Liamuin: from the Dindsenchas (c850 AD)

Liamuin: from the Dindsenchas (c850 AD)

Princess Liamhain was hunted down and killed at Lyons, according to the Dindsenchas

Princess Liamhain was hunted down and killed at Lyons, according to the Dindsenchas

The Dindsenchas is a collection of Irish local place-lore, in prose and verse, explaining the names and giving associations of famous rivers, fords, lakes, hills, and other places. Included also are stories of mythic and heroic figures who appear in lengthier narratives elsewhere; e.g. many stories are Fenian. While most texts are imaginative, much information contained is factual; the Modern Irish word dinnsheanchas means ‘topography’. The principal text is in the Book of Leinster (c.1150), but materials are preserved in many great Irish codices as well as in collections in Edinburgh and Rennes, France. Lyons and Straffan both feature among the place names which were afforded an origin-leged of their own.

Book of Leinster

Book of Leinster

  • The notable places of Leinster
  • wealth of valour do the historians declare them?
  • the notable places, and next the raths,
  • many the causes whence they are named.
  • Myself will declare the cause
  • whence are named nine of their notable places;
  • till doomsday it shall be a fame unfading,
  • So that no one be left in doubt!
  • Liamuin, Forcarthain of the sods,
  • Miannach, Trustiu of the broad roads;
  • are notable places known by various designations
  • with their four fair names.
  • Miannach, Fercarthain of the feasts Liamuin,
  • and white-sided Trustiu were maidens,
  • a precious possession,
  • of the family of the good king of Dubthair.
  • It was Dubthach of Dubthair
  • fierce of face, king of the Desi of Bregia of the undying bards,
  • (his was all as far as the horse-rearing region of the estuaries)
  • whose four fair daughters they were.
  • The month over the bargain that all observe,
  • at the present time it is no novelty,
  • Dubthach was the first to add it,
  • the rule is well known to the Ui Chuinn.
  • A year’s wage (it was a judgment of the wise)
  • from every king to every warrior,
  • only Dubthach would not give it without additional work,
  • that was excessive.
  • Dubthach was son of Fergna noble
  • and fair son of Muredach son of Sinell
  • son of Bregon the famous for victory,
  • son of Oengus, son of Eogan.
  • Eogan Brec is still spoken of,
  • the son of well-born Fiachu Suidige,
  • son of noble Fedlimid Rechtmar,
  • son of Tuathal Techtmar great and strong.
  • That is the pedigree till now of Dubthach
  • good king of the Desi,
  • for my art-prompted tale to set forth
  • among all the noted places of Leinster.
  • The gentle sons of Acher Cerr from the harbour,
  • sprung of the Erainn of Munster
  • of the cavaliers met their death,
  • it was no mild decease,
  • it blasted their growth all at once.
  • An injunction of stern force was laid
  • on the fair and lofty four;
  • it was no pleasant tryst in the dark,
  • it was an injunction in virtue of their love,
  • That they should not wed, in the land of the living,
  • the four beloved sisters,
  • or that they should meet their death;
  • the keeping of the injunction was no easy task for them.
  • Fomu and renowned Roimper,
  • Fernocht, Ferdub the sagacious;
  • the mention of their names together has gained from us,
  • as was due, a noble stanza.
  • These youths from the Erainn
  • of our line were darlings of free peoples,
  • the sons of Acher Cerr
  • of the province son of Eochu
  • Find the handless, Son of Mug Lama
  • the stainless son of fierce Lugaid of the encampments
  • (and of Olldoitech, choice of fair women)
  • son of shapely Cairpre Cromchend.
  • They came, hard the toil
  • to earn their guerdon, the four thanes,
  • winning a name for valour,
  • at the house of Dubthach of Dubthair.
  • The four dear daughters of Dubthach
  • four youths they had, for certain;
  • as is the prosperous custom till now,
  • each loved his mate.
  • Dubthach had gone to a fortunate battle
  • in the mighty province of Leinster,
  • with the four they loved therein
  • the youths remained behind him.
  • After waiting behind the king,
  • they made off untroubled,
  • despite the hardships of every path,
  • the company who had feigned sickness.
  • Dubthach slew the comely company,
  • after they had met, side to side:
  • the barrows of their dear sod-built raths remain,
  • for youth and maid alike.
  • Miannach is followed across every plain
  • to Miannach where she was killed;
  • the woman with martial array is killed,
  • so that her name clave to the hill.
  • Fercarthain of the feasts is killed;
  • in Forcarthain was she smitten,
  • slow-eyed, long-haired, short-lived,
  • she met destruction at Forcarthain.
  • Liamuin is slain, perfect of temper,
  • thick-haired, skilful in defence;
  • she met death through her peculiar prowess,
  • wherefore Liamuin is full famous.
  • Trustiu is slain in Trustiu southward;
  • the gentle woman suffered for her alliance;
  • the hill of Cairn in Bile is called
  • by that maiden’s name.
  • Fomu is slain at Fomain,
  • he thick-haired warrior with fair locks;
  • many a lean host comes frequently
  • over the two fair cheeks of Fomain.
  • Roimper was pursued
  • across the waters to Glass Rompair;
  • so hot Roimper fell,
  • it is not a sin to tell of it.
  • Fernocht in Fornocht of the feasts,
  • cruelly was his flesh mangled;
  • the youth met ill treatment
  • among the spears in Fornocht.
  • Ferdub, fierce of face, of doughty deeds,
  • at the Black Fords of red Maistiu,
  • at the hill, outwearied by bloody forays,
  • his face was found after keen combat.
  • The famous Luachair of Boirend
  • was the sad mother of the four;
  • the fair woman came to her death
  • among the plains of the strong places.
  • Fomu, husband of Liamuin, rests with her;
  • the spouses were of like age,
  • the white-handed soldier-pair,
  • alike are the lovers twain.
  • Fercarthain, lovely was her face,
  • (her love, I reckon him without delay)
  • through their converse is assured
  • her great love to Roimper.
  • Fernocht belongs to unwrinkled Miannach:
  • he helped her not by his cruel cunning;
  • the warrior of the proved troops destroyed her,
  • his cunning was no helpful cunning.
  • Ferdub belongs to white-sided Trustiu,
  • their equal date was lamented;
  • in naming them here not misleading
  • are my pleasant harmonious verses.
  • These places that I number presently
  • the learned of Erin shall praise;
  • at their ease shall sages name them
  • from their assemblies and their noted places.

This poem was sometime in the 8th century and revised in the 12th century as a tribute to the Uí Dunlainge royal line of Lyons. It was included as Poem 7, Volume III in Dinnsenchas Érann in the Book of Leinster. The legends mixed real and fictional events and people to create place legends for the names of about 300 locations in Ireland. The real explanation for Lyons is much more mundane: Liamhain is the Irish for elm tree.

The Irish language original:

  • Dindgnai Lagen, líth ngaile, 
in sluindet na senchaide? 
na dindgnai, na rátha ar-rec, 
imda fátha dia fuilet.
  • Sluindfet-sa féin fáth dia fail 
nonbur dindgna dia ndindgnaib; 
co bráth bid blad cen malairt, 
ná raib cách ‘n-a chumtabairt.
  • Liamuin, Forcarthain na fót, 
Miannach, Trustiu na trom-rót, 
dindgnai dia ndechraib garmand 
co n-a cethrib cáem-anmand.
  • Miannach, Fercarthain na fled, 
Liamuin, is Trustiu tóeb-gel, 
ingena, selb-gním saine, 
di chlaind deg-ríg Dubthaire.
  • Dubthach Dubthaire drech garg, 
rí Dése Breg na mbúan-bard, 
leis co hech-brug na n-inber, diarbo chethrur cóem-ingen.
  • Mí bendachtan, clechtas cách, 
’sind amsir-se ní hingnáth, 
Dubthach ar tús rathuill sin: 
d’úib Cuinn is rús in riagail.
  • Othur bliadna, ba breth gáeth, 
ó cach ríg do cach roláech, 
acht Dubthach, ba h-adbal ed, 
ní thabrad cen a thuilled.
  • Dubthach mac Fergnai fhéil fhind 
maic Muredaig maic Sínill 
maic Bregoin búadaig co mblaid 
maic Oengusa maic Eogain.
  • Eogan brecc sluinter cose 
mac Saer-Fhiachach Suidige 
maic Fedlimthe Rechtmair róin 
maic Tuathail Techtmair trén-móir.
  • Is é sin senchas cose 
Dubthaig deg-rig na nDése 
dom aisneis dán-irlaim dam 
etir lán-dindgnaib Lagen.
  • Maic Achir Chirr cháim ón chúan, 
d’Érnaib Muman na marc-shlúag, 
fúaratar bás, nar thimm techt, 
romill a n-ás i n-oenfhecht.
  • Rocuired geis co ngus garg 
for in cethrur cóem comard, 
nírbo dál deis fo demi, 
ba geis triangrád ngentlidi,
  • Co tuctais ar bruig bethad 
cethrur díles derb-shethar, 
nó co n-agbaitís a n-éc: 
dóib nirbo cáine a comét.
  • Fomu ocus Roimper réil, 
Fernocht, Perdub co ndag-chéil, 
ruc úan dag-rand, mar rodlecht, 
lúad a n-anmand i n-oenfhecht.
  • Na maic-sin a hÉrnaib úan 
ropdar sain-sherca, sóer-shlúag, 
maic Achir Chirr in chóicid, 
maic Echach fhind andóitig,
  • Maic Moga Láma cen locht 
maic Lugdach luind na longphort 
is Olldóitche, forgle find, 
maic Corpre chruthaig chrom-chind.
  • Tancatar, trén in t-astar, 
cor’ tuiltis a tuarastal 
cethri brugthaid, breth ngaile, 
co tech Dubthaig Dubthaire.
  • Cethrur ingen Dubthaig dil, 
cethri maic dóib-sium demnig, 
mar is gnáth sorthan cose, 
rochomchar cách a chéile.
  • Dochúaid Dubthach, cath cen chlód, 
i cóiced Lagen lán-mór; ‘con chethrur rocharsat de 
roansat dara ése.
  • Iar n-anad dar ése ind ríg 
tancatar ass cen imsním, 
dar cend calaid cech céte, 
dremm in galair glé-bréce.
  • Romarb Dubthach in dremm cóem 
iar comrac dóib toeb fri tóeb: 
marait ferta a fót-ráth ndil, 
etir óclách is ingin.
  • Lentair Miannach dar cech mag 
co Miannach in’ romarbad; 
marbthair in ben co mbrut baidb 
cor’len don chnuc a comainm.
  • Marbthair Fercarthain na fled, 
i Forcarthain rofoirged; 
súil-mall mongach cen marthain 
fúair forrach i Forcarthain.
  • Marbthair Liamuin láthair láin, 
barr-chass clechtach im chongbáil; 
fuair bás dia sár-airbirt sain 
triasnid lán-airdirc Liamain.
  • Marbthair Trustiu i Trustin tes, 
mesti don cháim a cairdes; 
sluinter cnocc cairn in bile 
triana hainm na hingine.
  • Romarbad Fomu i Fomain, 
in find-chass co find-choraib, 
tic mór slim-slúag ar saine 
dar dá find-grúad Fomaine.
  • Rolenad darna linntib 
co Glaiss Rompair Roimper, 
co torchair Roimper rúad, 
ní dointnem a imlúad.
  • Fernocht i Fornocht na fled 
a chnes co crúaid roclaidbed; 
fúair in gein aradain olc 
ac fagadaib i Fornocht.
  • Ferdub drech-garg na ngaisced 
ic Dubathaib derg-Maisten, 
’con chnuc, fo scíth crech claidbech, 
fríth a drech do dian-airlech.
  • Luachair Bairendach co mblaid, 
máthair chumthach in chethruir, 
doriacht dia haidid ind fhind
  • etir maigib na mórdind. Fomu fer Liamna malle; 
comáesa na dá chéile, 
días gasraide na ngel-lám 
casmaile in dá chóem-lennán.
  • Fercarthain, ba féta a drech, 
a serc, áirmim cen fuirech; 
is triana comrád chinntir 
a rográd do Roimpir.
  • Fernocht ac Miannaig cen meirg; 
ní roscabair dia chrúaidh-cheilg: 
rosluit láech na ferg fromtha, 
a chelg nir chelg chobartha.
  • Ferdub ac Trustin tóeb-glain; 
rocáinte na comshaeglaig; 
co a sloind nít saéba sunna 
mo raind cháema chutrumma.
  • Na dindgnai-sa turmim trell 
molfait eolaig na hÉrenn; 
sluindfitit co sádail sin 
dia ndálaib is dia ndindgnaib. 

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