : the battle of Magh Leana was fought in the year 'so in ae- 
137, between Eoghan Mor, the king of Munster, and Conn " d Battle of 
the Hundred Battles", monarch of Erinn. A copiously detailed Magh Leana ' 
account of this battle and the causes that led to it was published 
by the Celtic Society in the year 1855, and at page 113 of the 
volume we find the monarch, when arraying himself for the bat- 
tle, putting his easy, thick, noble, light Muinche upon his neck, 
and his Mind Air d Righ, or chief king's diadem, upon his head. 

I may next refer to the passage already quoted from the visit 
of Bobhdh Derg, the great Tuatha De Danann chief of Tippe- 
rary, to his friend Ochall of Cruachan, at Loch Riach (now 
Loch Reagh) in Connacht, where we are told that each of the 
seven score charioteers and seven score horsemen who composed 
his cavalcade wore a Niamh Land, or radiant leaf of gold, around 
his neck. This Niamh Land, or splendid flat crescent of gold, The mamh 
was worn not only around the neck, but was also worn upon crescent^* 
or over the forehead. This may be seen from the following ^tiieTsad 
passage, which occurs in a volume of tales and adventures of wen as on 
Find Mac Cumhaill. The scene of this story is laid on the 
mountain called Sliabh Crot, a historical mountain in the south- 
west part of the county of Tipperary, and it is told by Cailte, 
one of Find's most cherished and trusted officers, in the follow- 
ing words : 

" One day", said Cailte, " Mac Cumhaill was upon this moun- 
tain, and the Fenian warriors along with him ; and we were 
not long here when we saw a lone woman coming towards us 
to the mountain. She wore a crimson deep-bordered cloak; 
a brooch (Delg) of enchased yellow gold in that cloak over her 
breast ; and a Niamh Land (or radiant crescent) of gold upon 
her forehead"/ 25 " 

This lady was a resident of Benn Edir, now the hill of 
Howth in the county of Dublin, but as I shall have occasion to 
speak of her more at large on a future occasion, I shall not fol- 

) [original: Oen oo l^icib X>A coniAnAd im-pi ; 

mAc CumAiVL Afv An celAig fo ipn bfuxc of A b]\uinne; ntAmUirm 

ot CAilce, ACAf An iAnn mA f AnnAt) ; oin imA he-oAn. No. 2-3G of Hodges 

ACAf nodAn ciAn x>uinn Ann 50 JTACA- and Smith's collection of MSS. in the 

niAin AII Am ingen cucAinn go com- library of the Kojal Irish Academy.] 
01^ ec guf AII cnocfA. tonAc concni 




The neck 
Torque of 
Cormac Mac 

of the dress 
and orna- 
ments of 
See Fola. 

The Muinche 
mentioned in 
tale of the 
" Wander- 
ings of Mael- 
Canoe" ; 

and in story 
of Cano. 

low her history any further here. This is but one of several 
references of the same kind that I could bring forward. 

We may, I think, next refer to the description of king Cor- 
mac Mac Airt's personal appearance at the great feast of Tara, 
which has been printed in the first series of my lectures, (258) and 
from which I shall quote the following short passage as strictly 
pertinent to my present purpose : 

" Splendid indeed was Cormac's appearance at that assembly, 
sleek, curling, golden hair upon him. A red shield with engra- 
vings and animals of gold, and with trappings of silver upon 
him. A crimson, sleek, short-napped cloak upon him. A 
brooch of gold set with precious stones over his breast. A 
Muintorc, or ' neck- torque' of gold around his neck". 

This, it must be admitted, is a decided reference to the Mum- 
tore or Neck.- Torque of gold, but still it does not convey any 
idea whatever of the particular shape or form of the article itself. 

From the time of king Cormac, who lived in the middle of 
the third century, we may pass to that of the famous lady Bee 
Fola, the woman so romantically met, wooed, and won, by the 
monarch of Erinn, Diarmaid, the son of Aedh Slaine, about the 
year 640, and already described in a previous lecture. (259) I shall 
again quote here, in order to make my summary complete, the 
passage of the legend describing the lady Bee Polo's costume : 

" She had on her [feet] two pointless shoes of Findruine, 
ornamented with two gems of precious stones; her kilt was 
interwoven with thread of gold ; she wore a crimson robe, and 
a Dealg or brooch of gold fully chased and beset with many- 
coloured gems in that robe. She had a Muinche or necklace 
of burnished gold around her neck". 

I may also refer again too, to the story of Maelduiri's Navi- 
gation, or wanderings on the Atlantic Ocean, where they came 
to an island in which they saw a house,.into which they entered, 
and saw upon the walls all around from door to door a range of 
brooches (Bretnassa) of silver and gold, sticking by their points ; 
and another range of great Muinchi like the hoops of a great 
tub, all of gold and of silver. What has been said of the Scot- 
tish women who attended prince Cano into Erinn, about the 
year (>00, may also be remembered. They wore brooches 
(Delgi) of gold with full carvings, and ornamented with gems 
of various colours, Muinchi of burnished gold (around their 
necks), and Minds or diadems of gold upon their heads. 

I could, were it necessary, multiply references to show the 

(258) |-g ee L &c i ures on the Manuscript Materials of Ancient Irish History, p. 
45, and App. xxvi., p. 510.] 

<2S9) [Lecture xxvi., ante, vol. ii. p. 160.] 


universal use of the Muinche, the Land, and the Muintorc, as XXVH. 
ornaments for the neck in ancient and comparatively modern Muinche and 
times in this country. The names Muinche and Land, however, aisolorthe 
appear to have been common not only to the necklaces of men Ufe^"*" 
and women, but also to those of hounds, horses, and inanimate animals and 
things, such as spears, etc. The Muintorc, if wreathed as its use of the 
name implies, might be used in the same way, excepting as a ^r Mw 
ring or band, to grace the neck of a spear. 

In the visit of Fraech Mac Fidhaidh to Ailitt and Medbh, at of the Maei- 
the palace of Cruachan in Connacht, to demand the hand in tioned^nthe 
marriage of their daughter Findabair, and of which I shall ^a" c f 
have more to say by and bye, we are told that each of the 
fifty steeds which formed the cavalcade had upon its neck a 
Mael-Land of silver with little bells of gold. The word Mael- 
Land of silver used here would signify literally a pointless blade, 
or broad band, or crescent of silver, but as no recognizable speci- 
men of this part of horse furniture has come under my notice, 
or probably exists at all, I cannot say more about it, than to 
give the simple analysis of the name. 

Again, in the passage already quoted in part from the Battle The ferrule 
of Magh Leana, where the monarch Conn " of the Hundred aUed P a' ar 
Battles" is described as arraying and arming himself for the ^"account 
combat, we are told that " he placed his blue, sharp-edged, [ > e attl8 

11-11 -i i f -i i -T P ' ot Magh 

ricn-mlted sword at his convenience ; and his strong, tnum- Leana ; 
phant, wonderful, firm, embossed shield, with beautiful devices, 
upon the convex slope of his back. He grasped his two thick- 
headed, wide socketed, battle-spears, with their Muinchi (or 
rings) of gold upon their necks, in his right hand". Here the 
word Muinche is applied to the ornamental ferrule, or ring of 
gold, placed upon the neck of a spear-handle, just where it 
enters the socket of the spear itself; and it is important enough discovery of 
that we have at least one specimen of what there is good reason in C Kerry" g 
to believe to be this particular Muinche or spear necklace. 
This ring, or hoop of pure gold was found many years ago on 
the estate of the late Daniel O'Connell, of ever glorious me- 
mory, in the county of Kerry. It was discovered in a small 
deposit of ancient bronze, namely a bronze sword, some bronze 
hatchets, and a bronze skian, or oval-pointed dagger, to the de- 
cayed wooden shaft of which it appears to have belonged. These 
remains of certainly the most remote period of our history, were 
found under a large stone which stood in a river ; and having 
passed into the hands of the great O'Connell, were subsequently 
presented by his son Maurice to the Royal Irish Academy, 
where they have for many years formed one of the most inte- 
resting and valuable groups of the collection of antiquities of 


that National Institution. The name Muinche, as I have already 
the term also stated, is often found applied to the collars of noble grayhounds 
c.)i e iarsof ' e in the old books, and chiefly in the poems and tales which re- 
ciuefly"n 3s cor & the exploits and adventures of Find Mac Cumhaill and 
Fenian Tales, hig Fianna. However, as it is not my intention to burthen 
these remarks with unnecessary illustrations or an idle display 
of research, I shall content myself for the present with what I 
have already said in proof of the existence, and the particular 
and general use of the Muinche, the Muintorc, and the Land, 
among the noble classes of Milesians in ancient Erinn. 
Mention of I may, however, add that I have found the " torque" men- 
iiTits s^pie tioned by itself, and not, as usual, compounded with rnuin, the 
Book'of the nec k, so as to make it a " neck-torque". In this form I have met 
Lemster. the name but once ; but in that instance it is very curious be- 
cause its authority states that the articles there mentioned were 
of foreign manufacture. The passage is in a very curious poem 
in the " Book of Leinster", written in praise of the ancient pa- 
lace of Ailinn in the county of Kildare. The poem consists of 
twenty-six stanzas, of which the following is the eleventh : 
" Its sweet music at all hours, 

Its fair ships in the foaming waves, 
Its showers of silver spangles magnificent, 
Its ' torques' of gold from foreign lands". (260) 
It would be idle to speculate on this curious passage, and I 
give it here merely for what it is worth. 

or the Land From the necklace in its various forms I shall now pass to 

tte ; the next ascending ornament of the person, referred to in our 

old writings, and this is the Land, or crescent, or lunette, as it is 

generally named at present. To this article as an ornament for 

the front of the head as well as for the neck, we have such 

references as shall leave no uncertainty of its very extensive 

use among those who were by rank entitled to wear it in an- 

it formed cient times. I have already quoted from the Brehon Laws a 

?egaion- e short article in reference to the work-bag or work-box of a 

ladyVwol-k- chiefs wife, and its legal contents, which consisted of four pre- 

ba 8: cious articles, namely, a veil of one colour, and a Mind, or dia- 

dem of gold for the head, and a blade or lunette of gold, evi- 

dently for the neck, and silver thread, or fine wire. If this 

lady's work-box or bag were stolen, and all these not in it, she 

was entitled but to the restitution of what had been stolen ; 

whereas, if the legal complement of articles had been in it, she 

would be entitled to a fine of a breach of aristocratic inviolabi- 

(260) [original: Afj\Aifi AI^JIC ojvo'ooi 

binm icAcVi cTi^Ai, ACUI^C 6i]\ & cifM^ gait. H. 2. 18. 

yofcotrogtirv pl^rm-D, f. 27, a. b.j 


lity, in addition. We find it laid down in our ancient laws 

"As long as there are sons forthcoming, daughters do not it formed 
receive any part of a deceased father's property, though he be Fnhernance 
their father as well as the father of the sons, nor anything but of duu s hters - 
crescents of gold, and Rand or thread of silver, and Bregda, 
that is Bricin, or thread of various colours [for embroidery]"/ 260 

However clear it may appear from these and former passages The Land 
that the Land, blade, or crescent of gold, was worn on the neck, th^headVs 11 
the following few passages, out of many, will show with equal JhenecMs 
clearness that it was also worn on the front of the head, and shown ^ 
probably sometimes across the head from ear to ear. The pas- 
sages in question are from the tale of Bruighean Da Derga, and 
which I alluded to in a previous lecture, (262) and will, 1 think, 
be sufficient to prove this. These passages occur in the descrip- 
tions given by the pirate chief Ingcel to Fer Rogain of the in- 
terior of Da Derga's court, and the disposition of the monarch 
Conaire M6r and his people within it. 

"I saw there", said Ingcel, "three other men in front of the descrip- 
these. [They wore] three Lands [blades or crescents] of gold cona^ 
upon the back of their heads. Three short aprons (Berrbroca) ^rh)teers 
upon them of gray linen embroidered with gold. [They hadj 
three short crimson capes (Cochlinf) upon them, [and carried] 
goads of red bronze in their hands". 

These were the monarch's three head charioteers, Cul, Fre- 
cul, and Forcul^ 

"I saw there", said Ingcel again, "nine [men] sitting upon and of his 
[bare] wooden couches ; they wore nine short capes upon them charfoUm; 
with crimson loops, and a Land (blade or crescent) of gold upon 
the head of each, [and carried] nine goads in their hands". 

" They", said Fer Rogain, " are nine apprentices who are 
learning chariot driving from the king's three chief chariot 
drivers"/ 260 

"I saw three others there", said Ingcel, "with three Lands and also of 

/*m > r i i_ i 1 ' 1 his poets. 

') [original: Jem beicrmc Ann b]\ocA unpu 1361:111 gLAf im-oencAi 

noco be|\AC, mgniA m t>o oibA'o m -oioyv; crvi coclim COJACJAAI irnpu ; crvi 

AcVi<s>j\ -oogjxe-p, CTO niAnn Ac1iAi|\ brvoic cj\et>tirm itiAtAim. SAinAilieAC 

ooib ACAJ* TJO HA mACAib, cm cob JIM A pifVfxojAin. KoftrecAU ol/pe, 

inArm, ACC niAt) tAtinA, ACAf j\AtinA, Cut/, ACAf pT vecu 'l> ACAf o|\cut, cf\i 

bj\e5t>A. lAnn, .1. OIT\, ACAf pj\im>>]AAi'o iti-ofus- Leabhar na 

. a.] 

|\Ann, .1. in piAici Aipjic, ACAf b|\eg h-Uidhr , f. 64 

OA, .1. in bjMcin.- ^r Acad. collect. ( ' 26 " [original : Accon-oA^c non- 

1J ' A f. 8 b ^ u ^ fO|\cf AnumAt) pint -ooib ; n6i 

'(^/Lecture xxv., ante, vol. ii , p. cocleneimpu coUburi co^A^ACAr 

137 et set tAtfO oip fU]\ cinx> CACAe, noi mbi\uic 

<) [original t-Accom^c C^IAIA ^AUmAib . . . 1161 n&^m V o- 


A oin-o ; ceo|\A bepp- 


. (blades or crescents) of gold across their heads ; [they wore] 
three speckled cloaks upon them ; and three shirts with red 
interweavings [of gold] . They had three brooches of gold in 
their cloaks; three wooden spears [hung] over them at the 

" I know them", said Fer Rogain; " they are the king's three 
poets, namely, Sui, and JRo Sui, and For Sui [that is, sage, 
great sage, and greater sage], three of the same age, three bro- 
thers, and three sons of Maphir RochetuiF '. (266) 

[original: .AcconttApc cpiAjv 

AITO; ceo^A VAITOA 6ij\ CA^ A op peppogm ; CJM fitvo uropig fin, .1 

ceiro ; cpi bpoic bpic irnpu ; ce6|\A Sui, ACAf llo-Sui, ACAf pop-S 

CAtnp corfoepg incLAit) CeojiA bpec- coniAif, cpi bpAcip, CJM tmc .. 

tiAtTA 6ip in* mbpACAib ; ceo|\A own- Hofiectut Ibid., f. 64. b. bot.] 


[Delivered July 23rd, I860.] 

(VIII.) DRESS AND ORNAMENTS (continued). Of Ear- rings: the Au-Nasc men- 
tioned in Cormac's Glossary, and in the accounts of Tulchinne the druid and 
juggler, and the harpers in the tale of the Bruigtiean Daderga. Of the 
Gibne : it was a badge of office, especially of charioteers ; it is mentioned in 
the description of Rian, (Juchulaind's charioteer ; and also in a legend 
about him in Leabhar na h- Uidhre ; the word Gibne is explained in an ancient 
glossary in a vellum MS.; the story of Edain and Midir shows that the 
Gibne was not worn exclusively by charioteers. The spiral ring for the hair 
mentioned in the " Wanderings ofMaelduin's Canoe". Men as well as women 
divided the hair. Hollow golden balls fastened to the tresses of the hair; 
mention of such ornaments in the tale of the Bruighean Daderga ; curious 
poem from the tale ofEochaidh Fedhleach and Edain (foot note) ; golden balls 
for the hair also mentioned in the " Sick Bed of Cuchulaind" ; two such balls 
mentioned in the tales of Bee Fola and Bruighean Daderga, and only one 
in that of the " Sick Bed". The Mind oir or crown not a Land or crescent ; 
it is mentioned in the Brehon Laws, and in a tale in the Leabhar na 
h- Uidhre; the second narre used in the tale in question proves that the 
Mind covered the head. The Mind of Medb at the Tain Bo Chuailgne. 
The Mind was also worn in Scotland, as is shown by the story of prince 
Cano. Men also wore a golden Mind, as appears from the Tain Bo Chuailgne ; 
this ornament called in other parts of the tale an Imscind. The curious 
Mind worn by Comae Mac Airt at the meeting of the States at Uisnech. 

FROM these crescents or lunettes of gold, worn on the front, 
and sometimes farther back on the head, by men and women, 
we now pass to the next articles of ornament with which our 
remote ancestors adorned the head, namely ear-rings. To this ofEar-ringa; 
class of ornament, however, I have met but few references, and 
in each case the wearers were men only. This ornament ap- 
pears under two names, differing apparently in signification. 
The first name is Au-Nasc, or U-Nasc, which signifies literally 
an ear-ring. The second name is A u- Chuimriuch , which literally 
signifies ear-band, or ear-ligature. (266) For the precise value of the 
term Au- Chuimriuch, or ear-band, I have not been able to dis- 
cover any authority further than the plain analysis of the name 
itself affords ; but not so with the Au-Nasc, as we have the fol- 
lowing clear definition of it in the ancient glossary, so well 
known as Cormac's glossary : 

" Au-Nasc, that is a ring for the ear, that is a ring of gold which 
is worn upon the fingers or in the ears of the sons of the free 
or noble families". Glossary } 

This explanation is clear enough ; perfectly so, indeed, accord* 
( 66 > [See Fig. 58.] 



and in the 
account of 
the Druid 
and juggler, 

and also in 
that of the 
harpers in 
the tale of 
the Brui- 
ghean Da- 

The Oibne 

a badge of 
office, espe- 
cially of 

mentioned ill 
the descrip- 
tion of the 
dress of 
Ritin Gabhra, 
charioteer ; 

ing to the composition of the word, and as far as rings for the 
ears are concerned ; but I cannot help believing that the second 
meaning, that is, that they were rings for the fingers also, is 
wrong, and an interpolation of some thoughtless transcriber of 
more modern times. 

It may be remembered that in a former lecture of the present 
course, (267) when describing the various groups in the court of Da 
Derg, where the monarch Conairt M6r was killed, Ingcel, the 
captain of the piratical assailants, describes the monarch's chief 
juggler as follows: 

" I saw there a large champion in front of the same couch, 
in the middle of the house. The blemish of baldness was upon 
him. Whiter than the cotton of the mountains is every hair 
that grows upon his head. He had U-Nasca or ear-clasps of 
gold in his ears, and a speckled, glossy cloak upon him". 

The second reference to this ornament is found in the same 
important tale of the Court of Da Derg, where the harpers are 
described in the following words : (268) 

" I saw nine others in front, with nine bushy, curling heads 
of hair, nine light blue floating cloaks upon them, and nine 
brooches of gold in them. Nine crystal rings upon their 
hands ; an Ordnasc or thumbring of gold upon the thumb of 
each of them; Au- Chuimriuch or ear-clasps of gold upon the 
ears of each ; a Muinche or torque of silver around the neck of, 

There is another little ornament called a Gribne, connected 
with the head, which, I think, ought not to be overlooked here: 
it is the band or thread which was tied around the head to 
keep the hair down on the forehead and in its place otherwise. 
This ornament, however, appears to have been more particu- 
larly a badge of office, peculiar, but not exclusively so, to chariot- 
drivers, and the only instances of it that I remember, except one, 
are connected with Laegh, the son of Rlan Gabhra, charioteer 
to the celebrated champion Cuchulaind. In the great combat 
fought by that champion against Ferdiadh, and which was so 
fully described in a former lecture, (269) we find the following pas- 
sage in the description of the charioteer's dress : 

" The same charioteer put on his crested, gleaming, quadran- 
gular helmet, with a variety of all colours and all devices, and 
falling over his two shoulders behind him. This was an addition 
of gracefulness to him, and not an incumbrance. He then with 

< 267) [See Lect. xxv., ante, vol. ii., p. 144.] 
C 268 ) [Ubisupra,p. 146.] 

(269) [Lcc xiv. ante, vol. i. p. 302. See also Appendix for the whole episode 
of the Tain Bo Chuailgne, containing the fight of Cuchulaind with Ferdiadh.~\ 


his hand placed to his forehead the red-yellow Gibne, like a 
crescent of red gold, of gold which had boiled over the edge 
of the purifying crucible : and this he put on in order to distin- 
guish his office of charioteer from that of his master [who was 
the champion]". 

Of the same champion and charioteer there is a very wild 
legend preserved in the ancient Leabhar na h- Uidhre, in which 
the Gibne appears again as part of the outfit of the latter. The 
story is shortly this. 

When Saint Patrick first appeared at Tara, and attempted and als ln 

r, /> ii I./' 1 legend about 

the conversion trom paganism ot the very obstinate monarch, him in the 
Laeghaire Mac Neill, the latter refused to believe in the true h e mMre" a 
God until the saint should raise to him from the dead Cuchu- 
laind,the great champion of Ulster, who had been dead more than 
four hundred years at the time. The saint did not seem to assent 
to this condition, but, on the next morning, as the monarch 
was driving in his chariot northwards from Tara towards the 
river Boind (the present Boyne), the spirit of the famous cham- 
pion appeared to him, splendidly dressed, with his chariot, horses, 
and charioteer, the same as when alive. After describing 
Cuchulaind himself, his chariot and horses, the king conti- 
nues: " There was a charioteer in front of him in the chariot. 
He was a lank, tall, stooped, freckle-faced man. He had curl- 
ing, reddish hair upon his head. He had a Gibne of Find- 
mine upon his forehead which kept his hair from his face; 
and Cuache (or little cups) of gold upon his poll behind, into 
which his hair coiled ; a small winged Cocliall or cape on him, 
with its buttoning at his two elbows. A goad of red gold in 
his hand by which he urged his horses" . <270> 

Let us examine what the ornaments of the charioteer were 
in this case. We have first a Gibne or thread of Findruine or 
white bronze upon his forehead, to keep his hair from falling 
over his face ; and little cups at his poll behind, in which his 
hair was coiled up. Now this is a new piece of ornament, of 
which I have not found mention anywhere else ; nor can I as 
yet recognize in the large collection in our national museum 
any article which could answer to this description. As regards 
the word Gibne, just mentioned, I find it explained in an Meaning of 
ancient glossary in a vellum MS. in Trinity College, Dublin, gained ?n an 

ancient glos- 

(MO) [original : -AnA AJVA b6l*ib cAij\celt<yo AjrAtc. Coidbne ec 
ipti c<vjvpucfin AfVAite f^pfefijj Tf&n- ce ^ inrm1 conAtijAflocu'o AJ\ <voib 
JX>CA fop bpec, -pAtc fO|\cAf fOj\i\u<yo nuVlenrtAib. "bmncne -DToepgdp HIA 
po]\ AmulA/uc. J-ipne -piTofvuine -pop lAim t>iACA|AceUL<vo A e66u. Lea- 
A CCAH r>A - ol,eice i o A^otc paAgro bhar na h- Uidhre, f. 74. a. b.] 
Cu<xce -oeop ^o^ <Yoib cuAtATo Vii 


xxvni. as follows: (271) "6ri6ne, that is a thread, as Laegh said when 
giving the description: ' I saw' said he, ' a man on the plain 
and a Gibne ofFindruine upon his forehead'". The man who 
spoke the words was the Laegh just mentioned above, Cuchu- 
laind^s charioteer, but I have not been able to find the tract 
from which it is quoted. 

the story of For the fact that the fillet, or thread of gold, or other metal 

jvtr shows which confined the hair on the forehead, and which must have 

tfifrnewas g ne round the head, was not exclusively worn by charioteers, 

not worn ex- 1 may refer back to the story of the lady Edain and Midir, the 

charioteers* chieftain of Bri Leith, in the present county of Longford, given 

in a former lecture of the present course. (272) In this very ancient 

story it may be remembered that, whilst the lady and her fifty 

attendant maidens were bathing in the bay of Inbiur Cich- 

muini on the east coast of Ulster, they saw coming towards 

them over the plain the chieftain Midir, mounted on a splendid 

bay steed. Among the other rich ornaments already described 

which the horseman wore, was a thread of gold bound upon his 

forehead, to keep, as the story says, his hair from falling over 

his face. 

There are a few more ornaments connected with the hair of 

the head, about which I shall now briefly speak. These are the 

ring, which confined the hair at the poll in one lock or bun- 

dle ; and the hollow balls of gold in which the front side-locks, 

or divisions of the hair terminated. I need not refer back to a 

former lecture of the present course, where I described the beau- 

tiful, spiral, and elastic ring for the hair at the poll, in [the late] 

Dr. Petrie's fine cabinet of Irish antiquities ; (273) but I may again 

call attention to the lady mentioned in the Navigation, or wan- 

derings of Maelduiri's Ship, where we are told that : 

The spiral " Upon the fourth day", the story says, " the woman came 

li'ilir men! 16 forth to them, and splendidly did she come there. She wore a 

"Navigation* w ^e robe, and a Budne or twisted ring of gold confining her 

ofj/aeWtttn's hair. She had golden hair. She had two Maelann or point- 

less shoes of silver upon her crimson- white feet ; a Bretnais or 

silver brooch, with a chain of gold, in her robe ; and a striped 

smock of silk next her white skin". (2ro 

I may here observe that the ring for the hair at the poll may 
be easily distinguished from all other rings, because it must of 
necessity have been of a spiral form, and gradually diminishing 

(O [original: Sibrme, .1. ftiAite, ( 272 ) [Ante, Lecture xxvi., vol. ii.,p. 

tic efc, lAeg AccAb<yijAc IIA cuAf\Afc- 162.] 

bAld : AcconriA-j\c <vj\ -pe fey\ ipn (273 ) [Ibid., p. 159.] 

rnAj; ACAr ribne prin-orurme ^oj\ A ( m ) [Ibid., p. 159.] 
i. H. 3. 18. 469. b. 650. a,] 


from one end to the other, in order to fit the tapering character 
of the confined poll of hair, which diminished gradually in 
thickness from the root to the top. Such is the character of the 
beautiful hair Budne in Dr. Petrie's collection, and also of a 
smaller golden one in the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy. 

That men as well as women confined, either in one or several Men as wcl1 
divisions, the hair of the poll, will be seen from the following divided the 
instance. In the story of Bee Fola and king Diarmait, already halr ' 
several times referred to, we are told that the strange young man 
whom she met on the brink of a lake, when she lost her way after 
eloping from her husband's palace, had among other ornaments, 
" meshes, and a net of gold on every lock of his hair behind, 
reaching down to his shoulders ; and two apples, or hollow balls 
of gold, the size of a man's fist, upon the two locks or forks, 
into which his hair was divided, but whether at the poll or the 
temples, we are not told, though it certainly must have been 
the latter. It would be very difficult to identify any of the 
hair-rings spoken of here, as they may have been of the ordi- 
nary circular form, and not spiral, since they were intended 
more for ornamenting separate small locks of the hair, than for 
confining the whole in one tapering bundle. Of the net of gold 
for the hair mentioned here, it is unnecessary to say anything 
further, as such nets are still used, not however by gentlemen, 
but by ladies, to whom in our matter-of-fact and democratic 
days, ornaments of gold for the hair are exclusively confined. 

The next ornament we have to consider is the hollow ball of Hoiiow 
gold in which the tops of the two front, or rather side-locks, of fastened to 9 
the hair were generally received and fastened. The references O f the e hair; 
to this ornament are not many, though from its character, sim- 
plicity, and luxury, there can be no doubt but that it was in 
extensive use with men and women in the olden times. Passing 
over the description of the two balls of gold just given from 
the story of king Diarmait and the lady Bee Fola, I have but 
two more references to this ornament, but one of these is so pre- 
cise and characteristic as to explain clearly in what way these 
balls or hollow shells were attached to the hair. The very 
ancient and valuable tale of the Bruighean Daderga, so copiously 
drawn upon in the course of these lectures, opens with the fol- 
lowing poetical passage : 

"There was [of old! an admirable, illustrious king over mentioned in 

T-, . , L J T-T 7 77 -n 77 7 TT the taleof tllO 

Jinnn, whose name was JLocfiaidh Jfeaieacn. He on one occa- Bruighean 
sion passed over the fair-green of Bri Leith [in the present Daderga '< 
county of Longford], where he saw a woman on the brink of 
a fountain, having a comb and a casket (Cuirel) of silver, orna- 
mented with gold, washing her head in a silver basin with 


four birds of gold perched upon it, and little sparkling gems of 
mentioned in crimson carbuncle (Carrmogul) upon the outer edges of the 
basin. A short, crimson cloak, with a beautiful gloss, lying 
near j^j. . a J)ualldai (or brooch) of silver, inlaid with sparkles 
of gold, in that cloak. A smock, long and warm, gathered and 
soft, of green silk, with a border of red gold, upon her. Won- 
derful clasps of gold and of silver at her breast, and at her 
shoulder-blades, and at her shoulders in that smock, on all sides. 
The sun shone upon it, while the men [that is the king, and 
his retinue] were all shaded in red, from the reflection of the 
gold against the sun, from the green silk. Two golden-yellow 
tresses upon her head, each of them plaited with four locks or 
strands, and a ball of gold upon the point of each tress [of the 
two]. The colour of that hair was like the flowers of the bog 
firs in the summer, or like red gold immediately after receiving 
its colouring. And there she was disentangling her hair, and 
her two arms out through the bosom of her smock". (275) 

This is a curious description, and the old writer might fairly 
incur the charge of pure fiction, if we had not still extant, as 
far as combs, not of silver but of bone, gracefully carved, and 
little caskets of gold, clasps and fastenings of all sorts, and the 
balls of gold in which the two plaited tresses of the hair termi- 
nated, to prove the accuracy of his description of the ancient 
personal ornaments. 

The name of the remarkable lady of whom we have just 
spoken was Edain, already mentioned; she was the daughter 
of Etar, a Tuatha D& Danann chief, and grandmother of the 
monarch Conaird Mor, the hero of this tale of the Bruighean 
Daderga. When the monarch Eochaidh Fedleach had suffi- 
ciently observed and admired the beautiful Edain at her free 
toilette, he made proposals of marriage to her, which were at 
once accepted, and he returned to his palace at Tara in high 
spirits with his new queen. The lady, however, had not until 

(OTS) [original : t)ui J\1 AtrinA Ain,- mgAncAi -010^ ACAf Ainrec poj\ A 

eg-oA jron e-inen eocnAi'oh fre-o- bjunnt>i, ACAf A jronmnAib, ACAJ* A 

teAch A Ainnij-oo Itn-ofeAchc; nAnn guAlLib ifin-olene oicAcleich. 

oAn AenAch intones teich COIIACCAI CAicnex) fniA m^niAn cobbAfoeAng 

inmnAi jron, un. m cobAifv, A6Af cinn, "ootiA fen.Aib cui'o'Lec itrootfv f\ifin 

ctnpj\et Afpc conecojv i oeo|\ > Acce njpem tfin cici UAitroi. t)A cpi- 

oc -pol/cu-o At/lumg A^jpc, ACAf ce- Itf nopbui-oi fOj\ A cint>, fige cei6- 

ichf\i Vieoin oi]\ fO]\ f\i, ACAf gteoifv- ^inx)UAi'L ceAcVicA^troe ACA* melA. 

geiriAi beccAi oichA|\|\mo5l, clioi\- ^opfuirocAclrotiAiL 

c]\Ai Tiipoi\ftefctnb riA ttunji. t)]\Ac t)Acli in-o -poiLc fin 

CAf CO|\CJ\A foloicliAin Aicce;t)tiAl,t- CAI|\ ViifATni\A-o, no 

DAI AingoitJi ecoiniroe oeon oibinnu n'oenAm A 'OACA. 1f Ant) DUI oc 

ipbnAcu. tene tebun cutpACAcn cAicbiucn A jruilc t>iA ^utcAt), ACAf 

cocuc t,e io|\ 'oeificiti UAimtje A oAl/Aim C]MA -oenc Afe'o'LAig itn- 

oinimpi. CxiAgmitA niAcn. H. 2. 16. coL 71G. top.] 



A be-prro in fAgA l/im 
1cin nmpiA'o hipt jutTO, 
1f DAnn fobAnde f.otc Atro, 
1f T>uc fneccu conp COUTO? 

this time remained unobserved and unadmired by other men ; 
and among those who ardently loved her was Midir, the Tu- 
atha De JDanann chief of Bri Leith, where she was first met 
by king Eochaidh. This was the gorgeously dressed and deco- 
rated Midir, who had previously surprised herself and her fifty 
attendant maidens when bathing in the bay of Inbiur Cich- 
miuni in Ulster, as I have already mentioned. 

This Midir, like the rest of his race, was an accomplished 
magician ; and in a short time after the marriage of JEdain, he 
appeared in disguise at the palace of Tara. He was, in fact, 
the stranger who asked to play a game of chess with the mon- 
arch Eochaidh Fedleach, and won the queen Edain as the stake, 
the story of which I recounted in a former lecture, W6) and need 

(76) [Ante, Lect. ix., vol. i., p. 192. It may be useful to give here a some- 
what different version of this poem, together with the original : 

O Befind ! wilt thou come with me 
To a wonderful land that is mine, 
The hair is there like unto the 

blossom of the Sobarche, 
Of the colour of snow is the fair 


There will be nor grief or care ; 
White are teeth there, black the 

brows ; 
Pleasant to the eye is the number 

of our hosts, 
And on every cheek the hues of the 


Crimson of the mead is each neck, 
As delightful to the eye as the 

blackbird's eggs ; 
Though pleasant to behold be the 

plains of [Innis] fail, 
Rarely wouldst thou visit them after 

frequenting the great plain. 
Though intoxicating to thee be the ale 

of Innisfail, 
More intoxicating are the ales of the 

great country ; 

The only land is the land I speak of, 
There youth never grows into old 


Warm sweet streams traverse the land ; 
The choicest of mead and of wine ; 
Handsome people without blemish ; 
Intercourse without sin, without 


We see every one on every side, 
And no one seeth us ; 
The cloud of Adam's fault 
Has caused this concealment of 

which I speak. 

A ben -oiAnif mo CUAIC cint>, Woman! if thou comest to my proud 

1f bAnn oin biAf fonc cm-o ; people, 

1f Ant) nut> bi mtn 

JetA -oec An-o T)tibui bnAi ; 

1f ti futA tin An rtuAij;, 

1f "oubpon [no if bnecc] Ant> eec 

1f ConcAin niAige [no toffA] CA6- 


1f ti futu [no if oAch] 115111 1 
Cro CAin oeicfiu muip 
Annum lAngnAif mtuge 

Ci-omefc lib coinm 1nfe t^Ail, 
1f mefcu coinm cine mAin ; 
AmnA cine cin Afbiuf,, 
Hi 6eic OAC Anx> nepun. 

SnocA ceic miLLfi CAn cin ; 
Hoju nemi-o Acuf pn ; 
T)oini -oelpiAit)! cenon ; 
CombAnc cen peccA-o cen coU 

Acfrmm CAC f.on CA6 tec, 
Acuf ni connAcc med ; 
cemet imonbAif At>Aim 
AJ\A nAim ? 


xxvm. no t dwell further upon it here, especially as it is not further 
necessary for the purpose of my present subject. I may, how- 
ever, remark that the poem addressed to .Edain under the title 
ofBefind, or Fair-haired Woman, and given in the lecture allu- 
ded to, is of undoubted primitive pastoral character, both in 
construction and in the allusions contained in it, and may in 
great part be safely referred to a very early period, if not to the 
age of Eochaidh Fedhleach himself. 

and j_ n the The next and last reference to balls of gold for the hair, of 
Cuchwiainn"; which I shall at present avail myself, is found in the ancient 
Gaedhelic tale of the " Sick Bed of Cuchulainn" ', (277) of which I 
gave a very complete analysis in a former lecture. (278) It may 
be remembered that a woman with a green cloak, the wife of 
Lab raid " the quick hand at sword", a fairy chieftain, was sent 
from the lady Fand, the wife of the great Tuatha J)S Danann 
navigator, Manannan Mac Lir, who had fallen in love with 
him, to invite him to visit her, and assist Labraid in a battle, 
and that his strength would be restored. Cuchulaind, before 
going himself, sent his charioteer Laegh to report on the coun- 
try of Magh Mell, or " the Plains of Happiness". Laegh goes, 
and is well received by Labraid; and when he returns, he de- 
scribes, in a poem of twenty-eight stanzas, his visit to Labraid's 
court. The following are the first two stanzas of this poem: 
" I arrived in my happy sportiveness 

At an uncommon residence, though it was common, 
At the court where were scores of troops, 
Where I found Labraid of the long flowing hair. 
" And I found him in the court, 

Sitting among thousands of weapons, 
Yellow hair upon him of a most splendid colour, 
And an apple of gold closing it". (279) 

two such In the previous instances there are two balls of gold men- 
tioned, in which the two divisions into which the hair was 
divided i n front terminated ; here, however, there is but one 
ball of gold, which closed or terminated the whole of the hair. 
only one 'in It is therefore quite clear that this ball could not have been in 
" h sick f Bed". front or at the side of the head. It follows, then, that it must 

tt1c up, IAIC lemriAcc LAbm-o, It is a golden crown shall be upon 

HocbiA l,im. -An-o A 'De-put) ! thy head ; 

Leabhar no. h-Uidhre, f. 82.] Fresh pork, banquets of new milk 

and ale, 
Thou shalt have with me there, 


(277) [Published in the Atlantis, vol. i., p. 362, and vol. ii., p. 96. Dublin, 

<' [Ante, Lect. ix., vol. i., p. 195.] 
(279) [ ee original in Atlantis, vol. ii., p. 103.] 


have been at the poll, and that the hair was either confined by xxvm. 
a ring, or woven into one great plait behind, so that its arrange- 
ment was made firm and secure by its terminating point being 
received into, or passing through, this hollow ball of gold. 

It does not appear, as far as I have been able to discover, 
that women in the olden times confined the hair in coils on the 
top or back part of the head with pins, brooches, or combs, 
although there is reason to believe that they did use pins and 
brooches for some purpose connected with its arrangement. 

I shall now pass from the study of the minor ornaments of The Mint 
the head, which I have dwelt upon at such considerable length, crown, 
to the chief of all, the Mind 6ir, or Minn 6ir, that is, the crown, 
or diadem of gold, of which we find frequent mention in our 
ancient writings. That the Mind oir was not an ordinary Land, not Land, 

.1 ./;? i /> i j J.-L 1 or crescent ; 

that is, a frontlet or crescent or gold, must be at once acknow- 
ledged, when we find both mentioned together as different 
articles belonging to one and the same person, and when, 
besides this fact, it will be shown that, whilst the Land was 
worn either at the neck or on the forehead [and the back of the 
head, vide p. 183], the Mind invariably covered or surrounded mentionedin 
the whole of the head. The first reference to the Mind or Laws ;* ' 
crown, to which I shall call attention, is an article in the Bre- 
hon Laws, and has been already mentioned in connection with 
the Land, or crescent of gold. In the article in question we 
are told that the workbag or workbox of a king's wife, when 
legally furnished, should contain " a veil of one colour, and a 
Mind (or crown) of gold ; and a Land (or crescent) of gold ; 
and thread (or fine wire) of silver". This instance alone would 
be sufficient to prove that the Mind and the Land of gold 
were different articles and worn in a different way. 

The following passage translated, from an ancient story in and in a tale 
one of our oldest MSS., Leabhar na h-Uidhre, leaves, however, M^wwtre; 
no doubt at all upon this matter. 

" There was", says this story, " a great fair held at one time at 
Taillte [now absurdly called Teltown in the county Meath] by 
the Gaedhils [of Erinn] . The person who was king of Tara at 
this time was Diarmait, the son of Fergus Cerbeoil [who died 
in the year 588]. The men of Erinn took their places upon the 
stands and benches of the fair-place, each according to his dig- 
nity and possession and legal right, as had been at all previous 
times the custom. The women had a separate stand for them- 
selves along with the king's two wives. The queens who were 
with [king] Diarmait at this time were, Mairend Mael [that 
is, Mairend the Bald] ; and Mugain, the daughter of Con- 
craidh. son of Duach Dond, of the men of Munster. Mugain 
VOL n. 13 



was deeply envious of Mairend", because she was herself barren, 
whilst Mcdrend was fruitful ; " and she called unto her a satirical 
woman, and told her that she would pay her whatever she de- 
sired, if she went up and pulled the Mind of gold off the head 
of queen Mairend. The condition of queen Mairend was this, 
that she had no hair upon her head ; wherefore she constantly 
wore a queen's Mind to conceal her blemish. The satirical 
woman went up then to where Mairend sat, and pertinaciously 
pressed her for a gift. The queen said that she had nothing to 
give her. Thou wilt have this then, said the women, pulling the 
golden Cathbarr, or diadem off her head. May God and St. 
Ciaran avenge this, said Mairend, at the same time clapping 
her two hands upon her bare head. No person in the assembly, 
however, had time to notice her disgrace before a mass of flow- 
ing golden hair started upon her head, falling down below her 
shoulder-blades ; and all this through the miraculous interposi- 
tion of St. Ciaran" [of Clorimacnois] . (280) 

With the peculiar morality of the royal court which this very 
interesting legend reveals, or the miraculous agency which it 
introduces, we are not concerned here ; but the evidence which 
it affords of the meaning and use of the golden Mind is so con- 
icond elusive as to require no further proof. If, however, further proof 
larr,'nse<i' were required, the second name, that of Cathbarr, under which 
n this taie, t ne diadem is mentioned, would amply supply it. The word 

>roves that . 111 11 J n i 

;hej/md Cathbarr is now, and has been at all times, well understood to 
signify a helmet, and in that sense it has come down as the pro- 
per name of a man, especially in the O' Donnell family of Done- 
gal, to even so late a period as the year 1700. To call a queen's 
diadem a helmet would savour a little of robust poetry; but 
Avhatever be the idea which it was intended to convey, it is 
valuable to our inquiries so far as to bear out in full our con- 
ception of the character and use of the ancient golden Mind. 

(280) [original: toAi cnA mon A- 
nA6 mon, f.ecc AWD ni CAVLcin, LA 
X)iAf.inAic IYIAC 'Penguf A Cenbeoil,. 
tlo hontnngic cnA fin Vie-nen f.on 
fonATOib m-o oenvnj, .1. CA6 An rniA- 
OAib, ocuf -oAnAib, ocuf -obei-cu- 
mtf AITO, AttiAiL bAgnAc coffin. t)Ai 
OAn fonut) An Leic oc HA rmiAib im 
OA f ecij mt> nig. t)A hiAc nignA bA- 
CAJ\ hif.AiL X)iAf.niACA mcAnfin, .1. 
WAinem} ITlAeL ocuf tYHigAin mgen 
ClioncnAi'o tllAc OUAC 'Oum'o "oo fe- 
tVluinAn. OAI cnuc mon oc 
I\1 TTlAinin'o ; ocuf Af oenc 

A b]\ec f.eni ti oiAtnbef.A'o A mint)- 

oi]\ -oo circo tiA ]\ignA; 
boi t>lAi|\etTO cen-poLc, COHTO rnint) 
JMJIIA no bit) oc foLoc AtodcA. CA- 
mc cnA m bAncAinci coAinni imbAi 
ITlAineiTO, ocuf boi oc cocUigA-o 
neic tro]\ni. Afbe|\c m nigdn nA 


nAi5 in cAcbAinn O]\-OA t)iA cm-o. 
"OiA ocup CiAyvAn jM-pTDe im onno, of. 
tllAipenT), oc CAbAinc A t>AlAm ino- 
cent>. t1icAf,nicim onno T)oneocif fin 
cf luAg -oencut) fuinni, HICAII nof IAC- 
CAC ATJA lunroAt) m f otc f.Ant> ftef- 
CAC ponof.'OA noAfAf. f-Uf>iM cn'Anenc 
CiAf.An. Leabhar na h- Uidhre, folio 
42. b. col. I.] 


I have entered into this discussion because of a statement xxvm._ 
which has been made, and which has been frequently repeated 
and looked upon as final namely, that the kings or queens of 
ancient Erinn did not wear any kind of head ornament which 
could be called a crown, because in none of our museums of 
antiquities can any such article be found. It is true the word 
Mind does not convey to the mind any precise or definite idea 
of the form or details of this diadem ; but neither does the Latin 
word " corona", or the English word " crown", which is formed 
from it. If there be any advantage at all, it must be on the 
side of the Gaedhelic words Mind and Cathbarr, words which 
have been shown above to signify a helmet, or complete cap, or 
article of some such fashion, intended to cover and protect the 
whole head. 

Our next reference to the Mind of gold is found in the Tain The Mind of 
Bo Chuailgne, where we are told that when Medb, the queen 
of Connacht, was on her march with her army to ravage the 
country of Ulster, her progress was conducted in the following 
order, She had nine chariots devoted to herself alone : two 
chariots of these before her, and two chariots after her, and two 
chariots at either side of her, and a chariot between them in the 
centre, in which she sat herself. And the reason [we are told] 
why queen Medb observed this order, was to prevent the clods 
from the hoofs of the horses, or the foam from their mouths, or 
the mire of a great army, or of great companies, from tarnishing 
the lustre of her queenly Mind of gold. (281) 

And further of this same Mind of gold, we are told that when 
queen Medb and her forces entered the territory of Cuailgne 
(in the present county Louth), they encamped for the night on 
the brink of a river at a place ever since called Redde Loiche. 
The story proceeds to say that " Medb had ordered a comely 
handmaid of her household who had been in waiting upon her, 
to go to the river and fetch water for her to drink and wash in. 
Locke was the name of this maiden, and she, Loche, then went 
forth to the river accompanied by fifty women and carrying the 
queen's Mind of gold above her head. Cuchulaind, the oppos- 
ing champion of Ulster, was concealed near the river, and per- 
ceiving the procession of women coming towards him preceded 
by a beautiful woman with a queenly Mind upon her head, 
whom he believed to be the queen herself, he let fly a stone 

( 28 >) [original: ^\ Ainlxwo no mi- 1p Aij\e fo gnit) tnet>b fin AJ\ tiA j\if 

chije-o Tlle-ob ocAf noi CAppAic ^6ci CAiy ^ocbAije A cjnnb gpej, tio UAM- 

A oeruqv. TJA cA^xpAC jxempe Tib, pvo AglotrifXAib fjMAri, no oen'ogup 

[oCUfOA CAJXpAC tiA -OlATo], OCAfOd IDO^X fXtlAIg, 11O 1T1O|X buiT>e, A|\ tiA 

chAjxpAG cecncAi\ A T>A CAeb, ocAr ci^vo THAmixugu-o oon nnm> 6i)\ tu\ 

CA]\pAC ecu|\]ui A^\ rnex>on c<voerfin. l\i5'iA. H. 2. 18. f. 145. a.] 

13 B 


from his sling at her head, which struck her, broke the Mind 
of gold in three places, and killed the maiden on the spot". (282) 
The mnd The Mind or Minn of gold was also worn by the women of 
worVm ^ e Gaedhil of Scotland, as is shown by the story of prince 
Scotland, as Cano, which I told in a former lecture . (283) Each of the wives of 
the story oi the fifty warriors who accompanied the prince in his exile into 
Prince Cano. J re l an <J ? we are told, " wore a green cloak with borders of silver. 
A smock interwoven with thread of gold. Brooches (Deilge 
Lacair) of gold, with full carvings bespangled with gems of many 
colours. Necklaces (or ' torques') of highly burnished gold. 
A Mind (or diadem) of gold upon the head of each". As this 
story belongs to about the year 620, it affords proof of the 
knowledge and, no doubt, use of such ornaments in Ireland, 
and I think we may fairly assume in Scotland also, down to so 
comparatively late a period as the seventh century. 
Men also That the Mind of gold, however, was not an ornament pe- 

wore a culiar to females, will be seen from the following passage from 

golden Mind, , ,j , P.I rr>- o r>l -J 

as appears the same old tale ot the 1 am DO Lhuailgne. 
^aTn^Bo " It was at this time", says the story, " the youths of Ulster 

ciMiigne ; came southwards from Emania [to Louth], Three times fifty 
boys, sons of the kings [and chiefs] of Ulster, was their num- 
ber, under the leadership of Folloman, the son of Conchobar, 
king of Ulster. They fought three battles against queen Medb 
and her forces, in which they slew three times their own num- 
ber, but the boys themselves were all killed except [their leader] 
Folloman, the son of Conchobar. Folloman vowed that he 
would never return to Emania until he should carry away with 
him [king] AililFs head and the Mind of gold which was over [or 
upon] it. This, however, [we are told] was not easy to accom- 
plish, for the two sons of Beithe, son of Ban, [that is] the two 
sons of king AililPs nurse and fosterfather, came against the 
young prince and slew him". 1280 

Farther on in the same story we find this same Mind of gold 

(282) [original: KAT>if ffle-ob pniA ITIACA; cni COICAIC tn<\c -oo niACCAib 

CAetn mAiLc cornAiceccA T>A -mumcin nijtllA'Ojim oVlomAin rtiAc Concho- 

cecc<jnceii'otirci,ooitocArinnA'l,CA OAin;ocAr'oorbenfAuceonACACA i oo- 

oocuni riA h-AbA 01. l/oce com Ainm nA ftuAgAib co copcjvxcAp A cjvi com- 

tiA 1i -inge-rie, OCA]" t>o CACC iAf\um tin, OCA-J* co|\cnACAn m mAccnAO 

toce ocAf coicAbAn impi, ocA-pTninT) tJAn ACC ^polLoniAin niAC Concno- 

n-6in nA nignA of A cmt). OcAf^o- bAin. t)A5Ai|" tToltoniAin nA nAgAt) 

ceint) CUCULAHTO ctoic Af^A cAbAtt An culu co n-frmAin cobnunm 

punni connoe bnif m mm-o n-6in 1 rn-bnACA ocAf befcA co m-benAt) 

cni, ocAr cono niAnb m n-mpn mnA cent) AibltA teir cof m mmT) 6in 

tteit). H. 2. 18, f. 50. a. a. b.J boi UA^-A. tlin bonei-o -oofom A n^pn, 

(^ See Lect. xxvi., ante, vol. ii., p. tiAin T)O fAncecAn roA mAc t)eice 

164. WAG t)Ain -OA mAc rrmmme ocAf Aice 

( M > [original ; 1f nifin Anifen'ool- -oo Aititt, OCAJ* no JOIIAC co con- 

tocAn m niAccnA'6 A CUATO o n-e-mAin cAin too. H. 2. 18. f. 154. a. b.] 


designated by another name, that of Imscim, or Imscing, as may xxvm. 
be seen from the following passage. called in an- 

" Then the men of Erinn desired Taman the buffoon to put of'tws'uie 
on a suit of king AiliWs clothes and his Imscim of gold, and go &nlmscim - 
down to the ford of the river which was in their presence. He 
[the buffoon] did put on king Ailill's clothes and his Imscim 
of gold, and went down to the ford. Cuckulaind perceived him, 
and taking him for king Ailill himself, he cast at him a stone 
from his Cranntabaill or sling, which struck and killed him on 
the spot". (28a) 

In a former lecture, (286) an account of the occasion and manner Curious 
in which the celebrated monarch Cormac MacAirt was deprived $"00? 
of his eye in his palace at Tara by Aengus Gai Buaifnech, that ^^t'mg 
is Aengus of "the poisoned spear", his own cousin, and chief of ^a statts 
of the Deist, in the present barony of Deece in the county of 
Meath. When the king received this injury, he was obliged 
to abdicate the throne in favour of his son, Cairbre Lifeachair, 
because it was declared by the ancient laws and customs of the 
nation, that no man with any personal blemish or defect should 
ever be king of Tara. Cormac then retired to the palace of 
Acaill, now the hill of Screen near Tara, where he compiled 
the Book of Acaill, a volume of Laws. King Cormac did not 
submit tamely to the injury offered to his person, and the dese- 
cration of the sacred precincts of Tara and the violation of its 
ancient privileges. But he had been a constitutional monarch, 
and in place of calling out the national and regal power of the 
state against the offender, he called a national convention at the 
ancient place of meetings of the states, the hill of Uisnech in 
Westmeath ; and before this assembly he summoned the offender 
to come forward and justify his regicidal act or receive the 
punishment due to so heinous a crime. The great meeting 
took place at the hill of Uisnech, where, we are told, " Cormac 
came with a king's Mind with him upon his head, with four- 
and-twenty small leaves of red gold, furnished with springs and 
rollers of white silver to maintain and suspend them, for the 
purpose of covering his injured eye and save his face from the 

(M5) [original: Atro pn J\A f\AiT>- ecm<yir A erfA ocAf A eoLAif ha fe 

fecAfV -pi\ h-e-^en-o |M CAtnun ojvucVi AiLiVL b*i AITO -pA-oefpn, oc<vp DO 

ecju-o AiliUlA ocAf A iiDfciinm no]\- pj\ec1ii cloi6 Afr A e|\ArmcAOAi1L 

OA oo cAbAiL itnini, ocaf ce6c ^p A'6 fAip, cotiApc UAtnun opufc CAN 

in n-At OAt> fiAtmAifp -061 b. t\ogA- AnmAin bAp fin nAch 1 j\j\Aibi. H. 2. 

bA]*cA]\ rotn tioecgu'o nAit,i\A,A oc<xf 18. f. 56. a. b. mid.] 
A mircimtn OJVOA immi, ocAf CAVHC (286 > [See Lectures on the MS. Mate- 

bA|\inn-AC .... X)o 6oT>tiAic rials of Ancient Irish History , p. 48.] 
e ocAf UTOA^ ieir m 


I need not dwell further on this curious specimen of the 
kingly Mind, or the curious mechanism of the twenty-four leaves 
of red gold attached to it for the concealment of the king's ble- 
mish. These leaves must have been, I should think, small bits 
of gold leaf arranged and fastened together like the folds of plate 
armour, but I must confess my inability to comprehend the func- 
tions of the springs and rollers, or travellers, mentioned in con- 
nection with them. 


[Delivered July 26th. 1859.] 

(VIII.) DRESS AND ORNAMENTS (continued). Storj' of a Mind called the Barr 
Bruinn in the tale of the Tain Bo Aingen. Another legend about the same 
Mind from the Book of Lismore ; another celebrated Mind mentioned in the 
latter legend ; origin of the ancient name of the Lakes of Killarney from that 
of Ln Linfhiaclach the maker of this second Mind. The ancient gold- 
smiths appear to have worked at or near a gold mine. Ln the goldsmith 
appears to have flourished circa B.C. 300. The names of ancient artists are 
generally derived from those of their arts, but that of Ln is derived from a 
peculiarity of his teeth ; this circumstance shows that he was not the legen- 
dary representative of his art, but a real artist. Gold ornaments found in a 
bog near Cullen in the county of Tipperary ; circumstance < under which 
they were found, and enumeration of the articles found note. Cerd- 
raighe or ancient territory of the goldsmiths near the present Cullen. Pedi- 
gree of the Cerdratghe of Tulach Gossa ; this family of goldsmiths are 
brought down by this pedigree to circa A.D. 500 ; the eldest branch became 
extinct in St. Mothemnioc, circa A.D. 550 ; but other branches existed at a 
much later period. The mineral districts of Silvermines and Meanus are 
not far from Cullen. The At and Cleitme. The Barr, Cennbarr, Eobarr, 
and Righbarr. The goldsmith in 'ancient times was only an artizan ; other 
artizans of the same class. Creidne the first Cerd or goldsmith ; his death 
mentioned in a poem of Flann of Monasterboice ; this poem shows that 
foreign gold was at one time imported into Ireland. The first recorded 
Bmelter of gold in Ireland was a native of Wickiow. References to the 
making of specific articles not likely to be found in our Chronicles ; there is, 
however, abundant evidence of a belief that the metallic ornaments used in 
Ireland were of native manufacture. 

THERE is a very curious story about a Mind, or diadem of gold, story of a 

, . , J . J , f , ^,. J} A . ' . ' Mind called 

preserved in the very ancient tale of the 1 am J3o A ingen in the Barr 
the Book of Leinster. The story commences by telling us that the'taiVof 
A Hill and Medb. the king and queen of Connacht, so often ^ Tdin Bo 

-i -i & /> i i -11 XT Amgtn. 

mentioned in the course of these lectures, were one dark JSo- 
vember eve enjoying themselves in their ancient palace of Cru- 
aclian (in the county of Roscommon, not far from Carrick-on- 
Shannon) Their majesties had had two culprits hung upon a 
tree the previous day; and king Ailill, in order to test the 
couiage of his household, offered his own gold-hiltei sword as 
a reward to whoever should go out to the gallows trees and t.e 
a gad or twisted twig upon the leg of one of the still hanging 
culprits. This offer was accepted by a spirited young man 
whose name was Nera, who went forth in the darkness of the 
night and performed his work with becoming courage. How- 
ever, upon Nero's return towards the palace, he saw, as he 
thought, that building on fire, and he met a host of men on 


XXIX the way who seemed to have plundered and set fire to the 
story of a royal mansion. The men passed Nera without seeming to 

Mind called , i , , . , , 11 j 

the Barr notice him, and he, anxious to know who they were, followed 
uTe"'ta?e l of them as closely as he durst for that purpose. He had not far to 
*tn n B &' nowever as tne P ar ty soon entered the well known cave of 
the hill of Cruachan, and Nera, still keeping at a respectable 
distance behind them, entered the cave after them. The last 
man of the party discovered his entrance, and he was taken 
before the king of the royal residence of the Tuatha De Da- 
nann, which was supposed to exist, invisibly to external human 
eyes, within the cave. The king demanded and received an 
account from Nera how and why he had intruded into his 
secret palace. " Go", said the king, " to yonder house, where 
thou wilt find a lone woman, who will receive thee with kind- 
ness when thou tellest her that it is by me thou hast been sent ; 
and thou shalt come every day to this mansion with a bundle 
of firewood for our kitchen". 

Nera did as he was ordered. While thus occupied, Nera 
noticed every day a blind man leaving the door of the mansion, 
carrying a lame man upon his back, until they reached the brink 
of a fountain which was at a short distance from the house, where 
they sat down ; to this place he followed them unperceived. " It 
is not there", said the blind man. " It is indeed", said the lame 
man, " and let us go back now", said he. Nera inquired of the 
woman about this matter. " Why", said he, " do the blind and 
the lame men frequent the fountain?" "They frequent the 
Barr which is in the fountain", said the woman, " that is, a 
Mind (or diadem) of gold which the king wears on his head, 
and it is there it is kept". " Why is it that these two persons 
frequent it?" said Nera. " Because", said the woman, "they 
are the persons that are most trusted by the king". (287) 

Nera soon after, through the ingenuity of his wife, returned 
to his own people at Cruachan, and described to king Ailill 

(87i [original: eye t>on CAIJ \vo no ceit>T>if cotnbi-oif fon tin nA 

tAttcnA, olm ni,ACAbeAn <sencuniA cibp<vo 1 n-'oonuf in x>uine. "Thfit 

Ant), ACAf oeriA-o IDAIC fpic, AbAin Atro, ot m oAtl. iteicm,ot m DA 

ffttA 1f UA1tT> fVO fAICen CUCU, ACAf CACn, ClAJAtn Aj~ t>1H, ot 1t1 bACAch. 

CA1J\p ACA6 t>1A CO CUAlt COtTOAIg ftO 1A]\fACC TlepA lA^VAm 111 t11 fin 

oon cAigfeA. X)o gnifum lAnAm An T>on mnAi. Ci-o CACHAIJIC 'ot fe, An 

ni pn AmAit Afbnech fnif, fAn- tiAtt Acu-p An bACAc tjon cibnAic? 

ATO iA|\Am m beAn |?Aitce p^f' ^ c Af CACAipc m m-bA]\n fit ipn tibnATO, 

Afbenc focnen -ouiT) otfi ; IDA^A otmben, e-6on mmnoinbif foncmx) 

h-e mnig no chitvo itte ife em, ot itvo nig, if &n-o t>o 6oifecAin. Ci-o 

TlenA. tlo cneiTjeAt* TlnA lAnAtn An miA-o m "oiA-pucucnocnAcnAiget) 

co cuAit con-oAig oon T)un CA6 THA, Ot TlenA. tlm. Otf1,UAin nobxAn 

AT)CIC Af in -oun AmA6, cAch WIA AnA 1AT> no bo cAinifi tApn nig". H. 2. 

ctnx), -oAtt, ACAf bACAch fop Attium, 16. col. 659 and 060.] 


what he had seen in the cave. This was the time at which __ xxix. 
Fergus Mac Roigh and the other Ulster champions who exiled 
themselves after the treacherous death of the sons of Uisneach, 
arrived at Cruachan. King Ailill, availing himself of the pre- 
sence of these valiant warriors, resolved with their aid to possess 
himself of the reported treasures of the cave of Cruachan, and 
accordingly on the November eve following, he, with a strong 
party, and through the contrivance of Agra's wife, entered the 
subterranean mansion, and plundered it of all its treasures, in- 
cluding the diadem of gold which was called the Barr Bruinn 
or Bruinn?, diadem. 

It appears that this Mind or diadem was lost or rather car- Another ie-* 
ried back again by some unexplained agency to the same foun- the same ut 
tain in the cave from which it had been brought. This legen- ^."^oHf 
dary statement is found in another ancient story preserved in Lismore; 
that important part of the ancient " Book of Lismore", so singu- 
larly recovered some time since from the city of Cork. The 
story is shortly this. Fingin Mac Luchta, who was king of 
Munster about the year of our Lord 190, resided at his palace 
at Druim Fingin, or Fineen's Hill, in the county of Waterford. 
There was a certain prophetess from Sliabh na m-Ban in Tip- 
perary, that visited him on every November eve, and related 
to him all the occurrences that took place in Erinn on that 
sacred night, and the results that should issue from them until 
that night twelvemonths. On one of those November eves 
that this lady visited the king, she related to him with peculiar 
emphasis one circumstance that happened on that night, and 
this was nothing else than the birth of the subsequently great 
monarch of Erinn, Conn of " the Hundred Battles". The birth 
of this great king and warrior was, according to our prophetess, 
ushered in with many strange and wonderful occurrences, all of 
which, however, were of a favourable character, and presaged 
the happy results to his country which were to result from the 
actions and reign of its future monarch. From the many sin- 
gular and important events thus referred to in connection with 
that auspicious time, I have selected the following brief items, 
as quite pertinent to the subject of the present lecture, and 
bringing the older story of the golden diadem, called the Barr 
Bruinn, a few centuries later down than the Tain Bo Aingen 
just described. 

The conversation between the king Fingin and the pro- 
phetess was carried on by way of question and answer. 

" And what are the other wonders of this night? ' said king 
Fingin. " These", said the woman. " The three chief articles 
of manufacture in Erinn are this night found and revealed, 


XXIX - namely, the Barr (or diadem) ofBruinn, the son oi'Smetra : it 

was the Cerd (or artificer) of Aengus, son of Um6r, that made it. 
It is a Cathbarr (or helmet) of the pure crimson of eastern 
countries, with a ball of gold above it as large as a man's head, 
and a hundred strings around it of mixed [or variegated] car- 
buncle, and a hundred combed tufts of red burnished gold ; and 
stitched with a hundred threads (or wires) of Findruine (or 
white bronze) in a variety of compartments. And it has been 
a great number of years in concealment in the fountain of the 
hill of Cruachan till this night, to save it from the M6r Rigain, 
[a celebrated Tuatlia D& Danann princess,] and so it has re- 
mained under cover of the earth until this night. And [ano- 
ther article, said she], the chess of Crimtliann Niad-Nair [in 
the eighth year of whose reign the Saviour was born] which 
he brought away with him from Aenuch Find when he went 
with the lady Nar of Bodlibh Derg's mansion [in Tipperary] 
on an adventure to the secret recesses of the sea, and which 
[chess] has been concealed in the Rath of Uisnech [in West- 
meath] until this night. And [continued the prophetess] the 
another ceie- Mind(oT diadem) of Lavghaire, the son of Luclita Laimfinn, 
inent?onca Md (or Luclita of the white hands), which was made by Len Lin- 
legend- fhiaclacli, the son of ' Banbulga, and which has been found this 
night by the three daughters of Faindle Mac Dubraith, in 
Sidh Findaclia [now Sliabh g-Cuillenn in Ulster] after having 
been concealed there since the time of the birth of Conchobar 
Abrathruadh [monarch of Krinn, who was slain in the year of 
our Saviour's birth], until this night". (288) 

It would seem that when these stories were written, it was 
a common occurrence, as it is now, to dig up from the earth 
ancient, elegant, and costly articles of the kind above mentioned, 
of the former existence and disappearance of which there still re- 
mained authentic written history, or a vivid and well-credited 

(ass) [original Ocuf ci^ .b. riAili [?] ICA iA]\um pocelcAfv cAlin<xn cup AII- 
poi\Vni5iii. Hin,oj\,An beAtt Ceoy\A occ. p'oceAl CjMrncAUi 11i<vo 11A1^ 
)j|\miAic'oe ei]\en innocc ^o -ppic CUCCA liAenucli pnt> 010 iui-6 LA 
ocui'ivoiroiLLiMgceA, .1. bA-|vj\t>]Auirm 11A1|\ cuAccAeni ifpo t>uix>b -po fvoc- 
ineic Smec]\AC : CeAjvo Aengu^A C|\A comboi fo p oiAiriAf\Aib nA ^1^50, 
ieic Unioi^'ooiMgne, .1. cAcbApn'oo ACA^O oic1eicipn TlAicTi irnyUfnecli 
copcAiyvjiAiiicliitAenAiToiii-opJocur CU^AHOCC. ininn tAegAi^e, meic 
nbutrl oi|\ XIAI'A, bA meic fe^\ euro, I/UCCA "LAimpnn, -DO fvigtie ten tin- 
ocur cec piAcliegnA nnme 'oon piAc'LAc, ITIAC "bAnbutgA, bAiinA -po- 
CA^niocAt cumurc'OA, ocu^ cec ^UA]AACII]A inoclic ceo-|\A InnpnA 
cAitcViep cij\co|\c^A -oo oepjop -pop- VA 11110 ^ 6 mAC "Oub]\AicVi, A Sit> pn-o- 
loipcci ; ocup ceAt) ]\onn ^iroiMnnne AC!IA A|\ nA beA-6 po -oicleic o jein 
ACA UAiinb|Aecc|VA'o. 1cA 1/mA bViATD- ConcubAip Ab^AciniAi-o, 5p Anocc". 
HA po oic1iteic icipi\Aic fix>e C^UAC- Book of Lismore, vel. copy by Jo- 
Am, A]\ 111 mo^\ 111511111 c\i|-AHoc1ic ; seph 0'Longan,f. 138, p. 2, col 1, top.] 


To LSn Linfhiaclach, the maker of the second Mind, or dia- 

dem, mentioned above, namely that of Laeghaire, the son of the name of 
Luchta of the white hands, I have found another reference, the ^cond f 
which places his time, his character as an artist, and his iden- j^^f 1 
titv with one or two Irish localities, in a light that cannot fail ' acft - the 

J . . ~ ,.' . ' r> -r i origin of the 

to give satisfaction to every genuine lover ot Irish antiquarian anc ent 
researches. JS*, tlie 

In the very ancient Gaedhelic tract called the Dinnseanchas, Kill acy. 
or the etymological history of many of the most remarkable hills, 
mountains, rivers, lakes, etc., in Erinn, we find an article devo- 
ted to the origin of the name of Loch Lein, now the celebrated 
lake of Killarney. In this article we are told that L6n Lin- 
Jhiaclaeh was Cerd (or goldsmith), to the chieftain Bodhbh 
Dearg's noble mansion at Sliabh na m-Ban in Tipperary ; that 
he went to this lake to make splendid vessels for Fand, the 
daughter of Flidas; and every night after his day's work was 
..over, he would cast his anvil from him eastwards to the place 
called Inneoin (or anvil) near Clonmel, and he would throw 
three showers about him from his anvil, a shower of water, a 
shower of fire, and a shower of pure crimson gems; and the 
story adds that Nemannach (the artificer) used to do the same 
when shaping (gold) cups for king Conchobar Mac Nessa (king 
of Ulster) in the north. And LSn met his death at this lake, 
and hence the name .Loch Lein, or Leu's lake. 

The prose account is followed by an ancient poem of thirteen 
stanzas, in which the history of Loch Lein is further discussed ; 
but as my present concern is alone with the artificer, I shall 
only quote those stanzas which have special reference to him, 
namely the fourth, fifth, and sixth, which are as follows: 
" I have heard of L6n with his many hammers, 

Having been upon the margin of its yellow strand, 

Where he fashioned without mishap, or flaw, 

Splendid vessels for Fand, the daughter of Flidas. 
" From Bodhbh s court went forth reproachless 

Len Linfhiaclach, the son of Bolcad, 

The firm son of Bandad of high renown, 

The good son ofBlamad, son of Gomer. 
" Whether a chariot or a Mind of gold, 

Whether a cup, or a musical instrument, 

Was required from him by distinguished men, 

It was quickly made before that night". (S8W 

(MS) [original: 

A-o cVmAtA ten cotm m^vo, ttiAinteAfCAp VAUTOI 

oo bicVi fojxbunvo A VUxcli buiivo, Optj 'bvn-ob poclie&jvo 




The ancient 
appears to 

at or near ed 
the mine, 

circa .c. 


The names 

from the 

but that of 
Lin not. 

It would appear from this curious and valuable quotation, as 
well as from others that could be adduced, that the ancient 
custom in Ireland was, that the artist, or goldsmith, sometimes 
went to the gold or silver mine himself, and dug, or procured 
to be dug for him, the precious mineral, to smelt, or, as it is 
called in our ancient books, to boil the metal on the spot, in 
small quantities, whenever the locality suited, and then and 
there fabricate and fashion those splendid articles, the delicate 
mechanism of some of which is found to puzzle and astonish the 
most expert workmen of the present day, notwithstanding the 
great improvement in the processes and tools of the mechanical 
arts. This appears to me to be the explanation of that stanza 
of the poem which says that Len went with many hammers or 
sledges to the borders of Loch Lein, where he actually made the 
splendid cups for the lady Fand, daughter of Flidas. But 
who was the lady Fand for whom these Niamleastar, or splen- 
^^ vessels, were made? She was the daughter of Flidas 
Foltchain. that is, Flidas of " the beautiful hair", and sister 


by her mother to Nia Seghamain, of the Eberian race of 
Munster, who reigned as monarch of Erinn from the year of 
the world 4881 to 4887, when he was slain by Enna Aighneach, 
who succeeded him So that, according to the chronology of 
the Annals of the Four Masters, the gifted artist Lien, and his 
royal patroness the princess Fand, flourished about three hun- 
dred years before the Incarnation of our Lord ; and far within 
the sway of the Milesian dynasty. 

1 must confess that of all the references to native gold and 
famous native gold-workers which I have hitherto met, or may 
meet hereafter, this appears to me to be the most important. In 
the case of other artists of this class, the name of the artist is 
often derived from the art itself, or from the metal on which it 
is exercised. Thus, in the case of Credne, the celebrated Cerd 
or goldsmith of the Tuatha De Danann, and of whom we will 
have to speak hereafter, his name was derived from credh, the 
ore of the precious metals in which he worked, and, consequently, 
the fact of his real existence might be very fairly questioned, as 
savouring a little of the poetical and mythological. But in the 
Linfhiacloch no such objection can be made, since 


the name is not descriptive of the art or the metal, but of the 
man proper, and signifying simply, Len of " the many teeth", 
meaning evidently that he was remarkable for high, or a double 
row of teeth 

VLocAch iriAC 

. triAc 5oimAif\ ; 

oeg rnAc 
Cix> cAf\b<yo, CIT> 

CIT) cuAch, cvo c<vi|\ci ciuiL 

co leAn f Apj\ 
bA gmm 

IMA nAit>ce. 
Book qfL,ecan,f. 239. a. a."I 


But the following short article from the Brehon Laws settles 
completely the question of the native manufactures of these The native 
precious personal ornaments : oT^idTornu 

" The law book tells us", says the commentator, " that the m J^ b . 
weight of the Land 6ir (or crescent of gold) was paid in silver the Brehon 
to the Cerd or artist for making it". 

We are told also in the same laws that the artists who made 
the articles of adornment and household splendour for a king, 
or a chief, were entitled to half the fine for injury to their pro- 
perty, or insult or injury to their persons, which would be paid 
to the king or chief himself for a like injury. This shows in 
what respect artists in the precious metals were held by the 
nobles, and the security afforded them by the laws of ancient 

In Guthrie's " General Gazetteer", published in Dublin in 
1791, we find, as well as in other authorities, the following 
paragraph : 

" Cullen, a fair town in the county of Tipperary, province of Gold orni- 
Munster ; fairs on 28th October. At the bog near this place was iTbognca 
found a golden crown weighing six ounces ; many other curi- ^e'co'J"..- 
osities have been discovered in it, particularly some gorgets of 
gold, and gold-handled swords: for which reason it goes under 
the name of the golden bog". 

This bog of Cullen is situated in the parish of Cullen, ba- 
rony of Clanwilliam, and county of Tipperary, and on the 
immediate border of the county of Limerick. From time im- 
memorial gold has been found in all conditions of preparation, 
from the primitive ore to the most beautiful of fashioned orna- 
ment, nay, even the very crucibles small bronze saucepans, 
with the gold arrested in its progress of smelting or boiling 
have been found in this bog and its neighbourhood. Within 
the last fourteen years, I have myself seen two bars of pure 
gold turned up out of this bog or its neighbourhood ; the finders 
are not anxious to enlighten one much as to which. One of 
these bars was about five inches in length, an inch and a half in 
breadth, and more than half an inch in thickness. The other 
was somewhat smaller, but being plain bars without any artistic 
feature, they were not unfortunately secured by the Royal Irish 
Academy, and consequently they passed into the hands of a 
goldsmith, who of course has long since melted them down. (MO) 

(<>) [j; n t h e year 1773 Governor T. Pownall exhibited to the Society of Anti- 
quaries of London, two swords, and some other fragments, said to have been 
found in a bog at Cullen, in the county of Tipperary, on the lands of Lord 
Milton. On the 10th of February, 1774, he read a paper on the subject, which 
was afterwards published, illustrated by a plate, in vol. iii. (p. 555), of the 
Archaeologia for 1775. So far as we can judge from the drawings, the swords 


xxlx - To return, however, to the golden bog of Cullen. It is not 
Gold 01 na- at all unreasonable to assume that this bog was anciently a 

monts found 

Cniien, in exhibited to the Society were not peculiar, being of one of the usual forms of 
the county bronze swords. The other object figured in the plate is a low conoidal disc of 
fTipperary. gol( j a b out f our i nc hes in diameter at the base. The apex of the conoid is 
chased so as to form a small stellated ornament ; this is surrounded by the 
usual ridge, like chasings which are found on many Irish gold ornaments. 
These ridges form a series of complete concentric circles near the apex, but as 
they approach the base, the form being a conoid, and not a cone, they can only 
form segments of circles. Around the base, however, there is a border of com- 
plete circular ridges the ridges being much larger than the centre ones. On 
the inner side of this border is a zigzag ornament which presents the appear- 
ance of rays pointing towards the centre or apex. This ornamentation does 
not go round the entire border, being wanting for about thirty degrees of 
the circle at the shortest slant-height of the conoid, that is, where it is nearest 
the stellated apex. Its conoidal shape would seem to show that it could not 
have been the boss of a shield, which it otherwise resembles. Governor 
Pownall thinks that it formed part of the gold plating of a wooden idol this 
particular ornament being intended for the teat or nipple of the breast. The 
following 13 his account of the matter : 

"The fragment, which was paid to be part of an image found at the same 
time, is of a black wood, entirely covered and plated with thin gold, and seems 
to have been part of the breasts, the teat or nipple of which is radiated in ham- 
mered or chased work, in lines radiating from a centre, as is usual in the 
images of the sun ; and round the periphery, or setting on of the breast, there 
are like radiations in a specific number, with other linear ornaments. There 
is another fragment of the same kind of wood which seems to be a fragment 
of an Ammonian horn ; there are in it the golden studs or rivets by which it 
may be supposed to have been also plated with gold. The first account I had 
of this image was, that it was of an human form, with a lion's face ; then, that 
it was indeed biform, but of what sort not specified. I have since been in- 
formed that the image, whatever it was, was of a size sufficient to make a gate 
post, to which use it was affixed". 

It must be confessed that the evidence connecting the gold conoids with the 
image is not very satisfactory ; for it appears by the report of the Rev. Mr. 
Armstrong, given by Governor Pownall, that the finding of the image occurred 
above sixty years before, and he found no one in the neighbourhood of 
Cullen who remembered anything about it. That some kind of carved wooden 
image was really found there, there appears to be no reasonable doubt ; but 
whether it had golden nipples and was biformed, we have unfortunately na 
satisfactory evidence. 

The report of the Rev. Mr. Armstong above alluded to, is a chronicle of the 
discoveries of gold ornaments, bronze weapons, etc., found in the same small 
bog near Cullen, between the years 1731 and 1753, made by a Mr. Nash, and 
between the years 1760 and 1773 by a Mr. Cleary. The golden articles found 
consisted of two chased cups, bosses, pieces of tube, plates, and ribbons, some 
of the former chased, gold wire, rings or ferrules, pommels of swords, the point 
of a scabbard, pieces with the links of a chain attached, a number of ingots, a 
quantity of small bits or clippings, amounting in all to above six pounds. The 
bronze articles consisted of a bronze cauldron ami a quadrangular vessel, seven 
socketed spears five inches long with parts of the wooden shafts ; thirteen 
socketed spears ten inches long with handles of quartered ash six feet long ; two 
swords with pieces of gold attached to the rivets of the handle ; a sword weigh- 
ing 21bs. 5oz., having a piece of white metal, called in the report pewter, inlaid 
in the bronze near the pommel; in this white metal was inlaid in copper, what 
are described as resembling four figures of 1 ; a piece of bronze tube ; thirteen 
whole swords much hacked and notched ; and forty-three parts of swords of 
the handle ends, and twenty-nine of the point ends; three ingots weighing 


wooded valley, resorted to by a party, or parties, of gold smel- *xix. 
ters and smiths, on account, perhaps, of its contiguity to a gold 
mine, as well as the convenience of charcoal. But indepen- 
dently of these positive and assumed circumstances, there is 
extant a historical reference to -this precise locality, which, I 
believe, identifies it with a family and a race of workers in the 
finer metals. There was anciently in this district a small chief- Cerdraighe, 
taincy called Cerdraighe, that is the territory of the goldsmiths ; tor^of'the'" 
and this territory, as well as the tribe who owned and occupied KoWsroiths, 

-11 -i i p i T near Cullen. 

it, had received the name Irom a man who bore it as his dis- 
tinctive title in right of his profession of a Cerd or goldsmith. 
The tribe of the Cerdraighe Avere descended from Oilioll 
Oluim, the celebrated king of Munster, who died A.D. 234, and 
their pedigree is thus given in the " Book of Leinster" : 

" The pedigree of the Cerdraighe of Tulach Gossa. that is, Pedigree of 
, , J /- j * U r .LI tlie Cerd - 

they were named Cerdraighe because every man ot them was ratghe of 
a Cerd (or goldsmith) for seven generations. o'cua 1 ; 

" Oilioll Oluim had a son whose name was Tighernach, who 
had a son Cerdraighe (or the king's goldsmith), who had a 
son Cerd Beg (or the little, or young goldsmith), who had a son 
Cerdan, the still more diminutive goldsmith, who had a son 
Senach, who had a son Temnen, who had a son Lugaidh, who 
had a son Carban, who had a son St, Mothemnioc, who, being 
a holy priest and not married, the family in this line became 
extinct in him ; and the race of goldsmiths must have ceased 
in his father Carban, who was the sixth generation from 
Cerdrmghe, the first of the artists, and grandson of king Oilioll 

7lbs.; a piece of about lib. weight of what seemed to have been the residue 
left in the ladle after casting some article. 

The number of articles noticed in this report must bear a very insignificant 
proportion to those actually found and silently disposed of by the peasantry 
during the last century. Indeed O'Halloran states (History of Ireland, vol. 
ii., p. 92; Dublin, 1819) that a gold crown was found in this bog in 1744, 
which he saw himself, and which, he says, was " like the close crowns of the 
eastern princes". From the number, as well as the variety of the articles, 
it seems certain, therefore, that gold and bronze working must have been 
anciently carried on in the district. It would appear that nothing had been 
found in cutting away the upper six feet of the peat, except the trunks of 
different kinds of trees, all of which, with the exception of those of the oak and 
fir, were rotten, and some horns, which from their size (they were said to be 
large enough to have a circle of about three feet in diameter described on each 
palm), may have been those of the red deer. It was in the second cutting 
below six feet that the first objects were discovered in 1731. The depth at 
which the articles were found, their number and character, and the interesting 
relation established in the text by Professor O'Curry between this locality and 
the tribe of the Cerdraighe, invest the bog of Cullen with special interest.] 

(29i) [original: 5eneUv6 Cejvo- mo^ yeffiujv tYlocermuoc ( 1 Uem- 
ojAAige CvntdeJoffA, .1. Cejvot>fVAi5e men) nu\c CApbAti, mAct/ugexiA mAc 
Amrmi-o, A^\ 1>A cejvoA c&c f ep Tub co . dietneti, m<xc chemnen mAc SeruMg, 


According to genealogical computations, the years of these 
tws family seven generations would be 210, to which if we add the years 
smfths is f Oilioll Oluim himself and his immediate son Tighernach, the 
thus brought father of Cerdraiqhe. the last of the seven generations of artists 

down to circa 11 m -\ i 

A.D. 500; would come down to the year 474, or say in round numbers to 
the year 500. And so we find that the trade and art of gold 
manufacture if not of gold smelting and mining, was carried 
on in this district, probably in this very spot, during the long 
period of 221 years. It is a singular fact that there still exists, 
some five miles to the west of Cullen, but in the county of 
Limerick, a well-known townland bearing the name of Baile 
na g-Ceard, or the town of the goldsmiths. I am, however, 
with great regret obliged to acknowledge that I have not as 
yet been able to discover the exact situation of Tulach Gossa, 
the ancient patrimonial residence of the family. 

the eldest But although this, the eldest, line of the family became ex- 
cln^exunct tinct in the person of St. Mothemnioc, say about the year 530, 
in st. it is quite certain that the whole race had not become so. as 

Mothemmoc, i n i / ^ -n T 

circa A.D. may be collected irom an ancient (jraedhelic tract in my pos- 
session. This curious tract contains a more detailed account 
than the " Book of Rights", quoted in a former lecture, of the 
services rendered to the king of Cashel by several of the chief- 
taincies of the province of Munster, as well as of the particular 
territories which by ancient custom and privilege, supplied his 
court with certain officers. Thus, his doctors were furnished 
him by the Dail Muyhaidhe in Tipperary ; his harpers by the 
and other Corcoiche in the county of Limeiick ; his Cerds, or gold and 
extsVedat a silversmiths, and his Umhaidhe, or bronze-workers, from the 
much later Cerdraighe; the steward of his milch-cows and dairies from 
the Boinraighe; his poets and scholars from the Mtiscraighe of 
Ormond ; and so on. 

The mineral It is worth mentioning here, that the mineral district of Silver- 
snvermines mmes > m tne county of Tipperary, is only about twelve or fif- 
and Meanus teen miles to the north of Oullen, and that the ancient mineral 
cuiien. land of Mianus, now Meanus in the county of Limerick, is only 
about the same distance to the west of that town. 

I cannot conceal the satisfaction I feel in being able to con- 
nect the discovery of gold in all conditions of smelting and 
manufacture in this place, with a race of workers in the same 
metal, resident on the very spot, or in some contiguous locality, 
whose ancestry, term of existence, and period of time, I have, 
I trust, established on such satisfactory grounds as will be 
deemed sufficient for all the purposes of general history. 

Ceivo-oAin, tnAc CefvoAbicce H. 2. 18. foL 222. b., lower corner.] 


Of the other names of a covering or ornament for the head, **'* 
which have come under my notice in my readings among our 
ancient manuscripts, I shall give only a very brief notice, set- 
ting them down in alphabetical order. These names are; At; 
Barr; Cathbarr; Cenn Barr; Cleitme; and Eo-Barr. 

The At had the same signification as the present English The At and 
word " hat". The old British name was the same as the Gaed- 
helic, and had the same declensional forms, and, in my opinion, 
was borrowed from it. This word At signifies simply an orna- 
mental case or covering ; and the authority for the application 
of the name to an ornamental covering, or hat, for the head is 
found in the ancient elegy pronounced by the poet Ferceirtne 
on his prince and patron Curoi Mac DairS, the king of West 
Munster. The poet, in enumerating the many gifts received 
by him from the bountiful deceased prince, counts ten Cleitmes; 
and an ancient glossarist explains the Cleitme to have been a 
JRiyhbharr or At, that is, a king's radiating helmet, or a hat. 
The word Cleitme is also explained in a maxim of the Brehon 
Laws in this way: 

" Lattice precedes crest", that is, says the ancient commenta- 
tor, " I prefer that the lattice walls of the house be built before 
the Cleitme (or crest) '' (292> 

The Barr, which enters into the compound words Cennbarr, The AW-, 
Eobarr, and Righbarr, signifies, like the Cleitme, a radius or crest o""r"an'<i 
compounded with cenn, the head ; eo, the top, and righ, a king. Ri 9 Marr - 
When compounded with cath, a battle, as in the word and name 
Cathbarr, it signifies properly a battle cap or battle helmet, and 
riot a mere ornamental crest, appendage, cap, or hat. 

Having now completed what I had to say about the personal 
ornaments of the people of ancient Erinn, it only remains to 
say a few words on their artificers. The Cerd or goldsmith The gold- 
was not included among the professors of the free and liberal only an* as 
arts in ancient Erinn, although he was entitled to some high artizan; 
privileges. He belonged to the Doer Nemhidh, or base profes- 
sors, that is, the higher class of artizans, of which we have a 
list in the Brehon Laws. Among these were the Saer or car- 
penter, the Gobha or blacksmith, the Umhaidhe the bronze 
worker, and the Cerd or smith, who worked in the precious 
metals. These several professions were considered to be base, 
because they performed the duties of their professions with their 
hands or fists In connection with these higher artizans may other arti 
also be mentioned the Rinnaidhe, or engraver, and the Ersco- 

(J92j [original: t)o fee cliAch cteiche, .1. &f ^etnceccai tiuin cl/iac 
idc<vif\ in ciji oo x>en<Mn A|\ -ouf , 4ti<\r cleictne A tnuVLaig. Felire beg, 21. 
23. a. a.] 

VOL. II. 14 


raidhe, or carver, the former of whom must have- worked in con- 
junction with the Cerd and the Umhaidhe, and the latter with 
the Saer. We also meet with the term Dualaighe, that is a 
painter or brushman, from dual a brush, or lock of hair, 
the The first Cerd, or worker in the precious metals, whose name 
goidsinith r has been handed down by tradition, is Creidne, who takes his 
name from credh, which signifies the ore of copper, gold, silver, 
etc. This artist is mentioned in the oldest historical tract that 
we now possess, the battle of the southern MagJi Tuireadh, 
fought between the Firbolgs and the Tuatha De Danann. The 
only reference to the exercise of this artist's profession that I 
have met, however, is the statement, that he made rivets, of 
course of bronze, for the spears, and the ornamented hilts for the 
swords, used by his own people, the Tuatha De Danann, in 
that famous battle. His scales, weights, and measures, are men- 
| tioned in our ancient laws, and his decisions about metals and 
metallurgy have been acted upon in Brehon Law almost down 
to our own times. In the ancient manuscripts of the laws these 
decisions and other references are still known under the name 
of the Breiha Chreidne, or the judgments of Creidne. A very 
his death curious memorial of the death of this artist, and one eminently 
"poenTof m calculated to determine with precision the nature of his profes- 
Fiann; gion, is to be found in a poem, written by Flann of Monaster- 
boice, who died in the year of our Lord 1056, (293) a beautiful 
copy of which is preserved in the Book of Leinster. In this 
poem, the learned writer gives us, from the most reliable sources 
extant in his early .times, an account of the manner of the death 
of the most eminent of the Tuatha D& Danann chiefs who 
formed the first colony, and survived the great battles of 
northern and southern Magh Tuireadh. This poem consists 
of thirty-six stanzas, of which the following is the tenth : 
this poem " Creidne was drowned the cunning Cerd, 
importation Upon the wide sea of dangerous waters, 

goia reign Whilst bringing over golden ore 

Into Erinn out of Spain" . (294) 

This is indeed an important passage; and from it we may 
very fairly assume that in Creidnds time the gold mines of 
Erinn had not been discovered, or if discovered, at least not 
worked. It was not, in fact, until about two hundred years 
after this time that the monarch Tighernmas, of the Milesian 

(a93) [See for an account of him, Lect. viii., ante, vol. L, p. 168. The poem is 
mentioned at p. 150 of the same volume.] 

(294) [original: oc cAbAfu; tnem 6ij\, 

fto bAnjet) Cpe-rone in cejvo CAff "oo chum n&fienn 

fO]\ in 1/oc mui]\ titroAmtiAr H. 2. 18. f. 6. a.] 


line, appears to have discovered the gold mines of Leinster, 
which he is said to have worked, and of which he is recorded 
to have smelted the ore in the forests on the east side of the 
river Liffey, where he had the refined metal manufactured into 
cups, brooches, etc. This account of the metallurgical opera- The first 
tions of Tighernmas is rendered much more interesting by the smelter of 
circumstance, that the smelter of the ore, who was doubtless the of 'wtcuowf 
manufacturer of the precious cups and ornaments, is actually 
recorded to have been a native of the country of Cualann, that 
is, of the district which lies between the present towns of Bray 
and Wicklow. From this it would appear that the native 
artist had been acquainted with the existence of gold in his own 
territory, and with its manufacture into cups, brooches, etc., 
before Tighernmas; else that sagacious and warlike monarch 
would have selected not a native, but a foreigner, for a work 
requiring so much technical and artistic skill. 

It is not to be expected that we should find many references References 
to such simple and every day affairs as the making of a Niamh- making of 
Land, or the fashioning of a Mind, in the chronicles of such ments C not ns " 
remote times chronicles, too, which must necessarily have^J t i be 
come down to us only in scanty fragments. Yet we have some chronicles ; 
references to such things in times very remote from our own, 
and which, though sometimes exaggerated, are not the less 
valuable as indicating the universally fixed idea of native, ^| V g S ; 
and not foreign artists, being the designers and fabricators of evidenced a 

,i i j-j .- i c -L- '1 belief that 

those splendid articles 01 which we possess so many specimens, metallic 
As has been already shown, we find that Creidne was the first "ee n of nt * 
worker in the precious metals for the Tuatha D6 Danann. native 
Next, we find luchaddn, a native of the beforementioned dis- tore. 
trict of Cualann, in the county of Wicklow, smelting gold, as 
we have above stated, under king Tighernmas, and manufactu- 
ring the purified metal into cups, brooches, and, of course, other 
elegant articles. This, according to the chronology of the 
" Annals of the Four Masters", would be about fourteen hun- 
dred years B.C. , and in about two hundred years afterwards, we 
find a record that the monarch Muineamon ordered the petty 
kings and chiefs of Erinn to wear Muinches or collars of gold, 
around their necks. This monarch was succeeded by Fail- 
dearg-doid, that is " Red-rings-on-hands", a popular name given 
to him because he was the first to introduce amongst the kings 
and chiefs of Erinn the wearing of rings of red gold on their 

14 B 


[Delivered 10th June, 1862.] 

quity of the harp in Erinn. The first musical instrument mentioned in 
Gaedhelic writings is the Cruit, or harp, of the Daghda, & chief and druid of 
the Tuatha D Danann ; his curious invocation to his harp ; the three 
musical feats played upon it ; examination of the names of this harp ; the 
word Coir, forming part of the name of the Daghda's harp, came down to 
modern times, as is shown by a poem of Keating on Tadgh O'Cofiey, his 
harper. The Daghda's invocation to his harp further examined ; the three 
musical modes compared to the three seasons of the year in ancient Egypt ; 
myth of the discovery of the lyre ; Dr. Burney on the three musical modes 
of the Greeks; the three Greek modes represented by the Irish three feats ; 
conjectural completion of the text of the Daghda's invocation ; what were 
the bellies and pipes of the Dag/Ida's harp ; ancient painting of a lyre at 
Portici, with a pipe or flute for cross-bar, mentioned by Dr. Burney. Le- 
gend of the origin of the three feats, or modes of harp playing, from the 
Tain Bo Fraich ; meaning of the name Uaithne in this legend. No mention 
of strings in the account of the Daghda's harp, but they are mentioned in the 
tale of the Tain Bo Fraich. Legend of Find Mac Cumhaill; Scathach and her 
magical harp ; Scathach's harp had three strings ; no mention of music having 
been played at either of the battles of the northern or southern Magh Tui- 
readh ; this proves the antiquity of those accounts. The Daghda' a harp 
was quadrangular ; a Greek harp of the same form represented in the hand 
of a Grecian Apollo at Rome ; example of Irish quadrangular harp on theca 
of an ancient missal. Dr. Ferguson on the antiquity and origin of music in 
Erinn ; musical canon of the Welsh regulated by Irish harpers about A.I>. 
1100; his account of the theca above mentioned, and of figures of the harp 
from ancient Irish monumental crosses which resembled the old Egyptian 
one ; he thinks this resemblance supports the Irish traditions ; Irish MSS. 
little studied twenty years ago, but since then they have been ; from this 
examination the author thinks the Firbolgs and Tuatha D Danann had 
nothing to do with Egypt, but that the Milesians had. Migration of the 
Tuatha De* Danann from Greece ; the author does not believe they went 
into Scandinavia; he believes their cities of Falias, Gorias, etc., were in 
Germany ; they spoke German according to the Book of Lecan. The simi- 
larity of the harps on the monument of Orpheus at Petau in Styria and on 
the theca of the Stowe MS. may point to Murrhart as the Murias of the 
Tuatha De Danann. 

Antiquity of THE early cultivation of music and melody, and a special res- 
Er!nn! rp ' ' pect for the professors of the art, bespeak a peculiar civilization 
which implies no small degree of refinement of habit and of 
taste in a people. If there ever was a people gifted with a 
musical soul and sensibility in a higher degree than another, I 
would venture to assert that the Gaedhil of ancient Erinn were 
that people. 

In no country in Europe, at least I believe so, is the anti- 
quity and influence of the harp thrown so far back into the 


darker regions of history as in Erinn. Our traditions are more xxx. 
distinct than those of the Greeks ; for, they give time and place, 
name and occasion. Ours is not the shadowy myth of Orpheus 
going to the realms of Pluto, and by his lyre softening the ob- 
durate heart of the grim monarch of the infernal abodes. It 
possesses something much more of real life, and belongs more 
to definite history. It is, indeed, a remote tradition ; but, it is 
identified with a people and with persons whose history, though 
obscure and exaggerated, is still embodied in our oldest chron- 
icles, and has never departed from the memories of our living 
romances and popular traditions. And, from the very remotest 
period to which our oldest traditions with any degree of cir- 
cumstantiality refer, we find music, musical instruments, musi- 
cal performers, and the power and influence of music, spoken of. 

The first musical instrument to which we have any reference The first 
in our Gaedhelic writings, is the Cruit, or harp ; and this refe- Sruinent 
rence is found in the history of that mysterious people called [^ 
the Tuatha De Danann, of whom so much has been said in writings 
the course of these lectures. The reference to which I allude 
is found in the ancient detailed account of the battle of the 
second, or northern Magh Tuireadh, described in a former lec- 
ture; a battle which was gained by the Tuatha De Danann 
against those early piratical visitors of our shores, commonly 
called the Fomorians. This battle was fought, according to 
the "Annals of the Four Masters", in the year of the world 
3330, or about eighteen hundred years before the Incarnation ; 
and it was fought at Magh Tuireadh, a place still well known, 
situated in the parish of Gill Mhic Trena, barony of Tirerill 
(Tir Oiliolla), and county of Sligo. (295) 

The Fomorians having been defeated with great slaughter, 
such of them as were still able, retreated from the field, under 
their surviving leader Breas, who had been captured, but ob- 
tained his liberty by a stratagem. The story proceeds in these 
words : 

" Lugh [the Tuatha De Danann king] and the Daghda is the emit, 
[their great chief and druid] and Ogma [their bravest cham- t^ 
pion] followed the Fomorians, because they had carried off the ^I 
Daghda's harper, Uaithne was his name. They [the pursuers] Dan 
soon reached the banqueting house in which they [the Fomo- 
rian chiefs] Breas, the son of Elathan, and JElathan, the son 
of Delbath, were and where they found the harp hanging upon 
the wall. This was the harp in which the music was spell-bound, 
so that it would not answer when called forth, until the Daghda 
evoked it, when he said what follows here down : 

i 5 > See about this battle, Lect. xii., ante, vol. i. p. 248. 


xxx - "'Come JDurdabla; come C6ircethairchuir ; come Samh ; 

hisinvoca- come GamK [that is, come summer, come winter] from the 
harp; mouths of harps, and bellies and pipes. Two names now had 
the harp ; namely, Durdabla, and Cdircethairchuir. The harp 
came forth from the wall then, and killed nine persons [in its pas- 
sage] ; and it came to the Daghda; and he played for them the 
three [musical] feats which give distinction to a harper, namely, 
the Suantraighe [which from its deep murmuring caused sleep] ; 
the Gentraighe [which from its merriment caused laughter] ; and 
the three the Goltraighe [which from its melting plaintiveness caused cry- 
jSyed upon" i n g] He played them the Goltraighe until their women cried 
tears. He played them the Gentraighe until their women and 
youths burst into laughter. He played them the Suantraighe 
until the entire host fell asleep. It was through that sleep they 
[the three champions] escaped from those [the FomoriansJ who 
were desirous to kill them' ". (296) 

Examination I must confess that these names applied to the harp of the 
of the harpT great Daghda, and the musical sounds which he evoked from it 
evidently descriptive names, as they are are among the most 
unmanageable phrases I have ever met. The first name applied 
here to the harp, Durdabla, can, by taking its component parts 
at their ordinary value, be analysed in this way : Durd, or dord, 
a murmur, and abla, the possessive case of aball, a sweet apple 
tree. The second name, Coircethaircuir, can be analysed in 
the same way : Coir, signifies arrangement, adjustment, and ee- 
thairchuir, compounded of cethair, four, and cor, an angle, or 
rather a beak like the beak of an anvil, signifies quadrubeaked, 
or quadrangular ; so that the second name would simply signify 
the quadrubeaked or quadrangular harmonious instrument. 
the word The word C6ir, as applied to the proper tuning or har- 

Coir came r- r - 1 J 

down to mo- momzmg of a harp, or any musical instrument, came down to 
as'show^cy mv own ear lj days ; and we have a good instance of its ap- 

a poem of 

0fl) [original : 'Loucwp A M-OIATO 6vnn. 'Oottut) AM cnou AprAM prxoig 

MA t?OmOjAAC -0110 ttlg ACA-p Atl "OAg- 1Ar\Att1, ACA-p mAnbAI) .1X. 1MAn J ACAf 

oou AgA-p OgniA AN cnu-icine [AM T)A5- cAnuicc -oodum An 'OAJ'OA ; ACAT- re- 

OA p.onuc'pA'o teo, UAicmu A Ainm.] -pAinnpe (?) A cjxeA'oi -pop. Animicnirt 

RopAgAT) lenutn A pieccec Ainboi cr\uici]M -ooib, .1. SuAncpAigi ACA-p 

"byveAf niAC elACAn, ACAT- et,ACAn getincnAiti, ACAp joltcnAigi. Se- 

mAc 'OeibAic, ifAnn boi m cnoc ^on -pAinn 50 VlcnAiJi ooib congotp At> 

in fpuxiji-o. 1ryi mcnuicpn A^ A ne- AtnnA -oeAnAfiA. SepAinn genncr\A- 

tiAipc na ceoLA connAfvo-pojnAi'o^e- 151 -ooib concibpoc AtnnA ACAf A 

co-p. cniAjAinm con-oe^Ap-c mDAStJA mAC]\AicVi. SepAinn SuAncfAigi -ooilS 

in cAn Acbep.c Annpofif . CAinOAun- coMctnl/pet) An cftuAi'6. 1f -oefe-o 

OAbtAO, cAin CoincecAncuinn, cAin -oieiAtACAn ACjviun -pt^n UAi-oib CIA 

SATH, CAin JAin (cAin imbotc A) A IMA -oAii A MJOIM. Battle of Magh 

beot-A cnoc ACAJ' boL^ Acu-pbuiMMe. Tuireadh, Ilurleian MSS. 5280, Bnt. 

OA MAinm OMO DACAM i?on AM ctttnc Mus. f. 59. a. last line.} 
pn, .1. 'Own'OAblA 


plication in the beautiful verses of the Rev. Doctor Geoffrey *** 
Keating, the historian, on his harper Tadhg O 1 Cobthaigli, or 
O'Coffey. In this poem he commences by asking, who is it 
that plays the enchanting music that dispels all the ills that 
man is heir to ; and he goes on to enumerate several of the 
celebrated musicians of ancient Erinn, for any of whom he might 
be mistaken ; he then answers himself in the fifth and sixth 
stanzas of the poem, which are as follow : 
" It is not any one that I have here named, 

Of the necromantic Tuatlia BS Danann; 

Nor of any race from these hither, 

That has struck the C6ir of the harp. 
" Tadhg O'Cobthaigh of beauteous form, 

The chief beguiler of women, 

The intelligent concordance of all difficult tunes, 

The thrill of music and of harmony ". (297) 
The term C6ir, for tune, or being in tune, and Cornghadh, 
for putting in tune or order, appears to apply more properly to 
a wind instrument, as may be seen from " O'Davoren's Ancient 
Irish Glossary", at the word Indell, to set or put in order, 
where he applies the word GUs to the tuning of the Cruit or 
harp ; and the word Coruighther, to the tuning of the Cuisleanna, 
or pipes. (298) 

But, to return to the account of the harp of the Daghda. The Dagh- 
The two first names seem to symbolize the distinctive quail- ^ ttTw* 
ties, and the mechanical formation of his wonderful harp ; but, har P f u " her 

\ .. -IPI 11 i i examined, 

in the remaining words ot the address, he seems to invoke it in 
its varied musical character, when he says: " Come summer, 
come winter [from] the mouths of harps and bags and pipes". 
It is difficult to understand these figurative invocations; but 
the difficulty of attempting an explanation of them is greatly 
increased by the circumstance that there seems to be a defect 
in this copy of the tract, the only one known to me ; for some- 
thing is left out between the word " winter", and the words 
" mouths of harps and bags and pipes". It naturally occurs to 
ask why it is, that the three seasons into which the year was 
formerly divided are not mentioned? why it is the summer 
and the winter only, leaving out the spring ? When first I saw 

(297) [original: 
tli hAoin neAc -o'An AinifieAf Ann, C1MC1^\ AM diuit, 'f At1 6oiceT>Ai1. 

t)o chuACAi"b -001 If e -oe tMnAnn ; MSS. Egerton, 111, Brit. Mus., p. 
t>'f6itt o'n Atn r<xm lie ic, 282, col. 2.] 

'Aimfig COIJA nA cnuice. < 298 ) [original : 1n-oett, .1. gl^f, 

* vie e-rc, inijeVl cnoc, cuiflennAig cet> 
6 CoticAij qmfc 6oncj\A, .1. gieAfAigcen HA CJAOCA, ACAf cop- 

t)nAnnAn bneAgcA bAnncnoccA, Aiguen nA 

UAicne iuit f j\icin gAd 



The three 


this passage, it occurred to me that there were two seasons left 
out by some mistake, the spring and the autumn ; but then, this 
number would not agree with the three musical feats, which, it 
is stated, gave the dignity of Ollamh, or doctor in music, to the 
professor of the harp. I found, however, that there was a very 
ancient authority for the three seasons of the year only being 
indicated or represented by three musical feats, corresponding 
to the Greek Modes. It is referred to in " Burney's General 
History of Music". 

In speaking of a celebrated benefactor of the ancient Egyp- 
modeffcom- tians, Dr. Burney says that, " He was the first who out of 
three d seasons tne coarse and rude dialects of his time formed a regular lan- 
oftheyearm guage, and appellatives to the most useful things; he likewise 
invented the first characters or letters, and even regulated the 
harmony of words and phrases ; he instituted several rites and 
ceremonies relative to the worship of the gods, and communi- 
cated to mankind the first principles of astronomy. He after- 
wards suggested to them, as amusements, wrestling and dancing, 
and invented the lyre, to which he gave three strings, in allu- 
sion to the seasons of the year : for these three strings, produ- 
cing three different sounds the grave, the mean, and the acute, 
the grave answered to winter, the mean to spring, and the acute 
to summer. 

" Among the various opinions", continues Dr. Burney, " of 
^ e several ancient writers who have mentioned this circum- 
stance, and confined the invention to the Egyptian Mercury, 
that of Apollodorus is the most intelligible and probable: 
* The Nile', says this writer, ' after having overflowed the whole 
country of Egypt, when it returned within its natural bounds, 
left on the shore a great number of dead animals of various 
kinds, and among the rest a tortoise, the flesh of which being 
dried and wasted by the sun, nothing was left within the shell 
but nerves and cartilages, and these being braced and contrac- 
ted by desiccation, were rendered sonorous. Mercury, in walk- 
ing along the banks of the Nile, happening to strike his foot 
against the shell of this tortoise, was so pleased with the sound 
it produced, that it suggested to him the first idea of a lyre, 
which he afterwards constructed in the form of a tortoise, and 
strung it with dried sinews of dead animals 1 ". (! " 

Dr. Burney has the following observations also (300) upon what 
he calls the three musical modes, which may, I think, be re- 

myth of the 

Dr. Burney 
musical >ree 

f the garded as explanatory of the three feats of music among the 

< 299 ) Burney's General History ofMuiic, vol. i., p. 199. 
< 30 ) Ibid., p. 194. 


" Herodotus, in tracing the genealogy of the Dorians, one of 
the most ancient people of Greece, makes them natives of Egypt, 
and as the three musical modes of highest antiquity among the 
Greeks, are the Dorian, Phrygian, and Lydian, it is likely 
that the Egyptian colony which peopled the Dorian province, 
brought with them the music and instruments of their native 

I have introduced these quotations here from Dr. Burney's the 
work, with the view of showing the probability that our three represented* 
ancient musical feats of sleeping, laughing, and crying, are re- three e feats^ 
presented, after the Egyptian or Greek manner, by the grave, 
the mean, and the acute ; or winter, spring, and summer. And 
that, if so, there is one of them, the spring (Errach or Jmbolc), left 
out in our copy of the Daghdas invocation of his harp. It is 
very evident indeed, that there is a defect here, because the pre- 
position a, from, is absent between Gamh, or winter ; and the 
words bedla Crot, acas Bolg, acas Buinne that is, mouths of 
harps and bags and pipes, which immediately follow, and the 
precise connection of which, on account of this defect, cannot be 
insisted upon. 

If, then, this opinion be correct, the Daqhda's invocation conjectural 

13 At* 7~ j i 7 yr/ *7 completion 

would run m this way: come, JJuraaola; come, Coircethair- of the text of 
chuir; come, Samh (that is, summer) ; come, Gamh (that is, vo^tfon! in ~ 
winter); come, Imbolc (that is, spring), from the mouths of 
harps and bags and pipes : and another fact comes here in aid 
of this reading ; for that the ancient Irish, at some remote period, 
did divide the year into the three seasons of Samh, summer, 
Gamh, winter, and Jmbolc, spring (omitting the Foghmhar, or 
autumn), is quite evident from the fact, that Cormac Mac Cui- 
leannain and the other old glossarists, explain Samhain, or No- 
vember eve, by Samh, summer, and fuin, the end ; that is, the 
end of Samh, or summer. That the year was also divided into 
four seasons at one time, and into but two at another time, will 
be seen from a chapter " On the Division of the Year among the 
ancient Irish", printed in the Introduction to the " Book of 
Rights" (p. xlviii.), published by the Celtic Society in 1847. 

Another difficulty presents itself in this extraordinary address what were 
of the Daghda to his harp. ^What were the bellies or bags and 
(for the word bolg, in the original means either), and the pipes 
from which he calls forth the mysterious music? It is clear 
from the context, that there was but the one instrument pre- 
sent, the Daghdas, own harp ; and it must therefore follow that 
these were parts of it, each contributing its share to the pro- 
duction of the music. We can easily understand the belly to 
mean the sound-board or box; but then, what was the pipe? 


xxx. I must express my inability to answer this question. There 
is, however, a passage in Dr. Burney 1 s work which is worth 
mentioning in connection with it, though it contains only a hint 
of what might possibly account for the mention of the pipe or 
tube alluded to by the Daghda. 

Ancient " In one of the ancient paintings at Portici", says Dr. Burney, 

fyrefwith a* " I saw a lyre with a pipe or flute for the cross -bar or bridge at 

bridge 01 " the *he *P whether this tube was used as a wind instrument to 

accompany the lyre, or only a pitch-pipe, I know not; nor 

within the course of my inquiries has any example of such a 

junction occurred elsewhere"/ 300 

This is indeed a very loose account for our purpose ; one that 
suggests nothing more than a vague hint : for we cannot learn 
from it anything of the precise form of the harp, or of the age 
and circumstances of the painting which Dr. Burney says he 
saw, nor to what period of antiquity his words " ancient paint- 
ings" might be referred. It would, however, be truly a re- 
markable fact in relation to our present inquiry, if there be still 
extant an ancient classic painting of a harp suggesting so curious 
an explanation (as far as we can understand it) of our most 
ancient account of the DaghdcCs harp, as regards the union of 
the tube with that instrument, whatever the particular use of 
that tube might have been. It seems to me evident indeed, as 
I have already said, from the DaglidcCs calling forth the music 
of summer, winter, and spring, from the mouths of Cruit, belly, 
and tube, that the latter did really contribute its own share to 
the sounds of the instrument: and hence, the very obscure 
words of our ancient text would receive some explanation, or 
at least some remarkable corroboration, if we are to depend 
upon the singular account of Dr. Burney. 

Legend of Let me, however, return to the subject of the three feats of 
thl three f harp-music, to which 1 have suggested an analogy in the three 
feats or Greek modes. Concerning the origin of these three feats, there 

modes of . . 1-11-111 i mi 

harp-playing is extant a very ancient and singularly wild legend. Ihe story 

Tdin^o forms one of the preludes to the Tain Bo Chuailgne, and is 

French. preserved under the name of Tain Bo Fraich, or the plunder 

of Fraectis cows. Of this Fraecli I had occasion to speak in 

a former lecture, when describing some of the houses which 

formed part of the ancient palace of Cruachan, in Connacht, (302) 

but I shall have to introduce him here again. 

Fraech was the son of Fidhadh, and a chieftain of West 

Connacht. His mother's name was Bebinn) a name which 

literally signifies the melodious woman), one of the Tuatha D& 

Danann, and sister to that lady Boancl from whom the river 

^ 30 ) Uln supra, vol. i., p. 493. (?0f > See Lect. xix., ante, vol. ii., p. 10. 


Boyne (Boind) derives its name. This young chief, we are xxx. 
told, confident in the splendour of his retinue and in his own Legend of 
beauty of figure, proposed to himself to solicit the hand in mar- the three f 
riage of no less celebrated a beauty than the princess Findabar ^ s e ^ f 
(or " the fair-browed"), the daughter of Ailill and Medb, the harp-piaying 
king and queen of Connacht; and being sumptuously supplied T^BO 
with an outfit and attendance from the rich resources of Tuath Fralch - 
D& Danann wealth, by his aunt the lady Boand, he set out for 
the palace of Cruachan without any announcement of his in- 
tended visit. The description of his accoutrements is so rich 
that I am tempted to give it entire. 

The story proceeds to tell us that: " He went southwards 
to his mother's sister, that is to Sound, in the plain of Bregia; 
and she gave him fifty black-blue cloaks, whose colour was like 
the backs of cockchafers, each cloak had four blue ears [or lap- 
pets] ; and a brooch of red gold to each cloak She gave him 
besides fifty splendid white shirts with fastenings of gold ; and 
fifty shields of silver with borders of gold. She gave him a 
great hard spear, flaming like the candle of a royal house, to 
place in the hand of each man of his party, and fifty rings of 
burnished gold upon each spear, all of them set off with car- 
buncles, and their handles studded with precious stones. They 
would light up the plain the same as the glittering light of the 
sun. And she gave him fifty gold-hilted swords, and fifty soft- 
gray steeds, on which his men sat ; all with bridle-bits of gold, 
with a crescent of gold and bells of silver on the neck of each 
steed of them. And they had fifty crimson saddles, with pen- 
dants of silver thread, and with buckles of gold and silver, and 
with wonderful fastenings upon them (the steeds) ; and their 
riders had fifty horse-switches of Findruine, with a crook of 
gold upon the head of each horse-switch, in their hands ; and 
they had besides, seven grayhounds in chains of silver, and a 
ball of gold upon (the chain) between each pair of them. 
They wore shoes of red bronze (Cred-Uma); and there was no 
colour which approached them that they did not reflect it. 
They had seven trumpeters among them, with trumpets of gold 
and silver, wearing many coloured raiments. Their hair was 
light golden; and they had splendid white shirts upon them. 
There were three buffoons preceding the party with silver-gilt 
coronets upon their heads, and each carried a shield with em- 
blematic carvings upon it ; and crested heads, and ribs of red 
bronze in the centres of these shields ; and there were three 
harpers, each with the appearance of a king, both as to his 
dress, and his arms, and his steed" . (303) 
(303) [ or igi na i : two iA|\om po-oef co fup A triACAp e-oon (co boitro) co 


xxx. Having arrived at Cruachan, the party were hospitably re- 
Legend of ceived, and entertained for several days. One day after dinner, 
the three* king A Hill spoke to Fraech, and requested that the harps should 
mod'es'of be played for them ; and the story then tells us that: 
harp-playing " This was the condition of these [harps]. There were harp- 
Tdin BO bags of the skins of otters about them, ornamented with coral, 
(Partaing} with an ornamentation of gold and of silver over 
that, lined inside with snow-white roebuck skins; and these 
again overlaid with black-gray strips [of skin] ; and linen cloths, 
as white as the swan's coat, wrapped around the strings. Harps 
of gold, and silver, and Findruine, with figures of serpents, and 
birds, and grayhounds upon them. These figures were made 
of gold and of silver, Accordingly as the strings vibrated [these 
figures] ran around the men. They [the harpers] played for 
thorn then, until twelve men of Ailill's and Medb's household 
died of crying and emotion. Three comely men indeed were 
these [harpers], and sweet was the music which they played 
And they were the three sons of Uaitkne [the harper] that 
were there. These were, indeed the three illustrious men so 
much spoken of, namely Goltraighe, and Suantraighe, and 
Gentraighe [that is literally crying music, sleeping music, 
and laughing music]. These three now were three brothers. 
Boand from the hills was the mother of the three. And it was 
this kind of music that Uaitkne [their father] played upon the 
Daghdas harp ; and, it was from it the three [sons] were named. 
At the time that the woman [their mother] was in labour, it was 
then he [the husband] played the harp. When then the woman 

unbAi 1 ttlAig t)ne; ACAf ATibenG efdb, ACAf co fib\*&nAib oin ACAf An 

cen'omitAib mpjAncAi b 

ono,CAecAbnAGn-mib5onin,ACAf DA gAi-o, ACAf co 

cofmAil, A -OAcVi rni onuimm n--OAi1i, fonAib impu ; ACAf CACCA echtAfc 

ceconA OAT T>ub5LAfA fOf. CAcli bnAG ; fin-onume co m-bAccAn OIVOA fon. 

ACAf tnilecri tjengoin Uv CAch m- dtro CACA necnl^yifd itiA IxxtriAib ; 

b|\AC CACCA lenA bAtigeL co CUAIT)- ACAr recc tniLcoin ij'LAb^A'OAib Ain- 

01^ utnpti ; ACAT CABCA fciAt 51^0, ACAf ubut^t 01^ ro]\ CAch [inn 

01 coniTnl,ib oii\tnnpu. Oen cecVi riAe] r^AbpAt* 010. "OnoccA c^e- 

c-pUATJAc mof\ 1 j'oi'L'Lpc'hn\ ^15 oumAe umpti; ACAf m ]\Aim t)Arj HAT) 

cAin'oettfijcAigii'LAiin cAC-p^" 01 ^; beic incib. Secc copwAipe leo co 

CAeCA COfVACC T>1 O]\ O|\l.A1fCU1 1TH gA6 COfUIAlb OJ\'OAlb ACAf AingWOlb, CO 

n-Ai, ei]\TniciuT3A -oo cnAfvprnoco'L necAiib ill-OAcViAcViA umpvi ; co 

Amf 111 Li , ACAf if tio tecAib inongAib oftTJAib finbui'oi for\Aib, co 

if. iAf.n] A lencib ecf.occAib UTnpu. bACAf.cni 

m fAict)i onmcli nernib GO rmn'OAib [AingTo] 

nuicnmb gnene; ACAf CACCA fotiiof. fof. A cenT)Aib ; fceich co 

ctAiTeo n-onuuinnt) teo, ACAf CACCA fechuMb con'ouAtAchAfOfi cAcVi nAe; 

^Abof. m-bocjlAf fo fvn-oe; ACAf ACAf co cinbAclitAib impu, ACAf co 

pel,tce [beitge] 6if, ff-iu mil ACAf nefnA^Aib cne-ouniAe iAn nA LA^\ 

in tn 1,1/1 nx> [mAe'LLAn'o AngAic co cltn- [cAebAib] mA f ciAcli bATJAf. f onAib. 

cmi oin] oif. co clmcunu f on bf,A- CniAncnuicinecon-e^ofcnigiTn CA6 

JJA1T) CAcli ecli t)ib ; ACAf cAecA cf.Ant> n-Ai icin. ecAigib, ACAf Anmu, ACAf 

|_AcnAnn] concnA co fnAicib AngAitJ eocnti. H. 2. 16. col. 649.] 


was in her labour, it was crying and mourning with her in the xxx. 
intensity of her pains at the beginning. It was laughing and Legend of 
joy with her in the middle of them, at the pleasure of having the three 1 f 
brought forth two sons. It was repose and tranquillity with ^ s e o f 
her on the birth of the last son after the weight of the labour ; harp-piaying 
and it was on that account that each of them was named after TMnBn 
a third part of the music. Boand then awoke from the repose. Fralch - 
' Accept thou thy three sons, O passionate Uaiihne 1 , said she, * in 
return for thy generosity; namely, crying music (Goltraighe) ; 
and laughing music (Geantraighe) ; and sleeping music (Suan- 
traighe) ; for men will [hereafter] die of hearing their ear-tuning 
if they go to play for Mt db and Ailill [that is, when attuning 
their harps to their own ears]' ". 

" These sons", the story continues, " were afterwards nursed 
until they were men, and they it was whom Fraech took with 
him on his visit to court the princess Findabar, so that they 
played music at the desire of Ailill."** 

This passage is, as I have said, from one of the most ancient 
of the historic tales ; and I suppose I need hardly observe that 
it is by no means to be taken literally. It is, in fact, but an 
early form of one of our most ancient myths or legends, ac- 
counting for the lost history of the invention of music, or 
its introduction into the country ; and, while on the one hand 
the words here used as proper names, are really words de- 
scriptive of the various kinds of music in which the most 

(*>) [original: 1p AmbAiT) oo bA- if -oe Ammm^clten A cnin. 1n CAM 

oAn p-oe ono. Cyvocbuilcc -oo cnoic- nobAi An ben oc lArnnAT) ip AITO no 

rub oobAncon urn-pu, conA n-inroen- ren-ofem m cntnc. OnAbA^ lAnAm m- 

Am -oo pAncAing, imt>en Am won ACAf beAn oclomnA-o bA gob ACAJ* rnAing- 

o'AipgeTJ fAinp-oe AnuAf, biAn n-ej\b bee IA gtnne nA n-iT>An icorAc. t)A 

6m trnpu An-meiDon ; poiAbbA x>ub- gen ACAfgAini ACAfp.AiLceAnnie'oon, 

g^AfA miA rne'oonp'oe ; ACA-J" bnvnc exion An imcnobcAin \rm& TJIAC TJO 

Lin plicen ftiAn n-gei-p imnA cecA. bneicn. t)A fUAn ACA-p Aitgme AnA 

CnocA T>I on ACAf Ainger) ACA^ -pn-o- bneicce m mAc t)eix)inAch, e'OAn A|\ 

ntune, co n--oel/OAib n-AcnnAc, ACA^ cntume nA bneicni ; conAt> Aini no 

en ACAf mibcon ponAib. T)1 on ACAf hAinnimger) cniAn [cniAn] m cniuil, 

Aingetj nATjebbA-pn; AmAib nogboi- -oib. T)o oupAig lAnum mboAnt) AJ* 

|~oif nA cet)A imnecnToir 1 im nA finti An |*UAn. Anftnm finu obp TIO cni 

imAcuAinc nA -oeAlbA pn. Sen-oi-o meic A tlAicnm An^onnipn otp *oo 

OAib lAnAm co n-Ap-oACAn -OA fen -oec cnn mAccu A tlAicnm iAn bnocA -po 

oo tntiinci|\ Ai'LittA, ACAJ* tne'obA bicn -pet/e [pte], etion go^LcnAip, 

tACAe ACAr coinp. t)A cAin cnA m ACAfgeAncnAig^ACAfSuAncnAigi, An 

, ACAJ" OA bint> An ceoL T)o -penAib r-ceo mnAib -OA cAeDf AT> LA 

; ACAJ* bAtJAn h-ecni meic h- tYle'ob ACA|" Aititt. A'obebA'o p)\ IA 

Annpn. 1pA-o cnA pom cniAn cluA^ n-gLefA tioib. Aitcen mA 

tunn-onic AfbenAn, e-oon 'gobcnAigi, meic i~eo cnA iAnpnt)iu, conroAn 

ACA^ JencnAip, ACA^ SuAncnAip. monA, ACAf con-oAic e cue pAech 

Cni 'oenbnAcViAin cnA m cniAn -J~AI lAip oo cocmonc prTOAbnAc. C onA- 

bepnt) [Oom-o") A p-OAib A mACAin bA-OAn ocun r-enm VA bnechn n 

Acniun. AcAf ir- -om cheneoL^A fe- AiViVlA. H. 2. 16. col. 650.J 
pAinx) tlAichm cnuic m 'OAg'OAi 



NO mention 

in the Tdm 

BO Fraich. 

xxx. ancient of musicians were practised, the very form of the myth 
itself proves how very ancient how far before the farthest 
back commencement of the historic period, must have been the 
cultivation of an already regularly developed music in Erinn, 
at least among that superior race which preceded the Milesian 

Meaning of The word Udithne, the name given as that of the Daghdas 
harper, and father of the three musical sons, has three different 
significations in the ancient Gaedhelic language, namely, a post, 
or pillar, female parturition, and concord or harmony in poetry 
or music ; so that, if the name be symbolical at all, it must be 
in the last sense. 

It may be proper to pause here for a moment, and inquire 
what was the actual mechanical agency by which these three 
mechanical feats, or modes, or their wonderful effects, were pro- 

It may be remembered that in this allusion to the Daghda's 
own harp, the Durd-abla, there is no mention of any number 
f strings, or of strings at all, whilst in the description of the 
harps of the three sons of Uaithne in the palace of Cruachan, 

, -t . . i i 

there is a clear reference to the strings, which not only pro- 
duced the music, but also by their vibrations set the serpents, 
birds, and grayh'ounds, with which the harps were adorned, in 
motion. Here, however, there is no allusion to the number of 
the strings, and we are therefore still at a loss on that head. 

The following curious story, taken from the old tract so often 
mentioned in the course of these lectures, called Agallamh na 
Seanorach, or the Dialogue of the Old Men, and which recounts 
a great many of the achievements and adventures of the cele- 
brated champion, Find Mac Curnhaill, seems to show that the 
earliest harp was a three stringed instrument. 

One day, we are told, that Find was hunting in that part of 
Erinn which is now known as the county of Donegal, attended 
by on ty eight chosen companions from among his warriors. 
Having sat down to take rest on the well-known mountain of 
Bearnas Mdr, his party started a huge wild boar, and sent their 
dogs after him; but the boar killed them all except Bran, 
Find's own celebrated hound, which conquered and captured 
him. The boar, on being captured, screamed loudly and vio- 
lently, whereupon a man of giant size came forth as it were 
from the hill, and requested of Find that his hog should be 
set at liberty. The eight men attacked him, but he soon 
vanquished, and bound them in tight bonds. He then invited 
Find to his Sidh, or enchanted mansion at Glenndeirgdeis, an 

Legend of 


invitation which Find and his friends gladly accepted. When xxx. 
they came to the door of the mansion, the giant struck the boar Legend of 
with his magical wand, and turned him into a young woman of cwh^w, 
great beauty. He then struck himself with the same wand, fe?ma C gi 
and restored himself to his natural size and beauty. The whole h r p ; 
party then entered the mansion, where they were hospitably 
received, and sat down to a feast which had been specially pre- 
pared for them, presided over by the host's beautiful daughter, 
whose name was Scathach, or " the shadowy". Find fell in love 
with this fair damsel, and asked her from her father in marriage. 
Her father, of course, assented ; and the champion and the fairy 
lady were forthwith united on the spot. Feasting and music 
continued until the hour of rest had arrived, when Find retired 
to the apartment assigned him, expecting to be soon followed 
by his bride. 

So far the story. The following passage from the original 
poem, in which the whole is told, appears to me to support the 
idea of a three-stringed harp ; and I translate it in full because 
in it such an instrument is described, possessing all the same 
wonderful gifts that distinguished the Daghda's own harp : (305) 
" The noble bed is prepared ; 

Find is the first to approach it ; 
Scathach asked before retiring, 
The loan of the musician's harp. 
" The household harp was one of three strings, 
Methinks it was a pleasant jewel: 
A string of iron, a string of noble bronze, 
And a string of entire silver. 
" The names of the not heavy strings 

Were Suantorrgles; Geantorrgles the great ; 
Goltarrgles was the other string, 
Which sends all men to crying. 
" If the pure GoilteargUs be played 
For the heavy hosts of the earth, 
The hosts of the world without delay 
Would all be sent to constant crying. 
" If the merry Gentorrgles be played 

For the hosts of the earth, without heavy execution, 
(305) [original : 

T)en5Aic6An AM iotm>A AMU, Anrnorm MA centra MAn cnorn 

CAOfccA PIOMM IMA conY6&it,; SuAMcoingler ; gwmcc*nlf oVl; 

"OiAin SJ;ACAC ruii t>o IAH, JoVLcAnnglef AM c6ux> 01 te, 

lAfA^c Cntnce IM Ain-p-oi-6. ChunneA-p CA& An ciAirioine. 

Cntnc bAoi ifcij; An cni c6Ai>, l OA-pMnceAnAMj;oiVlceAn5l6f jtAM. 

T)An l/iom JTA pi^cAnn IM p6 i o : t)o pltiAgAi'b cnoiriA AM 


An ceA'OMA -OAncco-o iom\/AM. t)o toeid uile ACC m 


They would all be laughing from it, 

From the hour of the one day to the same of the next. 
" If the free SuantorrgUs were played 

To the hosts of the wide universe, 

The men of the world, great the wonder, 

Would fall into a long sleep. 
" The gifted maiden plays 

The slow sonorous SuantorrgUs, 

Until his heavy repose fell 

Upon the son of Muirin \Find\ the highly gifted. 
" To deep sleep, above all others, she sent 

Bran, and the eight warriors, 

Until the middle of the following day 

They continued in their deep sleep. 
" When the sun had arisen over the woods, 

To them it was no mighty loss ; 

Where they found themselves was at Bearnas, 

Which showed their diminished power". 
The date of this curious poem cannot be fixed with any 
precision, but, in its present condition, it may be very fairly 
ascribed to the early part of the twelfth century, though I am 
satisfied that it is many centuries older. The question of age 
of the composition itself, however, is of very little moment to 
us, since it is with the very curious tradition preserved in it our 
concern lies ; and the later the poem, the more curious would 
the existence of this clearly very remote tradition be. Accord- 
ing to it, the fabled Cruit of the magical mansion of Glenn- 
deirgdeis had three strings; whilst the additional information 
t*ree ad that of these strings one was of iron, another of bronze, and 
^he third of silver, shows that all these materials were used for 
different harp strings before the time of the writer; while, 
even if his reference to them be taken as the work of the 
poet's fancy, they may also be regarded as intended to repre- 
sent the grave, the middle, and the acute musical modes already 
spoken of. 

Farther on in this, and in the lecture that shall next follow 

An MIAC tttunnMe 50 m6n btiAi-6. 

"Do fl/u^g An cAlmuiM JAM cnom An, Cuinnif MA ccoiMpuAM cAn 6A6 

"Oo beToir ACC gAnne-oe, "DMAM, if AM toccAn 6cctA6, 

OM cnAc nActrion 50 noite. 50 meA'OAM IAOI mon AM mo'6 

AfeiMMdcceAM-puAMconngleffAon. TlobA'OAn MA cco'olA'6. 

"Do fUjAgtnb beAfcA MA mbnAOM, AMUAIM t>o ini JMIAM ofpoti, 

pin riotMtiiM, mon AM Micro, "Ohoibfioni MionbAt>bAL AMCIOM ; 

t)o beiccif MA fion co'o'LA'6. AMM nobA'oon imbeAnMuif, 

iMMif AM iMgeAM fACAc ett ItigA "Leo A ctigenMtif. 

AM fUAM ceAngUAr fi6n 5 MAiAd _MS. No. -^- R.I.A., p. 420, bot.] 
no gun 6vnc A coinncitnr*m 


it, the existence of an ancient three-stringed harp, or Timpan, r * x * 
will receive much additional corroboration. 

To return to the account of the Daghda's harp in the story NO mention 
of the battle of the second, or northern Magli Tuireadh; that having teen 
harp which its master called from the wall where it hung by euh'^oVthe 
the names Durdabla, and Coircethairchuir, and in playing t t tl j r of ;i the 
upon which he is described as evoking music from the mouths Tuiread/u, 
of harps, and bellies and pipes. sion'made'to 

I have already endeavoured to show that the bellies and j^aco^Mt 1 
pipes, which he invokes, were component parts of the same of them; 
harp ; but, should I be mistaken, and that the tube alluded to 
was an independent instrument in short a trumpet, then, in- 
deed, it will appear very strange that with these references to 
the possession of music and martial musical instruments by the 
Tuatha D& Danann at the time, there is nevertheless no men- 
tion whatever made of music of any kind having been played 
preparatory to, or in either of the battles of the two Magh Tuir- 
eadhs; and further, that Lugh, the great philosophical chief, 
who marshalled the Tuatha De Danann forces for the second 
battle, whilst he calls on the smith, the brazier, the carpenter, 
the hunters, the druids, the poets, etc., for their assistance in 
the coming battle (and, in doing so, is made to give an enu- 
meration, apparently, of all classes about to be engaged in it), 
makes no mention whatever of any musician. 

This is an important fact, and speaks much for the very this prove* 
great antiquity of the original accounts of these primitive battles quity. 
of the Firbolgs, Fomorians, and Tuatha D6 Danann; for, cer- 
tainly, if they had been historical romances of more modern 
times, full of the poetic embellishments of the Tain Bo Chu- 
ailgne, for example, and of other pieces even of this ancient 
class, there can be little doubt that in the enumeration of the 
professional parties mentioned by Lugh, the military perfor- 
mers on tubes and horns would have been included. (306) 

As far, then, as we can ascertain with any degree of proba- 
bility, the great Daghda invoked but the musical powers of his 
harp alone, excluding any idea of an independent musical tube, 
pipe, or trumpet; and, consequently, if there was a pipe at all, 
it formed part of that harp. 

I have already endeavoured to show from one of the names The Dagh- 
of the harp, that it was of a quadrubeaked or quadrangular ^quad- 
rangular ; 

(ace) i ma y a i ao a <j<j h ere that i have not found any mention of mnsic or of 
musical instruments among the Firbolgs in what has come down to us of 
their history; nor do I remember having met an instance of music having 
been played at any battle. 

VOL. II. 15 

a Greek h 



form ; but it is curious, that, of the various forms of the harp 
and lyre taken from ancient Greek sculptures, and figured in 
|> ar p the first volume of Dr. Burney's book, there is but one, No. 8, 

on ancient plate v., of precisely a quadrangular form ; and this is a parallel- 
ogram with six strings, as represented in the hand of a Grecian 
Apollo, in the Capitoline Museum at Rome. This figure is an 
oblong square, with a sounding chamber, or belly, and some- 
what resembles the high back of an old-fashioned chair. It is 
clumsy- looking in design, and apparently coarse in its mechani- 
cal details, considerably inferior to what we should be inclined 
to figure in our minds as consistent with the artistic skill of 
the Tuatha De Danann. These were themselves undoubtedly 
Greeks by education, if not by remote race, but they, or some 
others of our earliest colonists, have left in Erinn specimens of 
mechanical art in metals the only material that could live to 
our times which are not, I believe, excelled by anything of 
their kind that antiquarian researches have discovered in either 
Greece or Rome. It may be then that the Tuatha DS Danann 
quadrangular harp, if not exactly the same, had been modelled, 
and, perhaps, improved upon the early Egypto- Grecian harp. 

example of One curious example, at least, of the quadrangular harp of 

Irish quad- , TT, - n r . . ,1 i - ,, r 

rangu'ar ancient Miiinn is still extant in a carving on the shrine, or theca, 
of an andent ^ an ancient missal of the Irish Church, now unhappily, in the 
missai. possession of Lord Ashburnham, in England. But, as the de- 
scription of this figure, as well as other important points in the 
history of our ancient musical instruments, are so ably treated 
in a " Dissertation on the Antiquity of the Harp and Bagpipe 
in Ireland", written by my learned and accomplished friend, 
Samuel Ferguson, Esq., and published in Bunting's " Ancient 
Music of Ireland"/ 307 ? I shall quote the passage, in preference 
to anything I could myself say 011 the subject. 

Mr. Ferguson Mr. Ferguson, after discussing the description of the music 
quit/anS '" of Ireland written by Giraldus Cambrensis about the year 1180, 
music in continues his argument as follows : 

Ermn ; Assuming, then, that the Irish, in the latter end of the twelfth 

century, possessed an instrument fit for the performance of such 
harp airs as were then known, with their appropriate basses, we 
come next to inquire how long had they possessed it. For, as 
Guido of Arezzo, the inventor, or at least revivor of counter- 
point among the Italians, lived somewhat more than a century 
before that time, a suspicion reasonably arises, that they may have 
had their acquaintance with their improved style and method of 
playing from continental instruction. In answering the ques- 
tion proposed, and clearing away the preliminary objections, we 
(so?) Dublin, Hodges and Smith, 1840, p. 46. 


draw our first assistance from the evidence of the Welsh. They, ***: 
as is well known, had their musical canon regulated by Irish musical 
harpers about A.D. 1100. This they would hardly have sub- weishregu- 
mitted to had they not considered their instructors the greater l*uh harpers 
proficients in the art; and yet the Welsh had before this time ??^* A - D> 
been noted for singing and performing in concert. But it may 
be objected by that numerous class, who would refer every- 
thing creditable among the ancient Irish to a Danish origin 
(confounding the Danes of the middle ages with the Tuath de 
Danans of tradition), that they were Danish- Irish to whom 
Griffith ap Conan referred for these instructions, namely, to 
Aulaf, king of Dublin, the son of Sitrick ; and that, of the har- 
pers sent by the Hiberno-Danish monarch, one only, Mathuloch 
Gwyddell, is mentioned as Irish, while the chief musician, Olar 
Gerdawwr, is manifestly one of the Ostmen. To this it may 
be answered, that there is no trace of northern phraseology in 
the Irish or Welsh musical nomenclature, but that, on the con- 
trary, much, if not all, even of the Welsh vocabulary is pure 
Irish. Farther, that the harp, known from time immemorial 
to the Irish as Cruit and Clairseach, has never borne its Teu- 
tonic designation of Hearpa in any other of the languages of 
the united kingdom than the English ; and finally, that these 
musical congresses, so far from being confined to the Danes of 
Dublin, were customary among the native Irish ; for, not to 
dwell on similar assemblies at an earlier period, we find, that, 
at a^meeting, identical in its character and objects, held before 
an Irish petty king, at Glendaloch, immediately after the one 
in question, the regulations of the Welsh synod were con- 
firmed"/ 3 ^ 

" But, fortunately, the question rests on evidence of a more Dr. Fergn- 
tangible nature than mere historical statement. Two monu- ofthe 8 *^* 1 
ments, one of the eleventh, and the other of a much earlier * 
century, are now to be submitted, on which we have authentic 
contemporaneous delineations of the Irish harp executed by 
Irish artists. 

" The first is the ornamental cover, or ' theca' of an Irish 
manuscript, containing, among other writings, a liturgy of the 
seventh century, now preserved at Stowe, in the library of the 
Duke of Buckingham, and elaborately described by Doctor 
Charles O'Conor in his catalogue of the MSS. of this magni- 
ficent collection. (309) The age of the ornamental cover is ascer- 
tained by the inscriptions remaining on it, from which it ap- 
pears to have been made by Donnchadh O'Tagan, an artificer 

(308) Welsh Archaeology, vol. Hi. p. 625. 
(309; vol. i., Appen. i. 

15 B 


xxx. _, of the Irish monastery of Clonmacnoise, for Donnchadh, the son 
of Brian \_Boromha\, king of Ireland, and for Maccraith O'Donn- 
chadh, king of Cashel, during the lifetimes and reign of the for- 
mer, and, probably, during the lifetime of the latter also. But 
it is stated in the Annals of Tighearnach that Donnchadh was 
expelled from the sovereignty in the year 1064, and died the 
year after, and that Maccraith, king of Cashel, died in 1052. 
The ' theca' must therefore have been executed prior at least to 
the year 1064. Now, among the ornaments of this cover are 
five delineations of the harp of that period, containing, however, 
two pairs of duplicates, fac similes of which are given at the 
end of the second volume of O'Connor's ' Rerum Hibernicarum 
Scriptores Veteres\ whence the subjoined engravings have been 
accurately copied. 

" The first, probably owing to the minuteness of the scale on 
which it is engraved on the silver plate of the theca, is unsatis- 
factory as to the shape of the instrument, which appears not of 
a triangular, but of a quadrangular form, and is represented 
with only two strings, the latter feature being, however, a 
manifest defect in the drawing. It is nevertheless valuable, as 
showing that the mode of holding and playing on the instru- 
ment had altered in nothing from the practice of the eleventh 
century, at the time when the MS. of Cambrensis, already 
alluded to, was illustrated. (310) 

" The harps in the second ornament are represented on a 
large scale, but still not sufficiently so to enable the artist to 
show more than four or five strings on each. This piece of 
early Irish art, which combines embossing, enamelling, jewel- 
ing, and engraving, is thus described by Doctor O'Conor : ' Of 
the three central ornaments (i.e. of each marginal side) two are 
plates of silver ; the third is the brazen image of a man dressed 
in a tunica, tightly fitted to his body, girdled round the waist, 
and reaching to the knees. The legs and feet are bare ; the 
hands and arms are also bare, and are extended round two 
harps, which support the arms on either side. The heads of 
the harps resemble in shape a small cornu ammonis of blue 
enamelled glass, and in the breast of the figure a small square 
hole is filled with a garnet'. 

ana of figures " The instrument", Mr. Ferguson continues, " submitted to 
fronTancient the reader from the other monument above referred to, is evi- 
menta? nu " dently of a much older date. The musical inquirer and general 
crosses re- antiquary cannot fail to regard it with interest: for it is the first 

sembling old J /> 7 j / ;; 777-7 i 

Egyptian specimen of a harp without a jore pillar that has hitherto been 

found out of Egypt; and, but for the recent confirmation of 

(aw) The harp alluded to here is a triangular one. See " p 37 of the Introd." 


Bruce's testimony with regard to its Egyptian prototype, might **x. 
perhaps be received with equal incredulity ; for, to the original 
difficulty of supposing such an instrument capable of supporting 
the tension of its strings, is now added the startling presumption 
that the Irish have had their harp originally out of Egypt. 
[The drawing follows here.] The drawing is taken from one 
of the ornamental compartments of a sculptured cross, at the 
old church of Ullard, in the county of Kilkenny. From the 
style of the workmanship, as well as from the worn condition 
of the cross, it seems older than the similar monument at 
Monasterboice, which is known to have been set up before the 
year 830. The sculpture is rude ; the circular rim which binds 
the arms of the cross together is not pierced in the quadrants ; 
and many of the figures originally represented in relievo are 
now wholly abraded. It is difficult to determine whether the 
number of strings represented is six or seven ; but, as has been 
already remarked, accuracy in this respect cannot be expected 
either in sculptures or in many picturesque drawings. One hand 
only of the performer is shown, it probably being beyond the 
art of the sculptor to exhibit the other ; and this, which is the 
right hand, is stretched, as in all the preceding examples, towards 
the longer strings of the instrument. The harp is also held on 
the knee as in the other instances ; the only difference between 
the sculpture here and the first engraving on the theca of the 
Stowe MS., being, that the Uilard harp to all appearance has 
no front arm or pillar. In both cases the musician is naked; 
and yet both are associated with representations of churchmen 
and others in rich dresses ; but it will be recollected that, in the 
hands of the figure in the ornamented tunic on the theca, there 
are represented harps of a perfect form ; while that played by 
the naked musician in the adjoining compartment, is very nude 
in structure, and strongly resembles the Ullard instrument. 
Hence, we must by no means receive the latter as conclusive 
evidence that, at the time of its being sculptured, there was no 
other description of harp in use". 

Mr. Ferguson continues further his learned discussion on the he think* 
harp, and its progress to perfection, from its first fabulous in- wance'^p 
vention by the Egyptian Mercury from the shell of a dead tor- 3^1%^ 
toise, as we have seen already, first the feeble bow or three- " 
sided, to the four-sided, and from that to the triangular form. 
And from these circumstances the learned writer urges the pro- 
bable truth of our ancient " bardic traditions" of the progress of 
the early colonists of Ireland from Egypt through Scy thia ; and 
he then continues as follows : 

" There can be no question of the fact, that at a very early 


* xx - period, a strong tide of civilization flowed into the east of 
Europe from the Nile, and thence spread northward and west- 
ward; and there are many grounds, extrinsic to this inquiry, 
on which it appears that a strong argument may be raised for 
intimate international relations between the original inhabi- 
tants of these islands and the ancient occupants of the east of 
Europe. If the various points of resemblance and even industry, 
on which such an argument might be rested, were advanced, 
it would probably appear something more than a coincidence, 
that in a monument erected at Petau, in Styria, during the life- 
time of the emperor Aurelius, the Thracian Orpheus should be 
represented performing on an instrument in all respects resemb- 
ling that on the theca of the Stowe MS., (311) being in fact, what 
has just been surmised to be the Egyptian harp in a transition 
state, after it had received its forearm, and before it had ac- 
quired its perfect triangular form by the incorporation of the 
sounding chamber with the other upright" [here the figure is 

It may be thought that I have quoted too copiously from 
Mr. Ferguson's essay; and that his arguments may have little 
to do with the bare accumulation of facts practically recorded, 
as they stand in our ancient chronicles, which was all that I 
ever proposed to myself here to make. But, although much of 
what he states in the able paper from which I quote has been 
known to us through other channels, yet I feel it due to him, 
as well as to my desire to strengthen my own opinions by the 
coincidence of his, to select his work especially for reference in 
this place. 
Irish MSS. Even so recently as twenty years ago, when Dr. Petrie wrote 

little studied , . ,1 l 1 11 J r> rt 7 i 

twenty years his essay on the harp, improperly called bnan jDoromha s harp, 
Bn?ce b then now i n * ne museum of Trinity College, Dublin, the magnifi- 
they hare cen t remains of ancient historical writings in our native tongue 
had been but little studied or examined. And those who did 
pretend to examine them never could find in them any thing 
that was of real value to true historical and antiquarian investi- 
gation. Within that time, however, these venerable records 
have undergone considerable examination ; close readings have 
suggested and sustained new views and ideas, confirmed some 
old traditionary assertions, and are now opening up the true 
paths by which alone we c"an hope to become thoroughly ac- 
quainted with the origin, history, and vestiges of the people 
whose history our records profess to be. 

I cannot, however, consistently with what I have read in 
these our ancient records, assent to the idea that the more pri- 
es 11 ) Montfaucon, vi. p. 252. 


mitive colonists of Erinn, such as the Firbolgs and Tuatha DS *xx. 
Danann, came indirectly from, or had any connection whatever from this 
with, the land of Egypt. The Milesians, I believe, had ; but I S^S" 
am not at present concerned with that famous colony. t p-l!}, k ; the ,, 

T i n lit ftrooigs ana 

All our ancient traditions and writings are collected and cnro- Tuatha DA 
nologically set down in what is called the " Book of Conquests had nothing 
or Invasions" ; and the account there preserved is just this: we Egypt7but 
are told that the lady Ceasar came to this island " from Pales- ^ ? he 

i T-n -ID / i ^ \ i n Milesians 

tine before the H lood (whatever that may mean) ; that Jrar- had. 
thalon came out of Migdonia in Greece, some three hundred 
years after the flood ; that after the destruction of Parthalorfs 
people, Nemidh and his people came from the same country, or 
at least from that part of Scythia which our Gaedhelic writers 
say had been peopled by a Greek colony. That the Nemidians 
again, after a considerable time, were overpowered by the sea- 
robbers called Fomorians, and fled from the country in three 
parties ; that one of these parties settled on the nearest coast of 
Britain, chiefly in the present island of Anglesea ; that another 
of them went back to Greece, or at least to Thrace, which was 
then part of Greece, or subject to it; and that the third party 
settled in what are called the islands in the north of Greece. 
And we are told that this latter party were the people who 
afterwards took, or received, the name of Tuatha De Danann; 
a name said by some of our ancient etymologists to signify the 
people of the deities of science, because they venerated their 
professors of the social and occult sciences as deities. 

These Tuatha De Danann are said to have inhabited that part Migration of 
of Greece in which the famous city of Athens was situated ; and JM Danann 
this territory having been invaded by a fleet from Syria, they from< 
are stated to have exercised their druidical powers in favour of 
their own friends successfully for some time ; but their spells 
having become counteracted by a Syrian druid, they fled from 
Greece northwards and westwards (into Germany), and over 
the north of Europe (into Denmark, Sweden, and Norway), 
and on their way they are recorded to have established them- 
selves and to have brought their arts into the four cities of fa- 
lias, Gorias, Finias, and Marias those arts which they after- 
wards brought into Erinn. 

This is the common account of their travels, as may be seen the author 
reported in Keating and O'Flaherty, but not in older chronicles, nevl they 6 " 
I am inclined to dissent from this account of the Tuatha Db ^"n^ 40 
Danann, as far as regards their having passed into Norway and nayia; 
Sweden. I think these is no good reason to believe that they 
ever inhabited these countries. As far as I am aware, no city 
is known to have existed in any one of these countries whose 


xxx name resembles in any way any of the names of the four cities 
he believes mentioned above. Not so, however, with Germany. I am 

their cities , ,1 . -ii ,1 i '^ T 

ofFaiias, certain that every one will at once perceive the close amnity, it 
wereTn Ger- no * indeed complete identity, of Falias, and Westphalia ; Gorias 
many; and Goritia, or Gortz; Finias and Vienna, or Pinneburg; 
Murias and Murrhart, all names of cities in Germany. And, 
without burthening this discussion with a collation of Tuaiha 
De Danann and German personal names, I have still a very 
strong argument to adduce in favour of my opinion. It is this, 
they spoke In a short article preserved in the Book of Lecan on the lan- 
coVaTifgto " guages spoken by the different colonists who invaded ancient 
^eca* f Erinn, we are told that German was the language of the Tuaiha 
De Danann, and that they spoke Latin, Greek, and Gaedhelic 
too. (312) Now, it is quite certain that the old Gaedhelic writers 
would not confound the German with the Swedish or Norse 
languages ; and, that therefore, whoever wrote this very old 
article had no idea that the Tuatlia De Danann had ever been 
in these countries, or taught their arts and sciences in them. 
I have gone into this, I fear, too long digression, for the pur- 
pose of endeavouring to show some remote reason for the quad- 
rangular form of the Tuaiha De Danann harp. 

The simiia- You will remember that it has been already stated in the 
harps oVthe quotation from Mr. Ferguson's essay on the harp, that, in a 
oforpheus monument erected at Petau in Styria, during the life of the 
at Petan m emperor Aurelius, the Thracian Orpheus is represented per- 

StyrUand f * . . . ,, 

outhewieea forming on an instrument in ail respects resembling the quad- 
Murrhar n t Uo rangular harp on the theca of the Stowe MS. Now, Petau, 
zYiattL DA wnere t'his monument stands, is an ancient town of Styria, on 
Danann the river Drave, 35 miles north-east of Cilly, and 109 south of 
Vienna. And it is, indeed, a singular coincidence that the river 
Muer, upon which the town of Murrhart, already mentioned, is 
situated, and from which it takes its name, is only about six- 
teen miles east from the town of Petau. And if we could sup- 
pose that the present German town of Murrhart, or any other 
town on the river Muer, and taking its name from it, could be 

< 312 ) [ebf A oo cVieAfAijv, ACAf Sfveg Hebrew [was the language] of Cea~ 

oo pAjv[\c1iAlAn ; 5pec Ac<vp "tAToen sar, and Greek of Parthalon ; Greek 

IA tleme-o conA mumce-p ; 5|\ec ACAf and Latin of Nemed and of his people; 

t,Ai-oeri ACAf t>|\ecriAif AC eAj\Aib Greek and Latin and British of the 

"bole, ACAf t>et5Ai-o ACU 1 ne^enn ; Firbolgs, and who also had the Belgic 

ACAf JefMtiAin AC CuAcViAib -oe "OA- in Ireland ; and German of the Tua- 

nAiro ; tAiT>eri ACAf J-peg ACA-p 5 A1 ~ tha D Danann; who also had Latin, 

oelj teo jrof . jAToels ACAp tAitjen and Greek and Gaedhelic ; Gaedhelic 

IA niACAib miVeAt) Book of Lecan, and Latin of the sons of Milesius. 
fol. 229, b. col. 1. bot.] 

A similar account is preserved in a poem in the Book of Lismore (O'Curry's 
cop>, U. I. A., fol. 160, b. a. mid.] 


the ancient city of Murias, one of those into which the Tuatha x*x. 
De Danann brought their arts, then indeed, notwithstanding a The simiia- 
wide distance in chronology, we might fairly enough imagine harps mtho 
whence the quadrangular harp of the great Daghda came, and ^^nTus 
why the Thracian harp, which would appear to have been its at Petaa in 

f in- Styrla and 

prototype, appears on the btyrian monument. on the theca 

It must be admitted that the chronological difference between Sun-hart* * 
the arrival of the Tuatha De Danann in Ireland, and the erec- ^ u ^ a Di 
tion of the Styrian monument, which took place in the third Danann 
century of the Christian era, is very great, being more than 
fifteen hundred years, according to the chronology of the Annals 
of the Four Masters. But even so, we have no reason to think 
that ancient manners and customs did not, with little change, 
cover great spaces of time in various parts of the world, perhaps 
peculiarly situated and inhabited by people of peculiar disposi- 
tions. We know that at this day there is a traditional music 
preserved among the gypsies of Hungary, quite distinct in cha- 
racter from, and uninfluenced by, the more cultivated music of 
surrounding nations. We know that Thrace, where the quad- 
rangular harp is believed to have been in early use, was part of 
that Greece in which the Tuatha De Danann cultivated and 
taught their arts and sciences ; and if we compare the time which 
may have elapsed between the time of the invention of the 
quadrangular harp in Egypt, and of its being adopted in Greece 
by the Tuatha De Danann, with the time which elapsed in Ire- 
land between the battle of Magh Tuireadh, where the harp is 
first mentioned, and the time of Donogh, the son of Brian 
JBoromha, in whose reign, about the year 1060, the square harp 
was put on the theca or shrine of the Stowe MS., we will plainly 
see that notwithstanding the probable improvements and changes 
of time, old forms and old customs must have prevailed in Ire- 
land at least for over two thousand years. To carry this dis- 
cussion out to its legitimate conclusions, however, would require 
much more time, and I may say much greater abilities, than I 
can bring to it ; and if I have by no inconsiderable expense of 
research and thought succeeded in presenting this interesting, 
and indeed most important, subject in a new point of view, I 
am quite content with having plucked a few green leaves from 
this new tree of knowledge, leaving to more competent and 
successful investigators to pluck the ripe fruit of success, which 
certainly awaits the hand of the honest and industrious inquirer 
in this difficult and devious path. 


(Delivered 12th Jane, 1802.) 

(IX.) OP Music AND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS (continued). Legendary origin 
of the Harp according to the tale of Imtheacht na Trom Dhaimhe, or the " Ad- 
ventures of the Great Bardic Company" ; Seanchan's visit to Guaire ; inter- 
view of Marbhan, Guaire's brother, with Seanchan ; Ma.rbha.ns legend of Cuil 
and Canoclach Mkor and the invention of the Harp ; his legend of the inven- 
tion of verse ; his legend concerning the Timpan ; the strand of Camas not 
identified. Signification of the word Cruit. The Irish Timpan was a stringed 
instrument. Another etymology for Cruit; Isidore not the authority for this 
explanation. Reference to the Cruit in the early history of the Milesians. 
Eimher and Ereamhon cast lots for a poet and harper. Skill in music one of 
the gifts of the Eberian or southern race of Erinn. Mention of the Cruit in 
the historical tale of Or gain Dindrighe or the ' ' destruction of Dindrigh". 
First occurrence of the word Gets in this tale ; it occurs again in connection 
with the assembly of Drom Ceat, A.D. 573; Aidbsi or Corns Crondin men- 
tioned in connection with poems in praise of St. Colum Cille, sung at this 
assembly; meaning of the word Aidbsi; the author heard the Crondn or 
throat accompaniment to dirges ; origin of the word " crone"; the Irish Aidbsi 
known in Scotland as Cepog ; the word Cepog known in Ireland also, as 
shown by a poem on the death of Athairne. The assembly of Drom Ceat 
continued ; Dalian Fcrgaill'a elegy on St. Colum Cille ; the word Ceis occurs 
in this poem also ; Ceis here represents a part of the harp, as shown by a 
scholium in Leabhar na h-Uidhre ; antiquity of the tale of the " Destruction 
of Dindrigh" proved by this scholium ; the word Ceis glossed in all ancient 
copies of the elegy on St. Colum Cille ; scholium on the same poem in the MS. 
H. 2. 16. T.C.D. ; gloss on the poem in Liber Hymnorum ; parts of the harp 
surmised to have been the Ceis, the Cobluigheor "sisters", and the Leith- 
rind ; Leithrind or half harmony, and Rind or full harmony ; difficulty of de- 
termining what Ceis was ; it was not a part of the harp ; summary of the 
views of the commentators as to the meaning of Ceis. Fourth reference to 
the word Ceis in an ancient tale in Leabhar na h- Uidhre. Fifth reference 
to Ceis in another ancient poem. Coir, another term for harmony, synony- 
mous with Ceis ; the author concludes that Ceis meant either harmony, or 
the mode of playing with a bass. The word Gles mentioned in the scholium 
in H. 2. 16. is still a living word ; the Crann Gleasta mentioned in a poem 
of the eighteenth century ; this poem contains the names of the principal 
parts of the harp ; the names of the different classes of strings are only to be 
found in the scholium in the Leabhar na h-Uidhre to the elegy on St. 
Colum Cille. 

So far, I have endeavoured to throw some light on the remote 
origin and the practical use of the Irish lyre ; a light, if it be 
such, drawn, I must acknowledge, as much from inferences and 
probabilities, as from actual historical statements. But the ancient 
Gaedhelic literature is not entirely silent on the origin of the 
harp, any more than that of Greece ; and the similarity of the 
two legends is so striking, that I must briefly narrate ours here. 
Of the ancient tale called Imtheacht na Trom Dhaimhe, or the 


Adventures of the Great Bardic Company, I gave a short, but 

rather free sketch in a former lecture. (313) At the risk of repeat- Legendary 
ing something of what I said on that occasion, I must here again harpV-co*^ 6 
preface the portion of that tale which bears upon my present taieV/the 6 
subject by a few observations sufficient to introduce the person- "Adven- 

J P V . i ^i tures of the 

ages of the tale upon the scene. Great com- 

On the death, in the year 592, of the poet Dalian Forgaill, pany>i 
the celebrated panegyrist of /St. Colum Cille, and chief poet of 
Erinn, the vacant Ollamh's mantle and chair were by the unani- 
mous voice of the profession, conferred on the young poet Sean- 

It was the custom in those hospitable days, when a new chief- 
poet Ollamh of Erinn succeeded to the vacant place, that he 
selected, as a matter of high distinction, either the monarch of 
Erinn, at or near Tara, or some provincial king at his provincial 
court, to honour with his first visit. This pleasant custom Seanchan-a 
Seanchan was resolved should not fail in his hands, and con- euaire,- 
suiting his knowledge of the generous habits of the different 
kings in Erinn, he determined to bestow on Guaire, called the 
Hospitable, king of Connacht, the honour of the first visit of the 
new A rd Ollamh, or chief poet of Erinn. Thither, then, he 
went with his wife and children, and his accompanying retinue 
of ollamhs, tutors, and pupils, horses, dogs, and so forth. They 
were hospitably received and entertained by king Guaire; but 
soon some of them began to be pettish, and to ask for delicacies 
which were out of season and not procurable. The hospitable 
host was deeply pained when he found that he could not satisfy 
the desires of his unreasonable guests ; but he had a brother 
named Marbhan, who some time previously had retired from 
court to the solitude of Glenn Dallun, where he led the life of 
a recluse, devoting his time to prayer, meditation, and philoso- 
phical reflections. To this gifted man the king repaired for 
counsel and assistance in his difficulty ; nor was he disappointed, 
as the brother freed him from all his difficulties, and followed 
him shortly after to his court. 

Marbhan having arrived at Guaire's court, introduced him- interview of 
self at once to Seanchan and his learned, though cumbersome, ^aire'"' 
company ; and having expressed a desire to hear some of their vith'le'an- 
musical performances, vocal and instrumental, his wish was chan ' 
freely complied with by various performers, with all of which, 
however, he seemed dissatisfied. The performance so far was, 
it seems, of the vocal character, and of the species called Cronan 
(a word which might be translated " purring"), a kind of mono- 
tonous chaunt, of which I shall have occasion to speak in a future 
tsisj Lecture iv., ante, vol. i., p. 86. 


lecture. At this stage of the interview between the recluse and 
the poets, one of the latter came forward and offered to give him 
a specimen of his art, upon which the following dialogue took 
place between them: 

jfarbhan's " What art wilt thou display for me, and what is thy name ?" 
ctTandCa- sa id Marbhan. " I am a good ollamli of Seanchari's in my art", 
1?x acA * said he, " and my name is Casmael the Cruitire (harper)". " I 

Mhdr and ' J 711 -in* 77 i 

the mven- wish to ask thee, Lasmael the harper , said Marbkan, " what was 
harp? ' it that the Cruit was at first derived from ; and who it was that 
composed the first song ; and which of them was the first in- 
vented the Cruit, or the Timpan?" " I do not know that, 
thou prophet of heaven and earth", said Casmael- " I know it", 
said Marbhan, " and I will tell it to thee: There once lived 
a couple [a man and his wife] , Cuil the son of Midhuel was the 
man, and Canoclach Mhor was his wife. And the wife conceived 
a hatred to him, and she was [always] flying from him through 
woods and wildernesses ; and he continued to follow her con- 
stantly. And one day that the woman came to the sea shore of 
Camas, and was walking over the strand, she met a skeleton of a 
whale on the strand, and she heard the sounds of the wind passing 
through the sinews of the whale on the strand ; and she fell 
asleep from the sounds. And her husband came after her [and 
found her asleep] ; and he perceived that it was from the sounds 
the sleep fell upon her. And he then went forward into the 
wood, and made the form of the Cruit; and he put strings from 
the sinews of the whale into it ; and that was the first Cruit that 
was ever made 

Ws legend of "And again", continues Marbhan, " Lamec Bigamas had 
turn of verse; two sons, Jubal and Tubal Cain were their names. One son 
of them was a smith, namely, Jubal; and he discovered from 
sounds of two sledges [on the anvil] in the forge one day, that 
it was verses (or notes) of equal length they spoke, and he com- 
posed a verse upon that cause, and that was the first verse that 
was ever composed". 

his legend The tale goes on : Another person in the house then said : 
, " I will display an art for thee". " Who art thou", said Marb- 
han, "and what art dost thou profess?" " I am the ollamh- 
Timpanist of the great company", said he, " and Cairche Ceol- 
bhinn (i.e. Cairche of the sweet music) " is my name". " I 
wish to ask, then, Cairche", said Marbhan, " why is the Tim- 
pan called Timpan Naimli [or saint's Timpan~\, and yet no 
saint ever took a Timpan into his hands?" " I do not know", 
said the timpanist. " Then I will tell it to thee", said Marb- 
han. " At the time that Noah, the son of Larnech, went into 
the ark, he took with him a number of instruments of music 


into it, together with a Timpan, which one of his sons had, 
who knew how to play it ; and they remained in the ark during 
the time that the deluge was pouring down. Afterwards, when 
Noah and his children went forth from the ark, and his son was 
desirous to take the Timpan away with him". " Thou shalt not 
take it", said Noah, " until thou hast left its price [with me.]" 
The son asked him what the price was. He answered that he 
should require no greater price than to name the Timpan from 
himself. The son granted that price to his father; so that 
Noah's Timpan is its name from that time down ; and that is 
not what ye, the ignorant timpanists, call it, but Timpan of the 
saints"/ 314 * 

These are, indeed, two curious legends, well worthy, for more 
reasons than one, of careful consideration and comparison with 
the legends and traditions of other early nations. The legend 
of Tubal reminds us at once of Pythagoras, who is said to have 
been led to discover the musical effect of vibrations of a chord 
by observing the sound of various blows on an anvil ; though 
the Irish legend (for the rest more vague) does not appear to 
bear on the tones so much as on the rhythm of music. The the strand of 
strand of Camas, on which the skeleton of the sea monster was identified!, 
found, cannot be identified, as there are a great many places of 
the name in Ireland. It was probably at the mouth of the 
lower Bann in the county of Antrim. The names of the hus- 
band and wife in the story are, of course, fictitious ; and they 
are not in meaning symbolical of music in any way that I can 
discover. The word Cruit, which is our most ancient name for signification 
the harp, signifies literally, a sharp high breast, such as of a cmu. w 
goose, a heron (miscalled a crane), or a curlew ; indeed the Gaed- 
helic name of the curlew is crottach, or the sharp high breasted ; 
it is what is commonly termed a chicken breast or chicken 
breasted. The word Cruit, at the present day, when signifying 
a personal deformity, is often applied to a hump on the back. 
This, however, is incorrect; and the more proper words drown, 
dronnog, and dronnaighe are, in fact, also living words among 
the better informed speakers of the Irish language. As to the 
story of Noah's Timpan (Timpan Naoi), I must confess that I 
have never met with another reference to that name. Yet, the 
name, at least in its reputed corrupt form of Timpan Naoimh, 
or saint's Timpan, must have been well known in this country, 
otherwise the story would have never been written to correct it. 
And the story itself points to an early belief in the great anti- 

( 31 4 ) [See for original of these passages " Imtheacht na Tromdhaimhe", edited, 
with a translation, by Professor Connellan; Transactions of the Ossianic 
Society, vol. 5, p. 96. See also Book of Lismore, O'Longan's vel. copy, K. I. A., 
f. 191. a. b.] 


XXXI quity, and in the eastern origin of the instrument. But, a 

greater mystery than this attaches to the instrument itself, 

The Irish which the Gaedhil called a Timpan. We know that the Ensr- 

Timpan was virriii-iT.-rn ^ r> 

a stringed lisn lymbai and .Latin lympanum mean a drum ot some sort; 
instrument. k ut i t - g b e y On( j ^\\ doubt that the Irish Timpan spoken of in 

our ancient Irish MSS., was a stringed instrument, one of the 

kinds of harp, as I shall afterwards show. 
Another The account iust given is not, however, the only one of the 

etymology . . , ~ J rrn u ' j i . Ttr 

for Cruit; origin or the Lsrmt. Ihere is a very old and somewhat diffe- 
rent etymology of the word given in an ancient Gaedhelic tract 
in my possession. This very ancient tract is a critical discus- 
sion on the origin and arrangement of the Book of Psalms, with 
the order for singing and playing them in the Jewish temple, 
made by king David himself. The following literal translation 
of the opening of this tract will give an idea of its character, as 
well as furnish the reference to the etymology of the Cruit just 
alluded to: 

" The title which is in the front of this book is ' Brightness 
to the minds of the Learned'. Its name in the Hebrew is Hesper- 
talim, that is, a Volume of Hymns, in the same way that Liber 
Psalmorum (or Book of Psalms) is named, for the word psalm, 
or hymn of praise, is its interpretation. It is asked what is the 
name of this book in Hebrew, in Greek, in Latin? Answer. 
Nabla [is its name] in Hebrew ; Psalterium in Greek ; Lauda- 
torium, or Organum, in the Latin. It is asked, why it was 
named by that name ? Answer. From the Cruit through which 
David chaunted the psalms ; for, Nabla was its name in Hebrew, 
Psalterium in Greek, Laudatorium, or Organum in Latin ; in as 
much as Organum is a generic name for all musical instruments, 
because of its great nobleness. Nabla, however, is not a generic 
name for every musical instrument, but Cithera is the generic 
name for Cruits. Cithera, that is, Pectoralis ; that is, the breast 
instrument ; for as much, as that it is at the breast it is played. 
The Nabla is a ten- stringed Cruit; that is, which is furnished 
with ten strings, which are played with ten fingers ; in which 
the ten commandments are concentrated. It is down upon it 
[that is at top] that its belly [or sounding chamber] is placed; 
and it is downwards it is played, or that music is performed on it. 
This name [of Nabla] is transferred, so that it is become the name 
of this Book, which is bound by the ten strings of the patriar- 
chal law, upon which are played de supremis mysteriis Spiritus 
Sanctis; that is, 'the high noble mysteries of the Holy Spirit.' 
" Psalterium. This is a Greek word ; it is the derivative name 
of the book. These five words were invented in relation to 
each other, namely, Psalmus, Psalterium, Psalmista, Psalmo- 



dum, Psallo. It is asked : Whence came this nomenclature ? 
Answer: What Isidore says is, that Psalmista is the name of 
the man who plays ; Psalterium, what is played upon ; Psalmo- 
dium, the name of the music which is played ; Psallo, the words 
of the man who plays. . . . What David did in the latter 
times was: He selected four choice thousands of the sons of 
Israel to sing the psalms perpetually, without any interruption 
whatever. A third part of them at the choir ; a third at Croit; 
and a third between choir and Croit. That which is entitled to 
the name of Psalmus is that which is arranged and practised 
upon the Croit. That which has a right to the name of Canti- 
cum, is that which is practised by the choir, and is chanted from 
the Croit. That which has a right to the name of Canticum 
Psalmus is what is carried from the Croit to the choir. That 
which has a right to be called Canticum Psalmi, is what is 
carried from the choir to the Croit". (315) 

. I am inclined to think that, although Isidore (a writer of the 
fifth century) is quoted in this tract in connection with the 
Psalms, it is not on his authority that the derivations of Cithera 
and Cruit are given, as may be seen from the following extract 
from his Etymology: 

(3i5) [original: [1p] ne cicol pi 
int>necn An liuboinpe " CAicne t>o 
menmontiuib mA lepii'oe". If e A 
Amm ipAnt) 6-pp.e heppepcAlim, .1. 
uoliumn ummoruim Amm Afpenufv 
liben ppAlmonum Ap. unxxi, ip prvxl- 
niA ip UAur 1 no imnup ece-p.cep.ceri. 
CeAcc CIA Amm Anliupoinpe A 6-pp.u, 
A 5peg, itlAcm ? tlm. TlAblA m-o- 
e~pt\A ; p-pAlcium 1-p An Speij i I AU - 
OAConium, no OngAnum 1-p An IA- 
t>m. CeAcc cAn no AmmmgA-o -oo 
intJAinm-pen ? Tlm. X)in cnoic cne- 
pAnocAcom 'OAbui'6 nA pAlmo, .1. 
TlAblAA hAinm ipen oe-bp.u, ppAlco- 
nium m, lAut>Acopvium, no 
OngAnn inl,Acin ; AJV mxn ip Op,j;A- 
num ip Amm cenetuch -oicecn ciul 
An noAinecnup. TlAblA imor\p.o m 
TiAmm cenelAc "oo ce6 cpoic ACC, ip 
cicenA Amm cenelAc cecnA cnoice. 
CicenA, .1. pecconAlip, m bp,unT>e 
oe, .1. iep.pAn m pen^oon -pon ppum- 
oib. TlAblA Cnuic oec'oe, .1. COCA|\- 
ippecAp. o A x. cecAib, pennAin o x. 
menuib, miAcompxAcuc nA -oeic cim- 
nA. ^Tuinie m-ouAip 1 bix> Abolg xn 
pj'oiu ; ACAp ipen'ouAf -pennoin, noc 
ponmcen iciul inx)e. CAnmbenAn 
01 mr-e conu-o Amm -oen liubonpo, 
concAnipt'ecerv 6 .x. cecAib An nA6- 

Isidore not 

the autho- 

ex P lanatlon< 

f Anccif ; T)1 mo 
onump UAi-pub An ppif v ' lcA noib. 
Pl'Atcenium -pon Jne^tJA mren ; 1^- 
pe-o Amm -oenuAnoit) f on^enubonf A. 
AnecAicen nA coic rnim comcomner- 
CAe, .1. pr'A'Lmur', p-pAtcenium, p-pAL- 
mi-pcA, pfAtmo-oium, pr-Atlo. CACC, 
CAn x>o noic AncAinmmcA'opo ? tlm. 
1fpex> ifpen e-ipo-oon, . . 
Amm An -pin noc-pem-o ; 
nium UTOI penx>oin Ann ; 
oium Amm An ciuil pen'ooi-p. Ann ; 
ppAlto bnecun mt> -pn nocpen-oAin. 
(MSS. Harleian, 5280, Br. Mus., f. 11. 
a. top.) . . . Ippeo'oenijne'OAbAi'oni- 
oegencoeu : coi noecco cecniemiLie 
cogAToe "01 mAcoib IpnAel, niececot 
ACAp gnAcogAt) nA p-pAlm -oigpe-p, 
cenAc coinmiupc ecen. Up-iAn -oiph 
p\i cLAtup ; cniAn roe crvoic ; cp\iAn 
ecen clAip ACAp cnoic. 1p oou Af 
oip. Anm ip ppAtrnup oen'oi Ainicc, 
ACA-p gnACAiccep. Vn cnoic. -dp -oo 
Ap -oin Anm IpCAncicum -omi gnAcoi- 
geAt) pnie ctAip, ACAp cAnAn o cnoic, 
ip -ooti ip -oin An-01 ip CAncicum 
p-pAtmu-p omi bepop. o cnoic A ctAi-p. 
Ap t>o it- -oip. mt)i ip CAn ci cum ppAt- 
mi oon-oni oo benon ActAip nicnoic. 
Ibid., f. 13. a. mid.] 


" The form of the Cithera at first", says Isidore, " is said to 
have been like the human breast ; because, as the voice [issues] 
from the breast, so from it [the Cithera] the sound is emitted ; 
and it was named from that cause. For, in the Doric language 
the breast is called Cithara. . . . This is the difference 
between the Psalterium and the Cithara. The Psalterium has 
at the top [or upper side] that concave wood whence the sound 
is yielded, and the chords are struck downwards, and sound 
from above [or at the top]. The Cithara has the concavity of 
the wood underneath. There are ten chords used in the Hebrew 
Psalterium, from the number of the Decalogue" . (31B) 

Passing on from this glimpse of an etymological connection 
between the Cruit and the harp of Greece, I proceed to the 
further consideration of the musical instruments of the ancient 
Gaedhil, such as we find them spoken of in our own ancient 

^ference The next reference to the Cruit is found in the history of 

m the early the Milesians, who conquered and succeeded the Tuatha D& 

thcfiiiie^ Danann in Erinn. After the total overthrow of the Tuatha 

sians. j} Danann power by the Milesians in the battle of Taillte, in 

Meath, and the erection of their own power and government 

in its place, we are told (in the ancient " Book of Invasions") 

that the two leading brothers, Eimher (or Eber) and Ereamhon 

(or Eremon), divided the country between them, the first taking 

the southern half, and the second the northern half for his share. 

They next (as this record informs us) divided the surviving 

leaders, servants, and soldiers of the expedition, until nothing 

more remained for division but two professional men, a poet 

and a Cruitire, or harper, who had come on the expedition. 

The name of the poet was Cir, the son of Cis, and that of the 

Eimher m& Cruitire was Cindfind. Each of the brothers put forward a 

Ereamhon , . 111 i i -i i i i 

cast lots for claim to both, but at last they agreed to decide their preten- 
harperf 1 " 1 sions by lot. Eimher's lot fell upon the Cruitire, and Eream- 
hori's on the poet. The following quatrains commemorative 
of this curious event are quoted in the same ancient " Book 
of Invasions" ; they are also quoted by Dr. Keating from the 
" Psaltair of Cashel" : 

" The two sons of Milesius of bright renown, 
Conquered Eire and Alba. 
Along with them hither came 
A comely poet and a Cruitire (or harper). 
" Cir, the son of Cis, was the fair haired poet; 
The name of the Cruitire was Cindfind; 
For the sons of Milesius of bright renown, 
(') Isidore, Etym , lib. in., cap. 22. 



His Cruit was played by the Cruitire. 
" These kings of many battles, 

Who took the sovereignty of Erinn, 

They made the clear sprightly contention, 

Eimher and Ereamhon. 
" They then nobly cast lots 

Upon the great professional men, 

Until to the southern leader fell 

The tuneful, accomplished Cruitire. 
" The sweetness of string-music, blandness, valour, 

In the south, in the south of Erinn are found ; 

It so shall be to the end of time 

With the illustrious race of Eimher. 
" There fell to the share of the northern man 

The professor of poetry with his noble gifts. 

It is a matter of boast with the north that with them has 

Excellence in poetry, and its chief abode". (317) 
It is a singular fact to find that so early and so late as the Skin in 
time of the holy Cormac Mac Cuileannain (A.D. 900), the author 
of the " Psaltair of Cashel", there should exist a tradition that 

* T -i i i 

preeminence in music, in blandness, and in personal strength, ra e of 
were of the most ancient times the peculiar natural gifts of the 
Eberian, or southern race of Ireland. This indeed is not the 
only place in which the same fact is alluded to, for in an ancient 
Gaedhelic tract in my possession, which purports to be an ac- 
count of a meeting held at Tara in the time of king Diarmait, 
about the year A.D. 550, and at which the celebrated Finntaan 
was present, that ancient sage, in speaking of the characteristics 
of the west, east, north, and south of Erinn, uses these words :- 
" Her cataracts, her fairs (or assemblies), her kings, her warriors, 
her professors, her wheat, her melody, her harmony, her amuse- 

< S17 > [original : 

X)^ rhAc mite tniA'6 norvoAin, 
jAbfAC eninn if Atbam. 
teo -oo rvviAdAcon Atte, 
pte cAoifa if cnuicine. 

Cin mAC Cif, An jnte -pon-o ; 
Amm oon chnuinne Cin-ofitro 
"LA rn.Ac.Aib mite miA'6 ngte, 
SeAphnAif cntnc An cntnn^e. 

HA tAicne comotAn troneAnn, 

cogte men An 
eirhen ACAT- eneAmnon. 
t)o chuinfec cnAnncnon co hA 
1mAn Aer nt)AnA n-oioniAn, 
Co ccAntA x>on fion AnveAf 

Art cntncine coin corn-oeAf. 
UeiTDbinneT" c^uit, cAome, t>nem, 

In-oer 1 , m'oer-cenc Cinenn ; 

If AmtA-o biAr- co bnAc mbit 

Ag pot AineA^-oA eitVun. 
"Do nAtu x>on pon ACUAI'O 

An cottArh guf An ottbuAi'd. 

Af noy bAgA CUA16 -oopiAclic 

Sor x>AnA ACAf ottAmnAcnc. TJA. 
O'Clery's Book of Invasions, B.I.A., 
f. 81. A slightly different version of 
this poem has been already given in 
vol. i. p. 4. The editor did not wish, 
however, to omit it here, especially 
as it afforded him an opportunity of 
printing the original] 



ments, her wisdom, her dignity, her order, her learning, her 
teaching, her championship, her chess-playing, her rashness, her 
passion, her poetry, her advocacy (or lawyership), her hospi- 
tality, her residences, her shipping, her fertility, all are from 
her southern parts in the south". (318) 

After what has been said in the last lecture of the great 
Daghda and his Cruit, and of Uaithne and his three sons and 
their Cruits, and the Milesian Cruitire just mentioned, the next 
historical reference to the Cruit and its power, known to me, is 
found in a historical tale described in a former lecture. (319) 
I allude to the ancient historic tale which gives an account of 
the early life and fortunes of Labraid Loingsiuch, monarch of 
Erinn about four hundred years before the Incarnation. 
Mention of The father and grandfather of this prince were murdered by 
the historical his granduncle, Cobhthach Gael, while he was yet a child ; and 
^Destrnc! ^ e was committed to the care of two retainers of his father's 
tionotoind- house namely, Ferceirtne, the poet, and Craiftine, the Cruitire, 
or harper. When the young prince grew up, his presence gave 
uneasiness to his cruel granduncle, and his tutors fearing for his 
safety, fled with him into West Munster, where they were hos- 
pitably received by Scoriath, the king of Tir Morcha. This 
Scoriath had a beautiful daughter whose name was Moriaih; 
and, as often happens under similar circumstances, an attach- 
ment was soon formed between this young lady and the Leinster 
prince. The mother soon detected the mutual partiality of the 
young people, and accordingly she contrived so to manage her 
household arrangements, that they could never find an oppor- 
tunity of being so long together alone as would allow them to 
give expression to their thoughts. The young prince's faithful 
tutors saw clearly enough the state of affairs, and Craiftine, the 
" Cruitire, determined to lend them his aid. At this time Scoriath 
invited the nobles of his territory to a great feast. The young 
lovers immediately held council, through the means of the poet, 
and the Cruitire, and they formed a plan of action. When the 
time came, the company arrived ; and in the course of the feast, 
the cup, the tale, and the song as usual went round. Craiftine, 
the most famous of harpers, was requested in his tuin to per- 
form, a request with which he readily complied ; but gradually 
he led them on from a joyous to a more seductive strain; and 

( 318 ) [original: A ViefA, A JioeriA- j?echeinntif,Ajre'le,Aj:o]ttf,ACAfCAf\, 

151, A -oorcoA, A -cibe-ptA, A ftiici, A A co|\cAigi, AfA -oefcepc AtroeAf. 

ej\uic1inecVic, A ceotcnAipeAchc, A H. 2. 16. col. 746, mid.; and B. of 

birroif, A ViAif\p i oeA'6, A ViecnA, A Lecan, f. 277. b. a.] 
ViAi|vmicniti, A feif, A fogtA-un, A (319 > [See Lect. on the MS. Mate- 

^oipceACAljApiAnfA, AficticeVlAchc, rials, etc., p. 251.] 
A x>etie, A "Di^ce^e, A fiX/i-oechc, A 


the iconsequences were those which always followed the Suan- *xxi. 
traighe (or sleeping mode) : the queen and all the company were Mention of 
thrown into a happy state of unconsciousness, and the young the historical 
lovers had time enough to open their minds in words, and pledge ^gtruc- 
their vows of love and fidelity to each other. The queen tipnof 
(mother) was the first to awaken from the trance into which *"*' 
Craiftine had thrown his audience ; and although she found her 
daughter still innocently reclining at her side, still (says the 
story) she guessed all that had happened, and quickly roused 
up her still slumbering husband: "Arise, Scoriath", said she, 
" thy daughter respires the breath of a plighted wife ; hear her 
sigh, after the secret of her love has passed away from her". 
" I know not who has got it", said the king, " but the druids 
and the poets shall lose their heads if they do not discover who 
has done this". The tale goes on. " It would be a disgrace to 
thee, O king", said Ferceirtne, " to put thine own people to death". 
"Thy head shall be struck off thee", said king Scoriath, "if 
thou dost not tell me". " Tell it", said [prince] Labraid, " it 
is enough that I alone should suffer". It was then Ferceirtne 
said : " I conceal not that it was the musical Ceis of Crai/tine's 
Cruit that put upon the hosts a death sleep, so that friendship 
was arranged between Main [that is Labraid] and the youth- 
ful Moriath of Morca ; Labraid is above all price. It was 
Labraid", said he, " that embraced her after you were all sent 
to repose by Craiftine's Cruit". He (the poet) saved his people 
by this means. " Good then", said [king] Scoriath, " we have 
not thought of a husband for our daughter till this night, so 
much have we loved her; but though we had been choosing 
him, [we could not select a better than he] whom God has sent 
us. Let a banquet be prepared in the house", said he, " and 
let his wife be given away to Labraid; and I shall not part 
with him until he is king of Leinster (LaighinY '. (S20) 

His wife was then given to Labraid, we are told ; and some 
time afterwards, a muster of the men of Munster was made 

(3*0) [orig. : eijvi;; A SconiAft, onp, net coibneAf icen r-ceo 1Y)Ain fflo- 
Ifolcm coctxvo A CAI AnALTnnAlJAC- TMAC mAC'OAdc tTloncA; mo cec IUAJ; 
ingiti; cUnnceAhornAiDiAnn'outAttt CAbnAit). tAbnATo, Anr-e, con-onAnic 

CAT! rtlAinC UA'OI. . . . Hi COMJTeAf C1A f|\e 1An fOnCAlgU'D "DO CntllC CpAlp- 

oo forme, Adtro -OOMA -onumib ACAT- cine, tlomencfom A mumcen A fu- 
t>onA fiX-eDA-ib onfe mAni fincAn CIA it>e. tTlAi6 cf\A AJ\ ScArviAcVi, ni 
oo |\one. bit) Airnrn -otnc, Ar\ V 61 ^- concArxglArjAmm ceLe T)iAr\ ningin 
c1ieircne -oo minci|\ -oo mAfbA-o. cofirmocc, A^A -peipc tin-o CIA no 
Do cnen-o oicfA fen, An SconiAc, bemif ICA COJA -pii-De . . . t>o riAt> 
mAni ApnAi. AbAin, An X/AbnAiT), if -oiAtiun. "OencAn ot ipn djr, on^e, 
"Leon moTnu^ugA-o Ammoenun. 1f Ant) ACAf CAbAn Aben f on Ixvim l^AbnA-oA ; 
At-benc 'f e T x chencni. Hi cetc ceiy 'ocur- m fCA-jvpA fnif onfe conopni 
ceot -oo 6nuic CnnAipcine cocAn- LAigen. H. 2. 16.col. 755, mid. ; and 
conr 1 - H. 2. 18. f. 204. b, b.] 

16 B 


and placed at his command, with whom he marched back into 
Mention of Leinster. He advanced to the walls of Dindrigh [near Leith- 
tne historical ghlinn, or Leighlin, in the county of Carlo w], the palace of his 
" a Destrnc- e father and grandfather ; and here again the magical power of 

Craiftine's musical skill was called into requisition. When 
they came to the ramparts of Dindrigh, they held a council of 
war, and the decision that they came to was, that Craiftine 
should mount the rampart, and play the sleeping strain (Suan- 
traighe) for the parties inside, whilst his own friends were to lie 
down with their faces to the ground, and their fingers in their 
ears, so that they should not hear the music. This was done 
accordingly ; and the result of course was that the guards within 
were slaughtered, and the palace taken. 

Moriath, Labraid's young wife, however (says the story), 
did not think it honourable to put her fingers into her ears 
against her own cherished music, and therefore she fell into a 
sleep which continued three days; for no one dared to move 
her. This circumstance is preserved in the following quatrain, 
quoted in this very ancient tract, from the poet Fland Mac 
Lonain, who died in the year 891 ; an extract which sufficiently 
marks the great antiquity of this celebrated tale : 

" In the same way that noble Moriath slept, 
Before the hosts of Morca, a long repose ; 
When they destroyed Dindrigh an ungallant deed 
When the head-sleeping Ceis sent forth its music". (S21) 

I gave on a former occasion a full account of this ancient 

tale of the Destruction of Dindrigh z^ and I introduce this refe- 

rence to it again, only to call particular attention to two pas- 

sages so remarkable as to the ancient Irish Cruit, and the three 

wonderful musical strains, or feats of performance which marked 

the Cruitire of eminence. Of themselves these references would 

give us but very little actual knowledge of the precise character 

of the Cruit, if the word Ceis, which occurs three times at 

periods remote from each other, in connection with the Cruit, 

did not occur also in another piece of composition of a period 

lying somewhere near midway between these periods. 

First occur- When king Scoriath threatened Ferceirtne with the loss of 

word cew m his head, the poet's words were these : I conceal not that it was 

ale; the musical Ceis, of Craiftine's Cruit, that put upon the hosts a 

death sleep", etc. (323) This, the first occurrence of the word Ceis 

(32i) [original: 

concACAit tTlui|\iAcli muA-6, < 32S) [See Lectures on MS. Mate- 

piA-o fltiAj; 1Ylo]\cA rnocAd feol; rials, etc., p. 252.] 
'OiAnoi\c'OiTi'O]\i5 j\em cm c]\ef (323) [See ante, YoL ii. ; p. 243.] 
"OiAfepAitro ceif cen-ocoVL ceoL. 
Ibid. H. 2. 16. col. 755, bot.] 


that I have met with, is referred to a sentence said to have been 
spoken by a poet who nourished about four hundred years before occurs again 
the Incarnation of our Lord, according to the chronology of the tionwuh the 
" Annals of the Four Masters". It occurs again under date of D^om^af 
the year 592, in reference to the passage to which attention is A - D - 573 ; 
now to be directed, though, I fear, in a discursive way. 

In a former lecture, I gave an account of the National As- 
sembly called by the monarch Aedh Mac Ainmire (A.D. 573) 
with a view to banish the surplus professors and students of the 
sciences out of the country, in consequence of the too great in- 
crease of their numbers as a privileged class, and the exorbi- 
tance of their demands upon the working people, and held at 
Drom Ceat (near the present town of Limavady [Leim-a-Mha- 
daigK] , in the county of Derry). 

St. Colum Cille having heard of this meeting and its objects, 
and being a great patron of literature, came over from his island 
home at 7, or lona, whither he had retired from the world 
to appease the king and the people, and quite unexpectedly 
appeared at the meeting. The poets at this time, with Dalian 
Forgall as their chief, were collected in all their numbers, in 
the vicinity of the hill of meeting, anxiously awaiting their fate ; 
but their anxiety was soon relieved, as their able advocate had 
so much influence with the monarch and his people, as to pro- 
cure a satisfactory termination to the misunderstanding between 
them and their poets. 

The poets, on learning this happy turn in their favour, arose 
with their chiefs at their head, and went in a body to the meet- 
ing, each man of them who had a company (that is, who was a 
master) having a laudatory poem for the saint ; and the chief of 
each band, we are told, sang his poem (all in chorus) ; and Aidbsi, Atdbsi, or 
that is Corns Crondin, (that is, scientific purring chorus) was the ^^^ on ~ 
name of that music [i.e. the air to which they sang] and it was tioneain 
the most excellent of music, as Colman Mac Lenene said : with poems 

" As the blackbird to the swans, afiuSf 

As the ounce to the Dirna. '? te A sang at 

ATI / i i -ii / thls Assem- 

As the shapes of plebeian women to the shapes of queens, wy ; 

As any other king to Domnall, 

As a single murmur to an Aidbsi, 

As a rushlight to a candle, 

So is any other sword [compared] to my sword". (S24) 

(<) [original: 

.1. oe]\oLi HA ttnri, 4i\jvyo ne tielA 
l/tnti oc VieoUvib, 

conuir tnoin HA AC tH^tiAib. 



meaning of 
the word 
Aidbsi ; 

the author 
heard the 
Crdndn, or 

ment to 
dirges ; 

That is to say, according to an interlined gloss on these lines : 
as the blackbirds are contemptible near the swans ; as the ounce 
is contemptible near the JDirna; [the name for a large mass of 
metal] ; as all kings are contemptible near king Domnall; as 
all music is contemptible near the Aidbsi; as one small candle 
is contemptible near a large royal candle ; so was any other sword 
contemptible compared to his own sword. The sword would 
appear to have been a present from some great man to the poet. 
It will be seen that one of these seven lines (quoted from some 
ancient poem) cites an example of their author's low estimate 
of all kinds and combinations of music compared to the Aidbsi, 
which was that which was sung by the poets for St. Colum Cille. 

The word Aidbsi in its simple, ordinary signification, means 
nothing more than great, or greatness ; but, in its technical mu- 
sical signification, it means the singing of a multitude in chorus. 
It would appear, however, that the Aidbsi was not the music 
to which the body of the poem in praise of St. Colum Cille was 
sung, because this was the performance of each person for him- 
self, but it was the low murmuring accompaniment or chorus, 
in which the crowd took part at the end of each verse, and 
which, from its name of Crondn, must have been produced in 
the throat, like the purring of a cat. The word A idbsi would 
appear to have been used also to denote the lamentation at great 
funerals, where one man or one woman sang the praises of the 
dead to a specially appropriate air, of which many varieties still 
live, and in which the whole concourse of the funeral took part, 
by taking up along with the singer, at the end of each verse, 
this curious, murmuring chorus; the sound of which, though 
produced in the throat, was not unmusical or monotonous, but 
one capable of various modifications of distinct, musical tones, 
ascending from the deepest bass to the highest treble. 

I have, myself, often heard with pleasure this Crdndn, or 
throat accompaniment, without words, performed to old Irish 
dirges ; and I very well know how it was produced, and could 
even attempt an imitation of it. But, I have never heard the 
Crdndn fully sung in concert ; and I have known only two men 

CJAOCA bAti nAecec o qioctiAib 
-i ic *OomtiAVl, 

t)O|YO 1C 

.1. oej\6i'L oencAinneVl bee 1ii 


CAint,e trio^e 

cote oc mo clioitep e. -<\CAf innoenecc T)O 
pn __ Leabhar na h-Uidhre, f. 3. a. b. line 6.J 

m ceol 


who were proficients in it ; one of them was my own father ; the xxxi. 
other was John Molony, a younger and better performer. They 
were both large men. My father sang Irish songs better than 
any man I ever knew; but John Molony could not sing at 

Many of our popular writers speak of an old woman " cron- 
ing" in the corner ; they mean by this that she is humming some 
sort of a tune. The word " croning", however, is a misapplied 
and shortened form of " cronaning", which is an Anglicised way 
of saying that she was singing a Cr6ndn, which, as I have just 
said, was not humming, but a kind of purring. They have gone origin of the 
so far indeed as to form a generic noun from the corrupt word "crone"; 
" croning" ; and the word " crone", as an old woman, is now to 
be found in the English dictionaries, on the presumption, it may 
be observed, that every woman is old who hums in imitation of 
the old Irish Crondn ! 

There may be many persons still living in various parts of 
Ireland, who have heard this Crdndn from their fathers; and 
there may be some who can produce it ; but in my youthful 
days, and within the range of my acquaintance, though I have 
known many to attempt it, I never knew but the two persons 
already mentioned who succeeded in it. 

The same practice of lauding the living and lamenting the the Irish 
dead, and in the same way, was anciently followed in Scot- known m 
land ; but what in Ireland was called Aidbsi, was there called f "" d M 
Cep6g. This word Cepdg was well known in Ireland too; 
and it is singular to find that in neither country is either of 
these words now remembered. Both words, however, are entered 
in O'Reilly's " Irish-English Dictionary", but without sufficient 
explanation ; and Stewart, in his " Gaelic Dictionary", has the 
word Aidhbhsi explained in the same way as O'Reilly, but he 
has not the Cepdg. That the word Cep6g for a song of praise the word 
or elegy, was well known in ancient Ireland as in Scotland, will ^reiand Wn 
be seen from a short story, preserved in the " Book of Ballymote" also - 
[which will be found in Lecture xxxvii., where the words Aidbsi 
and Cepog are very fully discussed in their appropriate place]. 

But to return to St. Colum Cille and Dalian Forgall. The The Assem- 
poets having chaunted their laudatory poems and performed their ce 
wonderful musical strain for their friend and patron, the chief nued: 
poet of Erinn and head of all the others, whose name was Dal- 
ian Forgall, that is (Forgall the blind), came forward chaunt- 
ing the commencement of an extempore poem in praise of St. 
Colum Cille. But when he had sung the first verse of it, the 
saint stopped him, saying that the strain was an elegiac one, and 
should not be composed until after his death. And he further 




Dalian For- 
gaiirs elegy 
on St. Colum 
Cille ; 

the word 
Ceis again 
occur-* in 
this poem 

Ceis here 
part of the 

as shown by 
a scholium 
in Leabhar 
na h-Uidhre, 

said to the poet : " In whatever place you are, you shall hear of 
my death when it occurs". 

After this the meeting of Drom Ceat broke up. St. Colum 
Cille returned to his home at /, or lona, and the poets dis- 
persed themselves throughout the country, in strict accordance 
with the arrangements made for them at the great meeting. 
Now, seven years after that event, the chief poet Dalian For- 
gaill was travelling with his retinue in the neighbourhood of 
Loch Uair (now Loch Owel, near the present town of Mullin- 
gar in Westmeath), and they were overtaken on the road by a 
strange horseman. Some of the poet's people asked the stranger 
if he had any news ; and he answered that he had what was bad 
news for the Ui Neill (that is, for the people of Meath and 
Ulster), for that their great patron St. Colum Cille was dead. 
The moment the chief poet, Dalian Forgall, heard these words, 
he recollected what the saint had told him, and that he also 
charged him, that the very words in which his death should 
be announced to him, should be the words with which his 
poem on his death should commence; and immediately the 
poet commenced in the words of the stranger : 

" It is not good news for the Ui Neill". ^ 
And making straight for Port Loman, on the brink of the 
above lake, had finished his poem when he arrived there. 

It is in this very ancient and celebrated poem that the pas- 
sage occurs to which I desire to direct notice : for in the nine- 
teenth line the poet describes Ireland and Scotland after the loss 
of their great saint in these words : 

" A Cruit without a Ceis, a church without an abbot" . (J26) 

That the Ceis mentioned here, as well as in the former re- 
ferences to it, in the story of the princess Moriath, and Craif- 
tine's Cruit, is represented as an essential part of the harp, and of 
remote antiquity, will be apparent from the following gloss, or 
rather commentary on the above line of Dalian ForgaUs poem, 
as it is found in the Leabhar na h~ Uidhre, of which the existing 
copy was made before the year 1106. And it is strange indeed 
that at this early time, and while the harp or Cruit was still the 
distinguishing instrument of the nation, that any doubt or diffi- 
culty could exist as to the precise signification and use of the Ceis. 

Thus speaks the commentator just alluded to : " Ceis, that is, 
a means of fastening ; or a path to the knowledge of the music ; 
or Ceis is the name of a small Cruit which accompanies a large 
Cruit in co-playing ; or, it is the name of the little pin (or key) 
which retains the string in the wood of the Cruit; or [it is the 

025) [original: 111 oi^ce6il o'lb tl6iVL] 
<** 6 > [original: 1f cfuic ceti ceif, if cell- cert 


name of] the Cobhluigi [the two strings called the sisters] ; 
or it is the name of the heavy string [or bass] ; or, the Ceis in 
the Cruit is what keeps the counterpart with its strings in it, as 
the poet said, that is, Nos, the son of Find, cecinit ; or Fer- 
ceirtne the poet: 

" I conceal not [said he] that it was the Ceis of Craif tine's Cruit 

That threw the host into a death sleep, 

Until Labraid and Moriath of Morca were united ; 

Beyond all price did she prize Labraid, 

Sweeter than all the music was the Cruit, 

Which was played for Labraid, Loingsiuch Lore; 

Though the prince was before that dumb, 

Craif tine's Ceis was not concealed"/ 327 ' 

Even these stanzas have an interlined gloss, but it could not 
be made appreciable to the ear ; and I must also indeed admit 
that it is difficult for a popular audience to catch the force and 
point of so necessarily stiff and close a translation as I have 
found myself bound to give of this important commentary. 

It may be perceived that the commentator quotes two stanzas antiquity of 
from Ferceirtne's answer to king Scoriath, the father of the prin- the "r>es- f 
cess Moriath: but he appears to be uncertain whether the words ^S^. f 

proved by 
<'> [original:- 

.1. ceif CAI AfctmA, no coi 
1f cjuin cen cei-p, ir ceil cen 

.1. c6ip Ainm T>O cntnc CMC bif 1 coniAicecc cnmce nione hicompntn ; 
no Ainm -con oetcAin bic fofCAf in ceic huninti'oe nA c|\oce ; 
no -conA cobtAigib ; tlo Ainm -con cnorn cec ; no ifi m ceif ifin cntnc 
An ni congbA-p m tec^in-o conA c6cAib mci, tic -Dixie -poecA, Tlo^ 
niAc pint) cecimc ; no tTencencne -pLe. 

.1. tli noceil tloj 1 mAc pn-o no p&l^c&l^cne pti. .1. cntnnne 
Tliceic ceif ceot x>e CJAUIC C|i<xibcine 

.1. -OO ttAC .1. bAf COXIAlCA 

con-pepc coibmu-p, ece^i -pceo TtiAin TDojMAec mAcx)Achc 

.1. tAbnAt> -oo tomjfiud AnbA 
te cecn log l^Abpeit), 
bA binmu cec ceot in cjioc 
.1. tAbfuvo longpuc mAc Ailiot HIAC toeg mAc UgAim tTloin 

.1. ciAn bo bAtb nemi pn 
ciA^bot)occ fop -ptrne in ^vi 

ni |AO cetc ceif C|\Aipam. Leabhar na h-Uidhre, f. 5. a. 
a. top.] 


xxxi. were really to be ascribed to Ferceirtne, or to Nos, the son of 
Find, a poet to whom I have never met any other allusion. 
And this uncertainty places the antiquity and authenticity of 
the old tale of the Destruction of Dindrigh in a much higher 
and more important light; because, if its tradition or history 
had not been of remote antiquity, there could scarcely be any 
doubt about the identity of the poet at the early time at which 
this commentator must have lived. And we further collect 
from this commentary, that there must, in ancient times, have 
existed a much more extensive and detailed version of the de- 
struction of Dindrigh, than the short condensed tract which is 
now extant ; and that it contained a whole poem of the charac- 
ter of the additional ancient stanza quoted in this commentary, 
that stanza which declares that " Sweeter than all music was 
the Cruit", which Craiftine played. 

the word It is strange indeed, as I have already observed, that at so 

inTiunclent early a date as about the year 1100, when our copy of the 
eiegy S on f st he Leabliar na h-Uidhre was made, there should have been any 
coium cm. difficulty as to the precise signification of the word Ceis; and 
not only then, but when the " Liber Hymnorum" was written, 
which was about the year 900 ; and not only at that time, but 
at a time much farther back in fact at whatever time Dalian 
ForgalCs elegy for St. Colum Cille first came to require an ex- 
planatory gloss. It is not only in the copy of this celebrated 
poem preserved in Leabliar na h- Uidhre that the gloss on the 
word Ceis is found, but in all the ancient copies of it that I am 
acquainted with, and which amount to four, namely, that already 
referred to in Leabliar na h-Uidhre, another in H. 2. 16, or 
the " Yellow Book of Lecari", in the library of Trinity College, 
Dublin ; another in the " Liber Hymnorum" in the same library, 
and another in a vellum MS., lately purchased by the British 
Museum, at the sale of Mr. William Monck Mason's library. 

The quotation and commentary that I have just quoted, arc 
taken, as I mentioned, from the ancient Leabhar na h-Uidhre; 
but the following version of the same commentary is taken from 
the other ancient copy of the meeting at Drom Ceat, and the 
poem on St. Colum Cille, preserved in the " Yellow Book of 
Lecan", in the library of Trinity College, Dublin. 

Scholium in This version is as follows : " A Cruit without a Ceis (are Ire- 
' 2 ' 16> land and Scotland after him), that is, without a means of securing 
the strings [below], that is, without a knot [on the ends of the 
strings]. Or without Cobhluighe [that is, the strings called the 
sisters] ; or they are a Cruit without a heavy string [a bass], 
or a Cruit without a string of knowledge such as Cairbre the 
harper had; that is the string of knowledge, which was in 


Cairbres harp ; [and whenever he struck that string] there was xxxi. 
not from the rising of the sun to its going down any secret of 
which he was ignorant. Ireland and Scotland, then, are a Cruit 
without a Ceis after him [St. Colum Cille], or, that it was for 
a small Cruit, Ceis was the name, and it was along with a large 
Cruit it used to be played ; for the fine strings were in the small 
Cruit, and the heavy strings in the great Cruit, and it was to- 
gether they were played ; and Erinn and Scotland are [as] a 
Cruit without a Ceis after him, as the poet said, and it was 
Dalian himself that sang: 

" The cure of a physician without a medicine-bag, 
The parting of the marrow from the bone, 
Singing with a Cruit without a Ceis, 
Such are we after our noble protector". 

" Or", continues the commentator, " it was a Cruit without 
aiiy one of the three tunings (Glesa) which served to Craiftine 
the harper, namely Suantraigh, and Goltraigh, and Gentraigh, 
for the sleeping, the crying, and the laughing modes]". {328) 

The copy in the British Museum adds nothing of value, ex- 
cept the words fastening below, introduced into the last version. 

The following is the short version in the "Liber Hymnorum": gloss in Liber 

" Ceis is the name of a small Cruit which accompanied a large ym ' 
Cruit at playing upon; or the name of a nail on which the 
strings called Lethrind were fastened ; or the name of the little 
pin; or the name of the [strings called the] Cobhluighe (or 
sisters) ; or the name of the heavy string" . (329) 

The word Lethrind we shall come to presently; it means 
here, probably, the treble strings. 

Among the other parts of the harp which the commentator P arts of th e 
surmises the Ceis to have been, were the Cobhluighe and the misea to 
Leitlirind. Now, the word Cobhla, which is the singular of thl e cw*. 

n**\ r i .11 1 the Cf-'WWwi- 

S) I original: Af cnoc cen ceif, Af tei^ef lezjA cenLef, ghe,or"s\&- 

.1. cen cAe fAif, .1. cen eAn-piAitmi. Af oeA'OAil-pmeAnA fni fmuAf, ters", and 

Tlo cen coblAijji; no Af cntnc cen 1f AtnnAn fni cntnc cen cep, theLeith- 

cnoim cheic, no Arcnwic cen ceit> Smn oeif An nAn^Ani UAif. 

pr AniAil no boi 1C CAinbni ; .1. An tlo Af cntnc cen glef -oo nA cni jle- 

cei-o pr NO b^o A cntnc CAinbni ; f Aib oo pognAi'oir t>o CnnAi^cme 

ACAf An cAn no jl/UAifer) An cex) cntncini, .1. ru^ncnAig, ACAr golV- 

fin, mbit) o cuncbAit co ftimeA-o m cnAig, ACA|* ^encnAig, ACIAC rin AH- 

A nAin-pif t)O. 1r cntnc cen ceiT> -p-p AnniriAnn. H. 2. 16. col. 689.] 

eini ACAf AtbA -01 A erreAtn, no com- ( 329 ) [original : Ceir Ainm -oo cntnc 

A-O -OA cntnc bic but) Ainm cef, ACA^ bic bir ni comAicecnc cntnci nioni 

mAitLe ne cntnc moin ; no fenceA H-ICA -peinni ; no Ainm -00 cAnnAing 

UAtn nA golocA ipn cntnc big, ACAf An A mbi m 1eicnnmt> ; no Ainm 

HA cnom ceAt)A fin 6ntncmoin, ACAf T)on -oetgAtn bic; no Ainm -oonA 

AmAit no rennceA ; ArAf A^ cntnc cobtAigib ; no oon cnom cneic. 

cen ceot eine ACAf AVoA tnA er, uc E. 4. 2. Liber Hymnorum (in 

poecA -Dixie, ACAf comAt) e 'OottAn Cottnm), f. 32. b.] 


Cobhluighe, is explained in our ancient glossaries as Camhluth, 
that is, simultaneous motion ; and it is in this sense that Corrih- 
ladh is the ancient name of a door; because, as stated in Cor- 
mac's Glossary, it moves simultaneously upon its hinges above 
and below. 

It is remarkable that in the long apocryphal list of the 
names of the harp strings, printed by the late Edward Bunting 
in his " Ancient Music of Ireland", the word Cobhluighe occurs 
twice. In the first place, at page 21, concealed under the 
slightly corrupt orthography of Caomhluighe, and translated, 
"lying together"; and, in the second place, at page 32, 
where it is correctly enough written comhluighe, and trans- 
lated, " stretched together". There can be no doubt, then, that 
Bunting's Caomhluighe, and our commentator's Cobhluighe, 
mean one and the same thing; and the following foot-note 
in Bunting's book, page 21, will very well maintain the etymo- 
logy which I have ventured to give above, as well as the iden- 
tity of the names of these strings : 

" Caomhluighe, called by the harpers ' the sisters', were two 
strings in unison, which were the first tuned to the proper pitch ; 
they answered to the tenor G, fourth string on the violin, and 
nearly divided the instrument into bass and treble". 

That the practice of harmony the use of the musical chord, 
existed in Ireland from a very remote period, is clearly shown 
in the commentary given above, where the writer at one time 
surmises that, perhaps, Ceis was the name of a small harp which 
accompanied a large harp ; indicating that the large harp con- 
tained the heavy or bass strings, whilst the small harp contained 
the thin or treble strings, and that it was together they were 
played. Now, the harmonious unison of the two harps, when 
playing together small string against large string, and large 
string against small string exactly produces musical harmony, 
r It is evident that the word Leithrind, or half harmony, was 
not originally intended for either the large or the small harp, 
but for a constituent part of a single harp namely, that part 
which held either the bass or the treble strings, divided by the 
Cobhluighe, or " sisters". 
Rind, or full Along with this, in O'Davoren's " Irish Glossary", compiled 
30ny; in the latter half of the sixteenth century, I find the word Rind, 
i.e. music, with corresponding music against it". (330) In other 
words, Rind was music consisting of full harmony, while Leith- 
rind, or half Rind, was one or either of the two corresponding 
parts which produced the harmonious whole, and these parts 
were the bass and treble notes, or the bass and treble strings 
(330,; [original: tVmn .1. ceot co ctub-omf IMA 


the Trom Theada, and the Goloca, or the heavy and the thin xxxi. 
strings, either of which, the commentator on Dalian ForgailFs 
elegy on St. Colum Cille surmised to be the Ceis mentioned in 
that poem, and without which the harp had lost its life and 

So far I have endeavoured to give a description of the harp, 
and an idea of its musical powers, such as I could frame from 
the statements found in our most ancient historic tales and 
romantic writings. I am sorry to have to acknowledge, how- difficulty of 

,1 , T IT \ -, ..-, ... i . determining 

ever, that 1 am not able to decide with certainty upon what whutcm 
the Ceis of the Cruit precisely was; but why should I take was; 
blame to myself for my shortcomings on this point, when we 
see how uncertain were the writers even of the eleventh and 
earlier centuries as to the exact meaning of this same word? 
All this difficulty of understanding this ancient term, however, 
goes to show the extreme antiquity of the harp, either as a 
complex whole, or as formed of two independent but imperfect 
parts namely, the large and the small harps, the combination, 
or the co-playing of which was necessary to make a perfect 
harmonious whole. But, though I cannot speak with authority not a part of 
as to what exactly the Ceis was, yet there is good reason to think 
that it was no material part of the harp after all, but that the 
word signifies simply the harmonized tones or tune of the in- 
strument. We have seen that on different occasions, the father, 
mother, and household of the princess Moriath, and herself after- 
wards, slept profoundly under the magical spell of the Ceis of 
Craiftines harp. Surely it could not have been any material 
part of the harp, except the strings, that could have produced 
this extraordinary effect. Surely it could only have been the 
richness of the harmony of the instrument as so played. It is 
not easy to say whether the word Ceis refers to that harmony 
or that mode of playing, or to a necessary portion of the parti- 
cular kind of harp played on. 

We have seen from the words ascribed to the poet Ferceirtne summary of 
in answer to Scoriath, the king of West Munster, that " I con- thecommen- 
ceal not that it was the Ceis of Craif line's harp" which sent the meaning *of 
king with his household to sleep ; and, strange to say, we find Ceis - 
the scholiast on these lines in the eleventh and earlier centuries 
quite at a loss to understand what it was precisely that this 
word Ceis signified. The scholiast in Leabhar na h- Uidhre, 
copied before the year 1106, surmises, etymologically, that 
Ceis is a condensation of the two words Cai Astuda, that is, a 
means of fastening, or Coi d/is in ciuil, that is, a path to the 
knowledge of the music ; or that Ceis was the name of a small 
harp which accompanied a large harp in co-playing ; or that it 


XXXI - was the name of the little pin which retains the string in the 
wood [that is, the harmonic curve] of the harp ; or that it was 
the name of the strings which are called " the sisters", or of the 
bass string; or that the Ceis in the harp was what kept the 
counterpart strings of that part in their proper places in the 
harp. Again, in the scholium on the same line of Dalian For 
gall's poem in the " Yellow Book of Lecan", compiled in the 
year 1391, we find that a harp without a Ceis was a harp with- 
out a means of tightening, that is, without a knot (on the ends 
of the string below), that is, without a fastening pin ; or without 
a bass string ; or without a string of knowledge such as Cairbre 
the harper (of whom I happen to know nothing more) had in 
his harp ; or that Ceis was the name of a small harp which was 
played along with a large harp, for that the small strings were 
in the small harp, while the heavy strings were in the large harp ; 
or that it was a harp without a Gles (that is a tuning) of the 
three Glesa which were known to Craiftine the harper, namely, 
the sleeping tune, the crying tune, and the laughing tune. 

A fourth reference to the Ceis is found in the very ancient 
tale of Toghail Brnidline Da C/ioga, or the Destruction of the 
mansion of the Two Equal Masters, who were two smiths by 

Fourth refe- It may be remembered from former lectures, that Fergus 
word Cefrta Mac Roigh, the celebrated prince of Ulster, had exiled himself 
taieTn'leaft- ^ n Connacht after the tragical death of the sons of Uisnech 
tiarnah- -while under his protection, by command of Conchobar Mac 

Ihdhre. , T i i TTI -n i 1 M 

JVessa, the king 01 Ulster. X ergus was accompanied in nis exile 
by Cormac Conloinges, son of king Conchobar. On the death 
of the latter, his son Cormac was invited back to Ulster, and 
having accepted the invitation, he set out from Rath Cruachain 
in Roscommon, crossed the Shannon at Athlone, and sought 
rest for the night at the mansion of the two smiths. [The 
ruined fort of this mansion is shown still on the hill of Bruig- 
hean Mhor or the Great Mansion, in the parish of Drumaney, 
barony of Kilkenny West, and county of Westmeath]. The 
house was beset in the night by the men of Leinster, and Cor- 
mac with the most of his people killed. 

The tale of this slaughter relates that Cormac had been the 
former lover of a Connacht lady named Sceanb, who afterwards 
became the wife of a famous harper named Craiftine; and it 
is stated that on the night of the attack on Cormac, Craiftine, 
in a fit of jealousy, attended outside with his harp, and played 
for him a Ceis Cendtoll, that is, a head-sleeping, or a debilitat- 
ing Ceis, or tune which left him an easy prey to his enemies. 

A fifth reference to a Cruit, or harp without a Ceis, is found 


in an ancient poem of general instructions to a new king, but *xxi. 
evidently intended for a king of Munster, probably for Cormac Fiftii refe- 

T, r /-i ? .1 Ti rVn . n rence to Ceis 

Mac Cuiteannaw in the ninth century. 1 he poem consists 01 in an ancient 
thirty-seven quatrains, in the twenty -third of which the poet, poem4 
dilating on the advantages of a good king to his people, says: 

" This world is every man's world in his turn, 
There is no prophet but the true God ; 
Like a company without a chief, like a harp without a 

Are the people after their king"/ 330 

Another term for the harmony or proper tune of the harp was coir another 
Coir (which literally signifies propriety), as has been already hannony, 
shown in speaking of the great Tuath D& Danann harp, and in ^^ceitT 
the quotation from Dr. Keating's poem on his harper. The fol- 
lowing passage from the Brehon Laws will illustrate this fact : 

" Coir is concealed from harps when one string is broken, 
that is Coir is completely concealed from the harp when one 
string is wanting to it, so that its harmony (or Coicetal) is des- 
troyed, according to propriety. The Coir (or propriety) of 
harmony is dissolved, that is, the Coir (or propriety) of playing 
is concealed, when one string of the harp has been broken". (332) 

Now from all of the foregoing commentaries, and notwith- Author con. 

,. , . . T , . , eludes that 

standing their uncertainty in many respects, it is, I think, a ceis meant 
reasonable deduction on the whole, independently of the words monyor a the 
ofFerceirtne and Mac Lonain, that the Ceis was the mere har- mode of 

<^ii i IT iii T playing with 

mony or the harp, or that the word denoted only the mode a bass. 
of playing upon it in harmony, that is, with a bass. This 
point would seem to be in fact decided by the last para- 
graph of the scholium from the " Yellow Book ofJLecan\ which 
supposes the harp without a Ceis to be a harp without any one 
of the three GUsa, or tunings, by which Craiftine, as well as 
the other older harpers, produced such wonderful effect. Now 
it happens that the word Gles, which is here put for Ceis, has f s ^ n d 
been a living word from the oldest times down to our own, and tionedin 
always understood to signify preparing, setting, or tuning ; and H. h 2!Ta m 
not only this, but the name of the tuning-key itself is still on Hying word; 
ancient record, and in such a position as to leave no doubt 

(ssi) [original: 

An bioc-fo Af bioc CA16 An tiAin, bur eAfbA'OAfi Aon cei> eifce, com-o 

m bjnnt fAi-6 Adc^iA'OA pon; eipitcinAcVi A coicecAl mmpe -oo 

cvnpe 5<xn cenn, cjunc 5Ati ceif j\eip c6i]\. C<McViinicVief\ coi^ A coi- 

fAmAil, tiA cuAir; -o'e^f <xr> j\i 5. cec<yit, .1. oicl,ic1ie|\ coip, in cfe<Mi- 

O'Conor Don MSS., B.I.A., p. 917.] mA obt\ifce|\ Aon ce-o ipn cptnc. 

(332) [original: TMdAVlAirJ; coi]\ A H. 3. 17. 438. Vide 1tnce6c nAC|\otn 

conbongA^ Aen cet>, .1. -oAirtie, Bethatn MSS., H.I.A., cxx. p. 

A c6ip AJ\ in c|\uic o 39.] 



the Crann- 

this poem 

contains the 

names of the 

bar p; 

the names of 
classed of en 
founf "in'this 

th h ei um to 
st. coium 

whatever of what it was, and its close relation to the word Gles. 
The name of this instrument was Crann-GlSsa, or tuning-tree; 
and we find it mentioned in the Brehon Laws among the articles 
for which there was a special law for their prompt recovery, if 
borrowed and not duly returned. Here it is called Comhobair 
gach ciuil, edhon Crann GUsa, that is, " The instrument of all 
music, namely, the Crann Glesa, or tuning tree". [H. 3. 17. 
p. 403^.] With this instrument of course the strings were 
strictly tuned, so as to make it possible to play in full harmony 
of chords. 

And again. In a single stanza, some hundreds of years old, 
preserved in a paper MS. of about the year 1740, in the library 
of Trm ity College, Dublin, and prophetic of the decline of the 
harp in this country, the poet says : 

" The Crann- GUasta will be lost, 
Strings will be thickly broken, 
The Corr will drop out of the Lamhchrann, 
And the Com will go down the stream" . (333) 

This is an important stanza, for it gives us distinctly, what is 

j' i . i_ 'j_i j_i / j/i i p 

exceedingly rare to be met with, the names of the chief mem- 
bers, or parts of the harp. The Crann Gleasta is clearly the 
tuning tree or key; the Corr is the cross tree, or harmonic 
curve ; the Lamhchrann is the front pillar, and the Com is the 
belly or sound-board. The only loss is, that we have not in 
this, or in any other stanza, the distinctive names of the diffe- 
rent classes of strings, such as Trom- Theda for the heavy string ; 
Cobliluighe, for the strings called the sisters ; and Goltfca, for 
the light strings. These names indeed I have only met in the 
above scholium on Dalian ForgalVs elegy on St. Colum Cille. 

(333) [original : 

An cnAnn 

tet>A 50 ciug, 

Ctnc-p-o in co^j\ Af in IAITIC|\AHM, 
1r t^ocAitt An com ne fnuc. H. 4. 20. f. 92.] 


[DeliTwod Jun* 17th, 18*20 

(IX.) OF Music AND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS (continued). Reference to the 
different parts of a harp in a poem of the seventeenth century. The num- 
ber of strings not mentioned in references to harps, except in two instances ; 
the first is in the tale of the lubar Mic Aingis or the " Yew Tree of Mac 
Aingis" ; the instrument mentioned in this tale was not a Cruit, but a three 
stringed Timpan ; the second reference is to be found in the Book of Lecan, 
and the instrument is eight stringed. The instrument called ' Brian Boru's 
Harp" has thirty strings. Reference to a many stringed harp in the seven- 
teenth century. Attention paid to the harp in the twelfth and thirteenth 
centuries. References to the Timpan as late as the seventeenth century, 
proving it to have been a stringed instrument. The Timpan was distin- 
guished from the Cruit or full harp. No very ancient harp preserved. The 
harp in Trinity College, Dublin ; Dr. Petrie's account of it ; summary of 
Dr. Petrie's conclusions. Dr. Petrie's serious charge against the Chevalier 
O'Gorman. Some curious references to harps belonging to O'Briens which 
the author has met with : Mac Conmidhe's poem on Donnchadh Caifbreach 
O'Brien; Mac Conmidhe's poem on the harp of the same O'Brien ; the poem 
does not explain how the harp went to Scotland. What became of this harp ? 
Was it the harp presented by Henry the Eighth to the Earl of Clanrickard ? 
Perhaps it suggested the harp-coinage, which was in circulation in Henry 
the Eighth's time. The Chevalier O'Gorman only mistook one Donogh 
O'Brien for another. There can be no doubt that this harp did once belong to 
the Earl of Clanrickard. If the harp was an O'Neill harp, how could its 
story have been invented and published in the lifetime of those concerned? 
Arthur O'Neill may have played upon the harp, but it could not have been 
his ; this harp is not an O'Neill, but an O'Brien one ; Dr. Petrie's antiqua- 
rian difficulties : author's answer ; as to the monogram I. H. S. ; as to the arms 
on the escutcheon. The assertion of Dr. Petrie, that the sept of O'Neill 
is more illustrious than that of O'Brien, is incorrect. 

AT the close of the last Lecture I quoted a stanza containing an 
old authority for the names of the three principal parts of the 
harp. But even in comparatively modern times also we may 
find authority for these names, and for the form of the instru- 
ment, which seems to have remained the same. 

*I have in my possession a curious poem of twenty-six qua- Reference to 
trains, written by Pierce Ferriter, of Ferriter's Cove, on the pans ofa en * 
coast of the county of Kerry, about the year 1 640, on a harp p"S/ f a the 
which had been presented to him. Pierce Ferriter was a gentle- seventeenth 
man and a scholar, a > oet and a musician ; and he wrote this ce ' 
Gaedhelic poem in praise of a certain harp which was presented 
to him by Mr. Edmond Mac an Daill, the son of Mr. Donnell 
Mae an DaiU, of Magh Lorg, in the county of Roscommon. In 
this poem he speaks of the harp under both the Gaedhelic 
names of Cruit and Clairseach (the former, of course, being by 

VOL. II. 17 


xxxn. far the more ancient name) ; and, as there are some interesting 
Reference to details introduced into his verses, I may quote a few stanzas of 
parts of e a ent them here. At the tenth stanza, the poet, speaking of his harp, 

harpin a nolle it 

poem of the CallS ll 

beventeenth " The key of music and its gate, 

The wealth, the abode of poetry ; 
The skilful, neat Irishwoman, 
The richly festive moaner. 

" Children in dire sickness, men in deep wounds, 
Sleep at the sounds of its crimson board ; 
The merry witch has chased all sorrow, 
The festive home of music and delight. 
" It found a Cor in a fruitful wood in \_Magh~\ Aoi; 
And a Lamh-chrann in the Fort of Seantraoi, 
The rich sonorous discourser of the musical notes ; 
And a comely Com from Eas da Ecconn. 
" It found Mac Sithduill to plan it, 
It found Cathal to be its artificer, 
And Beannglan, great the honour, 
Got [to do] its fastenings of gold and its emblazoning. 
" Excellent indeed was its other adorner in gold, 
Parthalon More Mac Cathail, 
The harp of the gold and of the gems, 
The prince of decorators is Parthalon". (33t) 
This harp, the poet says, found its Corr, that is, its harmonic 
curve, or crosstree, was found in the fruitful woods of Magh 
Aoi, in the plains of Roscommon. It found its Lamhchrann, 
that is, its front pillar was found at the fort of Seantraoi (a place 
I am unable to identify) ; and it found its Com, that is, its sound- 
board was found at Eas da Ecconn, now the falls of Ballyshan- 
non, in the county of Donegal. In the same language he goes 
on to name the artificers. So it was Mac Sithduitl that designed 
it, and Cathal that made it ; and it was bound and emblazoned 
by Bennglan, and it was decorated with gold and gems by Par- 
thalon Mor Mac Catliail. So that in this instance, so great was 

(334) [original: if CAOITI torn 6 &Af [-OA] Occoriri. 

GocAin An ceoil, f A conilA, jTuAin ttlAc Sic-ouiVl t>A fUToeAdc, 
lormiViuf , ceAj nA nALvonA ; jniAin CAGA! OA centjmgecc, 

An eineAnnAc AfOA jl^An, ip pJAin beAnnjlAn, mon An mo-f>, 

geitneAnnAC bLAfOA toiA'OtnAjv A ceAngUvo 'oop fA rnonnlo-b. 

Aifv, F 1 T v 5 ot1CA ITlAic A lioi|\6eA|vo eiLe 
]\if ATI cclxxn cconc^A; pAncAton tYlon 1T1AC 

An beo 'bA'db -oonbnon oobnif, ctAinyeAc An oin 

ceot At>b An 01 1 fAn AOibm|". 'oo^ ^A. pnAipieA 

conn A cnuA^ coil/t i tlAoi Miscellaneous Poems, chiefly copied 

Ann Atiof SencnAoi, from the O'Connor Don's Book, 

mAOclonn nA ccl,er O'Curry MSS., Cath. Univ., p. 294.] 


the care bestowed on the manufacture of a harp, that it en- 
gaged the professional skill of four distinct artists, the model- 
ler, the wood-worker and carpenter, the binder and emblazoner, 
and the decorator ; and the services of these artizans are referred 
to as if their occupations were in the usual course, each of them 
living by his own independent art. The shape and general de- The number 

r 4.-L ' J .0. "I J * C ofstringsnot 

sign ol the ancient harp, and the materials used in its frame- mentioned 
work, are then frequently alluded to ; but there is, unfortunately, }" "^"el! 
one great omission in all the references to the harp that I have ? e P l in two 

. , -.. , , ,, ,, , instances: 

met with 1 mean the absence ot any allusion to the number 
of strings which it properly contained. I have, indeed, met 
one or two references to harps of a certain limited number of 
strings ; but it is evident from their being so particularized, that 
they were exceptions to the general rule. To these references 
I have next to direct your attention. 

The first of them, and which is contained in the tale called lu- the flrst fc i 
bhar Mic Aingis, or the Yew Tree of Mac Aingis (which alludes the "\ew 
to a harp of the kind called -Timpari), is of undoubtedly great ifo^f" 
antiquity, though the tale is one of those belonging to the most 
fabulous class, as far as the incident connected with the harp is 
concerned. The tale is preserved in very old language in the 
" Book of Leinster", and may be shortly stated as follows : 

Oiiioll Oluim (the ancestor of the great families of south and 
north Munster, and who was king of that province, died after 
a long reign, in the year of our Lord 234), was married to 
Sadhbk (or Sabia), the daughter of the monarch of Erinn 
Conn of the Hundred Battles, and widow of Mac Niadh, a 
distinguished Munster prince; and Sadhbh had a son by her 
first husband, named Lugaidh, more popularly called Mac Con, 
and several sons by Oiiioll, her second husband, the eldest of 
whom was Eoghan M6r, or Eugene the Great. So much as to the 
personages mentioned in this story, which proceeds as follows : 

" At a certain time [this] Eoghan, the son of Oiiioll \OLuim\, 
and Lugaidh Mac Con, his stepbrother, set out to pay a visit 
to Art, the son of Conn [monarch of Erinn], their mother's 
brother, who was then on a visit in Connacht, for the purpose 
of receiving some bridle-steeds from him. Now, as they were 
passing over the river Maigh or Maigue [at Caher-ass, in the 
county of Limerick], they heard music in a yew tree over the 
cataract, [and saw a little man playing there]. After that they 
returned back again to Oiiioll with him, that is, with the [little] 
man whom they took out of the tree; because they were dis- 
puting about him [as to who should have him], so that Oiiioll 
might give judgment between them. He was a little man, 
^itk three strings in his Timpan. ' What is your name ?' [said 



"*" Oilioll]. l Fer-ft, the son of EogabJiaV [said hej. ' What has 
the first is brought ye back ?' said Oilioll. ' We are disputing about this 

inthetaleof , r r-, ,-, -, , TTn f . , L , _ . , ,-,.,. ., 

the "Yew man |_said they). ' What sort ot man is her [said Oilioll]. 

Hingis"* ' A good timpanist' [said they]. ' Let his music be played for 
us' [said OilioU~\. 'It shall be done', said he. So he played 
for them the crying tune (Goltraighe), and he put them to 
crying and lamenting and tear-shedding, and he was requested 
to desist from it. And then he played the laughing tune (Gen- 
traighe), till they laughed with mouths so wide open, that all 
but their lungs were visible. He then played the sleeping 
tune (Suantraighe) for them, until they were cast into a sleep 
[so deep, that it lasted] from that hour till the same hour next 
day". " He then", continues the story, " went away from them 
to the place whence he was brought, leaving a bad feeling 
between them, such as he particularly wished should exist" . (M5> 
The bad feeling which the little timpanist left between the 
stepbrothers arose not so much in regard to himself, as about 
the ownership of the wonderful yew tree in which he was found, 
and which appeared to have sprung up spontaneously by necro- 
mantic art for their misfortune. 

The remainder of this wild story is too long for my present 
purpose, and it is therefore sufficient to say, that the little man 
was one of the Tuaiha D& Danann race from the neighbouring 
hill of Knockany (Cnoc Aine). The famous Tuaiha De Danann 
lady, Aine, from whom this hill takes its name, had been some 
short time previously abused, and herself and her brother 
Eogabhal slain in a fit of anger, by king Oilioll Oluim, and it 
was to have revenge for this deed that the little timpanist, 
Fer-fi, the son of Eogabhal, raised up the phantom yew tree 
at the falls of Caher-ass, in order to excite a dispute between the 
sons and the stepson of Oilioll. In this he succeeded to the full. 
Oilioll awarded the yew tree to his own son Eoghan, and Mao 
Con charged him with partiality, and challenged him, with all 

(335) [original: l/int) T>4ti e6c Aile, fo? CimpAnAc rnAich. SencAn 

e-ogAn mAc .AiliVlA ACAf t/ugAit) oun A ceoL, op .Ail/iVl "OojencAjx 

iriAC Con, .1. A comAlcA co A-|\c ITIAC Oj\fe. ftofepAitro -ooib T>Ati got- 

CuinT) oiAtn'b.Si -pO]\ CUAI|\C COHTIACC, cfYfoe, cotiAt) cojuvpcAiu iricol, ACAf 

oo tAbAipc ed fjAiAti {JAt), .1. bj\AcVi- 1 c6i, ACAf oepcoirntro. Rogefp x>6 

<vi]\ mACAf\ tjo e-ogAn. Oc cede -ooib AttA-o "oe. Rofeint) DAM, genc-jMTDe, 

pec An ttlAJ co CUALACA|\ m ceol conA'oconA|"cA]\ ifigen njAifve, ACC 

if firrotif ibAin pobui offin'oefp. "be- nopcAn ecnAi AfCAim. UofepnAin'o 

n-0kitil,t Ajvrai-p, .1. mjren -ooib -OAn fUAnc^Aije conT)Aco]AAf- 

-oue-pf ; A]\bACAn oc nn- CAT\ ip&An on c^Ach coA|\Aite. Ac- 

, con|\ucA'ob|\eicn ooib. ivuLlAi'peoTn lA-jApui-oiu AtLecli t)iA 

bee, cpi cnec mA cnimpAn. ctfocit) ACAf -popACAib opocmice'L 

? en -T^ ITIAC eogAbAit. ecunpu Ap bAfinfAti leif. H. 2. 18. 

On AitiVL AcAAtn f. 206. b. b.] 


his forces, to a battle, at a time to be fixed afterwards. When 
the appointed time came, both parties met at the hill of Cenn- 
Abrat, in the neighbourhood of Kilfinan, on the borders of the 
counties of Cork and Limerick, where a battle ensued, in which 
Mac Con was defeated, and forced to fly the country. He went 
into Scotland, but in some years returned with a large force of 
Scottish or Pictish and British adventurers, who sailed round 
by the south coast of Erinn, and entered the bay of Gal way, 
and there, in the neighbourhood of Oranmore, at a place called 
Magh Mucruimlit, a battle was fought between them and the 
monarch Art and his forces, aided by his nephews, the seven 
sons of Oilioll Oluim, and the forces of Munster, under the 
leadership of Eoghan M6r, the eldest of them. This celebrated 
battle, which forms one of the cardinal points of the history of 
the period, proved fatal to the royal arms, the monarch himself 
having been slain in it, as well as Eoghan Mor and all the 
other six sons of Oilioll Oluim. So the little timpanist, Fir-fi, 
the son of Eogabhail, had ample revenge for the death of his 
father and his aunt. 

There is a metrical version of the part of this story which 
relates to the little timpanist and the phantom yew tree pre- 
served also in the " Book of Leinster". I believe Cormac Mao 
Cuileannain was the author of this piece, and that it was copied 
into the " Book of Leinster" from his " Psalter of Cashel". The 
authority, then, for this distinct allusion to the Timpan is old and 
high enough. 

It must be observed that the three stringed instrument men- the instru- 
tioned in this story, is not called a Cruit, or harp, but a Timpan. mentioned 
But even though it were not a Cruit of the ordinary kind, it was h not a a e 
certainly must have been some species of it; and it is important ^ r "'e' buta 
to know, on authority so undoubted, that the Timpan was a stringed 
stringed instrument, and therefore some kind of harp, though tmpan 
perhaps of an inferior class. 

The next reference to an instrument with a definite number th j> second 
of strings, is found in the "Book of Lecari", in the library of in the Boot 
the Royal Irish Academy ; and this, as well as the last, was pro- {Lecan; 
bably taken from the " Saltair of Cashel" ; and the instrument 
referred to must also have been of a peculiar character both in 
shape and size. 

I may premise that the Feidlimid Mac Crimthain men- 
tioned in this story was king of Munster and monarch of Erinn, 
a distinguished scholar and a scribe or writer of books, and that 
he died at Cashel in the year 845. The Ui Cormaic mentioned 
in it were a tribe of the Eoghanacfits, or Eugenians of Ui Fidh- 
gheinte, who at an earlier period crossed the Shannon and the 


xxxn. -Fergus and settled beyond the latter in the northern part of 
Corca-Bhaiscind, their territory being nearly coextensive with 
the present barony of Islands in the county of Clare. In this 
story we are told that : 

" On a certain cfay in the season of autumn, as Feidhlimidh 

Mac Crimhihainn, monarch of Erinn, was in Cashel of the kings, 

there came to him the abbot of a church of the Ui Cormaic* 

and the ID- and he sat on the couch, and he took his little eight-stringed 

eight 1 - 60 ' 8 [instrument] (Ocht-Tedach) unto him from his girdle, and he 

"ringed. played sweet music, and sang a poem to it, and he sang these 

words there 

" Beware ! beware ! O chief and father ! 
Does the king of the Eoghanacht hear ? 
A tribe who are by the Shannon on the north : 
Woe is it that they have ever gone into exile ! 
M The Ui Cormaic, O Feidlimid! 
Do not love thy music-making ; 
The Corca-Bhaiscind, because of their strength, 
Vouchsafe not justice to the Eoghanachts. 
" My residence has been plundered ; 

And the men are not yet impeached ; 
The shrieks of its clerics and of its bells 
Are not heard this day by Feidlimid. 
" Ui Cormaic and Tradraidhi 
Are much in want of relief; 
They are from their friends far away, 
And their great hardship is manifest. 
" They are in want of relief, 

The Ui Cormaic and Tradraidhi; 
It is not now usual with [any one of] them 
To be two days in his abbotship. (336) 

\i.e., such is the danger that no abbot, even, can be sure of 
his place for two days.] 

(3*6) [original: 1n Anoile to UAin ConcobAifcint) AJAA ne-j\c, 

fogAiriAin |\o bi Vei'olimi'o mAC rmDArnAit) cCnc oeogAinefic. 

CnnnuAiri nig ennvo iCAipl MA nij;. HohAincO-o TMO bAilifeA 
ooniAchc oincniM'oeAcn 6i11i t>o Viuib if pp JAM Aneiliji-o ; 

ConniAc cnuici ocuf no fuit> An IM gAin A cleineAch ifA ctoc 

coVbA, ocAf CAVL A ocncce-oAicn MI cttiiM IMO^C ^eitjlmiit). 

nibic cnuici A^A cnnif ACAf no fe- hi ConniAic t|" CnA'onAi'oi 
pAiMT) ceot- mbiMT), ACAr nogob LAI-O nCgAit) AteA|~ -poinicin ; 

16, ACAf no nAit) MA bniAcnnA rA PAX> OMA cuAcnAib necAib, 

ATCO. TfAt>mAiM AtMon -oepn. 

AbAbou AbAit> AcViAi]\! tlecATo AleAf poinicVun, 

1M ctuiMeAMT) nig e-ojAMAclic? 1 ConniAic if cnATtnAit)!; 


niAing-oocnuAiT) AMT)eonAit)ecc! IMT>A cnAcn IM AbtJAiMe. A. 

V)1 co|\iriAic, A ei'o1imi > o, Book of Lecan, folio 183. a. a.] 

,1t> "OO cVl ColA]\ACC r 


What the effect of this singular appeal of the abbot from xxxu. 
Corca Bhaiscind on the learned and just king Feidlimid was, 
we are not told ; but we may presume that justice was rendered 
where it was due. It is, however, in reference to the musical 
instrument mentioned in it that the little article is of value to 
our present purpose. The date of king Feidlimid's death 
supplies us with two rather important historical facts ; the first, 
that the tribe of the Ui Cormaic must have crossed the Shannon 
to the north some time before the year 845 ; and the second, 
that a portable eight-stringed harp was then an established 
instrument in the country; but whether as peculiar to the 
Church, or in common use, I am not at present able to say. 
There is no particular name given to this instrument, more 
than its being merely said that the abbot brought forth his little 
" eight-stringed" [harp] from his girdle ; yet I think we need not 
hesitate to take it to have been a small eight-stringed harp; 
and we must look upon it as a small and light one indeed, when 
he could conveniently carry it at his girdle from Clare to Ca- 
shel. I confess myself unable to draw any conclusions from 
this little " eight-stringed" [instrument], as I cannot compare its 
compass with any musical standard of an earlier date : not hav- 
ing ever met with any reference to such standard, we must 
therefore come much farther down before we can speak with 
any certainty of the usual number of strings of the Irish harp, 
if it really had a standard number. 

In the old harp preserved in the museum of Trinity College, The instm- 
Dublin, commonly called " Brian Boru's harp", and to which Brian a e 
reference was made in my last lecture, the number of the strings hrthirt" p " 
is thirty ; and we are told by Mr. Bunting, in the last volume "rings. 
of his " Ancient Music of Ireland", page 23, that this was the 
usual number of strings found on all the harps at the Belfast 
meeting in 1792. Yet, we find in the same writer's disserta- 
tion on the harp made for Sir John Fitzgerald of Cloyne, in 
the county of Cork, in the year 1621, that it contained forty- 
five strings. 

An instance of authority for the use of a considerable num- Reference to 
ber of strings in the harp, occurs in a fragment of a quaint Eng- gtrufg^d 
lish mamiscript history of Kerry, written some time in the first g^ente " 
half, I think, of the last century, and now preserved in the centnry, 
library of the Royal Irish Academy, in which we find at page 
45, the following reference to a distinguished harper in that 
county: " As to the harp-playing, said county could well bragg, 
having the chiefest master of that instrument in the kingdom in 
his time, Mr. Nicholas Pierce of Clonmaurice, not only for his 
singular capacity of composing lamentations, funerals, additions 

i the 



paid to the 
harp in the 
twelfth and 

to the Tim- 
pan as late 
as seven- 
teenth cen- 

proving it to 
have been * 

and elevations, etc., but also by completing said instrument 
with more wires than ever before his time were used". 

The writer of this tract does not speak of the precise time at 
which Mr. Pierce flourished ; but we have his time from other 
sources, and in language which bears out the eulogium of our 
anonymous author on him. It appears that Mr. Pierce was 
blind, since we find him called, with reverence, "Blind Nicholas", 
in Pierce Ferriter's poem on his harp, already referred to. But, 
besides this reference, we have three distinct poems, by three 
different authors, written exclusively in his praise: one by 
Ferflatha O'Gnimh, a native of Ulster, who nourished about 
the year 1640, who calls him the CraiftinS of Cashel; another 
by Maelmuire Mac-an B/iaird, of the county Donegal; the 
third is anonymous, and must, of course, have been written at 
the same time. The two latter of these curious poems are pre- 
served in the O'Conor Don's volume of ancient poems, and 
will be found at pages 17 and 20 of my transcript from that 
volume. (337) O'GnimJis poem is in my own possession. 

Going back to a still earlier date we find the following curious 
entry in in the " Annals of Loch (7<T at the year 1225, showing 
that attention was paid long before to the improvement of the 

" Aedh (or Hugh), the son of Donnslebhe * Sochlachann, 
vicar of Cunga, a professor of singing and harp-tuning, as well 
as having invented a tuning (or arrangement) for himself that 
had not been done before him ; and he was a proficient in all 
arts both of poetry and engraving and writing, and of all the 
arts that man executes. He died this year''. (338) 

What 0" Sochlacftan's arrangement of the harp was, however, 
whether an addition to, or diminution of the number of strings, 
or a new arrangement of the old number, whatever that might 
have been, our chronicler, unfortunately, does not say. 

I have one reference more, though of a comparatively modern 
date, to the strings of the harp, or rather of the Timpan, and 
which I deem of sufficient value to add to these already brought 
forward. About the year 1680, a controversy sprang up 
among some of the bards of Ulster, as to what race, by ancient 
right, the armorial bearing of Ulster the " Red Hand", be- 
longed. Some person named Cormac, said or wrote something, 
which I have never seen, to the effect, that the Red Hand be- 

(37) [Now in the library of the Royal Irish Academy.] 
(338) [original: Ae'6 mAc "Oumn- ocuf bA f A1 in gA6 ceifvo, it>in OAT) 
fl&itoe i SoctACAin, AincmneAd ocuf gni CCOACC, ocuf f cfMbent), ocuf 
CungAfAi cAnncAineAccAOCuf cnoc- An jjAcn neAtA-oum -oo m t>tnne, -oo 
f A, in An o en ne gleAf *oo oeA- eg An btiAT>Ain fin. Annals of Loch 
oo f.em nAc oeAf.nA'6 nenrie, Ctf (H. i. 19).] 


longed by right to the Clann Neill; but he was called to account xxxir. 
for saying so by Diarmait, the son of Laoigliseal Mac an Bhaird, 
(called in English Louis Ward), who wrote a poem of seven- 
teen quatrains, in which he adduces many historical reasons to 
prove that the Red Hand of Ulster belonged by right to the 
Ulidians of the Rudrician or Irian race, of whom Mac Enis (or 
Magenis) of the county Down was the chief. This poem begins : 

" O Corinac ! remember what is right; 

Take not from the Irian blood its honour. 

Justice is the best argument : 

The race is not now in bountiful affluence" . (339) 

To this poem an answer was given by Eoghan ODonnghaile, 
or O'Donnelly, in a very clever poem of many stanzas, but of 
which I have never been able to procure more than the first 
thirty. O'Donnelly claims the " Red Hand" for the Clann 
Neill, and deals severely with his opponent's historical facts. 
The third stanza of this poem runs as follows : 

" Three strings not of sweet melody, 

I perceive in the middle of thy Timpan; 

Small their power ; bitter their sound ; 

They are no proof for the mighty great hand". (340) 

It is true that the Timpan and its three strings are spoken of 
only figuratively here, as representing Mac an Bhaird's histo- 
rical assertion, and its three principal authorities ; still the refer- 
ence is curious, affording another proof of what I have said of the 
Timpan, by showing that even so late as the close of the seven- 
teenth century, the Timpan, or Tympanum, was known in this 
country as a stringed instrument, and not by any means us a 
drum instrument of any kind. The humorous last will of 
Thomas Dease, Bishop of Meath, one of the Council of Kil- 
kenny, 1643, speaks of the Clairseach or harp, and the Timpan. 

There was, however, a distinction between the Cruit, or full The Timpan 
harp, and the Timpan, as may be seen from the following pas- Jufshed from 
sage from the Brehon laws in which the Cruitire, or harper, is r 
recognized as one of the distinguished artists, in a special clause 
in the following words: 

" A Cruit; that is, this is a Cruit in place of a Timpan, or a 
Cruit in its own proper state. This is the only species of music ; 
that is, it is the only profession of music, which is entitled to 

(339) [original: (* [original; 

A cViofuriAic cuiirmi ATI 66ir; CJM ce<voA tiA6 birm -OAITI, 

TIA beAn -ofuit 1r Ancm6ir\. -oo dim Af\ tar* -oo iotnpAin ; 

1p A coi|\ eAj;|\A if fer*r* : beAg A Tnbrog; feAjVb A nglop; 

ni t>oi j; 6t>ALA An puirvenn. ni p oeAf\bA'6 A|\ ATI UMtri IATI ition. 
H. and S. MSS., 208, K.I. A., cat. p. Ibid , p. 50, top-1 
616 ; 23. H. i. h. p. 49. top.] 



No very an- 
cient harp 

The harp in 

be ennobled ; that is, which is entitled to Enechland; [that is, to 
a fine in right of insult to the honour, as well as for personal 
injury to the performer], even though it does not attend on the 
illustrious, that is, although it is not retained by a nobleman, 
but it being noble in its own right''.' 340 

Here again we have the Cruit, or harp proper, and the Tim- 
pan as a species of harp, placed in such a relative position as to 
render it difficult to distinguish between them, although there 
is certainly a marked distinction. 

It is very unfortunate that we cannot point to any examples 
in preservation, of any very ancient harp, an examination of 
which might at once solve the problems left unexplained in any 
of the many references I have given, to the power of this instru- 
ment as used by the great musicians of the golden age of ancient 
Irish civilization. There is, however, one valuable specimen of 
a purely Irish harp in existence, and one of the most beautiful 
workmanship too ; though it is one of small size, and of an age 
not many centuries removed from our own time. I allude to 
the harp preserved in the museum of Trinity College, Dublin, 
with some observations upon which I may properly conclude 
this portion of my subject. 

This harp has been the theme of much learned discussion 
already ; and I confess I feel myself incompetent to offer any 
arguments concerning the theories broached upon the subject. 
It would, indeed, ba a work of some effrontery, without a much 
greater share of historical, artistic, and antiquarian knowledge 
than I possess, to enter at all into a critical discussion of the 
evidences presented by this harp itself as to the period and style 
of instrument to which it belonged, after the cautious and accu- 
rate pen of such a writer as Dr Petrie had recorded a decided 
opinion upon the matter. 

Still in justice to Dr. Petrie himself, as well as to the cause 
of truthful investigation, of which he has long been a champion, 
though not with the view of offering opposition to any of his 
conclusions, I feel impelled to say a few words on the probable 
history of this harp ; because I believe I am in position to place 
before him and the public some interesting facts hitherto un- 
observed, which may throw no little light on the subject. 

In order, however, to introduce to you the few facts to which 
I allude, as bearing, I believe, on this subject, and for the better 
understanding of their point and value, I must premise by 

(*i) [original: C-JMHC, .1. cj\uic AJV oligef emclAti'o cenimcei'o tA riojv- 

cimpATi fin no CJMHC unni bo-oen. -oAn, .1. cen conab niAll/e ne VitiAfAt 

1f Vie Aen OAII citnt mnfen, .1. ife ACC AbeA-6 AnAjjAit) A Aenujx. H. 2. 

oen t)An oipp-oeA'o oligeAj' fAifM, .1. 16. p. 941.] 


making another quotation from Dr. Petrie's " Memoir of an xxxtr. 
Ancient Harp preserved in Trinity College". Dr. pctrie- 

" The harp", says Dr. Petrie, " preserved in the museum of f" 011 "' of 
Trinity College, Dublin, and popularly known as the harp of 
Brian Boru, is not only the most ancient instrument of the 
kind known to exist in Ireland, but is, in all probability, the 
oldest harp now remaining in Europe. Still, however, it is 
very far from being of the remote age to which it is popularly 
supposed to belong ; and the legendary story on which the sup- 
position is grounded, and which has been fabricated to raise its 
antiquity and increase its historical interest, is but a clumsy 
forgery, which will not bear for a moment the test of critical 
antiquarian examination. We are told that Donogh, the son 
and successor of the celebrated Brian Boru, who was killed at 
the battle of Clontarf in 1014, having succeeded his brother 
Teigue in 1023, was deposed by his nephew, in consequence 
of which he retired to Rome, carrying with him the crown, 
harp, and other regalia of his father, which he presented to the 
Pope, in order to obtain absolution. ' Adrian the Fourth, sur- 
named Breakspear, alleged this circumstance as one of the princi- 
pal titles he claimed to this kingdom, in his bull transferring it 
to Henry the Second. These regalia were kept in the Vatican 
till the Pope sent the harp to Henry the Eighth, with the title 
of Defender of the Faith, but kept the crown, which was of 
massive gold. Henry gave the harp to the first Earl of Clan- 
ricarde, in whose family it remained tilFthe beginning of the 
last century, when it came by a lady of the De Burg family into 
that of Mac Mahon of Clenagh, in the county of Clare, after 
whose death it passed into the possession of Commissioner 
Macnamara of Limerick. In 1782 it was presented to the 
Right Honourable William [Burton] Conyngham, who de- 
posited it in Trinity College, Dublin'. Such is the story, as 
framed by the Chevalier O'Gorman, by whom the harp was 
given to Colonel Burton Conyngham, and, as is usual, in the 
fabrication of most romantic legends, the fictitious allegations 
are so engrafted on real historical facts, the fable is so inter- 
mixed with truth, that few readers would think of doubting 
one more than the other, and even if they should doubt, would 
have the power of distinguishing between them". (342) 

" It is scarcely necessary", continues Dr. Petrie, " to pursue 
the examination of this further, except, perhaps, to remark that 
the allegations in it respecting the gift of the harp from the 
Pope to king Henry the Eighth, and again from king Henry 
to the Earl of Clanricarde, have no better authority to rest on 

(') Bunting's Ancient Music of Ireland, p. 40. 


xxxii. than that of the chevalier himself. There is, however, one 
Dr. Petrie-a statement appended to the story, as an evidence of its truth, 
account which should not be passed over in silence, as it exhibits in an 
equal degree the antiquarian ignorance and the daring menda- 
city of the writer. This statement is, that on the front arm of 
the harp ' are chased in silver the arms of the O'Brien family 
the bloody hand supported by lions'. As already remarked by 
Mr. Moore, the circumstance of arms being on an instrument 
is fatal to its reputed antiquity, as the hereditary use of 
armorial ensigns was not introduced into Europe until the 
time of the crusades, and was not established in England until 
the reign of Henry the Third. The statement is altogether 
erroneous. The supporters are not lions, but dogs, probably 
wolf dogs, and the arms are not those of the O'Brien family, 
but of the more illustrious sept of O'Neil ; and it is an interest- 
ing circumstance in the history of this harp, that the person who 
last awoke its long dormant harmonies, was a minstrel descended 
from the same royal race to whom it originally owed its exis- 
tence, the celebrated Arthur O'Neill having played it through 
the streets of Limerick in the year 1760". (34S) 

" The legend so long connected with this interesting relic 
being now disposed of", continues Dr. Petrie, " it only re- 
mains to inquire 

" I. To what age the instrument belongs? and 

" II. Whether it was originally intended for secular, or for 
ecclesiastical purposes ? 

" The first question might be determined by the skilful anti- 
quary with sufficient accuracy from the style of workmanship of 
the armorial bearings already noticed, which evidently belongs 
to the close of the fourteenth, or, more probably, to the early 
part of the fifteenth century; and the general character of 
the interlaced ornaments on the harp, though derived from an 
earlier age, also points to the same period. But though hitherto 
unnoticed, there is one feature observable among those orna- 
ments which decides this question with still greater certainty, 
namely, the letters I. H. S. carved in relievo in the Gothic or 
black-letter character, in general use at that period, and which 
is not found on monuments of an earlier age. 

" That this harp did not belong to the class of bardic instru- 
ments, but rather to that smaller class used chiefly by the Irish 
ecclesiastics, as accompaniments to their voices in singing their 
hymns, would seem most probable from its very small size, 
which would unfit it for being used by the minstrel at the 

f?43 > It is strange that Buating, from whose volume I quote Dr. Petrie's 
Essay, should never have heard ot this story. 


festive board ; and this conclusion seems to acquire support from xxxu. 
the sacred monogram already noticed as being carved upon it". Summary of 

So far Dr. Petrie, whose opinions on this curious old harp I Contusion's 8 . 
have given in full in his own words, lest by any chance any ac- 
count of them in mine should fail to convey their full force and 

If I understand these observations aright, they amount to 
this : 

I. That the harp now in Trinity College, Dublin, and popu- 
larly known as Brian Bortis harp, is not, and could not have 
been, the harp of that illustrious monarch. 

II. That there is no probability, much less certainty, that 
Donogh, the son of that Brian (who went on a pilgrimage to 
Rome' about the year 1064), took with him this harp, along 
with the crown and other regalia of his great father, and made 
a present of it to the Pope. 

III. That it is not true that another pope, in the early part 
of the sixteenth century, say in or about the year 1520, made 
a present of that same harp to Henry the Eighth, king of Eng- 
land ; or that king Henry made a present of it to the first Earl 
of Clanrickard ; or that from the Clanrickard family it passed, 
by the marriage of a lady of that house, into the family of Mac 
Mahon of Claenach in the county of Clare, ancestor of the pre- 
sent brave Duke of Magenta ; or that it was next found in the 
possession of Commissioner Macnamara of Limerick ; or that, in 
1782, it was presented to Colonel Burton Conyngham, by the 
Chevalier Thomas O'Gorman ; and that, finally, this whole story 
and history of the harp in question was false and unfounded, and 
a mere invention and fabrication by the same Chevalier Thomas 

This appears to me to be a very serious charge against any Dr. Petrte's 
man, and one which ought not, I think, to have been made, ch"rge 
unless grounded on his own precise words, and those words set J ain8t . the 

i i i i i T i i-ii /nevauer 

out in the text ; and it is a charge which I should be sorry to O'Gorman. 
believe the Chevalier O'Gorman at all capable of deserving. 
There is in fact sufficient evidence that O'Gorman (or Mac 
Gorman, as he should have called himself) did really write or 
communicate verbally this, or some such account, either to 
Colonel Conyngham, to whom Mr. Ousely, and not O'Gorman, 
presented the harp, or to General Vallancey, who published it 
in his " Collectanea" (p, 32), as furnished by O'Gorman. It is 
very probable, indeed, that O'Gorman did write the story, as 
published by Vallancey, and by Walker in his " Irish Bards" 
(p. 61) ; but that he invented the whole story, and, for the first 
time gave to the instrument the name by which it has ever 


xxxu - since been known, is surely more than questionable. For, 
though short the time since the year 1788, when Vallancey 
published this story, many an old tradition, originally founded 
in fact (however distorted afterwards), has disappeared since 
then ; and the absence of evidence of such tradition is by no 
means to be taken as proof that it had no existence in the time 
of O'Gorman. 
some I have been led into these observations by the circumstance 

cuiious refe- ci ,i i 

mncesto or having met with one or two curious tacts in connection with 
o*briens : the harps which at one time did belong to distinguished members 
of the great O'Brien family, one or either of which may have 
been the remote foundation of the story current concerning this 
harp, said to have belonged to Brian Boromha. But, whether 
they really were so or not, they are of themselves of sufficient 
interest to justify the propriety of introducing them into the 
discussion of a subject upon which so many learned dissertations, 
and so few genuine authorities or tangibly authentic references, 
have been produced. 

There is in the possession of the O'Conor Don a manuscript 
volume of family and historical poems, in the Irish language, of 
various dates, say from the tenth to the seventeenth century. 
This volume, which is beautifully written, was compiled at 
Ostend in Belgium, in the year 1631, for a Captain Alexander 
Mac Donnell ; but the compiler's name does not appear in it in 
its present somewhat damaged state. From this beautiful vo- 
lume I copied, some years ago, one thousand quarto pages of my 
own writing, containing one hundred and fifty-eight rare family 
poems, of which, with a very few exceptions, no copies are 
known to me elsewhere in Ireland. Among these precious 
family records, I have fallen upon one which, as much for its 
gracefulness of composition as for its peculiar historic value as 
a very old authority bearing upon our present subject, I have 
always looked upon with great interest. The poem to which I 
allude was written by GiUa-Brighde Mac Conmidhe, otherwise 
called Gilla-Brighde Albanach, or of Scotland : he was so called 
because he was accustomed to spend so much of his time in that 
country ; for, being a native of Ulster, the neighbouring land of 
Scotland came within his professional province as much as any 
part of Ireland. 

Mac Con. Mac Conmidhe must have been born, I believe, about the 

poem e on year 1180, since we find him writing a poem descriptive of 

cairbr^h Donnchadh Cairbreach O'Brien, when he became chief of this 

O'Brien; name and of the Dalcassian tribes, which happened in the year 

1204, that chieftain dying in the year 1242. In this poem the 

composer describes a vision in which he was carried on the deck 


of a ship to the city of Limerick, and how there he saw a young 
man sitting in the chieftain's chair or throne. He then describes 
this chief in glowing terms, giving an account not only of his 
personal appearance and costume, but also of his various accom- 
plishments ; and, among the latter, he makes special mention of 
music, to which he alludes in the following complimentary 
stanza, the third of the poem : 

" Strings as sweet as his conversation, 

On a willow harp no fingers have played ; 
Nor have the youth's white fingers touched 
An instrument sweeter than his own mouth" . (344) 

This Donncliadh Cairbreach O'Brien was the first who took 
the distinctive chieftain name of " The O'Brien" ; he was the 
son of Domhnall M6r O'Brien, the last king of Munster, who 
died in the year 1194. 

It would appear that the warm feelings which inspired this 
poem, and the connection between the bard and the chieftain 
in whose praise it was written, did not terminate with the occa- 
sion of its composition. On the contrary, we can gather from 
Mac Conmidhe's second poem that which bears more directly 
on our subject that, in many years afterwards, he had been 
sent by the same Donncliadh Cairbreach O'Brien on a special 
mission into Scotland to gain back either freely, or by repur- 
chase for an equivalent in Irish sheep the small, sweet harp 
of the same O'Brien, which, by some means that I have not been 
able clearly to ascertain, had previously passed into that country. 

It was on the occasion of this mission that Mao Conmidhe 
wrote this second poem ; and as no words of mine could explain 
so well as the poem itself, either its historic value, or its beauty 
as a composition, and as the piece is not a long one, I may as 
well give it unbroken, in the following closely literal transla- 
tion : 

" Bring unto me the harp ( Cruii) of my kino-, Mae con- 

. T f c midhe's 

Until upon it 1 forget my grief poem on the 

A man's grief is soon banished sa,7e f the 

By the notes of that sweet-sounding tree. O'Brien; 

" He to whom this music- tree belonged 

Was a noble youth of sweetest performance. 
Many an inspired song has he sweetly sung 
To that elegant, sweet- voiced instrument. 

" Many a splendid jewel has he bestowed 

(344) [original: 6^5<ui bu* birme n<\ A 

<voA bu-6 coitVibirm j\e A corh^A'6, Miscellaneous Poems, chiefly copied 

AJ\ clAf\foiteA6 nirt feirm rne<ir\; from the O'Connor Don's Book, 

piip feirm jl^nlArri An giVta O'Curry MSS., Cath. Univ., p. 252.] 




Mac Con- 
poem on the 
harp of the 
O'Brien ; 

From behind this gem-set tree ; 

Often has he distributed the spoils of the race of Conn, 

With its graceful curve placed to his shoulder. 
" Beloved the hand that struck 

The thin, slender-sided board : 

A tall, brave youth was he who played upon it 

With dexterous hand, with perfect facility. 
" Whenever his hand touched 

That home of music in perfection, 

Its prolonged, soft, deep sigh 

Took away from all of us our grief. 
" When into the hall would come 

The race of Gas of the waving hair, 

A harp with pathetic strings within 

Welcomed the comely men of Cashel. 
" The maiden became known to all men, 

Throughout the soft-bordered lands of Banba: 

It is the harp of Donncliadh! cried every one 

The slender, thin, and fragrant tree. 
" O'Brien's harp ! sweet its melody 

At the head of the banquet of fair Gabhran ; 

Oh ! how the pillar of bright Gabhran called forth 

The melting tones of the thrilling chords. 
" No son of a bright Gaedhil shall get 

The harp of O'Brien of the flowing hair ; 

No son of a foreigner shall obtain 

The graceful, gem-set, fairy instrument ! 
" Woe ! to have thought of sending to beg thee,. 

Thou harp of the chieftain of fair Limerick 

Woe ! to have thought of sending to purchase thee 

For a rich flock of Erinn's sheep. 
" Sweet to me is thy melodious soft voice, 

O maid ! who wast once the arch-kings', 

Thy sprightly voice to me is sweet, 

Thou maiden from the island of Erinn. 
" If to me were permitted in this eastern land 

The life of the evergreen yew tree 

The noble chief of Brendon's hill, 

His hand-harp I would keep in repair. 
" Beloved to me it is natural for me 

Are the beautiful woods of Scotland. 

Though strange, I love dearer still 

This tree from the woods of Erinn"/ 34 * 1 

[original : 

ix) cugAtn cfvvnc mo 


t>o otnne 


Such is the address of Mac Conmidhe; but it is needless to xxxn. 
say that it is impossible in a severe literal translation to do any 
thing like justice to the fervour and heartfelt pathos of this 
touching poem. 

The character of the poem, however, is such that it gives us the poem 
no clue to the circumstances under which O'Brien's hand-harp expiahThow 
passed into Scotland; but that it had gone there at the time, ^fj^ 
and that Mac Conmidhe was sent to recover it, either freely or Scotland, 
for an equivalent of Irish sheep, we have authority here that 
cannot be questioned. It is equally certain that the mission of 
the diplomatic poet was a failure, and that the proverbial taste 
of the Scotsman for our Irish mutton gave way to his higher 
taste for our ancient music, as evoked from this celebrated harp. 
What, then, became of this harp? Did it remain in the hands what became 
of some chief, or king of Scotland till the conquest of that 
country by Edward the Third, king of England, who died in 
the year 1307, but who had previously carried away from the 
ancient palace of Scone, in Scotland, the ancient inaugural 
chair and other regalia of the old Scottish monarchs, and de- 
posited them in Westminster Abbey in London ? May it be 
that the harp of Donnchadh Cairbreach O'Brien was by any 
chance among the spoils? and if that were possible, could it 
have remained unnoticed and unappreciated at Westminster, 
with the name of its original owner traditionally attached to it, 

ne j;l6n AH cnoinn cutnnui-oe. e "ucc bjrleige bFionnj;.AbnAin ; 

Ance 54 j\Aibe AH CHAHH ciuil 6 b6AM<v6 fcuAig ^AbnAin gloin, 

gloVlA f AOf\ gO firm CCATOIUin. Anj;Ain cnUA1 Af HA CeATJAlb. 

mon bfAcnAnn T)o jjAb 50 gnmn tl^ opuge HIAC jAoi-oit pi 
nif ATI mbtAc-6nAnn ngtAti nguc- cnuic lbniAin AH bAnn onuimnijj:; ; 
bmn. niAC AlAmun-oAij; ni f AgAib 

monfeAt) Alumn oo fogAiL AH flAbnA-oAig fioTDAiiiAit! 

AJ\ cut AH 6noiHH cflAbnA'6tii ; tTlAing -oo fmuAin cun neAX> duingix), 
HiiHic t>o bnoHH cnot) 6 CCOIHH, A cntnc T?IACA poHHLuimHij, 

|*A conn gtAH n6 AjuAloinn. HO oo fmuAiH cun nAT) ceAHHAd 

OnrtiuiH AH bAj* -oo beAHA-6 An cnAw UAin CinioHHAd. 

AH cLin CAHA cAoib-teAbAn : "bmn t,iom TJO cu6 mitif min, 
51 tie feAHg HAHAC gA -peinm ; A beAH -oo bi 5AH Aint)ni g, 

50 HT)eAgl^AtHA6 50 H-oeix)eAn'b. "oo gut tneAn ir milir t/iom, 

An CAH oo CAigLeA-6 A lAth A beAH A hmif einionn. 

A HA'dbui-o ciuit 50 c6ihl,AH, "OA leigci -OAni f AH cin fcoin 
A hofHA-6 LeAbAn min m6n f AOAL HA rtAin iu OAin 

oo beAHAt) 'dmn An HTDobttdn. AO'ouine bAH-cnuic "bneAnuiHH 

AnuAin -oo cigeA* ArcceA6 AtAm-cnuic T>O leifeAguinn. 

ptne chAif HA ecu b n'onuitnneA6, OHIHOIH teAm^A, Duc6Af OAHI, 
cnuic 50 cceAT>uib cnuAgA Afccig pio'bbui'be Aitte AlbAn 

Ag^eAgOlb CUAHHA CAIflL. glO* lOHgHA* Af AHHfA leAHl 

Cugf A-O Aicne An AH mgin, AHH cnAnnf A opo-bbAi'o eineAHH. 

cne fAH iH"bAHbA mboiginitij CAbnui-6. 

cnuic "OonnchA-oA 1 AngAd-ouiHe, O'Connor Dorm's MSS., O'Curry's 

AH coriifeAHA cuthnui'oe. copy, B.T.A., p. 228. b.] 
Cnuic ibniAH ! bmn A hongAin 

VOL. II. 18 




. Was it the 
harp pre- 
sented by 
Henry VIII. 
to the Earl 
of Clanrick- 

Perhaps It 
the idea of 
the harp 

which was in 
in Henry 
VIIL's time. 

The Cheva- 
lier O'Gor- 
man only 
mistook one 
O'Brien for 

till the time of Henry the Eighth, who, it is said, presented a 
celebrated harp to the earl of Clanrickard, as the harp of a 
Donogh O'Brien? 

It may indeed seem strange that, if Henry did present the 
harp to any one at this time, it was not Morrogh O'Brien that 
he should have selected for the gift, who deserted to the Eng- 
lish and was created Earl of Thorn ond by him on the 1st of 
July, 1543, on the same day and at the same time that the 
Norman-Irish chief, Mac William Burke, exchanged his chief- 
tain title for that of Earl of Clanrickard. This, however, is a 
question that cannot be cleared up now. But, assuming for a 
moment that this harp was preserved in Westminster when 
Henry the Eighth came to the throne in the year 1509, would 
it be too much to believe that it was the celebrity of this an- 
cient instrument that suggested to that execrable monarch the 
first idea of placing the harp in the arms of Ireland, in the 
fashion of the heraldry of the time, and impressing it upon his 
coinage in this country ? I cannot think the idea very fanciful. 

That the harp-coinage was in circulation in Ireland in Henry's 
time is well known ; and the following brief extract from the 
Lord Deputy and council of Ireland to Henry the Eighth, dated 
at Dublin, the 15th of May, in the thirty-fifth year of that 
king's reign, and a few weeks before the creations of the earls 
of Thomond and Clanrickard, affords a curious illustration of 
this fact : 

" Fynally, for that ther ys no sterling money to be had with- 
in this your realme, thies gentlemen which now resorte to your 
highnes, wer utterly dysfurnished of money to bryng them 
thither, I, your magesties deputie, lent O'Brien an hundred 
pounds sterling in harp grotes, in default of other money, which 
I have delivered to your tresorer". 

Supposing believing, indeed, as I do that the harp now in 
Trinity College, was given by Henry the Eighth to Clanrickard 
as the harp of a Donogh O'Brien, all then that the Chevalier 
O'Gorman, or some person before his time whose statements he 
followed, could have done was, to substitute a wrong name, 
that of Donogh the son of Brian Boromha, for Donnchadh Cair- 
breach O'Brien; for it is scarcely possible that O'Gorman or 
any one else could think of inventing the entire story ; or that 
a tradition should be current that Henry the Eighth gave the 
earl of Clanrickard a harp at all, unless some such harp had 
been really presented or asserted to have been so presented, by 
the Clanrickard family. If O'Gorman had invented the story, 
how did it happen that he should not have selected the O'Brien 
himself, the newly created Earl of Thomond, as the recipient 


of the royal gift? This, one would think, would make the 
invention much more appropriate and plausible, and should, in 
the absence of the question of the armorial bearings raised by 
Dr. Petrie, scarcely leave any room to deny the story by mere 
argument alone. It cannot, I think, be well denied, and in- There can be 
deed it has not been denied, that this particular harp did once thatthis 
belong to the Clanrickard family ; that it passed from them jj*^ h^ong 
with its traditional history (perhaps through the Mac Mahons *? |_ he Clitn - 
of Claenach, in the county of Clare), certainly at last into the 
hands of Counsellor Macnamara of Limerick ; and that from him 
it came into the possession of Ralph Ousely, who in 1782 pre- 
sented it to Colonel Burton Conyngham. 

Now, if this harp be a relic of the O'Neill family, and if as if the harp 
such it was played by the celebrated Arthur O'Neill in Lime- o-Nem harp, 
rick in the year 1760, how did it happen to have passed from g t o7y C have lts 
him into the hands of Counsellor Macnamara ? And how, too, bee ? *? 

i i f i 1-1 i i Vn vented and 

could a story so glaringly false as this charged upon the Che- published 
valier O'Gorman, be put so unblushingly before the world in ume'onnose 
conversation, in broad print in No. 13 of Vallaneey's " Collec- concerned? 
tanea", 1788, while all those parties were still living? Arthur 
O'Neill himself lived down to the year 1818. 

Arthur O'Neill, according to Mr. Bunting (p. 80), made a Arthur 

c 1 j. c .0. c 1. t il O'Neill may 

professional tour of the tour provinces when he was but nine- have played 
teen years of age, and as he was born in the year 1734, the Ear?, but it 
year in which Carolan died, this tour must have been made in could not 

%__-- ,' -i i -i i have been, 

1753. It may be presumed that in this tour he must have MS; 
passed through Limerick, and sojourned for some time in that 
hospitable city. Was this the harp he played at the time, as 
well as on the occasion of his alleged second visit in 1760? and 
if it was, how can it be believed for a moment that he could 
have quietly left it there, and parted for ever with so venerable 
a memorial of the noble sept from which he was so proud to 
claim descent? It could not be. It is entirely improbable. 
Is it not more probable, then, that this old harp was at the time 
in the possession of Counsellor Macnamara, whose hereditary 
hospitality, we may well suppose, the gifted young minstrel 
must have largely shared ? And is it not very probable that 
during his visit with this gentleman, this venerable harp was 
brought under his notice ; that he strung and tuned it anew ; 
and that he did actually play it, not indeed as an itinerant 
through the streets of Limerick, for that was beneath him, but 
as a matter of courtesy to his host and his other patrons in the 
city ? There can scarcely be a doubt but that the instrument 
was known as an O'Brien harp at this time, and that the Clan- 
rickard tradition was well known, so that all that O'Gorman, 



or whoever first framed the story, appears really to have done, 
was to endeavour to account for the way in which it came to 
Henry the Eighth. In doing this, he merely identified with 
it the name of the wrong Donogh, as being the most likely 
person of the name to fit the story, for of Donnchadh Cair- 
breach's harp, I dare say, he had never heard. 

this harp is As far, then, as history, probability, and legitimate inference 
o-Neiii but go, this is not an O'Neill, but an O'Brien harp. But then 
one? Brien come Dr. Petrie's antiquarian difficulties; and I must confess 
that they are not easily if at all to be got over. Dr. Petrie's 
three objections are: 1. That the carving of the harp, though 
an imitation of an old style of carving, is not as old as the thir- 
Dr. Petrie's teenth century ; 2. That the practice of carving the monogram 
dffficuuies? I. H. S. in black letter, is not as old as that century ; 3. That armo- 
rial bearings were not known in England till the reign of king 
Henry the Third, who began his reign in 1216, and died in 1272 ; 
that there are arms on the harp ; and that they are not those of the 
O'Briens, but those of the more illustrious sept of the O'Neills, 
author's To the first objection I can say nothing more than that I 

mmlo^-am* believe it would be very difficult to find now any specimen of 
i. H. s -, carving and design of the close of the fourteenth, or beginning 
of the fifteenth century, presenting the peculiar character of the 
tracery of the upright pillar of this harp, and that no such 
specimen has been shown to exist. Then as to the monogram 
I. H. S., I cannot doubt but that the letters .so boldly, yet so 
rudely, carved in the curved bar of the harp, were intended to 
represent the sacred symbol. The H is rudely and inaccurately 
formed ; and the S, the third letter of the monogram, is repre- 
sented by a C ; and this is more in accordance with the older 
Irish form of the sacred monogram, such as it is found in exist- 
ing Irish MS. of the very early part of the fifteenth century, 
which may well carry us back still farther. There is an instance 
of this, for example, in the copy of Cormac's Glossary now in 
the Library of the Royal Irish Academy, and which, there is 
reason to believe, formed at one time part of the great Book of 
Dun Doighre, now known as the Leabhar Breac, or Speckled 
Book, and which was compiled before the year 1412. In this 
copy of the Glossary, I say, we find the letter I in the Glossary 
commenced with the monogram itlC, in hoc nomine est nomen 
nostri salutaris ; and whether older copies of the Glossary had 
it written in the same way or not, I cannot say, as we have not 
an older copy now known. I may state, however, that in the 
other large portion of the great Book of Dun Doighre which 
remains, this symbol is not to be found, excepting at folio 100 b ; 
but this is not in the original hand. Again, in part I. of the 


book called the Liber Flavus, or Yellow Book, compiled in the xxxn. 
year 1437, the monogram I. H. C. occurs in the top margin in 
two places. 

It would indeed be easy to multiply instances of its occur- 
rence in this form, and always in the top margin, in books of 
this and subsequent dates. It does not, however, appear in 
Leabhar na h- Uidhre, compiled before the year 1106 ; the Book 
of Leinster, compiled before the year 1 ] 50 ; the Book of Bally- 
mote, compiled in 1391; or the Book of Lecan, compiled in 
1413. In all these, and other books of their time, it is the word 
Emanuel, either written at length or in a contracted form, that 
appears in the place of the I. H. C. and always in the top mar- 
gin, without any regard to the subject of the page underneath. 

Upon an examination, then, of a regular succession of books 
from, say the year 1150 to the year 1500, it is not easy to de- 
termine with precision the time at which the old Emanuel was 
abandoned, and the monogram I. H. C. generally adopted. 

As regards the monogram under discussion, however, I do 
not feel myself justified in disagreeing with such an authority 
as Dr. Petrie, that it cannot be older than the close of the four- 
teenth, or beginning of the fifteenth century. Indeed, I may 
even doubt that it is so old. But when 1 examine the work- 
manship of this harp, I may well doubt the conclusion he would 
draw from it ; for I must say that I cannot believe that this 
monogram, so very rudely cut as it is, was ever executed by the 
same masterly hand that carved the other decorations of the 
instrument. It appears, indeed, that the place occupied now 
by this monogram was originally left vacant for some design, 
whether intended to be of a religious or a heraldic character. 
It is remarkable that whilst every other item of the carving is 
blunted and worn from age and friction, the outlines of the 
monogram now to be seen there are quite sharp and fresh. Is 
it unreasonable, then, to believe that the very old escutcheon 
now nailed to the hollow originally filled by a crystal, was de- 
signed to occupy the place now held by the monogram ? The 
workmanship of the escutcheon appears to me to be much older 
than the monogram. 

Dr. Petrie asserts that the arms of this escutcheon, namely, rstothe 
an erect forearm and open hand with a shield, are not those of escutcheon 6 ; 
the O'Briens, but of the more illustrious sept of the O'Neills. 
Into the heraldic mystery of these arms I am quite incompetent 
to enter, but I may be allowed to say from their external fea- 
tures, that they appear to belong as much to the O'Briens as to 
the O'Neills. Even at the present day the chief emblems of 
both families are radically the same ; though I am quite certain 



tries' than 

O'Brien is 

that the use of the upright arm by the O'Briens is of an elder 
date than the Red Hand of the O'Neills. Indeed it was openly 
and publicly asserted in the seventeenth century by writers of 
the Clann 'Neill race themselves, that the Red Hand was the 
right of Magenis, but that the O'Neills wrested it to themselves, 
and have continued to usurp it to this day t346) 

The assertion I cannot but express my regret at the disparaging comparison 
that'th^se'pt wn i n Dr. Petrie in his essay has thought well to draw, when 
of O'Neill is he says that: "The arms on the harp are not those of the 
O'Brien's family, but of the more illustrious sept of O'Neill". 
^ ' ls true tnat before the year 1002, the sept of O'Neill, in con- 
nection and concert, now with one now with another kindred 
sept of the same race, and either backed or unchecked by the 
two great provinces of Leinster and Connacht, did contrive to 
keep the regal power, such as it was, in its hands, to the wrong 
and prejudice of the single southern province, with its compara- 
tively limited territory and military resources. But it would be 
utterly untrue to assert that the O'Neills were ever more brave, 
more munificent, more magnificent, or more true men than the 
O'Briens. Let the antiquarian and historian compare, even at 
this day, the ruined churches, abbeys, and castles of Clare, 
Limerick, and Tipperary, with those of O'Neill's country, and 
he will have little difficulty in settling with himself, from evi- 
dence the most enduring and conclusive, which sept has left be- 
hind the greater number and the noblest monuments of taste, of 
dignity, and of munificence. Let him take up our ancient manu- 
scripts, our annals and our poetry, and he will find that the 
O'Brien name, in prose and verse, completely overshadows that 
of O'Neill. Let us then hear no more of this strange claim to 
superiority at the expense of a race to whose exploits we owe 
some of the most brilliant passages of our national history. 
Both races gave us great and noble princes : let our only feel- 
ing be, regret that they are of the past. 

(we) [gee ante, vol. ii., p. 264.J 


(Deiirered 26th Jane, 1862.) 

(IX.) OF Music AND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS (continued). Donnchadh Cair- 
breach O'Brien sent some prized jewel to Scotland some time before Mac 
Conmidhe's mission for DonnchacTs harp. The Four Masters' account of 
the pursuit of Muireadhach O'Daly by O'Donnell ; O'Daly sues for peace 
in three poems, and is forgiven ; no copies of these poems existing in Ire- 
land; two of them are at Oxford. The Four Masters' account of O'Daly's 
banishment not accurate ; his poems to Clanrickard and O'Brien give 
some particulars of his flight. Poem of O'Daly to Morogh O'Brien, giving 
some account of the poet after his flight to Scotland. The poet Brian 
O'Higgins and David Koche of Fermoy. O'Higgins writes a poem to him 
which is in the Book of Fermoy ; this poem gives a somewhat different 
account of O'Daly's return from that of the Four Masters. O'Daly was 
perhaps not allowed to leave Scotland without ransom ; what was the jewel 
paid as this ransom ? The author believes that it was the harp of O'Brien. 
This harp did not come back to Ireland directly, and may have passed into 
the hands of Edward the First, and have been given by Henry the Eighth 
to Clanrickard. The armorial bearings and monogram not of the same 
age as the harp. Objects of the author in the previous discussion. Poem 
on another straying harp of an O'Brien, written in 1570 ; the O'Brien was 
Conor Earl of Thomond; the Four Masters' account of his submission to 
Queen Elizabeth ; it was during his short absence that his harp passed 
into strange hands; the harp in T.C.D. not this harp. Mr. Lanigau's harp. 
Owners of rare antiquities should place them for a time in the museum of 
the E.I.A. Some notes on Irish harps by Dr. Petrie. " He regrets the 
absence of any ancient harp" ; " present indifference to Irish harps and 
music" ; " some ecclesiastical relics preserved" ; Dr. Petrie would have pre- 
ferred the harp of St. Patrick or St. Kevin ; " our bogs may yet give us an 
ancient harp"; Mr. Joy's account of such a harp found in the county 
Limerick ; according to Dr. Petrie, this harp was at least 1000 years old. 
What has become of the harps of 1782 and 1 792 ? A harp of 1509. " Brian 
Boru's," harp is the oldest of those now known ; the Dalway harp is next in 
age ; the inscriptions on this harp imperfectly translated in Mr. Joy's essay. 
Professor O'Curry's translation of them ; Mr. Joy's description of this harp. 
The harp of the Marquis of Kildare. Harps of the eighteenth century : 
the one in the possession of Sir Hervey Bruce ; the Castle Otway harp ; a 
harp formerly belonging to Mr. Hehir of Limerick ; a Magennis harp seen 
by Dr. Petrie in 1832; the harp in the possession of Sir G. Hodson ; the 
harp in the museum of the R.I.A. purchased from Major Sirr ; the so-called 
harp of Carolan in the museum of the B.I.A. The harps of the present 
century all made byEgan; one of them in Dr. Petrie's possession, l^r. 
Petrie's opinion of the exertions of the Harp Society of Belfast. " The Irish 
harp is dead for ever, but the music won't die". The harp in Scotland 
known as that of Mary Queen of Scots. Kev. Mr. Mac Lauclilan's " Book 
of the Dean of Lismore" ; it contains three poems ascribed to O'Daly or 
Muireadhach Albanach; Mr. Mac Lauclilan's note on this poet; his de- 
scription of one of the poems incorrect as regards O'Daly ; Mr. Mac Lauch- 
lan not aware that Muireadhach Albanach was an Irishman. The author 
has collected all that he believes authentic on the Cruit. The statements 
about ancient Irish music and musical instruments of Walker and Bunting 




Pursuit of 

or>a P iy e by 

according to 

"Four Mas- 

of no value; these writers did not know the Irish language; the author 
regrets to have to speak thus of the work of one who has rescued so much 
of our music. 

IN the last lecture I ventured to suggest some reasons for enter- 
taining the opinion, that the instrument preserved in the Museum 
of Trinity College, Dublin, and popularly known as Brian 
Boru's harp, was really the harp of JDonnchadh Cairbreach 
O'Brien, the sixth in descent from the great hero of Clontarf. 
I showed, with certainty, that some time, say about the year 
1230, the poet Mac Conmidhe had been sent into Scotland to 
endeavour to bring back from that country the harp of Donn- 
chadh, and which was certainly then in the possession of some 
potentate there. My next duty ought to be, to show, if possi- 
ble, some probable cause for its having gone into that country 
at all. And it is singular enough that I have good authority 
to show that, some time before, this noble O'Brien did really 
sen d into Scotland some precious and much-prized jewel for a 
generous purpose and in a princely spirit. To make intelligible 
what occurs to me as connecting this act of the O'Brien with 
the subject of the present discussion, I shall first cite from the 
" Annals of the Four Masters", the following short entry in 
that invaluable record, which is set down under date 1213. 
"Finn O'Brodlachain, steward to the O'Donnell, that is 
Donnell Mor (prince of Tir-Chonnail), went into Connaught to 
collect O'Donnell's rent. The first place that he went to was 

_ . _ T /v TT > i i n 

Lciirpre or JDrumciirie. He there went with his attendants to 
the house of the poet Muireadhach O'Daly, of Lissadill, where 
he fell to offering great abuse to the poet, for he was very ex- 
acting on behalf of a powerful man (not that it was his master 
that advised him to it). The poet was incensed by him, and 
he took up a keen-edged hatchet in his hand, and gave him a 
blow which left him dead without life. He went then himself 
to avoid O'Donnell, into Clanrickard's country. When O'Don- 
nell came to know this, he collected a large force and went in 
pursuit of him, and he stopped not until he reached Derry 
O'Donnell in Clanrickard, which [place] received its name from 
his having been encamped there. He commenced spoiling and 
burning the country until Mac William at last submitted to him, 
and sent Muireadhach [O'Daly] into Thomond for protection. 
O'Donnell went after him, and fell to devastate and spoil that 
country too, until Donnchadh Cairbreach O'Brien sent Muire- 
adhach away from him to the people of Limerick. O'Donnell 
followed him to the gate of Limerick, which he besieged from 
his camp at Main Ui Dhomhnaile (which from him is named). 
The people of Limerick sent Muireadhach away from them by 


order of O'Donnell; so that he found no shelter, but to be xxxm. 
conveyed from hand to hand until he reached Dublin. 

" O'Donnell returned home on that occasion, after having tra- o'Daiy sues 
versed and made a complete circuit of Connaught. threepoems, 

" He made another expedition again without delay and with- a p d is fof - 
out rest, in that same year, to Dublin, until the people of Dublin 
were forced to send Muireadhach away from them into Scot- 
land; and there he remained until he composed three laudatory 
poems, imploring peace, forgiveness, and protection from O'Don- 
nell; and one of the three was: 

' Oh ! Donnell, good hand for [granting] peace', etc. 
Peace was granted him for his laudations, and O'Donnell took 
him into his friendship afterwards, and gave him a holding and 
land, according to his wishes". 

Of the three poems addressed by O'Daly to O'Donnell, no co- NO copies of 
pies are known to me to be extant in Ireland. There are, how- inTre&rfdT 
ever, two of them preserved in the Bodleian Library in Oxford *^Q[ t r 'J l cm 
in the vellum MS. which contains O'Donnell's life of St. Colum 
Cille. One of these is that which is quoted above by the Four 
Masters ; and it consists of thirty-eight stanzas. The other is ad- 
dressed to O'Donnell's son, Domhnall Oge, written in the fif- 
teenth year of the poet's exile, and descriptive of his sorrows and 
his wanderings on the Continent and up the Mediterranean Sea. 
This most curious poem consists of 29 stanzas, beginning: 

" Long is it since I have drank the Lethean drink". 

There was a good deal more in the history of O'Daly 's ban- The account 
ishment than the Four Masters have recorded in this article ; banishment 
and there is some reason to think that part of what they have i n " Fou ,y" 

i / T-V t T i r i Masters not 

recorded partakes more 01 Donegal tradition than ot historic accurate; 
fact. Of O'Daly's flying into the Clanrickard territory there is his poems to 
sufficient authority still extant in a remarkable poem addressed anTo-Brien 
by the fugitive to Mac William Burke, the powerful chief of j.' s 
that territory, in which he avows his name and his crime, and im- of his flight. 
plores protection. It is certain, too, that O'Daly passed into Tho- 
mond from Clanrickard, for, there is extant a poem addressed 
by him at the time to Donnchadh Cairbreach O'Brien, chief of 
that country, and of which the following is the first stanza: 
" Let me have my own bed, oh ! Donnchadh, 

I am entitled to honour from thy curled head ; 
I shall not be driven eastwards from Ireland [into Scot- 

In the reign of the noble fair-haired chief"/ 34 " 
< S47 > [original: 

ttlo leAbA -pein tiAth A 6onnc1i<y6 j\e l/mn An jtoiti ceitipitin 

t>ti Jim CA-OAf AW 6ul cA r Betham MS., ^-. . p. 73.1 

m LeAjAip foifv irm A neijvmn 


This poem may, I think, be assigned to the year 1216, or 
thereabouts, a time that O'Brien, owing to family broils and 
English interference, was not in the best condition to shelter 
the fugitive from the vengeance of his pursuer; and O'Daly 
was compelled ultimately to fly to Scotland, where it appears 
he found shelter and protection from the Mac Donnells, Lords 
of the Isles, particulary the Clanranald. It will be seen, how- 
ever, from Brian O'Higgins' poem, to which I shall come bye 
and bye, that it was against the advice and prohibition of the 
men of Thomond that he left that country. 

O'Daly's history, from his flight to Scotland to his peace with 
O'Donnell and his return to his native country, would have 
been lost to us, were it not for the existence of his own poems, 
already mentioned, addressed to the O'Donnells, father and son ; 
another addressed from Scotland to Morogh and Donnchadh 
O'Brien ; and a fourth poem, addressed by Brian O'Higgin, a 
Connacht poet, to David Roche of Fermoy in the county of 
Cork, about the year 1450. 

Poem of O'Daly's poem is addressed to Morogh, the son of Brian 

Morogh O'Brien, who was the uncle of Donnchadh Cairbreach. It is a 

givtng n s 'ome vigorous piece of composition, devoted chiefly to the praise 

amount of and personal description of the young prince, who, from the 

after his poet, would appear to have been the heir apparent, or tanaiste 

Scotland. to his cousin Donnchadh Cairbreach. This poem, of which I 

possess a copy (made by myself from a vellum MS. in the 

British Museum), consists of twenty-six stanzas, of which the 

following is the first : 

" Guess who I am, O Murchadh, 

Good is your inheritance of a well-directed cast ; 
Your father excelled all his acquaintance, 
[He excelled] the arranged battalions". (348) 
He continues then in the four stanzas which next follow, to 
address him thus : " Guess what my profession is ; guess what 
my name is; guess what country I come from". He then 
informs O'Brien that he has come from beyond the Mediter- 
ranean Sea; that he has been going about the world; that 
Muireadhach Albanach, or Muireadhach of Scotland, is hi? 
name; and that he is certain the Clann Bloid (that is the 
O'Briens, etc.) would take charge of him and protect him, 
even though he had committed theft itself. And so, after a 
good deal of strong praise and favourable prognostication of the 

O48) [original: 

Comoif CIA mip A mupcAi'6, Afv HA cAcfiAib copAighi. 

mAic oo -oudicur -oeAJu^cAip; Additional MS. (vellum), 19,995. 

oo cint> CAtAip A]\ Aicnm Brit. Mus., f. 4. a, top.] 


future, the poet comes to the last stanza, in which he addresses 
Donnchadh Cairbreach, and which runs as follows: 
" Permit me to return to my country, 

O Donnchadh Cairbreach of the smooth skin, 
Out of Scotland of the feasts and of the grassy [fields], 
Of steeds, of spears, [or, of suet], and of islands: 
My run to Ermn on my return, 
How soon shall I make ! And guess". (349) 
It is not to be understood that O'Daly was in Ireland at the 
time that he addressed this poem to Murchadh, the cousin of 
Donnchadh O'Brien, though intended for the more powerful 
chief himself. He not only asks Murchadh to guess who he is, 
but he admits distinctly that he has never seen his face or made 
his acquaintance. 

After this poem we have no direct account of O'Daly but 
what the Four Masters state of the means by which he conci- 
liated O'Donnell, and his having been received into favour by 
him on his return. This, however, is not the account of O'Daly 's 
return contained in the poem of O'Higgin, above mentioned, 
a poem which is preserved in the old Book of Fermoy, a volume 
compiled in the year 1463. Brian O'Higgin, the author of this Thepoet 
poem, was one of a learned family of bards and teachers of the o-mggins 
province of Connacht. His name and fame appear to have Roc b ^ a jj 
reached the ears of David Roche, who at this time dispensed 
the hospitalities of a chieftain at his princely residence at Fer- 
moy, in the county of Cork. The book called the Book of 
Fermoy was, in fact, compiled for this nobleman, in his own 
house, by the numerous poets and scholars who, by invitation, 
chance, or otherwise, repaired to him ; and this is the reason 
that the book exhibits so many varieties of handwritings, each 
literary man writing his own poem or piece into it. Among 
the many scholars, then, who received an invitation to the court 
of Fermoy (and sufficient expenses for the journey, as he him- 
self states) was Brian O'Higgin ; and the present poem, in praise 
of the lord of that mansion, bears evidence to the fact that the poemto him 
author's reception was flattering and remunerative. It appears, ^ h Book* 
however, that the bard was so well pleased with the hospitalities of F ermoy". 
of the south that he felt inclined to abandon even the plains of 
Roscommon for the rich valleys of Munster. Nor does he hesitate 
to hint this desire rather broadly to David Roche ; but as he ap- 
pears anxious to save himself from a charge of singularity in 

(349) [original: 

CeAt>Ai -oAtrif A -out, Am fcfy, m<x luiAig 1 n&jMrm CA|\ rfiAif , 

A 'Oonnc'hAi'6 CAij\b-j\eA6 cneprrtti, m I/UAIC c^gAim. 1f cbtriAif. 
A 1iAVbAin fLe'OAig 6]\A1, Additional MS. (vellum), 19,995. 

r) 5P e 5 A1 ' 6 > "S^^S* nolenAi : Brit. Mus , f. 4. b. mid.] 


preferring a strange country and people to his own, he, in the 
following stanzas, adduces the case of Muireadhach O'Daly in 
such a way as to lead us to think that the means through 
which he returned from Scotland were not exactly those re- 
corded by the Four Masters. Thus speaks O'Higgin : 
This poem " To abandon his native land, 
somewhat On account of an insult to his profession, 

acconnt^f Against the command of the southern land : 

o'Daiy's g o ${& once a poet of my own peers, 

that of the " The jewel of Donncliadh Cairbreach having been sent 
ters'^ To release the chief poet of Scotland, 

This it was that brought him over the sea, 
Though it was a coming upon chance. 
" His attention on the foreign Isles 

He [Donnchad1i\ bestowed but a short time, 
He brought Muireadhach over the sea, 
Though he was an adopted son in Alba. 
" When he \_Muireadhadi\ was importuned, 
At an after time, to go to his native place, 
Seldom did he thither go 
From the Dalcassians, as we have heard. 
" My allusions to him have now come to an end, 
To that Donnchadh, O David ! 
You and I are just like these 
Two comrades in poetic science". (3to) 

And it was thus, by the example of O'Daiy's preference of the 
O'Briens and Thomond to the O'Donnells and his native Con- 
nacht, that Brian O'Higgin justified his own preference of 
Roche and south Munster to his native province and its chiefs. 
There can scarcely be any doubt of the correctness of the 
scrap of history contained in these few verses. The harsh 
course of O'Donnell, and the friendly interference of O'Brien 
in the case of O'Daly, must have been subjects of such interest 
to succeeding bards that we may be satisfied they were preserved 
with vivid accuracy. 

(350) [original: 
Cf 6ij;eAn A cipe buriA-it*, gAf\ putieA'OAc 

Af\ AMO11O1fV 'o'elA'OAin, "OA CtlgAt) 

OA^ AicVine nA cipe ce-p: CJVAC eij 

oo jvme rnAicVijrm oeigep A oAu'L cA]\Aif gtijv Armutri 

Seoixi 'OonncliA'on CAifVbjvig t>o6tii\ o t)Ail/ CAIJ*, no culAtr>A-p. 

A^\ cenn otlAtnAn Aibun, A]\ m' -pAiglil) -pir fAir>ic C]MC, 
oobiAC ro A ceccA CA)\ cuinn, -ooti 'OonncliAT:) pn, A "OAibic 

ge]\ cecncA |-A cuA|\uirn. tnei-p ACAf pb if^AmlA 

A. AJAT) Afv 1nnpb 5 A ^ 'poA fet-p p-p eAtA-oriA. 

m cAb^At) ACC t>o cAniAlt, Book of Fermoy, R. I. A., f. 117, 

cue fe muipet)c\6 CAJ\ Ttmip, bb.] 


It is, however, with the ransom sent into Scotland to release 
O'Daly that our chief concern lies now. We are to suppose o-Daiy was 
that the Mac Donnells, or perhaps the king of Scotland, for aiTo^tT' 
O'Daly was Ollamh, or chief poet, of all Scotland, perhaps, I l^^*^ 
say, that either of these powerful parties would not allow him ransom, 
to pass out of it, without demanding some remarkable compen- 
sation for so great a loss, something, in fact, which they hoped 
would not be given. What, then, was the jewel (seoid) which what was 
O'Brien sent over to purchase the liberty of his favourite bard, paidllthis 
and enable him to return to his own country? It could not be ransom? 
money; and it could scarcely be cattle, tne only other com- 
modity that could have value in both countries at the time. We 
know, indeed, from Mac Conmidhe's poem, that whoever the 
person was in Scotland who had possession of O'Brien's harp, 
refused to part with it, either freely or for compensation in Irish 
sheep. And this clearly enough shows that property of this 
kind was deemed of less value in Scotland than the harp of an 
Irish chief; and it shows also, we may fairly argue, that so rich 
a treasure as the gifted poet could not be parted with in the 
same country for any amount of the ordinary commodities of 

What was it then that brought O'Brien's harp into Scotland 
at this particular time ? I may state here that Mac Conmidhe's 
poem appears to be defective at the end. It does not, accord- 
ing to an invariable ancient usage, end with the same word with 
which it begins ; and if it had been perfect, it is more than 
probable that we should have had some allusion to the circum- 
stances under which the instrument had passed into Scotland. 
We have no direct authority on the subject; but from the allu- 
sions I have referred to, I may express my own belief that the The author 
harp was the jewel sent there to release Maireadhach O'Daly n e was e the hat 
from the difficulties which stood in the way of his return to his *B?ien 
own country. 

The next question is, whether that harp ever came back This harp 
direct to Ireland ? and to this question I think we may answer back to C me 
with all the probability of truth, that it did not ; for we have it 
on the authority of Mac Conmidhe's poem, that its restoration 
could not be obtained for love or money, at least in the owner's 
time. And now we may further ask, whether it is possible that 
the harp now preserved in the museum of Trinity College, 
Dublin, with its traditional history, such as it is, may be no 
other than this very harp of O'Brien ? I answer that it possi- and may 
bly may be so ; and that whether this harp passed from Scot- hfto e the 8sed 
land into England along with the regalia in the time of Edward E^rd* i 
the First ; or whether it came there in any other way before 




and hare 
been given, 
by Henry 
VIII. to 

The armorial 
bearings and 
not of same 
date as the 

Objects of 
the author 
in this dis- 

Poem on 
harp of an 

or after that time the tradition of its having been given by 
King Henry the Eighth to the Earl of Clanrickard, and of its 
having continued a long time in the Clanrickard family, under 
the name of Donogh O'Brien's harp, remains uncontradicted by 
any evidence or by any logical argument. 

Then, as regards the armorial bearings, by the character of 
which the age of this harp has been attempted to be deter- 
mined, I venture to say that those armorial bearings, what family 
soever they may have belonged to, were no part of the original 
harp ; and that there is not upon the entire instrument a spot 
left vacant in which they could fit, excepting that alone which 
is now occupied in the harmonic curve by the monogram i. H. c., 
so rude and inferior in artistic design and execution to the rest 
of the carving, into which it would appear to have been inserted, 
probably by some possessor of the instrument after it had passed 
from the hands of its original owner. 

In this tedious and perhaps shadowy discussion on the Brian 
Boru harp, I trust I shall be believed when I say, that I have 
had no object in view but the elucidation, as far as possible, 
of its true history ; or if not that, the nearest possible guess at 
it ; such a guess as might reasonably be given, from the few 
facts and circumstances that I have adduced, and which appear 
to me to supply coincidences bearing with remarkable point 
upon the subject. I don't want to offer any flat contradiction 
to high authority. I wish to place before these authorities such 
facts only as I have collected since Dr. Petrie's Essay was pub- 
lished, in the hope that if they do not lead to the certainty of 
the truth, they may be found useful landmarks in the further 
prosecution of this interesting antiquarian inquiry. And still 
further, to show that I am not trusting merely to speculations 
of my own in opposition to the opinions of well informed men, 
and that there is nothing at all improbable in what I have ven- 
tured to suggest as to the wanderings of the harp ofDonnchadh 
Cairbreach O'Brien, I may here notice a reference to the stray- 
ing harp of another distinguished, but much later nobleman 
of the great O'Brien family. This harp, indeed, might come 
within the range of Dr. Petrie's antiquarian tests, as to its age ; 
but, if it is still extant, it is not accompanied by any known 
legend that would lead to its identification. 

The reference to this harp that I have just mentioned, is 
found in an anonymous poem of considerable merit, which, like 
Mac Conmidhe's poem on Donncliadh Cairbreach's harp, was 
addressed to it, when heard played by a stranger, by the dis- 
consolate bard of its exiled owner. This poem consist of ten 
quatrains, so appropriate to the present subject, and certainly 


so valuable a corroboration of an important historical event, that I 
shall give a literal translation of the whole of it. It is as follows : 

" Musical thou art, O harp of my king ! Poem on 

The plaint of thy strings has brought me to grief; ttrayhlg 

It is little that my mind was not deranged o*B?ien. an 

When I heard thy voice while being tuned. 
" Seldom hast thou been seen upon a visitation, 

O fount of music ! who hath gained every prize ! 

Thou beautiful harp of the Ollamhs of \_Clann~\ Tail. 

Oftener was the visit of nobles to thee ! 
" Thou musical, fine-pointed, speckled harp ! 

Thou hast seen a time did we of it wish to tell 

When to thee were sung the poems of sages, 

For which Ua Duach [O'Brien] paid steeds and gold. 
" Many a hand ran over thy ribs, 

In that bright mansion, where pleasure reigned ; 

Thou of the noble breast, delightful and free, 

Until thou didst allow him to sail over the waves. 
" Thou musical harp of the race of Brian 

After them no one should in greatness trust, 

Whilst I am like Torna after Niall, 

And thou among strangers after my king ! 
" The foreigners have driven beyond the sea 

The Earl of the Clann Tail what greater wo ! 

From that time thither I have heard no harp 

That has not a tone of wailing in its notes. 
" Alas ! that the fair, bountiful man did not consent, 

The heir of the O'Briens, who gained all sway, 

To suffer base deeds without anger 

And guard himself against English treachery. 
" Their oppressive demands were not borne 

By the beloved of Cashel, of the foam white skin 

His glowing billow of kingly blood [could not bear it], 

Its consequence, alas ! has come upon us. 
" Erinn has ceased to live of the sorrows of the king, 

Completely has her career gone down, 

The nut produce of Inis Fail has ceased, 

The happiness of all men has ceased, and their music. 
" Sweet, O'Gilligan, are thy notes, 

Sweet the voice of the strings in thy fingers ; 

Still 't was sweeter to me in the time of Ua Luirc 

Tho' this harp is always sweet for its music I" 1350 
(351) [original: 

CeoldAp fin A c|\tnc mo \Al fUAit, riAdAn fAobA-o wo c|\ut, 

|\om Ctnp A prim p*nf A x>o 6-0 ; ot) cAlA -oo gut -oo-o 



written in 

the O'Brien 

Conor, Earl 
of Thomond 

the " FOOT 
account of 
his submis- 
sion to Q. 
Elizabeth ; 

This poem, whoever may have been the author of it, must 
have been written in the year 1570; for it was in that year, as 
we are told by the Annals of the Four Masters, that Conor 
O'Brien, Earl of Thomond, in consequence of the dissensions of 
his own people and the pressure of the English power, came to 
terms with the Earl of Ormond, Queen Elizabeth's represen- 
tative, and promised to be counselled by him. The following 
is the account of this event, as chronicled by the Four Masters : 

" He- [the earl] gave up his towns, namely, Clonroad, Clar- 
mor [now Clare Castle], and Bunratty, into the hands of the 
Earl of Ormond ; and Donnell O'Brien and other chieftains of 
Thomond, whom the earl had as prisoners, were set at liberty, 
as were also the prisoners held by the president. The earl was 
afterwards seized with sorrow and regret for having given up 
his towns and prisoners, for he now retained only one of all his 
fortresses, namely, Magh O'm-Bracain, and in this he left ever- 
faithful warders ; he resolved that he would never submit him- 
self to the law or the mercy of the council of Ireland, choosing 
rather to be a wanderer and an outlaw, and even to abandon 
his estates and his fine patrimony, than to go among them. He 
afterwards concealed himself for some time in Clanmaurice [in 
Kerry], from whence he passed, about the festival of St. John, 
into France, where he stopped for some time. He afterwards 
went to England, and received favour, pardon, and honour from 
the queen of England, who sent letters to the council of Ire- 
land, commanding them to honour the earl, and he returned to 
Ireland in the winter of the same year". 

It must, then, have been in the precise year 1570 the above 
poem was written, for that was the year in which O'Brien was 

An-OAm teAc cjTAicfin An 

A ceol/fAoi x>o -puAin gA 

A dnuic dAem oIlAtrmA CAI!/, 

fA rnmce cuAin'o cAig At) ceAnn! 
A cnuic deoldAn beAnndonn bneAd ! 

cAnAi-p reAl, gA ccAtn -oo 

oo geAbcAi nioc lAeice -puAt), 

An A ccuc UA -OUAC eic if on. 
THon LAID nolACA'6 pvo dneAf, 

pAtt mun ngeAt,, A bpaicce muij\- 
mn ; 

A mon'OA bnumnefeAfgAin f-aen, 

gun t-eig cu A CAeb ne cumn. 
A cnuic deotcAn ctAinnet)riniAin, 

A ccneAn nA n-oiAig mn doin bnig, 

ip mife mAn c6nnA cAn eip HeitL, 

1-p cufA An eAdcnA oei-p mo nig. 
Oo cuin-peAt) AttmunAig CAn fAU,, 

lAnUx 6 CAil CIA cnA-6 Af m6! 

6 fom Aieic m CUA'LA cnuic, 

riA6 biAi'o fojAp gtnt MA 
A|" cj\UA nA|\ AencAij An -pint) 
tiA nA mbpiAn, pe tnbepcAi 
pjtAng 6udin bepc : cut pe f eipg, 
oeic ApA cconrine A ' 

Tlin -uil/neAX) OAei-pe 

A conn mobnA6 |:otA nig 

A -oeAfcAno, fAnion t)uinn. 
Cine -oiA6nA An 

cno trieAr cnie 

CA16 fA cceot. 
A Hi 5ii5Ain -oo gb6n, 
bmn gocA nA ccet) AT) trieop; 
bmne l/im i A bftAicio-p tli ttunc, 
50 bmn \ An cnuic A)\A ceol. 


O'Curry MSS., C.U.I., Lives of 
Saints, vol. il, p. 48.] 


forced to fly over the sea from the English power. It is curious, xxxm. 
however, to find that within the comparatively short time the it was during 
earl was absent his harp had passed into a strange country, if ab^cfthat 
not into strange hands ; for, although the poet praises the per- pa 
formance of O'Gilligan, who appears to have been the possessor strange 
of this harp at the time, O'Gilligan is not a Munster name, and 
the bearer of that name could scarcely be expected to be raised 
to the distinction of chief Ollamh in music to the Clann Tail, 
or O'Briens, in preference to the musicians of their own country 
and race. 

The harp now in Trinity College could not have been this the harp in 
harp of the Earl of Thomond, unless indeed that the latter thishai-p! 
harp might have come down some hundreds of years as an heir- 
loom in the family ; but this is not probable ; and if this straying 
harp of Conor O'Brien, Earl of Thomond, of the year 1570, 
be in existence at all, it is not identified. 

There is an old harp in the possession of John Lanigan, Esq., Mr. Lani- 
of Castle Fogarty, in the county of Tipperary; and I have eau 
heard Mr. Lanigan say that it exactly resembles in size and 
carving the harp in Trinity College, of which he saw a cast in 
the Royal Irish Academy. Mr. Lanigan's harp, however, has 
not been seen by any person who has given his attention to its 
comparative style and age, or who was qualified in any way to 
form and express an opinion on it. It is much to be regretted, owners of 
and a great loss to inquiries of this kind, that the owners of rare ^should 11 " 
relics of antiquity are not at all times willing to place for a f^ "me^n 
time these curious remains in the Royal Irish Academy, where the museum 
they could be properly examined and compared, duly under- 
stood, and appreciated by the general public as well as by the 
antiquary. There are generous exceptions to this rule, as in 
the case of Sir Richard O'Donnell, Bart., of Newport, county 
of Mayo, who has for many years allowed his precious relic, the 
Cathach, to add to the richness of the splendid museum of the 
Royal Irish Academy, and it would be greatly to be desired 
that his liberal example were more generally followed. 

In continuation of these observations of mine, and tracing Some notes 
still farther down the existence and abode of a few other survi- harp""^/ 
ving harps of the later times, the following communication from Dr - mrie - 
my own and Ireland's distinguished friend, Dr. Petrie, will, I 
am sure, be received with all the attention and respect due to 
his revered name. Thus writes Dr. Petrie. 

" To the lovers of ancient Irish melody a body, I regret to "He regrets 
say, small in number amongst the educated classes in Ireland o 
it is a matter of deep regret that no very ancient specimen re- 
mains to us of the instrument which gave that melody a grace 

VOL. II. 19 



of form and depth of feeling which that of no other country 
"present has ever equalled, or will ever surpass. As a nation, indeed, 
to irish ence we have been and are hopelessly indifferent in the matter. We 
nmsic"" 4 suppose the Irish harp to have been a barbarous instrument, 
and believe the music to which it gave birth to be at best but 
rude and unsuited to civilized ears ; and in truth it is not of a 
kind to touch the feelings or satisfy the conventional taste of 
society as at present constituted. 

"Someeccie- "The religious sentiment, so strongly characteristic of the 
reHcs C pre- Gaedhelic mind, has, in despite of so many adverse circum- 
erve<r ; stances, preserved to us a few relics of those saintly men who 
by their zeal in the propagation of Christianity, both at home 
and abroad, obtained for their country the title of Insula Sanc- 
torum; and these relics are no less interesting as touching me- 
morials of the good men of a remote age, than valuable as 
specimens exhibiting an intimacy with the elegant arts which 
without them would probably be more than doubted. 
"Dr.Petrie " Highly, however, as I appreciate these remains, I confess 
^re"erred ve that I would rather have possessed the harp of the apostle 
the harp of Patrick, or that of the gentle Keven of Glandalomrh, which we 

St. Patrick , , P i i i -P n i 

or st. know to have been so long preserved, than their bells, shrines, 

' or croziers, or any other of their relics ; for such were only me- 
morials of their professional existence, while their harps would 
present to our imagination the existence of that sensibility to 
' the concordance of sweet sounds ' which the Creator has be- 
stowed upon man, as the most sensuous and pure of his leisure 
enjoyments. Unhappily, such touching memorials, however, 
we can never possess 

"our bogs " But we may still indulge the hope that our bogs, which 
!ve M an nave preserved for us so many interesting remains illustrative 
ancient o f the progress in civilization of our forefathers, may still con- 
serve and present to xis a specimen of our ancient harp ; for at 
least one such they have already given us in our own time, but 
it seems to have been uncared for, and, consequently, des- 
troyed ! 

"Mr. Joy's " The late Mr. Henry Joy, of Belfast, in his learned and ad- 
*ucn U aharp Biirable ' Historical Critical Dissertation on the Harp', printed 
count 'of 1116 * n *ke ^ ate ^ r ' Edward Bunting's ' General Collection of the 
Limerick"; Ancient Music of Ireland' (vol. i. : London, 1811), has informed 
us that 

" ' About ten or eleven years ago, a curious harp was found 
in the county of Limerick, on the estate of Sir Richard Harte, 
by whom it was given to the late Dr. O'Halloran. On the 
death of that gentleman it was thrown into a lumber room, and 
thence removed by a cook, who consigned it to the flames. Its 


exact figure we have not been able to obtain. Several gentle- xxxn*. 
men who saw it, declare that it totally differed in construction 
from the instrument now known in Ireland ; that it was smaller 
in size, and still retained three metal strings, with pins for 
several others. It was raised by labourers at the depth of 
twelve spits or spadings under the earth in Coolness Moss, near 
Newcastle, between Limerick and Killarney. It seems extra- 
ordinary that any vestige of metal strings or pins should have 
remained, notwithstanding the qualities attributed to moss 
water '. 

" From the great depth at which this harp was found ", con- "According 
tinues Dr. Petrie, "it could hardly have been less than one this harp "' 
thousand years old. Nor is it improbable that amongst the 10 
harps belonging to the harpers of the last century and early part old "- 
of the present, some of them may have been of a respectable 
though inferior antiquity to the Limerick harp. What, it may "What has 
be asked, has become of the harps of the seven harpers who met theimrps of 
at Granard in 1782, and the ten harpers at Belfast in 1792? \l?? d 
Most of them, no doubt, have been used for firewood. Yet I " A ^ r P of 
have been informed by the late Mr. Christopher Dillon Bellew, 
and his lady, of Mount Bellew, in the county of Galway, that 
for many years a very aged harper, who was very probably one 
of those who attended the harp meetings, used, in making his 
annual rounds at the houses of the Connaught gentry, stop at 
their mansion for a fortnight, and that on those occasions they 
were always much struck with the antique character of his 
harp. ' It was', they said, ' small, and but simply ornamented', 
and on the front of the pillar, or forearm, there was a brass 
plate, on which was inscribed the name of the maker and the 
date 1509. The poor harper had often expressed his inten- 
tion of bequeathing this harp to his kind entertainers ; but a 
summer came without bringing him to his accustomed haunts, 
and the harp was never forwarded, nor its fate ascertained. 

" Of the harps now remaining to us, that preserved in the mu- "'Brian 
seum of Trinity College, and popularly called ' Brian Borus\ isthe S oides* 
but which I would call O'Neill's', is, probably, the oldest. taSS?,"* 
But, there can be no doubt of its being the work of a much 
later age than that of the Munster king : and it may be ques- 
tioned if the ancient harps preserved in Scotland, and which 
are probably of Irish manufacture, are not of equal or even 
earlier antiquity. The next in age is the Fitzgerald, or, as it "theDaiway 
is now popularly called, the Dalway harp, having been in the agl" ; next * u 
possession of that old Antrim family for a considerable number 
of years. Of this harp, unhappily, only fragments remain, 
namely, the harmonic curve, or pin-board, and the fore-arm j 




tion on this 
harp imper- 
fectly trans- 
lated in Mr. 
Joy's essay", 

11 Professor 
of them" ; 

the sound-board having been lost or destroyed. These frag- 
ments are, however, of great interest, not only on account of 
their elaborate and tasteful ornamentations, but, perhaps, still 
more from their being in great part covered with Latin and 
Irish inscriptions. From these inscriptions we learn that the 
harp was made for one of the Desmond Fitzgeralds, namely, 
John McEdmond Fitzgerald of Cluain, or Cloyne, whose arms 
are handsomely chased on the front of the fore-pillar, sur- 
mounted by the arms of England. It presents us also with 
the name of the maker, ' Donatus, Filius Thadei', and the date 
of its fabrication, 1621; and, in the Irish language and letters, 
the names of the servants of the household. 

" These inscriptions having been imperfectly translated in 
Mr. Joy's Essay, but recently read correctly by yourself, and 
printed for private distribution by the late Dr. Robert Ball, I 
think it desirable to give them a more secure record in your 
lectures as interesting memorials of domestic life in Ireland at 
that period". 

The following is my translation of these Irish inscriptions : 

" These are they who were servitors to John Fitz Edmond 
[Fitz Gerald], at Cluain [Cloyne], at the time that I was made, 
viz.: the Steward there was James Fitz John; and Maurice 
Walsh was our Superintendent ; and Dermod Fitz John, Wine 
Butler ; and John Ruadhan was Beer Butler ; and Philip Fitz 
Donnel was Cook there, Anno Domini 1621. 

" Teige O'Ruarc was Chamberlain there, and James Russel 
was House Marshal; and Maurice Fitz Thomas and Maurice 
Fitz Edmond; these were all discreet attendants upon him. 
Philip Fitzteige Magrath was Tailor there; Donnchadh Fitz 
Teige was his Carpenter, it was he that made me. 

" Giollapatrick Mac Cridan was my Musician and Harmo- 
nist ; and if I could have found a better, him should I have, and 
Dermot M' Cridan along with him, two highly accomplished 
men, whom I had to nurse me. And on every one of these, 
may God have mercy on them all". (347) 

< 347 ) [original: 1p<yofo t>ob 
WAnAic Ag SeAAn mAC 
JeAnAlc, A ^cltiAin, An tAn -oo- 
fxoriA'o Tnifi, .1. oobo foibAfvo Ann 
Semur mAC SeAAin ; ACAf 1Tluinir 
"bneAnAch oobA pA'omAn'OAc ; ACAp 
OiAnmtn-o mAC SeAAn buicitein ponA; 
ACAp SeAAn KtnDAn btnci\/ein nA beo- 
fVAc ; ACAp pllip mAC 'OotnriAi'U, bA 
cocAine Ann, Anno Domino 1621. 

CAt>5 O tluAinc bA feomnAT>oin 
Ann, ACAp Semwp Huifet bA mAnAp- 

ACAJ* ffluinip niAc 
ACAp tHuinir niAC eniAinn ; bA jpem- 
AnAig oneifjcne'oeACA iAt> fo uite. 
pilip mAC CAi'og me CnAic OA CAil- 
itnnAnn; T)onnc[A]'6 mAC CAITSJ nA 
r A L e ]n -oo non. 

jiottAppA-onij; mbA Cni-OAin -oobA 
peAn ceoii ACAf oinA-pt)! -OAm ; ACAf 
OA -pliAijm m bui-6 -peAn tr r& *oo 
blieAj, ACAp 'OiAnmAfo mAC CnitJAin 
mAille nei / p,'oiAp i oo cf AiTieb'iAnnA, 
colM AjAm^A'ooni AliriiAen. 


" According to an old custom", Mr. Joy writes, " the instru- 
ment is supposed to be animated; and, among other matters, 
informs us of the names, of two harpers who had produced the 
finest music on it ; these were, it seems, Giolla Patrick M'Cridan 
and Diarmad M'Cridan". This harp, which was nearly twice 
the size of the last noticed, has been thus described by Mr. 
Joy : " By the pins, which remain almost entire, it is found to "Descrip- 
have contained in the row forty-five strings, besides seven in this harp". 
the centre, probably for unisons to others, making in all fifty- 
two strings. In consequence of the sound-board being lost, 
different attempts to ascertain its scale have been unsuccessful. 
It contained twenty-four strings more than the noted harp 
called Brian Boiromhe's ; and in point of workmanship, is be- 
yond comparison superior to it, both for the elegance of its 
crowded ornaments, and for the general execution of those parts 
on which the general correctness of a musical instrument de- 
pends. The opposite side is equally beautiful with that of 
which the delineation is given; the fore-pillar appears to be 
sallow, the harmonic curve of yew. 

" The instrument, in truth, deserves the epithet claimed by 
the inscription on itself ' Ego sum Regina Cithararum ". 

" As following in age as well as in importance", continues "The harp 
Dr. Petrie, " the harp I have next to notice is, by a curious iiarq^is of 
coincidence, also a Fitzgerald one it is the harp of the great KUdare "- 
parent family of Kildare, and is happily in their keeping. The 
size and proportions of this harp are about the same as those of 
the Cloyne harp ; and, like the latter, it is richly, but less elabo- 
rately ornamented In both harps, too, the style of the orna- 
mentation is generally characteristic of an earlier age than that 
of their manufacture, as proved by the coats of arms and in- 
scriptions upon them. In the Kildare harp, the inscription is, 

eAn T>iAb 50 r>'oeA]\nA'OiA5f\ArA OJ\CA paled with those of his wife, the Hon. 

roiti uiLe. Ellen Barry, daughter of Viscount 

Beside the Irish inscription there Buttevant; he was married in 1611, 

is, in large Roman letters, near the and died in 1640. The mottoes under 

figure of a queen, at the end of the the arms appear to be, " Virescit vul- 

harmonic curve, nere virtus, Boutez en avant". Upon 

IGE & EB ME FIERI FECERUNT the edge of the bow were Latin in- 

EGO SUM REGINA CITHARA- scriptions (now partly lost); there 

RUM. remain, "Plecto vinco rego. . . . 

Upon the bow the royal arms of monstra viros. musica Uei donum. 

England are carved ; and it is to be distractas solatur musica mentes. ut 

remarked that the quartering for Ire- sonus .... transit sic gloria 

land exhibits a harp which is a good mundi. Vincit veritas". Upon the 

representation of that known as the inside of the bow, in large letters, is 

. harp of Brian Boromha. Under the inscribed, "Donatus filius Thadei me 

royal arms are those of Sir John Fitz- fecit, spes mea in Deo".] 
Edmond Fitzgerald, of Cloyne, im- 



" Harps of 


"tte one in 
the pos- 
session of 
Sir Htrvey 
Bruce" ; 

" the Castle 

indeed, a very simple one, namely, the letters R. F. G., and, in 
Arabic numerals, the date, 1672. Yet, brief as this inscription 
is, coupled with the escutcheon of arms above which it is carved, 
it is quite sufficient to identify the particular Fitzgerald for 
whom the harp was made. The escutcheon, which is carved 
in high relief upon the fore-pillar, exhibits the arms of the 
Kildare Fitzgeralds pearl, a saltire, ruby ; but they are charged 
with a crescent, to- denote that they belong to the second son 
of the chief of the family ; and thus informed, we are enabled 
by a reference to Lodge's Peerage, to determine, with certainty, 
that the R. F. G. of 1672, was Robert, the second son of George, 
the sixteenth earl of Kildare who brought the name of Robert 
into that noble house and who, during the minority of his 
nephew, John, the eighteenth earl, who was born in 1661, was 
appointed by the king to the government of the county. He 
was born in 1637, and he died in January 1697-8. On the 
death of George, the sixteenth earl, in 1707, the earldom passed 
to a second Robert, born in 1675, who was his first cousin, being 
the son of his uncle, for whom the harp was made, and from 
him, in a direct line, is descended the present estimable mar- 
quess, by whom, in the ancient castle of the family, at Kilkea, 
the harp is now most carefully conserved, and of his race may 
it never want conservators. 

" I have now noticed all the harps of an age anterior to the 
eighteenth century known to me as existing in Ireland, and I 
have next to speak of those of a later age. The earliest harps 
of the eighteenth century which I have seen were made by Cor- 
mac Kelly, at Bally nascreen, in the county of Londonderry, 
' a district', as Mr. Bunting informs us, ' long famous for the 
construction of such instruments'. Of these harps, the most re- 
markable is that preserved at Downhall, the seat of Sir Hervey 
Bruce, Bart., in the same county, and which had belonged till 
the time of his death to Denis Hampson, the well-known 
harper of Magilligan, who died in 1807, at the age of 112 
years. Its sides and front are made of white sallow, and the 
back of bog fir, patched with copper and iron plates, and the 
following lines are sculptured on it : 
4 In the days of Noah I was grown, 

After his flood I Ve not been seen, 

Until seventeen hundred and two : I was found 

By Cormac Kelly, under ground ; 

He raised me up to that degree, 

Queen of music they call me'. 

" A second, by the same maker, is preserved at Castle Otway, 
' in the county of Tipperary, the seat of Captain Robert Jocelyn 


Otway, R.N. and D.L., and bears the date 1707. This harp 
was the property of the harper and fiddler, Patrick Quin, a 
native of Portadown, in the county of Armagh, and who was 
the youngest of the harpers who attended at the assembly in 
July, 1792, Hampson being the eldest. Quin was brought to 
Dublin in 1809, as the only survivor of the old harpers, by the 
unfortunate John Bernard Trotter, who had made a visionary 
and fruitless attempt to organize a Harp Society, through whose 
patronage a school for the instruction of a new race of harpers 
might be established, of which Quin was to be the teacher; and 
many Dublin septuagenarians like myself may remember his 
performance at a Commemoration of Handel at the Rotundo in 
that year, and which was got up with the view to promote this 

"A third harp of this period, which was, and, as I trust, is "a harp 
still preserved in the county of Limerick, is also, according to belonging to 
Mr. Bunting, the manufacture of this maker, and engravings of ^ r m f r ^,. ot 
it are given in Walker's ' Irish Bards', and in Ledwich's ' Anti- 
quities of Ireland'. But there can scarcely exist a doubt that 
my old friend was in error in this statement ; for, in addition to 
the fact that this harp, in its form and style of ornamentation, 
differs essentially from those of Cormac, we have the statement 
of Mr. William Ousley, of Limerick, who drew the harp and 
supplied the information respecting it for Walker, that it bore 
the inscription 'Made by John Kelly, 1726'. It was also of 
greater size than any of the harps of Corrnac Kelly, and which 
were never more than four feet in height ; for we are informed 
that this harp was five feet high, and contained thirty-three 
strings. In 178*> this harp was in the possession of Mr. John 
Hehir, of Limerick. What has since become of it I know not. 

" Superior in many respects to any of the harps of this period "a Magennis 

11 ..-,' i i i ii i ^1 i i f harp seen by 

have now noticed, was one which, through the kindness 01 a Dr. Petne m 

friend, I had the pleasure of seeing in 1832, and of which, un- 1832 ' ; 
happily, I can now speak only from a faded recollection. It 
was at that time the property or in the keeping of a country 
solicitor, who had his Dublin office on Bachelor's Walk, and 
who was then out of town. This harp was of moderate size, 
about four feet in height, and, with the exception of a fracture 
which it was obvious it had recently received, was in the most 
perfect state of preservation. Its colour was that of a pre- 
cious and well cared for Cremona violin, and no instrument of 
that class could exceed it in the beauty and perfection of its 
workmanship, while, from the antique character of its ornamen- 
tation, one would suppose it an instrument of much antiquity, 
but for the presence of an inscription which gives its history 


xxxm. an( J the year of its making. This inscription was not, as usual, 
engraved on the woodwork of the harp, but written in the Irish 
language and characters on parchment, which was under glass, 
on the sound-board, and, amongst other matters which I forget, 
it informed us that it was the property of a Captain Art Ma- 
gennis, of some place in the county of Down, for whom it was 
made in the year 1 725, or thereabout. Shortly after my seeing 
the instrument, the friend to whose kindness I was indebted for 
the privilege emigrated to America, where he died, and its 
owner having given up his lodgings, I could learn nothing from 
his successor as to his town and country residences. I can only, 
therefore, indulge the hope, I confess a feeble one, that this in- 
teresting memorial of a past state of feeling and condition of 
society in Ireland may have escaped the usual fate of such relics, 
and I have a pleasure in penning this imperfect notice of it, 
from the hope that, if it yet exists, such notice may lead to our 
acquiring a knowledge of its locality, and perhaps to a conser- 
ving appreciation of its interest and value. 

the harp in " To this period I think we should also ascribe the harp pre- 
served with an honoured place in the hall of Holly brook House, 
countv o f Wicklow, the beautiful seat of Sir George F. J. 
Hodson, Bart. It is of small size, and without ornament or 
inscription. But it is not without a peculiar interest; for -its 
presence carries our minds back to the joyous days in that dis- 
trict of the ancestor of Sir George, the ' Robin Adair' of many 
an old song. Which of us has not heard the ' You are welcome 
to Puckstown, Robin Adair', manufactured into ' You 're wel- 
come to Paxton, Robin Adair' by the Scotch, and for a long 
time claimed as their own? or the still more popular ballad 
' The Kilruddery Fox Hunt', in the opinion of Ritson, the best 
ballad-poem in the English language, in which we are told 
triumphantly that ' Robert Adair, too, was with us that day' ? 
That line will preserve his name and memory for ever. And 
it also reminds us that in those days of simple living, social 
Irish merriment, and unconventional freedom of manners, the 
sound of the Irish harp, and the melodies of Ireland, whether 
gay or tender, were not forgotten ; for the first of these songs 
was associated with the exquisitely beautiful and impassioned 
" Eileen aroon" ; and the second with the tempered mirthful- 
ness of ' Sighile ni Gara'. And, for my own part, I confess 
that I cannot banish from my mind the impression that there 
existed at this period, in the romantic district of the Bray river, 
a poet of the type of the ancient bards one who combined 
with the powers of song the gift of composing exciting rhymes 
for the purpose of the hour. And he often presents himself to 


my imagination, seated in the old mansion of Hollybrooke, xxxm. 
with Robert Adair and the bold hunters of Kilruddery him- 
self no doubt one of them singing, with the accompaniment 
of this very harp, those simple songs which are yet remem- 
bered, and give pleasure in the remembrance, not only in the 
locality that gave them birth, but even in distant countries that 
have little knowledge or conception of its beauty. 

" To this period may also be ascribed the harp preserved in "the harp in 
the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy, though indeed there purchased'' 
is, in my opinion, a possibility of its being of an earlier age. g^,. Major 
It is of medium size and of good workmanship, but its only 
ornamentation consists of a bird's head which adorns the fore 
pillar. This harp came into the possession of the Academy 
by the purchase of the second collection of Irish antiquities 
made by the late Major Sirr, his first and better collection hav- 
ing been disposed of to a Glasgow picture dealer, coupled with 
the singular condition that none of them should be offered for 
sale in Ireland ; and I need hardly add, that, as a consequence, 
the whole collection passed into the hands of Scotch and Eng- 
lish antiquaries. 

" The Academy also possesses another harp, which, if it had " a t 1 hes - 
any just claim to the name it bears ' Carolan's' would be of caroianln 
viewed by appreciators of musical genius with a deep interest. th 
But, though it was sold to the Academy as such by a person 
who represented himself as the lineal descendant of the great 
minstrel, I have no doubt that he was a wretched impostor, 
whose statement was wholly unworthy of belief. We have 
trustworthy evidence that Carolan's harp was burned by the 
servants of Mac Dermot Roe at Alderford House, in which 
Carolan died. And even if such evidence were wanting, the 
character of the harp itself would belie the assertion ; for it is 
of the rudest form and workmanship, and without any charac- 
teristic of Carolan's time. In short, I think it is a clumsy piece 
of work of the early part of the present century, and wholly 
unworthy a place in the great museum in which it is deposited. 

u I have now noticed all the old harps which have come under 
my own observation, and with the exception of the Lanigan 
harp, in the county of Tipperary, which I have never seen, but 
I believe to be old all those of whose present existence I have 
become cognizant. I have now, therefore, only to say a few 
words in reference to the harps manufactured in our own time. 

"As far as I know, these harps are all the manufacture of "Harps of 
Egan, the eminent Dublin harp-maker, and owe their origin to centnry a"u 
the necessity of providing instruments for a new race of harpers, 
the pupils of the school of the Belfast Harp Society. These 


xxxni. harps were of good form and size, about the height of pedal 
harps, rich in tone, and of excellent workmanship. But they 
were wholly without ornament, and had nothing about them to 
remind us of ' the loved harp of other days'. Where are these 
harps now ? To what purpose have they been applied, now 
that their players have disappeared from amongst us ? I can- 
" one of not say. One, indeed, is in my own possession, and is an 

them in Dr. . . J . -, /> . J -, f , . . ' , . . 

Petries existing memorial or a great triumph of religious liberty a 
possession". tr j um p^ w hich I trust will yet obliterate the painful recollec- 
tion of past divisions and sufferings, and unite Irishmen of all 
classes and creeds in the bonds of peace and brotherly affection. 
Many of us must, like myself, remember the triumphal pro- 
cession of O'Connell through the leading streets of our city in 
1829, after the passing of the Emancipation Act. The hero 
of the day was seated in a triumphal car, richly decorated 
with laurels ; standing on his left hand, his henchman one of 
my boy friends the noble and lionhearted, and yet gentle, but 
not overwise Tom Steele ; and seated before, but below them, 
a venerable minstrel, with abundant silvery locks and beard, 
arrayed in the supposed costume of the bardic race, and appa- 
rently drawing from his harp the joyous melodies of his coun- 
try fitting for the occasion. It is true that he might as well 
have been a ' man who had no music in his soul', striking an 
instrument which could give forth no sound: for the never- 
ceasing Irish shout, which I believe is allowed to be far superior 
to all other shouts, of the assembled thousands who preceded, 
and surrounded, and followed the car, was a jealous shout, and 
would allow no other sound to be heard. The harp of that day 
was the one which is now mine ; and the harper, whose appear- 
ance indicated a centogenarian age, and from whom, in a sub- 
sequent year, I bought it, was M'Loughlin, one of the young 
harpers of the Belfast school. 
" The effort 

of the people of the north to perpetuate the ex- 
theexer- f istence of the harp in Ireland, by trying to give a harper's skill 
Harp society to a number of poor blind boys, was at once a benevolent and 
of Belfast". a patriotic one; but it was a delusion. The harp at the time 
was virtually dead ; and such effort conld give it for a while 
only a sort of galvanized vitality. The selection of blind boys, 
without any greater regard for their musical capacities than the 
possession of the organ of hearing, for a calling which doomed 
them to a wandering life, depending for existence mainly, if 
not wholly, on the sympathies of the poorer classes, and neces- 
sarily conducive to the formation of intemperate habits, was not 
a well-considered benevolence, and should never have had any 
fair hope of success. And besides, there were no competent 


teachers, imbued with a refined sense of the beauty of our finest xxxm. 
melodies, to instruct them ; none to select for them the most 
touching of those melodies, and unite them, anew, with a sim- 
ple but correct harmony, such as has been preserved tradition- 
ally by the harpers of Wales, and give to their calling a con- 
tinuance and a patronage not yet wholly extinguished. Thus 
imperfectly instructed ignorant of counterpoint, and with a 
knowledge of only a few of our melodies, rarely of the first class, 
and scarcely ever perfectly preserved, how could it be expected 
that their performance could be tolerated by cultivated ears, 
accustomed to the ' tunes of the day', which are often of great 
beauty, and always correct and effective in their harmonies? 
But, even if it were otherwise if those blind boys had been 
taught to play with skill and correctness the melodies of Ireland 
the only melodies suited to their instrument there was no 
longer in the country a generally diffused Celtic sentiment, 
no national feeling, independent of class prejudices, like that of 
Scotland ! A new phase of society, of which the struggle for 
wealth and the enjoyments of luxury are the characteristic 
features, has taken the place of that simpler one which gave a 
zest to the purer enjoyments, springing from man's sensibilities. 
Fashion will not now allow us to exhibit depth of feeling, or 
marked individuality of character. As a great poet has ex- 
pressed this change . 

" ' The world is too much with us ; late and soon, 

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers : 

Little we see in nature that is ours ; 

We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon !' 
" No. The Irish harp cannot be brought back to life : 't is "the Irish 
dead for ever ! And, even the music which it had created will for'eve^but 
never be felt again as it has been felt. But, IT won't die. A ^1^1" 

. WUU fc U1C 

lew minds, possessing the deeper sensibilities of our nature, and 
strong enough to spurn the deadening influences of fashion, will 
always be found, who, in the enjoyment of such music, will 
look for a solace amidst 

" ' The fretful stir and fever of the world' ". 

Passing from this valuable communication of Dr. Petrie, I 
shall now take up the thread of my own observations. 

There is a harp in Scotland known as the harp of Mary The harp in 
Queen of Scots, described in " Gunn s Historical Enquiry", and knowl'lis 
said to resemble in a remarkable degree the Trinity College o^ee^of ary 
harp ; but it has not, I believe, been yet examined by any per- scots. 
son properly qualified to say how far this resemblance really 
exists. This may, for all we really know, be the harp of Doun- 
chadh Cairbreach O'Brien. 


So far I have endeavoured to collect such references to the 
form, compass, and arrangement of the ancient harp, our cha- 
racteristic national instrument of music, as well as to the his- 
tory of the few existing examples of it known to us, as I have 
been able to gather in my readings of our ancient lore. But 
before I proceed to the next branch of my subject, and as I 
have said so much of Muireadhacli Albanach O'Daly, I must 
be pardoned another short digression, in order to allow me to 
correct an error into which a learned Scottish writer, of whose 
acquaintance I feel proud to boast, has lately fallen respecting 
this celebrated Irish bard. 

Rer. Mr. The gentleman to whom I allude is the Reverend Thomas 

Jan's ^Book Mac Lauchlan of Edinburgh, who has within the present year 
of the Dean published, with translation and notes, a volume of Gaedhelic 

of Liaraore ; f , ' 

poems selected from the JDOOK or the Dean ot Lismore in Scot- 
land (a MS. of the year 1529). This book is a valuable contribu- 
tion to the Gaedhelic literature of Ireland and Scotland. It is a 
work of great labour, most creditably executed, being enriched, 
besides the labours of the editor himself, by a long and deeply 
interesting introduction and additional notes from the learned 
pen of another valued friend of mine, William Forbes Skene, 
Esq., of Edinburgh. This is not, indeed, the place to enter 
into the merits of Mr. Mac Lauchlan's work, though I cannot 
resist the opportunity which the occurrence of Muireadhach 
O'Daly's name in it affords me of bearing my humble testimony 
n contains to its merits. Among the curious selection of Ossianic and 
ascribed* to other poems in the volume, there are three short poems of a re- 
o'Daiyor limc-us character ascribed to Muireadhach Albanach (O'Daly), 

Afuireadh- ??I-ITI t r TI-I-I 

ach Aiban- ot which 1 do not know or any copies existing in Ireland ; and 
at page 109, in which is printed a poem ascribed to a John 
Mac Muirich, Mr. Mac Lauchlan appends the following note: 
" This John McMurrich, or McVurrich, was in all likelihood a 
member of the family who were so long bards to Clanranald, 
and who derived their name from their great ancestor in the 
thirteenth century, Muireach Albanach". And again, at page 
157, where the first of O'Daly's poems occurs, the following 
note is appended : 

Mr. Mac " Murdoch of Scotland was the first of the great race of Mac 

notion tins Vurrichs, bards to Macdonald of Clanranald. From all that 
poet; can b e gathered regarding him, he was an ecclesiastic, and, ac- 
cording to the measure of light he possessed, a man of earnest 
and sincere religion. It was not known, until this volume of 
Dean McGregor's was searched, that any remains of his com- 
positions existed ; but here we find several, all very much of the 
same character. There is one long poem to the cross, which 


appears to have been modelled on the early Latin hymns. Mur- xxxm. 
dock of Scotland, or Mulreadhach Albanach, would appear to 
have lived between A.D. 1180 and 1220. Mr. Standish H. 
O'Grady, late President of the Ossianic Society of Dublin, 
kindly sent to the writer some years ago a poem, still preserved 
in Ireland, containing a dialogue between Muireadhach and 
' Cathal Croibhdhearg\ the red-handed Cathal O'Connor, king 
of Connaught, on the occasion of their embracing a religious 
life. Cathal's ' florish' is known to have been between A.D. 
1184 and 1225". 

Mr. Mac Lauchlan prints the poem here, but the description ws descrip 
of it is incorrect as far as O'Daly is concerned, for it contains O f '"u" , 
no allusion whatever to his having embraced a religious life, regards* * 
On the contrary, he strongly urges the warrior king not to O'Daiy ; 
sheathe his sword, but rather to whet it for more battles, in place 
of whetting his knife for the purpose of tonsuring his head ; and 
Cathal of the Red Hand did continue fighting his battles up to 
the year of his death in A.D. 1224, though he died in the habit 
of a Cistercian monk, in the abbey of Cnoc Muaidh, in the 
county of Galway, an abbey which he had himself founded in 
the year 1190. (348) Even in this poem O'Daly does not forget 
to pay a high and affectionate compliment to his friend Donn- 
chadh Cairbreach O'Brien; but it is doubtful that he was in 
Ireland at all at the time of writing it. I possess a fine copy of 
this curious poem. 

It does not appear that Mr. Mac Lauchlan was aware that Mr. Mac 
Muireadhach Albanach was an Irishman, but such he certainly no "aware 
was; and if the Mac Murdochs, or Mac Vuirrichs, of Scotland, t ^ h % ir ~ 
are descended from him, they are the only posterity he is known Aibanach 
to have left. For although his own pedigree is preserved by irishman. 
the O'Clerys and Mac Firbis, they do not seem to know that 
he had left any descendants. Muireadhach Albanach O'Daly, 
or, as he was called, Muireadhach ofLios an-Doill, was the third 
of six brothers, the second of whom was Donnchadh Mor O'Daly, 
abbot of Boyle, in the county of Roscommon, author of many 
religious Irish poems, some of them of great beauty, particu- 
larly those in praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The abbot 
died in the year 1244, and it is possible that some of the poems 
ascribed to his brother were his. This branch of the learned 
O'Daly family is set down by the O'Clerys and Mac Firbis as 
the O'Dalys of Breifney, and not of Meath, as some say. They 
were descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages, and of the 
same race as the O'Neills, or Cinael Eoghain. 

From this digression I now return to my proper subject, and 

< 318 > See the Annals of the Four Masters, AD. 1224. 


**xnr I shall accordingly proceed with our investigation into the re' 
cords of the musical instruments used and the music performed 
in ancient Erinn. 

The hai'p, of course, was the chief instrument employed in 

that music. And it is concerning the use of the harp that the 

greater part of the apocryphal statements current concerning 

The anther ancient music have been made. I have here collected all that 

an s that 6 he e I believe to be really authentic on the subject of the perfect 

authentic harp, or Cruit; the remainder of what I have to say upon this 

on the Cruit. class of instrument will come in more properly when I have to 

speak of the Telyn, or Welsh harp, and to lay before the reader 

more full account of the Timpdn. I have here but to add a 

few words by way of caution as to the speculations of some of 

the more popular writers on the subject. 

The state- Much has been confidently written on the ancient Irish music 
fmc^ent a hish an ^ musical instruments, particularly by Mr. Joseph Cooper 
Musical 1 " 1 Walker and Mr. Edward Bunting; the former chiefly from 
instruments imagination, and the latter from induction, aided by a high mu- 
and Bunting sical education; for Mr. Bunting's actual knowledge, or rather 
of no value; no ti ong> of the ancient Irish harp, and the peculiarities of ancient 
Irish music, were derived by him only from the degenerate 
body of harpers who held their last synod in Belfast in the year 
1792. That the information derived by him from those pro- 
fessors was apocryphal and corrupt will clearly be seen from the 
long list of musical terms published in his last volume (1840), 
all of which, with few exceptions (as I shall show by and bye), 
are, I may at once say, mere forgeries, or else the most common- 
place and vulgar Hibernicisms of English terms supplied him 
by his informants, whoever they were. Mr. Bunting was not 
an Irish scholar. It may appear strange that in all that has 
been written on the subject of Irish music and musical instru- 
ments down to our own time, no example or instance of the per- 
formances in ancient times on the harp, or any other musical 
instrument, either singly or in concert, has been published on 
anything like authority by our musical writers. The reason of 
these'-writers this, however, is obvious enough. These writers had no ac- 
knowth quaintance with our ancient literature ; they did not even under- 
Irish ian- stand our language : they had a reference to Cralftine and his 
wonderful harp from Keting, a few references to horns or trum- 
pets in what are called the poems of Oisin, and to these their 
own imagination and effrontery made large additions. 

It is with the greatest reluctance that I venture to offer such 
strong remarks on the compilation published by Mr. Bunting, 
who has rescued so much of our precious music from loss and 
oblivion ; but I must say, that it would have been more to his 


credit if he had left the whole discussion of the ancient Irish xxxm. 

harp in such judicious hands as those of George Petrie and the author 
others of his stamp, whose deep learning and perfect conscien- Ssmfto* 
tiousness would always keep them within the bounds of actual ? the work 
knowledge or fair rational induction. As for Mr. Cooper Walker, f one who 

i L v J c J , h as rescued 

he appears to have been the sport ot every pretender to antiqua- so much of 
rian knowledge, but more especially the dupe of an unscrupu- ourmttsic - 
lous person of the name of Beaufort, not the learned author of 
the " Memoir of a Map of Ireland", but another clergyman of 
the name, who unblushingly pawned his pretended knowledge 
of facts on the well-intentioned but credulous Walker. 


[Delivered July 1st, I860.] 

(IX.) OF Music AND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS (continued). Names of musical 
instruments found in our MSS. The Benn- Buabhaill ; the Corn- Buabhaill 
a drinking horn. The Benn-Chroit. The Buinne. The Coir- Cent hairchuir. 
The Corn ; the Cornaire or horn-player mentioned in the Tain Bo Fraich, 
in the " Courtship of Ferb", and in a legendary version of the Book of 
Genesis ; no reference to trumpets in the Tain Bo Chuailgne, but the play- 
ing of harps in the encampments is mentioned ; instance of musicians in 
the trains of kings and chiefs on military expeditions : the Battle of 
Almhain and the legend of Dondbo. Musical instruments mentioned in the 
Tale of the Battle of A Imhain, and in the poem on the fair of Carman. 
The Cornaire, or horn-blower, also mentioned in the poem on the Banquet- 
ing-House of Tara. The Craebh-Ciuil, or Musical Branch, mentioned in 
the Tale of Fledh Bricrind or " Bricriu's Feast" ; the musical branch a 
symbol of poets and used for commanding silence, as shown by the Tales of 
"Bricriu'A Feast", and the "Courtship of Emer" ; the Musical Branch 
mentioned in the Tale of the ' Dialogue of the Two Sages" ; and also in 
the Tale of the " Finding of Comae's Branch" ; and lastly in a poem of 
about the year A.D. 1500; the Musical Branch symbolical of repose and 
peace; it was analogous to the Turkish silver crescent and bells; some 
bronze bells in the museum of the R.I. A. belonged perhaps to such an in- 
strument. The bells called " Crotals" described in the " Penny Journal" ; 
Dr. Petrie's observations thereon ; " Crotals" not used by Christian priests ; 
explanation of the term ; the Irish words crothadh, crothla, and clothra ; 
they are the only words at all like crotalum, except crotal, the husks of fruit, 
i.e. castanets; bells put on the necks of cows, and on horses ; the Crotal not 
known in Ireland, everything written about it is pure invention. The 
Crann-Ciuil, or Musical Tree; it was a generic term for any kind of musical 
instrument, as is shown by ;v passage from the Book of Lismore, where it'is 
a Cruit; Cuisle, a tube, explained in a vellum MS. as a Musical Tree; in 
another place in tbe Baok of Lismore it is a Timpun that is so called. The 
Cuiseach : mentioned in the poem on the fair of Carman, and in the Tale of 
the Battle of Almhain. The Cuisle Ciuil another name for Crann Ciiiil; Cuisle 
a living word meaning a vein, or a kind of cock ; mentioned in the Book of 
Invasions ; Cuisle explained, in H. 3. 18. T.C.D., as a Musical Tree. 

IT is not at all satisfactory, nor is it to be wondered at, that, 
although we find several musical instruments mentioned by 
name in our ancient writings, we have so few of them now 
existing among the specimens of ancient aft preserved in the 
museum of the Royal Irish Academy. Those instruments 
have for ages ceased to be known in Ireland, and are now only 
occasionally found buried deep in the earth, from which they 
are from time to time recovered to bear their unimpeachable 
evidence to a remote era of civilization and art in the country. 
The best way, perhaps, in which we could enter upon the study 
of these objects would be to first give in alphabetical order 


a list of such musical instruments as I have found mentioned ill 
old Gaedhelic writings, and then give in the same order a 
literal translation of these names as far as I can, together with 
the circumstances and ancient authorities in which they are 
found. After that I shall give (with such explanations as I can 
offer) the names for musical performers, and for the various 
species of music, and the occasions upon which they are men- 
tioned, as far as I have been able to collect them. 

The number of instruments, then, amounts to twenty, and 
the following are their names: 

Bennbuabhaill ; Benn-CJiroit; Buinde or Buinne; Coir-Cea- Names of 
thairchuir; Corn; Craebh-CiiUl; Crann-Ciuil; Cruit; Cruis- instrument* 
each; Cuisle-Ciuil; Feaddn; Fidil; Guth-Buinde; Ocht-Tedach; Mss. dia 
Oircin; Pip or Pipai; Stoc; Sturgan; Teillin; Timpan. 

The first instrument, Benn-buabhaill, was certainly a com- The Benn- 
pound name, formed from benn, a horn, and buabhall, a buffalo 
or wild ox. This real horn, as an instrument of music, is not 
mentioned, as far as I have found, in any composition older than 
those mediaeval poems and writings known as the Finian tales 
and poems, so called because they pretend to record chiefly the 
life and achievements of Find Mac Cumhaill, and his warriors. 
In the modern copies of these pieces the name of this instru- 
ment is written Barra-Buadh, but this is manifestly a cor- 
ruption from the old correct form of Benn-Buabhaill. The 
name will be found in several of the Finian poems, and in the 
Finian tale so well known as the Bruighean Chaerthainn, in all 
of which it is made the chief instrument by which the cham- 
pion Find called his troops together for war or the chase. 
Mention of the use of the natural horn occurs, but under The corn- 
another name and for a different purpose, in other places where a driuSng 
it is called a Corn-Buabhaill, corn and benn both being names hora ' 
for a horn ; but under this name it is always applied to a drink- 
ing cup or drinking horn, and not to a musical instrument; 
as, for instance, in the Finian tract in the Book of Lismore : 
" And the young warrior gave its full in a Corn-Buabhaill out 
of the cask of ale which he had, to (7aiYfe". (349) Many other 
instances could be adduced of this use of the Corn-Buabhaill. 

The second instrument, Benn-Chroit, is explained in an an- The tenn- 
cient glossary thus: " The strings of a Benn-Crot, that is, the Clurott - 
strings of a pinnacled (or triangular) Cruit, that is of a Tz'm- 
pan". (S50) This is a curious interpretation, and if correct, it 

(3) [original: Ocup cue AH coc- ( 350> [original: CecA mbeAnnq\oc f 

Ixxd AlAti A TnbeiAn-o-buAjrbAVl AJ* in .1. HA cpoc mbeAnnAc, .1. 

OAbuig TneA'OAboi Aigeioo CAitci. H. 4. 22. 67 or 65]. 
Book of Lismore, foL 339 [141] a. a.] 

VOL. ii. 20 


would lead to the opinion that the real ancient Cruit was quad- 
rangular, while the Timpan was triangular. The phrase, " As 
sweet as the strings of Benn-Crot", occurs very often in our 
ancient tales ; and in deriving the name of Geide Ollgothach, 
or Geide of the great voice, one of our ante- Christian kings, we 
are told in the Book of Leinster and other equally ancient 
authorities, that he was so called because, fiom the peaceful, 
harmonious character of his reign, the people heard each other's 
words and voices with the same delight as if they had been the 
strings of the triangular [? melodious] harps, or Benn-Chrotta. 

The Buinde. The third instrument is the Buinde or Buinne; and we have the 
best definition of its form that can be desired, from the old text 
quoted in Zeuss' " Grammatica Celtica", vol. I., p. 481, where we 
find : Roboi buinne fochosmuilius nadarcae side, that is " a cornet 
horn ; which means that it was a trumpet in shape of a horn". 
The learned author of the " Grammatica Celtica" merely gives 
the passages for grammatical purposes from a codex at Milan in 
Italy, containing a commentary on the Psalms of David ; but 
this passage contains an important authority for the meaning 
of the word Buinne, since the MS. is one of the ninth century. 
Again the same authority has, at page 77 of the same volume: 
angaibther isind buinniu, no croit, which is glossed thus : " quod 
canitur; i.e. tibia vel crotta"; that is, " what is chanted on the 
tibia, or the harp". Now Tibia is not exactly a horn, or an in- 
strument of the horn form, but a flute, fife, or clarionet ; but 
of such an instrument no ancient specimen that I know of has 
come down to our times. I have not met with the name Buinne 
itself as applying to any instrument of music in my readings 
of ancient Gaedhelic original writings; but the Buinire, or 
performer on the Buinne, is mentioned in the ancient poem on 
the Teach Midchuarta, or Banqueting Hall of Tara; and he 
is placed at the same table with the Cornair, or horn-player, 
in the plan of that hall published by Dr. Petrie in his Essay 
on the Antiquities of Tara. 

The Coir The fourth instrument is the Coir Ceathairchuir, the great 

chuir Mr harp of the Tuatha De Danann, so amply discussed in a former 
lecture ; but, whether this was one of the special names for this 
particular harp, or the name of a particular fashion, or class of 
harps, it is at present quite beyond our reach to ascertain. 

The Com; The fifth instrument on my list is the Corn; a word which 
simply and literally signifies a horn, but which, certainly, was 
applied only to a metallic instrument of music of the trumpet 
kind. Of this fact, as well as of the use of the Corn, we have 
many examples, of which the following will be sufficient for 
our present purpose. In the very ancient tale of the Tain Bo 


Fraich, already quoted in former lectures (where the three xxxiv. 
harpers, the sons of Uaithne and Boand who attended Fraech The cor- 
on his matrimonial visit to the palace of Cruachan, are de- player 
scribed) we are told that the young prince was attended in his j e {^ !^ 
progress by seven Cornaire, or Corn players. o Fraich; 

" There were", says the tale, " seven Cornaires along with 
them, who had Corns of gold and of silver, and who wore 
clothes of various colours ; their hair was fair-yellow, as if of 
gold, and they wore brilliant white shirts 1 '/ 350 

We have a description of another group of Cornaire from 
a different source, and a different tale of equal antiquity, ex- 
actly similar ; I mean that in the tale called Tochmarc Feirbe, 
or the Courship of Ferb; and which is one of the most cele- 
brated of its class. Ferb was the beautiful daughter of Gerg, 
the chief of Glenn- Geirg, in Ulster, and she was beloved by 
Maine, one of the sons of Ailill and Medb, the celebrated 
king and queen of Connacht. We are told that this young 
prince having, with the consent of his father and mother, 
determined on paying a visit to the court of the lady Ferb's 
father, for the purpose of making a formal demand of her hand 
in marriage, he set out at the head of a splendid cavalcade to 
his father's palace of Cruachan to show himself to his royal 
parents and to receive their benediction and good wishes. 
Nothing can be more gorgeous than the description in this tale 
of prince Maine, and the cavalcade that attended his progress, 
as may be seen from the following short extract, which it will 
be observed includes the mention of the Cornaire or trum- 
peters, and of the Cruitire or harpers, as well as of the druids of 
the cavalcade. 

" There were seven gray hounds attending his [prince Maine's] in the 

-, . . i . r -1 VI 1, 11 c *" 1 1 1_ 1 "Courtship 

chariot, in chains ot silver, with balls ol gold upon each chain, O f Ferb"-, 
so that the tingling of the balls against the chains would be 
music sufficient [for the march]. There was no known colour 
that was not to be seen upon these grayhounds. There were 
seven Cornaire, with Corna of gold and of silver, wearing 
clothes of many colours, and all having fair-yallow hair. Three 
druids also went in front of them, who wore Minda (or diadems) 
of silver upon their heads and speckled cloaks over their dresses, 
and who carried shields of bronze ornamented with red copper. 
Three Cruitire (or harpers) accompanied them ; each of kingly 
aspect, and arrayed in a crimson cloak. It was so they arrived 
on the green ot (the palace of) Cruachan; and they ran their 
three assembly -races upon the green of Cruachari' 1 ^ 

[original already given; ante, (3S2) [orginal: Se6c irntcoin itn- 
Lect. xxx., vol. ii., p. 220.] m<\ CAJ\PAC ifl<xbj\<vo<Mb AI^JIC, 

20 B 


After this the story tells us they went forth on their journey, 
which, however, happened to turn out an unfavourable one. 

Of this fine old tale there remains a beautiful copy in the 
Book of Leinster, with the loss of, perhaps, a page at the 
beginning. I quote only that part of it in which the Cornaire 
are introduced. 

and in a The next reference to the Corn is from a very different 

ve 8 rsufn of source indeed, but it is one that sufficiently well defines the 

Genesis* f cnaracter an( l use f tne instrument. It is to be found in a 

beautiful legendary version of the Book of Genesis, the crea- 

tion of Adam and Eve, their temptation and fall, and expulsion 

from Eden. 

" And it was then", says this legend, " that Adam heard the 
voice of Michael the Archangel, saying to Gabriel : ' Let a 
Corn and a Stoc Focra be sounded by thee, until they are 
heard throughout the seven heavens ; and go all of ye to the 
presence of your Creator. And arise, all ye armies and host of 
angels of the seven heavens, until ye repair along with your 
Creator to paradise' ". (353) 

There can scarcely remain a doubt that the Corn spoken of 
here was the long curving trumpet of which we have such a 
magnificent specimen in the museum of the Royal Irish Aca- 
demy, which is an instrument of the most powerful charac- 
ter ; (354J and it appears to me equally certain that the Stoc was 
a clarion, a smaller, a more shrill and sharp-sounding instrument, 
of which, as far as we can surmise, no specimen has come down 

ubutl oin pop, cec flAbnA'o, cornbA- < 353) [original: COMIT> Ann pn ic- 

1,eon ceoL -pojvin nA nubult pp-T n & ctiAlAT) A'OAITI guc tn hicVhil, AncAn- 

ptAonA'OAib ; noco -j\Abi t>Acn MA 51 1 ocAttAX) f]vi jAbniel/ Aingel, -pe- 

f Abi ipiA ConAib. "OACAU Aiee rnon irmcen otf e cop-n octif fcocc f OCCJ\A 

pe-ppun connAine, co connAib oip, Lib co ctumn A -ponn -ponA .un. tri- 

Acu-p Af\pc teo, conecAijpb itt-OA- mib ; ocup encit) -uile icom'OAi'L bA|\- 

CAib irnpu, co mongAib -pnbtuxie nT)tii"LeinAn ; ocup encin uile Af-togti 

po^Aib. t)A cA-p. c^i onui -pempu octif A Ai|\b|MU Ainget nA .un. mme 

comm'OAib Ai]\5 > oi'oib UA^A cennAib, con'oecn^-Ai'o niAp-Aen |\IA bun n-oui- 

comb|\AccAib bpeccAib impu, Acttp temAin -oocu-m pA-p.'our. Leabhar 

cofdACAib umAi'oib ACU^ conA-pnAi- Breac, folio, 46. a. a. bot.J 
010 cne'oumAi -ponAib. Cni c]\uic- (3M ) This grand instrument, fig 61, 

cini conecopc nijj-oA -pon cecAe mA- when the two pieces are joined, mea- 

coniAin imbpAccAlb concnAib. UAM- sures eight feet five inches in length. 

iA|\pin cAchim pn co cnuAc- The opening at the large end is three 

, Acuf no-pencAc A cp.1 jp-Aiphm and a half inches wide, and five-eighths 

Aig ^ron |?Aicci nA cnuAchnA. of an inch at the small end. There 

H. 2. 18. fol 189. a. a. and a. b. must have been another piece at least, 

This passage is very similar to the as well as a mouth-piece. There is 

corresponding one from the Tain Bo also in the Academy's museum the 

Fraich, given in lecture xxx. (vide vol. middle-piece of another great horn, 

ii., p. 219). The buffoons, or as they fortunately preserving those circular 

ought perhaps more properly to be bosses at the ends by which it was 

called jugglers, in the latter being connected with the other two pieces. 
here called Druids.] 


to our time. Of this instrument, however, I shall have to xxxiv 
speak again under its proper head. (355) 

It is remarkable that there is no reference to instruments of n reference 
the trumpet kind in the Tain Bo Chuailgne, nor in the Brui- in thfdin 
gliean Daderga, two tales of a very warlike character, in which ne, butt^re 
the mention of such instruments might naturally be expected. p,a in ;he of 
Indeed the only reference to music in the Tain Bo Chuailgne harps in the 
is where we are told that when the marching forces halted at mentsf 
night, they were regaled with the music of the harp and other 
instruments at and after dinner. Another instance of the instance of 
attendance of musical performers upon kings and chiefs on their ^e S tra*n S of n 
royal progresses and military expeditions, is found in the de c^efton* 1 
tailed account of the battle of Almhain (now the hill of Allen, E ^ ilit ^ 
in the county of Kildare) fought in the year 718; and this 
account contains so much that relates to our present subject, 
that although I have already used it in a former lecture, (3M) I must 
go into it at some length here. 

In the year 718, the monarch of Erinn, Ferghal, the son of 
Maelduin, of the northern Ui Neill race, and who at the time 
resided at Aileach (near Derry), proposed to re-impose, and 
levy from the people of Leinster, the old Borromean Tribute 
which had been remitted to them a few years previously by the 
then monarch, Finnachta, at the solicitation of St. Moling. 
He accordingly made great preparations for this dangerous 
expedition, as will be seen from the following extract: 

" Long, indeed, was this muster being made ; for what every Lgend of 
man of the Leith Chuinn (or Conns half, i.e. the northern half of 
Erinn to whom the summons came) used to say, was : ' IfDonnbo 
goes upon the expedition, I will'. Now Donnbo was the son of 
a widow belonging to the Fera-Rois (of the county of Muin- 
eachan or Monaghan) ; he had never gone away from his mother's 
house one day or one night ; and there was not in all Erinn one 
more comely, or of better shape or face, or more graceful sym- 
metry, than he ; he was the best at singing amusing verses and 
telling of royal stories in the world ; he was the best to equip 
horses, and to mount spears, and to plait hair ; and his was the 
best mind in acuteness of intellect and in honour" . (3W) 

(355) [o ee postea^ Lect. xxxvi.] cAijje eif 1-oe -op eAnAib tloff; 

(ass) g ee Lect. xvm., ante, vol. i., p. oeAfiAni) I,A n<x An:>6i A CAIJ A niACAn 

389.] irnAd -jviArii ; ACAf m nAibe 1 n-eit\inn 

(357) [original: t)A ^A-OA CJ\A no- tnle bux> coime, no buT> fenn cnuc 

bAf A An cmoLf Am ; UAIU Affe-o A-O no -oeVb, no t>enAm mAj% fli nAbA 

bei-pet) A6 jreAn -oo Leic Chumn gtif 1 n-Gininn tnte bu-6 gniAb-OA, no 

A noiceAt) piaccnAt), .1. "OA wci buT> yegAine mAf, ACAf Af tiA-6 but) 

"Oonnb6 An An fUiAjjA'o nAgA-ofA", fenn nAnn efpA ACA^ nij^ 

X)onnb6 imunno m&c bAincneAb- -oortion ; Af e ou-6 fenn oo 


Such was the description of Donnbo, the widow's son, who 
Legend of appeared so precious, we are told, in his mother's eyes, that when 
(continued), the king summoned him to his standard, she would not allow 
him to go until she had gotten the security of St. Colum GUIS, 
through his representative Mael Mac Failbhe, that he should 
return to his home from Leinster in safety. Not so, however, 
was the young man's fate, as the sequel will show. 

King Fergal having completed his preparations, set out from 
Aileach upon his southern march, and in due time and after 
much toil, reached Cluain Dobhail, at Almhain, where he en- 
camped and set up his own pavilion. It was then, the story 
says, that Fergal said to Donnbo : " Make amusement for 
us, Donnbo! because thou art the best minstrel in Erinn, 
namely, at Cuiseachs, at pipes (or tubes), and at harps, and at 
poems, and at traditions, and at the royal stories of Erinn ; and 
to-morrow morning we shall give battle to the Leinstermen". 
"Not so", said Donnbo, " I am not able to amuse thee this night ; 
nor can I exhibit one single feat of all these to-night. But, 
wherever thou art to-morrow night, if I be alive, I shall make 
amusement for thee. Let then the royal buffoon, Ua Maigh- 
linne, amuse thee to-night". So Ua Maighlinne was called to 
them then ; and he commenced to narrate the battles and tri- 
umphs of Leth-Chuinn and Leinster from the destruction of 
Tuaim Teanbath, that is Dind Righ, in which Cobliihach Cael-m 
Breagli was killed, down to that time ; and they slept not much 
that night, because of their great dread of the Leinstermen and 
the great tempest. For this was the eve of the festival of St. 
Finnian in the winter" (that is, the llth of December) . (358) 

The story goes on to relate that the battle was fought on the 
next morning, and that the northerns were defeated with the 
loss of nine thousand men, including the monarch Fergal him- 

ACAf 'oo iiTopnA flej, A^Af t>-pj;e cipp Aif\tn 1 -fVAbAip A iriAfVAc, - 

pole, Acup but) -pefv -p.1 Aicne [.1. 1115- tmbeo-pA, oo 'oetij-A Aijvp'oe ouicp. 

ne inntleccA] tiA einec. Three 'OenA'6 itnu]\|\o An jvig-ojuic ViuAtTlAi 

Fragments of Irish Annals, pub. by gleme Aijvp-oe -ouic Atiocc. CtigA'd 

I.A.S., p. 34 ; vide also H. 2. 1G. 939; nuA ttlAijiem CUCA iA|\ccAin ; JAO 

and Book of Fermoy, fol. 79. b.b.] ^AbpAnie 05 irraipn CAC, AgAf com- 

(358) [original : Ap Atropn Apoe^c j\AtriAleiceCViuirm Ajtif txyigen 6 co- 

j-epjAt fpiA TDormbo: -o^riA Aij\-p- gAit, CUATHA UenbAc, .1. "OeAtroA Hi j, 

oe-o -oum, A "Ootrmbo ! -pobic A-p cti in |\A mA|\bA'6 CobcAc CAO^bfyeg, 

Af-oeAc Aipp-oe put -in-eiiMtin, .1. 1 comgi An Aimfi^ pn, AjAf ni bA 

cuipj, AgAf 1 cuiflen-ooib, AJA^- 1 m6]\ CO-OA!CA -oo iMnne-oteo m AIX>- 

c|\uidb, AgA-p -jAArTOAib, AgAf |\Ait)- cVii pn, |\A met) eAjlxx leo tAijin, 

pecoib, AjA-p iMjpgetAib e-inenn ; AgA-p te tn&i'o nA "ooiniTine, .1. UAI]\ 

AJA^ if in tnATDinp imbA^Ac -oo be- AI-OCI ^rele i:ViinniAin gAUTHM'opn. 

f\Ain-ne CAC t>o tAijmb. xX6, Ap Tliree P'ragments of Irish Annals, 

"Oormbo, ni cumjAiinp Ai^ptie T>UIC- pub. by I. A. S., p. 38 ; vide also H. 2. 

p AHOCC, AgA-p mmcA Aon gniotri x)ib 16. 939 ; and Book of Fermoy, fol. 79, 

pn uite t>o cAi-obpn Anocc. AJ^'P b. b.] 


self, and almost all the northern chiefs. It was Aedh Menn, a 
Leinster chief, that slew Fergal, but not before he had first slain Legend of 
the minstrel Donnbo, who appears to have lost his life in the Continued), 
special defence of the king. The buffoon, Ua Maighlinne, was 
taken prisoner ; and we are told he was commanded to give his 
" buffoon's roar" (whatever that performance was), and that he 
did so. And the tale lays particular emphasis upon this per- 
formance, for we are told that loud and melodious was this roar ; 
and that Ua Maighlinne^ roar remained with the buffoons of 
Erinn from that time to the time of the writer. This was not 
all, however, for we are further told that king FergaFs head 
was then cut off, and the buffoon's head was also cut off; and 
that the echo of the buffoon's roar continued to reverberate in 
the air for three days and three nights : a feat clearly showing to 
what class of the wonderful the tale I quote belongs. Then 
comes the passage in which the allusion to musical instruments 
occurs, in connection with which I shall quote this singular 

" It was at Condail of the kings" (now Old Connall in the 
county of Kildare), continues the story, " that the Leinstermen 
encamped that night, drinking wine and mead pleasantly and in 
good spirits, after having fought the battle, and each of them 
relating his triumphs merrily and cheerfully. Then Murchadh, 
the son of Bran (king of Leinster), said : ' I would give a 
chariot worth four cumhals (that is, twelve cows) and a steed, 
and my dress, to any champion who would go to the field of 
slaughter, and who would bring us a token from it'. ' I will 
go', said Baethghalach, a champion of Munster. So he put on 
his battle-dress of battle and combat, and reached the spot where 
(king) FergaVs body was ; and he heard something near, above 
him, in the air, which said, for he heard it all : ' Here is a com- 
mand to you from the king of the seven heavens. Make amuse- 
ment for your master to-night, that is, for Fergal, the son of 
Maelduin , though you have all of you, the professional men, 
fallen here, both Cuisleannchu (that is, pipers), and Cornaire 
(that is, trumpeters), and Cruitire (that is, harpers) ; yet, let 
not terror nor debility prevent you this night from performing 
for Fergal'. And then the warrior heard the music both of 
singers, and trumpeters, and fifers, and harpers ; and he heard 
the variety of music, and he never heard before nor after better 
music. And he heard in a cluster of rushes near him a Dord- 
Fiansa (or wild song), the sweetest of all the world's music 
The warrior went towards it. ' Do not come near me', said the 
head to him. ' I ask who thou art ?' said the warrior. ' I am 
the head of Donnbo\ said the head, ' and I was bound in a bond 


xxxiv. last night to amuse the king this night ; and do not you inter- 
Legend of rupt me!' 'Where is Fergal's body here?' said the warrior. 
(continued). ' It is it that shines beyond thee there', said the head. ' I ask', 
said the warrior, ' shall I take thee also away with me? It is 
thou that I prefer to take'. ' I prefer that nothing whatever 
should carry me away', said the head, ' unless Christ, the Son 
of God, should take me', continued the head ; ' thou must give 
the guarantee of Christ that thou wilt bring me back to my 
body again'. ' I shall certainly bring thee (back)', said the war- 
rior ; and so the warrior returned with the head to Condail the 
same night, and he found the Leinstermen still drinking on his 

'"Hast thou brought a token with thee?' said king Mur- 
chadh. ' I have', answered the warrior, ' the head of Donnbd 1 . 
' Place it on yonder post', said (king) Murchadh. The whole 
host then knew it to be the head of Donnbo; and this was what 
they all said ; ' Pity thy fate, O Donnbo ! Comely was thy 
face ! make amusement for us this night, the same as thou didst 
for thy lord yesterday'. So he turned his face to the wall of 
the house, in order that it should be the darker for him ; and 
he raised his Dord Fiansa (or wild song) on high, and it was 
the sweetest of all music upon the surface of the earth ! So that 
the host were all crying and lamenting from the plaintiveness 
and softness of the melody". (359) 

(>59) [original: 1 con-OAit nA niog LtiAcnA IDA nepA -66 An co 

bAccujv LAI jin An ATOCI, AJ ob -pnA bA binne | m ceot hipin oVoAc 

me-oA Anccun An CACA 50 pubAC m oomAni. B. of Fermoy, f. 80, a. 

foimenmACjAgApcAC'oiob Ag inn-pin b.]. tui-6 An coglAC nA oocum. TlA 

A comnAmA, ipiAX) me-onAig meA'OAn- CAin An m'Atntip, An An cenn p.nif. 

CAom . A-p Ant>pin tv& nAi"6 tTlunch AW Cepc, ci A ctt ? An An cogtAC. Tim mipe 

mAc "OnAin : " > oo beA-p-Ainn cAnpAC cennxi "Oumnbo, An An cenn, AgAy 

cecne cumAtA, AJA^ mo eA6, AJA^ nArom nonAiT3Tne'6irnini A-pein Ainp- 

T>on LAOC no nAJA'o ipn oe'o An ivigAnocc ; AgAf nA encoTOTo 

AgAp T>O benA^) cotnAncA T>Am! CAix>econp'P 'P5 A1 ^r uri ' n '' 1 A T* 

A-p". tlAgA-o-pA An bAoc- Anc'o^lAc,? [1pe Aconpm cAicneA- 

, IAOC -oim[n] Ttl-uinAin. J ^ 1 " niAc nic AnAtL, Anm ceAn-o, cepc A|\ 

A CAcennAt) CACA AgAp co-mLAnnA m coclAec CIA no be|\ I/mm. H. 2. 

uime, 50 nAimg 50 ViAinm 1 mbAoi 16. 939. etseq.~] " A-p cu A-p T)eAc tim", 

conp peAn^Aile; 50 cuplA ni 1 neA- Horn bep.A, Ap Ann cenn ; ACC -|\A6 

gAingAine ipn Aeon op A cmn, con- cnipc DOT) cmn TIA nom nugA, gA 

oepenc : An clopp uite, ciniAnnA'6 CCUJA me An AmurmocolA,A'oo nix>- 

otnb 6 nig-peccmme. X)enA Ainp/iTje ip. "Oo bei-p egm, An An cogbAc ; 

T>A bvi|\ ccijennA Anocc, .1. "o'^enjAl, AgA-p impoi An cogLAc AgAp An cenn- 

niAc "tllAol.'ouin, CIA tjo nocnApAin 1/Aip comge ConT>Aib, AgAp -puAifv 

punn ulbe m bAn nAoi-p-oAnA eit)in bAigm Ag 6t An A cenn 'pin ATOCI 

cxnpLeAnt)6u, AgAp connAine, ACAp, cecnA. An ccugAip comAncAt/Ac? 

cnuicine; nA CAinmepccA enptiAc no Ap. Mltinc1iA'6. CujAp, An An cogL&fi 

1ieg comnAnc pb -D'Ainp-oe-o Anocc cen-o X)uinnbo. ITonAim An An 

01 VeAngA^L. 50 CCUALA lAnAm An fuAicne uc CAiL, An tnup.cA'6. Cug- 

coglAc An ctnpig. AgAp An ceol, pi- rAt) An pbuAg tnte Aicne fAin gun 

neAccAC. 30 ccttAlA t>An 'p^^ cum be cenn t)tnnnbo ; AgAp Apex) no- 


However wild this strange story may be, the composition xxxiv. 
affords evidence sufficient to show, that in the middle ages, say 
in the seventh and eighth centuries, it was the custom in Erinn 
that music and song should attend on military expeditions, if 
not to cheer them on to the battle-field, at least to keep up their 
spirits and to dissipate the gloom which must naturally hang 
over an army on the night preceding the day of battle ; and so 
also we gather from the context, that it was customary for the 
victors to celebrate their triumphs with wine, ale, music, and 
song. I may here observe that the musical instruments men- Musical 
tioned in this story were the Cuiseach, the Guide, the Cruit, and * '" e e a ts 
the Corn. Of the Cruit I have already said much; of the '" 'e Tale 

ITITII / i of the 

others 1 shall have more to say further on. " Battle of 

This represents one class of those occasions on which we find Alm 

the music of the horn player referred to. 

Again, in the ancient poem preserved in the Book of Lein- and the 

jj.-i-i. /f *! ,.,. poem on the 

ster, and described in a former lecture, which gives an account Fair of 
of the sports and entertainments practised at the fair of Car- Carman - 
ma/< (360) (now Wexford) in ancient times, we find several instru- 
ments of music mentioned as having been in requisition at these 
great national or provincial assemblies. This poem was written 
by Fulartach, a native of Leinster, about the year 1000 ; and, 
in speaking of and enumerating the various kinds of these 
entertainments, the poet tells us (at the fifty-fifth stanza), that 
among its favourite sources of enjoyment were the Stuic, the 
Cruta, the wide-mouthed Corna, the Cuiseacha, the Timpain, 
the Pipai (or pipes), the Fiddles, the Fir-Cengail, the Cnamh- 
fhir, and the Cnislennaclis. I may observe that the last three 
names are those of performers, derived from the names of their 
instruments, of each of which I propose to speak under its par- 
ticular head. 

The Cornair, or horn-blower, is mentioned also in the ancient ^ Cor - 
poem on the arrangement of the Banqueting House of Tara, the horn-blower 
Teach Midhchuarta; and we find the particular place assigned tioneSln'the 
to him in that great house marked on the plan of it published oem " thl 

p . . r r Banqueting 

by Dr. .retrie in his " History of the Antiquities of Tara . House of 

The sixth instrument on our list is the Craebh Ciuil, or Musi- Ta 
cal Branch. This appears to have been a branch, or branchy The Cra 

J Ciuil or 

ttAi'ore'o tule: -oi^An 6uicA'Onuirm- 939. et seq.~] 50 mo&ccufv tnte Ag Musical 

DO! DA CAOtii "oo -oeAlb, -oetiA A1]\- CAOI AgAj- Ag cui^fi [JYIA c]\tiAiji Branch; 

px>e -ouinn Anocc, feb t>o pigmf AJAr pi CAITIUI; 1 m emit pocAn. 

ooc dgeAjMiA imbuA|\AC. Impoij- H. 2. 16. 939. et seq.~] Three Frag- 

cej\ A AI jif) [fj\Ai JJTO in cii <\|\ tJAig ments of Irish Annals, pub. by I.A.S., 

COTTIA-O X)opcA DO. H. 2. i(J. 939. et p. 46. 

seq.~\ ; AgAf ACC|\ACC A oo^'o-pAnrA 136 ) [See Lect. II., ante, vol. ii. p. 

AccnuAg A-J\ Ai|vo, [combAbm'oi cAcli 38 ; and also Appendix, for the origi- 

ceot A]\ cuint) cAtmAti H. '2. 16. nal of this important poem.] 




in the Tale 
of Fledh 
Bricrind or 
" Bricritfa 

the Musical 
Branch a 
syrflbol of 
poets, and 
used for 

pole, upon which a cluster of bells was suspended ; something, 
perhaps, like the crescent with its bells, which, borrowed from 
the Turks within our memory, held a rather conspicuous place 
in the military bands of the British army. It is, perhaps, 
scarcely correct to call this a musical instrument, as we do not 
find it mentioned any where in connection with other instru- 
ments of music. The first reference to a musical branch that 
I have met is in the very ancient tale of Fledh Bricrind 
(Bricrius feast), fully described in a former lecture. (361) 

When at this feast the wives of the great champions of Ulster 
had got into a warm war of words in support of the merits of 
their respective husbands, the husbands themselves being pre- 
sent became excited, and ready to step beyond the limits of 
wordy argument to test the assertions of their spouses on the 
spot. As the passage is a very short one, I may as we 1 .! give 
the following translation of it from the Leabhar na h- Uidhre : 

" The house became a babel of words again with the women, 
in a contention about their husbands and themselves. And the 
husbands showed a disposition to quarrel again, namely, Conall 
[CearnacK], and Laeghaire Buadhach, and Cuchulaind. Then 
Senclia [the poet] son of Ailill arose, and he shook the Craebh 
Shencha, or Senc/ia's Branch, whereupon all the Ultonians were 
silent to hear him". (362) 

This Sencha was a distinguished scholar and poet, and held, 
besides, the post of chief judge to Conchobar Mac Nessa, king 
of Ulster at this time. In a former lecture (363) I have given a 
description of his person, arms, and dress, as told by Mac JRoth, 
to Ailill and Medbh, the king and Queen of Connacht, at Sleim- 
hain, in Westmeath, quoted from the Tain Bo Chuailgne. 

That the Musical Branch was an appendage peculiar to the 
poets, and probably for the double purpose of distinction and of 
commanding silence, as in the present case, may be inferred from 
another passage in the same tale of Bricriu's Feast, on the 
occasion of the first commotion of the women and their hus- 
bands referred to in the passage just quoted above. The con- 
tention in this case arose among the women when outside the 
house, as to who should be the first to get in, whereupon the 
tale says: 

(36i) [-gee L ec tures on the MS. Mate- 
rials of Ancient Irish History, p. 346 ; 
and also Lecture xix., ante, vol. ii. p. 

(sea) [original : "Do j\At,A in cec in- 

Af\A1Cf eCAlb b|M ACA]\ OC MA mttAlb, '00 

oc im<y|Vb<xi5 ecejv A 
PAC feritif. Co 

iMT>-pj\ come^gi x>ebcA -ooivifi, .1. 
ConAlA, ocf toejjAipe ocuf Cucut- 
lAirm. AcfVAcc SencA TTIAC AilellA 
t\ocf\oic m CfVAeib SencA, ocwp con- 
coirec utA[uLcu] uti f|\if . Leabhar 
na h-Uidhre, fol. 67 a. b. et seq.~\ 

(.3*3) [gee Lecture xxiii., ante, TO!, ii. 
p. 92.] 


" Their husbands arose in the house ; each man of them 
(anxious) to open the door for his wife, so that she should be the a shown ty 
first woman to enter the house. ' It will be an evil night', said F^ s 
(king) Conchobar; and he struck the red bronze post of the 
couch with the spike of silver which he held in his hand, upon 
which the whole host sat down". (364) 

That this was not an accidental circumstance as regards the 
king's means of commanding peace and silence, we have ample 
evidence from the following passage in the T6chmarc n-Eimire 
(or, the Courtship of Enter and Cuchulaind), in which the same 
king Conchobar Mac Nessa, and his palace, the Royal Branch of 
Emania, are described : 

" Conchobhars couch was placed in the front of the house ; and the 
it was ornamented with plates of silver, and it had posts of red l^Eml*? 
bronze, with gilding of gold on their heads, inlaid with gems of 
carbuncle, so that day and night were of equal light in it. There 
was a plate of silver [i.e. a kind of gong] over the king, reach- 
ing to the roof of the royal house ; and whenever Conchobhar 
struck with the royal wand this plate, the Ultonians all were 
silent". (365) 

The next reference to the Craebh Ciuil, or Musical Branch, is the Musical 
to be found in the ancient tale called Agallamh an da Shuadh, or tionea'irTthe 
the Dialogue of the two Sages or Professors, of which I gave ^aiolue 
a free analysis in a former lecture when treating of the pieces f the TWO 
called ancient prophecies. (366) I shall give here a short analysis 
of the story by way of preface to the particular passage bearing 
upon my present subject. 

Adhna, a learned man of the province of Connacht, was chief 
poet of Ulster, and attached to the court of the above Conchobar 
Mac Nessa at Emania, about the time of the Incarnation. This 
Adhna had a son, Rleithe, who, after finishing his education at 
home, passed into Scotland, to add to his learning and know- 
ledge of the world in the schools there. After spending some 
time there, at the school of a celebrated philosopher of the name 
of Eochaidh Echbheoil, he returned with a few companions to 
his father at Emania. When he reached that royal palace, 

(a4) [origiual : [Condngec A pip Ainci-o, co nuAicnib cnetmtnAi, co- 

ipn cnj ; bAfo-OAn CAC fen T>iib -oo tignvco oij\ pop A cen-oAib, co nge- 

oftogu-o niA HA rntiAi com DAT) Aben tnoib connmogulmcib, commA corn- 

cectiA cif A'O iffA cec Ancuf. "bi-o poVAf I^AA ocup A-OAICC mce. JoriA 

olc m'OA'OAig, op ConcobAn; beAit> fceiU, Ainci-o UAf AH nit co An-obof 

Act/6 riAngic no b6i itiAtAiin ^nipr) ATI nijjcigi ; -m riAtn no DUAle-D Con- 

nuAini cneDUttiA m nAinroA. Con- cobA^ co p tey-c nig^Ai An f celt, con- 

oepcAnm'oi-'LuAiginnApi'oi. Leah- cAicif vilAi-o utie nip MSS. Eger- 

har na h-Uidhre, folio 67. a. b. et seq.~\ ton 5280, Brit. Mus.] 

(sea) [original; InroAe ConcobAin t 366 ) [See Lectures on the MS. Mnte- 

inx>Ainenec1i m age, co rcioAl,x>oib rials of Ancient Irish History.'] 


however, he discovered that his father had died a few days pre- 
viously ; and having entered the court, he found the OllanJis or 
chief poet's chair which his father had filled, empty, with the 
c hief poet's splendid cloak laid on the back of it, as no succes- 

ii r -ii 1111 i rm 

sor to the learned deceased had been yet appointed. Ihe young 
man without hesitation put on the cloak and sat in the chair ; 
but, shortly after the poet Ferceirtne, who was the presumptive 
successor to the vacant chair, walked in, and to his astonishment 
found it already occupied by a youthful stranger. Ferceirtne 
questioned him as to the chair and cloak of which he had pos- 
sessed himself. The young man answered that his learning was 
his title to them, and he proposed to maintain it by a public dis- 
cussion. The challenge was accepted, and the discussion was 
carried on in presence of king Conchobar and the nobles of 
Ulster ; and this is the discussion, the report of which is what 
has ever since been called the Agallamh an da Shuadh, or the 
Dialogue of the two Sages or Profes&ors. It is not, however, 
with the dialogue itself that we are at present concerned, but 
with a passage in the preface to it, which, in the following words, 
gives an account of the young poet's setting out from Scotland 
with his companions : 

" Neidhe then set out from Cenn TirS (now Ken tire), and 
went from that to Rinn Snog. He after that set out from Port 
Rigli (in Scotland) over the sea, and landed at Rind Roiss (in 
Ulster): from this he set out over Seimhne, and over Lath- 
airne [now Lame], and over MagU Line, and over Ollarbha, 
and over Tulach Ruse, and over Ard-Sleibhe, and over Craib 
Telca, and over Magh-Ercaithi, and over the [river] Banna 
upper, and over Glenn Right, and over the territories of Ui 
Breasail [in Armagh], and over Ard Sailech, that is Ardmacha, 
and over the hill of the palace of Emhain [or Emanid\. And it is 
how he made his journey with a silver branch over him. This 
was what the Anradhs [that is the poets of the second order] car- 
ried over them ; and it was a Branch of gold that the chief poets, 
that is the Ollamhs, carried over them ; and it was a Branch of 
bronze that all other poets besides these carried over them". {367) 

(am) [original : OpoictliA ooib ftije, -po^ cuAcViA hi-tn'bflef Ait, fop 

cf\Ac AcepcA-oocurn'lAirec'oo Chirra -Ajvo SAiLec, -pni^Aice^ AJVO .tn. m- 

t/if\e,ocuf luTOiAfvpin ooTVm'o Snoc. t>iu, fop -pit) 0^1115 MA ViCmriA. 1f 

T)o cum LAI fee lAjvutn A puj\c 1115 OAJV AmlAi-o OAH tjo cumlAi in ITIAC, ocuj* 

fAipjp, co^fVAgAbA'OAp iH|\int> ttoifr : c-peAb Ai|\5'oi > oe UAfo. UAIJV ifpet> 

AffAi-oe i?o|\ Semmu fO]\ l/ACAjvnu, nobix) tiA-p nAliAM|\ocAib; c-peAD 6ij\ 

po|\ triAj tine, -pofv Otlo|\bAi, fO]\ imo]vpo UA^ nA ol/LAtnAin ; cpeAD 

lloipc, fO|\ A\\-o Siebe, -pop UHIAI uAr riApb-o A^ cenA. H. 2. IS. 

ice, -po-p folio 142. b. a. mid.] 


This is a curious passage, as preserving to us an interesting 
feature in the professional equipment of the several degrees of 
the poets in the olden times, and one, too, hitherto unnoticed 
by all writers on Irish antiquities. 

The third reference to a Craebh Ciuil or Musical Branch is and als in 
found in an ancient tale, entitled, "The Finding of Cormac's "The Find- 
Branch", copies of which are preserved in the Books of Bal- c g r , f fflC ' S 
lymote and Fermoy in the library of the Royal Irish Academy, Branch" , 
and the Yellow Book of Lecan in the library of Trinity College. 
Cormac Mac Airt, the hero of this story, was monarch of Erinn in 
the middle of the third century ; and the following is the open- 
ing passage of the tale, which gives an account of the way in 
which he obtained this Branch, as told in the Book of Fermoy. 

" One time that Cormac, the grandson of Conn [of the hun- 
dred battles] was in Liabh-Truim [another name for Tara], he 
saw coming towards him on the green of the palace, a stately 
fair-gray-headed warrior. The warrior came up carrying in his 
hand a Branch of Peace, with three apples (or balls) of red gold 
upon it ; and it is not known to what particular kind of wood 
it belonged. And when he [the warrior] shook it, sweeter 
than the world's music was the music which the apples pro- 
duced ; and all the wounded and sick men of the earth would 
go to sleep and repose with the music, and no sorrow or depres- 
sion could rest upon the person who heard it". (368) 

It is not necessary to our present purpose to enter farther 
into the details of this story, or show how king Cormac ob- 
tained, lost, and regained this wonderful Branch : it is proper 
to state, however, that, as long as Cormac had it, he used it in 
the same way that the poet Sencha used his Branch at Brie 
riu's feast, and king Conchobar his silver spike and wand, 
namely, to shake it, and produce peace and silence in his 
palace, whenever the high spirits of his courtiers approached 
the point of disturbance at the feast. 

The next and last reference to a Musical Branch that I have nd lastly in 
met is of modern date, compared to those already given; but about the 
it is not the less valuable on that account, because, although ifoo ; A ' D * 
the name is but figuratively applied to a harp, the figure is 
correctly carried out by ascribing to the particular harp referred 
to, the magically soothing properties of a Musical Branch. 

(ses) [original: t?e6cf T>O bi Con- f\ocnAieA'6 hi bA bmne AnAC ceoib 

mac huCumn At/tACMtm* cofAceAi-6 An beACA tnle ACAtroAif TIA Viub^A; 

AenoclAch pinufCA finniiAC AJI Af\ ocup nocoi'oet'OAij* jren[Aib goncA 

fAici in T)uin. 1f AtnlA -oo bi An Ajur ACf gAlAin] An beACA tefin 

cocLAch octif ct\Aeb fi-oAiiiAit AnA- ceotfin,ocuf nACAbicctuhAnArnitn 

lArm,cocni ViubtAib'oengoinfUinne; AintiA-OAimb no eifceA-6 An ceotpn. 

ni f er CA fi* hi ; ocuf An cAn Book of Fermoy, folio 62 a. b.]. 


XXX1V - This reference is found in a sweet little Gaedhelic poem of 
eighteen stanzas, of which I possess a very good copy. The 
name and time of the author are unknown to me; but I should 
suppose that he flourished about the year 1500. The author 
appears to have been, or pretends to have been, abandoned or 
neglected by his friends and patrons ; and in this state he addresses 
the poem to his historical manuscript book, calling on it to 
come to him, and not to abandon him like his other dear friends. 
He charges the book to come to him accompanied with his 
paper, his pens, his book of poems, and his handbook of arith- 
metic and astronomy, by means of which he was enabled to cal- 
culate chronology since the Deluge, and to count the stars of 
heaven. This brings him to the eighth stanza, which, with 
the ninth, tenth, and eleventh, he devotes to his harp, as will be 
seen from the following literal translation : 
" Do not forget the Musical Branch, 

The red-boarded, dry, sweet-toned [instrument"!, 
The soft- voiced, melodious moaner ; 
Which is a sleeping sedative to the mind. 
" Do ; bring me the musical lyre, 
Speaking, brilliant, plaintive, 
Polished, well-seasoned throughout, 
Fine-stringed, and carved all round. 
" Whenever I see the artistic harp, 

The great brown-shaded, smooth-sided [instrument] 
Under the bounding ardour of my swift-moving fingers 
It excites my mind despite itself; 
" Until I have played thrilling sweet tunes 

From the very tips of my furiously rapid fingers, 
Warm, thick-wove, and grave, 
Filtered, hard-fingered, even". (369) 

The Musical I scarcely need say any more to prove that the Craebli Ciuil, 
boucai of ym ~ or Musical Branch, was an instrument indicative or symbolic of 
peacf ; and repose and peace, and used by those who were qualified by 
station or profession to command it. The particular form or 
parts of the Musical Branch we have now no means of discover- 
ing ; but, from the qualities ascribed to the branches of the poet 

O69) [original: 

HA -oem oeAnmo'o *oon CnnAOift "OonnrgAileAc th6n, minLeAngAd, 

A gnoTofeing picriiin mo meoin 

AnuToe, cijvim, CAIJIUI^, 'Oob-fvo-potiiginincinn txyinroeoin 

"bog, JOCAC t>mn ; un pnniot> brm cntcne con -pope 

co-OAtcA 'oiricinri. "Oirinninn mo meoin ojrnicin. gpox), 

t)Ail/i'6 -OAiri An li]vic lomneAc, 50 ci-jrim, ciuj -oeAncAC, c^om, 

GAttjAc, eAt>cf\occ, loglAtinAd, SiteAc, cfnucmeAfVAc, cocj\om. 

T11A1T1 g|\eAncA, pA'OAipce A|\ fo-o, O'Curry MSS., Cath. Univ., Histo- 

Ceix)LeAbAi]\, cocAiUre ciomcot. rical Poems, vol. iv. p. 549, mid.] 
An CATI A-QCIVI An ctdij\feA6 CeA|\x>Ac, 


Sencha and of king Cormac, we may assume that it resembled, 
in effect at least, if not in shape, the silver crescent of the Turks, it was anaio- 
with its gently -tingling bells, or that which, copied from it, some Turkish* 116 
years ago had a place in British military bands. It happens c^t and 6 *" 
that there are at present in the museum of the Royal Irish t>eiu ; 
Academy two sets of little bells formed like hollow musket 
bullets, with stems, which may probably have formed parts of 
an instrument of this kind. One set of these bells consists at bronze beiis 
present of fifteen loose bells ; they are formed of bronze of an seunfof'the 
ancient kind, having two small holes at both sides of the stem, belonged 
and without any enclosure. The other set consists of thirteen ; perhaps to 
they are formed of a more modern kind of brass or bronze, and instrument. 
are a little smaller than the former, and not so regularly globu- 
lar. They have each two similar perforations, and contain each 
of them a small loose ball or pea within, made, I suppose, of the 
same metal. They are at present and were so when purchased 
by the Academy slung loosely by their stems on a piece of 
wire bent into a series of regular bends, and the whole of them 
formed into a hoop or ring, like a cogged crown wheel, with a 
diameter of about four inches. Now, if this ring were fixed 
horizontally at the top of a thin pole or wand, and so shaken, the 
little bells being each slung upon its own bend of the wire, they 
could produce a small tingling noise, or music it -may be, though 
certainly not of a very soothing quality. But I cannot refer to 
them as by any means an example of the effective instrument 
whose music is described in the ancient writings I have quoted. 

There is another class of bells preserved in our national mu- The beiis 
seum, of a different form from those just described, and of most a cr<rtais" 
undoubtedly remote antiquity. These bells were noticed in the the"penny n 
" Dublin Penny Journal" (370) by a correspondent who signs him- Journal" -, 
self with the letter B. The article is headed, " Ancient Irish 
Bells and Crotals", and goes on as follows : 

" The annexed wood-cuts represent some ancient Irish bells, 
which, with a great variety of ' skeynes', ' celts', spears and 
arrow-heads, gongs, metallic pans, and other relics of antiquity, 
were found a few years ago in a bog near Birr in the King'a 
county. Many specimens of the curiosities just enumerated, as 
well as of other rare remains of ancient times, including that 
antique work in metal called Barndn Coolawn \Bearndn Cu- 
lann\ (upwards of nine hundred years old), of which an account 
[a very silly account indeed] is given in the fourteenth volume 
of the ' Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy', are now in 
the collection of T. L. Cooke, Esq., of Birr. The bells are of 

(w> No. 47, vol. i., p, 376, May 18tb, 1833. 


xxxiv. bell-metal, and appear as if gilt. No. 1 is five inches long by 
The beiis two and one and a-half in the greatest diameter ; and No. 2 
is three by two inches and a quarter. 

" These bells were formerly called Crotals or bell-cymbals, and 
Journal" : are supposed to have been used by the clergy. They consisted, 
as Dr. Ledwich writes, and as the specimens before us prove, 
of two hollow demispheres of bell-metal, joined together and en- 
closing a small piece of the same substance, to serve the use of 
a tongue or clapper, and produce the sound. The learned anti- 
quary just referred to says, on the authority of John Sarisher, 
' The Crotal seems not to have been a bardic instrument, but the 
bell- cymbal used by the clergy, and denominated a Crotalum by 
the Latins'. He adds, ' it was also used by the Roman pagan 

" The name", continues this writer, "seems to be derived from 
the Irish crotal, a husk or pod, which was metaphorically used 
to express a cymbal. The venerable General Vallancey, in the 
twelfth number of his ' Collectanea', intimates that bells might 
have been employed by the Irish druids, and adduces instances 
of the ancient augurs having used them in pronouncing their 
oracles. Walker, in his ' History of the Irish Bards', vol. i., 
p. 127, tells us that these bells were formerly used by the priests 
to frighten ghosts". 

Doctor Petrie, the learned editor of the " Penny Journal", 
offers the following observation on the communication from B, 
of which I have given the above extract. 

" The ancient religious bells of the Irish, thus briefly noticed 
by our respectable correspondent B, is a subject of consider- 
able interest, and which we shall return to in a future num- 
ber at some length ; we shall, therefore, only observe now 
that the bells represented by our correspondent, 1 and 2, as 
well as a third which we here add from the museum of the 
Dean of bt. Patrick's, and which was found in the same bog, 
are evidently of that description called Crotal, or bell-cymbal 
two of which were always connected together by means of a 
flexible rod. Beauford, in his essay on the ancient Irish musi- 
cal instruments, published in LedwichV Irish Antiquities',' gives 
a plate of what he and Ledwich supposed to be the form of the 
Irish Crotals, but which are in reality only sheep-bells of the 
seventeenth century, and of which we subjoin a specimen from 
our own collection. The Crotals given above are the only true 
specimens of the kind which we have heard of as being found 
in Ireland; a great number of brazen trumpets, of the same 
metal, gilt in the same manner, and apparently the work of the 
same workman, were found along with. them. These trumpets 


are in the possession of Lord Oxmantown [the late earl of Rosse], xxxiv. 
the Dean of St. Patrick's, and Mr. Cooke, of Parsonstown". 

Of the collections of Irish antiquities alluded to in the pre- 
ceding observations of Dr. Petrie, that of the Dean of St. 
Patrick's has since that time passed into the museum of the 
Royal Irish Academy, that of Mr. Cooke to the British Mu- 
seum ; but of Lord Rosse's collection I know nothing. If it 
were not humiliating to our national pride and degrading to 
our self-respect, it would be amusing to read these bold attempts 
of such ignorant, unscrupulous fabricators of facts, as Ledwich, 
Beauford, and Vallancey, to impose their audacious forgeries on 
our presumed ignorance of the written and existing records of 
our national history. A boldness to be the more wondered at 
from the well known fact, that not one of the three ever read, 
or ever could read, one chapter, one page, or one sentence of 
that history in the native tongue, although it encircled them all 
round in ponderous volumes, five, six, seven and more hun- 
dreds of years old. It is true that the Christian priests from St. 
Patrick down had the use of bells for the ordinary ecclesiastical 
purposes, but these were of the ordinary shape, round or square, 
open below, and with regular clappers of the ordinary kind. It is erotait not 

r V 5 . TIII used by 

not true, however, as lar as the most extensive reading leads, that Christian 
Crotals, or Crotalum, were ever used by our Christian priests pne 
for any purpose whatsoever. In fact, the word " crotal" does not 
exist at all in the Gaedhelic language. It is a modern corruption 
of the Latin word, thus explained in " Ainsworth's Dictionary": 

" Crotali, or crotaliorum, iewels so worn that they iinerle as explanation 

. ., ' i n i of the term 

they strike against one another. (Jrotalum, an instrument 
made of two brass plates or bones, which being struck together 
made a kind of music ; a castanet". 

Now I ask, whether there is the remotest resemblance be- 
tween the " Crotals" or brass plates described here from Pliny 
and Cicero, and these curious bell-shaped instruments which 
are to be found in our national museum? I have, in former 
lectures, from time to time had occasion to describe poets, 
musicians, and druids in the actual exercise of their respective 
professions ; but in no instance of these, nor anywhere else, have 
I found " Crotals", or bells of any kind forming any part of 
their professional paraphernalia, excepting in the instance of the 
poets and their Musical Branches, already described in this lec- 
ture. To follow these most impudent, because most ignorant, 
writers farther on the present subject, would be a positive waste 
of time and patience, and I shall therefore leave them for the 
present, and conclude this part of my subject with a few more 
words on the word Crotal, or Crotalum. 

VOL. II. 21 


It would, perhaps, be a question of some philological interest 
the irisu to collate the Latin word Crotalum with the Gaedhelic word 
Crothadh, to shake, and Crothla, and Clothra, anything which 

eto<A/o,- and ma -kes a noise by shaking. My meaning will be understood by 
giving the translation of the signification of these two words, as 
I find it in a Brehon Law Glossary, compiled by Domhnall 
O'DuWidabhoirenn, or O'Davoren, an accomplished scholar and 
gentleman of Burren, in my native county of Clare, in the year 
1569. The following are the glosses : 

" Clothra, that is, a thing which is heard being shaken, such 
as it is [in the Laws] : ' If it be a dog that is accustomed to spring 
upon people, there must be an alarm of a bell or a Clothra 
around its neck, that is, a little bell at its neck, or something 
else which is heard shaking [or ringing] when it is going to 
commit a trespass'. 

" Crothla, such as the warning of a cross or a Crothla, that 
is, to pass over what is shaken there, that is, the forbidding 
drolan (or hasp), that is, the Crothla which is placed upon the 
garden door of the garden of an exile of God [that is, of a recluse 
or pilgrim] ". (3?1) 

From this curious explanation of the word Crothla we learn 
two interesting facts: the first, that in olden times in our 
country, the law allowed no person to enter into the hermitage 
of a religious recluse without due notice of his approach ; and 
secondly, that the advance or garden door of this hermitage 
was furnished with a cross, hasp, or something else, which was 
struck against the door, like our knockers, or shaken, as the 
iron hasp of the door continues to be to this day, in the country 
parts of Ireland. 

they are the These two words, then, Clothra and Crothla, which actually 

atainike* mean the same thing, are the only words that I am acquainted 

Crotaium with in the Gaedhelic language, which at all approach the Latin 

word crotalum; but we see clearly, from their assigned signifi- 

cation, that they are really as unlike bells of any kind as the 

except crotalum or Castanet itself. There is, to be sure, as the writer in 

husks of tne " Penny Journal" says, the word crotal, signifying the husks 

fruit, i.e. o f f ru it or the scales of fish, and such like ; but there is no 

castanets; . . , , ,, ., 11 

great reason to imagine that the Gaedhils improvised the name 
of a bell from so remote and dissimilar an idea. We know 

(371) [original: CtofinA, .1 ni cUi- CIC^TA oo ^enAtri fojlA. O'Dayoren, 

ceAn AJA cnocA'o, AtnAil, ACA [ . . ] voce Clothra. 

cfl jroilmeAc bit) u^po^nA CnoclA, un, unpognA cnoifi no 

cluicc, no ctocnA -po A bnAgAic, .1. ci\octA,.i.'outfecAntiic]\ocA]VAnn,.i. 

cttngin 1mA bnAJAic, no ni eile ic in -onc/lAn unguncA, - 1 - cnocl/Abif AJ\ 

cl/tnnjMcVieA'6 AJA cpocA'd in CAti oojvuf Aif\1ifi, Aipt/ifi An oeonAi'o 

06. O'Davoren, voce Crotkla.'] 


from the Brehon Laws that cows of the first class or quality **xiv. 
in ancient times were, for distinction, furnished with bells (called beiis put on 
Cluig) at their necks, and that cows so furnished were by law "owV ' 
inviolate, so that they could not be taken in distraint even under 
a process of law, and if stolen or injured, the penalty was much 
higher than that which attached to the same offence when com- 
mitted upon ordinary cows [v. Senchus Mor, vol. i. p. 143, and on 
pub. by Brehon Law Com.]. We know, too, that horses were 
furnished with little bells, sometimes of silver and gold, at their 
necks, long before the introduction of Christianity into this 
country. An instance of this fact is preserved in the very 
ancient tale of the Tain So Fraich, where we are told that 
Fraech, of whom so much has already been spoken in these 
lectures, when going to Cruachan to pay his addresses to the 
princess Findabair, went with a cortege of fifty horsemen in 
rich array, and each horse furnished, among other things, with 
a crescent of gold, and little golden clogs, or bells, at its neck. 
But again, I assert that there is no such instrument as a Crotal the crotai 
known in the Gaedhelic language, and that all that has been d ireUnd 
written about it for the last eighty years in books, and read ^tten' ing 
in papers before the Royal Irish Academy, is pure fabrication, about it pure 

f j i J j.1. f- C C i. .0. A. I. J x invention. 

tounded on the assumption or a tact that never had existence. 

Having, as I trust, disposed for ever of the " Crotal" as having 
been an ancient Irish instrument of music, 1 shall turn from this 
rather long digression, and again take up the alphabetical list, 
at the word next in order, namely, the Crann Ciuil, or Musi- The cran 
cal Tree ; and, in the first place, I must observe that the word j/usicui 
tree, in this as well as in various other instances, does not mean Tree; 
a' tree in the ordinary sense of a growing plant. When I use 
the word here, I do so in translation of the Irish word Crann, 
and exactly in the sense in which we understand the word tree 
in some compound English words, as a spade-tree, an axle-tree, 
a boot-tree, a saddle-tree, and others of the same class. The 
Crann Ciuil, or Musical Tree, would imply by the very form 
of the words that the instrument was made of wood, but beyond 
this, even if so far, its natural signification does not extend. 
Indeed, I might say that the word Crann-Ciuil is a generic was a 
term for almost any kind of musical instrument ; and as a dis- tensor any 
cussion on the subject would be of little value, I shall content ^sica! 
myself with two examples of this use of the term. In the old instrument, 
Book of Lismore, we find the following conversation recorded 
as having taken place between Cailte (the surviving historian 
of Find Mac Cumhaill), and St. Patrick: 

" It was then", says the story, " that St Patrick asked Cailte 
if they had musicians in the Fenian troops. ' We had, indeed' 

21 B 


xxxiv- said Cailte, ' the one best musician that could be found in 
as is shown Erinn or in Alba'. 'What was his name?' said St. Patrick, 
from the sage ' Cnu DeroiV, said Cailte. ' Where was he found ?' said St. 
Lismore, Patrick. * Between Crotta Cliach and Sidh Ban Find (now 
Sliabh na m-Ban, in Tipperary) in the south', said Cailte. 
' What was his description ?' said St. Patrick. ' Four hands- 
breadths for Find was his height ; and three handsbreadths for 
him was the height of the Crann Ciuil which he played', said 
Cailte. ' The other musicians of the Tuatha De Danann be- 
came jealous of him', said he, ' and turned him out of their court. 
Find 1 , continues Cailte, ' happened to go on that day to Sidh 
Ban Find to a chase and hunt, and he sat there upon a raised 
mound. The Fenian chief having looked about him, perceived 
when it is a the little man tuning and playing his Cruit (or harp) upon the 
bank near him ; and there he sat with his fair yellow hair float- 
ing down his back to his hips. And when he saw Find he came 
up to him, and put his hand into his hand [as a token of submis- 
sion], for he \_Find~\ was the first person he met after coming 
out of the [fairy] hill. And he continued to play his Cruit in 
Find's presence until the rest of the Fenian warriors came up. 
And when they came up they heard the enchanting fairy music. 
Good, O beloved Find 1 , said the Fianna, ' this is one of the three 
best gifts that you have ever received'. And he continued with 
him [Find] afterwards till his death". (372) 

In this short article it will be seen that what was first des- 
cribed as a Crann Ciuil, or Musical Tree, of three hands in 
height, is twice afterwards described as a Cruit, or harp ; and 
Cuisie,& yet, in an ancient glossary preserved in a vellum MS. in the 
phiineTin a library of Trinity College, Dublin, (373) we find the word Cuisle 
af^MusiLi ( a tube) explained as a Crann Ciuil, or Musical Tree. We are 
Tree; told further in the same old Book of Lismore, that while Cailte 

(372) [original: 1f An-opn no pAn- con-pACA m p?n bee AC pepiA'o, 

pAig pAcnAic-oo CnAiLci in nAbACAn ocup AC fAinfemm A cjvuici AJ\ m 

xMnpcig Acuibp ipn -pemn. X)o bi -pot) mA -pocAin, ocu-p if AtntAm 

urnonno An CAiIci m CAen Ainpuec nobui, Acur -potu JTA'OA pnnbuit>i co 

if fenn -00 bi A nGinmn nA A \\&\j- clAn A "OA LeAp pAin, ocuy An -pAic- 

bAin. CA ViAinm pn An pAcnAic. pn pinn cAimc -OA lonnpAipr), ocu-p 

Cnu "Oenoit An CAiLd, CAIC Apvic e cue AlAtn nA^Aim, on A-pe ce'D'oume 

AnpAcnAig. enaen CnocA Ct,iAd ACU^ cAntA T>O ne iAn cuiuecc Ap m cpo 

Sicli l)Ann bpmn cir An CAiLd. AtnAcn, ocur nobui oc -pemm Acnui- 

Cnec A cuAnA-pcbAit An PAC|\AIC. ci ApA^onuip pnn no gu CAncA- 

Ceicne tiuinnn pnn t>o 01 HIA Ainoi, CAH m pAnn, ocur An cechc tjoib 

Acup cni "ouinnn t>o ipn CnAnt) ACCUAI^ACAJ\ in ceoL pneccAC p'oi. 

Ciuit -oo femet), ocup Ainpcig CUA- 1TIA1C A Anum A lnnn An An pAnn, 

CA "Oe TJAnnAin -00 nmx)e CUAC nip. Ape p^c m cnep cuncAince A|* fen-p. 

pnn mlA pn co Sit>bAn pnn p^AnAif niAtri, ocup t>o 01 AC pnn no 

oo -peiLj ocur "op 1 AjAc, ocui 1 50 puAin bAp. Book of L/ismore, fol. 

Ap m bpnc pocbuij AniDpn. 2U5 a.b.J 
lAnum m f\,Aic feme recViA ( 373 > [original : H. 3. 18. f. 415.] 


was on a visit to the king of Ulster, a young man came to the xxxiv. 
court dressed as a minstrel, and carrying his Timpan at his 
back. This young stranger turned out to be Cos Corach, son 
of Bodhbh Derg, the great Tuatha D6 Danann chief of Magh 
Femen in Tipperary, who had come to make acquaintance 
with Cailte, and add to his stock of story and song from the 
inexhaustible stores of the veteran Fenian warrior. Cailte re- 
ceived the young man with kindness and encouragement, and 
introduced him to St. Patrick, who was highly pleased with his 
wonderful performance on his Timpan or harp. The saint re- 
ceived his confession of faith, for which, and for his delightful 
performance, he promised him heaven, in the following words : 

" Heaven is thine", said St. Patrick, " and may thy art be one in anotbr 
of the three last arts by which a person shall realize his benefit Bp a oko? 
in Erinn; and though the unwelcome which may be intended ^^pania 
for a man of thy art, when he has played his music and [told] so called - 
his stories, may be great, he shall not be any longer unwel- 
come ; and the professors of thy art shall be at all times the 
couch fellows of kings, and they shall be prosperous provided 
they be not lazy". And then he (Cos Corach) put up his 
Crann Ciuil into its keep-place. (374) 

From these few extracts, quite enough for my purpose, we 
see clearly that the term Crann Ciuil was applied indiscrimi- 
nately to a Cruit or harp, a Guide or tube, and a Timpan, 
which was certainly a stringed instrument of the harp kind. 

The next instrument in alphabetical order is the Cruit, of 
which I have already treated in the former lectures. 

Next in order is thejnstrument, the name of which is written The Cuis- 
Cuiseach, a word not obsolete, but which, from the position of ea 
gradation that it holds in relation to the other instruments men- 
tioned along with it, I should take to signify a reed, or some 
such instrument of a Very simple order. To this instrument I 
have never met more than two references, the first of which 
is in the ancient poem on the fair of Carman described in a mentioned 
former lecture, (3?5) and which I have also referred to in this ^ thefaiT 1 
lecture in connection with musical instruments. Among those of Cftrman > 
I mentioned Cuiseachs. The word which actually occurs in 
the poem is Cusigh, which I take to be the plural of Ciiiseach 
? plur. Cuiseacha~\, and to signify reeds or small pipes. The 

(3741 [original: ttem -otnc An PA- pAcnAic; Actif ]reAn leA-p^A nig cn 

cnAic, ACU-J* 5nAb 1 An cneAf eAl^oA bicu nee neAuvovnn, Acuf foinbeAj* 

An A ^Aguib necli A teAfAgA'o p[viA -ooib ACC HAC -oeAnnAic lef ce. Ocuf 

oeneAT) An e-inmn hi ; Acur ^-6 rnon no cuinpum A CnAnn CiuitinAcoim- 

m tioichtpVL biAf ne -peAn neA'LA'OAn eAt>. Book of Lismore, f. 223 a.b.] 
A6c con-oennA Ainpice-o, Acuf con- ( 375 > [See Lecture ii., ante, vol. i. p. 

inT>ifi rcelA gAn ooiceA'lA, noime, An 3P.] 


next, and only other reference that I have met to the Cuiseach, 
and in the is found in the passage from the ancient account of the battle of 
Batt!e f of he A Imhain which 1 have quoted above, where kingFergal, address- 
Aimhain. j n g J) onn b ^ S ays : " Make amusement for us, O Donnbo, because 
thou art the best minstrel in Erinn, namely, at Cuiseachs' 3 at 
pipes (or tubes), and at harps, etc. In this combination of in- 
struments we find the Cuiseach placed first, before the Guide 
(or tube) and the harp ; leaving us room to infer that it was 
the minor or simplest instrument of the three. However, as I 
am not able to throw any further light upon the history or 
identification of this instrument, I shall pass from it for the 
present, leaving to future investigation the chance of carrying 
the inquiry farther. 

The Cuitie The next instrument in alphabetical order is the Cuisle Ciuil 
another (or musical tube). This is, simply, another name for the Crann 
Cram/ ti7; Ciuil, or musical tree ; and it is from this form of the name that 
' the designation of the performers is derived, namely, that of 
Cuislennacli, or tube performer, whilst there is no attempt at 
assies. deriving a performer's name from the form "Crann Ciuil". The 
m^anin^a word Cuisle is a living one at this day, as well as in more an- 
Wnd' of * cient times, and is applied both to the veins of the living body 
cock; through which the blood courses from the heart to the extre- 
mities, and also to a piece of reed, or hollowed wood, such as 
in country public houses is, or was in my youthful days, used 
with a stopper, in tapping a keg of whiskey or cask of ale, be- 
fore the convenience of regular cocks for this purpose pene- 
trated to the rural districts. In this sense it was also called 
mentioned canaile, or canal. And it is in these latter senses that it is 
sense^n "he mentioned in the ancient Book of Invasions of Ireland, in the 
stoiy of the misbehaviour of Dealgnad, Parthalon's wi