Stories, Myths and Legends

Partholon

from the Book of Leinster 1150 A.D.

30. Now Ireland was waste [thereafter], for a space of three hundred years, 

[or three hundred and twelve, quod uerius est] till Partholon s. Sera 

s. Sru came to it. He is the first who took Ireland after the Flood, on 

a Tuesday, on the fourteenth of the moon, in Inber Scene: [for three 

times was Ireland taken in Inber Scene]. Of the progeny of Magog son 

of Iafeth was he, [ut dixi supra]: in the sixtieth year of the age of 

Abraham, Partholon took Ireland. 


31. Four chieftains strong came Partholon: himself and Laiglinne his son, 

from whom is Loch Laighlinne in Ui mac Uais of Breg; Slanga and 

Rudraige, the two other sons of Partholon, from whom are Sliab Slanga 

and Loch Rudraige. When the grave of Rudraige was a-digging, the 

lake there burst forth over the land. 


32. Seven years had Partholon in Ireland when the first man of his people 

died, to wit, Fea, from whom is Mag Fea; for there was he buried, in 

Mag Fea. 


33. In the third year thereafter, the first battle of Ireland, which Partholon 

won in Slemna of Mag Itha against Cichol clapperlag of the Fomoraig

Men with single arms and single legs they were, who joined the battle 

with him. 


34. There were seven lake bursts in Ireland in the time of Partholon: Loch 

Laighlinne in Ui mac Uais of Breg, Loch Cuan and Loch Rudraige in 

Ulaid, Loch Dechet and Loch Mese and Loch Con in Connachta, and 

Loch Echtra in Airgialla; for Partholon did not find more than three 

lakes and nine rivers in Ireland before him - Loch Fordremain in Sliab 

Mis of Mumu, Loch Lumnig on Tir Find, Loch Cera in Irrus; Aba Life, 

Lui, Muad, Slicech, Samer (upon which is Ess Ruaid), Find, Modorn, 

Buas, and Banna between Le and Elle. Four years before the death of 

Partholon, the burst of Brena over the land. 


35. Four plains were cleared by Partholon in Ireland: Mag Itha in Laigen, 

Mag Tuired in Connachta, Mag Li in Ui mac Uais, Mag Ladrand in Dal 

nAraide. For Partholon found not more than one plain in Ireland 

before him, the Old Plain [of Elta] of Edar. this is why it is called the 

"Old Plain" for never did branch of twig of a wood grow through it. 


36. And it is there that Partholon died, five thousand men and four 

thousand women, of a week's plague on the kalends of May. On a 

Monday plague killed them all except one man tantum - Tuan son of 

Starn son of Sera nephew of Partholon: and God fashioned him in 

many forms, and that man survived alone from the time of Partholon to 

the time of Findian and of Colum Cille.

37. It was the four sons of Partholon who made the first division of Ireland 

in the beginning, Er, Orba, Fergna, Feron. There were four men, 

namesakes to them, amoung the sons of Mil, but they were not the 

same. From Ath Cliath of Laigen to Ailech Neit, is the division of Er. 

From Ath Cliath to the island of Ard Nemid, is the division of Orba. 

From Ailech to Ath Cliath of Medraige, is the division of Feron. From 

that Ath Cliath to Ailech Neit, is the division of Fergna. So that is 

that manner they first divided Ireland. 


38. Partholon had four oxen, that is the first cattle of Ireland. Of his 

company was Brea, son of Senboth, by whom were a jouse, a flesh 

[cauldron], and dwelling first made in Ireland. Of his company was 

Samailiath, by whom were ale-drinking and suretyship first made in 

Ireland. Of his company was Beoir, by whom a guesthouse was first 

made in Ireland. As the poet saith 


Partholon, whence he came to Ireland, reckon ye! on the day 

when he reached across the sea, what was the land from which 

Partholon came? 


He came from Sicily to Greece -a year's journey, with no full 

falsehood: a month's sailing from Greece westward, to 

Cappadocia. 


From Cappadocia he journeyed, a sailing of three days to 

Gothia, a sailing of a month from white Gothia, to three-

cornered Spain. 


After that he reached Inis Fail, to Ireland from Spain: on 

Monday, the tenth without blemish one octad took Ireland. 


He is the first man who took his wife in the time of Partholon 

without falsehood: Fintan, who took the woman through combat 

-Aife, daughter of Partholon. 


Parthlolon went out one day, to tour his profitable land: His 

wife and his henchman together he leaves behind him on the 

island. 


As they were in his house, the two, a wonder unheard-of, she 

made an advance to the pure henchman, he made no advance 

to her. 

Since he made her no answer promptly the henchman, 

stubborn against an evil intention, she doffs her in 

desperation -an impulsive action for a good woman! 


The henchman rose without uncertainty, a frail thing is 

humanity -and came, a saying without pleasure, with Delgnat 

to share her couch. 


Insolent was the prank for a pleasant henchman which Topa of 

tuneful strings wrought: to go by a rough trick, a happiness 

without pleasure, with Delgnat, to share her couch. 


Partholon, who was a man of knowledge, had a vat of most 

sweet ale: out of which none could drink aught save through a 

tube of red gold. 


Thirst seized them after the deed, Topa and Delgnat, according 

to truth: so that their two mouths drank their two drinks (?) 

in the tube. 

When they did it, a couple without remorse, there came upon 

them very great thirst; soon they drank a bright coal-drink, 

through the gilded tube. 


Partholon arrived outside, after ranging the wilderness; there 

were given to him, it was a slight disturbance, his vat and his 

tube. 


When he took the straight tube, he perceived upon it at once, 

the taste of Topa's mouth as far as this, and the taste of 

Delgnat's mouth. 


A black, surly demon revealed the bad, false, unpleasant deed: 

"Here is the taste of Topa's mouth" said he, "And the taste of 

Delgnat's mouth." 


Then said the sound son of Sera, the man called Partholon: 

"though short the time we are outside, we have the right to 

complain of you." 


The man smote the woman's dog with his palm - it was no 

profit -he slew the hound, it was a treasure that would be 

slender; so that is the first jealousy of Ireland. 


Delgnat answered her husband: "Not upon us is the blame, 

though bitter thou thinkest my saying it, truly, but it is upon 

thee." 

Though evil thou thinkest my saying it to thee, Partholon, its 

right shall be mine: I am the 'one before one' here, I am 

innocent, recompense is my due. 

Honey with a woman, milk with a cat, food with one generous, 

meat with a child, a wright within and an edged tool, one 

before one, 'tis a great risk.' 


The woman will taste the thick honey, the cat will drink the 

milk, the generous will bestow the pure food, the child will eat 

the meat. 


The wright will lay hold of a tool, the one with the one will go 

together: wherefore it is right to guard them well from the 

beginning. 


That is the first adultery to be heard of made here in the 

beginning: the wife of Partholon, a man of rank, to go to an 

ignoble henchman. 


He came after the henchman and slew him with anger: to him 

there came not the help of God upon the Weir of the Kin-

murder. 


The place where that was done, after its fashioning certainty -

great is its sweetness that was there of a day in the land of 

Inis Saimera. 


And that, without deceit, is the first judgement in Ireland so 

that thence, with very noble judgement, is "the right of his 

wife against Partholon." 


Seventeen years had they thereafter, till there came the death 

of that man; the battle of Mag Itha of the combats was one of 

the deeds of Partholon. 

******

Further of the voyaging of Partholon -

Good was the great company that Partholon had: maidens and 

active youths, chieftains and champions. 


Totacht and strong Tarba, Eochar and Aithechbel, Cuaille, 

Dorcha, Dam, the seven chief ploughmen of Partholon. 


Liac and Lecmag with colour, Imar and Etrigi, the four oxen, a 

proper group, who ploughed the land of Partholon. 


Beoir was the name of the man, with his nobles and with his 

people, who suffered a guest in his firm house, the first in 

Ireland's island. 


By that Brea son of Senboth a house was first, a cauldron on 

fire; a feat that the pleasant Gaedil desert not, dwelling in 

Ireland. 


By Samailiath were known ale-drinking and surety-ship: by 

him were made thereafter worship, prayer, questioning. 


The three druids of Partholon of the harbours, Fiss, Eolas, 

Eochmarc: the names of his three champions further, Milchu, 

Meran, Muinechan. 


The names of the ten noble daughters whom Partholon had, 

and the names of his ten sons-in-law I have aside, it is a full 

memory. 


Aife, Aine, lofty Adnad, Macha, Mucha, Melepard, Glas and 

Grenach, Auach and Achanach. 


Aidbli, Bomnad and Ban, Caertin, Echtach, Athchosan, Lucraid, 

Ligair, Lugaid the warrior, Gerber who was not vain of word. 


Beothach, Iarbonel, Fergus, Art, Corb, who followed (?) without 

sin, Sobairche, active Dobairche, were the five chieftains of 

Nemed, good in strength. 


Bacorb Ladra, who was a sound sage, he was Partholon's man 

of learning: he is the first man, without uncertainty, who made 

hospitality at the first. 


Where they ploughed in the west was at Dun Finntain, though 

it was very far: and they grazed grass of resting in the east 

of Mag Sanais. 


Bibal and Babal the white, were Partholon's two merchants: 

Bibal brought gold hither, Babal brought cattle. 


The first building of Ireland without sorrow, was made by 

Partholon: the first brewing, churning, ale, a course with 

grace, at first, in good and lofty Ireland. 


Rimad was the firm tall-ploughman, Tairle the general head-

ploughman: Fodbach was the share, no fiction is that, and 

Fetain the coulter. 


Broken was the name of the man, it was perfect, who first 

wrought hidden shamefulness: it was destroyed with a 

scattering that was not evil, Partholon thought this to be 

good. 


So these are the tidings of the first Taking of Ireland after 

the Flood. 

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