The Settling of the Manor of Tara
1. The Ui Neill were once in conference in Magh Bregh in the time of Diarmait son of Fergus Cerball, and this was what they discussed. The demesne of Tara seemed excessive to them, that is, the plain with seven views on every side, and they considered the curtailing of that green, for they deemed it unprofitable to have so much land without house or cultivation upon it, and of no service to the hearth of Tara. For every three years they were obliged to support the men of Ireland and to feed them for seven days and seven nights. It was in this fashion then they used to proceed to the feast of Diarmait son of Cerball. No king used to go without a queen, or chieftain without a chieftainess, or warrior without ... or fop without a harlot, or hospitaller without a consort, or youth without a love, or maiden without a lover, or man without an art.
2. The kings and ollaves used to be placed around Diarmait son of Cerball, that is, kings and ollaves together, warriors and reavers together. The youths and maidens and the proud foolish folk in the chambers around the doors; and his proper portion was given to each one, that is, choice fruit and oxen and boars and flitches for kings and ollaves, and for the free noble elders of the men of Ireland likewise: stewards and stewardesses carving and serving for them. Then red meat from spits of iron, and bragget and new ale and milk water [?] for warriors and reavers: and jesters and cup-bearers carving and serving for them. Heads-and-feet [?] next and ... of all [kinds of] cattle to charioteers and jugglers and for the rabble and common people, with charioteers and jugglers and doorkeepers carving and dispensing for them. Veal then and lamb and pork and the seventh portion outside for young men and maidens, because their mirth used to entertain them ... and their nobility [?] used to be awaiting them [?]. Free mercenaries and female hirelings carving and dispensing for them.
3. The nobles of Ireland were then summoned to the feast to the house of Tara by Diarmait son of Cerball. And they said that they would not partake of the feast of Tara until the settling of the manor of Tara was determined, how it was before their day and how it would be after them for all time, and they delivered that answer to Diarmait. And Diarmait replied that it was not right to ask him to partition the manor of Tara without taking counsel of Flann Febla son of Scannlan son of Fingen, that is, the head of Ireland and the successor of Patrick, or of Fiachra son of the embroideress. Messengers were accordingly dispatched to Fiachra son of Colman son of Eogan, and he was brought unto them to help them, for few were their learned men, and many were their unlearned, and numerous their contentions and their problems.
4. Then Fiachra arrived, and they asked the same thing of him, namely to partition for them the manor of Tara. And he answered them that he would not give a decision on that matter until they should send for one wiser and older than himself. ‘Where is he?’ said they. ‘No hard matter that,’ said he, ‘even Cennfaelad son of Ailill son of Muiredach son of Eogan son of Niall. It is from his head,’ said he, ‘that the brain of forgetfulness was removed at the battle of Magh Rath, that is to say, he remembers all that he heard of the history of Ireland from that time down to the present day. It is right that he should come to decide for you.
5. Cennfaelad was then sent for, and he came to them, and they asked him also the same thing. And Cennfaelad replied: ‘It is not proper for you to ask that of me so long as the five seniors to us all are in Ireland.’ ‘Where then are they?’ said the men of Ireland. ‘Easy to tell,’ said he, - ‘Finnchad from Falmag of Leinster, and Cú-alad from Cruachu Conalad, and Bran Bairne from Bairenn, Dubán son of Deg from the province of the Fir Olnegmacht, Tuan son of Cairell from Ulster, he who passed into many shapes.’
6. These five were then sent for, and they were brought to them to Tara, and they asked the same thing of them, namely, to partition for them the manor of Tara. Then each of the five related what he remembered, and this is what they said, that it was not proper for them to partition Tara and its manor so long as their senior and fosterer in Ireland were without the assembly. ‘Where then is he?’ asked the men - of Ireland. ‘Not hard to tell,’ said they. ‘Fintan son of Bóchra, son of Bith, son of Noah.’ He was at Dun Tulcha in Kerry.
7. Then Berran, Cennfaelad’s attendant, went for Fintan to Dun - Tulcha to the west of Luachair Dedaid. And he delivered his message to him. Then Fintan came with him to Tara. And his retinue consisted of eighteen companies, namely, nine before him and nine behind. And there was not one among them who was not of the seed of Fintan -- sons, grandsons, great-grandsons, and descendants of his was that host.
8. A great welcome was given to Fintan in the banqueting house, and all were glad at his coming to hear his words and his stories. And they all rose up before him, and they bade him sit in the judge’s seat. But Fintan said he would not go into it until he knew his question. And he said to them ‘There is no need to make rejoicing for me, for I am sure of your welcome as every son is sure of his fostermother, and this then is my fostermother,’ said Fintan, ‘the island in which ye are, even Ireland, and the familiar knee of this island is the hill on which ye are, namely, Tara. Moreover, it is the mast and the produce, the flowers and the food of this island that have sustained me from the Deluge - until to-day. And I am skilled in its feasts and its cattle-spoils, its destructions and its courtships, in all that have taken place from the Deluge until now.’ And then he made a lay:
9. Ireland, though it is enquired of me,
I know accurately
every colonization it has undergone
since the beginning of the pleasant world.
Cessair came from the east,
the woman, daughter of Bith,
with her fifty maidens
and her trio of men.
The Deluge overtook them,
though it was a sad pity,
and drowned them all
each one on his height.
Bith north in Sliab Betha,
sad was the mystery,
Ladru in Ard Ladrann,
Cessair in her recess.
As for me I was saved
by the Son of God, a protection over the throng,
the Deluge parted from me
above massive Tul Tuinde.
I was a year under the Deluge
at bracing Tul Tuinde.
There has not been slept, there will not be,
any better sleep.
Then Parthalon came to me
from the east, from the Grecian land,
and I lived on with his progeny
though it was a long way.
I was still in Ireland
when Ireland was a wilderness,
until Agnoman ‘s son came,
Nemed, pleasant his ways.
Next came the Fir Bolg,
that is a fair true tale.
I lived together with them,
whilst they were in the land.
The Fir Bolg and Fir Galion
came, it was long [thereafter].
The Fir Domnann came,
they settled in Irrus in the west.
Then came the Tuatha Dé
in clouds of dark mist,
and I lived along with them
though it was a long life.
The sons of Mil came then
into the land against them
I was along with every tribe
until the time ye see.
After that came the Sons of Mil
out of Spain from the south,
and I lived along with them
though mighty was their combat.
I had attained to long life,
I will not hide it,
when the Faith came to me
from the King of the cloudy heaven.
I am white Fintan,
Bóchra’s son, I will not hide it.
Since the Deluge here
I am a high noble sage.
10. ‘Good, O Fintan,’ said they ‘We are the better for every neglect [?] which we may cause thee, and we should like to know from thee how reliable thy memory is.’ ‘That is no hard matter,’ said he. ‘One day I passed through a wood in West Munster in the west. I took away with me a red yew berry and I planted it in the garden of my court, and it grew up there until it was as big as a man. Then I removed it from the garden and planted it on the lawn of my court even, and it grew up in the centre of that lawn so that I could fit with a hundred warriors under its foliage, and it protected me from wind and rain, and from cold and heat. I remained and so did my yew flourishing together, until it shed its foliage from decay. Then when I had no hope of turning it even so to my profit, I went and cut it from its stock, and made from it seven vats and seven ians and seven drolmachs, seven churns, seven pitchers, seven milans, and seven methars with hoops for all of them. So I remained then and my yew vessels with me until their hoops fell off through decay and age. Then I re-made them all, but could get only an ian out of a vat, and a drolmach out of an ian, and a churn out of a drolmach, and a pitcher out of a churn, and a milan out of a pitcher, and a methar out of a milan. And I swear to Almighty God I know not where those substitutes are since they perished with me from decay.’
11. ‘Thou art indeed venerable,’ said Diarmait. ‘It is transgression of an elder’s judgement to transgress thy judgement. And it is for that reason we have summoned thee, that thou shouldst be the one to pronounce just judgement for us.’ ‘It is true, indeed,’ said he, ‘that I an-i skilled in every just judgement that has been given from the beginning of the world until this day.’ And then he made the following lay:
12. I know in this way,
no foolish one will find it,
the first judge, boasting and no concealment,
who pronounced without fault the first judgement.
Judgement on the Devil over Druim Den.
I know the manner in which it was given.
Dear God gave it, the report spread,
as it was the first crime, ‘twas the first judgement.
The gift divine of dear God,
so that men should have judgement,
the law of fair speech [i.e. Latin] was given
to Moses, greater than every good law.
Moses delivered, bright deed,
the perfect judgements of the letter.
David delivered after that
the true judgements of prophecy.
Fénius Farsaid, long-life [?] of favour,
and Cai Câin-brethach,
by them were given, no trifling festival,
the two and seventy tongues.
Amairgen of the island of the Gael,
our gold, our glory, our ray,
Amairgen Glungel the valorous
gave the first judgement concerning Tara.
Three kings in Liathdruim na Ler
and the four sons of Mil,
they strove for the mighty possession
of the illustrious island of Ireland.
There Amairgen pronounced for them
the most wise and fair judgement that
the sons of Mil should go out
over ten waves on the mirthful sea.
Thereupon they put out to sea,
the four sons of the king of Spain,
and they buried, a festival over the waves,
Dond, whom they left at Tech Duind.
After valiant and cunning fight
Ir was left in the rough-splintered [?] clay of the Skellig...
Thereupon the hosts of Eber and Eremon
and after loss of their force they occupied
Ireland, on escaping from Egypt.
Thereafter Jesus was born
from Mary maiden,
and judgements were declared with goodness,
through the pure holy new covenant.
This is enough of eloquence...
the little crown of the performances of fair judgements,
that the eager hosts should know,
that they might be learned in learning.
13. ‘Good, O Fintan,’ said they. ‘We are the better of thy coming to relate the story of Ireland.’ ‘I remember truly,’ said he, ‘the progression of the history of Ireland, how it has been therein until now, and how it will be also until doom.’ ‘A question,’ said they. ‘How hast thou acquired that, and of that history what is indispensable to help us in the matter of our discussion, the settling of the manor of Tara?’ ‘No hard matter that,’ said Fintan. ‘I will relate to you meanwhile something thereon.’
14. ‘Once we were holding a great assembly of the men of Ireland around Conaing Bec-eclach, King of Ireland. On a day then in that assembly we beheld a great hero, fair and mighty, approaching us from the west at sunset. We wondered greatly at the magnitude of his form. As high as a wood was the top of his shoulders, the sky and the sun visible between his legs, by reason of his size and his comeliness. A shining crystal veil about him like unto raiment of precious linen. Sandals upon his feet, and it is not known of what material they were. Golden-yellow hair upon him falling in curls to the level of his thighs. Stone tablets in his left hand, a branch with three fruits in his right hand, and these are the three fruits which were on it, nuts and apples and acorns in May-time: and unripe was each fruit. He strode past us then round the assembly, with his golden many coloured branch of Lebanon wood behind him, and one of us said to him, ‘Come hither - and hold speech with the king, Conaing Bec-eclach.’ He made answer and said, ‘What is it that ye desire of me?’ ‘To know whence thou hast come,’ said they, ‘and whither thou goest, and what is thy name and surname.
15. ‘I have come indeed,’ said he, ‘from the setting of the sun, and I am going unto the rising, and my name is Trefuilngid Tre-eochair.’ ‘Why has that name been given to thee?’ said they. ‘Easy to say,’ said he. ‘Because it is I who cause the rising of the sun and its setting.’ ‘And what has brought thee to the setting, if it is at the rising thou dost be?’ ‘Easy to say,’ said he. ‘A man who has been tortured — that is, who has been crucified by Jews to-day; for it stepped past them after that deed, and has not shone upon them, and that is what has brought me to the setting to find out what ailed the sun; and then it was revealed to me, and when I knew the lands over which the sun set I came to mis Gluairi off Irrus Domnann; and I found no land from that westwards, for that is the threshold over which the sun sets, just as the Paradise of Adam is the threshold over which it rises.’
16. ‘Say then,’ said he, ‘what is your race, and whence have ye come into this island?’ ‘Easy to say,’ said Conaing Bec-eclach. ‘From the children of Mu of Spain and from the Greeks are we sprung. After the building of the Tower of Nimrod, and the confusion of tongues, we came into Egypt, upon the invitation of Pharaoh King of Egypt. Nél son of Fénius and Goedel Glas were our chiefs while we were in the - south. Hence we are called Féne from Fénius, that is the Féne, and
Gaels from Gaedel Glas, as was said:
The Féne from Fénius are named, meaning without straining,
the Gaels from Gaedel Glas the hospitable, the Scots from Scota.
Scota, then, the daughter of Pharaoh the king was given as a wife to Nél son of Fénius on going into Egypt. So that she is our ancestress, and it is from her we are called Scots.’
17. ‘In the night then in which the children of Israel escaped out of Egypt, when they went with dry feet through the Red Sea with the leader of the people of God, even Moses son of Amram, and when Pharaoh and his host were drowned in that sea, having kept the Hebrews in bondage, because our forefathers went not with the Egyptians in pursuit of the people of God, they dreaded Pharaoh’s wrath against them should he return, and even if Pharaoh should not return they feared that the Egyptians would enslave them as they had enslaved the children of Israel on another occasion. So they escaped in the night in ten of Pharaoh’s ships upon the strait of the Red Sea, upon the boundless ocean, and round the world north-west, past the Caucasus mountains, past Scythia and India, across the sea that is there, namely the Caspian, over the Palus Maeotis, past Europe, from the south-east to the south-west along the Mediterranean, left-hand to Africa, past the Columns of Hercules to Spain, and thence to this island.’
18. ‘And Spain,’ said Trefuilngid, ‘where is that land?’ ‘Not hard to say. It is the distance of a great prospect from us to the south,’ said Conaing. ‘For it is by a view [?] Ith son of Breogan saw the mountains of southern Irrus from the top of the tower of Breogan in Spain, and he it is who came to spy out this island for the sons of Mil, and on his - track we came into it, in the ninth year after the passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea.’
19. ‘How many are you in this island?’ said Trefuilngid. ‘I should like to see you assembled in one place.’ ‘We are not so few indeed,’ replied Conaing, ‘and if thou desirest it, so shall it be done; only I think it will distress the people to support thee during that period.’ ‘It will be no distress,’ said he, ‘for the fragrance of this branch which is in my hand will serve me for food and drink as long as I live.
20. He remained then with them forty days and nights until the men of Ireland were assembled for him at Tara. And he saw them all in one place, and he said to them, ‘What chronicles have ye of the men of Ireland in the royal house of Tara? Make them known to us.’ And they answered, ‘we have no old shanachies, in truth, to whom we could entrust the chronicles until thou didst come to us.’ ‘Ye will have that from me,’ said he. ‘I will establish for you the progression of the stories and chronicles of the hearth of Tara itself with the four quarters of Ireland round about; for I am the truly learned witness who explains to all everything unknown.’
21. ‘Bring to me then seven from every quarter in Ireland, who are the wisest, the most prudent and most cunning also, and the shanachies of the king himself who are of the hearth of Tara; for it is right that the four quarters [should be present] at the partition of Tara and its chronicles, that each seven may take its due share of the chronicles of the hearth of Tara.’
22. Thereupon he addressed those shanachies apart, and related to them the chronicles of every part of Ireland. And afterwards he said to the king, even Conaing. ‘Do thou come thyself for a space apart that I may relate to thee and the company of the men of Ireland with thee how we have partitioned Ireland, as I have made it known to the four groups of seven yonder.’ Thereupon he related it to them all again in general, and it was to me, said Fintan, it was entrusted for explanation and for delivery before the host, I being the oldest shanachie he found before him in Ireland. For I was in Tul Tuinde at the time of the Deluge, and I was alone there after the Deluge for a thousand and two years, when Ireland was desert. And I was co-eval afterwards with every generation that occupied it down to the day Trefuilngid came into the assembly of Conaing Bec-eclach, therefore it was Trefuilngid questioned me through his knowledge of interrogation:
23. ‘O Fintan,’ said he, ‘and Ireland, how has it been partitioned, where have things been therein?’
‘Easy to say,’ said Fintan: ‘knowledge in the west, battle in the north, prosperity in the east, music in the south, kingship in the centre [?].‘
‘True indeed, O Fintan,’ said Trefuilngid, ‘thou art an excellent shanachie. It is thus that it has been, and will be for ever, namely:
24. Her learning, her foundation, her teaching, her alliance, her judgement, her chronicles, her counsels, her stories, her histories, her science, her comeliness, her eloquence, her beauty, her modesty [lit. blushing], her bounty, her abundance, her wealth — from the western part in the west.’
‘Whence are these?’ said the host. ‘Easy to say,’ he answered.
‘From Ae, from Umall, from Aidne, from Bairenn, from Bres, from ‘preifiie, from Bri Airg, from Berramain, from Bagna, from Cera, from Corann, from Cruachu, from Irrus, from Imga, from Imgan, from Tarbga, from Teidmne, from Tulcha, from Muad, from Muiresc, from Meada from Maige (that is, between Traige and Reocha and Lacha), from Mucrama, from Maenmag, from Mag Luirg, from Mag Ene, from Arann, from Aigle, from Airtech.’
25. ‘Her battles, also,’ said he, ‘and her contentions, her hardihood, her rough places, her strifes, her haughtiness, her unprofitableness, her pride, her captures, her assaults, her hardness, her wars, her conflicts, From the northern part in the north.’
‘Whence are the foregoing?’ said the host. ‘Easy to say: From Lie, from Lorg, from Lothar, from Callann, from Farney, from Fidga, from Srub Brain, from Bernas, from Daball, from Ard Fothaid, from Goll, from Irgoll, from Airmmach, from the Glens [?], from Gera, from Gabor, from Emain, from Ailech, from Imclar.’
26. ‘Her prosperity then,’ said he, ‘and her supplies, her bee-hives [?] her contests, her feats of arms, her householders, her nobles, her wonders, her good custom, her good manners, her splendour, her abundance, her dignity, her strength, her wealth, her householding, her many arts, her accoutrements [?], her many treasures, her satin, her serge, her silks, her cloths [?], her green spotted cloth [?], her hospitality, from the eastern part in the east.’
‘Whence are these?’ said the host. ‘Easy to say,’ said he.
‘From Fethach, from Fothna, from Inrechtra, from Mugna, from Bile, from Bairne, from Berna, from Drenna, from Druach, from Diamar, from Lee, from Line, from Lathirne, from Cuib, from Cualnge, from Cenn Con, from Mag Rath, from Mag mis, from Mag Muirthemne.’
27. ‘Her waterfalls, her fairs, her nobles, her reavers, her knowledge, her subtlety, her musicianship, her melody, her minstrelsy, her wisdom, her honour, her music, her learning, her teaching, her warriorship, her fidchell playing, her vehemence, her fierceness, her poetical art, her advocacy, her modesty, her code, her retinue, her fertility, from the southern part in the south.’
‘Whence are these,’ said they. ‘Easy to say,’ said Trefuilngid.
‘From Mairg, from Maistiu, from Raigne, from Rairiu, from Gabair, from Gabran, from Cliu, from Claire, from Femned [?], from Faifae, from Bregon, from Barchi, from Cenn Chaille, from Clere, from Cermna, from Raithlinn, from Glennamain, from Gobair, from Luachair, from Labrand, from Loch Léin, from Loch Lugdach, from Loch Daimdeirg, from Cathair Chonroi, from Cathair Cairbri, from Cathair Ulad, from Dun Bindi, from Dun Chain, from Dun Tulcha, from Fertae, from Feorainn, from Fiandainn.’
28. ‘Her kings, moreover, her stewards, her dignity, her primacy, her stability, her establishments, her supports, her destructions, her warriorship, her charioteership, her soldiery, her principality, her high-kingship, her ollaveship, her mead, her bounty, her ale, her renown, her great fame, her prosperity, from the centre position.’
‘Whence are these?’ said they. ‘Easy to say,’ said Trefuilngid.
‘From Mide, from Bile, from Bethre, from Bruiden, from Colba, from Cnodba, from Cuilliu, from Ailbe, from Asal, from Usnech, from Sidan, from Slemain, from Slâine, from Cno, from Cerna, from Cennandus, from Bri Scâil, from Bri Graigi, from Bri meic Thaidg, from Bri Foibri, from Bri Din, from Bri Fremain, from Tara, from Tethbe, from Temair Broga Niad, from Temair Breg, the overlordship of all Ireland from these.’
29. So Trefuilngid Tre-eochair left that ordinance with the men of Ireland for ever, and he left with Fintan son of Bóchra some of the berries from the branch which was in his hand, so that he planted them in whatever places he thought it likely they would grow in Ireland. And these are the trees which grew up from those berries: the Ancient Tree of Tortu and the tree of Ross, the tree of Mugna and the Branching Tree of Dathe, and the Ancient Tree of Usnech. And Fintan remained relating the stories to the men of Ireland until he was himself the survivor [?] of the ancient trees, and until they had withered during his time. So when Fintan perceived his own old age and that of the trees, he made a lay:
30. I see clearly to-day
in the early morn after uprising
from Dun Tulcha in the west away
over the top of the wood of Lebanon.
By God’s doom I am an old man,
I am more unwilling than ever for...
It is long since I drank [?] a drink
of the Deluge over the navel of Usnech.
Bile Tortan, Eó Rosa,
one as lovely and bushy as the other.
Mugna and Craebh Daithi to-day
and Fintan surviving [?].
So long as Ess Ruaid resounds,
so long as salmon are disporting therein
Dun Tulcha, to which the sea comes
it will not depart from a good shanachie.
I am a shanachie myself before every host,
a thousand years, and no mistake,
before the time of the sons of Mil, abundance of strength,
I was bearing clear testimony.
31. So he made this lay, and remained to relate the stories of the men of Ireland even until the time he was summoned by Diarmait son of Cerball, and Flann Febla son of Scannlan, and Cennfaelad son of Ailill, and the men of Ireland also to pronounce judgement for them concerning the establishment of the manor of Tara. And this is the judgement he passed, ‘let it be as we have found it,’ said Fintan, ‘we shall not go contrary to the arrangement which Trefuilngid Tre-eochair has left us, for he was an angel of God, or he was God Himself.’
32. Then the nobles of Ireland came as we have related to accompany Fintan to Usnech, and they took leave of one another on the top of Usnech. And he set up in their presence a pillar-stone of five ridges on the summit of Usnech. And he assigned a ridge of it to every province in Ireland, for thus are Tara and Usnech in Ireland, as its two kidneys are in a beast. And he marked out aforrach there, that is, the portion of each province in Usnech, and Fintan made this lay after arranging the pillar-stone:
33. The five divisions of Ireland, both sea and land,
their confines will be related, of every division of them.
From Drowes of the vast throng, south of Belach Cuairt,
to the swollen Boyne, Segais’s pleasant stream.
From white-streaming Boyne, with its hundreds of harbours
to multitudinous cold Comar Tri nUsci.
From that same Comor with pleasant...
to the pass of the fierce Hound which is called Glas.
From that Belach Conglais, shapely the smile,
to broad green Luimnech, which beats against barks.
From the port of that Luimnech, a level green plain,
to the green-leaved Drowes against which the sea beats.
Wise the division which the roads have attained [?],
perfect the arrangement dividing it into five.
The points of the great provinces run towards Usnech,
they have divided yonder stone through it into five.
34. So Fintan then testified that it was right to take the five provinces of Ireland from Tara and Usnech, and that it was right for them also to be taken from each province in Ireland. Then he took leave of the men of Ireland at that place, and he comes to Dun Tulcha in Ciarraighe Luachra, where he was overcome by weakness, and he made the following lay:
Feeble to-day is my long-lived life,
decay has arrested my motion.
I change not shape any longer
I am Fintan son of Bóchra.
I was a full year under the Deluge
in the power of the holy Lord,
and a thousand pleasant years
was I all alone after the Deluge.
Then the pure bright company came
and settled in Inber Bairche.
And I wedded the noble dame
Aife, Parthalon’s daughter.
I was for a long while after that
a contemporary of Parthalon
until there sprang from him thus
a vast innumerable throng.
The plague of sin reached them
in the east of Sliabh Elpa,
from it, fierce the hold,
is named Tamlacht in Ireland.
I spent thirty years after that
until the arrival of the children of Nemed,
between lath Boirche, it was ancient,
living on grass, without contention.
On Magh Rain, with the knowledge of the Lord,
I wedded Eblenn of the radiant skin,
sister of Lugh, swiftness without treachery,
daughter of Cian and of Ethliu.
I remember, tale without tribute,
the legend of Magh Rain,
in the puissant battle of Magh Tuired
the children of Gomer wrought havoc.
It was a spreading wood, with supple branch
in the days of the Tuatha De Danann,
until the Fomorians bore it away to the east
in their boat-frames, after [the death] of Balor
* * * *
daughter of Toga of the grey stormy sea,
at that time ‘twas a woman,
she from whom Sliabh Raisen is named.
Lecco the daughter of mighty Tal
and of Mid whom hostages used to magnify,
she found them on the hill, without sorrow
in the company of Mid from the south-east.
Though I am in Dun Tulcha to-day
nearer and nearer is dissolution,
the good King who hath fostered me hitherto,
‘tis He that hath put weakness on me.
35. Now he was sore afflicted when he perceived signs of death approaching, but when he knew that God deemed it time for him to die, without undergoing further change of form, he then made the following lay:
I am wasted to-day in Comor Cuan,
I have no trouble in telling it,
I was born, I prospered
fifty years before the Deluge.
The bright King vouchsafed to me
that my good fortune should be prolonged,
five hundred, and five thousand years till now,
that is the length of the time.
In Magh Mais, in the secret places thereof,
where Gleoir is, son of Glainide [?],
it is there I have drunk a drink of age
since none of my co-evals remain.
The first ship, the celebration has been heard,
which reached Ireland after the transgression,
I came in it from the east.
I am fair-haired Bóchra’s son.
It is from him I was born, from the lord,
the descendant of Noah, Lamech’s son;
after the destruction of Cessair I have been a space
relating the story of Ireland.
Bith son of Noah before all men
was the first who came to dwell therein,
and Ladru the helmsman after that,
the first to be buried in the earth.
I give thanks to God, I am a venerable senior,
to the King who fashioned the holy heaven;
it profits me nowise, however it be,
my decay is no help to me.
Five invasions, best of deeds,
the land of Ireland has undergone.
I have been here a while after them
until the days of the sons of Mil.
I am Fintan, I have lived long,
I am an ancient shanachie of the noble hosts.
Neither wisdom nor brilliant deeds repressed me
until age came upon me and decay.
36. So Fintan ended his life and his age in this manner, and he came to repentance, and he partook of communion and sacrifice from the hand of bishop Erc son of Ochomon son of Fidach, and the spirits of Patrick and Brigit came and were present at his death. The place in which he was buried is uncertain, however. But some think that he was borne away in his mortal body to some divine secret place as Elijah and Enoch were borne into paradise, where they are awaiting the resurrection of that venerable long-lived Elder, Fintan son of Bóchra, son of Fithier, son of Rual, son of Annid, son of Ham, son of Noah, son of Lamech.