Gods and Fighting Men
And it was at Brugh na Boinne the Dagda, the Red Man of all Knowledge, had
his house. And the most noticeable things in it were the Hall of the Morrigu,
and the Bed of the Dagda, and the Birthplace of Cermait Honey-Mouth, and the
Prison of the Grey of Macha that was Cuchulain's horse afterwards. And there was
a little hill by the house that was called the Comb and the Casket of the
Dagda's wife; and another that was called the Hill of Dabilla, that was the
little hound belonging to Boann. And the Valley of the Mata was there, the
Sea-Turtle that could suck down a man in armour.
And it is likely the Dagda put up his cooking oven there, that Druimne, son
of Luchair, made for him at Teamhair. And it is the way it was, the axle and the
wheel were of wood, and the body was iron, and there were twice nine wheels in
its axle, that it might turn the faster; and it was as quick as the quickness of
a stream in turning, and there were three times nine spits from it, and three
times nine pots. And it used to lie down with the cinders and to rise to the
height of the roof with the flame.
The Dagda himself made a great vat one time for Ainge, his daughter, but she
was not well satisfied with it, for it would not stop from dripping while the
sea was in flood, though it would not lose a drop during the ebb-tide. And she
gathered a bundle of twigs to make a new vat for herself, but Gaible, son of
Nuada of the Silver Hand, stole it from her and hurled it away. And in the place
where it fell a beautiful wood grew up, that was called Gaible's Wood.
And the Dagda had his household at Brugh na Boinne, and his steward was Dichu,
and Len Linfiaclach was the smith of the Brugh. It was he lived in the lake,
making the bright vessels of Fand, daughter of Flidhais; and every evening when
he left off work he would make a cast of the anvil eastward to Indeoin na Dese,
the Anvil of the Dese, as far as the Grave End. Three showers it used to cast, a
shower of fire, and a shower of water, and a shower of precious stones of pure
But Tuirbe, father of Goibniu the Smith, used to throw better again, for he
would make a cast of his axe from Tulach na Bela, the Hill of the Axe, in the
face of the flood tide, and he would put his order on the sea, and it would not
come over the axe.
And Corann was the best of the harpers of the household; he was harper to the
Dagda's son, Diancecht. And one time he called with his harp to Cailcheir, one
of the swine of Debrann. And it ran northward with all the strength of its legs,
and the champions of Connacht were following after it with all their strength of
running, and their hounds with them, till they got as far as Ceis Corain, and
they gave it up there, all except Niall that went on the track of the swine till
he found it in the oak-wood of Tarba, and then it made away over the plain of
Ai, and through a lake. And Niall and his hound were drowned in following it
through the lake. And the Dagda gave Corann a great tract of land for doing his
harping so well.
But however great a house the Dagda had, Angus got it away from him in the
end, through the help of Manannan, son of Lir. For Manannan bade him to ask his
father for it for the length of a day and a night, and that he by his art would
take away his power of refusing. So Angus asked for the Brugh, and his father
gave it to him for a day and a night. But when he asked it back again, it is
what Angus said, that it had been given to him for ever, for the whole of life
and time is made up of a day and a night, one following after the other.
So when the Dagda heard that he went away and his people and his household
with him, for Manannan had put an enchantment on them all.
But Dichu the Steward was away at the time, and his wife and his son, for
they were gone out to get provisions for a feast for Manannan and his friends.
And when he came back and knew his master was gone, he took service with Angus.
And Angus stopped in Brugh na Boinne, and some say he is there to this day,
with the hidden walls about him, drinking Goibniu's ale and eating the pigs that
As to the Dagda, he took no revenge, though he had the name of being
revengeful and quick in his temper. And some say it was at Teamhair he made his
dwelling-place after that, but wherever it was, a great misfortune came on him.
It chanced one time Corrgenn, a great man of Connacht, came to visit him, and
his wife along with him. And while they were there, Corrgenn got it in his mind
that there was something that was not right going on between his wife and Aedh,
one of the sons of the Dagda. And great jealousy and anger came on him, and he
struck at the young man and killed him before his father's face.
Every one thought the Dagda would take Corrgenn's life then and there in
revenge for his son's life. But he would not do that, for he said if his son was
guilty, there was no blame to be put on Corrgenn for doing what he did. So he
spared his life for that time, but if he did, Corrgenn did not gain much by it.
For the punishment he put on him was to take the dead body of the young man on
his back, and never lay it down till he would find a stone that would be its
very fit in length and in breadth, and that would make a gravestone for him; and
when he had found that, he could bury him in the nearest hill.
So Corrgenn had no choice but to go, and he set out with his load; but he bad
a long way to travel before he could find a stone that would fit, and it is
where he found one at last, on the shore of Loch Feabhail. So then he left the
body up on the nearest bill, and he went down and raised the stone and brought
it up and dug a grave and buried the Dagda's son. And it is many an Ochone! he
gave when he was putting the stone over him, and when he had that done he was
spent, and he dropped dead there and then.
And the Dagda brought his two builders, Garbhan and Imheall, to the place,
and he bade them build a rath there round the grave. It was Garbhan cut the
stones and shaped them, and Imheall set them all round the house till the work
was finished, and then he closed the top of the house with a slab. And the place
was called the Hill of Aileac, that is, the Hill of Sighs and of a Stone, for it
was tears of blood the Dagda shed on account of the death of his son.