This is from the Voyage of Bran the Chief
is from the Voyage of Bran the Chief, the Hetman and the Coming of the
Children of Nemed of the Sacred Grove, and here is the tale of it. It is
the Imram Branaidh, and the Landing of Scota in the Summer Isles of the
wine-dark Southern Seas ; and the Pillars (the Moai) of the Fair Man, that
is Elathan the Raider (the Tainaich) that guided them.
woman from unknown lands sang fifty quatrains on the floor of the Royal
House, full of kings (Ri ; chiefs of the land); they knew not from whence
she had come, since the ramparts were closed.
she sang : Bran went about alone, and heard music behind him, and he slept
for such was its sweetness. And he woke, and saw a branch of silver with
white blossom and here is the branch for Bran, a branch of the apple tree
of Emne, with crystal blossoms.
is a distant island, and four Pillars are on it ; a glorious range, a
plain for games, the south plain of white silver.
of bronze, glittering through ages, throughout the world’s ages, the
many blossoms drop. High Pillars, of many fights, withered into many mists
and red of the blood poured around the Cromm Cruaich, that is the Bowed
Ones of the Mounds, and the ranks are four times three stone Pillars to
beguile the hosts and offer the firstlings, and swear by the gods of the
is wailing or treachery, without grief, without sorrow, without sickness,
that is the sign of Emne.
silvery land of dragon-stone and crystal, the sea washes the wave, hair of
crystal is its mane. Listen to sweet music and drink the best of wine ; at
sunrise comes the Fair Man of the Raid (the “Tainaich”), riding on the
plain, he stirs the ocean till it is blood ; a host will come across the
clear sea, they show their rowing, to the far-seen Stones, singing to them
through long ages, choruses of hundreds. A pure white cliff on the range
of the sea, as the host race along the plain going into Ildathach,
mountain land where the white cloud lies.
fifty distant islands in the ocean, and a great birth in after ages ; son
of a woman whose mate is not known, seize the rule of many thousands.
made the heavens, he has the white heart, purifying the hosts under pure
water, begin the voyage across the sea to reach the land of women.
the branch sprang from Bran to the woman and was lost to him.
went so upon the sea, the number of his men was three companies of nine ;
and after the two days and the two nights a man in a sea chariot, the lord
of headlands and landmarks, the silver branch his mark, sang thirty
quatrains to him, and it was upon him to go over sea where speckled salmon
leap from the womb of the white sea, and there are many steeds on its
surface, and woods of fruit, without decay ; and the white law from over
seas to the land, a Fair Man, a Raider, in white clay markings, and he
will make known the secrets. He will be a dragon before hosts, a wolf in
the forest, a stag of silver horns, a seal, a fair-white swan ; a hundred
years in fair kingship ; a dragon stone from the sea will kill him, the
white host will take him under a wheel of clouds to the gathering. And
here is the making of the dragon stone of the slings ; a tathlum, made of
the brains of dead foes, hardened with lime.
the Sacred One came a rowing westward, thirty-four ships were his number
and thirty in each ship, and there appeared a golden tower on the sea. And
the Sacred One went for greed of the gold, and the sea filled around them.
And this was Conann’s tower, of the Fomor (=Red Giants), and battle was
begun ; for at the court of the Fomor, no one ever greased his knife with
fat, nor made his breath to smell of ale ; no meat on the plates, no milk
of the cows, no shelter for the belated, no money for minstrels ; their
cheer be what they give to others !
battle was begun, between the druids, and between the druidesses. And this was the end of it, the Fomor were
beheaded by the ones matched against them. And fire was put to every
quarter and not higher was its smoke than its flames. And all its women
and children and servants were burnt ; and the Children of the Sacred One
stayed in the place of conflict.
three score ships approached them, rowed by more of the Fomor, and a hot
desperate battle was fought. And thirty warriors of the Sacred One escaped
from that destruction, and the three chieftains that were among them
divided the land between them. And by fear of the Fomor of the Southern
Seas they separated one from the other. And these were the Fir Galeoin (=
the Men of Valour), and the Fir Domnann (= Men of the Abyss), and the Fir
Bolg (= Men of the Spears). And they considered the Men of Learning to be
gods, so much was their power in art and druidry.
the Stone of Destiny would scream under every king who took the
sovereignty ; and the Spear of the Sun, no battle maintained against his
hand ; and the Sword of the Forest Grove, none would escape it ; and the
Cauldron of the Blessed One, none came away unsatisfied ; and His daughter
is Brigit, and She gives the Poetry, of Metals, and Fire.
the Ghost of the White Woman met them with hosts of druidry and cunning ;
and she held converse with them, sweet melodious discourse, and drinking
of ale ; and said “Warriors, welcome to you, it is long since your
coming is prophesied, and yours will be the Islands forever, no better in
the world, and none more perfect than your race”.
is that” said the Galeoin, and went to the King’s Hill, and demanded
judgement from there. And
judgement of poets was given, and the poets gave the judgement of the
druid wind, so great was the storm ; but the Galeoin invoked the Land,
fertile and fruit-strewn, deep-pooled and lofty of hill ; and the tribes
of the ships sang an incantation of great cunning and they conquered
there, the Lands of the Islands.
they divided in two, and thirty ships rowed left-about and landed
northwards, and the Sacred One sang the rhapsody : “I am a wind on the
sea, a hawk on a cliff ; a dewdrop in the sun, a salmon in pools ; the
strength of art, a shaper of fire. Who clears the stone-place of the
mountain, who names the waterfalls? Who brings the cattle to the house of
weaponry, who chants the rune letters, who sings praises?”
this was Scotas’s Landing, and the forts were dug, and Scota advanced
after, with numerous progeny, and they divided ships, and divided islands,
in twice six and more, an inheritance of chieftains ; and the Harper went
to the South Land, and the Poet to the North Land.
the Galeoin made a great darkness around them over sea till they came to
the mountain and demanded battle or kingship of the Bolg, and the battle
was won at last, and eleven hundred were slain, on the strand. And the
Queen of the Bolg went after fighting to the wood of Cuan, and remained
there, and died there and was buried, and her mourning games are performed
each year a fortnight after the Mid-summer.
was a father’s brother of the Warrior, expert and accomplished in
knowledge. And he was on Conann’s tower of a clear evening,
contemplating the world and looking over the four quarters ; and he saw a
shadow and a likeness of a lofty island to sea, and he went there, and was
full of praise for the harvest, and fish of the island ; and the nobles
there killed him, in jealousy of the testimony of praise, and he was taken
by his people to the ship on the sea.
the Galeoin thought it was fit and proper to avenge their brother, and
collected their warriors from every place they were, until they were in
one place in the Land of the Mountains of Fire, numerous and fully
assembled. And three score and five ships was the number of the
expedition, and forty chiefs the number of their leaders ; and they made a
contention of the rowing to reach the island, but a druidry caused it to
appear there was no island at all in their sight, until the First of May,
seventeenth night of the moon, and they took to harbour.
this is the taking of the Southern Isles of the world by the Cymry, with
poetry and magic, and the bringing of the Four Chief Treasures ; and it is
the Landing of Scota, who is Brigit, Bright Spear of Poetry and Fire ; and
it is the Song of the Keltoi, or Warriors, and I am the Connexion Man that
tale is done