CONQUEST OF THE SONS OF MIL
the death of Mil, as we have said, Emer Donn and
Eremon, his two sons, took rule and chief
government of Spain between themselves.
was a father's brother of Mil, Ith son of Bregan,
with them; he was expert and accomplished in
knowledge and in learning. Once when Ith, of a
clear winter's evening was on top of Bregan's
Tower, contemplating and looking over the four
quarters of the world, it seemed to him that he
saw a shadow and a likeness of a land and lofty
island far away from him Me went back to his
brethren, and told them what he had seen; and
said that he was mindful and desirous of going to
see the land the had appeared to him. Breg son of
Bregan said that it was no land he had seen but
clouds of heaven, and he was hindering Ith from
going on that expedition. Ith did not consent to
Ith brought his ship on the sea, and came himself
with his son Lugaid son of Ith, and others of his
people in it. They sailed toward Ireland, and
their adventures on sea are not related, save
only that they took harbor in Bentracht of Mag
Itha. The neighbors went to the shore to
interview them, and each of them told news to the
other in the Irish language. Ith asked them the
name of the land to which he had come, and who
was in authority over it. "Inis Elga,"
they said; "Mac Cuill, Mac Cecht, and Mac
Greine are the names of its kings".
happened in that day that there were many
chieftains and nobles o Ireland in Ailech Neid,
making peace between Mac Cuill and his brethren;
for they said that he had an excess of the goods
of Fiachna son of Delbaeth, who had died
previously. When Ith heard that, he went with his
son and with two-thirds of his people to Ailech.
The kings welcomed him when he reached the
assembly, and after he was a while among them,
they told him the matter about which they were in
opposition and contention between them. And he
said to them:
just righteousness. It is fitting for you to
maintain a good brotherhood. It is right for you
to have a good disposition. Good is the land and
the patrimony you inhabit; plenteous her harvest,
her honey, her fish, her wheat, and her other
grain. Moderate her heat and her cold. All that
is sufficient for you is in her." Then he
took farewell of them and went to his ship.
nobles plotted to kill him, in jealousy for
Ireland, and for the testimony of praise he gave
to their island; and they sent a great number to
follow him, so that he was wounded to death in
Mag Itha, and from him the plain took its name.
He reached his ship wounded and bleeding, by the
valor and bravery of his people; and he died with
them in his ship on the sea.
they reached Spain and showed the body of Ith to
his brethren, and they were anguished and
sorrowful at his dying thus. Then the sons of Mil
and the posterity of Gaedel in general thought it
was fitting and proper for them to go and avenge
their brother on the Tuatha De Danann. They
decided on this at last: they collected their
warriors and their men of valor from every place
where they were, through the lands and the
districts, until they were in one place in
Brigantia, numerous and fully assembled. Then the
sons of Mil, with their brethern and kinsmen, and
their people in general, brought their ships on
the sea to go to Ireland to avenge their bad
welcome on the Tuatha De Dannann. Three score and
five ships was the number of the expedition;
forty chiefs the number of their leaders, with
Donn son of Mil at their head. These are the
names of their chiefs.
Donn ,Eremon,Eber Finn, Ir,
Amergin,Colptha,Airech Febra, Erannan,
Luigne, Laigne, Palap, Er. Orba, Feron, Fergin,
son if Ir, Brega, Cuala, Cooley, Blad, Fuad,
Buirthemne, Eblinne, Nar,
Lui, Bile, Buas, Bres, Buaigne, Fulman,mantan,
Suirge, En, Un, Etan, Sobairce, Sedga, Goisten.
commemorate the names of those chiefs and
leaders, this was said; Flann Mainistrech
chiefs of the voyage over the sea
By which the sons of Mil came,
I have in recollection during my life,
Their names without lie.
Donn Eremon, noble Emer,
Ir, Amergin without [partiality,
Colptha, Airech, Febra the keen,
Erannan, Muimme fine and smooth.
Luigne, Laigne, Palap the lucky,
Er. Orba Feron, Fergin,
Eber son if Ir. Brega, I shall say,
Cuala, Cualgne, Blad rough and strong.
Fuad and Muirthemne with fame,
Eblinne, Nar, Buas with battle,
Bres, Buaigne, and Fulman.
Mantan, Caicer, slender Suirge,
En, Un and rigid Etan,
Sobairce, Sedga of spears,
And Goisten the champion.
The conquered noble Ireland
Against the Tuatha De of great magic,
In vengeance for Ith of the steeds-
Thirty, ten, and one chieftain.
for the sons of Mil, they sailed in a great
expedition on the sea to Ireland, and did not
pause in the course until they saw at a distance
the island from the sea. And when they saw
Ireland, their warriors made a contention of
rowing and sailing to their utmost in their
eagerness and anxiety to reach it; so thatt Ir
son of Mil advanced a wave before every other
ship by reason of his strength and valor. So Eber
Donn son of Mil, the eldest of them, was jealous
is no good deed
Ir before Ith to proceed-
is before Lugai'd son of Ith, for Lugaid had the
name Ith. Then the oar that was in the hand of Ir
split, so that Ir fell backwards across the
thwart and broke his back there He died on the
following night, and they preserved his body so
long as they were on the sea, and buried it
afterwards in Scellic of Irras Desceirt of Corco
Dibne. Sorrowful were Eremon, Eber Finn and
Amergin at the death of their brother; and they
said, as it were out of one mouth, it was right
that Eber Donn should not enjoy the land about
which he was envious of his brother, that is of
sons of Mil advanced to a landing in Inber
Stainge. The Tuatha De Danann did not allow them
ot come to the land there, for they had not held
parley with them. By their druidry they caused it
to appear to the sons of Mil that the region was
no country or island, territory or land at all,
in front of them. They encircled Ireland three
times, till at last they took the harbor at Inber
Scene; a Thursday as regards the day of the week,
on the day before the first of May, the
seventeenth day of the moon; the Year of the
they came at the end of three days thereafter to
Sliab Mis. Banba met them in Sliab Mis, with the
hosts of druidry and cunning. Amergin asked her
name. " Banba," said she, "and it
is from my name that Banba is given as a name for
this country." And she asked a petition from
them, that her name should remain always on the
island. That was granted to her.
they had converse with Fodla in Eblinne, and the
poet Amergin asked her name of her in like
manner. "Fodla," said she, "and
from me is the land named." And she prayed
that her name might remain on it, and it was
granted to her as she requested. They held
converse with Eriu in Usnech of Mide. She said to
them, "Warriors," said she, "
welcome to you. It is long since your coming is
prophesied. Yours will be the island forever.
There is not better island in the world. No race
will be more perfect than your race."
is that," said Anergin,
to her do we give thanks for it," said Donn,
"but to our gods and to our power."
is naught to thee," said Eriu; "thou
shat have no gain of this island nor will thy
children. A gift to me, O sons of Mil and the
children of Bregan, that my name may be upon this
will be its chief name for ever," said
Amergin, "namely Eriu(Erin)."
Gadels went to Tara. No Drum Cain was its name at
that time among the Tuatha De Danann, Liathdruim
was its name among the Fir Bolg. There were there
kings before them in Laithdruim;
Mac Cuill, Mac Cecht and Mac Greine. The sons of
Mil demanded a battle or kingship or judgment
adjudged to the sons of Mil that they should have
possession of the island to the end of nine days
,to depart, or to submit, or to prepare for
battle. "If my advice were carried
out," said Donn son of Mil, "it is a
battle it would be." The sons of Mil did not
grant the respite they sought to the Tuatha De
give," said the kings, "the judgment of
your own poets to you, for if they give a false
judgment against us they will die on the
the judgment, Amergin; "said Donn.
it," said Amergin. "Let the land be
left to them till we come again to take it by
shall we go?" said Eber Donn.
nine waves," said Amergin; and he said this:
men you have found are in possession:
Over the nine green-necked waves
Of the sea advance ye:
Unless by your power then be planted,
Quickly let the battle be prepared.
I assign the possession
Of the land ye have found:
If ye love concede this award,
If ye love not concede it not-
It is I that say this to you.
If it were my counsel that were followed,"
said Donn son of Mil, "battle it would
be." Nevertheless the sons of Mil went by
the advice and judgment of Amergin from
Liathdruim to Inber Scene, the place where they
had left their ships, and passed over nine waves.
"Let us trust to the powers," said the
druids, " that they may never reach
Ireland." Wiuth that the druids cast druidic
winds after them, so great was the story; so that
the storm took them westward in the ocean until
they were weary. "A druid's wind is
that," said Donn son of Mil. "It is
indeed said Amergin, "unless it be higher
than the mast; find out for us if it be so."
Erannan the youngest son of Mil went up the mast,
and said that it was not over them. With that he
fell on the planks of the ship from the mast, so
that they shattered his limbs.
shame to our men of learning is it," said
Donn, "not to suppress the druidic
shame it shall be," said Amergin, rising up;
and he said:
invoke the land of Ireland.
Much-coursed be the fertile sea,
Fertile be the fruit-s trewn mountain,
Fruit-strewn be the showery wood,
Showery be the river of water-falls,
Of water-falls be the lake of deep pools,
Deep pooled be the hill-top well,
A well of the tribes be the assembly,
An assembly of the kings be Tara,
Tara be the hill of the tribes,
The tribes of the sons of Mil,
Of mil be the ships the barks,
Let the lofty bark be Ireland,
Lofty Ireland Darkly sung,
An incantation of great cunning;
The great cunning of the wives of Bres,
The wives of Bres of Buaigne;
The great lady Ireland,
Eremon hath conquered her,
Ir, Eber have invoked for her.
I invoke the land of Ireland.
Immediately a tranquil calm came to them on the
sea. Said Donn, "I will put under the edge
of spears and swords the warriors that are in the
land now, only let me land." The wind
increased on them thereupon, so that it separated
from them the ship in which was Donn; and he was
drowned at the Dumacha. Twenty-four warriors of
valor, twelve women, and four mercenaries, with
their folk are the numnber that were drowned with
Donn in that ship. After that Donn was buried in
the Dumacha; so that from him "Tech
Duin" is called, and there is his own
gravemound and the gravemound of everyone who was
drowned of the chieftains of his people with him,
in that place. Now Dil daughter of Mil, Eremon
buried her, " for the love he had for her,
so that he said in putting a sod on her, "
This is a sod on a "dear one"
(dil)"said he. These are the chieftains who
were drowned with Donn at that time: Bile son of
Brige, Airech Febra, Buss, Bres, and Buagne. Ir
was buried in Scellic of Irras, as we have said
above, Erannan died in the creek after going to
contemplate the wind, and after breaking his
bones on the deck. Eight chieftains were their
losses among their nobles up to then.
the night in which the sons of Mil came to
Ireland was the burst of Loch Luigdech over the
land in West Munster. When Lugaid son of Ith was
bathing in the lake and Fial daughter of Mil his
wife was bathing in the river that flows out of
the lake, Lugaid went to the place where was the
woman, he being naked; and when she looked on him
thus she died of shame at once, and from her is
named the river with its creek. Downcast was
Lugaid after the woman's death, so that he said:
here over the strand,
in my teeth,--a great tragedy
tragedy that has reached me.
you a woman has died
name, from a warrior's nakedness
death is the death that has reached me,
nakedness of her husband, she looked upon him
Six woman of their nobles were
their losses on the sea and land from their
setting out from Spain till then. These are their
names; Buan wife of Bile; Dil wife of Donn;
Scene, he woman-satirist, wife of Amergin
White-Knee (she died with them on the sea while
they were coming to Ireland; so that Amergin
said, "The harbor where we land, the name of
Scene will be on it". That was true, for
from her is named Inber Scene); Fial wife of
Lugaid son of Ith; the wife of Ir and the wife of
Muirthemne son of Bregan, were the other two.
the sons of Mil reached the land in the creek we
have mentioned, and when they had buried the
troop of their nobles who had died of them,
Eremon and Eber Finn divided the fleet with their
chieftains and servants in two between them.
After that Eremon sailed with thirty ships,
keeping Ireland on his left hand, and he landed
in Inber Colptha. These are the chieftains that
were with him: Eber son if Ir, Amergin the poet,
Palap, Muimne,Luigne, laigne, Brega, Muirthemne,
Fuad, Cualgne, Colptha, Goisten, Sedga, Suirge,
and Sobairce. The three last were champions.
These are the slaves that were with Eremon:
Aidne, Ai, Asal, Mide, Cuib, Cera, Ser, Slan,
Ligen, Dul, Trega, Line.
putting his right foot on the shore at Inber
Colptha, it was then Amergin spoke this rhapsody:
I am the roar of
I am a dewdrop
in the sunshine,
I am the
strength of art,
I am a spear
with spoils that wages battle,
I am a man that
shapes fire for a head.
Who clears the
stone-place of the mountain?
What the place
in which the setting of the sun lies?
Who has sought
peace without fear seven times?
Who names the
Who brings his
cattle from the house of Tethra?
In a fort that
petition, divides the Ogam letters,
fleet, has sung praises?
afterwards to increase fish in the creeks:
As for Eber Finn son of Mil, he
stayed in the south with thirty ships with him,
until they came in the hosts of the battles that
were fought between them and the Tuatha De
Danann. These are the chieftains that were with
Eber; Lugaid son of Ith, Er. Orba, Feron, Fegana
the four sons of Eber, Cuala, Blad, Ebleo, Nar,
En, Un Etan, Caicher, Mantan, Fulman. The six
last,-En, Un, etc. Were champions. These are the
slaves that were with him; Adar, Aigne, Deist,
Deala, Cliu, Morba, Fea, Liffe, Femen, Feara,
Meda, and Obla.
the sons of Mil reached their landing-place they
made no delay until they reached Sliab Mis; and
the battle of Sliab Mis was fought between them
and the Tuatha De Danann, and the victory was
with the sons of Mil. Many of the Tuatha De
Dannan were killed in that battle. It is there
that Fas wife of Un son of Uicce fell, from whom
is named Glen Faise. Scota wife of Mil fell in
the same valley; from her is named " Scota's
Grave", between Sliab Mis and the sea. The
sons of Mil went afterwards to Tailltiu, and
another battle was fought between them and the
Tuatha De Danann there. Vehemently and
whole-heatedly was it fought, for they were from
morning to evening contending, bonehewing , and
mutilating one another; till the three kings and
the three queens of Ireland fell there- Mac Cecht
by Eremon, Mac Cuill by Eber Finn, Mac Greine by
Amergin, Eriu by Suyirge, Banba by Caicer, and
Fodla by Etan. Those were the deaths of their
chiefs and princes. After that the Tuatha De
Danann were routed to the sea and the sons of Mil
and their host were a long time following the
rout. There fell, however two noble chiefs of the
people of the sons of Mil in inflicting the rout,
namely, Fuad in Sliab Fuait, and Cualgne in Sliab
Cualgne, together with other warriors besides,
who fell together on both sides. When the Tuatha
De Danann were crushed and expelled in the
battles that were fought between them, the sons
of Mil took the lordship of Ireland.
that there arose a contention between the sons of
Mil about the kingship, that is between Eremon
and Eber, so that Amergin was brought to make
peace between them. He said that the inheritance
of the eldest, of Donn, should go to the
youngest, to Eremon, and his inheritance to Eber
after him; Eber did not accept that, but insisted
on dividing Ireland. Eremon agreed to do so.
Accordingly Ireland was divided in two between
them,the northern half to Eremon, from Srub Brain
to the Boyne, the southern half to Eber, from the
Boyne to Tonn Clidna. There were five chieftains
in the division of each of them. With Eremon
first, Amergin, Sedga, Goisten, Suirge, and
Sobairce. Now in that year these forts were dug
by Eremon and his people: Rath Beothaig, above
the Nore in Argat Ros; Rath Oinn, in the
territory of Cula, by Eremon; the Causeway of
Inber Mor, in the territory of Ui Enechglais, by
Amergin; the building of Dun Nair, in Sliab
Modoirn, by Goisten; the building of Dun
Delginnse, in the territory of Cuala, by Sedga;
the building of his fort by Sobairce in Morbolg
of Dal Riada; the building of Dun Edar by Suirge.
These are the forts built by Eber and these the
chieftains that were with him: Etan, Un, Mantan,
Fulman, and Caicer were his five chieftains. Rath
Uaman, in Leinster, was dug by Eber; Rath Arda
Suird by Etan son of Uicce; the building of
Carrig Blaraige by Mantan; the building of Carrig
Fethnaide by Un son of Uicce;the building of Dun
Ardinne by Caicer; the building of Rath Riogbard,
in Muiresc,by Fulman.
that for the commemoration of certain of the
aforesaid matters this was said:
Expeditions of the sons of Mil over sea
From Spain of
They took ,
it is no deed of falsehood,
battle-plain of Ireland in one day.
This is the
tale that they went on sea,
multitude of wealth and people,
To a brave
show God brought them,
sixty-five choice vessels.
at the noble creek
called the White Rampart;
It was a
cause of sickness, and attempt without
sight of the warrior Lugaid.
it is from that out
The creek of
Fail of generous bands;
From the day
she died in white Banba--
of Mil of Spain.
At the end of
three days, brilliant preparation,
The battle of
Sliab Mis, --glory that was not failure,
great sons of Mil.
They won, a
saying without reproach,
against fair-headed Banba,
Fas woven in verse,
With the very
fair daughter of Pahraoh.
end of a year, it was lasting fame,
chieftains of the heavy hosts,
six divisions, a pleasant course,
afterwards divided Ireland.
north side a progress without sorrow,
taken as high prince;
Brain, which verses adorn,
tribe to the Boyne.
These are the
five guardians of control
accepted to accompany him;
Eber, son of
eternal Boyne, choice the share,
To the wave
of the daughter of Genann.
These are the
five, with hundreds of exploits,
who were subordinate to him;
Etan, and Un
of joyous rule,
Fulman, and Caicer.
By the sons
of Mil,--honor of pledges,
full division of Ireland's island.
Rath Beothaig here,
In Sliab Mis,
after a series of omens,
of Dun Nair by Goisten.
wide-extended, who displayed valor,
sounding, glorious achievement,
By Eber of
bright valor, was dug
Rath Uaman in
the plain of Leinster;
Suird, it enriched him,
Was dug by
Etan son of Uicce.
Was made by
Un son of Uicce;
of Carrig Blaraige.
in good Muiresc,
Fulman built it;
battles, a pleasant fulfilment,
Took Dun Inne
in the west of Ireland.
their deeds of valor,
Of the clear,
glorious, great royal host;
It was a
great achievement, after battle , without
every profit, every expedition.
Of the adventures of the Gaedels
from the time when they went from Scythia till
they took Ireland and the division of Ireland
between them, with their chieftains, the poet
Roigne Roscadach son of Ugaine Mor said to Mal
son of Ugaine his brother, when Mal questioned
him: "Sing thy description in the great
knowledge of Ireland, O Roigne," Roigne
answered him and said:
How does one
arrive at knowledge of Ireland,
of its company?
the host-king of Shinar;
Cingeris was extinguished,
So that a
great troop was destroyed,
through a space very faithful,
contracts with Scota,
conception of our fathers.
They took the
daughter of Pharaoh.
of Nel and Noenbal.
Who slew the
son of Neman,
A name was
changed from them.
Good was the
man under whom they trembled;
spread for us a lasting name.
born a numerous progeny,
came upon them,
returned from the burial of Fial.
In twice six,
an inheritance of chieftains.
truth of every law,
sharply the inquiry ,
After Eremon and Eber had divided
the chieftains, they had two distinguished
artists who had come into their company from the
east, namely, a poet and a harper. Cir son of Cis
was the poet, Cennfinn the harper. They cast a
lot on them to know which of them should be with
each of them; so that, through the decision of
the lot, the harper went southward to Eber and
thence melody of music and harmony followed in
the Southern Half of Ireland. The poet went to
Eremon, and knowledge of poetry and song followed
him in the North ever after. To commemorate this
it was said:
The two sons
of Mil, famous in dignity,
there followed hither
A gentle poet
and a harper.
Cior son of
Cis, the bright poet,
The name of
the harper Cennfin;
With the sons
of Mil, of bright fame,
sounded his harp.
with many battles,
kingdom of Ireland;
They did it
with brightness, merry the sound,
great men of art;
So that there
fell to the lot of the southerner
just and fair.
music more beautiful than any company
Is from the
southward in the south of Ireland;
It was thus
it will be to the fortunate Judgment
famous seed of Eber.
There fell to
the lot of the northerner
The man of
learning with great excellence;
tribes who brought him boast
poetry and learning.
Irish Tales, Ed. Tom Peete Cross and Clark Harris
Slover,Figgis, Dublin,1936, Barnes and
ed., trans., R.A. Stewart Macalister and John
MacNeill, Leabhar Gabh`ala: The Book of Conquests
of Ireland, I(Recension of Miche`al O`Cl`eirigh)
Book of Leinster, ed. R. I. Best, Osporn Bergin,
and M.A.O'brien, I (Dublin 1954), I, 1-56; ed.,
trans., R.A.S. Macalister, Lebor Gab`ala `Erenn
(Irish Texts Society,
Bibliography of Irish Philogy, Richard I. Best,I