CELT document T302010

Ailill Aulom, Mac Con, and Find ua Báiscne

Unknown author

English translation

Edited by Kuno Meyer


Ailill Aulom, Mac Con, and Find ua Báiscne. 1

Incipit of the stories of Moshaulum and Mac Con and Lugaid.

Ailill Moshaulum son of Mug Nuadat was king over one half of Ireland and was a druid. Sadb daughter of Conn bore sons to him. She received a foster-son from the Dárine, viz. Mac Con son of Lugaid. Others, however, in the Genealogies say that Sadb was Mac Con's mother and that she went to Ailill after the death of Lugaid, when she was pregnant with Mac Con. Afterwards she bore Eogan the Great.

Lugaid and Conn of the hundred battles were contemporaries; and so were Ailill and Art son of Conn, and again, Mac Con and Eogan.

There was a covenant between Lugaid and Ailill Aulum and between their offspring after them that whenever Aulum's offspring held the kingship, Lugaid's offspring should hold the judgeship; but when Lugaid's offspring held the kingship, Aulum's sons were to hold the judgeship. Lugaid and Ailill made this arrangement in the presence of Conn of the hundred battles over one half of Ireland. Thus the men of Leinster and Munster held kingship and judgeship. Five sons of Dáre Doimthech viz. the five Lugaid, 2 ut supra diximus son of Sithbalc, 3 son of Fer Uaillne, son of Daigmannair, son of Daig Dergthine, son of Nuadu Aicnech Luigthíne, son of Lug Feidlech, son of Érimón, son of Fidas, son of Guss, son of Sír, son of Mada, son of Lug, son of Ethamon, son of Mál, son of Lugaid (from whom Loch Luigdech is called; Fial was his spouse, from whom is Inber Féile), son of Íth, son of Nél, son of Míl, son of Bile, son of Breogant, son of Bráth, by whom the tower of Breogant 4 was built—the tower and the p.31 city were named from the name of the king; for he was king and the eldest among the sons of Míl of Spain,—son of Airgid, son of Aldóit, son of Noinden, son of Nemnuall, son of Faebar, son of Ainge, son of Scott, son of Glass, son of Glúnfhind, son of Lámfhind, son of Agnoman, son of Taithe, son of Both, son of Eo, son of Aeth, son of Aer, son of Rachaiar, son of Srau, son of Esru, son of Baath, son of Jabath, son of Gomer, son of Japheth, son of Noah, son of Lamech, son of Methuselah, son of Enoch, son of Jareth, son of Mahalaleel, son of Cainan, son of Enos, son of Seth, son of Adam, son of the living God.

Said his druid to Dáre: “Good though thy sons are, only one of them will rule after thee, viz. Lugaid Lágde.” For this Dáre Doimthech was king in Tara. He is one of the five Dáres that were in Tara from Munster; and it was through his valour of great kingship that his {}rule was achieved, whence it was said in ancient poems:

“Dáre Doimthech dealt a draught of blood upon every stream, so that he left his stories of kingship without concealment.”

“Dáre Doimthech was king over Brug; 'tis he {} from Srub Cermna 5 to Srub Brain, 6 from the western ocean to the sea in the east.”

Of the sons of Dáre, Lugaid only took kingship. 'Twas he who was king over Munster before Ailill Moshaulum. Thereupon Ailill ruled thirty years till the finding of the musical instrument 7 at Ess Mage, 8 viz. Fer Í 9 son of Eogabal. Of this Lugaid it has been said in ancient poems:

“He was a king, he was a poet, he was a seer, he was a gentle judge, a hero in battle, the grandson of Sidbolg,—peace as far as the strand, whatever he did was an instantaneous deed.”

This is that Lugaid who was king over Munster when the {} of judgment was brought out of Leth Cuinn 10 to Munster, when the interrogator said to Lugaid Lágde, who was both king and poet: “My Lugaid Luigde, listen to the truth of nature {} my father's heritage.”

Lugaid answered: “Men, foolish and wise women &c.{}” 11


So Ailill Moshaulum was thirty years in the kingship of Munster. Sadb daughter of Conn was his queen. It is she who conceived and who reared Mac Con son of Lugaid from his boyhood. Ninety years was Ailill's entire age, viz. thirty years before he became king, thirty years in kingship, and thirty years after his kingship. Mac Con it was who deprived him of his kingship, and who slew the seven sons of Ailill, his brothers, and the brother of his mother, viz. Art son of Conn, in the battle of Mucrime. The lifetime of Mac Con, however, was thirty years before he became king till the finding of the musical instrument at Ess Mage, and seven years in Alba in exile, and thirty years in the kingship of Ireland, and six months after coming from Tara. 'Tis of this Mac Con that Sadb has said:

“It was heavy work to wage an equal battle with Mac Con; there was no one in Ireland with his splendour but Cairbre Goll 12 the poet.” “It was a heavy journey for Mac Con to come hither, to go beyond: to cross the sea twice, that is what the king and poet did.” “To Lugaid's only son it was no hardship, as he was an offspring of champions, to raise battle against Conn's son with the seven sons of Moshaulum.” “Mac Con seized the land of Banba on every side as far as the bright-coloured green sea: thirty years, glorious {} he was in the kingship of Ireland.”

Again, of the harp Sadb has said:

“Woe to me this day, woe to Cliu, 13 that Fer Í has been found in his yew-tree! Whence Art mac Cuinn has perished, and the seven sons of Moshaulum.”

Ailill was in Uachtar Clári (the Height of Clare), and the fort of Ailill in Clare 14 is seen from afar and is not found near. He and Art son of Conn of the hundred battles, son of Fedlimid, were contemporaries.

Then the sons of Ailill went to seek their mother's brother, Art son of Conn; their foster-brother and their (uterine) brother was p.35 with them, viz. Mac Con son of Lugaid, 15 for every other ruler was of the Dárfhine. They find the harp before them at the waterfall. Fer Í son of Eogabal was playing it upon Áth Caille (the Ford of the Wood) 16 at Ess Máge. There were strings of silver in the harp, pegs of gold upon it. Their warrior-bands meet; they fight between them for the possession of the harp. Of Mac Con's people nine fall. He dealt seven slaughters to his fosterers after that. Then he was exiled from Ireland so that he was in Alba after the rout of the battle of Cenn Abrat. In the battle after the slaying of his jester and battle-soldier, Dadéra Mac Con. said: “Not a little laugh escapes since Dadéra is gone; though I smile {} after the jester of the Dárfine.”

Afterwards at the end of seven years Mac Con went with a host of Britons with him and seized the isles of Clew Bay in the north. Art son of Conn and the seven sons of Ailill Moshaulum went to meet him in order to destroy them all. At the ford of Mucrime in the territory of Connacht an equal battle is waged between them, seven hundred on either side. 17 Mac Con hides two-thirds of his host in the earth, and while he was in Alba seven bushels of 'battle-seeds' 18 had been made for him. When the battle stood, the two thirds of Mac Con's people who were in the earth appeared, and Art son of Conn and the sons of Ailill Moshaulum were routed by Mac Con, who thereupon held the kingship of Ireland for thirty years. Of that battle Sadb daughter of Conn spoke the quatrain:

“An evil hour to me, evil to Cliu, when Fer Í was found in his yew-tree, whence Art son of Conn and the seven sons of Moshaulum perished.”

Of the reign of Mac Con the famous quatrain has been sung:

“Mac Con seized the land of Banba,” &c.


Mac Con and the old king Moshaulum make peace after Mac Con, leaving his kingship with Cormac son of Art, had come from Tara with his wandering host. Mac Con makes a feast for him; and Ailill planned to slay him. Sadb did not permit that, and gave him warning, for dearer to her was Mac Con than her seven sons. She told him not to converse with Ailill at all. Thereupon Mac Con with his people proceeds into Desmond, keeping along the sea, as Cessirne, the poet of Conn of the hundred battles, had prophesied, 19 saying: “Thy noble races will move along the coasts by the ocean's expanse”; and moreover be had fewer men than Ailill. Mac Con visits his senior to bid farewell to him. He put face to face. Ailill fixed his tooth in Mac Con's cheek as a warning that he would die before three days and three nights. Then said Sadb to Mac Con: “What blood is that upon thy face?” says she. “It is easily said,” says Mac Con; “Ailill's tooth has touched me.” “Woe for the tooth!” says she; “for whatever {}to him is danger to thee; it is a wolf's fang that has wounded thee!” Thence she said:

“This is a tooth by which a king falls, a poisonous tooth has wounded thee; contortion has seized thy shape—alas for the last farewell!” “Betake thee to thy house! Carry the remnant of thy host to the sea! He will be avenged on thee {}he will attack thee any time.”

He departs with his host into Desmond towards the sea. It is from that expedition he has left descendants of his at Cúil Mrocholl 20 (viz. a well). With them is the grave of Mac Con, and Macnia son of Mac Con and his four sons, viz. Dau and Trien and Echu Badamna and Lugaid Longhand, and the fian of Aed the Black, and Cathmol son of Erp, 21 and Find ua Báiscne and Usíne and Cáilte Cáinchass (the Fair and Curly) and Mac Con with his companions and Mac Con's wife are there, viz. Dáríne daughter of Deda son of Sen.


Thirty bands was the number of Mac Con, three thousand in each band.

A message was sent by Ailill to Ferchess son of Commán (he was in C´il Mrochaill {} to Bregon 22 an old fian-warrior and an ancient member of Ailill's household. Then he sent Ferchess on the track of Mac Con's wandering host for the purpose of slaying him among his troops. He goes {}in his pursuit and came up with them at the fortress of the Hui Echach 23 in the place where the king of Raithlind holds fairs. 'Tis there Finn said, using the incantation called imbas forosna: “A man on the track!” said he. “Warriors will be the more delighted at the number,” 24 said Mac Con. “A man on the track!” said Finn. “One man is always good sport,” 25 said Mac Con. Meanwhile Ferchess {} and struck {} across the glen from the east after them westward, and he chants a spell upon the spear, saying: “Rince,” &c. 26 Thereupon the spear moved from the hand of Ferchess and went through Mac Con in his chariot, and his tombstones are there about him till this day.

Finn ua Báiscni went on the track of Ferchess to avenge Mac Con (for 'tis Finn that was the leader of his fian), until he slew him at the end of seven years at the Pool of Ferchess on the Bann, when he found the chips carried down by the river which Ferchess had set free. Others say that Ferchess was slain at Ess Mage after seven years. 'Tis then Finn said through imbas forosna: “Here is the abode 27 of Ferchess, at Ess Mage {} swiftly after great deeds; a great heroic champion 28 has fallen swiftly after great deeds. To my lordly god I swear the oath of every one in the world, a {} deed will be avenged, Mac Con was slain here.” So far the stories of Mac Con and Ailill.


It is after the slaying of Mac Con that Ailill said: “Thirty years to me without comfort in old age and in feebleness, until the cast of Ferchess son of Commán lifted me out of my stupor.”

29{} and Mac Con was dead from his wound within twenty-four hours, and died in Col Rophut, where his grave is (viz. the grave was a great crime, i.e. his death was a great fight). 30

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Title (uniform): Ailill Aulom, Mac Con, and Find ua Báiscne

Title (supplementary): English translation

Editor: Kuno Meyer

Responsibility statement

Translated by: Kuno Meyer and Benjamin Hazard

Electronic edition compiled by: and Benjamin Hazard

Funded by: University College, Cork and The Higher Education Authority via the LDT Project

Edition statement

2. Second draft.

Extent: 3165 words

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Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland—http://www.ucc.ie/celt

Date: 2004

Date: 2010

Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

CELT document ID: T302010

Availability: Available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of academic research and teaching only.

Source description

Manuscript Source

  • Oxford, Bodleian MS Laud Misc. 610, ff. 94b2—96a1. For details see Brian Ó Cuív (ed.), Catalogue of Irish manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford and Oxford College Library, (Dublin: DIAS, 2001–2003) 2 vols; vol. 1 62–88.

Secondary Literature

  1. R. I. Best, Bodleian MS. Laud 610, Celtica 3 (1956), 338–339.
  2. Myles Dillon, Laud Misc. 610, Celtica 5 (1960) 64–76.
  3. Myles Dillon, Laud Misc. 610 (cont.), Celtica 6 (1963) 135–155.

The edition used in the digital edition

‘Fianaigecht: being a collection of hitherto inedited Irish poems and tales relating to Finn and his Fiana, with an English translation: Ailill Aulom, Mac Con, and Find ua Báiscne’ (1910). In: Todd Lecture Series (Royal Irish Academy)‍ 16. Ed. by Kuno Meyer, pp. 28–41.

You can add this reference to your bibliographic database by copying or downloading the following:

  editor 	 = {Kuno Meyer},
  title 	 = {Fianaigecht: being a collection of hitherto inedited Irish poems and tales relating to Finn and his Fiana, with an English translation: Ailill Aulom, Mac Con, and Find ua Báiscne},
  journal 	 = {Todd Lecture Series (Royal Irish Academy)},
  number 	 = {16},
  address 	 = {Dublin},
  publisher 	 = {Hodges Figgis},
  date 	 = {1910},
  pages 	 = {28–41}


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Creation: Translation by Kuno Meyer

Date: 1909

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  • The text is in English. (en)
  • Some words are in Latin. (la)
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Keywords: saga; prose; medieval; Kings Cycle; translation

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  1. 2010-11-29: Conversion script run; new wordcount made. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2008-10-24: Header modified; keywords added; file validated. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 2008-07-28: Value of div0 "type" attribute modified, title elements streamlined, creation date inserted, content of 'langUsage' revised; minor modifications made to header. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  4. 2005-08-25: Normalised language codes and edited langUsage for XML conversion (ed. Julianne Nyhan)
  5. 2005-08-04T16:42:54+0100: Converted to XML (ed. Peter Flynn)
  6. 2004-09-09: File proofed (2), header modified, file parsed, HTML file created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  7. 2004-07-15: Header constructed; structural markup applied to file. (ed. Benjamin Hazard)
  8. 2004-07-12: File proofed (1). (ed. Benjamin Hazard)
  9. 2004-07-12: File captured by scanning;. (text capture Benjamin Hazard)

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G302010: Ailill Aulom, Mac Con, and Find ua Báiscne (in Irish)

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  1. From Laud 610, fo 94b2–96a1. 🢀

  2. See Rawl. B 502, pp. 143a and 155a, where the five [or three, or six] sons of Dáre Doimthech or D. Sírchréchtach are enumerated. 🢀

  3. Called Sidebolc in Rawl. B 502, pp. 143a and 155a, and Sidbalg below. 🢀

  4. i.e. Brigantium in Spain. 🢀

  5. The Old Head of Kinsale. 🢀

  6. See Dinds., paragraph 54. 🢀

  7. See Cormac's poem in LL, p 27a. 🢀

  8. i.e. The waterfall of Caherass on the Maigue, half-way between Adare and Croom. 🢀

  9. He is called Fer fí in Anecdota II, p 4, paragraph 6. 🢀

  10. i.e. The northern half of Ireland. 🢀

  11. I cannot translate the rest. 🢀

  12. Coirpre Goll m. Brióin m. Fiachach Fidgenti m. Dáire Cherrba m. Ailella Flainn Bic m. Fiachach Mullethain, Rawl. B 502, p 152a. 🢀

  13. The eastern half of county Limerick. 🢀

  14. A hill in county Limerick near Duntrileague. 🢀

  15. According to R.C. 13, p 436, only Eogan and Lugaid mac Con went. 🢀

  16. According to Hogan's Onomasticon, Áth Caille is on the Shannon between Limerick and the wood of Cratloe, at or near Thomond Bridge. 🢀

  17. As to this battle see the text edited by Miss Scarre in Anecdota from Irish Manuscripts 2 p 76ff, and the literature there cited. 🢀

  18. Or 'caltrops', Nennius' semen bellicosum: see Whitley Stokes' note in RC 13 p 454, n. 4. 🢀

  19. Cessirne's prophecy is cited in the story called Airne Fingein (Anecdota 2, p 8); but the line here quoted is not found there. 🢀

  20. In Laud 610, fo. 99bl, 'Cúl Mbrocholl hi Cailc Cíarraigi' is mentioned together with Cúl Cruithnechta and Cúla Bóendraigi as having been given by Cairbre mac Crimthainn [sixth cent.] as éric for the three sons of Fíachra Gáiríne slain in the battle of Clúas Ola (is hé Coirpre m. Crimthainn dobert na tri cúla i n-éric na tri mac Fiachrach Gáirine dochertar i cath Cluaise Óla). 🢀

  21. Identical with Cathmael m. Firchorb, Anecd. 2 p 76, Cathmal mac Cirp, LL 146a27. 🢀

  22. Near Clonmel 🢀

  23. =Iveagh, barony of SW and W Carbery, county Cork. 🢀

  24. i.e. at there being only one man in pursuit. 🢀

  25. Literally, “delightful is every singleness.” 🢀

  26. cf. Cormac's Glossary s.v. ringcne. 🢀

  27. i.e. the grave. 🢀

  28. Literally, “a hero of a great champion.” 🢀

  29. Something seems omitted in the Irish text. 🢀

  30. An etymological gloss on the name Col Rophut. 🢀


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