Annála Gael – Chapter 2
annála rioghachta eireann
Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland by the Four Masters
In order to provide background and historical context for conquest of Ireland by the Gaels, and the later mythology about the Gaels that would arise in Ireland, it is useful to know the history of Ireland prior to the arrival of the Gaels.
The early 17th century AD Irish chronicle "Annala Rioghachta Eireann", known in English as the Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland by the Four Masters, provides a detailed account of significant events in Ireland from the time of the Biblical Deluge [Noah’s Flood] through the year 1616 AD. They were compiled from much older source material and were written in a combination of Gaeilge and Latin. The dates given in the Annals of the Four Masters are stated in the number of years after the Biblical Creation. This dating scheme may have been the invention of other unknown authors. By their reckoning, the Biblical Creation would have occurred in 5199 BC, the Deluge would have occurred in 2957 BC, and the Gaels would have conquered Ireland in 1699 BC. This differs somewhat from the later dating scheme for events in the Bible developed in the mid-17th century AD by the Archbishop of Ireland, James Ussher, who calculated that the Biblical Creation occurred in 4004 BC.
Excerpted below is the portion of the English translation of the "Annala Rioghachta Eireann" for the period from the Biblical Deluge to the conquest of Ireland by the Gaels:
The Age of the World, to this Year of the Deluge, 2242. Forty days before the Deluge, Ceasair came to Ireland with fifty girls and three men; Bith, Ladhra, and Fintain, their names. Ladhra died at Ard Ladhrann, and from him it is named. He was the first that died in Ireland. Bith died at Sliabh Beatha, and was interred in the carn of Sliabh Beatha, and from him the mountain is named. Ceasair died at Cuil Ceasra, in Connaught, and was interred in Carn Ceasra. From Fintan is named Feart Fintain, over Loch Deirgdheirc.
From the Deluge until Parthalon took possession of Ireland 278 years; and the age of the world when he arrived in it, 2520. The age of the world when Parthalon came into Ireland, 2520 years. These were the chieftains who were with him: Slainge, Laighlinne, and Rudhraidhe, his three sons; Dealgnat, Nerbha, Ciochbha, and Cerbnad, their four wives.
The Age of the World, 2527. Fea, son of Torton, son of Sru, died this year at Magh Fea, and was interred at Dolrai Maighe Fea; so that it was from him that the plain is named.
The Age of the World, 2530. In this year the first battle was fought in Ireland; i.e. Cical Grigenchosach, son of Goll, son of Garbh, of the Fomorians, and his mother, came into Ireland, eight hundred in number, so that a battle was fought between them and Parthalon’s people at Sleamhnai Maighe Ithe, where the Fomorians were defeated by Parthalon, so that they were all slain. This is called the battle of Magh Ithe.
The Age of the World, 2532. The eruption of Loch Con and Loch Techeat in this year.
The Age of the World, 2533. Slainge, son of Partholan, died in this year, and was interred in the carn of Sliabh Slangha. Also the eruption of Loch Mesc in the same year.
The Age of the World, 2535. Laighlinne, son of Parthalon, died in this year. When his grave was dug, Loch Laighlinne sprang forth in Ui Mac Uais, and from him it is named. The eruption of Loch Eachtra also.
The Age of the World, 2545. Rudhruidhe, son of Parthalon, was drowned in Loch Rudhruidhe, the lake having flowed over him; and from him the lake is called.
The Age of the World, 2546. An inundation of the sea over the land at Brena in this year, which was the seventh lake eruption that occurred in the time of Parthalon; and this is named Loch Cuan.
The Age of the World, 2550. Parthalon died on Sean Magh Ealta Eadair in this year. In the time of Parthalon’s invasion these plains were cleared of wood; but it is not known in what particular years they were cleared: Magh nEithrighe, in Connaught; Magh Ithe, in Leinster; Magh Lii, in Ui Mac Uais Breagh; Magh Latharna, in Dal Araidhe.
The Age of the World, 2820. Nine thousand of Parthalon’s people died in one week on Sean Mhagh Ealta Edair, namely, five thousand men, and four thousand women. Whence is named Taimhleacht Muintire Parthaloin. They had passed three hundred years in Ireland. Ireland was thirty years waste till Neimhidh’s arrival.
The Age of the World, 2850. Neimhidh came to Ireland. On the twelfth day after the arrival of Neimhidh with his people, Macha, the wife of Neimhidh, died. These were the four chieftains who were with him: Sdarn, Iarbhainel the Prophet, Fearghus Leithdheirg, and Ainninn. These were the four sons of Neimhidh. Medu, Macha, Yba, and Ceara, were the four wives of these chieftains.
The Age of the World, 2859. In this year Loch Dairbhreach and Loch Ainninn in Meath sprang forth. These were the forts that were erected, the plains that were cleared, and the lakes that sprang forth, in the time of Neimhidh, but the precise years are not found for them: Rath Cinnech, in Ui Niallain; Rath Cimbaeith, in Seimhne; Magh Ceara, Magh nEabha, Magh Cuile Toladh, and Magh Luirg, in Connaught; Magh tochair, in Tir Eoghain; Leagmhagh, in Munster; Magh mBrensa, in Leinster; Magh Lughadh, in Ui Tuirtre; Magh Seredh, in Teffia; Magh Seimhne, in Dal Araidhe; Magh Muirtheimhne, in Conaille; and Magh Macha, in Oirghialla; Loch Cal, in Ui Niallain; Loch Muinreamhair, in Luighne, in Sliabh Guaire. The battle of Murbholg, in Dal Riada; the battle of Baghna; and the battle of Cnamh Ross against the Fomorians. Neimhidh gained these battles. Neimhidh afterwards died of a plague, together with three thousand persons, in the island of Ard Neimhidh, in Crich Liathain, in Munster.
The Age of the World, 3066. The demolition of the tower of Conainn in this year, by the race of Neimhidh, against Conainn, son of Faebhar, and the Fomorians in general, in revenge for all the oppression they had inflicted upon them the race of Neimhidh, as is evident from the chronicle which is called Leabhar Gabhala; and they nearly all mutually fell by each other; thirty persons alone of the race of Neimhidh escaped to different quarters of the world, and they came to Ireland some time afterwards as Firbolgs. Two hundred and sixteen years Neimhidh and his race remained in Ireland. After this Ireland was a wilderness for a period of two hundred years.
The Age of the World, 3266. The Firbolgs took possession of Ireland at the end of this year. Slainghe, Gann, Genann, Seangann, and Rudhraighe, were their five chieftains. These were the five sons of Deala, son of Loich. The other four and the Firbolgs in general elected Slainge as king over them.
The Age of the World, 3267. Slainghe, son of Deala, was king of Ireland for a period of one year; and he died at the end of the year, at Dinn Righ, on the brink of the Bearbha.
The Age of the World, 3268. Rudhraighe, son of Deala, assumed the government of Ireland. This is the first year of his reign.
The Age of the World, 3269. The second year of the reign of Rudhraighe; and he died at the end of this year.
The Age of the World, 3270. This was the first year of the reign of Gann and Geanann over Ireland.
The Age of the World, 3273. The fourth year of Gann and Geanann; and they died at the end of this year, with twenty hundred along with them, in Crich Liathain.
The Age of the World, 3274. This was the first year of the reign of Sengann.
The Age of the World, 3278. At the end of the fifth year of the reign of Seangann, he fell by Fiachaidh Cennfinnan, son of Starn.
The Age of the World, 3279. The first year of the reign of Fiacha Cennfinnain.
The Age of the World, 3283. The fifth year of the reign of Fiacha. And he fell by Rinnal, son of Geanann, this year.
The Age of the World, 3284. The first year of the reign of Rinnal, son of Geanann, over Ireland.
The Age of the World, 3289. After the completion of the fifth year of his reign by Rinnal, he fell by Foidhbhgen, son of Seangann.
The Age of the World, 3290. The first year of the reign of Foidhbhgen.
The Age of the World, 3293. At the end of the fourth year of the reign of Foidhbhgen, he fell by Eochaidh, son of Erc.
The Age of the World, 3294. This was the first year of the reign of Eochaidh, son of Erc.
The Age of the World, 3303. The tenth year of the reign of Eochaidh, son of Erc; and this was the last year of his reign, for the Tuatha De Dananns came to invade Ireland against the Firbolgs; and they gave battle to each other at Magh Tuireadh, in Conmaicne Cuile Toladh, in Connaught, so that the King Eochaidh, son of Erc, was killed, by the three sons of Neimhidh, son of Badhrai, of the Tuatha De Dananns; Ceasarb, Luamh, and Luachra, their names. The Firbolgs were vanquished and slaughtered in this battle. Moreover, the hand of Nuadhat, son of Eochaidh, son of Edarlamh (the king who was over the Tuatha De Dananns), was cut off in the same battle. The aforesaid Eochaidh was the last king of the Firbolgs. Nine of them had assumed kingship, and thirty seven years was the length of their sway over Ireland.
The Age of the World, 3304. The first year of the reign of Breas, son of Ealathan, over Ireland; for the Tuatha De Danann gave him the sovereignty, after gaining the battle of Magh Tuireadh Conga, while the hand of Nuadhat was under cure.
The Age of the World, 3310. This was the seventh year of Breas over Ireland, when he resigned the kingdom to Nuadhat, after the cure of his hand by Diancecht, assisted by Creidne, the artificer, for they put a silver hand upon him.
The Age of the World, 3311. The first year of the reign of Nuadhat Airgeatlamh, after his hand had been welded with a piece of refined silver.
The Age of the World, 3330. At the end of the twentieth year of the reign of Nuadhat of the Silver Hand, he fell in the battle of Magh Tuireadh na bhFomorach, by Balor of the mighty blows, one of the Fomorians.
The Age of the World, 3331. The first year of the reign of Lugh Lamhfhada Lewy of the Long Hand over Ireland.
The Age of the World, 3370. After the fortieth year of the reign of Lugh Lamhfhada over Ireland, he fell by Mac Cuill at Caendruim. It was in the reign of this Lugh that the fair of Tailltean was established, in commemoration and remembrance of his foster mother, Taillte, the daughter of Maghmor, King of Spain, and the wife of Eochaidh, son of Erc, the last king of the Firbolgs.
The Age of the World, 3371. The first year of the reign of Eochaidh Ollathair, who was named the Daghda, over Ireland.
The Age of the World, 3450. After the completion of the last year of the eighty years which Eochaidh Ollathar passed in the monarchy of Ireland, he died at Brugh, of the venom of the wound which Cethlenn inflicted upon him in the first battle of Magh Tuireadh.
The Age of the World, 3451. This was the first year of the reign of Dealbhaeth, son of Ogma, over Ireland.
The Age of the World, 3460. In the tenth year of the reign of Dealbhaeth, he fell by the hand of his own son, Fiacha mac Dealbhaeith.
The Age of the World, 3461. The first year of the reign of Fiacha, the son of Dealbhaeth.
The Age of the World, 3470. At the end of the tenth year of the reign of Fiacha, son of Dealbhaeth, over Ireland, he fell by Eogon of Inbher.
The Age of the World, 3471. The first year of the three last kings of the Tuatha De Dananns, who were in joint sovereignty over Ireland. These were Mac Cuill, Mac Ceacht, and Mac Greine.
The Age of the World , 3500. The fleet of the sons of Milidh came to Ireland at the end of this year, to take it from the Tuatha De Dananns; and they fought the battle of Sliabh Mis with them on the third day after landing. In this battle fell Scota, the daughter of Pharaoh, wife of Milidh; and the grave of Scota is to be seen between Sliabh Mis and the sea. Therein also fell Fas, the wife of Un, son of Uige, from whom is named Gleann Faisi. After this the sons of Milidh fought a battle at Tailtinn, against the three kings of the Tuatha De Dananns, Mac Cuill, Mac Ceacht, and Mac Greine. The battle lasted for a long time, until Mac Ceacht fell by Eiremhon, Mac Cuill by Eimhear, and Mac Greine by Amhergin. Their three queens were also slain; Eire by Suirghe, Fodhla by Edan, and Banba by Caicher. The battle was at length gained against the Tuatha De Dananns, and they were slaughtered wherever they were overtaken. There fell from the sons of Milidh, on the other hand, two illustrious chieftains, in following up the rout, namely Fuad at Sliabh Fuaid, and Cuailgne at Sliabh Cuailgne.
Annala Rioghachta Eireann – Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland by the Four Masters, from the earliest period to the year 1616. Edited from MSS in the Library of the Royal Irish Academy and of Trinity College Dublin with a translation and copious notes. Translation by John O’Donovan (ed.). First edition Hodges & Smith, Dublin 1848-5. [In seven volumes. Volumes i–ii: pp v–vi (dedicatory letter of the editor), pp vii–liv (introductory remarks, including original documents), pp lv–lxi (epistle dedicatory of Mícheál Ó Cléirigh), pp lxiii–lxxi (contemporary approbations of the work), pp 2–1187 (text and translation), pp 1189–93 (addenda and corrigenda); volumes iii–vi: pp 2–2375 (text and translation), pp 2377–2494 (a genealogical appendix, including original documents), pp 2494–98 (addenda et corrigenda); volume vii: pp 405 (indexes). There are three separate paginations: volumes i-ii, volumes iii–vi, and volume vii, each having separate pagination. The whole work extends to 4167 pp.]
If you are interested in reading the entire "Annala Rioghachta Eireann" in the most recent English translation click HERE.