OF all the great battles the Fianna
fought to keep the foreigners out of Ireland, the greatest was the one that
was fought at Finntraigh the White Strand, in Munster; and this is the whole
story of it, and of the way the Fianna came to have so great a name.
One time the enemies of Ireland gathered
together under Daire Donn, High King of the Great World, thinking to take
Ireland and to put it under tribute.
The King of Greece was of them, and the
King of France, and the King of the Eastern World, and Lughman of the Broad
Arms, King of the Saxons, and Fiacha of the Long Hair, King of the Gairean,
and Tor the son of Breogan, King of the Great Plain, and Sligech, son of the
King of the Men of Cepda, and Comur of the Crooked Sword, King of the Men of
the Dog-Heads, and Caitchenn, King of the Men of the Cat-Heads, and Caisel of
the Feathers, King of Lochlann, and Madan of the Bent Neck, son of the King of
the Marshes, and three kings from the rising of the sun in the east, and
Ogarmach, daughter of the King of Greece, the best woman-warrior that ever
came into the world, and a great many other kings and great lords.
The King of the World asked then:
"Who is there can give me knowledge of the harbours of Ireland?"
"I will do that for you, and I will bring you to a good harbour,"
said Glas, son of Dremen, that had been put out of Ireland by Finn
for doing some treachery.
Then the armies set out in their ships,
and they were not gone far when the wind rose and the waves, and they could
hear nothing but the wild playing of the sea-women, and the screams of
frightened birds, and the breaking of ropes and of sails. But after a while,
when the wind found no weakness in the heroes, it rose from them and went up
into its own high place. And then the sea grew quiet and the waves grew tame
and the harbours friendly, and they stopped for a while at an island that was
called the Green Rock. But the King of the World said then: "It is not a
harbour like this you promised me, Glas, son of Dremen, but a shore of white
sand where my armies could have their fairs and their gatherings the time they
would not be fighting." "I know a harbour of that sort in the
west of Ireland," said Glas, "the Harbour of the White Strand in
Corca Duibhne." So they went into their ships again, and went on over the
sea towards Ireland.