Banshenchus, Part I

Lower Lough Erne Co. Fermanagh by Brent Cassidy


        Adam, sole father of mankind, a being whom the God of hosts fashioned after creating the elements, was made king.  A mystery was seen.  He was propagated complete.  After the creation of stately noble Adam a rib was taken from his side.  Hence was made generous wise Eve.  She was full of vivid merit without meanness.

        I will recount exactly the women folk of the seed of Adam and fair Eve by teaching them clearly in lengthy verses to their descendants correctly.  I will recite from them to the womenfolk (That will be a barbic work in which poetry will be diversified) relating their children and husbands in easy quatrains with elegance.

        It has never fitted in poetic letters or in voluminous orations that the list of women of the populous world should be poured forth in streams of poetry.  As none ever did before me quatrains shall be recited to the free-born throng.  Valour in adventure has been commenorated.  It will begin at Adam the sole father.

        Adam, Seth, pious Sili and Cain were the four first men who propagated multitudes.  Eve, Olla, Pib and Pithib (women of power in the eternal world) bore the beautiful race:  prosperous before the Flood and mesirable afterwards.  Eve was the only wife of mighty Adam.  Olla was spouse of blameless Seth.  Pib was the name of the wife of guilty Cain.  She did not avoid evil.  Pithib was wife of Sili of the profits.  Whiter than foam was her body.

        I know Catafolofia the fair wife also of Cain Crook-head.  She was a cause of jealousy.  Bright was the paramour; transient was the torment of the couch.  Noeua cut from the ancient green-topped tree and wove the thread without deceit.

        Ambia was daughter of wicked Cain from whom was yonder monstrous brood.  Percoba was wife of shame-faced Noah.  She was poor without murmer or complaint.  Though she was mild she had power with her gentle husband.  Her children were weary with lamenting her.

        Olla was the blooming womanly spouse of Shem.  Ham's wife was Olivan from Asia.  Jafeth's consor was Olivane who did not conquer death.  Her own husband slew her at the wells:  a worthless woman who was quick of wit.



Detail on cross at Devenish Island, probably from the 16th Century

        Belait was the brilliant daughter of Latin and wife of fair Fenias Farsaid.  Nel of the infants was their son.  He was father of pleasant Gaedel.  The death of Belait from the sun's heat in the glen is known in poetry.

        Scotta, daughter of famous Pharaoh, was wife of Nel and mother of Gaedel Glas from whom sprang the race of pure Gaels, guests from over the shapely crest of the sea, and the Scots from lovely Scotta.  She was not timid or weak before her overthrow.

        Cesair the blooming daughter of Beth was wife of long-lived Fintan son of Bochra, Bith and Ladru (who were no scholars) came into the heart of Ireland once with fifty women, a miserable company, before the tempestuous transparent Flood.

        The gentle womenfolk of memorable Partholon were Cichbun, Cermnat, modest Nerbgind, Iafa and Edgnat the wealthy multitude.  They were not poor without a portion.  The yellow-haired band, their children and their company died of plague.  Cemeteries were formed from the sleeping sickness and from their tombs in the midst.

        Eva, Cera, laudable Medar, gentle Macha, a lovable company like to assured peaceful rest, were the womenkind of Nemed the strong.   Cera was in Connaught of the covenant and Eva in righteous Tir Caipre.

         Liber, Libist, discreet Cnuha, fair Etar, Fuat (a prompt band) were five queens of the populous FIr Bolg.  Their order was long remembered.  From Cnucha is named the cairn (an appropriate name) on the strong mound.  Fuat was the daring and acute spouse of Slane.  Etar of enduring energy was with Gand.  Libist (who followed not) was with Sengand, and Cnucha was consort of bright Genand.  Liber, a bright champion of feasts, was wife of huge and ruddy Rudraige.  The giant got possession of a third of the perfect surface by his own exploits.

        I may not forget the fair women of the Tuatha De Danand:  Eriu, Fotla and ardent Banba, (a famous throng.  Clear voice of achievement).  Three fair daughters of Fiachra, bright women of spirited speech.   Fierce Eriu was Cetar's consort.  Fotla's Huband, Detar, was no slacker.   Etar's wife by his profitable proclamation was also named sweet Banba.  [They loved Grian and Coll and Cecht because of the cairn they set above the pool].   Cermat's race were destroyed (a victorious deed) by the Milesian kings.

        Nemain, Danand, Bodb and Macha, Morrigu who brings victory, impetuous and swift Etain, Be Chuilli of the north country, were the sorceresses of the Tuatha De.  It is I who of them with severity.

        Etgen was the good wife of defenceless Dui, father-in-law of stately Magmoir.  The wife of Eochu (loud was his shout) was Tailtiu who cut down the wood, [From her is named greed-sloped Tailtiu of the prosperous united assemblies] in Caille Cuan.  She cut over a hundred axes:  a road for armies.

        [Feada was the real name of] noble Ethne who was wife of strong stout Cain, and mother of Lug the impetuous superman, and daughter of swift smiting Balor son of Dod son of mighty Net a greater man than pleasant Hector.   [From him is famed the cairn at Ath Feindead because he fought a duel].

        Tlachtga, daugther of fat Mog Ruith was the mighty wife of the son of Simon of the jewels.  From her, because of the martyr she slew, is named the hill of the flocks.  Midir slew Fuamnach with violence.  Her jealousy was cruel to herself and Etain.

        Englec was the renowned daughter of Elemar.   Ogniad was daughter of good Midir.  Bri Bruachbrec was his other daughter who did not prepare open treachery.  Pleasant Englec who did not spoil eloquence, was mother of the swift son of the Dagda.

        Echtgi the loathsome (it was a spiteful story) was daughter of the noble Dagda.  Boand, whose wounds spouted forht in the lands of Conn, was wife of Nechtan.  [Rivers are seen in famous mag Breg in the wise and wonderful and vast land].  Nechtain was son of busy Labrad Lesbric, a strong man, quick in battle heroic and fierce.

        Da Chaech was daugther of crooked Ceochuir the cunning, of the white knee of the withes.  The daughter of Genand son of Trian T. was gentle Clidna of the rough painful strand.  Her name is on the roaring wave called boldly after her agony.

        Honour destroyed the good and great wives of the Milesians of the chequered world, for it was a perfect action which was heard reported.  It is right to enumerate them quickly:  [sing first the chaste spirit without which the ingenious deeds were not performed] Scotta, ScÚna, hard gloony Fas, Delsairi, Tea who was no weakling, Fial wife of Lugaid the great son of Ith; all are long remembered in the land.  Odba and Dil, two daughters of Mil are numbered among his seed first of all.

        Herimon, Eber, noble Ir, Amargin, Colptha, stern Dond, Lugaid son of Ith son of Bregon:  their honor is without reproach of diminution.  From them (no deformity and bend) are the race of the heroes however remote.  [from every country their complement settled down, from them descend the Gaels of the hostages].

        Mighty Erimon had two spouses:  Odba and Tea of Tara who was liberal [Tara was the faultless eminence, the bright fort of the rath of divisions].  Tea was mother of cold Irial the wise one of yonder numerous strong host:  Irial the prophet who loathed Eber, most generous prince, a noble who was not weak.  Erimon had three sons by Odba:  one was Mummi, greatly respected, and two who agreed without dispute, Lugni and Lagni of the lis.  The white-surfaced hillock to the south bears the name of perfect harmonious Odba.

        Macha Red-mane, daughter of Aed, was nurse of Ugane of the combats, and wife of urbane Cimbaith son of Fintan:   until death he never avoided a fight.  It was for Emain and Ard Macha her perilous battlcs were fought, a rough exploit.  She ruled uprightly for seven years.   Noble Rechtaid overthrew her cleverly.

        Cesair the shapely daughter of the Frankish king was consort of Ugaine of the arts, the father of daughters; Ani and Pasi and hard Muresc, a goodly treasure.  Etline the Dumb of moulded body, was mother of Lorc and Cobthach Caol.

        The wife of wealthy Lahraid Loingsech (the champion who burnt Cobthach - a black crime - ) was the king of Fer Morca's daughter, Moriath, whose father was Scoriath of the paddocks.  She is of Leinster race from a Leinster champion.  Her honour was great in the place.

        The children of Fergus Gnai were Maer and Medair, wives of Etar (shameless woe).  Bethech was daughter of Cremthand of Cuala who well deserved a great and high lament.  [Maer was mother of Eochu mac Luchta, Medair was the nurse, judge of poets].  Fergus was the great son of Ugaine himself, of rude character and impetuosity.

        Margo was the great wife of Ais son of Etar. Ais was father of Dond of the poems.  Ais was father (with abundant land) of Elta of the level and eternal plain.  Whence was said "Plain of Elta" when the plague slew the host.

        Etain was wife of Eochu Aireman.  Esa was her daughter, evil were her rites.  Her name is given to a lofty spot, allied by her crimes to pollution.  Mes Buachalla was Esa's daughter.  By her methods mariners were coarsened.

        The mother of Conaire the Great is praised:   Mes Buachulla, a goodly diadem; her father's grandchild, her mother's sister, descendant of mighty and most fair Etain.  [She was wife of great Concobar, son of Cathbad:  gold—twisted rim of an expert blade.]   Lifi, daughter of Canand Curcach; her land was raided to the pool.

        Lifi was wife of dusky Deltband the steward of guileless Conaire, son of Drucht the brutish foreigner, vomited forth of the red cauldron. From Lifi is named Liffey of Leinster.  Twenty weaklings incurred her wrath.

        Dili, daughter of strong Lugmanrech, was the brave wife of Telchonn the stern druid.  She shall be certified the daughter of the king of the men of Falga, quick to promise, brilliant in satire.  The druid's rath (no grief to him to grow grey) was at the Ford of wicker-work hurdles of fair appearance.

        Tuag, daughter of Connal Collomrach, was reared by Conaire in innocent wise.  Fer [Hi] took her out of Tara.  She was pure and of chaste behaviour.  Though powerful be the roar of Tuag estuary it took it's name from the maiden who suffered. 

        Ruad, the royal daughter of Mane Milscoith son of Dond Desa, (her complexion was beautiful) was wife of Aed son of Labrad Lesbrecc.   She was no spiteful stupid woman.

        Tethba, daughter of Eochu Aireman, was the steadfast wife of Noisi [son of] noble Nechtan, [her nariie was given to the strong land of Teathfa] one who did not repudiate her.  Ettech was the name of her great nurse.   From her is named Cend Ettig and the church of the holy faith.

        Croind child of Eochu Broad-chest was the wanton consort of Eochu Feidlech and mother of valiant Medb of Cruachan, (glorious, perverse, extravagant and liberal) and the great mother of the Find Emna who trod the fence of marriage underfoot, [and of Clothra their sister.  She was wanton.]


The Cassidy Clan is pleased to announce the release of the book "Speculated Truth: A Genealogical Journey of Truth and Speculation" by Clan Secretary Brent Cassidy. The book is for all persons interested in Cassidy genealogy, Irish culture, traveling to County Fermanagh and Ireland.  Please click here to read more about the book and learn how to order a copy.

Inch Strand in County Kerry on the Dingle Peninsula by Sarah Cassidy.
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