Stories, Myths and Legends

Tiernmas and Crom Cruach

Of the kings who succeeded Eremon, and the battles they fought and the forests they cleared away and the rivers, and lakes that broke out in their reign, there is little of note to record till  we come to the reign of Tiernmas, fifth in succession from Eremon. 

He is said to have introduced into Ireland the worship of Crom Cruach, on Moyslaught (The Plain of Adoration), and to have perished himself with three-fourths of his people while worshipping this idol on November Eve, the period when the reign of winter was inaugurated. 

Crom Cruach was no doubt a solar deity, but no figure at all resembling him can be identified among the Danaan divinities. Tiernmas also, it is said, found the first gold-mine in Ireland, and, introduced variegated colours into the clothing of the people. A slave might wear but one colour, a peasant two, a soldier three, a wealthy landowner four, a provincial chief five, and an Ollav, or royal person, six. Ollav was a term applied to a certain Druidic rank; it meant much the same as  'doctor', in the sense of a learned man a master of science. It is a characteristic trait that the Ollav is endowed with a distinction equal to that of a king.

Source: T.W. Rolleston, Myths of the Celtic Race, 1885.

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