Lebor na gCert
The Book of Rights
translated by Myles Dillon
Book of Lismore & Lecan version
Here begins the Book of Rights. It tells of the rents and stipends of Ireland which Benén son of Sescnén, Patrick’s cantor, ordained, as related in the Book of Glendalough.
Here are the just dues of Cashel and its rents and taxes paid in and paid out, and the stipends of the kings of Munster, and the other kings of Ireland from the king of Cashel, when sovereignty reigns there.’
Cashel is from cais (‘hatred’) -au (‘rock’), i.e. a stone on which hostages used to be placed, or cis (‘rent’) -au (‘law’) from the legal rent which used to be brought to him from the men of Ireland. Sid-Druim was the name of the place formerly.
In the time of Corc son of Lugaid two swineherds happened to frequent that hill for a period of three months, masting their swine, for it was a ridge of forest. The names of the swineherds were Durdru, swineherd of the king of Ele, and Cularán, swineherd of the king of Muscraige. And they beheld a form as bright as the sun with a voice as sweet as the lute, blessing the hill and the place, and prophesying Patrick. And it said:
A good man shall reign
over lofty and venerable Cashel
in the name of the Father and of the Son of the Virgin
with the grace of the Holy Ghost.
A bishop stately and benign,
sage of all the world in judgement,
will fill Ireland of the angels with people of every rank
with many canonical orders in the service of gentle Christ.
That form was Patrick’s angel Victor prophesying Patrick, and proclaiming that the dignity and primacy of Ireland would be always in that place. Accordingly that is Patrick’s sanctuary and the principal stronghold of the king of Ireland. And the rent and service of the men of Ireland is due to the king of that place always, namely to the king of Cashel through the blessing of Patrick son of Calpurnius.
Here are the stipends of the kings from the king of Cashel, if he be king of Ireland, and his visitation and his refection by them in return: A hundred horns, a hundred swords, a hundred horses, and a hundred tunics from him to the king of Cruachain and six months’ refection from the king of Cruachain to him, and he escorts him into Tir Conaill. Twenty rings, twenty sets of chess, and twenty horses to the king of Cenél Conaill and one month’s refection from the king of Cenél Conaill to him, and he escorts him into Tir nEógain. Fifty horns, fifty swords, and fifty horses to the king of Ailech, and one month’s refection from the king of Ailech to him, and he escorts him into Tulach Óg. Thirty horns, thirty swords, and thirty horses to the chief of Tulach Óg and twelve days’ refection with him, and he escorts him into Airgialla. Eight coats of mail, sixty tunics, and sixty horses to the king of Airgialla and his refection for a month in Emain, and the king of Airgialla escorts him into Ulaid. A hundred horns, a hundred mantles, a hundred swords, a hundred horses, and a hundred ships to the king of Ulaid, a month’s refection from the Ulaid to him, and the Ulaid escort him to Tara. Thirty coats of mail, thirty rings, a hundred horses, and thirty sets of chess to the king of Tara, and a month’s refection in Tara for him, and the four kindreds’ of Tara escort him to Ath Cliath. Ten women, ten horses, and ten ships to the king of Ath Cliath, and a month’s refection from the king of Ath Cliath to him, and he escorts him into Lagin. Thirty ships, thirty horses, thirty cumals, and thirty cows to the king of Lagin and two months’ refection from the Lagin to him, a month from Lagin Tuathgabair and a month from Lagin Deasgabair. Thirty horses, thirty coats of mail, and forty swords [to the king of Lagin Deasgabair].’ Those are their stipends and their escorts, and it is of them that the virtuous author Benén son of Sescnén tells:
The due of each king from the king of Cashel
will be a question for poets for ever.
The answer will always be found at the assemblies,
preserved by the sage of the Irish.
A hundred horns, a hundred swords from Cashel,
a hundred horses, a hundred tunics besides,
from his country to Tuathal’s Fort
to the king who holds pleasant Cruachain.
Six months’ refection in honey
from that king to the hero of Munster;
to go with him upon occasion
into Tir Conaill to the king of swift Eas Modoirn.
The king of Connacht with the hero of Cashel
to the battalions of Bearnas—it is no lie:
the king of Tir Conaill escorts
the trusting stranger to Tir nEógain.
Twenty bracelets, twenty sets of chess,
twenty horses to Assaroe, to the king for whom
I have made a goodly verse,
the strong king of Bearnas Conaill.
A month’s refection, to their sorrow,
from the nobles of Tir Conaill to the province of Munster
and to its king, no mean claim,
before going into lofty Tir nEogain.
Fifty horns and fifty swords,
fifty properly harnessed horses
to the prosperous man from the oak-groves of goodly mast,
to the prince of Ailech who protects all.
Amonth’s refection to the prince of Munster
from Munster’s plain, it is no false account,
to the man of Brandub’s province without injury,
from the people of Eógan of the steeds.
Thirty horns and thirty swords,
thirty roan steeds for the road,
to the man for whom only the finest poem is meet,
to the prince of green Tulach De.
Twelve days’ rich refection to the king of Munster
whom bards proclaim, from the king of Tulach De
without separating until he escort him
to lofty Emain.
Eight coats of mail to the prince of Airgialla
from the assembly of Cashel of many forays,
to the man upon whom rest the burdens of crime,
sixty tunics and sixty horses.
A month’s refection from the kitchen,
on the hill of Emain, from the Airgialla
of Ath Mór to the king of pleasant Cashel;
and to escort him to the Ulaid of the gold.
A hundred horns, a hundred swords,
a hundred cloaks to the soldier of Boirche,
it is no folly; a hundred horses, brown horses,
and ten ships to the warrior.
Two months’ refection is due from the Ulaid
to the noble king from the church of Cashel
at the pleasant triumphant hill;
the Ulaid escort him to stalwart Tara.
Thirty coats of mail to the warrior of Tara,
thirty bracelets, it is true,
a hundred horses who grow not weary...
and thirty sets of chess at the feast.
A month’s refection from the hill of Tara
to the champions of the round hill of Cashel;
the tribe whom I appoint to come with him
to the brown Duiblind are the men of Meath.
Ten women, ten ships with beds,
from the warrior of Cashel and Cliu,
ten horses in their prime and fame
to the king of Ath Cliath of the ramparts.
A month’s refection from the nobles of Tomar
to the lord of pleasant Cashel:
the king of the prosperous...
Ford must come with him into Leinster.
Thirty ships for the warriors of Liamain,
let thirty good horses be added to it:
he is entitled to thirty female slaves
and thirty cows in the territories about Carman.
Two full months’ refection
from the Laigin to the warrior of Munster from Mag Ráth:
one month’s share in the plain of mighty
Brandub from Clanna Connla apart.
Thirty horses, thirty coats of mail
to the warrior of Gabrán of fair colour—
not servants those who used to care for them—
forty swords for battle.
Those are the stipends of the kings of Ireland
from the king of Munster whom men praise;
and it is certain to every one that he is entitled
to his refection from all of them.
These are the rights of Cashel and of the king of Cashel from the tribes within.
From the Múscraige first this tribute begins: a thousand cows and a thousand boars then from the Múscraige. Then a hundred cows, a hundred pigs, a hundred oxen from the Uaithne. Then two hundred wethers, a hundred boars, a hundred cows, and a hundred green mantles from the Arae. Then a hundred cows, a hundred oxen, and a hundred boars from Corcu Laigde. A thousand oxen and a thousand cows from Corcu Duibne. A thousand cows and a thousand boars from Ciarraige Luachra. Two hundred cows and a thousand oxen from Corcu Baiscinn. A thousand cows, a thousand oxen, a thousand rams, and a thousand cloaks from Boirenn. A hundred cows, a hundred oxen, and a hundred sows from the Seventh. Two thousand boars and a thousand cows from the Déisi. It is not on account of their subject status that they pay those tributes, but for their territories and on account of the superiority of the right of Cashel, and because it was blessed by Patrick, as Benignus relates:
The right of Cashel without grief to its hero,
lawyers have preserved it:
the king of fair Gabrán of the steeds
is pleased to learn it of his poet.
From the Múscraige without difficulty of falsehood
to high Cashel from them,
a thousand cows into the stronghold was his promise,
a thousand boars from the tribes.
A hundred cows on the hill for a time of travel,
a hundred pigs yonder to be stored,
a hundred oxen to come to the stronghold
as a gift from the Uaithne.
Two hundred wethers from the host, they say,
a hundred boars is the tribute they declare,
a hundred cows which crowded a farmer’s paddock,
a hundred green mantles from the Arae.
From Corco Laigde with warriors a hundred cows...
it is prudent, sixty brown oxen,
they are not destructive,
a hundred heavy boars from the tribes.
A thousand oxen, it is the judgement that we give,
they were never the reward of raiders in my memory,
a thousand cows, not like the cows of Badb (?),
from the middle of Dairbre from Duibne.
From Ciarraige of the plain of swords a thousand cows,
it is a pleasant memory,
a thousand boars from them without delay,
from Luachair of the herbs.
From the Baiscinn two hundred wanton (?) cows
from the livestock of the fold beyond the boundaries,
to the king who loved his own clan;
a thousand oxen, they are not destructive.
A thousand oxen, a thousand cows
I exact for the fort in which I lie at night;
a thousand rams swollen with wool,
a thousand cloaks from Boirenn.
Name the tribute of the Seventh of the Foxes,
it is not a disputed right, a hundred sows,
wealth not without purchase, a hundred oxen,
a hundred horned cows.
Two thousand choice boars to the hill...
a thousand cows in flocks
of wealth from the Déisi,
though he say it (?).
That is a tribute on behalf of the territory at first,
a sage in reckoning has preserved it—
not because of the lowly rank of those for whom it has been settled,
but because of the noble rank of the plain of Cashel.
That tribute of Munster rich in cattle,
Patrick of the site noblest among sites
appointed it in the time of Corc.
These are the teachings of Benén son of Sescnén, Patrick’s cantor, and he was of the Cianachta of Glenn Gemin of the line of Tadg son of Clan from great Munster: that the heir to Cashel is the common bead of all, as is the heir of Patrick; and when the king of Cashel is not king of Ireland, he is entitled to the overlordship of half of Ireland, namely from Tech Duinn west of Ireland to Ath Cliath in Leinster. Exempt from receiving stipend and escorting the king of Cashel are always the Síl mBresail Bric, i.e. the Osraige. The Laigin are obliged upon one day’s summons to go at the summons of the king of Cashel against Leth Cuinn or against the foreigners. It is due from the Norse of Dublin and from the unfranchised of all Ireland that they go with him into battle, after their lands have been established (?), and he is entitled to a gift on the frontier from the Connachta. That was caused by the fasting of many saints at Tara, which was the hill of lordship for the Laigin up to the battle of Druim Dergaide; for it was at that battle that their part of Mag mBreg was taken from them, so that it is the property of Clann Néill since then.
The princedom of Tara was extinguished by the fasting of Patrick with his people against Laegaire son of Niall, and the fasting of Ruadán of Lothra, son of Aengus, with the saints of Ireland against Diarmait son of Cerball and the four kindreds of Tara. And those saints promised that there would not be a house in Tara from Laegaire nor from the line of Niall until there should be one from the line of Oilill Olom.
Three kings in Leth Moga, moreover, do not pay tribute to the king of Cashel, namely, the king of Osraige and the king of Raithlenn and the king of Loch Léin.
Of which matters Benén the cantor said:
Benignus—blessed be he!—
put into the Psalter of Cashel,
the history and the revenue of every king
who travels proudly the land of Munster.
It is prescribed here that the King of Cashel
shall be head over all for ever,
by sentence of the blessing of God Almighty,
the altar of Patrick son of Calprann.
Cashel to be head over all except
Patrick and the King of the Stars,
the Emperor of the world and the Son of God—
save for them he is entitled to supremacy.
When the high-king of Cashel
with his law is not king over noble Ireland,
the territory of mighty Eber
is his from Ath Cliath to Tech nDuinn.
The fair kindred of the Osraige
is free of his claim,
because they were given as a good ransom
to the king of Cashel with his law.
It is the duty of the king of the fierce Laigin
to send horses and horns to lofty Cashel:
gold and wealth from beyond the sea
are due from the Laigin.
The Laigin are bound to go with them
against the Foreigners in every fight;
if the invasion should come to the Laigin,
the king of Cashel must drive it off.
The king of fair Cashel is entitled
to three hundred suits of cloth at Samain,
and to fifty roan steeds
for each battalion.
So that children and women may know,
since it concerns them (?),
there is due from the king of the Foreigners
that much for admitting (?) them to their land.
When the (other) half of the great island
of the Sons of Mil is at peace with him,
he is entitled to the rent of Connacht without concealment,
for admitting (?) them into their strong half.
The tribute due, no falsehood,
is fifty oxen, a hundred and fifty cows,
fifty horses—wonderful bounty,
a hundred cloaks from Umall.
When the saints fasted
against famous noble Tara,
there came to the king of comely Cashel
the blessing of Patrick, Calprann’s son.
Though it be a great reproach
to fair Ireland, neither the Laigin
nor Síl Cuind will have a house in Temair Fail
until one is built by Síl nBluim.
Though the history which I recount
is good it is not cherished by the Laigin:
the history of Oilill Olom
is not preserved by Leth Cuinn.
I shall keep in venerable Cashel
—choice musters in a conflict—
the two provinces that are here apart,
and their provision in one house.
That house is spacious Munster,
the two provinces are the people.
It is right that the high kingship of Ireland
should be in level Munster of many pledges.
May there be corn and mast and wealth
in level Munster with prosperity:
mead and cups and ale and music are well known
to the men of Munster.
There are three kings in spacious Munster
who pay no tribute to Cashel,
the king of Gabrán whose hostages are not taken,
the king of Raithlenn and the king of Loch Léin.
There was found in the psalter of the God of power
—I will not make it more nor less—
that from Shrove to Easter—I will not conceal it—
Benén was in Cashel.
May Dál Cais not have cause to grieve,
may they hold out against a host of...
The Lord whom Benén served
has made them numerous and noble.
Let Selbach the wise and Aengus
together enforce the profits of Munster
as I shall declare them,
and as Benén bestowed them.
Now these are the local (internal) tributes of Munster to Cashel, and they are paid every year, i.e. fine and refection and provision and protection. First, three hundred beeves from Múscraige and three hundred boars and three hundred cows. Then three hundred boars and three hundred mantles and a hundred milch cows from the Uaithne. Then a hundred cows, thirty boars, thirty beeves, and thirty cloaks from the Ara. Then sixty oxen, sixty wethers, and sixty cows from the Seventh. Then fifty cows and fifty oxen and fifty beeves from the Orbraige. Three hundred oxen and a hundred and fifty milch cows from Dáirfhine also. Thirty cows and thirty oxen and thirty cloaks from Corco Duibne. A thousand cows, a thousand oxen, and a thousand sows from Ciarraige. Seven hundred cloaks, seven hundred wethers, seven hundred cows, and seven hundred sows from Corco Baiscind. A hundred sheep, a hundred sows, a thousand oxen, and a thousand cloaks from Corcamruad. A thousand oxen, a thousand sheep, a thousand cloaks, and a thousand milch cows from the Déisi. A hundred cows from Orbraige, a hundred white cloaks and a hundred sows. Eóganacht pays no rent, for the lands which maintain Cashel belong to them. Clanna Cais do not pay, nor Raithlenn nor Glennamain nor Len nor Ui Fidgente nor Áine Cliach. And about this the virtuous sage Benén made a poem:
Have you heard the rent of Cashel
to its champion from all,
which its peoples pay
each year for ever?
Three hundred beeves from Múscraige
on the land in truth, three hundred boars
whose tusks are not yet yellow,
a hundred cloaks and a hundred cows.
Three hundred boars from the Uaithne
to Cashel without default,
three hundred mantles, it is well known,
and a hundred strong milch cows.
Thirty boars, make no mistake,
thirty beeves, it is much,
thirty cloaks from the fierce Ara,
a hundred young cows for milk.
Sixty oxen for a good week’s feasting,
sixty sleek black wethers,
sixty clean cows from the fair
Seventh to Cashel of the clerics.
Fifty good cows from Orbraige,
fifty beeves to be appraised,
fifty oxen without...
to Cashel without grudge.
Three hundred oxen from Dáirfhine,
from this community to their chief,
six hundred much cows all tawny,
from the children of Mac Con.
Thirty curly cloaks...
—purple has dyed them—
thirty good cows from Corco Duibne,
thirty oxen from Drung.
Seven hundred sows from Ciarraige,
seven hundred cows in sooth,
seven hundred oxen openly
for Cashel of the hosts.
Seven hundred cloaks from Corco Baiscinn,
seven hundred wethers in fleece,
seven hundred cows from...
seven hundred fat sows.
The territory of Corcamruad
owes a hundred sheep, a hundred sows,
a thousand oxen from the brown Burren,
a thousand coloured cloaks.
A thousand oxen from the Déisi,
a thousand good sheep,
a thousand white-fringed cloaks,
a thousand cows after calving.
A hundred cows from the men of Orbraige
are given to him,
a hundred white cloaks to bright Cashel,
a hundred sows for the sty.
There is owed by the Eóganacht
neither rent nor food-
render with zeal, for the lands which maintain
pleasant Cashel belong to them.
They are not entitled to the rent
of Cashel of the wolf-packs from Clann Chais;
they are not entitled to it
from Glennamain nor from mighty Raithlenn.
They are not entitled to it from the warriors
of Len nor from fierce Gabair;
they are not entitled to it
from Ui Fidginte nor from lofty Ame.
Remember every month
the handsome revenue of great Cashel;
no-one is prince of Munster
who does not demand the rent.
I am Benén of the sweet tongue,
excellent sage of tradition (?)
I have received a wonderful dwe1ling.
Give to Cashel its rent.
The stipends given by the king of Cashel to the kings of his tribes:
First, a place at his side, and ten horses, ten suits, two bracelets, and two sets of chess to the king of Dál Cais; and to lead with him an expedition into another territory and to return at the rear.
Then ten horses, ten horns, ten swords, ten shields, ten hides, two bracelets, and two sets of chess to the king of Gabrán. Ten horses, ten slaves, ten women, and ten horns to the king of the Eóganachta when he is not king of Cashel. Eight slaves, eight women, eight swords, eight horses, eight shields, and ten ships to the king of the Déisi. Five horses, five cloaks, five horns, and five swords to the king of Ui Liatháin. Ten horses, ten horns, ten shields, ten swords, and ten coats of mail to the king of Raithlenn. Seven horses, seven tunics, seven hounds, and seven coats of mail to the king of Múscraige. Seven swords, seven horns, seven coats of mail, seven ships, and seven horses to the king of Dáirfhine. Seven hounds, seven borses, and seven horns to the king of Dairbre of the mountain. Seven horses, seven horns, seven swords, seven shields, and seven bounds to the king of Loch Léin. Seven women, seven cloaks trimmed with gold, seven cups, and seven horses to the king of Ciarraige Luachra. Seven horses, seven shields, seven swords, seven ships, and seven coats of mail to the king of Léim in Chon. Ten horses to the king of Ui Chonaill Gabra, and ten shields, ten swords, and ten horns; and no hostages from him, but an oath under the handz of the king of Cashel. Seven horses to the king of Ui Chairpri, and seven horns, seven swords, seven lads, and seven slaves. Eight horns to the hero of Cliu, and eight swords, eight horses, two bracelets, and two sets of chess. Seven horses, seven horns, seven shields, and seven swords to the king of Glennamain. Eight horses, eight swords, and eight horns, with the grades of prince and high king to the king of the Uaithne. Eight horses to the king of Eile, eight shields, eight swords, eight horns, and eight coats of mail.
Those are the stipends of the kings as the poet Benén tells:
Scholar of great Munster,
if you are mindful of the Canon,
arise and maintain in his house the right
of the king of Cashel from his territories.
In the van with him into another country
is the king of Dál Cais—do not conceal it;
at the rear of the kings are the musical Dál Cais
when coming out of a strange country.
Ten horses to the king of famous Gabrán
from the king of Dala [Cashel] and ten horns,
ten swords, ten shields, ten hides,
two bracelets, and two sets of chess.
Ten slaves, ten strong women,
and ten drinking horns and ten horses
to the king of Eoganacht unless Cashel
of the captives be his.
Eight slaves, eight swarthy women
and ten ships to the king of the Déisi,
eight shields, eight swords for smiting,
and eight horses from over the sea.
Five horses, five mantles trimmed with gold,
and five drinking horns,
five swords for slaying,
to the warrior king of Ui Liatháin.
Ten horses to the king of mighty Raithlenn,
ten horns from the king of stalwart Cashel,
ten shields, ten valiant swords,
ten martial coats of mail.
Seven horses, seven red tunics,
seven hounds for hunting, seven coats of mail
for the day of battle,
to the man whom the Múscraige obey.
Seven swords, seven curved horns,
seven coats of mail, seven ships,
seven horses to the mound of the kin of seers,
to the king of Dáirfhine in the south.
Seven hounds for... of deer,
seven horses is the next reckoning,
seven horns for holding a refection
to the king of Dairbre of the goodly mountain.
Seven horses to the king of Loch Léin,
seven horns, seven swords from afar,
seven shields, their modest reckoning,
seven handsome hounds to Irluachair.
Seven mantles with fringes of gold
and seven horns for drinking,
to the king of Ciarraige of the conflict.
Seven horses to the warrior of Léim in Chon,
seven shields with the brilliance of the sun,
seven curved swords of battle,
seven ships, seven coats of mail.
Six horses to the king of Corcamruad,
six swords for smiting hosts, six horns,
six shields shall he receive,
six handsome white hounds.
Ten horses to the king of Úi Chonaill Gabra,
ten shields, ten valiant swords,
ten horns in his gloomy( ?) fort
without hostages from him or pledges.
Seven horses to the king of Bruig Rig,
seven horns out of which he may drink wine,
seven swords, it is a welcome provision,
seven lads, seven female slaves.
Seven horns to the hero of Áine,
seven swords, no furtive contract,
seven horses to that warrior in his time,
two rings and two sets of chess.
Seven horses, seven horns to the swift warrior,
to the high king of the Forthuatha,
seven shields, seven swords for battle
are given to the king of Glennamain.
Seven horses to the king of the Uaithne,
seven swords, it is a clever contract,
seven horns for their companies,
who are entitled to be in the noble ranks of the high king.
Eight horses to the king of Ele of the gold,
eight shields, eight swords, it is just,
eight horns, he holds them ready at a feast,
eight coats of mail for the day of valour.
That is the stipend of each king
from the king of Cashel with a hundred cares;
the hand of Benén has preserved it.
Cherish it, thou scholar!
This is the just duty and division of those stipends from the king of Cashel to the kings of tribes and territories according to the revenue of their land and kindred, by virtue of claim and heritage and according to the benefit of rank and nobility, according to the amount of their strength and suzerainty, the numbers of their foray and hosting, and according to convenience, moderation, seniority, and reckoning of estates and dignity. It is according to these that their stipends are awarded to them, following the doctrine of learned men and historians, as Benén said here:
Here is a tradition, pleasant series,
which will be unknown unless it be learned,
the stipend of the king of righteous Cashel
to his gentle kings first.
When Dál Cais has not the kingship
over the children of fierce Eógan,
he shall be at the side of the king
of fair Cashel though his guests be many.
Ten gilded horns each Samain,
thirty swords, a wonderful covenant,
thirty fine horses hither
to the fair-haired king of Dál Cais.
The active king of Osraige is entitled
to his claim from two kings,
two choice stipends every year
to his homestead.
The king of Osraige with great prosperity
is entitled to ten shields and ten swords
and ten horses over the great plains
from the king of Tara in the north.
The king of Osraige with lofty pride
is entitled to ten shields,
ten swords in justice, and two bracelets
of pure gold from the king of firm Cashel.
The stipend of the king of the Déisi
from the king of Cashel, examine it,’
is a gold-hilted sword, a famous horse,
and a ship fully rigged.
The warrior king of Ui Liatháin
is entitled to no mean stipend:
the shield of the king of Cashel,
a handsome sword, a horse and harness from over the sea.
The petty king of Mag Fian is entitled
to a horse from the king of Cashel and a bridle;
the valiant king of Fermoyz is entitled
to a shield and a handsome sword.
The clan of Cairpre Muse of great renown,
their king is entitled to a stipend:
the shield of the fierce king of Cashel,
his horse and his leashed hound.
The prosperous king of Raithlenn—
it is a generous stipend—is entitled
to ten swords and ten horns,
ten purple cloaks and ten blue cloaks.
The king of brown Dáirfine is entitled
to three swords which defend spoils,
three ships and three coats of mail
from the king of contending Cashel.
The stipend of the valiant king of Drong
from the king of Ireland is not to be despised,
three swords, curved and slender,
and three fair ships.
The stipend of the king of Loch Léin
from the king of Ireland of noble mind:
ten brown steeds, ten ships,
and ten coats of mail.
The stipend of the king of Feórann Flainn
from the descendants of Oilill Olom:
ten harnessed horses from the stud
and his fine satin hood.
The stipend of the king of Léim in Chon
from the king of Cashel, it is a happy agreement,
his worthy ship brightly coloured,
a horse, a sword, a splendid horn.
The stipend of the king of fair Gabrán
from the great king of pleasant Munster:
as long as he rules in his mighty house,
the king is entitled to sit beside him.
When he goes to his own house,
he is entitled to a horse and ready harness,
and to a horse and harness for each man
of those with whom he goes east.
The stipend of the king of Bruig Rig
from the king of Ireland without anxiety:
ten dark red tunics
and ten foreigners who know not Irish.
The stipend of the king of lofty Áine
from the king of Cashel whose sword is fierce:
his shield and his bright sword
and thirty cows each BeltÁine.
The stipend of the king of the Uaithne
from the king of Cashel, it is clever,
six shields and six fine swords
and six horses of the choicest.
The king of pleasant Araid
is entitled from the king of Ireland
of gentle countenance to six swords,
six prized shields, and six purple mantles.
The stipend of the king of golden Ele
from the festive king of Cashel:
six shields, six fine swords,
six slaves, and six woman-slaves.
He will be a sage or a venerable ollam—
Mac Cuilennáinz has promised it—
he is not needy in his time,
whosoever shall have memorized this as it is.
Of the Strongholds of the Kings of Cashel
Brug Rig, Muilched, fairs Senchua, Ros Ruada, Cluain Uama, Cathair Chnuis, Cathair tindabrach, Cathair Thuaigi, Cathair Glennamnach, Cathair Chind Chon, Dun Fir Aencholca, Dun nGair, Cathair Methais, Temair Shuba, Ardbile, Aenach mBerráin, Mag Caille, Ard Conaill, Ard Meic Conaind, Ard Ruidi, Tuaiscert Maigi, Mag Saire, the three Arans on the ocean,4 Aenach Cairpri, Druim Mór, Druim Cain, Cathair Chuirc, Murbolcan, Geibtine, Grafann, Aill Meic Cuirr, Mag nAi, Mag nEtarbÁine, Uachtmag, Caecháfl Boirne, Murmag, Mag nEnaig, Tuaim nEtain, Mag nAsail, Eibliu, Ucht na Rigna, Cuillenn, Cua, Claire, Indeoin, Áine, Ord, Uillenn Etan, Loch Cend, Cend Nathrach, Rafann, Druim Cain,’ Druim Fingin, Treda na Rig, Ráith Eirc, Ráith Fhaelad, Ráith Arda, Ráith Droma Deilge, Benntraige, Crecraige, Orbraige, Ui Chuirp. And of them the glorious Benén sang:
That the eric of Fergus
Scandal may be briefly known,
you have the substance of the knowledge,
from the Nore to Dun nDreasa.
The eric of king Fergus
in riches and land,
they thought Laigin Desgabair
as far as the sea enough for slaying him.
To powerful Cashel belongs
Brug Rig and great Muilched,
fair Senchua, bright Ros Ruada,
and noble Cluain Uama too.
Cathair Chnuis, Cathair Fhindabrach,
Cathair Thuaigi with its prosperity,
Cathair Glennamnach, Cathair Chind Chon,
Dun Fir Aencholca, Dun nGair.
Cathair Methais, Temair Shuba,
Airbile prosperous and gay,
Aenach mBerrán, fair Mag Caille,
Ard Conaill for the use of troops.
Ard Meic Conaing and Ard Ruidi,
Tuaiscert Maige, a brackencovered plain,
Mag Saire which crowds frequent,
with the three Arans in the ocean.
Aenach Cairpri, Druim Mór,Druim Cain,
Cathair Chuirc which overlooks the sea,
Murbolcan Geibtine, Grafann,
his is the whole of Aill Meic Cuir.
Mag nAi, Mag nEtarba,’
Uachtmag, Caechán Boirne ever for the king,
Murmag, Mag nEnaig Rosa,
Asal, Eibliu, Ucht na Rigna,
the fort in which followers abound,
Cuillenn, Cua, Claire,
Inneóin, Áine and Ord.
Uillenn Etan, Loch Cenn,
Cend Nathrach of the flocks (?),
Rafann truly, Druim Cain, Druim Fingin of the wood,
even Treda na Rig is his.
Raith Eirc, Raith Faelad,
Ráith Arda, and Ráith Droma Deilge
in the south, Benntraige, Crecraige,
Orbraige and Ui Chuirp, this is what is known.
Of the profits of Connaeht as Benén tells
The rents and stipends of Connacht: the great rent of Connacht first of all in maintenance and attendance at Cruachain. From Umall the rents of Connacht are paid to Cruachain first: a hundred cows and a hundred boars and a hundred mantles, that is from Umall. A hundred oxen and a hundred much cows and sixty swine and sixty cloaks, that is from the Crecraige. Two hundred and forty cloaks and two hundred cows and one hundred and twenty swine, that is from Conmaicne. A hundred cows and a hundred oxen, that is from the Ciarraige. Sixty crimson cloaks and sixty boars, that is also from the Ciarraige. Seven times fifty much cows, a hundred and fifty boars and a hundred and fifty cloaks from the Luigne every BeltÁine, and a hundred and fifty oxen; and that is not on account of inferior status of the tribesmen but on account of the inferior status of the grazing and land. A hundred and forty cows and seven times fifty ingots of iron, three hundred and fifty swine and three hundred and fifty oxen, that is from the Cuirc. A hundred and fifty crimson cloaks and a hundred and fifty boars and a hundred and fifty oxen, that is from the Delbna in consideration for settling (?) them in their land. Seventy cloaks and seventy boars from Úi Máine on account oftheirland. Ua Briuinand SilMuiredaigand Ui Fiachrachand Cenél nAeda are free tuatha and of equal status with the king, and they go not on an expedition or a muster save for a payment of cattle, and they go not into battle with the king save for pay; and if any such are brought and they happen to be killed, their king is entitled to their eric from the king (of the province); and when the Síl Fiachra or Síl nAeda or Síl Guaire do not hold the kingship, the noblest man of them present has the right to sit at the right of the king of Connacht. If he chance to be abroad in another territory, he is entitled to sit beside the king of Cashel or the king of Naas or the king of Emain Macha. And it is of them that the virtuous and heroic Benén sang:
Hear a tradition that is not lowly
of the high king of Connacht whose sword is powerful,
what he is entitled to in that country
of his for his honour, for his honour-price.
The great rent of Connacht to Cruachain
without disrespect from the goodly tribes,
everyone from whom he is entitled,
appropriate rule, to maintenance and attendance.
A hundred cows of lasting fame,
a hundred fat boars, a hundred mantles,
from Umall to the king of Connacht.
I shall tell the high rent
of the Crecraige to the king of Connacht,
for I know it, a hundred oxen of good colour
to the king of Connacht and Cruachain.
Sixty swine, it is a great stipulation,
and sixty royal cloaks,
a hundred milch cows hither from
the Crecraige of the pleasant woods.
Twelve score good cloaks,
two hundred cows without error,
six score swine, a firm demand,
are due from the Conmaicne.
A hundred cows of great fame,
a hundred oxen, from the Ciarraige,
a hard stipulation, to be given
to the king of Connacht.
Sixty pure red cloaks, sixty long boars
from the Ciarraige,
a hard judgement,
assembled in one place.
There are due from the Luigne
without fault to be brought to the camp
three hundred and fifty milch cows hither,
to be rendered each BeltÁine.
Ahundred and fifty boars, it is profit,
to reach him every Samain,
a hundred and fifty rich cloaks to
the king of Connacht and Cruachain.
Of the same tribute, it is handed down,
without injustice or oppression,
a hundred and fifty oxen are brought hither
one day to supply the husbandry.
Though the Luigne bring hither
their tribute for their land,
it is not the Luigne who are subject to it,
but the grass and the land.
The rent of the Corcraige without hardship
to be given each time to the king of Mag nAi
of the horses is seven score cows,
no unjust judgement.
Three hundred and fifty ingots of iron,
three hundred and fifty noisy swine,
three hundred and fifty oxen, appropriate rule,
are given to the king of Connacht.
Ahundred and fifty purple cloaks,
it has been heard, without untruth or error,
that amount is due from the Delbna
to the king of Connacht in Cruachain.
Ahundred and fifty boars without default,
a hundred and fifty oxen of good colour,
from the Delbna alone, it is no lie;
their tribute must be maintÁined.
It is not on account of inferior status
of the people, were it not for the grass-rich land:
they would not bring tribute hither
except on account of their country.
The great tribute of the Úi Máine
to the Plain is remembered by every senchaid:
seventy cloaks, it is no lie,
seventy boars, a numerous flock.
Though the fair tribute is brought
from Úi Máine to the great Plain,
it is on account of their land yonder
that the tribute must be rendered.
The free tribes of Connacht
of the clans owe no service in battle:
Ui Briuin in their ships across the sea,
Síl Muiredaig of the households;
Ui Fiachrach of the great plain,
Cenél nAeda, it is no wrong,
they owe neither tribute nor tax
to be given to the king of Connacht.
Those tribes that owe no fitting tribute,
if one should wish to tell their privilege,
it is a like inheritance for them all,
whichever of them it be to whom the kingship may fall.
If any of them go into battle
with the king of Connacht and Cruachain,
and he be killed by spears in the fight,
payment of his eric is due.
For none of them is obliged
to go into battle or conflict
with the king of Connacht of handsome wealth,
unless it be for payment.
When the kingship is not north with Síl nAeda,
or the tribe of glorious Guaire,
they are entitled, no mean hospitality,
to sit beside the high king of Connacht.
If it should happen to one of them
to leave his country through injustice,
each one of their kings is entitled
to a place beside each fair provincial king.
Well did Benén find
this exact knowledge, it is correct.
I shall tell how all that is.
O noble people, listen!
Here are the stipends of the tribes of Connacht from the highking of Cruachu. For it is on account of land and stipend that they pay the rent, and not on account of lowliness of race, for their freemen on both sides are akin in this case. And it is for that reason that sovereignty and kingship pass from one branch to the other unless an impediment of kin-slaughter or oppression (?) of saints or denial of baptism (apostasy) prevents it, and sovereignty thus passes away from them; and then they are under service of rent and accept a stipend from the household which does not renounce or reject God.
The prince of Síl Muiredaig is entitled to the bracelet and battle-dress of the king of Connacht, and his shield and his sword and his coat of mail. Five horses and five swords and five ships and five coats of mail to the king of Umall. Six shields, six swords, six horses, six tunics, and six horns to the king of [Delbna. Six weapons, six tunics, six slaves, six women, and six coats of mail to the king of] Crecraige.’ Two bracelets, two chess-games, ten horns, and ten horses to the king of Conmaicne. Seven cloaks, seven tunics, seven horses, and seven hounds to the king of Hi MÁine. Ten horses, ten cloaks, ten horns, and ten hounds to the king of Luigne. Five horses, five mantles, five swords, ten horns, ten slaves, and ten chess-games to the king of Hi Briuin. Five horses, five mantles, five swords, and five coats of mail to the king of the Cuirc. Three horns, three swords, three horses, ten bracelets, and ten chess-games to the king of the northern Hi Fhiachrach. Seven slaves, seven bond-women, seven horns, three swords, and three dogs to the king of Cenél nAeda. Three tunics, three horns, and three horses to the king of Partraige. Thus are estimated the benefits of the tribal kings of Connacht, and of them Benén sang this:
The stipends of the kings of Connacht
I saw in a handsome book, what the king of Connacht,
leader of the great host,
gives to his tribes in the north.
The best man of Síl Muredaig is entitled
to receive from the king bracelet,
battle-dress, horse, shield, sword,
and coat of mail.
The king of Umall is entitled
without condition to five speedy horses
in his country, five pointed swords of battle,
five ships, five coats of mail.
The king of Delbna from Druim Léith
is entitled to six swords, six shields,
six horses, six tunics embroidered with gold,
and six drinking horns.
The king of fair Crecraige is entitled
to six weapons, six tunics,
six slaves, six bond-women,
and six coats of mail.
The righteous king of Conmaicne
is entitled to ten horns on entering
his drinking chamber, ten swift horses to mount,
two bracelets, and two sets of chess.
The famous king of Hi MÁine
is entitled to seven cloaks,
seven horses to cross the glen,
seven hunting’ dogs, and seven scarlet tunics.
The king of Luigne of the warriors
is entitled to ten horses, ten cloaks
—no idle talk—ten horns for drinking mead,
ten fair glossy hounds.
The renowned king of Hi BriCiin is entitled
to five horses, five mantles, five swords,
ten curved horns, ten slaves,
and ten chessgames.
The king of the Cuirc from the forest
is entitled to five horses, five mantles,
five swords that have not bentz against a bone,
five coats of mail to ward off spears.
The king of Partraige, the stronghold,
is entitled to three horns,
three swords as his share (?), three tunics,
and three horses from the king of Cruachu without concealment.
Three cups to the king of Hi Fhiachrach,
three swords for victory in a skirmish,
three horses in Aidne of the ale-feasts,
ten bracelets, and ten sets of chess.
The king of Cenél nAeda is entitled
to seven slaves, seven bond-women,
three horns, three swords,
and three dogs for his hunting-mound in the forest.
Those are the stipends of the tribes
of Connacht and Cruachu
from the king of Mag nAi of the oxen,
such as are entitled to a stipend.
These are the rents of the king of Ailech and his stipend: his rents from the tribes, and the stipend he bestows upon them.
A hundred sheep, a hundred cloaks, a hundred cows, and a hundred boars to him from the Cuilennraige. Thirty boars, thirty cows, and thirty wethers from Tuath Ratha. Three hundred boars, three hundred cows, three hundred wethers from Fir Luirg. Three hundred cows, three hundred beeves, a hundred flitches from the king of Hi Fhiachrach. A hundred beeves, a hundred cows, a hundred boars, and fifty cloaks from Hi Meic Cairthainn. Three hundred boars, three hundred cows, three hundred beeves from the Ciannachta of Glenn Gemin. A thousand much cows, a hundred beeves, fifty oxen, fifty boars from Fir Li. A hundred milch cows, fifty boars, fifty cloaks from Hi Thuirtri. A hundred beeves, a hundred milch cows, fifty cloaks from Fir Maige nÍtha. The free tribes of Ailech arc Tulach Og, Craeb, Mag nÍtha, mis Eógain and Cenél Conaill. And of them the sage, Benén mac Sescnéin sang:
Listen to the rights of the king of Ailech
amidst his proud forests:
he is entitled to cattle, a handsome rent,
from both free families and vassal-tribes.
A hundred sheep, a hundred cloaks,
a hundred cows, and a hundred boars
is his tribute from warlike Cuilennraige—
to the king of Ailech by their labour (?).
Thirty boars from Tuath Rátha,
thirty cows with rich’ milk, thirty wethers
in the yellow month the king of Ailech
is entitled to all of them.
Three hundred boars from Fir Luirc,
three hundred cows, no small feat,
three hundred live wethers to the king
of Ailech of the spacious house.
From the king of Hi Fhiachrach he is entitled
to three hundred cows, no wordy boast,
a hundred beeves, and a hundred heavy flitches
to the king of Febal of the level ships.
A hundred beeves from Hi Meic Cairthainn
and a hundred boars—it is not trifling—
fifty cows, a lawful measure,
fifty cloaks with white borders.
Three hundred boars...,
three hundred cows to feed an army,
three hundred beeves, the spoil of war,
from the prosperous Ciannachta.
A thousand milch cows from Fir Li,
a hundred beeves, true judgement,
and fifty heavy boars.
A hundred milch cows from the Hi Thuirtre,
fifty flitches, fifty boars,
and fifty coloured cloaks
from Dun na Huidre on one day.
A hundred beeves from Fir Muige,
a hundred tawny much cows,
fifty cloaks is the rent assigned
to the bold king of Ailech.
No tax is due from Tulach Og
to the king of Febal of the swards,
for kingship over the Men of Ireland
may come from their strong country.
No rent is due from An Chraeb
to the gracious king of Ailech;
no tax or thrall is due from
Mag nÍtha for their fair lands.
No rent which is not gratuitous is due
from Inis Eógain to the high-king;
Cland Chonaill owes no rent
nor service nor wool.
Those are the taxes of the king of Ailech.
He is no sage who is not aware of them.
The king who will not maintain his right
is entitled neither to kingship nor to rule.
These are the payments and stipends from the king of Ailech to his tribes and kindreds for refection and escort. The king of Ailech, when he is not king of Ireland, is himself entitled to sit beside the king of Ireland at a drinking-bout and at an assembly and to precede the king of Ireland at transactions, councils, and petitions. He is entitled to fifty swords, fifty shields, fifty slaves, fifty suits of armour, and fifty horses.’ That is for the king of Ailech.
He distributes his stipend thus: five shields, five swords, five horns, five women, five slaves, and five horses to the king of Cairpre Droma Cliab. Five shields, five slaves, five women, and five swords to the king of Cenél nAeda Easa Ruaid. Six horses, six shields, six swords, six horns, six blue cloaks, and six green cloaks to the king of Cenél mBogÁine. Five horses, five shields, five swords, five cloaks, and five coats of mail to the king of Cenél nEnda. Seven women, seven slaves, seven horses, and seven swords to the king of Cenél Lugdach. Seven slaves, seven women, seven swords, and seven horns to the king of mis Eogain. Six horses, six horns, six swords, six shields, and six hounds to the king of Mag nlftha. Three horses, three shields, three swords, three horns to the king of Hi Fhiachrach Arda Sratha. Three horses, three shields, three swords, and three horns to the king of Fir Luirg. Three horses, three shields, three swords, and three green cloaks to the king of am Chraeb. Three women, three mantles, and three tunics to the king of Hi Meic Cairthinn. Three horses, three shields, three horns, and three swords to the king of Ciannachta Glenna Gemin. Six slaves, six horses, and six shields to the king of Fir Li. Three women, three slaves, and three horses to the king of Hi Thuirtre. Fifty slaves, fifty suits of armour, fifty cloaks, and fifty coats of mail to the king of Tulach Og. And of that distribution and division Benén sang:
O Man, if you were to travel north
across Mag nÍtha of the firm borders,
tell the stipend of each one from the king
of Ailech of the gentle brow.
When he is not king of noble Ireland,
the king of Ailech, rich in tribute,
is entitled to sit by the faultless side
of the king of Ireland of the hills.
Fifty swords, fifty shields,
fifty slaves—a heavy debt—fifty suits
of armour, fifty horses to the king
of Ailech of high judgement.
His prosperous kings are entitled
to stipends and gifts
from the warlike king of Ailech
after the toil of a hard journey.’
Five shields, five swords, five horns,
five horses, and five women of high spirit
to the king of Cairpre Droma Cliab
from the king of Ailech of the gold bridles.
The king of Cenél nAeda is entitled
to five shields, five slender swords,
five slaves from beyond the sea,
and five fair women.
The king of Cenél mBógÁine is entitled
to six cavalry horses, six shields,
six swords, six horns, six green cloaks,
and six blue cloaks.
The king of Cenél nEnna is entitled
to five fine strong horses, five shields,
five swords for battle, five mantles,
and five coats of mail.
The king of Cenél Lugdach is entitled
to seven swords for hard smiting, seven women,
seven slaves right soon,
seven noble horses for the champion.
The king of Inis Eógain is entitled
to seven slaves—no great bounty—seven horses,
seven women from over the great sea,
seven fair horns for the drinking feast.
The king of Mag nÍtha is entitled
to six fine horses from abroad, six horns,
six swords, six hounds, six white shields
to hang on his walls (?).
The king of fair Hi Fhiachrach is entitled
to three fine horses at his goodly pool,
three shields, three horns,
and three swords from the martial king of Ailech.
The warrior king of Fir Luirg is entitled
to three fine horses across the heather,
three shields, three pointed swords,
and three brown horns.
The king of An Chraeb is entitled
to wealth, three sound horses are his payment,
with three shields, three swords for battle,
and three green cloaks.
The king of Hi Meic Cairthinn is entitled
to three tunics with gold borders,
three fine mantles as payment,
three worthy slave-women.
The king of Glenn Gemin is entitled,
in sooth, to three brown horses,
three shields, three horns,
and three swords every year from the king of Ailech.
The king of Fir Li of the lake
is entitled to six shields, six swords for battle,
six horses, proud and slender,
and six hardworking slaves.
The king of Hi Thuirtre in the north
is entitled to three spirited cavalry horses,
three graceful women,
and three slaves.
The strong king of Tulach Óg
is entitled to fifty prosperous slaves
on the highway, fifty swords, fifty horses,
fifty mantles, and fifty coats of mail.’
Here is the tradition of Síl Néill.
I record it plainly in a book.
The hand of Benén with due regard
wrote it, O man!
The tradition of the Airgialla
The Airgialla are bound only to a hosting of three fortnights with the high-king of Ireland every third year, and they do not go in Spring or in Autumn, and seven cumals are paid for each man lost on that hosting,’ and only one seventh of every restitution from them and they do not pay for a theft they commit, but they swear the robber’s oath, and their surety is not held in fetter or chain, but he swears under the king’s hand, and if he absconds thereafter, he does not inherit on earth or in heaven.
They are entitled moreover to a third of every levy from the king of Ailech, and a third of that third belongs to the line of Colla Mend. And the seat of the king of Airgialla is beside the seat of the king of Tailtiu, and the distance of it is so that the sword of the king of Airgialla may reach the tip of the cup-bearer’s hand. And it is his privilege to receive every third horn that comes to the king of Tara. His queen is entitled to the same privilege. And for them Benén sang this:
Listen to a law that ye shall hear,
the tradition which we relate,
the high covenant of the Airgialla
with the kings of Ireland.
There is due from the Airgialla
according to rule
three fortnights hosting
every three years.
They do not go in Spring,
as I have heard,
nor at the beginning of Autumn
at the approach of the harvest.
Seven hundred is their muster
on going forth from their tribes;
seven hundred sétsz are given them
in return for the hosting.
Ahosting across the Airgialla
without giving sureties,
seven cumals to them
for it on the morrow.
If they kill cattle
during a hosting,
only the seventh part of restitution
is given by them.
If a charge be made of crimes
for which a prisoner is fettered,
there is due from them only
the robber’s oath.
A hostage of the Airgialla,
though he go, it is likewise,
only the oath of a hostage
without lock or chain.
If the hostage abscond
as a churl absconds,
he will not be chosen on earth
nor blessed in heaven.
There is due to the king of Airgialla
throughout sea-girt Ireland
from lawful (?)
kings a third of every levy.
A third of that third—truly...
—belongs to Colla Menn,
the young prince of the Collas.
When the men of Ireland assemble
to the brilliant gathering,
the seat of the king of Airgialla
is at the right hand of the king of Tailtiu.
The distance of that seat
—truly it is no errors—is so that
his hardy sword shall reach
the spencer of the goodly fort.
The king of Airgialla
beyond every tribal chieftain
is entitled to every third horn of ale
at the right hand of the king of Tara.
His queen without falsehood or illusion
is entitled to the same allowance from the other queen.
We pray the Creator of all living things,
the wonderful supreme King. Listen.
Here are the stipend of the king of Airgialla from the king of Ireland, and the stipend of the tribes of the Airgialla from the king of Airgialla himself.
The king of Airgialla, first of all, is entitled to the status of free hostages for his hostages and to entrust them to the king of Tara, and to their clothing and food, and that they be in the counsels of the king; and it is failure’ for them, if they abscond from hostageship.
The king of Hi Nialláin first is entitled to three shields, three swords, three horns, and three horsesz from the king of Ireland. Five purple cloaks, five swords, and five horses to the king of Hi Bresail. Six cloaks, six shields, six swords, six horns, and six horses to the king of Hi Echach. Four horns, four swords, four shields, and four cloaks to the king of Hi Méith. Three cloaks, three shields, three swords, and three coats of mails to the king of Hi Dorthain. Six horses, six slaves, and six women to the king of Hi Briuin Ar Choill. Eight cloaks, eight horses, eight shields, eight swords, eight horns, and eight slaves to the king of Lemain and Hi Chremthaind and Síl nDuibthire. Three horses, three shields, three swords, three cloaks, and three coats of mail to the king of Léithriu. Four horses, four slaves, four swords, and four shields to the king of Dartraige. Six horns, six shields, six swords, six women, and six sets of chess to the king of Fernmag. Five cloaks, five shields, five swords, five ships, and five coats of mail to the king of Fir Manaeh. Six slaves, six shields, six swords, six horns, and twelve cloaks to the king of Mugdorn and Ros. And it is to preserve that law and those benefits that Benén composed this:
This difficulty rests upon the descendants of the Collas,
the bright host of Liathdruim,
that they do not know the amount of their stipend
from the king of bright Fuaid.
Here is the tradition—I shall relate it for you—
of the descendants of gentle Cairpre:
learn, people of Fál of the fiana,
the handsome stipends of the Airgialla.
The gracious king of Airgialla is entitled
to freedom for his hostages—a noble compact—
and to stipend and bestowal of gifts
from the serene king of Ireland.
Nine hostages’ to the king of Ireland on his circuit
by consent of the king of Airgialla all together;
they should be entrusted to the king of Tlachtga in the east
without prison-cells or fetters.
They should receive fitting raiment,
a horse, a sword with guards of gold,
proper rights of council and splendour in their surroundings (?)
for the comely hostages of Airgialla.
It is failure for them if they abscond;
worse for the king who uses a fetter.
Save that, no one has a claim
upon the honoured king of Airgialla.
Three shields, three swords, three horns,
three horses, and three merry women
to the king of Ui Nialláin of brilliant fame
from the king of Ireland of cool lakes.
The stipend of the king of Ui Bresail
is fives purple cloaks and a fine brooch (?),
five shields, five fighting swords,
and five swift horses of goodly colour.
The king of noble Ui Echach
is entitled to six purple fringed cloaks,
six shields, six swords, six horns,
and six grey horses with dark legs.
The noble king of Ui Méith
is entitled to four swords,
four horns, four horses, and four blue cloaks
from the king of Macha of the meetings.
The stipend of the king of Hi Dorthain
is three purple cloaks with fringe, three shields,
three fighting swords, three mantles,
and three coats of mail.
The king of Hi Briuin ar Choill
is entitled to six horses for keen pursuit,
six stout slaves in payment,
and six slave women to match them.
The king of three tuaths in the country
is entitled to another stipend from the king,
Fir Lemna, Hi Chremthainn,
and Síl nDuibthire.
Eight brown horses are due to him,
eight purple fleecy cloaks, eight shields,
eight swords, eight horns,
and eight strong-fisted slaves.
The king of Léithriu of the warriors
is entitled to three fine horses,
a prudent pledge, three shields, three fighting swords,
three mantles, and three coats of mail.
The king of Dartraige, a flame of valour,
is entitled to four hardworking slaves,
four swords hard in battle, four horses,
and four golden shields.
The king of fair Fernmag is entitled
to six polished horns for ale, six shields,
six curved swords, six fair women,
and six sets of chess.
The great king of Fir Manach is entitled
to five cloaks with gold fringe,
five shields, five fighting swords,
five ships, and five coats of mail.
The king of Mugdorn and Ros is entitled
to six willing slaves, six swords,
six shields, six horns, six purple cloaks,
and six blue cloaks.
Here is the tradition of the hosts
whom Benén always loved:
it is a great difficulty to all the learned,
save him who is expert in testimony.
The wages and stipends of the Ulaid
The king of the Ulaid first, when he is not himself king of Ireland, is entitled to sit beside the king of Ireland and to be first in his council and retinue so long as he is with the king of Ireland. And when they part, fifty swords, fifty horses, fifty cloaks, fifty hoods, fifty hides (?), fifty coats of mail, thirty bracelets, ten hounds, ten mantles, ten horns, ten ships, twenty handfuls of herbs, and twenty gulls’ eggs to the king of the Ulaid—all of that every three years.
The king of the Ulaid distributes a stipend to his kings as follows: twenty horns, twenty swords, twenty hounds, twenty slaves, twenty horses, twenty cloaks, twenty matail, and twenty cumals from the king of the Ulaid to the king of Dál nAraide. Three horses, three slaves, three women, and three ships to the king of Dál Riata. Four ships, four slaves, and four horses to the king of the Airther. Six slaves, six horses, six horns, and six swords to the king of Hi Erca Chéin. Eight horns, eight horses, and eight slaves to the king of Dál mBuinde. Eight slaves, eight horses with silver bridles to the king of Hi Blaithmeic. Two bracelets, ten ships, ten horses, ten bridles, and ten hides (?)to the king of Duibthrian. Eight ships, eight slaves, eight horses, eight horns, and eight cloaks to the king of the Arda. Eight slaves, eight women, eight horses, and eight ships to the king of Leth Cathail. Three horses, three mantles, three horns, and three hounds to the king of Boirche. Ten horns, ten swords, ten ships, and ten cloaks to the king of Coba. Six horns, ten ships, ten horses, and ten tunics to the king of Muirthemne. And it is to maintain those rights that Benén composed this:
Here are the revenues of the Ulaid
without penalty or bad origin,
as stipends are paid yonder
by the king of blessed Boirche.
When he is not king of all Ireland,
the king of the hard-smiting Ulaid is entitled,
when in Tara of the steadings,
to sit next to the king of Banba rich in cattle.
Fifty swords, fifty shields,
fifty cloaks, fifty grey horses,
fifty hoods, fifty hides (?),
and fifty well-fitting coats of mail;
Thirty bracelets in truth,
ten hounds and ten mantles,
ten horns with handsome handles
and ten fine ships;
Twenty gull’s eggs, twenty handfuls
of herbs from the seashore,
twenty bridles with splendid ornament
of precious stones;
That is the stipend to which the king
of populous Cuailnge yonder is entitled
every third year, no foolish boast,
from the king of Fótla of heathy wastes.
Twenty horns, twenty swords, twenty hounds
—it is a burden—twenty slaves,
care-free gaiety, and twenty horses
used to hosting;
Twenty cloaks, no small matter,
twenty mantles of soft colour,
twenty horns, and twenty women
to the valiant king of Dál nAraide.
The stipend of the king of Dál Riata
is three black horses well trained,
three women, three full-grown slaves,
and three stout ships.
The stipend of the king of the Airther
is four slaves who will not kill (?),
four fine brown horses,
and four handsome ships.
The king of Hi Erca Céin is entitled
to six horses shining in the sun,
six fighting swords, six horns,
and six merry slaves.
The king of bright Dál mBuinde is entitled
to eight horns, eight cups, eight slaves,
eight valuable women,
and eight horses for racing.
The stipend of the king of Ui Blaithmic
is eight comely slaves...,
eight horses from the mountains, not stolen,
with bridles of old silver.
The stipend of the king of fierce Duibthrian
is two bracelets, ten horses,ten bridles,
ten hides which a host cannot pierce (?),
and ten ships on Loch Cuan.
The stipend of the king of the Arda
is eight foreign slaves,
eight mettlesome horses, eight horns,
eight cornered cloaks, and eight ships.
The king of Leth Cathail is entitled
to eight slaves without hardship, eight women,
eight brown horses at his fort,
eight curved horns for passing around.
The valiant king of Boirche is entitled
to three big horses of mettle,
three cloaks, three horns,
and three handsome pure white hounds.
The stipend of the king of victorious Mag Coba is ten horns,
ten wounding swords,
ten ships which a host mans,
and ten gold-bordered cloaks.
The proud king of Muirthemne is entitled
to six horns for drinking ale,
ten ships for the warrior of Elga,
ten horses, and ten red tunics.
Remember every day and night
the tradition of the kings
of Cuailnge and Boirche.
Benén in his time established those rights as they are.
The refections and rents of the tribes of the Ulaid
His first refection is in Ráith Mór Maige Line: that is three hundred beeves and three hundred cloaks from Line. A hundred and fifty oxen from Dál Riata and a hundred and fifty boars; a hundred and fifty cows, and a hundred and fifty cloaks from Semne. Two hundred boars and two hundred cows from the Lathairne. A hundred cows, a hundred cloaks, and a hundred wethers from Crotraige. A hundred cows, a hundred wethers, and a hundred boats from the Brétach. A hundred beeves, a hundred wethers, and a hundred boats from the Fortuatha. A hundred and fifty beeves and a hundred and fifty boars from the Monaig. Three hundred oxen and three hundred cows from Duibthrian. Three hundred boars and three hundred cloaks from Leth Cathail. That is his maintenance from the free tribes apart from his subject tribes.
He has a right also to provision by them of milk, ale and needlework in plenty.’ And of this Benén sang as follows:
I will proclaim, a noble story,
the rights of the king of Emain
and the Ulaid against his battalions
on Mag Macha.
Three hundred beeves from Mag Line,
no rash saying,
and three hundred cows,
is the faultless judgement awarded by you.
He is entitled to a hundred and fifty
oxen from Dál Riata and
a hundred and fifty fat pigs
that have had no young.
A hundred and fifty splendid cloaks from Semne
—announce it to all—
and a hundred and fifty fine cows
of the herd...
From the bare Lathairne, it is no lie,
he is entitled to two hundred boars
with curved tusks,
and two hundred cows.
From Crotraige of the ships are due
—remember it—a hundred wethers,
a hundred cows—may it be no bad herd!—
and a hundred cloaks.
A hundred wethers,
a hundred cows from the Brétach,
a harsh tale, a hundred boars
in flocks, as I shall declare.
A hundred wethers from the high Fortuatha,
a hundred beeves, a hundred boars,
if he renders them,
and a hundred cloaks.
A hundred and fifty beeves
from the Monaig—let it not be slow—
a hundred and fifty boars
Three hundred goodly oxen are due
and three hundred cows with their...
to the king.
Three hundred boars from the tribes of Cathal
—it is not hard—and three hundred
goodly cloaks well coloured
are due in the north.
Those are his rents to maintain him.
Hear ye, apart from
the common people,
what are his rights.
The rights of the king of Tara
When the king of Tara is not king of Ireland, he is entitled to a hundred swords, a hundred shields, a hundred horses, a hundred coloured cloths, and a hundred coats of mail. That is from the king of Ireland to the king of Tara. Now from the king of Tara to his kings and to the tribes of Meath : twenty horns, twenty swords, twenty slaves, and twenty hounds to the king of Brega. Five shields, five swords, five cloaks, five horses, and five hounds to the king of Mag Lacha. Ten horses, ten slaves, ten women and ten horns to the king of Laegaire. Seven shields, seven horses, seven slaves, seven women, and seven hounds to the king of Ardgal. Seven horses, seven swords, seven horns, and seven cloaks to the king of Fir Chell. Six horses, six swords, six shields, and six slaves to the king of Fir Thulach. Eight shields, eight swords, eight horns, and eight horses to the king of Fir Thethba. Six shields, six horses, six cloaks, six slaves, and six horns to the king of Cuircne. Five horses, five swords, and five cloaks to the king of Hf Beccon. Five women, five horses, five horns, and five shields to the king of Coill Eallamain. Eight slaves, eight women, eight horses, eight shields, and eight swords to the king of Delbna Mór. And it is for them that Benén sang:
Recount the rights of the king of Tara
which gracious Benén has told;
what is due to him at Tara
has been memorized by a Latin scholar.
The king of Tara of the princes
is entitled to a hundred swords and a hundred shields,
a hundred suits and a hundred horses,
a hundred mantles and a hundred coats of mail.
The fair king of the realm of Brega
is entitled to twenty horns, twenty swords,
twenty hounds, and twenty slaves
as spend from the king of Tara.
The king of Mag Lacha is entitled
to five shields, five fighting swords,
five fleecy cloaks, five horses,
and five white hounds in fine array.
The swift king of Laegaire is entitled
to ten sturdy horses in his tribeland,
ten slaves, ten full-grown women, ten hounds,
and ten horns for the drinking-feast.
The stipend of the noble king of Ardgal
is seven shields, seven horses from Scotland,
seven full-grown women,
seven slaves, and seven hounds.
The king of Coill Echach is entitled
to seven strong horses from the king of tribes,
seven swords for battle,
seven horns and seven coloured cloaks.
The strong king of Fir Thulach
is entitled to six horses from overseas (?),
six swords, six red shields,
and six foreign slaves without speech.
The stipend of the king of Fir Thethba
is eight shields, eight fighting swords,
eight horns, eight mantles,
and eight worthy slave women.
The king of Curcne of the fen
is entitled to six shields, six horses,
six cloaks, six slaves,
and six horns for ready service.
The stipend of the king of Ui Beccon
is five horses that are fast away,
five brilliant cloaks of lasting colour,
and five swords for battle.
The king of Coill In Ollaim is entitled to five shields,
five horns for his treasure,
five horses brought in well-laden ships,
and five worthy woman slaves.
The king of festive Delbna is entitled
to eight swords, eight shields from across the sea,
eight horses with slender legs,
eight slaves, and eight slave women.
That is the tradition of the kings of Tara—
not every prattling bard can tell it—
it befits not the bard but only the file
to know the rights of every king.
We have stated the stipends of the kings of the tribes of Meath. Now these are the rents, food-rents, and refections of the king of Tara from the tribes as they were paid to Cond and Cormac and Coirpre, and it is through them that the kings succeeded to the kingship afterwards. There is an equal reckoning of tax and payment without increase for wealth nor decrease for poverty unless want should come upon the kindred, or plague or famine or mortality. It is levied proportionately, great or small, every year. The levying third of that tax goes to the alien families of Tara for provision and sustenance, and for storing till the time of need, to be supplied in time of need (?). And for them Benén said:
The rent of the tribes of Meath, a great story,
a powerful poet has told
how it has served Tara
in the east ever since the time of Conn Cétchathach.
The king of Tara of the tribes,
a sage who owns it with a splendid host,
is entitled to fifty oxen from the people of Déisi,
fifty sows, and fifty young pigs.
Thirty oxen from Dál Máthar,
thirty sows—it is not a kinsman’s rent—
thirty wethers, a good reckoning,
for the happy king of Meath.
Three hundred oxen from the Delbna
shall come to Tara, three hundred boars,
three hundred flitches, and
three hundred wethers from the great kindred.
Thrice fifty mantles from the Luigne,
reckon thrice fifty boars as well,
and thrice fifty beeves without deceit
are to be given to mighty Tara.
A hundred beeves from Fir Arda,
a hundred white wethers unless you... them,
a hundred boars, a heavy memory,
from the kinsmen of the haughty Luigne.
Ahundred fine cloaks from the Saithne,
a hundred sows—prosperous stock—
a hundred beeves on the plains and
a hundred wethers for slaughter.
Ahundred boars from warlike Cuircne,
a hundred beeves, a great effort,
a hundred sleek milch cows
for the strong king of Liattruim.
Three hundred boars from the Gailenga,
three hundred wethers, three hundred mantles,
three hundred oxen, strong help,
to the Crooked Mound, as you have heard.
Ahundred wethers from Fir Thulach,
a hundred boars to the happy dwelling,
a hundred milch cows with their calves,
a hundred oxen without fail.
Thirty wethers from Mag Lacha
to the king of the Crooked Mound of battle,
thirty much cows, sleek and yellow,
and thirty oxen into the goodly fort.
Sixty cloaks from Hi Beccon,
sixty beeves, a great array,
sixty choice sows and
sixty wethers to the great hill.
That is the amount of stock
without error to which the king of Meath is entitled;
in golden Tara where he dwells,
that is the whole of his rent.
[Here is interpolated in L and B the Testament of Cathair Mór, as preface to the section on the Lagin.’]
Benén has stated the rights of the kings of Leinster as he found them in the judgement of an author, the amount that the king of each tribe is entitled to as stipend for his wisdom.
When the high-king of Leinster
of the green lakes is not king of all Ireland,
he is to be allowed to lead the van
into each strong country by the king of temperate Ireland.
Ten slaves to the warrior king of Leinster,
ten fast dogs with keen sight,
ten hides washed by the waves,
ten ships, and ten coats of mail.
Thirty rings, fifty swords,
a hundred brown horses with sheltering cloths,
fifty hoods—not mere spoil—
ten horns, and ten royal mantles.
Six horns, six rings to Hi Fhaeláin,
six mantles in that place,
six swift horses with their trappings;
though it be claimed, it is not by kinship (?).
A hundred horses from him to the chieftain Tomar,
a hundred cows for a stipend,
thirty women with large families,’
a hundred swords,—an onerous gift.
Eight ships from the warrior to the prince of Cualu,
with sails of fine cloth,
eight horns, eight swords...
eight tunics, eight gold embroidered mantles.
Seven shields and seven horses
to the king of the Fortuatha after drinking a cup of wine,
seven horns of mead to the ruler,’
seven swords—do not find fault with them.
Six tunics to the king of the Inber,
six swift bounding stags,
six coats of mail, six ships,
and six well-made brown horses.
Seven horses to the fair Hi Fheilmeda,
fierce devilish men,
five curved horns, five cloaks,
and five mantles as you remember.
A hundred cows to the valiant Hi Chendselaig,
a hundred horses are bestowed upon the tribe,
ten ships, ten bridles, ten saddles,
and ten bracelets that are displayed.
Six bracelets are given to the king of Rairiu,
and reckon too six royal chargers,
six mantles to be sent to the hero,
and six slaves to this warrior.
Eight swords, eight drinking-horns
from the king of valiant Carman,
eight horses with glossy manes
to the king of Fothairt Osnada.
Eight horses to Hi Drona in Dind Gabra
from the king’s hand with bounty,
eight hounds for killing the stag,
eight swords for battle.
Eight horses to Hi Boirche for their vigour
—not much for men of their prowess—
eight horns, eight women whom he has not dishonoured
and eight spirited’ slaves.
Eight horses to the noisy Hi Buide,
proud, sleek, with fine heads:
their king is entitled to three rings
and three sets of chess from the king of Gabal.’
The warrior king of Laigse is entitled
to eight horses, eight ready keen-sighted hounds,
eight shields by which weapons are scattered,
eight mantles, eight coats of mail.
Six horses they assign to Ui Chrimthannáin,
six oxen in good...
six horns to be in their hands,
six mantles without error.
Ten shields, ten horns, and ten swords,
ten rings without error,
to the king of the race of Failge son of Cathair
without reproach—it is good profit.
Those are the stipends of the warriors of Leinster,
like fair fruit from a pure hand,
from the high king of Gabal and Gabrán;
the statement is complete.
Here are the rents and refections of the Laigin
Upon the Foreigners is charged the first part of this rent, seven hundred flitches, seven hundred boars, seven hundred wethers, seven hundred oxen, seven hundred cows, and seven hundred cloaks, that is from the Foreigners. Two hundred milch cows, a hundred boars, and a hundred cloaks from the Fortuatha of the Laigin. Síl Fiachach and Síl Rosa Failge pay only the refection of one night to the king of the Laigin, if he goes east to meet the Foreigners or north against the Hi Néill or south against Munster.
But the subject families of their territories render a hundred beeves, a hundred cows, a hundred boars, and a hundred flitches. Two hundred cows, two hundred cloaks, and two hundred oxen from the seven Fothairt. Seven hundred cows, seven hundred boars, seven hundred wethers, and seven hundred beeves, that is from the seven Laigse of the Laigin. Two hundred beeves, two hundred cows, and two hundred cloaks’ from the Osraige. That is from the free tribes of the Laigin.
The services of scavenging, mending, bathing, and washing the head are provided by the husbandmen of the lowest degrees of the Féni among them. Purple and scarlet, and red thread and grey thread and white wool and madder (?) and bindén are provided by the higher husbandmen. If they abscond, there is double liability on them.
Those rents are paid every third year, besides the chief rent of the king of Ireland
Ut supra diximus. And of them the sage Benén sang:
Hear, ye warlike Laigin,
a tradition that is not trivial
about the worthy rent to which
the king of Cualu is entitled..
Seven hundred flitches, seven hundred boars,
seven hundred oxen, seven hundred good wethers,
seven hundred cloaks, and seven hundred cows
from the tribes of the Foreigners in one day.
He is entitled to a hundred cloaks,
it is no lie, a hundred boars, a goodly flock,
and two hundred lively much cows
from the kindreds of the Fortuatha.
No rent—a fair compact—
is due from the valiant Hi Chennsealaig,
but only from the sturdy stranger-families
that use their grass and land.
The valiant Hi r’ailge pay
neither cumal nor rent nor tax
to the king of the Laigin if he goes on a journey,
save a night’s refection in hospitality.
A hundred beeves and a hundred cows
are brought to the king by every other tribe,
a hundred boars and a hundred flitches
from these subject families.
From the Fothairt are due
two hundred tawny cows,
two hundred cloaks as tribute’ and
two hundred rough oxen for the yoke.
Two hundred beeves, a great portion,
two hundred cloaks, two hundred milch cows,
two hundred wethers, a good help,
from the Lagin of Deasgabair.
Seven hundred cows from the active Laigse,
seven hundred boars spread over the tribes,
seven hundred beeves to the plain of the Laigin,
seven hundred wethers across the sandy soil.
Those are the rents of the tribes of householders
from the Laigin to their king.
Let him not be reckoned a sage who will not declare it aright,
and everyone should hear.
The freemen’s rents, as they have been proclaimed,
are those that we have told thus far;
they are due from the free families
who occupy land outside (the royal demesne ?).
The subject families, loss without regret,
who occupy hiss own demesne,
must bring to the forts
of the high-king a subject’s rent.
The rent that is due from them
is the service of scavenging,
the mending of his cloaks, lasting service,
service of bathing and washing of the head.
There are due from the best of them
scarlet and purple of good strength,
red thread, white wool,
I shall not conceal it, yellow madder and bindén.
The subject families of base degree
who abscond to avoid the rent of their land,
must pay twice as much as they gave
from the ancestral land.
The poet who does not know
his rents and stipends
is not strictly entitled to hospitality
from any provincial king in Ireland.
The poet who knows exactly
both stipend and rent is entitled to respect,
hospitality and wealth from every king
to whom he has come. Hearken!
Benén sang this about the tradition of the Foreigners of Dublin:
Here is a gay and graceful story,
pleasing to the men of Ireland;
the revenue of Dublin—I shall not conceal it—
as Benén appointed it.
When the Deacon’s Grandson of the goodly household
came to Tara in the north,
vigorous Laegaire did not believe
that apostle of the Britons and of Brega.
That good man, the Deacon’s Grandson,
went sunwise around radiant Ireland
until he reached the fortress of the fair’ Foreigners,
helping the children of the sons of Mil.
The king of stalwart Dublin,
when Patrick came south,
was Ailpin son of Aeol Adach
of the descendants of Domnall Dubdámach.
On the day that Pátraic of Macha
of the great tributes came to Dublin,
victorious death carried off
the bashful son of Ailpin.
The son of the king of the Foreigners,
uncouth Eochaid, is brought to the Deacon’s
Grandson to trouble and ensnare him:
it was an insult to the apostle.
If you give him life,
cleric revered and powerful,
I shall bow before you at Coill Chenann,
and the Foreigners of the green land will bow.’
The apostle and the king made
three circuits sunwise,
and the fair warrior, Eochaid,
Then the host bring to him
a screpall for each man,
an ounce of gold, an ounce for each nose thus,
a screpall of gold for each man.
Three ounces of the tax were left
in the gardens of the Foreigners;
Dublin is thrice plundered on account of it
by the Gaedil of the bright shields.
If this tax is paid me
every year by you from Liamain,
the men of the whole world
will not be able to despoil your fortress.
The fortress you occupy in force
I shall deliver from the black demon:
it will be one of the three
last surviving hearths in Ireland.
I bestow upon all Dublin
supremacy in womanhood for their women,
supremacy for their fair Foreigners,
supremacy in beauty for their daughters.
Supremacy in swimming for their sons,
supremacy in war and in strife,
supremacy for their fosterlings till evening
in sending round the drinking horns.
Supremacy for the king for ever in stalwart Dublin,
supremacy for the hireling, supremacy for the perfect warrior,
of reverence in its churches,
supremacy for dwellings and sacred heights.
The fortress in the north from which I have come,
may its king be without success;
great is his fierceness in a fight,
my curse on Laegaire.’
Therefore the Foreigners will give
no peace to the king of Meath of the long blades,
but there will be strife every year
between Tara and Liamain.
That is the tradition of Dublin,
I tell it to you in return for (payment of your) debts (?);
it will be in books for ever
as it is here in the tradition.
Patrick bestowed this blessing upon the inhabitants of the island of Ireland, and Patrick said this:
The Blessing of God upon you all, you men of Ireland, boys, women and girls, blessing of rule, blessing of prosperity, a lasting blessing, a healing blessing, a great blessing, perpetual blessing; blessing of heaven, cloud-blessing; blessing of sea, fish-blessing; blessing of land, fruit-blessing; blessing of dew, blessing of light, blessing of valour, blessing of weapons, blessing of word, blessing of deed, blessing of dignity, blessing of rank upon you all, laymen and clerics, so long as you proclaim the blessing of the men of heaven which exceeds a worldly blessing beyond measure.’
No province in Ireland owes hospitality to a poet who does not know the rents and stipends of that province, as Dubthach Mac Hui Lugair said:
He is not entitled to visitation or reward, for he is not a wise poet
in the various kinds of knowledge, unless he know exactly the secure rents and stipends,
that they may all be bestowed (?) according to
many-branched knowledge from beginning to end.
He is not entitled to visitation in any of the fair provinces of Ireland
nor (?) to the circuit of a single tuath, if truth be regarded,
the poet who cannot distinguish firmly the revenues and burdens and exemption,
the portion of each territory he visits.
Then is he a learned historian when he studies the zealous deeds of the island of proud Eber.
Then is he a solid scholar’ like an immovable rock,
when he understands the stipends and rents without doubt,
so that he will recount them all in every high assembly.
Let him not be a vessel of old proverbs for reward or friendship,
for a man with proper training (?) will not cite old judgements.
Let him not be bashful or timid (?) in the presence of a great family;
unless he is thus distinguished he does not deserve his fee.
Tara is a house where Conn’s son dwelt,
seat of warriors at Liathdruim;
I can remember what she awards
to her chieftains.
Each king whom strong Tara shall accept,
and who shall possess the land of Ireland,
is the noblest of all the host
of fertile Ireland.
If it be a king who belongs to Tara
and who is best of the chieftains,
everyone should submit to the righteous king
of true judgement by coming to his house.
He is bound to govern the hosts
once they join his gathering;
they are bound to bring to him
in Tara a hostage for every man.
Tara does not belong to him
unless there be a reliable historian
who may tell his lord
the stipend of each man.
Let him not give anyone more than is right,
so that he may not give a false judgement;
let there be no strife in his house,
for that is one of his chief tabus.
Let him not make war against
the host of the province of Conchobor:
let sheltered Tara not be laid waste
by the warfare of the descendants of Rudraige.
He is entitled to be in mighty Tara
with everyone subject to him;
when he is not himself prepared for battle,
his provincial kings are at his command.
The worthy king of the Ulaid
owes him a feast each seventh Samain,
and to send it to him without stint,
on the border of Lind Luathgainne.~
The amount of the feast that is due there
to the king of Tara of the stout blades
is twelve vats of each kind of ale
with the proper supply of food.
He goes afterwards to Tara
with his retinue;
they make the journey eagerly
so that they may discover their stipend.
The king of Emain Macha is entitled
—every noble who accepts generous hospitality,
is not the son of a weakling—
to a payment that is fitting.
Half of the warm house is assigned
to that company from Emain Macha,
and they take—we do not think it unfair—
an equal half with all the rest of Ireland.
Wine is to be served to them in Tara
so that their spirits rise,
coloured drinking-horns sharp-pointed,
chess-boards and chessmen.
The width of his face in gold
is given to the great and mighty king,
two hundred cows, two hundred horses,
and two hundred chariots, no false judgement.
Twelve ships in a stately fleet
from the king of Tara of the combats
should be sent for the prince’s sons
for it is a princely escort.’
Twelve poisoned spears, twelve swords
twelve garments of many colours
for the prince’s sons.
The fairest bride in Tara
from among the high-spirited queens
should be given to him
as he chooses if he be unwedded.
Protection of the red spear with its retinue
should be given to the king of Ulster of many boasts,
if he be in Tara of the towers,
a sanctuary which none dares to violate.
The Gailenga shall pay the cost of his horses,
the Fir Breg the cost of his troops,
if he be in Tara of the tribes,
for they are of his own people.
His portion in the house of Tara
-he should be pleased with it—
is sixty beeves, twenty pigs,
and twenty fiitches in a great load (?).‘
Twenty handfuls of herbs,
twenty glistening seagulls’ eggs,
twenty hives of bees
shall be given him together.
That is all he is entitled
to from the king of radiant Tara,
and I say and repeat that
it is no mere nothing.
After that the king of Cualnge
returns home with the troops
to distribute his stipends,
having rested at the end of his journey.
To the king of Ráith Mór Maige
he owes more than a royal fee,
for his is the noblest service (?)
and he is the first to receive a stipend.
He is entitled, if you ask it,
to eight coloured cloaks,
two ships and a gleaming shield for each shoulder,
if he be not king of the Ulaid;
Aset of chess and white brandub,
eight horns and eight cups.
eight hounds, eight horses,
and eight spears together.
The king of Mag Coba of the light,
slender weapons is entitled to
seven hounds, seven horses,
and seven spears together.
The Cenél nEógain are bound to go on a hosting with him,’
and the Cenél Conaill without fail;
they do not fail him at a muster,
their duty is to rally to him.
The king of Airgialla is entitled to
his horse in return for his hostages,
no falsejudgement, and the king of noble Cenèl Conaill
is entitled to sit opposite to him in every place.
The king of the honourable Hi Brióin is entitled
to his splendid French horse;
the king of Conmaicne is entitled
to a hound, a horse and choice garments.
The reason why the king of Ulaid
of the mighty weapon gives them those gifts
is that their power may be in his house,
and that they may come with him to Tara.
The gessa of the king of Ulaid of Emain
and of his famous lands (?) are:
to approach the lair of a boar at any time (?)
to see it being attacked
To listen to the birds of the valley
of noble Loch Swilly,
and to bathe in the month of May
eastwards on beautiful Loch Foyle.
Those are the severe tabus of the high king
of the province of the Branch-red House;
if he be used to do those things,
he will never succeed to Tara.
Among the lucky things of the great king
of Ulaid are to spend Easter at Caendruim [Uisnech? Emain Macha?],
to have his stewards in Tailtiu of the triple rampart,
and that Emain shall harbour his daughters (?);
That he have a fleet upon Loch Cuan,
that he be connected by marriage with the king
of the cold Foreigners, that Eanach Cain’
be of good repute and that his stewards be in Tara. T.
The king of Naas owes a great banquet,
hard to provide, twenty vats
of each kind of ale
with their provision in addition.
The stipend of the king of the Laigin of Lore
from the king of Tara of the stronghold
—O ye who are in your house—
I have it in memory:
Ahundred sons of princes of lasting fame
go with him to the rampart of Tara;
a maiden for every man shall be in Tara,
jealous (?) and slender.
Seven gilt chariots which he brings
with him to a banquet,
seven score coloured garments
for the prince s Sons.
Then the king of the Laigin returns home
with his warriors, making the journey
to the fort of Naas,
and distributes his stipend.
If the valiant Hi Chennselaig
have the great kingship,
they have the distribution of its wealth
to their princes and kings.
The king of the fair Hi Fhaeláin is entitled
to seven coloured cloaks for every goodly mantle(?),
and four ships on the lake
so that their prows be in a fleet(?).
The king of cold Ui Fhailge is entitled
to four coloured shields,
it is a good stipend, four horns
of every colour and four swords for battle.
The noble king of Osraige is entitled
to twelve hounds with a good litter,’
twelve horses without fail (?)
with goodly chariots.
The king of Hi Chennselaig of the spoils
has control of the house of Tara;
this is the truth for all time,
for it is the house of the king of Laigin.
The king of the keen Hi Gabla is entitled
to a gold ring for each finger;
and the fair king of the Fortuatha is entitled
to a gold armlet from the white-hot coals ?).
I observe the gessa of the king of the Laigin:
that he be challenged to give battle in his own country,
that the Foreigners revolt against him,
and that he sends hostages to Dublin.
Moreover, that the king should not be respected,
that Coemgein should not be held in high regard,
not to go to Naas...
are among the gessa of the noble king.
To maintain Brigit in her property
is one of the lucky things of the Laigin kings,
and to pay her rent in his house,
and to go every month to Tara.
The king of Cashel of the spoils
has a duty to go to the rampart of Tara
with forty charioteers to
present his banquet.
The king of Temair of the towers
has a duty to go with the same number,
and none of them a churl’s son,
to hold the banquet of the Erainn.
In Temair Luachra the king of Munster
and his tribes owe thirty vats
with their provision,
it is good cheer.
He is entitled to a week’s refection
at Temair Luachra Degaid in the west,
and not to depart until he
distribute his stipend.
This is the firm stipend
which is due from the high king of Ireland,
eight horses, eight yoked chariots,
eight rings, and eight horns.
Eight score cloaks,
eight bright shields on goodly arms,
seven plough-teams in a handsome file,
and seven score cows with their calves(?).
Acauldron shall be given to the king of Cashel
as is due by the king of Tara
who renders without fail,
and it shall be brought to Temair Luachra.
Then the king of Munster
of heroic battles
distributes to his valiant champions (?),
both king and queen.
The noble king of the Déisi is entitled
to eight good horses that will be prized,
eight green cloaks, and
eight brooches of findruine.
The king of Hi Liatháin of the sea is entitled
to eight horns, eight swords,
and eight good horses
from the king of Cashel without exchange.
The king of great Hi Echach is entitled
to a breastplate and a spear for battle,
two rings of red gold,
and two sturdy horses.
The king of dark Dáirine is entitled
to receive from the king of Cashel
of the conflict eight pointed swords for the fight,
eight ships, and eight coats of mail.
To the king of long Loch Léin
he owes a friendly complement,
twenty cows, twenty horses,
and twenty ships, no unjust judgement.
The king of Ciarraige of the hill is entitled
to twenty horses
—no cause of harm—
sixty white cows, and sixty cups.
The king of the fair Hi Chonaill is entitled
to his Easter rainment’ from the king of Cashel,
his flashing blade with bright colour
and his spear as well.
The king of Eile is entitled
to his country free as far as Sliab Bladma,
without liability for service outside it,
unlike any other king, unless fair battle should claim him (?).
The reason why the king of Munster
of noble nature gives them all
this is that the men may be thankful
that they are not delayed in Tara.
The three lucky things of the king of fair Cashel
are to have a queen from Connacht,
to have a fleet on the noble Shannon
and to hold Cashel.
His three unlucky things in turn
are to declare war on the Laigin,
to be maintÁined in fair Cashel,
and not to go to Tara.
He is entitled to a handsome and merry banquet
from the king of populous Limerick,
thirty vats, as is known,
with their excellent provision.
The king of fruitful Thomond is entitled
to a friendly reward, thirty cows,
two hundred horses, and three gold rings—
no unjust judgement.
Four ships with a boat,
it is a pleasant rule,
two shields for every ship,
two swords, and two coats of mail.
The chieftain of Limerick
from Liathmuine is entitled
only to this much in truth,
and to the daughter of the king of Tara.
The king of Corco Baiscind is entitled to a horn,
forty horses, and a royal garment from the king of Thomond of many journeys
—it is no false judgement.
The under-king of Corco Mruad is entitled
to the ship of his choice on the day of an expedition,
from the king of Thomond of the tribes,
two hundred cows, and his blessing.
I award the daughter of the strong king of Thomond
to the king of Corco Mruad
so that she be his wife wherever he be (?)
after he comes into the house of the king of Tara.
The tabus of the king
of broad Limerick are...
to take part in a council of three,
and to confide in the queen.
The lucky things of the virtuous king
are to have nine in his goodly council,
to be of handsome appearance,
and to aspire to Tara.
The prince of Cruachain
—do not conceal it—
is entitled to forty vats at a feast
from the nobleking of Ireland and not to go to it alone.
The valiant king of Gaela is entitled
to his reward from him now, sixty cows,
two hundred horses, and four armlets,
no unjust award.
Four gilt horns to the prince
of Cruachain of the royal line,
which he brings with him to the drinking feast
and keeps in his house in the west;
Four red shields,
four coloured helmets,
four coats of mail in addition,
and four spears for battle.
It is a tabu for him that Cruachain
should be three times plundered;
it is lucky for him to have a fleet on Loch RI;
if he beyond all others do that, he will often win Tara.
The great king of Úi Máine is entitled
to four horns’ for the drinking feast,
twenty cows, twenty horses,
and clothing for two hundred men, no false judgement.
The fair king of Úi Fhiachrach is entitled
to four ships with a
boat, thirty women,
and three horns.
The king of the Three Tribes,
although the ignorant know it not,
is entitled to twenty beeves, twenty pigs,
and twenty flitches in a great load (?).
The generous king of Luigne is entitled
to four ornamented shields,
four tunics with red gold,
and four ships, no mean effort.
That is all he is entitled to
from the prince of bright Cruachain;
they owe him attendance at each meeting
and to come to Tara.
The king of Mide of the market is entitled
to seven ploughteams that plough the land
and seven score flocks
from the famous king of Ireland.
The king of populous Brega is entitled
to twenty horses, no shame,
with goodly trappings
not to be denied.
The king of Saithne is entitled to this,
a horse, and two score cows,
his cauldron and his vat,
for their closeness of kinship (?) is no less.
The king of the Déisi tonight is entitled
to twenty beeves and twenty wethers,
and the king of Luigne is entitled
to twenty horses with their saddles.
The king of Gailenga is entitled
to a spear with a socket of wrought gold
and twenty splendid bridles
with red enamel and carbuncle.
Thus are due from him
the stipends of the chiefs of Mide,
and they should not be withheld (?) by force,
but they should be brought to Tara.
The tabus of the king of Cenél nEógain
in his house are to have a queen from Connacht,
to be at peace with Dál nAraide
and to be at war with Cenél Conaill.
Alone the king of Laise
of the warriors goes east from his house;
twenty horses are due to him
for his journey, that is his stipend.
The King of heaven and solid earth,
may we all do His will,
so that we may be established in His house,
for it is happier than Tara.
Lebor na Cert: The Book of Rights. Dillon, Myles. Dublin: Irish Texts Society, 1962.