circa 2100bc the year of the world one thousand nine hundred eighty six others imagine that there were five hundred and twenty years between the death of partholanus and the destruction of his peoples by the plague but the learned antiquaries are of another opinion who allow that the island lay waste and uninhabited but thirty years after the posterity of partholanus and his followers were thus destroyed till nemedrus landed upon the coast as we are informed by the following verses a dreadful plague laid all the island waste thro every house and every town it pastd not one remained alive for thirty years the country desolates and wild appears till new inhabitants arrived we are informed by Charles mac cuillionan in the psalter of cashel that it was three hundred years from the time that partholanus arrived in eire till the plague swept away the people and for his opinion he refers to the authority of eachaidh o flinn a poet of some repute who had left us these lines. three hundred years this war like progeny possessed the island till the plague destroyed the inhabitants and left the country waste the most learned antiquaries have always allowed of this computation and therefore they who reckon above five hundred years between the death of partholanus and the destruction of his people by the pestilence must be mistaken in their account of time for it seems incredible that the country should be inhabited above five hundred years and that the number of souls should amount to no more than nine thousand of both sexes especially when it is considered that partholanus brought over with him a thousand when he first took possession of the island the posterity of partholanus and his followers he transported with him continued in the island three hundred years from the time that this prince arrived in the country till the whole number of the inhabitants who were nine thousand persons were destroyed by the plague at the hill of houth in that kingdom it was three hundred years after the deluge that partholanus landed upon the coast which makes up six hundred years from the flood till this colony perished by that dreadful visitation the division of eire between the four sons of partholanus that were born in eire the four sons of partholanus were er orbha orba fearon ferann and feargna fergna and we are to observe that milesius had four grandsons of the same name these four divided the kingdom into four parts and shared it between them er possessed all the country from oileach neid in the north to Dublin in leinster -------oileach neid ailech nead stone horse ancient name of grianan of aileach in donegal to dublin orbha governed all from thence to the isle of Ballymore in munster fearon injoyed all from thence to gallway in Connacht and feargna ruled the whole tract back to oileach neid aforesaid---------------from oileach neid the ancient name for aileach west side of the river foyle eochaidh o flinn an antiquary and poet of great note amongst the gaels gives a particular account of these divisions in this manner it was an honour to the aged monarch the dying partholanus that his sons four valiant youths deserved the kingdom after him these princes equally the island shared. they lived in friendship and without ambition their love in early infancy appeared as rose as childhood ripened into man eire was then a wilderness untilled oerrun within brambles and perplexed with thorns till by the mutual pains and hard fatigue of these young heroes it began to bear and yield a harvest suited to their hopes er was eldest noble wise and brave he governed northward from oileach neid to Dublin and from thence to Ballymore a pleasant isle the bounds of his command orbha possessed fearon from the grave of great nemedius injoyed the fruitful tract with plenty flored to gallway and from thruce feargna ruled a spacious territory to oileach neid these youths were by the indulgent care of heaven designed as blessings on their native isle
In gaelic mythology and folklore, the ringfort is said to have been originally built by the digda a god and the celebrated king of the Tuatha Dé Danann who planned and fought the battle of the second or northern Magh Tuireadh against the Fomorians The fort was erected around the grave of his son Aedh who had been killed through jealousy by Corrgenn, a Connacht chieftain. The history of the death of Aedh, and the building of Aileach, is given at length in a poem preserved in the Book of Lecan which has been printed with an bearla translation (verse 38 Ordnance Memoir of the parish of Templemore, Dr Perie). The verses regarding the building of this rath follow:
"Then were brought the two good men
In art experts,
"Garbhan and Imcheall", to Eochaid [Daghda],
The fair-haired, vindictive;
he ordered these a rath to build, Aileach."
Around the gentle youth:
That it should be a rath of splendid sections—
The finest in Erinn.
Neid, son of Indai, said to them,
[He] of the severe mind,
That the best hosts in the world could not erect
A building like Aileach.
Garbhan the active proceeded to dress
And to cut [the stones];
Imcheall proceeded to set them
All around in the house.
The building of Aileach's fastness came to an end,
Though it was a laborious process;
The top of the house of the groaning hostages
"One stone closed".
In a subsequent verse of this poem (verse 54), the author says that Aileach is the senior or father of all the buildings in Erinn. It also states that in later times it was called Aileach Frigrind. According to another poem written by Flann of Monasterboice and preserved in the Book of Leinster, Frigrind was a famous builder who claimed the protection of the monarch Fiacha Sraibhthine who was slain in the battle of Dubh Chomar, in Meath, a.d. 322 the monarch gave him the ancient fort of Aileach for his dwelling-place. Here Frigrind built a splendid house of wood for his wife from red yew, carved and emblazoned with gold and bronze; thick set it with shining gems. It appears clearly from this very ancient poem that not only was the outer Rath, or protective circle, of Aileach built of stone by the two masons Imcheall and Garbhan, but the palace and other houses within the enclosure were also built of stone (nay, even of chipped and cut stone). According to the chronology of the Annals of the Four Masters, Aileach was built seventeen hundred years before the Christian era. Also worth noticing is the fact that Aileach is one of the few spots in Ireland that is marked in its proper place by the geographer Ptolemy of Alexandria, who some say lived in the second century, nearly two hundred years before the time of Frigrind. Ptolemy distinguishes the Rath as a royal residence