The Eglone, a huge glacial pillar of limestone on the plain of Moytura. The Eglone is the tallest of the many pillar stones in this area, said to be the graves of the warriors who fell during the Second Battle of Moytura.
A Cast of Characters from Moytura
Taken from A Mythic Concordance by Mike Nichols.
Airmed - sister of Miach, she spread her cloak on which to arrange the herbs which sprang from the grave of her murdered brother. But Diancecht, still jealous of Miach, mixed up the herbs, so that no one knows all their right powers to this day. She was the daughter of Diancecht and sister of Octruil, and helped them in their healing work at the well of Slaine.
Aonbharr - styled 'of the One Mane', he is Manannan's horse, as swift as the naked cold wind of spring. She can gallop across the sea, and no rider was ever killed off her back. She was often ridden by Lugh.
Angus Og - son of the Dagda, he advised his father how to kill Cridenbel and what reward to ask of Bres. After the second battle of Magh Tuireadh, only four men of the Fomor were left in Ireland, and they were driven out one Samhain night by Morrigu and Angus Og. He was considered for kingship of the Tuatha de Danaan after their defeat. Also called the Frightener or Disturber, for the unrest he occasioned in horses and cattle. His loves included Enghi, Derbrenn, and Caer Ormaith. He was the Irish love-god.
Balor of the Evil Eye
Balor styled 'of the Evil Eye' or 'of the Strong Blows', he is chief king of the Fomor, husband of Ceithlenn and, by her, the father of Ethlinn. One of his eyes had the power of death in it, so that none could look at it and live, and he also had the power of putting on a different shape. He was also the father of 12 'white-mouthed' sons, all among the chief men of the Fomor. At the second battle of Magh Tuireadh, Lugh made a spear cast that brought Balor's evil eye out through the back of his head, instantly killing him and 27 of his own army, thus fulfilling the prophecy that he would be killed by his grandson.
Balor of the Evil Eye is one of the strangest and most enduring figures to come down to us from the distant past of Ireland. Balor was a Formorian, a race which lived off the west coast of Ireland both on islands and under the sea. Balor was regarded as a wizard king, and lived on Tory Island in the north-west, where he had a great tower. He is said to have gained his Evil Eye in his youth, when he looked through a window where his father's druids were preparing spells. Fumes from the potion went into Balor's Eye, and it became lethal, burning orb capible of obliterating anything that came before it.
Balor was grandfather to the great hero of the Túatha Dé Danann, Lugh of the Long Arm . The conception and birth of Lugh form a part of the manuscript of Moytura. Through a series of actions which begins when Balor robs a magical cow, Lugh is born, survives murder by his grandfather, and is sent to Manannan to be raised in Tir na Nóg.
In fulfilment of an ancient prophecy, Balor dies at the hand of his grandson at the end of the Second Battle of Moytura. Lugh slays Balor in single combat, and the Eye falls out and, burning a great hole in the ground, formed the eerie lake of Lough na Suil, the Lake of the Eye. The story of Balor and Lugh is an archetypal myth that has cropped up in many modern stories; probably the best known version around today is the original Star Wars film, which is largely based on the myth of Moytura. Balor was used as a model for Darth Vader, while Lugh becomes Luke Skywalker and Nuada is the basis for Obe Wan Kenobe. When Luke blows up the Death Star, he is Lugh destroying Balor's Evil Eye.
The myth was also recycled in the Lord of the Rings, though Tolkien was much more subtle. The evil lord Sauron with his one eye is a combination of Balor and Odin. The scene at the beginning of the Fellowship of the Ring which shows the great battle between the elves and men and Sauron's host is a retelling of Moytura. Sauron comes onto the field and kills Gilgaled and Elendil (Balor kills Nuada/ Darth Vader kills Obe Wan). Isildur cutting the ring off Sauron's finger is the equivelant of Lugh taking Balors eye out (Luke destroys the Death Star with his photon torpedo!).
Ilustration © Jim Fitzpatrick 2000.
Badb - (Bibe) one of the greatest of the women of the Tuatha de Danaan, she was a battle goddess. She, along with Macha and Morrigu, used powers of enchantment to bring mists , clouds of darkness, and showers of fire and blood over the Firbolgs at Teamhair for three days. Sometimes regarded as the same as Nemain, her name means 'crow' and she could appear in that guise. She was the wife of Net.
Birog - styled 'of the Mountain', a woman-Druid who helped Cian win the love of Ethlinn who had been imprisoned in a tower. When Ethlinn bore a child (Lugh), Balor would have had it killed, but Birog rescued it.
Bres - son of Eri and Elathan, a champion of the Tuatha de Danaan, he was sent to meet Sreng of the Firbolgs. He was the most beautiful of all the young men, and he was chosen king after Nuada. 'As beautiful as Bres' was a common saying. However, he was known for his lack of hospitality, and was deposed when Nuada was reinstated as king. By Brigit, he was father of Ruadan.
Ce - the Druid of Nuada, he was wounded in the second battle of Magh Tuireadh, and when he died and was buried near Carn Corrslebe, a lake burst out over his grave and it was called Loch Ce'.
Corann - Lugh passed through the 'place of the bright-faced Corann' on his way to do battle with Bres.
Corr Slieve na Seaghsa - the Round Mountain of the Poet's Spring, it is a place that Lugh passed on his way to do battle with Bres.
Credenus - styled 'the Craftsman', he was a chief among the Tuatha de Danaan.
Credne Cerd - styled 'the Brazier', a worker in brass for the Tuatha de Danaan.
Dagda, the - father of Eire, Fodla, Banba, Angus Og, Bodb Dearg, Brigit, Cermait, Ainge and Diancecht. Known as a good builder, he was ordered by Bres to build raths. Styled 'the good god' and 'the Red Man of all Knowledge', he got a dreadful wound from a spear thrown by Ceithlenn in the second battle of Magh Tuireadh and he owned a magic harp called Uaitne. His house was at the Brugh na Boinne, where Dichu was his steward and Len Linfiaclach was the smith. His personal name was Eochaid O'Uathair, and he had a magical club which could slay or heal. Now Lug and the Dagda and Ogma pursued the Fomorians, for they had carried off the Dagda's harper, whose name was Uaitne. Then they reached the banqueting-house in which were Bres son of Elotha and Elotha son of Delbaeth. There hung the harp on the wall. That is the harp in which Dagda had bound the melodies so that they sounded not until by his call he summoned them forth; when he said this below:
summer, Come winter!
of harps and bags and pipes!
Now that harp had two names, Daur-da-bla "Oak of two greens" and Coir-cethar-chuir "Four-angled music."
Then the harp went forth from the wall, and killed nine men, and came to the Dagda. And he played for them the three things whereby harpers are distinguished, to wit, sleep-strain and smile-strain and wail-strain. He played wail-strain to them, so that their tearful women wept. He played smile-strain to them, so their women and children laughed. He played sleep-strain to them, and the company fell asleep. Through that sleep the three of them escaped unhurt from the Fomorians though these desired to slay them.
Then the Dagda brought with him the heifer which had been given to him for his labor. For when she called her calf all the cattle of Ireland which the Fomorians had taken as their tribute, grazed.
Dianan - one of two witches of the Tuatha De Danaan (the other was Bechulle) who had the power to turn trees and stones and sods of earth into an armed host.
Diancecht - father of Miach, he was a chief among the Tuatha de Danaan, and understood healing. He fashioned an arm of silver for Nuada, who had lost his own in battle. Also father of Octruil and Airmed, he restored slain warriors in the healing well of Slaine. His father was the Dagda and his harper was Corann. Dain Ceacht was the master healer and physician of the Túatha Dé Danann . He is possibly a brother of the Dagda , and also lived at Newgrange at times. He is a very mysterious character, as during a preliminary part of the story, he murders his son, Miach, seemingly jealous of his son's superior skills. Dain Ceacht caused the Well of Slaine to be made at Moytura . This was an enchanted well which contained many healing herbs. Dain Ceacht and three of his children stood about the well casting enchantments into the waters. Any slain or injured warriors who were placed in the well emerged whole and well again, and was able to return to the fighting. This aspect of the myth echoes the stories of the Cauldron of Plenty and the later Holy Grail.
Dolb - the smith of the Fomor.
Donall Donn-Ruadh - styled 'of the Red-brown Hair', he was one of the sons of Manannan. His brothers included Sgoith Gleigeil, Goitne Gorm-Shuileach, and Sine Sindearg. His foster brother was Lugh.
Eas Dara - in west Connacht, it is the harbour where Bres and his army landed in Ireland to battle Lugh.
Eathfaigh - a messenger and tax-gatherer of the Fomor, he was one of the four hardest and most cruel, the other three being Eine, Coron, and Compar.
Echaid - styled 'the Rough', son of Duach, he was foster-father of Lugh.
Eine - a messenger and tax-gatherer of the Fomor, he was one of the four hardest and most cruel, the other three being Eathfaigh, Coron, and Compar.
Elathan (1) - the son of Dalbaech and a king of the Fomor, he was father of Bres by Eri, a woman of the Tuatha de Danaan. He came to her over the sea in a vessel of silver, himself having the appearance of a young man with yellow hair, wearing clothes of gold and five gold torcs.
Elathan (2) - son of Lobos, he was one of the Fomor who took part in the Second Battle of Magh Tuireadh.
Elathan (3) - son of Delbaeth, he was one of the Fomor who took part in the Second Battle of Magh Tuireadh.
Eri - a woman of the Tuatha de Danaan, the daughter of Delbaith, she was mother of Bres by Elathan, a king of the Fomor. She was the wife of Cethor.
Ess Dara - near Magh Tuireadh-2.
Findgoll - son of Findemas, a Druid who advised Nechtan in the deceiving of King Bres.
Gairech - one of two hills (the other being Ilgairech) that Lugh passed on his way to do battle with Bres.
Gamal - son of Figal, he was one of the two door-keepers at Teamhair when Lugh first arrived.
Garbhan - he and Imheall were the Dagda's two builders, and they built the rath around the grave of Aedh, called the Hill of Aileac.
Glas Gaibhnenn - (Glos Gov-nan) belonging to Cian, she was a wonderful cow whose milk never failed.
Goibniu - styled 'the Smith', the son of Tuirbe,and brother of Cian and Samthainn, he was a chief among the Tuatha de Danaan, and lived at Druim na Teine. His ale kept whoever tasted it from age and from sickness and from death.
Goll - one of the Fomor who took part in the Second Battle of Magh Tuireadh.
Grellach Dollaid - also called 'the Whisper of the Men of Dea', it is the place where Lugh, Nuada, the Dagda, Ogma, and Diancecht made their secret plans to rise against the Fomor.
Hall of the Morrigu - in the house of the Dagda at the Brugh na Boinne.
Hill of Dabilla - a hill near the house of the Dagda at Brugh na Boinne.
Indech - son of De Domnann and father of Octriallach, he was a king of the Fomor who fell and was crushed in the Second Battle of Magh Tuireadh.
Ingol - one of the Fomor who took part in the Second Battle of Magh Tuireadh.
Island of the Tower of Glass - Balor lived there in the days the Fomor visited Ireland often. From this island, the Fomor would capture ships that passed near. They thus defeated the ships of the sons of Nemed in a time before the Firbolgs were in Ireland.
Islands of Mod - islands from which Ogma was ordered by Bres to bring firing every day.
Rath Brese - the Dagda made a trench around it.
Liath - son of Lobais, he was one of the chief men of the Fomor.
Lobais - styled 'the Druid', he was father of Liath and one of the chief men of the Fomor.
Luath - two swift men of the Fomor were named Luath, and they gathered an army for Bres when he went to do battle with Lugh.
styled 'Lamh-Fada', of the Long Hand, son of Cian and Ethlinn, and foster-son of Taillte and Echaid, he was also styled 'Ildanach', the Master of all Arts. Nuada abdicated the throne to him for 13 days in order to enlist his help against the Fomor. His foster-brothers were the sons of Manannan. At the second battle of Magh Tuireadh, he made a spear cast that brought Balor's evil eye out through the back of his head, instantly killing him and 27 of the army of the Fomor. Father of Cuchulain.
Image, right, the Coming of Lugh, illustration © Jim Fitzpatrick.
Lugh of the Long Arm is the basis for the modern archetypal hero, Luke Skywalker. There are such an incredible number of parallels between them that one can only conclude that the first Star Wars film, A New Hope, is based on the myth of Moytura. George Lucas was a fan of the work of Joseph Campbell, the great world mythologist.
An old poem from the manuscript of the Second Battle of Moytura. Lugh parodies the Formorians, by preforming a shamanic dance around them: he hops around the Formorian army with one hand over his eye and chants the following piece:
its strain of battles shared death there.
this a battle after foreigners broke (our) shared settlement
destruction of it. They will be defeated by hosts.
Fairy-hosts, land of men on guard,
of prey rain down (on them), men without choice.
hindered (the) foreigners. Another (the other) company fears,
company listens, they are very terribly in torment,
(sad) men (are they). Roaring brightly ninefold are we!
and Woe! Leftward! O you my beautiful ones!
will be the sustenance after cloud and flowers
its powerful skills of wizards.
battle will not dwindle until (its) end.
cowardly my request with (their) encountering me
a land of rushes laid waste by fire
form established, death on us given birth.
(the presence of) the Sídhe with each of them,
Ogma I satisfy,
the sky and the earth and the sea,
the sun and the moon and the stars.
Band of warriors my band here to you
hosts here of great hosts sea-full
mighty sea-spray (boiling) smelted golden powerful,
may it be sought upon the field of battle.
death its strain. Havoc its strain.
Lugh's Crane Magic translated by Seán
of Lugh © Jim
A moonrise at Shee Lugh, Lugh's Chair or Mound on the summit of Moytura.
Macha - one of the greatest of the women of the Tuatha de Danaan, she fed on the heads of men slain in battle. She, along with Badb and Morrigu, used powers of enchantment to bring mists , clouds of darkness, and showers of fire and blood over the Firbolgs at Teamhair for three days. The daughter of Emmass, she was killed by Balor in the second battle of Magh Tuireadh.
Magh Luirg - the Plain of Following, it is a place that Lugh passed on his way to do battle with Bres.
Magh Mor an Aonaigh - the Great Plain of the Fair, the place where Lugh and the Riders of the Sidh met Bres and his army of the Fomor in battle.
Magh Nia - the second settlement of the Tuatha de Danaan in Ireland, better fortified and farther west in Connacht than Magh Rein.
Magh Rein - (Moy Raen) the first settlement of the Tuatha de Danaan in Ireland.
Magh Tuireadh (1) - (Moytirra) see First Battle of Magh Tuireadh.
Magh Tuireadh (2) - not the same as the place where the battle between the Tuatha De Danaan and the Firbolgs was fought, but to the north, near Ess Dara. It is where the great battle between the Tuatha De Danaan and the Fomor was fought, that was later called the Second Battle of Magh Tuireadh.
Miach - son of Diancecht and brother of Airmed, he was better at healing than his father. He replaced the silver hand that Diancecht had fashioned for Nuada with Nuada's original hand and healed it. Diancecht, jealous of his son's healing powers, killed him. But 365 healing herbs sprang up from his grave.
Morrigu - one of the greatest of the women of the Tuatha de Danaan, she was styled 'the Crow of Battle' or 'the Battle-Crow. She, along with Badb and Macha , used powers of enchantment to bring mists , clouds of darkness, and showers of fire and blood over the Firbolgs at Teamhair for three days. After the second battle of Magh Tuireadh, only four men of the Fomor were left in Ireland, and they were driven out one Samhain night by Morrigu and Angus Og. She also proclaimed the news of the victory to the hosts and the royal heights of Ireland and to its chief rivers and invers. Mechi was her son. Aine may have been her daughter.
to (as high as) the sky
- sky to the earth
- earth beneath sky
- strength in everyone
- a cup very full
- a fullness of honey
- honour enough
- summer in winter
- spear supported by shield
- shields supported by forts
- forts fierce eager for battle
- "sod" (fleece) from sheep
- woods grown with antler-tips (full of stags)
- forever destructions have departed
- mast (nuts) on trees
- a branch drooping-down
- drooping from growth
- wealth for a son
- a son very learned
- neck of bull (in yoke)
- a bull from a song
- knots in woods (i.e. scrap-wood)
- wood for a fire
- fire as wanted
- palisades new and bright
- salmon their victory
- the Boyne (i.e. Newgrange ) their hostel
- hostel with an excellence of length (size)
- blue (new) growth after spring
- (in) autumn horses increase
- the land held secure
- land recounted with excellence of word
- Be might to the eternal much excellent woods
- peace to (as high as the) sky
- be (this) nine times eternal.
- Morrigu's Prophecy translated by Seán Ó Tuathail
- sky to the earth
Nas - the place where Lugh held his court following the second battle of Magh Tuireadh.
Nechtan - on the advice of the Druid Findgoll, to deceive King Bres, who taxed his people of the milk of all dun cows, he singed all the cows of Ireland in a fire of fern, making them dark brown. He was the husband of Boann.
Nine Poets of the Fomor - among the chief men of the Fomor, they had learning and the gift of foreknowledge.
Nuada - king of the Tuatha de Danaan when they first came to Ireland. He lost his arm in the first battle of Magh Tuireadh and hence, he lost the kingship. Diancecht fashioned an articulated arm of silver for him and he was called Nuada Argat-lamh, of the Silver Hand, for ever after, even though Miach later restored his original hand.. After that, he was restored to the kingship. The father of Tadg and Gaible, he was killed by Balor in the second battle of Magh Tuireadh.
Image of the Nuada the High King © Jim Fitzpatrick
Nuada was the high king of the Túatha Dé Danann. In an almost Biblical exodus, he lead his people into Ireland from the north-west of the world in wonderous flying ships. They brought the four ancient treasures with them: the Sword, the Spear, the Cauldron and the Stone. Nuada was a powerful king. He is associated with the Moon, Orion, Gwynn app Nubb, and the figure of Obe wan Kenobe in Star Wars is based on Nuada. Of the four treasures, Nuada had the Sword of Light (as in lightsaber!). Nuada was slain by Balor of the Evil Eye in a single combat near the end of the Second Battle of Moytura. He is said to be buried, along with Macha, in the Labby Rock dolmen on Moytura.
Octriallach - son of Indech, he was one of the Fomor who took part in the Second Battle of Magh Tuireadh On his advice, the Fomor threw stones into the well of Slane until it was dried up and a cairn raised over it, that was called Octriallach's Cairn. He killed Cassmail in the second battle of Magh Tuireadh.
Octriallach's Cairn - see Octriallach.
Octruil - the son of Diancecht and brother of Airmed, he helped them in their healing work at the well of Slaine.
Ogma of the Bright Knees
styled 'the shining poet', father of Tuireann and brother of Nuada, he was a champion among the Tuatha de Danaan, and taught them writing. He found the sword Orna at the second battle of Magh Tuireadh.
In that fight, then, Ogma the champion found Orna the sword of Tethra, a king of the Fomorians. Ogma unsheathed the sword and cleansed it. Then the sword related whatsoever had been done by it; for it was the custom of swords at that time, when unsheathed, to set forth the deeds that had been done by them. And therefore swords are entitled to the tribute of cleansing them after they have been unsheathed. Hence also, charms are preserved in swords thenceforward. Now the reason why deamons used to speak from weapons at that time was because weapons were worshipped by human beings at that epoch, and the weapons were among the safeguards of that time.......
Orna - the sword of Tethra found by Ogma at the second battle of Magh Tuireadh, it had the power to tell of all the deeds that had been done by it.
Riders of the Fomor - from Lochlann, seven battalions of them accompanied Bres to do battle against Lugh.
Samhain - (Sow-in) after the Second Battle of Magh Tuireadh, only four men of the Fomor were left in Ireland, and they were driven out one Samhain night by Morrigu and Angus Og.
Scetne - the place where the host of the Fomor landed in Ireland just before the Second Battle of Magh Tuireadh .
Scuabtuine - styled 'the Sweeper of the Waves', it was Manannan's curragh, which was often used by Lugh and kept at Brugh na Boinn.
Seanchab - grandson of Neid, he was one of the chief men of the Fomor .
Sean-Slieve - Lugh passed the head of it on his way to do battle with Bres.
Second Battle of Magh Tuireadh - at Magh Tuireadh, it is where the great battle between the Tuatha De Danann and the Fomor took place, after which there were only four men of the Fomor left in Ireland, till they were driven out one Samhain night by Morrigu and Angus Og.
Sital Salmhor - one of the chief men of the Fomor.
Slaine - lying to the west of Magh Tuireadh to the east of Loch Arboch, the well of Slaine was used by Diancecht, Octruil, and Airmed to restore to life the slain warriors of the Tuatha De Danann in the second battle of Magh Tuireadh.
Slane - vaiant of Slaine .
Sligech - one of the twelve chief rivers of Ireland.
Tethra - a king of the Fomor, he owned the sword called Orna that was later found by Ogma.
Tower of Glass - on the Island of the Tower of Glass, it was the home of Balor.
Uaitne - also called Dur-da-Bla and Coir-cethar-chuin, it was the Dagda's magic harp which was taken by the Fomor during the second battle of Magh Tuireadh. Lugh and the Dagda and Ogma went to retrieve it. When the Dagda called to it, it sprang toward him, killing nine men of the Fomor on its way. The Dagda then played the sleeping strain and as the Fomor slept, he restored to Ireland all the cattle that the Fomor had taken in tribute.
Ullad Echne - it lay to the south of the river Unius.
The Dagda, on his way to his house in Glen Eadin, spys a woman bathing in the River Uinshin. They unite in the waters at a place since known as the Bed of the Coupling. Image of the Morrigan & the Dagda © Jim Fitzpatrick .
Unius - also known as the Uinshin, a river of Connacht connecting Lough Arrow to Ballisodare bay and Knocknarea. The Uinshin is where the Morrigu was washing herself, close to the site of Heapstown cairn, when the Dagda returned from the camp of the Fomor. They made love in a hollow known as the Bed of the Coupling. Later the ford of the Unius was called the Ford of Destruction after the second battle of Magh Tuireadh, when the Morrigu disembowelled the Formorian high king as he crossed the river.