10th January 0001
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the story of grianan ailech which was known before as ailech neit ailech neid the stone horse peninsula

1800bc circa the grianan is located on the western edge of a small group of hills that lie between the upper reaches of lough swilly and lough foyle although the hill is comparatively not that high the summit dominates the neighbouring counties of derry Donegal and tyrone located at the edge of the inishowen peninsula it is 11.25 kilometres 7 miles northwest of the ecclesiastical site of derry the histories of the sites are closely linked there is much legend and historical material related to the grianan of aileach the gaelic annals record its destruction 1101 the main monument on the hill is a stone cashel restored in the nineteenth century but probably built in the eight century common era the summits use as an area of settlement may go back much further a tumulus at the grianan may date back to the Neolithic age a covered well was found near the cashel in the early nineteenth century it is this Neolithic tumulus I wish to recall in the gaelic tale lore of old circa 1800bc Dinshenchus topographical poems of eireann number probably transcribed in 1160ad by giolla gilla na naomh hua duinn 38 benn codail codal the 46 dinshenchas druid sites 18 of 46 codal gaelic cnoc hill prose dindshenchas codal draidh translated as druid referring to aeds druid tells a different story about codal corr chichach from whom the hill on irelands eye takes its name here is presented as a contemporary of the dagda and his son and the following dinshenchus tells about the death of aed del dagda son of dagda Dinshenchus topographical poems of eireann number 20 probably transcribed in 1160ad by giolla gilla na naomh hua duinn 93-95-97-99-101 Years from adam wherefore does every scholar set forth three periods in all not falsely Ailech was built in the third age of the world Abraham to david The 16 well known prehistoric sacred sites 1 of 16 ailech the 46 dinshenchas druid sites 1 of 46 ailech gaelic ail stone rock ailech iii line 64 drai translated as druid Version ii 1056ad The time the fortress was built a spacious abode was the third lamentable epoch of the world a sorrowful certainty there arrived at ailech where imchell was many generations before the famous frigriu came to the far seen rock From the strong ones who dwelt in silence Tuatha de an euphemism for death to the birth of the son of god Ailech known among banbas fair folk as the grave of the noble aed del dagda son of the mighty dagda the swift dagda was deadly as poison draught a just dealing lord over the feast till even his mound remains long may it remain over him was it made in the brugh to make fair division is one of the chieftains duties the dagda was buried under sid in broga he was the king of eire with hosts of hostages he was a prince noble slander he was a warrior good sons were attendant at his side cermait the comely oengus and aed the peak of fair wanton is so called from aed who had seduced corgenn corrgends wife Version ii 1056ad because aed came to corrgends wife into her bed ill was the deed since her partner allowed it not it was originally named magh senaig the plain of the hill slope and under this guise is mentioned in the metrical dindshenchas in the story of dagda corrgenn and ailech wherein it states the corrgenn travelled from tara to lough foyle in the inis eogain inishowen peninsula via mag senaig magh slecht formed part of the province of Connacht until the 16th century ad when it was made part of the province of ulster it was originally named magh senaig the plain of the hill slope and aed was slain on benn bain baith by the fury of the hero swift of hand with a keen feig seng keen slender erenn weapon we aver corrgend of cruach was every mans foe fael wolf like cu bethir etc is used figuratively for a fighting man warrior seer Version ii 1056ad corrgend son of flatheman from cruach hearken smote aed high born famous who was the son of the hard dagda Version ii 1056ad corrgend strode forth after murdering him in the midst of his house so he slew aed though he was under oath it was a foolish crime in accordance with the oath that bound him bound by allegiance as the kings son corrgend lay under blame for the crime in wood nor fields nor sea found he never refuge under the white sun nor riddance from the mans body in his back corrgends foes were bent on fighting not pillage around their king came the chiefs of erin strong and lithe from every land to the shore there were no maurauders pursuing him from the fort of the son of fatherman of fal he gained him honour through his jealousy in the spot where ailech stands today Version ii 1056ad the youth of erin were seeking him famous that folk but they found him not at that time after the crime let him be slain cried each man let him not be spared for what he has done he shall not die said the dagda for taras sake but lift ye up on his back the dead man he has destroyed tis better for us to take a spell of his service than to smite him and he shall be under the shameful burden of the deadmen without mercy till he find a stone that shall be a trophy over aeds grave a goodly shining grave was built in the town where it is seen of all it hides a sorrow for the kindly dagda in the good meadow land of banba for ever enough of a bright grave without a dead mans grave stone there was no peace for him nor healing of the harm to be had from the dagda for the loss of his son save for torture of his body strong in fight and a grave stone laid on the tomb under deaths pain of a doomed man he found a stone of the sea beside the lough in pangs of suffering suddenly he died his fame was broken and his rage he uttered a cry it was ail with anach calamity ailech Version ii 1056ad he marked a stone above loch foyle it was a soldiers task and raised it up with a champion strength noble was the hero this is what he said as he bore the burden over road after road ach ach the stone tis by it my heart is bursting ailech that brought home of horses would not be strong in fame without storm beaten corrgend there was a subtle man on his track who was king over the Tuatha de danann ailech imchell was above every place a right sharp crested stronghold conical all envied among the folk of danu seems to be a male god?? Wild and grim the precinct where dwelt nemain and neit imchell was the castle builder of the stern dagda of the fair great vast noble wall version ii 1036ad surely when he asked what mason built ailech eochaid the arm proof noble did not conceal that it was garban of the horses who was present at the building his tribesmen imchell and garban the mason grandson of garb from a warlike kin who built it look who was he by whom was wrought there after the shining work the man by whom was brought its makings as requital for the dagdas scion if he asked what was the cause why it was made round his sons seemly grave he raised the tomb nobly bright let it be seen wherefore ailech the illustrious is called so at all from the stone lifted up by corrgend ….. who waged battle coblan or gablan or garban grandson of garb from a high born kin reared it round the tomb of faultless aed corrgend or corrgenn or corrcend died with travail of body height of evil is his whom his love degrades bearing the stone he marked out with toil and dug the young princes grave building the reference to the story of corrgend in fiand mainistrech poem at ll 11 b 10 adds nothing to the dindshenchus the tale of him bearing aeds body resembles that of cend corraide see p431 infra Version ii 1056ad tis right that ail ach should cleave to it said the dagda so that was the name of the height in the spot where this befell neit son of indui his mothers brother possessed ailech with nemain his law giver wife of the hounds of war that it might be called by all men ailech neit (aliech neit ailech neid the stone horse) the bright neck of land to him the whole island belonged someone might ask then what race held the island when this mighty work was reared above this lough well I remember it was the tuathu de danann in their hosts with their darts with their shields with their war harness who was the king over all erin sweet sounding radiant who but the skilful dagda you hear of none other so famous Dinshenchus topographical poems of eireann number probably transcribed in 1160ad by giolla gilla na naomh hua duinn here lc ends s appends a series of legends mainly in prose most of which have never been printed so far as I know they are therefore included here with a few exceptions which are duly noted 269 271 67a codal codal skin hide cuilc store room cellar odonovan john the dinnshenchus of aileach oileach fridreand faichi na rig codal whence its name not hard to say a high king held sway over erin eochaid ollathair was his name and his other name was the dagda he divided erin among the tuatha de danann he gave mag fliuchross to his son aed now aed had a soldier set over that land codal round breast and he had a very fair wife eachrad daughter of garann big knee and the dagdas son fell in love with her and sent his druid to solicit her favours the woman replied that she would not leave her husband for the high king of erin aed learns that the woman has refused him he went to talk to the dagda and told him how he had been rejected by garanns daughter and declared that he should never be well until he mated with her let him be taken from him by force said the dagda I fear lest the Tuatha de should rise at such a deed and turn upon thee and a great evil come thereof let come of it what may said the dagda better so that thou shouldst pine for her love and never possess her take codal prisoner said he and then sleep with his wife so it was done codal is made prisoner by aed and his wife brought to him and he slept with her they carry off codal with thrice nine men to guard him there came word of this to garann and danainn and gorm daughter of danainn and sen son of sengann as they were feasting at garanna house they left their feasting and pursued after aed and took his house over his head and his household were slaughtered but he himself escaped they carry the woman with them to garann and his son gruad the dagda musters his household and his son aed cermait caem and aengus with aengus fosterer midir and bodb derg the kin of eogan of inber rise to help garann and codal and battle is imminent thereafter they make peace at the bidding of elcmaire the judge this was is award that the land where codal was wronged should be assigned to him in satisfaction of his honour and in quittance of the wrong done to him and that he should not seek vengeance on aed on that score for ever securities are given to him to that effect as to ownership of the land and they part on these terms hence it was that codals name clove to the hill by reason of his ownership over it but from codlin son of codal and echrad the other hall gets its name where it was said as follows the giant dagdas son gave his love unprofitable without shame to the wife of his friend codal echrad of the wanton glance the stronghold where that was done fell to codal skilled in secrets of spear craft aeds mortal danger and codals wounding were encountered face to face let me lay the vast dwelling in the dust o king of the circling stars and let my name rest on the hill even on well named wound dealing codall the story is first told in prose and subsequently referred to in a brief poem gwynn states that the poems plainly incomplete the outage summary prose when eochaid ollathair alias the dagda high king of eire divides eire among the Tuatha de danann he grants mag fliuchross to his son aed aed puts his soldier oclach codal corr chichach round breast in charge of that plain aed is romantically interested in codals beautiful wife echrad daughter of garann glunmhair big knee and sends a druid draid to make advances to her but echrad rejects him when aed learns this he reports the situation to his father saying that he will languish away if he does not sleep with her the dagda who prefers risking a revolt among the tuatha de danann over leaving his son in his unhappy state tells his son to detain codal as a prisoner and to sleep with echrad this is done codal being guarded by 3 x 9 men poem the first quatrain of the poem describes aeds act of giving love serc as gan tarba fri h anbail codal as aeds friend cara echrad as being con n amharc n anball gwynn with the wanton glance people the dagda aed mac in dagda codal legendary figure Tuatha de danann echrad ingen garainn places mag fliuchrois codal conflict and resolution summary prose news of aeds ill deeds reaches echrads father garann and those who are feasting with him at his house danainn gorm daughter of danainn and sen son of sengann when they have tracked down aed at his house they slay everyone in his household but aed escapes echrad the woman is carried to garann and his so gruad a battle is pitched between the dagda and garann the dagda with his household and his son aed cermait caem and oengus together with midir his fosterfather aite and bodb derg garann in his turn receives help from the kin of eogan of inber eclmaire the judge breithem intervenes to make peace between them his judgement is that codal is to be granted the land where the injustice was done to him a dilslugas do na enech and that aed should not seek redress codals possession of the land is secured through sureities ratha hence the hill tulach has become known as codal the other hill tulach codlin takes its name from codlin son of codal and echrad poem the second quatrain adds or makes explicit that codal where codal had been wronged is the site of the stronghold dun codlas fighting abilities are highlighted in this passage eg codals na run rind mer tr gwynn as codal skilled in secrets of spear craft the meaning of the third quatrain addressed by the speaker to ri na rend n imrebach line 10 is not wholly transparent let me lay the vast dwelling an barc bleidech in the dust ….. and let my name rest on the hill even on well named wound dealing codal gwynn gaeic etymologies rev celtique

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