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persons who could not obtain entrance into the ark, but were persuaded by the devil to build a ship, in which three men and fifty-three women were tossed about seven years from sea and landed at last in Bantry Bay.*
2. Partholan or Bartholomew, fifth in descent from Magog, son of Japhet, arrived at Connamhara three hundred and twelve years after the Deluge, on Tuesday the 14th of May, with his wife Ealga and four sons, each under the care of a nurse, and all guarded by one thousand soldiers. The whole colony, six hundred and forty-two years after their arrival, died of the plague at the Hill of Howth, and left the island uninhabited. Who preserved the veracious story, after this terrible catastrophe, is of course a question which never troubled the minds of these scrupulous historians. It is remarkable, as Mr. Sharon Turner has well observed, that this legend of Partholan or Bartholomew is to be found not only in the Irish records, but in the Historia Brittonum of Nennius, supposed to have been written in Britain during the seventh century.
3. The third colony which found Ireland uninhabited was more famous than any of the preceding. They are termed "Clanna Neimhidh," Nemedians or followers of NeimhidhPoetry-son of Aghnamhain-Song-allegorical personages, but descended, like the leaders of all the other Irish colonies, from Magog and Japhet. They landed at Dalriada in the north of Ireland, but were driven to the south by the Fogh
* This story was found, as it seems, in the celebrated collection of old Irish poetical traditions called the Psalter of Cashel. Keating cites that work in relating it.
+ See Dr. Wood's Inquiry. It seems from Keating that this story is taken from the Psalter of Cashel, and from the poems of a celebrated bard named Eochaidh 6 Flinn. See Keating, ubi supra, p. 28.
The allegorical origin of this Nemethean colony is shown in a distich cited by Dr. O'Connor from an historical poem, said to have been written by Torne Eigis, bard to the O'Niuls in the fourth century, but really of much later date. It is as follows:
After dangers long the Finns to Erin came,
Neimheadh is poetry, science; Adhnamhoin, Song : O'Reily.
mhoraice, or African pirates, navigators of the race of Ham, who had fled from Africa to avoid the descendants of Shem.
4. The Fir-Bolg, or Belgæ, also descendants of Neimhidh -Poetry-came to Ireland from Thrace. Five thousand of them came in boats made of the leathern bags in which they had been obliged by the Greeks, as slaves, to labour in carrying earth. Among their leaders were five sons of Deala-Kindred, the son of Loch-the Sea, son of Teachta-Possession, Treabhnaith-Offspring of the earth, descendant in the fifth degree of History, the son of Poetry. Five leaders of the Fir-Bolg divided Ireland between them; before them there had been no king of Ireland. Their reign is differently stated. From Coemann the bard, O'Flaherty learnt that there were but nine Bolgian kings in Ireland, who reigned thirty-six years; but Keating says that they reigned fifty-six. Loch-the sea-was, according to some,* the last king of the Fir-Bolg race. During his reign one hundred thousand of the Fir-Bolgians were slain by the silver-handed Nuadha, king of the Tuatha De Danánn. Keating says that the Fir-Bolg, who were all finally exterminated, "erected no royal residence nor cleared the lands of wood."+
5. Tuatha De Danánn, descended, like the former, from the patriarch Neimhidh. Near Athens they learnt necromancy, and conquered Ireland by charms and spells. Expelled by the Syrians from Ireland they went to Lochlann, and afterwards to the north of Scotland.
6. The Milesians are the most celebrated and heroical of all the conquerors of Ireland, and the great boast of the Irish bards. Their history is taken from the Book of Invasions or
• Wood's Dissertation.
+ The history of the Firbolg is derived in great part, according to Keating, from the archæological bard Tanuidhe ô Maol Conaire. The list of Kings is cited from the "Book of Invasions."
The history of this colony is contained in a poem to be found in the book of Invasions, from which Keating has made large extracts. The most remarkable particular recorded of the Tuatha de Danánn is that they brought to Ireland the famous stone, which roared when their kings were crowned on it. This continued till the Christian era, when the devil having lost much of his power, the magical stone was silenced. It was afterwards carried to Scone by Fergus, who conquered Scotland, and is now in Westminster Abbey, in the seat of St. Edward's chair.
Conquests, and from the Leabhar Dhroma Sneachta, or the snow-backed book, by some said to have been written before St. Patrick arrived in Ireland.* From Magog were descended the Nemedians, the Fîr-Bolg, and the Tuatha De-Danánn, and from the same patriarch came Niul, a particular friend of Aaron and Moses,† who married Scota, daughter of Pharaoh, and afterwards saw his father-in-law drowned in the Red Sea. Their son was Gaodhal, from whom the Gaoidhil or Gaël are named. They went to Scythia or Gothia, and thence to Spain, in four ships, led by Oige-Youth-Uige-Knowledge, and the two sons of Allod-Antiquity, and obtained many victories over the people of Spain, till at length one of their princes Mileadh—a soldier, usually termed Milesius of Spain, sailing abroad became marshal of the army of Pharaoh Nectonibus, then fighting against the Ethiopians. He went then to Spain, and beat the Gothi who ravaged that country-doubtless the Visigoths. We find here an anachronism of two thousand years. After fighting fifty-four battles he expelled them from Spain. Vexed by a famine he despatched Ith-Corn-in quest of the Western Island. Ith and his company came to Ireland, and conversed with the nations who spoke the Gaoidhealg, Gaëlic or Irish language. According to the Book of Conquests, not only the Milesians or Gaoidhil, but likewise the other descendants of Neimhidh, including the Fîr-Bolg and the Tuatha De-Danánn, spoke the Gaoidhealg or Gaëlic language. Richard Creagh, primate of Ireland, says that Gaëlic was constantly used in Ireland since the arrival of Neimhidh, namely, 630 years after Noah's Deluge. The Milesians arrived in 1300 B.C., at Inmhear Slainge or Wexford harbour, the name of which is a proof that the Milesian story was written after the seventh century, since in the second that place was called "Modoni ostia" by Ptolemy, and in the seventh Moda by St. Adamnan. The remains of the Tuatha De-Danánn were
Keating, p. 54.
Niul had his camp at Capacirunt, near Egypt, when Moses and Aaron arrived in the neighbourhood. Moses cured Niul's son Gadelus, who had been bitten by a serpent, by laying his rod upon the wound, and thereby conciliated the friendship of the Gaël. He moreover prophesied that they should settle in a country free from venomous reptiles.
Dr. Wood's Inquiry.
banished, and Ireland became the sole possession and dwellingplace of the Milesians or Gaoidhil.
These traditions are preserved in poems or metrical fragments of Fiech,* Cennfaolad, Maelmur, Coemann, Eochod, and other Irish bards, who composed their poems between the sixth and tenth centuries. These compositions, some of which have been printed from Irish manuscripts, were the materials. which the monkish chroniclers of a somewhat later period. worked up in their annals. Of the monkish chronicles, those of Tigernach, Innisfallen, Ulster, and the Psalter of Cashel are the most celebrated. A part of the poetical fictions are even too wild to have obtained credit with the more sober of the chroniclers. Tigernach allows that all the Irish monuments are uncertain down to the age of Kimbaoth, or that of the first Ptolemy.
Nearly the same enumeration of the colonies said to have settled in Ireland has been deduced by the learned Dr. O'Connor from the various annals above mentioned, the compositions of the Irish chroniclers. The following is a brief abstract of his statement. He terms the first colony that of Partholanus, who lived in the third age of the world, according to the computation of ages supposed to have been made by Bede, and adopted by the monastic historians of the Irish. The third age commences with the time of Abraham.
This first colony, led by Partholan, was followed by a second under Nemethus, about the time of the patriarch Jacob. The third colony was that of the Fir-Bolgs, who came to the south of Ireland. From these were the first dynasties of Irish kings, whose names and successions are given by Keating and O'Flaherty, as these writers have collected them from the old poets above mentioned. The fourth were the Tuatha De-Danánn, who came under their leader Nuadha. All these colonies were in the third age of the world, i. e. before the time of Solomon. After that time, in the fourth age of the world, came the Scoti from Spain. Such, according to O'Connor, is the uniform and constant
* Fiech is said to have been a pupil of St. Patrick.
+ See the Prolegomena to O'Connor's collection of Irish historians. VOL. III.
assertion of all the Irish chronicles. This learned writer allows that all the previous part of Irish history is uncertain and partly fabulous. He conjectures that the Tuatha DeDanánn were a colony of Damnonii from South Britain, and that the Fir-Bolgs were Belgæ. Their descendants, he says, remained until the third century of our era in the north of Ireland,* having been expelled from the southern parts by the Scoti.
The Scoti were the Milesians. Whence they came, appears to Dr. O'Connor a puzzling question. He thinks the solution can only be collected from poets and chroniclers who wrote before the tenth century, viz. Fiech, Cennfaelad, Cuanac, Maelmur, and Nennius. All these writers deduce them from Spain. There is nothing improbable in the opinion which Dr. O'Connor adopts, that the inhabitants of that peninsula, when oppressed by the Carthaginians and Romans, may have emigrated into Ireland; but as this colony is uniformly said to have consisted of people who spoke the Gaëlic language, which we know indeed from other information to have been the idiom of the Scoti, the Spanish colony, if it ever existed, must have come from the parts of Spain inhabited by Celts. From what is known of the Celtic people in Spain, it may be supposed they were too barbarous to have had shipping and the means of transporting themselves beyond seas. The historical evidence of such a colonisation from Spain is the legend of Milesius above stated, which, as it may be seen, is the most romantic of all the Irish sagas.
It seems evident on comparing this enumeration of Irish colonies with that which has been set down in the preceding pages, that the contents of the annals are merely the bardic story reduced to a sort of chronological system adopted by the monks of Britain and Ireland. Dr. O'Connor has omitted the fabulous circumstances which are so striking in each relation. But it is better to take them as we find them if we wish to form an estimate of their credibility. The rationalising method of such writers as Dr. O'Connor, imposes
* "Connaciæ pars quæ nunc Erros dicitur, Erros Damnoniorum appellatur ab Adamnano, qui scripsit ante Bedum, anno 694." (Dr. O'Connor, Proleg. 26.)