Irish mythology - the
of the Irish Clans
The Lebor Gabala Erren
The Book of the Taking of Ireland
Book of Leinster 1150 A.D.
Variant Readings from other Sources
Readings - Lebor Gabala Erren
The Scottichronicon - John of Fordun
Historiam Britonum - Nennius
Chronicle of the Picts & Scots - author unknown
The Life of St. Cadroe - Colgan
According to the traditions of the Lebor Gabala Erren (Book of the Taking of Ireland), the Irish originated in Scythia and were descendants of a King Feinius Farsaid, a King of Scythia. This Feinius Farsaid and his son, Nel, went into Asia to work on the Tower of Nimrod (Tower of Babel in biblical history) and were present at the subsequent dispersal of the races after the destruction of the tower. Feinius and his son, both learned in the new languages which resulted from the dispersal, returned to Scythia where Feinius opened a great school of languages on the Scythian plain.
In time his son Nel became such an expert in languages that pharoa of Egypt invited him into his country to teach his people the new languages of the world. So Nel went to Egypt and there he married Scota, pharoa's daughter. After pharoa was drowned in the Red Sea in pursuit of Moses and his band of Hebrews, Nel's great-grandson, Sru, fled from Egypt for fear of persecution by the Egyptians and with his son, Heber Scot, returned to Scythia. There Heber Scot won the kingship of Scythia. After a few generations, a descendant of Heber Scot, named Agnomain, killed a rival for the kingship of Scythia (a kingsman) and in revenge was driven from the country.
With a small band of followers, Agnomain obtained ships and sailed to the Macotic Marshes on the Black Sea, where the Scots (as they had come to be known, from Scota, the wife of Nel) remained for nearly three hundred years. On this journey they received a prophecy from Caicher, their druid, that their descendants would one day reach Ireland. Finally a descendant named Brath led the Scots from the marshes. Again they took to ships and after a long, arduous sea voyage across the Mediterranean Sea, eventually landed on the coast of Spain. On a high mountain on the coast Brath's son, Breogain, built a city named Brigantia famed for its tall tower.
Some years later, Ith, the uncle of King Milesius, saw Ireland from the top of the tower on a cold winter's night.
Ith collected a small fleet and sailed to the island he had glimpsed from the tower in Brigantia. Landing in the north of the island, he immediately encountered the chieftains of the Tuatha de Danann, who were in control of Ireland at the time, having conquered the Fir Bolg, its previous rulers. A battle was fought between them and Ith was slain on the plain of Ith (Magh Ith). His men carried his body back to their ships and the fleet returned to Ireland.
King Milesius was outraged at the death of his uncle and sent his sons, nine in number, to Ireland with a great fleet to avenge his death. On landing in Ireland the sons of King Milesius went inland and there met the kings of the Tuatha de Danann, demananding of them either kingship or battle. The kings of the Tuatha de Danann stalled for time, asking for a week alone on the island before making a decision. To this the sons of King Milesius agreed. They then returned to their ships and sailed a short distance off the coast of Ireland. The treacherous Tuatha de Danann then raised a great druidical storm against the Milesian fleet, which drove them far to the west. They circled the island three times until the storm blew itself out, finally landing in the south of the island. Here they divided their fleet and men, Heber, the oldest son still living (most of the sons of Milesius had been killed in the landing or the storm), remained in the south of Ireland. Heremon, his brother, and the rest of the fleet sailed to the north, where they landed their ships. Coming inland the sons of King Milesius again joined their forces and engaged the Tuatha de Danann in battle, completely routing them and slaying all their leaders.
All of the sons of King Milesius were slain in the conquest of Ireland except for Heber and Heremon. Heber Finn, the son of Ir, survived, as did Lugaidh, the son of Ith. From the three sons of King Milesius to have issue, namely Heber, Ir and Heremon, and from Ith, King Milesius' uncle, are said to descend the great clans and families of Ireland, known as "Milesians," in honor of their great ancestor, King Milesius of Spain.
After conquering the island Heber and Heremon divided Ireland between them. To Heremon went the northern half of the island and there his descendants are mainly to be found to this day, including the northern and southern Ui Neill, King of Meath and Ulster, the Ulaid, the Dal Riada (who later founded the kingdom of (Scotland) and the Kings of Leinster. From Heber are said to descend the tribes and kings of the south of Ireland. Heremon gave a part of his kingdom to Heber Finn, the son of his slain brother, Ir, and from him are said to descend the Knights of the Red Branch in Ulster, Clanna Rory. From Ith, King MIlesius' uncle, are said to descend some of the tribes living in the province of Connacht.
| Brath led the Scots to Spain) | Breogain (Built the city of Brigantia in Spain) | Ith_____________|__________Bille | | | | Lugaidh King Milesius of Spain | |________________ | | | Heber Ir Heremon
1. Three variants of the Milesian legend are extant in Irish manuscript; The version presented in the preceding pages is a summary of the R1 redaction from the Book of Leinster (Lebor Gabala Erren); published by the Irish Texts Society, 1939. This is the less often quoted of the three variants but demonstrably the oldest version.
2. The first names in the following pedigree were taken directly from the Old Testament (Book of Genesis), i.e., Adam to Japhet, the son of Noah. The entire pedigree from Japhet to King Milesius of Spain is fictional. King Milesius did not
exist, nor did his sons.
14. Feinius Farsaid, King of Scythia
15. Nel (m. Scota, d. of Pharoah)
16. Gaedel Glas
18. Sru (returned to Scythia)
19. Heber Scot
23. Agnomain (driven from Scythia; settled in the Macotic Marshes)
25. Eber Glunfhind
27. Febri Glas
33. Brath (Led the Gaedel from the Macotic Marshes to Spain)
34. Breogain (Built the city of Brigantia)
36. King Milesius of Spain