THE STRUCTURE _ OF A LITERARY CYCLE•

Abbreviations not listed in R.I. A. Contributions:
Ann. Rose. Annals of Roscrea (Gleeson and Mac Airt)
AT Annals of Tigernach
BBCS Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies.
CGH Corpus Genealogiarum Hiberniae I (O'Brien).
EIHM Early Irish History and Mythology (O'Rahilly).
GRSH Genealogiae Regum et Sanctorum Hiberniae (Walsh).
JCHAS Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological
Society.
JKAHS Journal of the Kerry Archaeological and Historical
Society.
PBA Proceedings of the British Academy.
T
HE purpose of this study, of which the present article is the
first instalment, is to outline the framework which underlies a
particular cycle of legends and from this to draw some con-
clusions regarding the nature of the Irish traditional process. The
cycle chosen is that which concerns Guaire Aidni, and this article
will be chiefly concerned with its development in Munster. The
sources used comprise genealogies, annals, regnal lists, saints' Lives,
and various forms of senchas as well as what is normally regarded as
literary material. A surprising degree of unity will be seen to emerge
from a reconstruction of these often fragmentary sources. It is this
unity which justifies the concept of a cycle, and my primary interest
is in the unifying process which is what I principally mean by
tradition.
One of the most striking features of the Guaire cycle is the complex
system of personal relationships linking the protagonists. Such
relationships may, in some instances, be the product of literarY
manipulation, but it is also possible, and even likely, that
legends may have been consciously and deliberately woven out.
0
historical or pseudo-historical materials. To complete the
the legendary material has frequently found its way back in.to t /
more staid historical sources, so that it is often quite impossible_
distinguish primary material from secondary. Perhaps the distincUo f
would have been impossible in any event, considering the nature
0
the tradition as summarized by Dubhaltach Mac Fir Bhisigh:
}lis
* I wish to thank Professor Gear6id Mac Eoin who allowed me to consult Life of
scripts of the D.IV.I version of Imtheachta na n6inmhideadh and the ofesSor
Cummine Fota both of which he plans to publish shortly. I am grateful to

1 wjsb
6 Riain and to Donnchadh 6 Corrain for some useful references. But above a wbosB
to record my debt to the generous leaming of Professor John V. Kelleher under
direction I first carried out this study at Harvard University.
THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 89
S nchaidh Erenn umorro beg na gebther isin sen-aimsir difir etorra agus
.
6
h agus an drong da ngoirther aos dana aniu, uair ba h-aon sgoil go
:UJc do egsibh Erenn uile an ionbhuidh sin ... 1
:aut despite the remarks of Mac Fir Bhisigh too drastic a distinction
generally been made. AU in particular has been regarded as a
point in a turning and bewildering world. I concede that it is
to ignore the stray quatrains, the more elaborate accounts of
ttles that come too close to saga, and the questionable marvels, and
t: cling obstinately to the all-important obits and round off the
discussion with the "corrected" AU date. But this approach does not
alloW for the possibility that the saga may simply be an elaboration
of an original annalistic entry, or that the apparent fact may be all
that remains of the saga, or even that there is no fundamental dis-
tinction to begin with according to the relevant concept of history.
As a working principle this means that we cannot summarily deter-
mine the reliability of information by reference to its context or
apparent source. A more valid approach, which is that adopted here,
is to test the consistency of the entire traditional corpus, establish
a basic structure, and attempt to explain any deviations from it.
Again the reliability of the material is not necessarily dependent
on the date of the language, and the general assumption that it is is an
unfortunate legacy of a tradition of scholarship built on a linguistic
foundation. Related to the direct equation of linguistic and material
earliness is the concept of the original text which usually turns out to
be the highest common factor of a number of linguistically early texts.
The original, by this definition, is always lost, and as the concept
serves no useful purpose and is theoretically unsound it will ultimately
have to be abandoned. This is not to say that all the material is of
value. While the degree of variation resembles that of myth
as Levi-Strauss says, "grows spiral-wise until the intellectual
:pulse. which has originated it is exhausted," we cannot simply
With him that "we define the myth as consisting of all its

• The historical element is too strong for that: there is an
an which did not exist for Levi-Strauss (not necessarily
this histoncal situation, but one clearly defined and understood) and
l'he' ra.ther than an abstract paradigm, will be our frame of reference.
ls, of course, also some inconsistency, of which anachronism
lneo form at one level, but a clear outline will be seen to emerge.
as a:slstencies arise mainly in connection with peripheral characters,
clitio Y Well developed body of material will attract all kinds of tra-
na} debris.
!
6
Itaithbh ·
earta1gh ed. Geneal. Tracts, p. 12.
e Levi-Strauss, Structural Anthropology, pp. 226, 213.
90
SEAN 6 COILEAIN
One of the main sources of _evidence for the complexity and self.
consistency of the cycle is the Bansenchas, a remarkable tract which
has not received the attention it deserves.
3
One immediately
anticipates objections to applying evidence of a twelfth-century
antiquarian work to events of the seventh century, but what matters
in traditional literature is not the date of a composition, but the
genre to which it beongs. The Bansenchas impresses me as an anti-
quarian composition of the better kind. Where we can trace its
sources in the traditional corpus its claims are generally confirmed
or at least seem plausible. In this it contrasts favourably with the
Dindsenchas which, while it does contain a layer of genuine tradition
is largely based on the etymological tradition deriving from
of Seville. Isidore's Etymologiae created such a stir in the Irish
literary world that a tradition was invented to the effect that the
great T<lin itself had been exchanged for it.
4
And in a sense it had,
for the new method was pursued with depressing thoroughness.
The model was fatally easy to imitate: in the words of Dr. Johnson
with reference to Macpherson's Ossian "A man might write such
stuff forever would he but abandon his mind to it." The great
defect of the etymological tradition was that, as Bergin states,
"Etymology was a game with no rules. It was a matter of guesswork,
and one guess was as good as another."
5
Native tradition, by
contrast, was very much governed by rules and Gilla Mo Dutu,
author of the LL Bansenchas, knew both the tradition and the rules.
Furthermore the nature of his material prevented the kind of whole·
sale invention which we find in the Dindsenchas. It is not free from
contradiction, but the contradiction is meaningful and leads back
into the tradition, rather than petering out, as Dindsenchas entries
often do, in the exhaustion of the author's ingenuity.
1
... (1931).
a Margaret E. Dobbs ed. The Ban-shenchua, RO xlvii (1930), 282-339; x vn
1
163-234; xlix (1932), 437-89. 1 (ed·
In connection with the LL recension reference will always be below to LL 11 nero
Best and O'Brien, Dublin, 1957); elsewhere reference will be made to the MSS. "'
necessary.
4 Tomas 6 Maille, Eriu ix (1921), 71-6; T. F. O'Rahilly, Eriu x (1926), 109. a.raPle
Unlike 6 Maille I do not regard the tradition as being literally true. The eJI:
0
e!ll
which be quotes in support of its credibili.ty, that "Oollliil; Oille sent his

iS
Altus prosator to Pope Gregory the Great m return for a g1ft of a gold cross rtlll
hardly convincing. Gregory's position in Irish legend was such that he

pa.t· 3·
citizenship as a. member of the Oorco Duibne (Paul Walsh ed- GRSli, P·
Of. BB 145 c 45 where the same pedigree is given although wrongly placed
Muscraige genealogies.) A note to Felire 6enguaso at March 12 states that
body was cast ashore on Ara.n (Fel. p. 96; cf. ZOP iii (1900), 39). For legends ·tfo
him with Oolum Oille see O'Kelleher and Schoepperle ed. BOO, PP· 206 ff, Jll
0
sit
1
Despite the anachronism involved-Gregory died in 604, prior to the
of the Etymologiae--I would suggest that the "suf R6manach" of the
legends is also to be identified with Gregory.
o PBA xxiv (1939), p. 206.
THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 91
While women were not regarded as being nearly as important as
places,G the Bansenchas is all the more important for being atypical.
'fhe very unimportance of the female as far as the more official sources
were concerned-and the heroine is allowed to remain anonymous
even in such tales as Fingal R6ndin and Reicne Fothaid Canainne-
IJlUSt have been a factor in the development of the Bansenchas.
'fhe woman's greater mobility, the fact that she might marry three
or four men of some stature and have children by each of them,
encouraged the legendary process. We shall see that a favourite
unifying device is that of uterine relationship, and as the official
genealogy invariably runs in the male line it is difficult to state with
certainty that the legend cannot reflect historical fact. This is
particularly true of material, such as that to be discussed here, where
the various sources complement each other, and there are few obvious
anachronisms.
Guaire's own pedigree provides a good example of the com-
plementary nature of our sources. The official Ui Fiachrach
genealogies are basically in agreement as to his position,
7
whereas the
Bansenchas and related materials disagree as to the identity of his
mother. It is by way of the female line that the legends develop and
the characters are brought together. Of the following three versions
the first has remained sterile in terms of legend. The second can
be shown to be the result of a late scribal error and therefore unreal.
The third will lead us directly to the centre of the development of
the cycle in Munster. These versions are (a) That Guaire's mother
was of the Tratraige e.g.
Aedammair Delgnach tren trebar/Tratraigech
... mathair Guairi Aidni feil.s
(b) That his mother was Cumman daughter of Dallbr6nach, and that he
therefore uterine brother to Caimin of Inis Celtra. This Cumman
: regularly credited with a numerous progeny including Caimin,
9
ut the only source I know for Guaire's inclusion is FM s.a. 662
10
:
D. A. Binchy's remarks in Myles Dillon ed. Early Irish Society p. 58 and Brian 6
lee Centuries of Irish Learning p. 70. For a catalogue of women's defects
1p
0
; orm. p. 28; cf. BNnE I, p. 177, Sc. M2 p. 3; Keat II p. 338 etc.
118'71)
1
ctnvenient charts see O'Donovan, Hy Fiachr. opp. p. 4 76; Kelleher, Oeltica ix
' ti,
1
2; Byrne, Irish Kings and High-Kings, p. 298.
(19
24
)
7
0:9-52. Of. RO xlviii, 185 and ibid. p. 218. For Tratraige see O'Brien ZCP
':S:a
2
• 37, and Hog. Onom s.v. tradraigi, tradraige dubrois.

3
i2 a 16 (which wrongly has Oaemgein Indsi Oea.ltra 212 a 29); Lee 34 Ra.

104
4
d 10 (cfLL 372 d 13 where the list is omitted); Anecd. III, pp. 3-4; Ir. Texts
322. Of. b-. Texts IV, pp. 93-4 where the mother's name is given as


mghen Bhaed." Of. also Plummer Misc. Hag. Hib. p. 230, par. 195.
Ill. loc c of her progeny varies, and the list is wildly anachronistic.

is wrong in stating that the quatrain (which he quotes) occurs in
of Gorman (Acta Sanctorum Hiberniae p. 339, n. 17). His source was
amiy FM.
92 SEAN 6 COILE.AIN
Rob ionann mathair do Guaire 1 do Caimine Insi Celtra, amhail asbear
Cumman, inghean Dallbronaigh, mathair Cammfn is Guaire ar:
Moirseisear ar seachtmoghat, as sedh ro geanair uaithe.
This statement is almost certainly a misreading of a marginal quatrai
in Laud 6ro
11
: n
Cumma(i)n ingin Dallbronaid mathair Cammin co ngliiaire,
morfeisir ar chethrachait, is ed rogenair hiiaidi.
The misreading of the numeral was a commonplace error. A number
of factors, including their obvious similarity, may have contributed
to the alteration of "co ngluaire" to "is Guaire" ( = "co nGuaire").
Guaire and Caimin are also brought together in the saga of the battle
of Carn Conaill, although they are on opposite sides. But the strongest
factor must have been the confusion of Caimin with Cummine Fota
of Clonfert (see tradition (c) below), just as they are confused in
different versions of the Carn Conaill saga.
12
A glance at the index
of personal names in CGH s.v. Cummine, Cumne, will show how
readily this might take place ;
13
indeed the forms which I employ
are arbitrary ones.
(c) That Guaire was uterine brother to Cummine Fota and others :
Rim ingen Fiachna meic Fiachrach Gairine meic Duach Iarlaithi mathair
Cumaine meic Fiachna 1 Comgain Meic Da Cerda 1 Guairi meic Colmain 1
Crimthaind Caeil meic Aeda Cirr, rig Laigean, 1 Chuana meic Cailchine,
Laech Liathmune, 1 Bracain Dairindse.
14
There is a curious echo of this grouping in the LL Bansenchas:
Guaire. Crimthand. Cuanu. Comgan.
Cummain Breccan bee a briathra cen bais
15
Margaret Dobbs failed to identify this group, as she informs us in a
note to this passage, no doubt because it is strangely out of place in. the
Bansenchas. Gilla Mo Dutu seems to have been working from vanous
sources and has not integrated the ending with the rest of the verse.
Breccan (or Braccan) cannot be satisfactorily identified, nor can. we
say which of the several places called Dairinis is in questlOll·
Crimthann mac Aeda poses the reverse problem as there are too rnanY
11 ZCP viii (1912), 334 n; Cf Celtica vi (1963), 148. 'buteS
12
In Eg. 1782 ( = SG I, p. 397) Cummine Fota replaces Caimfn who contrl
to Diarmait's victory in LU 9608 ff. and LL 36047 ff.
1a Cf. Todd, Leabhar Imuinn I, p. 91. es 1!1•
14 Lee 34 Va 36; cf. Lee. 164 Rc 40; BB 213 a 40, LL 372 c 20. Cf. Ir.
1
gs6)•
p. 94, par. 197 (with misreading Rini for Rim). Cf. Mac Cana Etudes Celt. vu (other
97, n. 4. In Mart. Don. at November 12 Rimh is also said to be the name of the 1ll
of Cummine Fota.
1s LL 17381-2.
THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE
93
f }lirn; he may be identified with (a) Crimthann m. Aeda m. Senaig of
Vi Mail or (b) Crimthann m. Aeda Cirr m. Colmciin of Ui Dunlainge.ls
l either case he belongs to the Laigin, and the traditions relating to
:rn will not be discussed here, other than to mention that he appears
a dalta of Diarmait mac Aeda Slaine in Tochmarc Becjola, and that
:e Ui Dunlainge version of his pedigree would make him a nephew
f Ronan m. Colmain (d. 624 AU) who is very likely to be identified
Ronan m. Aeda who gives his name to Fingal R6ndinY The
t}u'ee other characters mentioned -Cummine Fota, Comgan Mac Da
Cherda, and Cuanu mac Cailchine/Ailchine-are the pivots on which
the Munster development of the cycle turns. These will be discussed
in detail below, beginning with Cummine Fota.
It is the way of traditions to overlap and never fully coincide, but
rather to continually self-propagate and expand, as new nuclei, which
serve as points of departure for further legends, are created. So at the
very moment of recording tradition (c) above Colgan encounters such
a point of departure which shifts the focus of our attention to
E6ganachta Locha Lein. Colgan writes "Rima (seu rectius Mugania)
filia Fiachae filii Fiachrii filii Duach Iarlaithe mater Cumini. " 18
This alternative tradition, which has Mugain rather than Rim (Rim?)
as the name of the mother of Cummine Fota, has been discussed by
Todd and, in a broader context by Proinsias Mac Cana. 19 It is
necessary to review this tradition, in so far as it concerns us, at
this point.
In the Lebor Brecc notes to Felire Oengusso the following entry
occurs at November 12:
dom chumain .i. Cumin fota mac fiachnai. comorba brenaind cluanai
1 deoganacht lacha Iein d6. aed din ainm diles chumin 1 druim
aliter ainm abaile 1 hi cumin frith hicill ite inuib conaill gabra ...
Mugain ingen fiachach find
mathair cumine cheolbind
sisi mugain amathair
sesium disi derbrathair
dec rogensit omumain [leg. mugain] .i. ui escuip ocus .ui. rig.
-""lm 1 comgall. 20
1s F
(b)se oLr tradition (a) see AU 633; AT p. 182; CS s.a. 633, FM s.a. 628. For tradition
17
6
L_ 5421; ZCP xix (1931), 88.
91 Identification is not a new one. It is to be inferred from LL 316 a 10 and Lee.
Af 11 = CGH p. 339:
Ronan mac Colmain. . • Mael-Fathartaig; is e ro marbad Ia athair tria et
Or C ts ll'dairc.
is GII p. 75.
19 Sanctorum Hiberniae, p. 148, n. 4.
20 op. cit., .l?.P· 88 .ff.; Mac Cana, op. cit., pp. 96 ff.
· , pp. clxvm-clx1x.
Q
94
SEAN 6 COILEAIN
The evidence of tradition (c) above would in itself justify us .
regarding the Comgall mentioned here as a mistake for Comg
(Mac Da Cherda). We shall also see that the Cummine
relationship is central to this new tradition which functions on :n
E6ganacht_a Locha Lein-Deissi axis, with excursions into
Liathain, Ele Tuaiscirt, Ui Fir Maige Fene, the E6ganacht
of mid-Munster, and Ui Fiachrach Aidni. Furthermore I
of no tradition associating Comgall (of Bangor?) with the cycle. The
mistake might easily originate in a wrong expansion of a suspension
stroke (i.e. Comg), especially as Comgan was not a common name.
Only one instance of the name occurs in the index to CGH, and that
refers to Mac Da Cherda.
21
Three persons of that name, none of any
particular importance, are mentioned in AU. The relative frequency
of the name Comgall, together with the pre-eminence of Comgall
of Bangor, would pre-dispose a scribe ignorant of the Mugain t radition
to make the substitution; indeed he might not even need the excuse
of a suspension stroke to do so.
The Lebar Brecc note contains the basic elements of this tradition;
that Cummine Fota was of E6ganachta Locha Lein; that he was
conceived incestuously by Mugain from her own father Fiachu
(generally Fiachna mac Fiachrach Garrine elsewhere); that he was
abandoned on birth, discovered by fte and fostered by her. The
quatrain plays on the permutations of relationship which result from
his incestuous origins, his mother being also his sister. This feature
is elaborated elsewhere in a manner which suggests the influence of a
riddle literature.
22
A similar quatrain which follows his pedigree
in Rawl. B 502 explores the possibilities on the male side: his father
is also his grandfather, and the ancestral bond is correspondingly
strengthened.
23
These are mere snatches of a larger t ale which
occurs in the Liber Hymnarum as the mixed Latin and Irish introduc-
tion to the hymn attributed to Cummine Fota and in the D.IV.r
version of I mtheachta na n6inmhideadh.
24
The Liber Hymnorum
account adds a further complication by giving (F)land as t he name
21 The Comgan mentioned in the account of the so-called West-Munster
(ZCP viii (1912), 315) is probably to be identified with Mac Da Cherda as w1ll apP
below. . h cr.
22 Such riddles on relationships, often in verse, are common in Modern Irls · urs:
Bealoideas xiii (1943), 72, where a quatrain closely similar in form to that quoted occ
Is tu Aodh, is tu mac Aodha,
Agus inghean d'Aodh is i do mhathair,
Is tu m'fhear, is tu roo mhac,
Is me do bhean, agus do mhathair. . . p2 tl·
The use of riddles in narrative is not unusual. For instance the descriptiOn m Bp 5ucll
827 ff. probably originated as a riddle, and closely resembles Mod. Ir. examP
65
as occur in Bealoideas, ibid, p. 81.
za CGH, p. 226. h acntO
24 Lib. Hymn. I, pp. 16-18; D.IV.1 27 Va 5ff. (The B.IV.1 version of the I rnt e
is acephalous and does not contain the account of Cummine's conception.)
THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 95
f Cummine's mother. I think that this name can be explained
0
ay very simply: the author has confused Cummine's mother with
a.W mother of Domnall m. Aeda m. Ainmerech for whom Cummine
the hymn that he might weep in seeking forgiveness for
Land daughter of Aed Guaire [m. Amalgada m.
f Airgialla was the mother of Domnall m. Aeda accordmg to the


This association of Cummine Fota with Domnall
Jil Aeda is not an arbitrary or isolated one. In the B.IV.r version
f. the Imtheachta the court of Domnall m. Aeda is the scene of one
0
f the most imaginatively humorous episodes in Irish literature as
from Guaire led by his son-in-law, Marean m. Tommain
of Ui Maine, attempt to lure the royal fool (rig-6inmit) Conan Clocach
to Durlas, there to entertain Guaire and Comgan Mac Da Cherda.
26
The various traditions relating to Conall Clocach and Domnall m.
Aeda cannot be discussed here, but the fact that they are often
represented as either brothers or uterine brothers,
27
combined with
the fact that Conall Clocach and Mac Da Cherda are practically
indistinguishable in terms of character and personal history, and that
Mac Da Cherda was in turn regarded as uterine brother to Cummine
Fota, may have contributed to the Liber Hymnantm statement that
Land was the mother of Cummine. All versions of the I mtheachta
agree in regarding Mugain as the mother of Cummine and Mac Da
Cherda, and the additional details supplied by these texts will be
further examined when we come to discuss the latter character.
There is also some minor and probably secondary confusion as to
Cummine's patrimony. We have seen that the Lebar Brecc note to
Oengussa places him with E6ganachta Locha Lein. Similarly
Ill the notes to the later edition of the Felire we find "Cummini mac
... d'Euganacht Locha Lein d6" and "Cumain Fota mac
Frachnai meic Fiachrach Gairine meic Duach meic Maine meic
meic Cuirc meic Luigdech."
2
s These pedigrees all agree with
p·estandard one as given in CGH: "Cuimmine .i. Cummine Fota mac
m. Fiachrach Garrine m. Duach Iarlaithi m. Maine m.
m. Cuircc."29 Rawl. B 502 errs here, as O'Brien notes, in
Clng him with Cenel nDallain of Ui Liathain. The error may
be altogether fortuitous as we shall see that Ui Liathain are
associated with E6ganachta Locha Lein within this cycle of
eo::· However the corresponding passage in LL, Lee., and BB
ectiy place him with the latter. The Liber Hymnarum account

RC xlviii, 182; ibid. p. 221; Cf. ZCP viii, 298.
It 13 IV
1
e stated that sbe is elsewhere regarded as his stepmother: RC xx (1899), 40 •
• , cr. . . R:-166 R.
It }'ez 0 CuJV, xi (1965-6), 183-7, 290.
tt CQj/· 242.
• P· 226; cf. GRSH, p. 116, par. 8.
96
SEAN 6 COILEAIN
of his birth calls him "Cummaini Fota mac Fiachna ri Iar-Mun-.
.. ,all''
and later says of him "Uenit a11tem postea ad patrem et ad patr"
.i. co hEuganacht Lacha Lein".
30
The fragmentary account in
which otherwise agrees closely with Lib. Hymn., describes him l..,
"Cummine Fota mac Fiachnai di Eoganacht Chassil,"
3
1 and
version is supported by the closely related Life of Cummine F ts
in C.r.z (R.I.A.) which begins "Cumain Fota mac Fiachna oda
Eoganacht Caisil,"
32
and goes on to state that Cummine's fath e
was Fiachna [sic] Muillethan mac E6gain who belongs to the
historic section of the E6ganachta genealogies. That such e
linguistically early text could be so badly anachronistic, and in
respect inferior to the I mtheachta, shows again that there is no
necessarily direct correlation between the language of the text and
the information it contains. Language provides us with a terminus
ad quem, not with a terminus a quo, but the distinction is not always
clearly made.
The tradition that Cummine belonged to E6ganachta Caisil must
be regarded as one of several secondary developments. For instance
Cairpre Luachra, the alternative name for E6ganachta Locha Lein,
also becomes confused with Ciarraige Luachra, and Cummine's
father is one occasion described in the I mtheachta as "Fiachra mac
Fearcuso rich Ciarraigi Luochra."
33
There may even be an attempt
to attach him to the Ui Fiachrach genealogies, possibly on account
of his close relationship with Guaire, but I prefer to regard this
"Cuimin Foda, mac Conaing (no Conaill), mic Fearghusa"
34
as a
separate individual. In any case we cannot pursue him furthe.r,
and the cumulative evidence of the various sources justifies us J.ll
regarding the West-Munster pedigree of Cummine Fota as being the
generally accepted one. .
A further examination of Cummine's connections and relatives
shows how extraordinarily well developed and self-consistent.
West Munster-section of the cycle was. The dominant
makes him a third cousin of Aed Bennan m. Crimthaind m. !1
(d. 6rg AU, 6zr Ann. Inisf.) whose daughter or, as another vers!O
had it, grand-daughter, was M6r Murnan:
. b j,
Tri meic Aeda Bennain 1 Damnatan ingine Feideilmid m.
Mael-diiin Cuimmine, Mael-caech. Mor Murnan a siur no combad
0
diiin bad ingen ut alii dicunt
35
. d !llllY b1
30 loc. cit. The "ri Iar-Muman" element presumably refers to Fmchna, an
reagrded as mere hyperbole.
31 LL 36990.
32 c. 1.2, 5a. z:J.
33 D.IV.1, 28 Vb 22; cf. B.IV.1, 150 R. z7Ve.-_;
The most regular tradition is also represented in the Imtheachta, e.g. D.IV.l.. divid
34 Hy Ji'iachr. p. 44. Ironically the pedigree is given to distinguish thiS In
from "Cuinlin, mac Dioma, mic Diarmada".
as CGH, p. 221.
THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 97
statement that Damna(i)t wife of Aed Bennan was daughter of
'fbde Imid m. Tigernaig is typical Bansenchas-type material and is
.
ated in the latter tract. The Bansenchas apparently knows only
tradition which held M6r Murnan to be the daughter of Aed
0 ,
)3ennan:
Ingen fial Feidilmid feta
findmeic Thigernaig m1r thlaith
Damnat aeb na greni a gellam
ba ceili d'Aed Bennain blaith.
Oland d'Aed ra Damnait maith moltair.
Mael Duin Conga!. Cummain grind.
Mael Canaig ba fer co firneim.
M6r Murnan ben Fingein find
36
The tale M6r ocus Aided Cuanach meic Ailchine, which will be
discussed in some detail below, also supports the tradition that M6r
was daughter of Aed Bennan:
.!ed Bennain rf Irlochra da mac dec lais l toera ingena . . . M6r Murnan
ingen Aeda Bennain
37
The tale goes on to describe how M6r became the wife of Fingin m.
Aeda Duib m. Crimthaind, king of Cashel (d. 6rg AT, Ann. Inisj).
38
Their daughter was in turn wife of Guaire's brother Laidcnen, and
of Guaire himself :
do
Deog_ ingen Fhingin l Moiri Murnan bean Laidgind m. Colmain 1 ba bean
Gua1re Aidni iartain3
9
Deoch bean Laidgnen moir meic Colmain
is celi Guairi is glan ngloir
40
It is true that there is some difficulty with the corresponding
Passh age in LL. This will be discussed later. We are concerned
ere ·
tha With the framework of the cycle, and there seems to be no doubt
t the tradition which held that both Guaire and his brother were
17093-IOO. Cf. RC xlviii, 182, 219. Damnait and Aed [Bennan] are also
17 Lted together in LL 35799.
.. ln t
35
737-9. Cf. O'Nolan, PRIA, XXX. C (1912), pp. 261-82.
llo doubte tale he is simply called "Fingen mac Aeda." In the Lecan prose Bansenchaa,
Under the influence of this group of tales, he is called impossibly "Fingin mac
p (RC xlviii, 182). The Ui Maine prose has "Fingein mac Aeda Allain,"
l9), a version which also occurs in the Imtheachta e.g. B. IV.1, 155 R, 165 V.
.l«Uirch Pres.urne that the person intended is Aed UaridnachfAlhin (Ollan) m. Domnaill
erta1g of Cenel nEogain (d. 612 AU) rather than his great-great-grandson
n (Ol!an) m. Fergaile m. Maeli-duin (d. 743 AU), this version must still be
J.\0 as a mistake
4e Jclviii, 182. ·
• 211 Ra. 35.
I'
,1iJ
98
SEAN 6 COILEAIN
married to M6r's daughter was well established. A probable Par d
of this tradition occurs in the Imtheachta: One day the Y
Fingin (m. Aeda Duib) and M6r goes out to view the
IV.r. the leader of the hunt is named an Cuanu mac Cailchin ·
leaving only Mac Da Cherda within in the company of the
queen. Fingin be in a sorry
1f only they three remamed ahve m 1t. Mor suggests that in th t
event Fingin could hunt and Mac Da Cherda could provide them
firewood and marry the child she was then bearing. Mac Da Cherd
mistakes the speculation for reality, and seizing an axe sets out
search for firewood. He finds none to his satisfaction until he arrives
at Guaire's "bile" at Durlas (possibly the bile rdtha of King and
Hermit) which he proceeds to hack down.U This fantastic marriage
of the unborn infant to the fool, followed by his mad career to Dur!as
and the assault on Guaire's bile, can hardly have been described
without an awareness of the tradition that Guaire himself married
the daughter of Fingin and M6r.
To this group of characters we may add M6r's sister Suithchern
Ruithchern who was carried off by Cuanu mac Cailchine, king of
Fir Maige Fene,
42
whom we have seen described as uterine brother
of Guaire, and who appears as his ally in the saga of the battle of Cam
Conaill. 43 We then have Guaire's uterine brother married to a sister
of M6r Murnan, while Guaire himself and his full(?) brother are
married to M6r's daughter. There is also Guas daughter of Mae!·
duin m. Aeda Bennain whose husband Cuan m. Conaill of Ui Fidgenti
also supported Guaire at Cam Conaill according to the saga:
44
Ingen do Mael Dnin mac Aeda
ardrig Murnan na sreth soirb (sic leg.)
Guas ceili Cuain meic Conaill ...
fiaith Hua Fidgenti
45
We have seen that the genealogies also record the tradition wherebY
M6r Murnan herself was a daughter of Mael-duin and therefore a
sister of this Guas. c
To these figures we may further add Mugain, wife of Diarrnait
Cerbaill, who is relevant whether or not we concede Mac Canaof
argument that she is ultimately the same as Mugain duaghter
Fiachna m. Fiachrach Garrine, and that "the two Mugains are rner
different localizations of the same goddess and that M6r :Mu;w
is simply a development of one of them".
46
Whatever their or!
41 B.IV.l, 156 V ff; D.IV.l 33 Va I ff.
42 0' Nolan op. cit. p. 265.
43 ZCP iii (1900), 206.
44 ibid.
45 LL 17159-63; cf RC xlviii, 185, 223.
46 Mac Cana, op. cit. p. 98.
THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE
99
b se characters are clearly distinguished in the tales, a situation
t Wch is not inconsistent with Mac Carra's thesis. Mugain wife of
"· rrnait m. Cerbaill may for our purposes be regarded as a separate
Characteristically she is a near relative of the other
West-Munster figures, being the daughter of Conchrad m. Duach
Cliach m. Maine m. Cairpre m. Cuircc.
47
As wife of Diarmait m.
Cerbaill she is the joint ancestress of the two principal branches of
the southern Ui Neill, Sil nAeda Slaine of Brega and Clann Cholmain
:M6ir of Mide:
Mugain ben Diarmatta datta.
degingen Chonchrai9- meic Duach.
A eland Colman is Aed nach fellad ...
dib eland Cholmain (sic leg.) na rig radi
sil Aeda Slani na sluag
4
8
But evidently there was some doubt as to her position as ancestress
of Clann Cholmain M6ir, for Gilla Mo Dutu continues:
N6 combad mathair cheirt Cholmain
eland Brenaind Daill caid na cross
Ere co comthaitnim na clumi
do Chonmaicnib Culi atchlos.
49
But this variation merely guarantees the density of the system. Ere
is no less closely connected to the cycle than Mugain. Her father
Brenaind Dall is here described as being of the Conmaicne Cuile,
hut he turns up in the genealogies of the neighbouring Ui Maine
where we find him as grandfather of Marean m. Tommain,
50
husband
of Guaire's daughter Cred. (Incidentally Aed Guaire opponent of
Ruadan of Lorrha was brother of Brenaind Dall,
51
providing another
example of the tendency of literary cycles or sub-cycles to operate
on lenealogical lines.) So if Mugain is grandmother of Diarmait
:· _eda Slaine, opponent of Guaire in the battle of Cam Conaill,
M.rc I,s the aunt of Guaire's son-in-law. We might also expect
s m. Tommain to figure in the battle of Cam Conaill, but
i§n_smgly the saga does not mention him. He is however mentioned
n l cela Cano meic Gartndin in connection with the battle.
52
to do not wish to anticipate future consideration of the battle except
state that practically everybody involved in it belongs to the
B 502, 151 a 28 = CGH p. 222. The historical problem posed by the
143 a
50
ent of Ui Duach to the E6ganachta does not concern us here. Cf. Rawl. B 502,
q Lt = CGH p. 197, and n. 93 below.
te ibid 17035-40; Cf. RC xlviii, 180, 217.
lo or R17041-4. This Ere is also called Eithne: LU 4239 = SG I, p. 83; RC xlviii 181.
11 :sn elleher, Celtica ix (1971), 109.
".s 117 b 10.
Oano ll. 172-3, 183-5.
100 SEAN 6 COILEAIN
framework of legend as set out here. We have already menti
Guaire, Diarmait m. Aeda Slaine, Marean m. Tommain, and Cuaoned
Conaill, in this regard. It will be seen also that Cuan m. Amalgn:·
another of Guaire's supporters was also related by marriage to
and that Ui Liathain, if not actually Talamnach, their representaror,
in the battle, are also involved in the cycle by way of M6r's si
SuitchernfRuithchern. When we consider further that :r
daughter Cred is said to have composed It i saigte gona suain ase s
lament for Dinertach, who, like Cuan m. Conaill, was of Ui Fidgenti

and fell "isin Aidne," proba?ly to be identified with the battle
of Cam Conatll, 1t becomes obvwus that we cannot consider th
accounts of this battle which appear in the annals apart from th:
whole traditional context. This is especially so when all the annalistic
accounts apart from AU and Ann. Inisj. can be shown to derive from
the saga. And even AU and Ann. I nisj. are not necessarily more
trustworthy, as they may simply have been stripped of their context.
In any case the forces involved in the battle belong at least as much to
literature as they do to history.
To return to Ere and Mugain, it may be that their association in
tradition as wives of Diarmait m. Cerbaill may be responsible for the
tradition, expressed in a poem in LU and LL,
54
that Mugain was also
of Connacht. The first quatrain of this poem records the official
doctrine that she was of Munster, while the last, which follows the
official dunad, refers to the alternative tradition:
Mugain ingen Chonchraid chain
meic Duach din des Mumain . ..
ben Diarmata meic Cerbaill
Is si seo ...
cetfaid araile senchad . . .
ba de Chonnachtaib Mugain
Similarly in the Bansenchas the tradition that Mugain was of Connacht
does not occur in LL but appears in later renderings. 5
5
As
antiquarians wanted it both ways; faced with conflicting tradltions
they could never make up their minds. While this inability to
produces an impression of untidiness, it has also preserved many
able pieces of information which tidier minds would have b
Various other sources such as the Life of Mac Creiche,
incidentally has been badly underestimated by Plummer as acJl
53 Despite Carney's objections (Eigse xiii, 1970, 230-2) I prefer the view that
m. Guaire m. Nechtain is simply a mistake for Dinertach m. dengusa .m .. es witll
(cf. 6 Corrain, ibid, 83-84). But the whole question of Cred and her
Dinertach, Marean m. Tommain and Cano m. Gartnain, and her adoptwn as anc
by the O'Connors and the Maguires, will have to be discussed separately.. Gese!lseJI-
54 LU 4275-334 = SG I, p. 84; LL 18208-67. Ed. Windisch Kgl. siichstsche
der Wissenschajten, Berichte XXXVI (1884) pp. 191-243.
55 RC xlviii, 180, 217.
THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE
101
. torical source,
56
show the wealth of material associated with the
..... ;Jy of Aed Bennan. More relevant here is the Life of Mochuta
runs through the whole gamut of characters from a grand-
as
1
ghter of Aed Bennan, to Cuanu mac Cailchine, Mael-ochtraig m.
(father of Mac Da Cherda), and, of course, Diarmait m. Aeda
The passage of immediate relevance is that which describes
. encounter with the first of these, a daughter of Mael-duin m.
:da Bennain who is variously called N oelethan and Dan d. 57 She
. said here to be the wife of Mael-tuile, king of Ciarraige Luachra.
the other relationships we have discussed this is also entirely
possible according to the genealogical and annalistic information.
fU.el-tuile is great-great-grandfather of Flann Fe6rna who died in
741
(Ann. I nisj.),
58
and the death of Mael-duin m. Aeda Bennain
is entered at 66r (Ann. Inisj.). Furthermore the latter seems to
have been an old man when he died, his fatl:;ter having died in 6rgj6zr
(AU/Ann. I nisj.). ·
The system of relationships as it affects E6ganachta Locha Lein
may be expressed by means of the following chart. Whatever may
be made of individual figures the structure as a whole cannot be
dismissed lightly, and since it is consistently reflected in such diverse
sources it must have been established at an early date. I do not
see how retrospective unity could be achieved after the ninth century,
and so I would propose goo AD as a terminus ad quem for the es-
tablishment of the basic frame of reference.
From E6ganachta Locha Lein we move to Deissi Murnan at the
other end of Munster. The transition is mainly effected by the
USUal device of uterine relationship. The physical aspect of the re-
lationship is certainly questionable, but it is none the less valuable
that as it actualizes an association which was already felt to
exist, and which can be confirmed by other sources. In support
of this device Cummine Fota is also said to have been set adrift
?11 the river Suir thereby arriving at Deissi Murnan, but the story
18
complicated at this point by a type of error common in oral
two mutually exclusive patterns are utilized to resolve a
Situation. So while it is necessary that Cummine reach the
tba
5
1 for the purpose of achieving continuity, it is also necessary
t he be reared by f te in Ui Chonaill Gabra in accordance with her
ll .ar
17 C tee. Hag. Hib., pp. 8-10.
Noeleathan in V. SS. Hib. I, p. 172 but Dand in Powered. Lives of SS.
Mochuda, p. 78. Cf. 6 Corrain, JKAHS No. 1 (1968) p. 49, n. 15 a.
l'llol-
2
. of Mael-tuile was in turn held to be married to Mael-duin: LL
Ia It • 0 xlvm, 182, 219.
lt ia awl, B 502, 154 d 30 = CGH, p. 254.
that Colman m. Rechtabrat, father of Fland Fe6rna, is the person who
a guarantor in Cain Adamnain (Meyer ed. p. 20). For "ri Fernae" read "r1
l4b; .,_; Of. "Tuaristal rig Fe6rna Flaind" with reference to the Ciarraige, Dillon ed.
.,... Cert, 1.572.
102 SEAN 6 COILEAIN

-
- tt-4·;

'i
ol '"
-6-§-:ss
·s o gb.-e
A o ::s"'
;a@
ol
q
::s
1'1 .....
0
60
Jl
-"-""'


rJ.l ::s



]'El-5
.8 d tC ci5


-;a I '0 'Ol
f.<<D !::
.. «J$te
ol
_a z!. .....
0
.....
Jl 1'1 I _;o :;:;-
'0 <D .-e § .s ·::S
" .... <Ds "' "' "' :e "' o "' <D
ol '" . 0:: ..<:: ..<:: <D ':' "'""' 1'1 b!l
o o:O
.s 0 ;a H .g .§ 'C C!:) 0 -rf:
·a o
0
<D ;a 1
A !.aP
<D .s
.s 0
!:: ol
ol ..§ <D

ll s
::s
0
1
'C"-<0
!'I
..... a3
ee;.... <l) d)

;a!s a
j
1 a
::s
1-;a
"'
·0
e.
THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 103
pted position as nurturer of saints such as Brenainn, MoCh6em6g,
aec; even of Christ himself. The result is that Cummine is shuttled
kwards and forwards between Suir and Maigue and between
bac spiritual influence of Declan and Mochuta and fte.
59
circumstances by which uterine relationship was achieved are
plained as follows in the I mtheachta: on the incestuous conception
a double marriage is arranged between Mugain and
Maolochtair (i.e. Mael-ochtraig) of the Deissi on the one hand and
between Cacht daughter of Mael-ochtraig and Fiachna, Mugain's
father, on the other. Cacht subsequently drops out of the tale;
she seems to be otherwise unknown to tradition and does not appear
in the Bansenchas. Mugain had another son by Mael-ochtraig,
regularly called Comgan, but said in one version of the I mtheachta to
have been named Cumascach at first :
60
the variation will be seen to
be of possible significance when we come to discuss his pedigree.
A fragment edited from YBL by J. G. O'Keeffe
61
also picks up the
story at this point: ComganfCumascach is accused of sleeping with
the druid' s wife, and, in revenge, the druid transforms him to a fool.
The Imtheachta here follows the pattern of Fingal R6ndin as the
accusation is made by the druid's wife after she had failed to seduce
him, whereas the YBL fragment seems to regard the offence as real.
As a consequence of the transformation he is henceforth called
Mac Da Cherda, the name being explained as follows in the I mtheachta:
"Comhdan mac an da cearda .i. da cheird badur aige ceird bhaoisi 1
ceird gaoisi. "s2
This description agrees with his function in tradition where he
appears as an inspired fool: "6inmit side 1 faith De."
63
In
this capacity he may be associated with such characters as Suibne
and Moling; some of the verse in the I mtheachta is strongly reminiscent
(d connection of Declan and fte (d. 570 Ann. Inisf.; 570, 577 AU) with Cummine
• I nisj.; 662 AU) is, of course, historically impossible.
It IS to note that as Cummine was reared and died in Ui Fidgenti, as
h:'b'ted .In the C.l.2 Life, so his death as well as his birth is associated with a river, as
at ody IS t aken up the Shannon to Leth Cuinn for burial (Bruchst. No. 96), presumably
:vr:onfert: in FM s. a. 1162 (i.e. 500 years after his death) we are told that his relics
hill:l from the earth and enshrined at Clonfert. Otherwise the evidence linking
e.a ;;Ith Clonfert is tenuous enough; of the annals only Ann. Inisf. (s.a. 661; cf. ibid.
0) and FM support it. Colgan says (Acta Sancto1·um Hiberniae p. 149, n. 7) that
8tateire bro_ught him to Connacht and established him as abbot at Clonfert, but this
811: p rnent Is based on the tradition that he was uterine brother to Guaire (a Guario ...
matris fmtre) and is probably not reliable. No mention of his connection with
llote :Ort made in the Imtheachta or in any of the related material, apart from the LB
110 D Fel .
2
quoted above.
e
1
JE . • IV.l , 28 Vb 7.
12 B 1'1-u v (1911), 34.
llllnc .IV.!, 160 V; Cf. D.IV.l, 29 Va 30. Colgan's explanation of the name "quia
to his extreme fatuus mox summe prudens" is taken from this. He himself refers us

"Vide plura ... in actis Curndhani et Conalli idiotarurn" (Acta Sanctorum
• LL'Iae, p . 149, n. 7,8).
35774.
104 SEAN 6 COILEAIN
of Buile Suibhne, and Moling was also credited with the same extrelb.
of folly and wisdom.
64
That actual confusion of Moling and Mac
Cherda did occur is shown by the appearance of a "Taircealtach lb. a
na cearta" in TFrag. s.a. 858: Tairchell was the original name
Moling,ss and "mac na cearta" is almost certainly Mac Da Cherd

straying out of his proper time frame. In this regard we
expect a close connection between Mac Da Cherda and M:arba
Guaire's half-brother, in view of the association of themes relati:·
to the wild man and the hermit,
67
in addition to the fact that
belong to the same literary setting in this instance. But apart from
King and Hermit and what Carney calls Tradition B of the Tdin-
recovery legends,
68
Marban is almost unknown to tradition. Various
reasons have been proposed for this,
69
and I do not wish to discuss
them or to introduce my own explanation here, except to state what
is already agreed: that Mar ban is a late literary creation who never
took root properly in tradition. It is true that in that most literary of
works, Aisl. MC, they are said to have studied together at Armagh.1o
They are mentioned together again in the B.IV.r version of the
I mtheachta where with Colum Cille they make up a stereotyped triad
of early Irish prophets,
71
but Mar ban does not appear as a character
proper in any of the texts. Mac Da Cherda does encounter Guaire's
swineherd but the latter's name is given as "Dub Da Chet mac
Moraind Min-fiaclaigh a crichaibh Corco Duibhne n6 Baiscind."
71
Characters who share Mac Da Cherda's traits in the Imtheachta
are Conall Clocach, Creigin fool of Fingin and M6r Murnan, and
Odran the son of their steward, an apprentice fool. Cummine
Fota is scarcely distinguishable from Mac Da Cherda in the latter's
prophetic moods and Daibhidh 6 Duibhgeannain, the scribe of
B.IV.r, has had to correct his initial confusion of the pair on several
occasions.
Despite the attention pa:id to Marban it is evident that he is a ver'j
marginal figure in the cycle, and not at all well established. BY
contrast Mac Da Cherda is a cental figure, and belongs to
genealogical system which resembles that of Cummine Fota
less elaborate. He appears in Sanas Cormaic as Moc[c]u Cerd a,
64 Murphy, Early 11-ish Lyrics, No. 13.
65 Stokes ed. Moling chap. 3, par. 10, Cf. Fel. p. 150.
66 Cf. "Quies Me. na Cerda" Ann. Inisj. s.a. 645.
67 Cf. Jackson, Studies in Early Celtic Nature Poetry, pp. 121-2.
68 Carney, Studies in Irish Literature and History, pp. 165 ff.
69 Most recently by Mac Cana, BBCS xix (1960), l-6. . , "'hicll•
7o Aisl. MC p. 7. Marban's parents are here called "Becan" and "Becnalt JllaJ;e
though real names, were probably selected for their humorous content, and so
fun of Mar ban himself. · ned 1¢
71 B.IV.l, 160 V. Apart from the Imtheachta Mac_Da Cherda is again mentlo
a prophet in the poem Aisling ad-chonnairc Cormac, Eigse v (1946), 86.
72 D.IV.l, 33 Vb 21.
THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE
105
. may have been the earliest form of the name, and would suggest
:st he belonged to some branch of the Cerdraige. If so the tradition
a not survived, and LU and LL generally have Mac DajDa Cherda.
form Mac Mo Cherda also appears in LL, and there are still
ther versions of the name.
73
0
Generally Mac Da Cherda seems to have been attached to the
Ui Rossa line o! the D{ds.si. The LL genea}ogies read "Fogertach m.
.Mael-umai,m. Aeda m. Da mac_ Aeda : et
c[h]traig. Lee. adds Aenmac ac Mael-ochtra1ch .1. Comgan .1.
?n rigoinmit."
74
This would make him a close relative of Temair
of Diarmait m. Aeda Slaine according to the evidence of the
LL Bansenchas.
Ben Diarmata rigda Ruanaid
rathmar Temair thenn in main.
ba ingen d'Aed Builg mac Fingui ...
mathair Chernaig Sotail sair75
Significantly this passage comes immediately after that which treats
of Guaire and his brother Laidcnen, and immediately precedes
mention of Guaire's daughter Geilgeis and Cred. The identity of
the Temair in question is placed beyond doubt by the Lee. and
Ul Maine prose Bansenchas which calls her father king of the Deissi:
Teamair ingen Aeda Builc m. Fhingen ri na nDesi bean Diarmada Ruanaig
m. Aeda Slaine, mathair Chearnaigh Sotail76
That the Aed m. Ffngin of the genealogies was also known as Aed
Bolg{Builg is confirmed by the Imtheachta where Mac Da Cherda's
father is called "Maolochtair mac Aodha Builg."77 The following
in
71
Th
1
.e following examples will give an idea of the distribution (I ignore minor variation
Bpe hng) :
(b) Moc[c]u Cerdda : Corm. Y s.v. dna.
Mac DafDa Cherd(d)a : LU p. 289 n. (in hand H); LL 5036, 28103, 29770-1,
12-.I:: A'!'(= AU) 641; LB f . 92 (upper margin); Meyer ed. Liadain and Cui1'ithir pp.
• Atsl. MC p 7
Mo Cherda ·LL 35774, 35778, 35784.
Uou)i (b) and (c) .interchange in edited fi.·om YBL b:y J. G. Eriu v
&!lints: 8-44. S1m1lar Mo/Do vanatwn 1s, of course, co=on m hypocorlStlC forms of
(d) names.
na Ann. Inisf. s.a. 645; Cf. T.Frag. s.a. 858. He is also almost certainly
Jloaaibr na. Ca1rre(a) of the H.3.18 version of Aisl. MC (Meyer ed. pp. 114 ff.) It is
Ofl{llc the "macfmeic Aoinchearda Berre" of the Fionn material is a development
7' CQJI Cherda on the analogy of the apparent numeral.
7a L , p. 399.
7e L 17147-52
'17 185; cf. ibid., p. 222.
'!\;;sa · 151 V; D.IV.1, 29 Vb 2.
11
111lUed vana.tion is seen in two versions of the Convention of Druim Cett: in one he
1'1 Dess1 Aed mac Fingin" (RC xx, 1899, 138), but in the other
Aed Bale mac Fingin co mbridb
ba ri for dronga nDeisidh
(ZCP xiii, 1919, 98)
1:111.,
1
'
106
SEAN 6 COILEAIN
chart shows the relationship of Mac Da Cherda to Temair, wife of
Diarmait Ruanaid. I add Cormac m. Rossa m. Maile-Fothartaig
since his obit may be of some relevance in assessing the claims of
alternative genealogy. Apart from Temair, whom I add from th
Bansenchas, the rest is constructed from the Ui Rossa genealogy
it appears in CGH pp. 398-9:
I
Mael-ochtraig
I
Comgan Mac Da
Cherda d.641 AT ( = AU),
Fin gin
I
.I
Aed
I
. I
Temalr (wife of Diarmait
m. Aeda Slaine d.665,
668 AU)
I
Mael-Fotha.rtaig
I
Ross
I
Cormac d . 731 Ann. Inuj.
645 Ann. Inisf.
The relationship of Mac Da Cherda to Temair wife of Diarmait m.
Aeda Slaine recalls the more distant relationship of Cummine Fota
to Mugain wife of Diarmait m. Cerbaill. Added to the tradition that
Mac Da Cherda and Cummine Fota were uterine brot hers, that
Diarmait m. Cerbaill and Diarmait m. Aeda Slaine were often confused
(and in any case stood in a grandfather-grandson relationship),
and that the latter plays a vital part in the Guaire cycle, the sum of
these correspondences indicates an extremely closeknit and well
developed corpus of material. An important point of contact is pro-
vided by the tale M 6r M uman ocus Aided C uanach meic A ilchine
(in which Mac Da Cherda also figures) where M6r Murnan ousts the
daughter of the king of the Deissi as wife of Fingin m. Aeda Duib m.
Crimthainn (d. 619 Ann. Inisf.).
7
B The ousted queen was probably
held to be the daughter of Mael-ochtraig, although this cannot be
confirmed from the Bansenchas. However one version of the
text does state that Mael-ochtraig was married to a daughter
0
d
Failbe Fland, brother of Fingin m. Aeda Duib.
79
Failbe
turns up again as Guaire's adversary in the battle of Carn
(AU 627, Ann. Inisf. 629). I hope to show elsewhere that t e
annalistic accounts of this battle are even less reliable than
relating to the battle of Carn Conaill (AU, Ann. Ini sf. 649), but
sufficient here to note the coincidence that Mael-ochtraig's
is the daughter of Guaire's conqueror in the earlier battle, and ve
sister the wife of his conqueror in the later. Furthermore, as we ha
78 LL 35750 ff; O'Nolan, op. cit. pp. 262-3. ish ]:..if
8
79 RC xlviii, 182. Here Fail be Fland' s daughter is called Failind. In theIr ust
of Mochuta she is called Cuciniceas; cf. VSH I, p. 195, where she is unnamed. i5 ?'"eartilig
said that Mael-ochtraig's pedigree varies: in the Bansenchas he is called mac

and in VSH filius Oobhthaig neither of which agrees with this version of Mac Da C
pedigree. The variation, and the probable reason for it, will be discussed beloW·
THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 107
11
his daughter was probably held to be the wife of Fingin m.
Duib, whose daughter by M6r Murnan was wife of Guaire
This scenario involves some minor juggling with generations
bUt it is none the less valuable for that as an example of how a body
f legend is assembled.
0
The Ui Rossa were a relatively unimportant branch of the Deissi
and it is not surprising to find that Mac Da Cherda is elsewhere
understood, t? to principal line. So in one of_ the
edited in Erzu v he IS said to be the brother of Bran Fmd m. Mael-
ochtraig ("Brathair do-som Bran Find mac Maile Ochtraich .
Rigdamna side
80
This only r_efer to Bran Find m.
ochtraig m. Cobthmg whose obit occurs m 671 (AU and Ann.lmsj.).
The obits of his father and grandfather are recorded in Ann. Inisf.
at 645 and 632 respectively. The immediate genealogy as constructed
from CGH pp. 394-5, with the addition of Mac Da Cherda on the
evidence of t he literary tradition would then be as follows:
Aed
I
Cobthach d. 632
Ann. I nisj.
I
ewnlac.ch Mael-ochtra.ig d. 645
Ann. Inisf.
I
I I
Comgan Mac Da Cherda Bran Find
d.641 AT(= AU); d.671 AU
645 Ann. Inisj. Ann. Inisf.
This variant is also known to the B.IV.r version of the Imtheachta
Mac Da Cherda is at one point called "mac Mhaolochtair
Cobhthaigh,"
81
and although it does not explicitly appear in
.IV.r the fact that it is said there that Mac Da Cherda was first
?atned Cumascach suggests it, B
2
as he has an uncle named Cumascach
In this line.
wIn general it would seem likely that the earlier of these traditions
roas he belonged to the Ui Rossa, and that as the legends sur-
t:ding him developed he was transferred to the main line. This
at was facilitated by the fact that a Mael-ochtraig occurs
in: SUitable point in both lines. However it must be admitted that
of his t raditional association with such characters as Guaire,
oWn lllfne Fot a, and Fingin m. Aeda Duib m. Crimthainn, and his
obit, he fits better as brother of Bran Find and son
e -ochtraig m. Cobthaig than in the same generation as Cormac
- .
.. !111. cit .
._ H.nr
1
P· 36, also p. 38. Cf. n. 79 above.
Seen'. 178 R.
ote 60 above.
108
SEAN 6 COILEAIN
m. Rossa m. Maile-Fothartaig of Ui Rossa (d. 731 Ann. Inisj
The legends attaching to Mael-ochtraig, who is of considerab(
importance in his own right and who appears independently of M e
Da Cherda, also probably originated with the Ui Rossa figu:c
Although the surviving evidence is contradictory there would see e.
to be no motivation for movement in the opposite direction. As
almost impossible to kill off any tradition effectively, the earlies
one has also survived in this instance. r
In fact there is a third version of the pedigree of Mac Da Cherda
and Mael-ochtraig which cannot be reconciled with any genealogical
line known to me. This appears (a) in Liadain and Cuirithir, (b) in
one of the Eriu v episodes, and (c) in the Lecan prose Bansenchas
The last of these has already been referred to.
83
The relevant
passages of the other texts are
(a) Co n-accae Mac Da Cherda cucai. Oinmit side, mac Maile-ochtraig
maic Dinertaig dona Dessib Muman
8
"
(b) In Mac Da Cherda imraiter sund, mac side Maile Ochtraig, meic
Dineartaich .i. ri na nDeisi Maigi Femin o Dun Letrach for Siuirss
We complete the survey of Deissi characters with Conamail m.
Suibne described in Eriu v as "Foglaid do Moel Ochtraig fo choill
oc cosnom rigi". 86 This Conamail was of Ui Fothaid: in CGH he
appears as Conamail m. Suibne m. Commain,
87
and among his brothers
is Congal who appears in Cdin Adamndin as "Conghal mac Suibneiri
inna nDeissiu."88 The obit of this Congal occurs at 701 in AU, and
so the association of Conamail (whose death is not entered in the
annals) with Mac Da Cherda would seem, of necessity, anachronistic.
Mention has been made above of Liadain and Cuirithir, and Frank
O'Connor has included it in the cycle on literary grounds.
89

text is closely connected with the prose introduction to the
the Caillech Berri. Cummine Fota who is said to bless t he Caillech;
veil appears in Liadain and Cuirithir as guardian of the lovers
chastity. There is also a marked verbal correspondence :
(a) Liadain ben do Duibne .i. beneces ... messe fein 6 chiJI
Conchinn. . .b Jll9ic
(b) Sentane Berre, Digdi a ainm, di Chorco Dubne di .i.
Iair C[h]onchinn . . . Is diib dono Liadain ben Chuint hir
9
sa Cf. Note 79 above.
84 Liad. and Guir., p. 12.
85 op. cit., p. 34.
86 ibid., p. 36.
87 LL 328 c 50 etc. = CGH, p. 400.
88 Gain Ad. p. 18. ']'reasvr'1
89 The Backward Look, pp. 57-8. Cf. Greene and O'Connor A Golden
Irish Poetry pp. 7-8. For Mongan read Marban in his list of characters.
90 (a} Liad. and Guir. pp. 12, 18. 53) P·
(b) Murphy ed. The Lament of the Old Women of Beare, PRIA 55 C 4 (1
9
Cf. ZCP xix (1933}, 175.
THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 109
This raises many problems: for instance Ui Meic lair were of the
E
6
ganachta not of Corco Duibne, and I think it likely that for Ui
r,{eic l air Chonchinn(e) we should read Ui Meic Eire Chonchinne.
The latter were also known as Cenel Conchinne, and belonged to the
Corco Loigde.
91
The fact that there was also an Aes Conchind in
both Corco Loigde and Corco Duibne
92
would account for the Caillech's
transference to the latter, and in any event the substitution of Ui Meic
I air for Ui Meic Eire which must have taken place prior to the composi-
tion of Liadain and Cuirithir, would have left a later editor quite con-
fused as t o t he Caillech's homeland. But the transition was never
complet ely made and even in the account of her fosterage of Core
Duibne the placenames-B6 Boi, Inis Boi, Tech nDuinn-suggest
Corco Loigde rather than Co reo Duibne.
92
a It is possible then that, as
first suggested to me by Professor Kelleher, her seven periods of youth
may refer t o the seven Corco Loigde kings of Osraige
93
whom she may be
understood to have wedded in accordance with the familiar theme
which we elsewhere find associated with Corco Loigde in the person
of Lugaid Loigde
94
and which Mac Cana has shown to have wide
currency in Munster generally. This might also go some way towards
explaining a contradictory feature often noted with regard to the
Caillech's lament that the placenames belong primarily to East
and Central Munster. To the author royalty in contemporary terms
meant the E6ganachta kingship and it is of the enduring nature
of this and places such as Mag Femin associated with it, that the
Caillech is envious.
The Caillech is also connected with Corco Loigde by way of the
lost tale of her romance with Fothud Canann, mentioned in Lists A
and B.
95
Fothud Canann regularly appears in the Corea Loigde
genealogies,
96
and while no historical importance can be attached to

"Nunc [Hui Meic-] hEi[rc] ... Is ed Cenel Conchinni" CGH, p. 261; cf. O'Donovan,
of Celt. Soc., pp. 32, 36.
Con Aes Conchind of Corco Duibne see LL 324 f 55 etc. = CGH, p. 378. For Aes
Th d of Corco Loigde see Raw!. 155 a. 34 etc. = CGH, p. 259.
a
6
t e latter t;tre usually called Aes Conchind Mingthi but in LL 325 h 1 and BB 197
118
IS Aes Achaid (Achaig BB) Mingthi. This merely compounds the problem
"cell a. placename Cell Achaid Conchinn in Corco Duibne (cf. Hog. Onom. s.v.
1'1 a.c d conchinn," also Heist, Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae, p. 264, par. 17, and
VSH I p. 17, par. xxii). This is probably also the Gill Gonchinn of Liad.
12a 'Utr . , P· 18.
aa xx;vii (1957}, 32 ff; cf. Anecd. I 18 ff.
30 fl' . (j irllham Carrigan, The History and Antiq,uities of the Diocese of Ossory, I, pp.
uachalla, JCHAS, Vol. 59 (1954), p. 117, n. 14.
'lrife of Dnt ally first such king of Osraige was Conchrad m. Duach father of Mugain,
14. .lJ,f Iarmmt m. Cerbaill.
148. et. Dinds. IV, pp. 136 ff.; IT III, p. 322; Misc. Celt. Soc., pp. 70 ff.; Keat. II, p.
'' t·
LL 24992; List B : Anecd. II, p. 46, par 7. In list B the title Searc Gailligi

0
otha[d] Ganainde is followed immediately by Sere Grede do Ganann mac
Ol&t!o is n.. The grouping may be significant as it regularly is in the Ban8enchas. (Scela
'' ./J,f·not referred to in list A.)
'ee tnli\i Celt. Soc. pp. 8-10; 42-4. But there is a good deal of variation for which
'p. 11.
I.
,I
llO
SEAN 6 COILEAIN
this seeing that he is elsewhere freely admitted to be a supernat
figure,
97
the tradition might be-expected to reflect his own and
Caillech's location in the legendary corpus. e
Corco Loigde is represented in our material by Illand m. Scand] ··
of Scila Cano who is to be identified with Illand m. Scandlain M6ir aln
Cindfaelad, king of Osraige (d. 656 Ann. Inisj.). His father (d.

Ann. I nisj.) was the last of the seven Corco Loigde kings of Osrai:
and he himself resides at Dun mBaithe which, of course, is alse,
associated with the Caillech.
98
It seems significant to me, in vie
0
of her proposed Corco L6igde origins, that the traditional
seventh century jloruit suggested by the Caillech's association with
Cummine Fota and Mac Da Cherda,
99
should roughly coincide with
the expulsion of the Corco Loigde from Osraige: the Caillech's
final aging comes about when she can no longer renew herself in the
kingship of her people.
Illand appears as a tragic figure in Scela Cano where his death is
foretold and lamented by Cano. While he is not mentioned in the
Caillech's poem or in the later introduction to it he turns up somewhat
incongruously in the dialogue between Fintan and the Hawk of
Achill, the composition of which Eleanor Knott would place in the
fourteenth century:Ioo
Tri chet bliadhan gan temeal
6igi m'aisse fa dheriuth
re linn mo dalta gan tair
Illainn sgiamhaigh mheic SgannlainlOl
Nowhere else in the poem is this Illand called "mac Scannlain,"
and it is clear that there is some confusion between Illand mac
Scandlain and Illand son of the king of Sorcha who is elsewhere said
to rejuvenate Fintan.l
02
What is of interest here is the reason for
this confusion which I would suggest is a thematic and
one. In general themes the poem is reminiscent of the lament an f
traditions of the Caillech reflecting as it does on the ravages
0
. . oende
97 Raw!. 155 b 26 etc. = CGH, p. 264; cf_ LL 25010: "Na tr1 Fotha1d · · ·
1 Cloende 1 Trende a n-anmand,"
98 Cf. Binchy, SOano, p. xxiv. thiJJlt
99
Comgan is associated with her in Aisl. MO, p. 7. Unlike Carney I do not ah·"
Oaillech Berre is here simply "the name or nickname of a student at Arroa;t it
(Eigse xiii, 1970, 237), but the Caillech herself; and with reterence to h1s arguroe turY
should be noted that Catha! mac Finguine is also found elsewhere in a seventh-can
context: Cf. Mac Cana op, cit., p. 83 n.2.
1oo Knott and Murphy Early Irish Litemture, p. 34. lklore

1
A need. I p. 29. For a general discussion of the tradition see E. Hull, ]!'oms to
43 (1932), pp. 376-409; she wrongly calls Illand the son of Fin tan (p. 396), and see
have been unaware of the episode referred to inn. 102.
00
tll
1o2 Me Kenna, DDana, p. 202 ff. where the story is told as an uirsgeal. The r .. ·
who rejuvenates Fintan with a kiss is here called "Eanmhac aidriogh na Sorch
Iollann Iolchrothach" (p. -204), who is of course, also prominent in prose romance.
THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE Ill
. the processes of aging and renewal, the great antiquity of its
cts, the alternation of joy and suffering, and the loss or
snbJe tened loss of sight. Indeed Fin tan is elsewhere described
Caillech's son,
103
and it seems likely that the confusion of
as two Illand' s in the dialogue was caused by the prior association
thethe Caillech with the family of Illand mac Scandlain. As Illand
of of the king of Sorcha rejuvenated Fintan, so Illand mac Scandlain
:ht renew the Caillech; this time, however, the aging was to be
·
But finally this suggestion must remain a tentative one: the
tradition is surrounded by a mythological aura which is difficult
to penetrate. This is in contrast to the other areas of the cycle
where, whatever the original mythological nature of the characters,
particularly the female ones, a clear and relatively stable outline
emerges. But the Caillech was never fully euhemerized, and
consequently she appears in widely differing contexts. It is clear,
however, that a significant body of tradition localized her in a
a seventh-century West-Munster context, and I have attempted to
show that in one of her manifestations she was probably regarded as
the personification of the Corco Loigde kingship of Osraige.
The association of Liadain and Cuirithir with the cycle will be
found less controversial. Cummine Fota and Mac Da Cherda figure
prominently in the text, providing a more convincing link than the
Caillech's relatively marginal connection with the pair. That the
author was also acquainted with the finer points of the cycle is shown
by a detail in the text: When Cuirithir flees Liadain for his soul's sake
we are told, "Luid sium didiu co mb6i hi Cill Letrech i tir na nDesse
inna ailithri."
1
o4 While Cell Letrach is not identified by Hogan it
seetns inevitable that it was sited near or at "Dun Letrach for Siuir"
Which we have already met as the residence of Mael-ochtraig, father
of Mac Da Cherda. 105 .
.From such secondary characters we move to the E6ganachta of
We have already mentioned some E6ganachta-
t links of which Mac Da Cherda himself is the most important.
0
him and Cummine Fota is ascribed the Dindsenchas of Mag
108
ZCP xi ·
10& Liad x (1933), 176; cf. Awl. MOp. 210.
10& • and Ouir., p. 22.
n. _85 above. The residence of Mael-ochtraig is given as Lios Ruadhrach in the
(ot. p ta Identified by Hogan (Onom. s.v. liss ruadhrach) with Lisronagh, Co. Tipp.
The Place-names of Decies, p. 278). While Lisronagh could only be very
sa1d to be on the Suir it is possible that Dlin Letrach and Lios Ruadhrach
!f.
811
Pier and later names for the same place. This explanation becomes very plausible
?Wer suggests, the name Lios Ruadhrach derives from Ruaidri m. Cormaic m.
p. 394), whose father Cormac died in 828 (Ann, Inisj.), and who is
Of )(&.e!placed m the main Deissi line seven generations after Cobthach m. Aeda, father
Si:t ·Nhtra1g according to one pedigree. (It may be also the Less Ruadrach of
.., ge. o. 139-) In any case Dlin Letrach is not otherwise identifiable, although
n. lettrach 1s a very corrunon element in placenames. ·
112
SEAN 6 COILEAIN
Femin at the end of which they pay tribute to Fingin and Mor Mu
although mention of the latter pair may be a later
prior to the composition of LL in any event-as it occurs after
initial dunad. The supernumerary stanzas also seem to have b e
added at different times: een
Cummine:
Mac Da Cherda:
c.
M. DaCh.:
Na dermat in rig las 'tai
ocus na dermat a mnai
Rasisset in nero iarsain
M6r ocus Fingen Fe min F.
Is ferr d'andrib Inse Fail
M6r, ingen Aeda Bennain.
Ferr Fingen inna each fer
immaredi dar Femen F.
Ni fuaramar mag is fer
amail Fingin sceo Femen F.
1
06
In the Imtheachta also Mac Da Cherda and Cummine Fota fre-
quently visit the residence of Fingin and Mor which surprisingly is
said to be not at Cashel but at a place called Dunadh Aird E(a)chlais
in D.IV.r and Dunadh Aird Eachrais in B.IV.r. It is clear from
internal evidence that this place is not at Cashel as there are references
to journeys between the two places.
107
I would suggest that it is to be
identified with Dun nEchla(i)s described in the Dal Cais inspired
tract on the divisions of Ireland, which probably dates from c. rooo,
as located at Emly: "co Dun nEchlas sair oc Imblich Ibair."
108
Emly, of course, had important ecclesiastical ties with
Eoganachta, and we again find M6r associated with it in the quatrain
attributed to her on the death of Cathal mac Finguine,
109
although
here, as in M 6r Muman ocus Aided Cuanach meic Ailchine,
mac Finguine (d. 742 AU, Ann. Inisj.) has been confused with hiS
great-grandfather Cathal mac Aeda Flaind Cathrach (d. 6z,5
AT = AU, 628 Ann, Inisj.)
11
o More interesting is Mac Da
association with Emly, if my identification of Dunadh Aird Eachlats/
Eachrais is correct. In the account of the so-called
Synod we find a Comgan, described as "comarbae A1lb1 a ,
11
"airchindech" of Emly, who may be the same person as Cornga
106 Met. Dinds. III, pp. 202-4.
107 e.g. D.IV.1, 31 Rb 35; B.IV.l. 177 R.
10s Raw!. 149 b 16 = CGH p. 206.
109 Ann. Inisj. s.a. 742; cf. Bruchst. No. 145. Jrei)(IS
no Cf. Mac Cana op. cit. p. 82. Confusion of this kind is conunon: have e"'is8
noted it in the case of Diarmait· m. Cerbaill and Diarmait m . .Aeda Sl!'tme.

"'jtll
Mael-duin n . .Aeda m. Conaic, correctly named in his obit in AI 786, is confuse
his great-grandw1ele Mael-duin m. Aeda Bennain in AU 786 and F.l\1 781.
THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 113
Da Cherda.
111
Although this is not confirmed elsewhere in
the evidence for Cummine Fota's similar connection with
tf8. ferl is not greatly more substantial.m
Cloll wever in M 6r M uman ocus Aided C uanach meic A ilchine the
of Fingin m. Aeda, whose marriage to M6r the text describes,
;eslaid to be at Cashel. This is the most important single text in the
15
: le body of legend under discussion. The title by which I refer
was provided by O'Nolan, who edited it from LL and B. Fermoy,
provides a fair description of its contents. It is untitled in the
The editors of LL took the concluding "Aided Cuanach meic
Allchini in sin" as their cue, and entitled it Aided Cuanach meic
Ailchini. Mac Cana employs the abbreviation M.M. [M6r Muman]
to refer to it, and apparently regards the whole as a single text,
although his own treatment of it would indicate otherwise, as he
finds no further use for it beyond line five of paragraph three. I
suggest that paragraphs one and two correspond to the lost tale
Neman Fir Moire Muman
113
[i.e. The true frenzy of M.M.] and that
most of the remainder (from line 6 of paragraph 3 onwards), with
the exception of M6r's unseemly lament for Fingin mac Aeda which
may have concluded the Neman or formed a separate tale, corres-
ponds to the tale of the elopement of Suithchern, sister of M6r Murnan
with Cuanu mac Cailchine.U
4
The passage which recounts the death
of Fingin mac Aeda and M6r's marriage to Cathal mac Finguine
(recte Cathal mac Aeda Flaind Cathrach), and the rotation of the
kingship between E6ganachta Caisil, E6ganachta Glendamnach, and
E6ganachta Aine, is probably an interpolated antiquarian note.
The question of the relationship of this passage to what precedes it
Would seem to be of importance to Mac Cana's interpretation of
story, as the mythological aura which surrounds Mor in the
eman section could not be carried over to an antiquarian note.
What is in question is not the rotation of the kingship of Munster,
even M6r's functi on as loathly lady, m but the close association
two elements by assuming that we have here a single coherent
r e. Mac Cana himself has noted that neither is M6r Murnan
as marrying into Eoganachta Aine in this text, nor did
ganachta Aine actually provide the successor to Cathal m. Aeda
ill
viii (1912), 315; cf. Byrne, Irish Kings and High-Kings, pp. 217, 242.
lia v· BUpra n. 59.
1
1• B :_A: need. II, 523, par. 14.
l.ist, A p. 45, par. 6): Aithi Ruithceirne la Guana mac Gailcin;
Cr. 0'It hi 24972): Aithed Ruthcherni re Guanu mac Gailchin.
[1)
0
gh! a _lly, Danta Gr., No. 71, p. 97: .
1
ua.ls · .. ] Soichearn da sleachtadh gach tir
••
15
Alth le Cuanna m6r mac Ailcin
in ough the argument is hardly strengthened by the translation of the phrase
-..q, lleJ sui" (i.e." M6r is risen") as "M6r is on her throne" (Alwyn and Brinley Rees,
age, p. 136).
I
114 SEAN 6 COILEAIN
in the kingship of Munster. The tone of the note suggests th t .
was added by way of explanation after the rotation of the king\·!!
and was in danger of being forgotten. last lp
Ame kmg of Munster was Cathasach m. Etersce01l, who reigned
the mid-eighth century, although he does not appear in the ann ;n
which reflect the general uncertainty which followed the death as
Catha! mac Finguine. The last E6ganachta Glendamnach king of
Munster was Artri m. Cathail m. Finguine who must have been of
very old man when he died in 821 (AU, Ann Inisj.), and who h
already been superseded by Fedelmid mac Crimthainn in the
year. This note, then, can hardly be earlier than the late
century . It should be observed also that only in this part of the text
is the Catha! whom M6r marries on the death of Fingin m. Aeda
called "mac Finguine"; it may be that the confusion of the two
Cathals here is due to the mistaken deduction of a later editor, and
that it need not be presumed for the remainder of the text. In any
case it is clear that there was a later editor, and that the text as we
have it is a composite one. But for the most part it reflects very
early and possibly contemporary tradition.
The text contains a series of fairly obvious political metaphors.
Firstly there is M6r herself as the figure of sovereignty, discussed by
Mac Carra. In this regard we might further stress a remarkable
verbal parallel, noted by Gerard Murphy,
116
between this text and
the lament of the Caillech Berri who may also be regarded as a
sovereignty figure. M6r begins her wanderings by leaping over the
rampart of her father's fort in West Munster: "coro ling dar dua
ind liss." The Caillech Berri similarly reflects in her old age:
cid becc roo leim dar duae,
ni ba nuae in brat beus.
Murphy translates the first line as "though my leap beyond w4
had been small" but the distinction is not with regard to the srze
0
the leap, but between leaping and not leaping, and should be trans·
lated "even if I had not leaped over the wall/rampart." Apart
this verbal correspondence there is a remarkable emphasis on
imagery in both this text and the Caillech's poem. M6r wan ene
about Ireland in rags; on going to bed with Fingin mac Aeda :og
discards them; her new position as queen is confirmed by placleSs
a purple cloak about her. The Caillech describes the reverse proc
in such stanzas as:

116 Early Irish Lyrics, p. 79, n. l. Quotations from the Caillech's ar;iz
0
Mrt'
from this edition; quotations from M6r Muman ocus Aided Guanach mete
are as in LL 35737 ff.
THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE
Is me Caillech Berri, Bui;
no meilinn Ieini mbithnui;
indiu tathum dom seimi,
na melainn cid aithleini.
115
a d as if to testify its persistence and significance this clothing
is also prominent in a number of to
Gormflaith.
117
(I a!s? say here between
historicity and non-histoncity of Gormflaith IS not as Important as
carney would make it; nor is it as clear as he would seem to assume.)ns
As a sovereignty figure M6r is preferred to the daughter of the king
of the Deissi (Mael-ochtraig?) on the grounds that E6ganachta Locha
Uin are superior to the Deissi: "Anfaidsi or is ferr a cenel or Fingen."
While the Deissi would seem from this to be inferior to E6ganachta
Locha Lein, they are regarded as superior to Ele Tuaiscirt, as Lonan
mac Findig who represents the latter
119
is required to rise before the
visiting king of the Deissi.
Fechtas and tanic ri na nDese. For laim Chatail no bid Lonan. Erigsiu a
Lonain riasin rig.
The final cataclysmic battle reflects what 6 Buachalla regarded as
the two principal themes of early Munster history: the conflict
between E6ganachta and Erainn and "the strife between the rival
east and west divisions of the E6ganachta which went on from the
mid-fifth century right up to the early ninth century". 120 In this
battle the forces of the eastern branch, represented by E6ganachta
Glendamnach under the leadership of the sons of Cathal m. Aeda,
and the forces of E6ganachta Locha Lein under the sons of Aed
Bennan serve as the focal points. There is no confrontation between
the Principals : the message is that a battle between the two branches
of !he E6ganachta would be indecisive, but that either branch can
easily dispose of any number on non-E6ganachta peoples. So the
of Aed Bennan sweep the Erainn opposition eastwards before
! eern. the breadth of Munster, while the sons of Cathal mac
da Similarly rout their opponents westwards.
'IV The reality seems to have been more prosaic. This part of the saga
c:S Probably built around the battle of Cenn Con or Cathair Chinn
on (AU 64o, 643; Ann. Inisj., 645 etc.) fought between 6engus
11, E . .
lla IS .g. Bergm, Bardw Poetry, pp. 207,213.
l.iterat;:e Carney's remarks in his introduction to Knott and Murphy, Early Irish
_lla 'fbe, p. 16; Cf. 6 Cuiv, PBA XLIX (1963), pp. 247 ff.
L e_Lonan mac [F]indig of LL 35827 (v.l. 'Binnig' B. Fermoy) is to be identified
"'· Ito m. Binnig (v.l. 'Indig' LL) m. Feice of Tuaiscirt (CGH pp. 248-9),
lao J'c vru, 219 s.n. Suitcearn.
LIX (1954), liS; cf. ibid. LVII (1952), 72-81. For the East-West
t a rrva!ry see further Binchy, Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Kingship, p. 42.
116 SEAN 6 COILEAIN
Liath, brother of Cathal m. Aeda Flaind Cathrach (L. Muimhne
1
p. 144) and Mael-duin m. Aeda J?ennain. While the other {·
credit Oengus Liath with the victory, Ann. Inisj. seem to regard it as
a draw: "Fe ille, fe innund." Ann. Inisj. records the death of Cua as
in the following year (646), the same year in which the death of Oentu
Liath is entered, so that the association of the two events in traditi us
was a very natural one. (The fact that Mor Murnan's death
0
.n
entered in AU 632 etc. is hardly relevant since, even if the entry
reliable, and Mac Cana has seriously questioned it, the fact that
Neman and Aithed sections are quite distinct makes it seem like!;
that mention of Mor at the beginning of the latter section is a feeble
attempt at unity.)
While on one level the text reflects the power politics of seventh
century Munster, on another it brings together a wise range of
legendary characters. We conclude with an examination of how
each of these in turn relates to the cycle, beginning with Suithchern
sister of Mor. I have shown that the sections which deal with the
two sisters are really separate tales, but they have a common thematic
shape. Mor and Suithchern are both daughters of Aed Bennan
and therefore of royal birth; both arrive in lowly circumstances in
Mid-Munster, Mor as a lunatic, Suithchern as a captive; the name
and origin of each is at first unknown; both herd sheep; both contract
royal marriages; both are left to lament a spouse. The passage in
the NemanfMor section where Fingin's cast-off wife prepares a bed
for Ffngin and Mor is functionally similar to the passage in the
AithedfSuithchern section where Lonan, husband of Suithchern is
compelled to rise before a man whose friendship is preferred to his.
Both episodes imply rejection, and to complete the parallel the Deissi
are involved in both. This suggests to me that Suithchern should be
regarded with Moras a sovereignty figure, and as Mor does the round
of the central Eoganachta Suithchern moves on the periphery between
Ui Liathain, Ele Tuaiscirt and Fir Maige Fene.
Apart fron: this tale Ele Tuaiscirt cannot be related to the
Lonan mac Findig is known elsewhere to me only in the Ltfe
0
Finan of Cenn Etig where the saint gives him the rather doubtful
assurance that he will not be defeated by his enemies until the day
of his death.
121
We have seen that Cuanu mac Cailchfne of
Maige Fene was regarded as Guaire's uterine brother, and h;.
be discussed more fully below. The relationship of Ui Liathatn .J
the cycle is something of a problem. In the battle of Carn Conal;
Talamnach king of Ui Liathain is named as one of the three.
kings who fell in the battle, presumably in support of Gua1re. 'f f
other two Cuan mac Conaill of Ui Fidgenti and Cuan mac Amalgada
0
Jo·
121 Heist, Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae, p. 155; Cf. Plununer, VSH II, p. 89 and
0
'
THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 117
anachta Aine (to be discussed below) are related by marriage
Murnan, whose daughter in turn was held to be the wife of
to 're. The problem is that no Talamnach appears in their
and it may be that the name of Talamnach m. Laidcind
gen :Baetain of Corco Baiscind
122
who was slain in the battle of Loch
fought "eter Mumain ocus Chonnachtu" (Ann. Inisj. 665)
been substituted. I would further suggest that he has replaced
;tnan (m.) Dicolla m. Fergusa Tuile of Ui Liathain to whom all the
vidence points as the original Uf Liathain representative in the saga
e f battle. At first sight that evidence would seem slight. He is not
in the LL composite tale being discussed, where Suithchern
arrives at "Dun Chaireda i erich hua Liathan." This episode is also
described in the D.IV.r version of the Imtheachta, where it occurs
independently of the NemanfMor story supporting my contention
that it is t o be regarded as a separate tale. Here the episode is
introduced by the words:
Scela imona Suitceirne ingine Aedha Beannain 1 Ronain Dicollai meic
Fergusa Tuile .i. ri ua Liathain indistiur sunnai coleicc.I
2
3
Suithchern is already married to Ronan when the episode begins.
She is described as the most beautiful of women, and her husband
can find no fault with her except that he does not know her family
or patrimony. From there the story, in as far as it is legible, follows
the outlines of the LL tale, and Mac Da Cherda is sent for to determine
her origins. There is one important addition in the D.IV.r version:
R6nan departs for the dwelling of Cuanu mac Cailchine at Liathmuine,
and although t he text becomes illegible at this point we may assume
that the Aithed in its original form described Suithchern's marriage
to R6nan (which was probably terminated by his death at Carn
Conaill), proceeded with her marriage to Lonan mac Fin dig and
with her elopement with Cuanu mac Cailchine ending in
1
e latter's death. Ronan is also mentioned elsewhere in the
M.tntheachta as holding a convention with Mael-ochtraig, father of
B ac Da in D.IV.r he is entitled king of Uf Liathain and in
th!V.r of Uf Meic Caille and Ui Liathain.
124
It is clear then
t Ronan belongs to this set of characters and fulfils what seems

e a basic requirement of the Munster kings involved in the saga
M. the battle of Carn Conaill in being related by marriage to Mor
The fact that there is no Talamnach who was king of Uf
ha111, and that this does not seem to be even an Uf Liathain name,
122 L
12a }) L 324 g 39, 336 g 30 = CGH pp. 380, 428.
ta., .rv.1, 35 Rb 10.
ll.IV.1, 151 V; D.IV.1, 29 Vb 1.
118 SEAN 6 COILEAIN
when added to the fact that Ronan fits in terms of time and ass .
tions, leads me to believe that he figured in an earlier form

Carn Conaill saga. At least it explains why an Ui Liathain
was regarded as an appropriate participant in the battle. lnde dllg
passage which immediately precedes mention of Ronan in thee
ll1 aine prose Bansenchas not only i1_1troduces another participant .
1
the battle, Cuan m. Conaill of Ui Fidgenti, but quotes a quatra·In
• cin
probably from one of the several lost tales wh1ch belonged to th.'
cycle, which is strongly reminiscent of two parallel episodes _Is
M6r Muman ocus Aided Cuanach meic Ailchine. The passage is In
Guais [sic] inge!l Mael m. bratar do Moir
Murnan, bean Cuam m. Conalll m. Gr1llme ... n hUa F1gmnte. Is fria do
raid :
Adraei suas,
deirig do Cuan is do Guas;
nocor deirgead do laec luind
bad amra na mac Conailll2
5
As well as the question of rising before a superior there is here the
matter of preparing a bed ('dergud') for Cuan and Guas. This recalls
the passage in the LL compound tale where the daughter of the king of
the Deissi prepares a bed for Fingin and Mor ("Sisi ro deraig d6ib
.i. ind rigan") and ·where Lonan mac Findig is compelled to rise
before the king of the Deissi. · While details such as the custom of
rising before a superior are in themselves of no significance, they
become significant as part of a complex pattern such as that being
discussed; what :finally matters is not the fact itself but its position
in the system. It follows that given part of the system we may
presume to reconstruct the whole by making use of the comparative
evidence. It is clear that a similar set of traditions attached to
Mor, Suithchern, and Guas, and we have seen that this relationship
is expressed genealogically as well as thematically. It is t his type of
consistency which allows us to correct variations in the system as
I have done above in suggesting that Ronan be subst ituted for
t
Suithchern does not appear elsewhere as loathly lady, bud
significantly Ronan does encounter such a person, here name
"Moel Coirn", in a passage which precedes the Imtheachta in
This passage has been published in an entirely different conte.xt,
125 RC xlviii, 223, with emendation 'mac Conaill' for 'meic Conaill' in final

9-uatrain. The pedigree given for Cuan here substantially agrees with t he . o!'fic!lJ;
1
g6,
m Raw!. 152 a 28 = CGH p. 232. For related Bansenchas entnes see RC, p· ohoS
and LL 17159-64. Note the grouping of characters in all versions of the BanseJl
which shows the same sense of association evident in the tales.
1
o6,
126 A. T. Lucas, "Washing and Bathing in Ancient Ireland", J'RSAI 95 (1965), P·
from D.IV.l, 27 Ra 20 ff.
THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 119
d describes the hag-queen transformation in a way that immediately
aJl Us M6r' s encounter with Fingin m. Aeda Duib. The parallel
ade complete by the fact that Ronan's previous wife challenges
JS. :Ill to sleep with the hag. (This curious insistence of the previous
: and the apparent importance of identifying the hag by name or
. ·n are two aspects of the thematic complex which deserve
invest igation.) Although in this instance there is an apparent
lurse of time between the moment of transformation and sexual
!on, the fact that the transformation is achieved in preparation
for the union provides the necessary unity; indeed this is one of the
best and most explicit examples of the theme.
There is one further instance of Ronan's connection with Mor
:Murnan wort h mentioning. This comes from the Ui Maine prose
Bansenchas and although it contains the confusion of Cathal m. Aeda
Fiaind Cathrach with his great-grandson Cathal m. Finguine it is
still significant:
Mor bean Cathail meic Findguine, 1 Goirmgel ingen Finain Rathain
mathair Cathail meic Findguine. Cailleach ingen Dunchada Arda meic
Ronain Dicolla mathair [leg. meic] Fergusa Tuile ... ben eile Cathail meic
Findguine.
127
This means that Suithchern's (probable) grand-daughter Caillech
(called Ceallach in her obit in AU 732) was married to Mor's husband,
or, if we eliminate the confusion of generations, to Mor's (probable)
great-grandson. This is another example of how legendary relation-
ships tend t o persist through several generations in a regular
genealogical manner, and to be expressed by way of similar themes,
until the entire structure which supports the cycle collapses. This
collapse does not seem to have taken place in Munster until the
In!d-eighth century, and coincides with the death of Cathal mac
Fmguine. This type of legend-making process does not seem to have
proceeded beyond his reign; although Fedelmid mac Crimthainn
gave rise t o another set of legends in the following century they are
essentially of a different kind. I am not claiming that the legends
prior to 742, the date of Cathal mac Finguine's death,
ut Simply that the time frame to which they refer belongs to the
seventh and early eighth centuries.
r It seems likely that Ronan Dicolla m. Fergusa Tuile should be
;ad. as Ronan m. Dicolla m. Fergusa Tuile. The Ui Maine prose
the Imtheachta and the account of Ronan's encounter
Moel Coirn" have the first version, as does his pedigree in
1
77 a r g. This may also be the case with the entry in Ann. Inisf.
Maine, 96 Vb 51; misconstrued by Dobbs in RC xlviii, 223; cf. ibid. p. 185; LL
120 SEAN 6 COILEA:IN
634 which reads "Mors Ronain m. Fergussa," but it seems llJ.
probable that, as Mac Airt suggests, two entries have been rore
together here, and that the entry, as in AU, refers to the
of Ronan's father Dicuill. The AU entry (at 632) reads "Bellum Ath
Aublo in quo cecidit Dichuill mac Fergusa Tuile la Mumain." Tha
variant Ronan m. Dicolla m. Fergusa Tuile is also the usual versio e
in the genealogies.l
2
S n
From Ronan we turn to Cuanu mac Cailchine, also known as Laech
Liathmuine, of Fir Maige Fene. It is tempting to think of the AD
entry on the death of Dicuill m. Fergusa Tuile, quoted above, as the
account of a battle fought between an Ui Liathain expeditionary
force led by Dicuill, and Fir Maige Fene under Cuanu. Ath Abla
(Ballyhooly) is also associated with Cuanu in the Life of Mochuta
where he is called 'dux huius regionis.'
129
Certainly a great amount
of material concerning Cuanu has been lost. As well as being involved
in the Aithed he seems also to have been the subject of the lost tale
given in List B as Linne Laich Liathmuine. It appears here in the
same section as Neman Fir Moire Muman, and a tale entitled
Imscothadh Cuimine which very likely refers to Cummine Fota and
perhaps contained an earlier version of I mtheachta na nOinmhideadh--
at least the term Imscothadh is of similar meaning to Imtheachta.
130
Mrs. 0 Daly has assembled much of the tradition relating to Cuanu
in her foreword to the text of M esce Chuanach.
131
But perhaps
the most inclusive statement of his genealogical position and place
in tradition is that which occurs in Betha M olaga. This shows him
to have been of Clann Dimma of Ui Chuscraid of Fir Maige Fene,
and states his relationship to SS. Molaga and Mochuille who belonged
to different branches of Ui Chuscraid. (The pedigrees of the saints
as given here agree with those provided for them in GRSH-)1
32
The
text reads:
12s Raw!. 151 a 48 = CGH, p. 224. For general variation of this type see ZCP viii,
178-9; PRIA 39 C 3 (1931), 46-7. huts
129 VSH I, 185; Power, Lives of SS. Declan and Mochuda, pp. 108-110. Here Mo? telY
heals the paralyzed right hand of Flandnait aaughter of Cuanu. The episode imrnediO.
follows Mochuta's meeting with Catha! m. Aeda, M6r Murnan's second husband.. d of
Incidentally the "Diingal mac Maelfothbil .i. ri Fer Maigi", said to be a fnenls or
Mochuta in BColm., p. 24, is a problem, as he does not seem to occur in the ann!L
genealogies or indeed anywhere else. . . th8
130 For this section of List B see Aneccl. II, 53. None of these tales is hsted J1l
later List A. z.
For another example of 'scothad' in the sense of travelling see FeL p. 40 at. J!Ldd Ol
131 Eriu xix (1962), 75-80. To her genealogical references to Ui Ch{,scraid a ested
Maine 72 Va 51. (I know of no tradition which refers to Guaire as a leper as sugg see
in p. 79 par. 5.) Power, Crichad an Chaoilli, pp. 27-28, 85. also refers to CuanU·
especially p. 85 for possible site of Liathmuine.
132 GRSH p. ll2.
THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE
121
obhattar tri fine aireghda do Uibh Cuscraid an tan sin .i. clann Luchta
At r Dedhadh 1 clann Dimma 1 as 6na finib sin roghenair triar on6rach
1
1
i ttalmain .i. Cuana mac Cailchin meic Dimma ... rogenair immorro
in-f ·nn Dimma . . . ; Mochuilli mac Diuchaill meic Comain . . . rogenair o
a o; Degha. 0 cloinn Luchta immorro rogenair Molaga .i. Molaga mac
Dlighidh meic Duibh Deochain.
133
We have already considered Cuanu's association with Ronan m.
Dfcolla, and noted that he appears in the D.IV.r version of the
[tntheachta as a huntsman at the court of Fingin and Mor. He is
f course also one of the principal figures in the Aithed or rather what
0
emains of it in the LL composite tale. The Ui Maine prose
which may be drawing from a fuller version of the
Aithed separates the full and correct pedigrees of Cuanu and Lonan m.
it'indig with the sentence:
Is i [i.e. Suithchern] rug Cuano m. Cailcin go Liathmuine ar egin arna guin,
codorcair iarsin la Lonan
134
We have seen that the tract on the mothers of the saints makes
Cuanu a uterine brother to Guaire, and as usual this connection is
supported by traditional association. Their rivalry in generosity
is the theme of Mesce Chuanach, and Keating could write:
Fa fear comhaimsire do Ghuaire mac Colmain an Cuanna-so, agus bhi
C?imhmheas oinigh is daonnachta eatorra; gonadh uime sin do rinne an da
6inmhid .i. Comhdhan is Conall an rann leathach iomarbhadha eatorra
&raon ••• 1as
(Comdhan and Conall are, of course, Comgan Mac Da Cherda and
Conaii Clocach). In the poem on the saints of Fergus' seed we find
Guaire and Cuanu again associated with one another
Guaire na naomh dhiobh gach duine
gach fear dhiobh os Laoch Liathmhuine
136
r,As theme of Guaire's own generosity is reduced to the absurd in
Gu
0
"}-da.m Guaire, so this context in liberality between Cuanu and
of Is ?diculed in a savage little in-tale in Betha M olaga. Instead
hos .e of poets who make outrageous demands on Guaire's
it is Guaire's own druid who, presumably at Guaire's
.. Present Cuanu with the impossible choice of being
f sahnzed or allowing Carn Cuillinn to be plundered:
laal
llf. Ito 1'exts III, 12-13.
116 l{e.:z Jclviii, 219.
laa lr 130; cited by Mrs 0 Daly, loc. cit.
• •
1
cexts I, 64.
i\111
'I
122
SEAN 6 COILEAIN
Is hi immorro cathair as m6 dobi ar sccath Molaga isin aimsir sin .i. C
Cuillenn gurab an tan sin tangattar tri druidh Guaire mic Colmain
cona. ccliaraibh do neich for Cailcin
Laoch L1athmume, co nar gabsat m uadh acht an ba1le d argam doibh n ·l.
glamhadh. Deonaighidh tra Cuana crodh an bhaile dona druidhibh
0
.a
.i. do macuib Lir .i. Fiach et Erriach et Eniach. M6a immorro
somh ina amail dodeonaigedh doibh ar romursat uile an baile et roloisccs: ·
et romarbhsat a dhaeine ach aenbhen roelo uaithibh 1 lamh a leini;t
triana taobh iarna guin. Slanaighis Molaga an mnaoi sin 1 cuiridh lamh ah
leinib anunn et geallaidh gomadh hi an lamh sin nomuirfedh Cuana iartta;
et is edh 6n recomhallnadh
13
7 •
It is not easy to reconcile the statement that the unborn child of
the lone woman who escaped fulfilled Molaga's prophecy and killed
Cuanu with the Aithed tradition that Lonan mac Findig was his
Perhaps one of the lost tales describes the woman's flight
to Ele Tuaiscirt where Lonan was born, although this would not
quite explain his Ele pedigree. The passage seems to be related to
the visit of the "triar aesa cerdda" who prophesy his death to Cuanu
in the Aithed section of the LL composite tale as in each case the
prophecy of Cuanu's death inevitably fulfilled is preceded by the
visit of three savants. Like the Life of Mochuta, that of Molaga refers
to characters in this cycle of tales so consistently that we cannot
regard it simply as an example of the tiresome and random convention
which requires that one's favourite saint come into contact with every
worthwhile individual of the period or near it. As well as Guaire and
Cuanu, Cummine Fota, Mac Da Cherda, Cathal mac Aeda Flaind
Cathrach, Fursa (son of Geilgeis daughter of Guaire by one
tradition),
138
and Cuan mac Amalgada also appear.
Memories of Cuanu himself survived in Connacht down to the
sixteenth century at least as shown by the entry on the death of
Mac Diarmada ALC r568 where he is called "Guaire
degoinigh tslechta M uireghaigh Mhuillethain; Laoch LiathmhUlne
Leithe Cuinn ar fheile ar fhirinne ar oineach." Mrs. 0 Daly
quotes this entry comments "That a Connacht annalist sho f
mention Cuanu in the same breath as Guaire shows that his farne
0
:
generosity was not merely a local one." This is not very stranga
when we consider that this cycle of tales originally operated

Munster-Connacht axis, and it is a testimonial to the endurance

Munster-Connacht continuum that similar late references to
Murnan also occur in the Connacht area. So in Ann. Conn. I4zr. I5·;Jn
read: "Mor Murnan dedinach na Mumnech quieuit, ingen J3rldia
h. Briain 1 ben Uater a Burc, 1 bennacht each cristaide le
137 Ir. Texts III, 18-19. 73
138 AT p. 193; Ann. Rose. par. 124. Of. O'Rahilly, Pol. Poems, p. 81, 1.
4
'
note p. 160.
THE STRUCTURE OF A LITER4RY CYCLE 123
dnacal." Again in the same Annals at I52J.20 we find reference
b,a another M6r "ingen Maoilsechlainn Meic Caba uxor h. Ainligi,
to ben dob fherr da tanic a Cenel Doftha riamh ... aithghin Moire
:man ar clu 1 ar crabadh et ar deighbesibh ... " Especially in-
nesting is the fact that M6r Murnan was the name of the wife of
Croibhdhearg () Conchobhair,
139
as it seems likely that the
astarts O'Connors were anxious to establish a connection with the
cycle and with Guaire himself, as suggested by the flattering
use of the term Ui Chreidhe to refer to them, although such reference
to a female ancestor is mo_st unusual.
Cuan m. Amalgada m. Ennai is the third of the Munster kings who
died at Carn Conaill according to the saga of the battle. His obits
provide some of the clearest evidence that all the annalistic accounts
with the exception of AU and Ann. I nisj. derive from the saga.
Ann. Inisf. records the battle at 649 and Cuan's death at 641 (it is
interesting also to note that Ann. Inisj. does not mention Cuan m.
Conaill while it records the death of Crundmael m. Aeda m. dengusa
Lappae as king of Ui Fidgenti in the same year as the battle i.e.
649). The evidence of AT is clearer still as it contains both the saga
account of the battle in which Cuan m. Amalgada is said to be slain
as well as a separate entry on his death.
140
The LL regnal list shows
the same confusion: "Ciian m. Amalgaid .x. (ec. a ec no a marbad i
cath Carn Conaill.)"
141
It seems clear that the more elaborate entries
on the battle were superimposed on the annals in the usual antiquarian
fashion, no attempt being made to eliminate contradictory informa-
It seems reasonable to assume, considering the strong local
Interest and the annals involved, that the addition was made at
Clonmacnoise.
Conn. 1265.7 ; Misc. Ir. Ann. 1217n.
death is entered in ALC 1218.


daughter, Lasairfhfona, was married to Domhnall M6r 6 Domhnaill,


daughter in turn was named Gormfhlaith. In his elegy on the latter (Ir.
• 76) Giolla Brighde Mhac Con Midhe refers to her as:
ua do Mh6ir a rnfnluachair
'l'he d . ua M6iri Mumhan ...
!)O!nh esc
6
r1ption "a rnfnluachair" refers to the fact that this M6r was daughter of
!, nail Briain
or
0
if we were to take the. attitude that 'Mumhan' here refers only to M6r's place
• that all later references to M6r Murnan in the Connacht annals are to this
or the ' It
1
.s extremely unlikely that all this could have been done without an awareness
leo ATrher tradition. I prefer to think of the comparison as a direct one.
l&J. CQ Pp. 185, 189-90.
II, 360. Wrongly identified by O'Brien in the index as Cuan m. Amalgada
"101QJ.d 'L-it L. Muimhneach p. 402_taking readings E and N). CS s.a. 646, FM s.a.
9606 call him Cuan m. Ennai but this is an insignificant variation.
who also appears in the LL list (CGH, p. 360) would seem to be Cuan's
ough O'Brien does not attempt to identify him either as Amalgaid m.
116
· Frafch (father of Cuan king of Munster by his own identification) or

m. Ennai m. Crimthaind (father of Cuan by my identification).
263. ped1gree of Cuan m. Amalgada m. Ennai is given in Rawl154 d 8 etc. =CGH.
124 SEAN 6 COILEAIN
While the saga of Carn Conailllinks Cuan m. Amalgada to G .
the Bansenchas connects him to M6r Murnan in that his
Ornat is there said to be married to Sechnasach son of Fingi g ter
M6r whose birth is mentioned in the LL composite tale ("Bn .a?<!
fail Fingin co rruc mac do .i. Sechnasach mac Fingin" LL

i
We have already referred to the tradition whereby Deoch dau h 3).
of Fingin and M6r was held to be married in turn to Laidcne; ter
Guaire, and her romance with the former is the subject of yet
lost tale mentioned in Lists A and B.
142
Within the context of
cycle confusion of Doech and Ornat was inevitable, and appears e
early as Sanas Cormaic where Ornat laments the dead Laidcnen
the presence of her second husband as M6r lamented Fingin m.
Duib in the presence of Cathal m. Aeda Flaind Cathrach and
similarly reproached.
143
Mac Cana has discussed the variant tra.
ditions in some detail. The LL Bansenchas is ambiguous, at one
point seeming to identify Ornat with Deoch while fifty lines later
Ornat (presuming her to be the same person) reappears among a
group of eighth-century characters as wife of Sechnasach mac
Fingin.1
45
The violent displacement in the latter instance is probably
an attempt to conceal the contradiction which Gilla Mo Dutu saw
to exist just as Keating, as I hope to show elsewhere, gives two
separate accounts of the battle of Carn Conaill which he must have
known to be irreconcilable but yet felt obliged to record out of a
sense of duty to tradition. The final result of this method is what
we find in the Ui Maine prose Bansenchas where all possible variations
are entertained:
14
6 (a) Ornat was daughter of Cuan m. Amalgada
and wife of Guaire or of Sechnasach m. Fingin, (b) she was a different
person, the daughter of Fingin and wife of Guaire, (c) there were two
Ornats who lived at the same time. I prefer to think of the original
traditional situation as one in which Ornat daughter of Cuan an:
wife of Sechnasach m. Fingin is clearly distinguished from Deoc
daughter of Fingin and M6r wife of Laidcnen and Guaire. Fro:
the point of view of the cycle it does not greatly matter as t e
142 List A: Aithed Dige re Laidcnen, LL 24973; List B: Aithi Dighi la
Anecd. II, p. 45. Mac Cana has also noted (op. cit. pp. 357-8) that it is referred haidb
Oidheadh Ghloinne Lir. Similarly in the unpublished poem "Seisear 'sa. nhag
8
fiDd
soir" 23. D. IV (R.I.A.) p. 139, among the six said to be buried at Kilmacdua.g VI
Deogh inghean Aodha fuair eg
agus a ceidshearc. obablf,
Lorcan is probably a late substitution for the unfamilar Laidcnen, and
derives from Deoch's grandfather Aed Dub m. Crimthaind. The term "a cer her fotll
implies lmowledge of the tradition that Deoch later married Guaire. The
0
,t. ) ''()il
said here to be buried at Kilmacduagh are "Cana" (i.e. Cano m. Gartnaill
Chuinneall" (i.e. CU. Coingelt of Gaithreim Gellaig), and Geilgeis and Cred, dall!l
ofGuaire.
14.3 Mac Cana, op. cit. p. 363.
144 ibid. pp. 357 ff. !)--42·
145 LL 17143-6 : 17193-6; cf. variation in Lee. 211 Ra 35-7: Lee. 211 Va. 3
146 RC xlviii, 222.
THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 125
darY framework not only contributed to the confusion but also
legen to explain it. The variation is within fixed limits and along
marked lines of exchange, and the question of origin is very
cleafh secondary to the question of pattern.
concludes the survey of the Munster characters. There are
e problems with regard to points of detail, and places where we
soJll t substitute speculation for f<1.ct, but the general outline seems
rtJ.USr The materials which supply the evidence seem to have been
from a single traditional block. It would be foolish to pretend
there are no discrepancies or anachronisms; the remarkable
thing is, that considering the range and diversity of the sources, there
are so few of them, and that the margin of variation is so small.
This essential unity, though not necessarily all the details, must
derive from a very early period: I have already suggested a terminus
ad qttem at c. goo A.D. This complex and intricate set of relationships
has hitherto been largely ignored in favour of the artificial and non-
traditional Tromddm Guaire. I hope that this and following articles
will do something to restore perspective to a substantial area of
Irish tradition.
SEAN 0 COILEAIN
University College, Cork.
J

also Plummer Misc. For legends ·tfo 0 him with Oolum Oille see O'Kelleher and Schoepperle ed. rather than petering out. 'fhe woman's greater mobility. 7 whereas the Bansenchas and related materials disagree as to the identity of his mother. opp. The0eJI: e!ll which be quotes in support of its credibili. Of. Ir. tradraigi. xlix (1932). pp. Irish Kings and High-Kings. 195. Hy Fiachr.ltra 212 a 29). and the list is wildly anachronistic.ogy of Gorman (Acta Sanctorum Hiberniae p.104 d 10 (cfLL 372 d 13 where the list is omitted). cf. Lee 34 Ra. as Bergin states. the fact that she might marry three or four men of some stature and have children by each of them. Of. 39). prior to the of the Etymologiae--I would suggest that the "suf R6manach" of the legends is also to be identified with Gregory. Guaire's own pedigree provides a good example of the complementary nature of our sources." 5 Native tradition. knew both the tradition and the rules. Onom s. 4 76.GRSli. by contrast. Texts IV. was very much governed by rules and Gilla Mo Dutu.G the Bansenchas is all the more important for being atypical. p. 6 Maille. a remarkable tract which 3 has not received the attention it deserves. 1 . ~ (1924 ) 0:9-52. It is not free from contradiction. cf. For a catalogue of women's defects 1p .t· 3· citizenship as a. 206. orm. Dobbs ed. such as that to be discussed here. In this it contrasts favourably with the Dindsenchas which. Hag. We shall see that a favourite unifying device is that of uterine relationship. F. in the exhaustion of the author's ingenuity. 185 and ibid. and that he ~as therefore uterine brother to Caimin of Inis Celtra.raPle 4 Tomas 0 Unlike 6 Maille I do not regard the tradition as being literally true. 437-89. Hib. that "Oollliil. ZOP iii (1900). b-. D. The official Ui Fiachrach genealogies are basically in agreement as to his position. 230.. 322. His source was amiy FM. (1931).. Aedammair Delgnach tren trebar/Tratraigech . encouraged the legendary process. O'Rahilly. Isidore's Etymologiae created such a stir in the Irish literary world that a tradition was invented to the effect that the great T<lin itself had been exchanged for it. 58 and Brian 6 lee 'J!~d·geven Centuries of Irish Learning p. P· Of. Dublin.) A note to Felire 6enguaso at March 12 states that 1 body was cast ashore on Ara. Ill. member of the Oorco Duibne (Paul Walsh ed. It was a matter of guesswork. This Cumman : regularly credited with a numerous progeny including Caimin. while it does contain a layer of genuine tradition is largely based on the etymological tradition deriving from of Seville. Where we can trace its sources in the traditional corpus its claims are generally confirmed or at least seem plausible.'''lllnha/tha~." The great defect of the etymological tradition was that. RO xlvii (1930). 338 etc. p. ~ LJ:: 32 a 16 (which wrongly has Oaemgein Indsi Oea. i2 4 ~. The second can be shown to be the result of a late scribal error and therefore unreal. but the genre to which it beongs. p. elsewhere reference will be made to the MSS.!eco~etf ~. x vn 163-234. 93-4 where the mother's name is given as 1 ~li. but what matters in traditional literature is not the date of a composition. Isidor~ While women were not regarded as being nearly as important as places. 172. Anecd. 3-4. p. RO xlviii. "Etymology was a game with no rules. 9 ut the only source I know for Guaire's inclusion is FM s. Early Irish Society p. Eriu x (1926). Keat II p. Binchy's remarks in Myles Dillon ed. 1 1 a Margaret E.n (Fel. but the contradiction is meaningful and leads back into the tradition. Eriu ix (1921). Texts ti. 0 118'71) 1 ctnvenient charts see O'Donovan. III. Oeltica ix ' ti. BB 145 c 45 where the same pedigree is given although wrongly placed Muscraige genealogies. 3. 298. A. Of the following three versions the first has remained sterile in terms of legend.tiliS ~? .v. 1 (ed· In connection with the LL recension reference will always be below to LL 11 nero Best and O'Brien.Utnb mghen Bhaed. This is particularly true of material. author of the LL Bansenchas. Kelleher. 0olgan is wrong in stating that the quatrain (which he quotes) occurs in ~ ce~o... where the various sources complement each other.s . 17). p. par." Of. ~~y~t.. These versions are (a) That Guaire's mother was of the Tratraige e. tradraige dubrois. 70. p. For Tratraige see O'Brien ZCP ':S:a • 37. 218. The third will lead us directly to the centre of the development of the cycle in Munster. Furthermore the nature of his material prevented the kind of whole· sale invention which we find in the Dindsenchas. loc c ~r of her progeny varies. 662 10 : necessary. 28. BNnE I. M2 p. T. One immediately anticipates objections to applying evidence of a twelfth-century antiquarian work to events of the seventh century. pp. 109. Jll sit Despite the anachronism involved-Gregory died in 604. Byrne. mathair Guairi Aidni feil.a. 71-6. and Hog. and there are few obvious anachronisms. consistency of the cycle is the Bansenchas. was7 ~ ~itb ~ Ta~'Tl fa~ ~ ~6) ·~en co~ed ~ocia. The Bansenchas impresses me as an antiquarian composition of the better kind. and as the official genealogy invariably runs in the male line it is difficult to state with certainty that the legend cannot reflect historical fact. The model was fatally easy to imitate: in the words of Dr. 1957). 'fhe very unimportance of the female as far as the more official sources were concerned-and the heroine is allowed to remain anonymous even in such tales as Fingal R6ndin and Reicne Fothaid CanainneIJlUSt have been a factor in the development of the Bansenchas. as Dindsenchas entries often do. BOO. n.ty. a. p. 96. Oille sent his iS Altus prosator to Pope Gregory the Great m return for a g1ft of a gold cross 1 rtlll hardly convincing.r. 282-339. Johnson with reference to Macpherson's Ossian "A man might write such stuff forever would he but abandon his mind to it. and one guess was as good as another. It is by way of the female line that the legends develop and the characters are brought together. 4 And in a sense it had. PP· 206 ff. Gregory's position in Irish legend was such that he pa. for the new method was pursued with depressing thoroughness. o PBA xxiv (1939). 177. p. The Ban-shenchua. Sc. 339.g. "' (b) That his mother was Cumman daughter of Dallbr6nach.90 SEAN 6 COILEAIN THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 91 One of the main sources of _ evidence for the complexity and self.

and the traditions relating to :rn will not be discussed here. It is the way of traditions to overlap and never fully coincide.AIN THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 93 Rob ionann mathair do Guaire 1 do Caimine Insi Celtra. Cumne. is ed rogenair hiiaidi. clxvm-clx1x. Colmciin of Ui Dunlainge. Colmain (d. (c) That Guaire was uterine brother to Cummine Fota and others : Rim ingen Fiachna meic Fiachrach Gairine meic Duach Iarlaithi mathair Cumaine meic Fiachna 1 Comgain Meic Da Cerda 1 Guairi meic Colmain 1 Crimthaind Caeil meic Aeda Cirr. Gilla Mo Dutu seems to have been working from vanous sources and has not integrated the ending with the rest of the verse. morfeisir ar chethrachait. Mac Cana Etudes Celt.. 1782 ( = SG I. " 18 This alternative tradition. ZCP xix (1931). CS s. mugain] .v. Cumin fota mac fiachnai. he may be identified with (a) Crimthann m. which serve as points of departure for further legends. at this point. n.92 SEAN 6 COILE. 197 (with misreading Rini for Rim). Cummain Breccan bee a briathra cen bais15 ~e":ai dom chumain . 94. Comgan. 20 dec rogensit -""lm 1 1s omumain [leg.~he Identification is not a new one.13 indeed the forms which I employ are arbitrary ones. Aeda Cirr m. Ir.a. 339: ~~: ~o Ronan mac Colmain. and LL 36047 ff. • Mael-Fathartaig. . cit. we say which of the several places called Dairinis is in questlOll· Crimthann mac Aeda poses the reverse problem as there are too rnanY ZCP viii (1912). Cf. These will be discussed in detail below. Mugain ingen fiachach find mathair cumine cheolbind sisi mugain amathair sesium disi derbrathair Margaret Dobbs failed to identify this group. p. as sedh ro geanair uaithe. AT p.l?. 633.i. has been discussed by Todd and. Vi Mail or (b) Crimthann m. 96 ff. For tradition L_ 5421. Guaire and Caimin are also brought together in the saga of the battle of Carn Conaill. But the strongest factor must have been the confusion of Caimin with Cummine Fota of Clonfert (see tradition (c) below). 182. 75. in a broader context by Proinsias Mac Cana. Breccan (or Braccan) cannot be satisfactorily identified. and Cuanu mac Cailchine/Ailchine-are the pivots on which the Munster development of the cycle turns. but rather to continually self-propagate and expand. 334 n. ui escuip ocus . Laech Liathmune. 148. es 1!1• 14 Lee 34 Va 36. 19 It is necessary to review this tradition. n The misreading of the numeral was a commonplace error. Mac Cana. 1s LL 17381-2. the Bansenchas. comorba brenaind cluanai 1 deoganacht lacha Iein d6. 4. will show how readily this might take place . So at the very moment of recording tradition (c) above Colgan encounters such a point of departure which shifts the focus of our attention to E6ganachta Locha Lein. which has Mugain rather than Rim (Rim?) as the name of the mother of Cummine Fota. Lee. n. inghean Dallbronaigh. Cummine. p.. may have contributed to the alteration of "co ngluaire" to "is Guaire" ( = "co nGuaire"). Crimthand. 397) Cummine Fota replaces Caimfn who contrl to Diarmait's victory in LU 9608 ff. other than to mention that he appears a dalta of Diarmait mac Aeda Slaine in Tochmarc Becjola. although they are on opposite sides. 19 ~c~ Sanctorum Hiberniae. . Cuanu. at November 12 Rimh is also said to be the name of the 1ll of Cummine Fota. Q .ls l either case he belongs to the Laigin. Comgan Mac Da Cherda. Aeda m. In Mart. rig.ff. T~x gs6)• 1 p. cit. BB 213 a 40. 1a Cf. 14 There is a curious echo of this grouping in the LL Bansenchas: Guaire. 91. as she informs us in a note to this passage. in so far as it concerns us. Cf Celtica vi (1963). 1 Bracain Dairindse. It is to be inferred from LL 316 a 10 and Lee. vu (other 97. 164 Rc 40. In the Lebor Brecc notes to Felire Oengusso the following entry occurs at November 12: f }lirn. and that :e Ui Dunlainge version of his pedigree would make him a nephew f Ronan m. nor can.. Af 11 = CGH p. 20 F~l ~· op. mathair Cammfn is Guaire ar: Moirseisear ar seachtmoghat.. beginning with Cummine Fota. as new nuclei.P· 88 . is e ro marbad Ia athair tria et Or C ts ll'dairc. 148. FM s. 11 12 ~~~maccomgall. pp. amhail asbear Cumman. 628. 1 Chuana meic Cailchine. just as they are confused in different versions of the Carn Conaill saga.i. 12 A glance at the index of personal names in CGH s. including their obvious similarity. Leabhar Imuinn I. 17 91 Il. Cf. Colgan writes "Rima (seu rectius Mugania) filia Fiachae filii Fiachrii filii Duach Iarlaithe mater Cumini. Senaig of This statement is almost certainly a misreading of a marginal quatrai in Laud 6ro 11 : Cumma(i)n ingin Dallbronaid mathair Cammin co ngliiaire. · .ui. Todd. p. op. no doubt because it is strangely out of place in. 624 AU) who is very likely to be identified ~th Ronan m. is GII p. 4. aed din ainm diles chumin 1 druim aliter ainm abaile 1 hi cumin frith hicill ite inuib conaill gabra . 88. par. pp.. are created. A number of factors. Don. 'buteS In Eg.a. cf. Aeda who gives his name to Fingal R6ndinY The t}u'ee other characters mentioned -Cummine Fota. F (b)se6 oLr tradition (a) see AU 633. LL 372 c 20. rig Laigean.

especially as Comgan was not a common name. and the additional details supplied by these texts will be further examined when we come to discuss the latter character. There is also some minor and probably secondary confusion as to Cummine's patrimony.. 22 A similar quatrain which follows his pedigree in Rawl. za CGH. the E6ganacht of mid-Munster. 315) is probably to be identified with Mac Da Cherda as w1ll apP below. cf. Maine m. h cr. there to entertain Guaire and Comgan Mac Da Cherda. . and closely resembles Mod.IV. 25 This association of Cummine Fota with Domnall Jil Aeda is not an arbitrary or isolated one. where a quatrain closely similar in form to that quoted occ Is tu Aodh. is tu roo mhac. attempt to lure the royal fool (rig-6inmit) Conan Clocach to Durlas. in ~ Clng him with Cenel nDallain of Ui Liathain.~8~7~35-8. Fir Maige Fene. and the ancestral bond is correspondingly strengthened. Ui ~idgenti. cr. Marean m. 40• . I. Land daughter of Aed Guaire [m. . It (1965-6). but the fact that they are often represented as either brothers or uterine brothers.1 27 Va 5ff. Comg). p. regarding the Comgall mentioned here as a mistake for Comg ~n (Mac Da Cherda). 183-7. The mistake might easily originate in a wrong expansion of a suspension stroke (i. p2 tl· The use of riddles in narrative is not unusual. are common in Modern Irls · urs: Bealoideas xiii (1943). that he was conceived incestuously by Mugain from her own father Fiachu (generally Fiachna mac Fiachrach Garrine elsewhere).1CuJV. Cuircc. We shall also see that the Cummine Fota-Comg~n relationship is central to this new tradition which functions on :n E6ganacht_a Locha Lein-Deissi axis."29 Rawl. 23 These are mere snatches of a larger t ale which occurs in the Liber Hymnarum as the mixed Latin and Irish introduction to the hymn attributed to Cummine Fota and in the D.. often in verse.IV. We have seen that the Lebar Brecc note to ~elire Oengussa places him with E6ganachta Locha Lein. For instance the descriptiOn m 65 5ucll 827 ff. is tu mac Aodha. that Cummine Fota was of E6ganachta Locha Lein. 182. All versions of the I mtheachta agree in regarding Mugain as the mother of Cummine and Mac Da Cherda. agus do mhathair.IV. 24 The Liber Hymnorum account adds a further complication by giving (F)land as t he name 21 The Comgan mentioned in the account of the so-called West-Munster (ZCP viii (1912). may have contributed to the Liber Hymnantm statement that Land was the mother of Cummine. 0. tt CQj/· 242. Ir. Agus inghean d'Aodh is i do mhathair.94 SEAN 6 COILEAIN 0 THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 95 The evidence of tradition (c) above would in itself justify us . Similarly Ill the notes to the later edition of the Felire we find "Cummini mac F~achna . 8.W mother of Domnall m. Hymn. Aeda accordmg to the ~ansenchas. would pre-dispose a scribe ignorant of the Mugain tradition to make the substitution. 116. indeed he might not even need the excuse of a suspension stroke to do so. Cf. Duach Iarlaithi m. ~uiredaich] f Airgialla was the mother of Domnall m. B 502 errs here.r version f.1 version of the I rnt e is acephalous and does not contain the account of Cummine's conception. are mentioned in AU. 72. Fiachrach Garrine m. Lee. h acntO 24 Lib. Tommain of Ui Maine. ibid.-~64 R:-166 R. . 16-18.r version of I mtheachta na n6inmhideadh. Is me do bhean. the Imtheachta the court of Domnall m. The Lebar Brecc note contains the basic elements of this tradition. ~n m. 81. D. Is tu m'fhear. and that Mac Da Cherda was in turn regarded as uterine brother to Cummine Fota. pp. discovered by fte and fostered by her. It 13 IV }'ez ~. GRSH. Amalgada m. RC xlviii. par. (The B. Ele Tuaiscirt. 290. B 502 explores the possibilities on the male side: his father is also his grandfather.. Aeda m." 2s These pedigrees all agree with p·estandard one as given in CGH: "Cuimmine . E~gse xi sbe is elsewhere regarded as his stepmother: RC xx (1899). 221. none of any particular importance. The relative frequency of the name Comgall. The error may c~t be altogether fortuitous as we shall see that Ui Liathain are t~seiy associated with E6ganachta Locha Lein within this cycle of However the corresponding passage in LL. Ainmerech for whom Cummine tb~posed the hymn that he might weep in seeking forgiveness for ~sins. and Ui Fiachrach Aidni. and that refers to Mac Da Cherda. p. 226. The quatrain plays on the permutations of relationship which result from his incestuous origins. 26 The various traditions relating to Conall Clocach and Domnall m.) S~~ f Cummine's mother. Aeda is the scene of one 0 f the most imaginatively humorous episodes in Irish literature as ~Jtlissaries from Guaire led by his son-in-law. that he was abandoned on birth. examP as occur in Bealoideas. ibid. 298. I think that this name can be explained ay very simply: the author has confused Cummine's mother with a. Aeda cannot be discussed here. as O'Brien notes. Furthermore I kno\~ of no tradition associating Comgall (of Bangor?) with the cycle.i. Cummine Fota mac Cl~ch~a m. p. d'Euganacht Locha Lein d6" and "Cumain Fota mac Frachnai meic Fiachrach Gairine meic Duach meic Maine meic ~~irpri meic Cuirc meic Luigdech. 21 Three persons of that name. p. his mother being also his sister. together with the pre-eminence of Comgall of Bangor. This feature is elaborated elsewhere in a manner which suggests the influence of a riddle literature. 22 Such riddles on relationships. ZCP viii. probably originated as a riddle. The Liber Hymnarum account eo::· B p e stated that •. with excursions into D~ Liathain. Only one instance of the name occurs in the index to CGH. .IV. and BB ectiy place him with the latter. • P· 226.e. 27 combined with the fact that Conall Clocach and Mac Da Cherda are practically indistinguishable in terms of character and personal history. In the B.

r.{a~l· 0 Mael-diiin Cuimmine. Fergaile m.g. z:J. M6r Murnan also becomes confused with Ciarraige Luachra. co hEuganacht Lacha Lein". ~ . but I prefer to regard this Their daughter was in turn wife of Guaire's brother Laidcnen..ll doDeog_ ingen Fhingin l 9Moiri Murnan bean Laidgind m. ln t llo doubte tale he is simply called "Fingen mac Aeda. The Ui Maine prose has "Fingein mac Aeda Allain. 221. PRIA." ~~ if·-w l9). but the distinction is not always The tale M6r M~tman ocus Aided Cuanach meic Ailchine. Cobth~!1 Passhage in LL. respect inferior to the I mtheachta. 44.1. he is called impossibly "Fingin mac ~.l. RC xlviii. Tigernaig is typical Bansenchas-type material and is . e. 17093-IOO. That such e linguistically early text could be so badly anachronistic. Crimthaind.r. Hymn." In the Lecan prose Bansenchaa. The Bansenchas apparently knows only which otherwise agrees closely with Lib.i. pp. as CGH. For instance Cairpre Luachra. cf.:!_~a erta1g of Cenel nEogain (d. Colmain 1 ba bean Gua1re Aidni iartain3 regarding the West-Munster pedigree of Cummine Fota as being the generally accepted one." 33 There may even be an attempt The tale goes on to describe how M6r became the wife of Fingin m. "Cummine Fota mac Fiachnai di Eoganacht Chassil. mac Dioma. The dominant tradltl~: It is true that there is some difficulty with the corresponding makes him a third cousin of Aed Bennan m. and the cumulative evidence of the various sources justifies us J. .!ed Bennain rf Irlochra da mac dec lais l toera ingena .A. Cummain grind. r~P:he tradition which held M6r Murnan to be the daughter of Aed ..2. 182. 5a. 150 R.) whose daughter or. B. . . Damnait and Aed [Bennan] are also 17 Lted together in LL 35799. Cf. the alternative name for E6ganachta Locha Lein. · • 211 Ra.IV. . 31 LL 36990. Crimthaind m. b j. We are concerned ere · (d. Cf. 155 R. and in thi~ Oland d'Aed ra Damnait maith moltair. and later says of him "Uenit a11tem postea ad patrem et ad patr" 'fbde Imid m. discussed in some detail below. and "Cuimin Foda. an reagrded as mere hyperbole. ~he West Munster-section of the cycle was. 261-82." 31 and t~s 0 version is supported by the closely related Life of Cummine F ts )3ennan: Ingen fial Feidilmid feta in C. king of Cashel (d. was M6r Murnan: . Domnaill ..) which begins "Cumain Fota mac Fiachna oda findmeic Thigernaig m1r thlaith Eoganacht Caisil. and there seems to be no doubt t the tradition which held that both Guaire and his brother were had it. Mor Murnan a siur no combad diiin bad ingen ut alii dicunt35 . Mael Duin Conga!.. 6rg AU. O'Nolan.IV.all'' statement that Damna(i)t wife of Aed Bennan was daughter of .urne that the person intended is Aed UaridnachfAlhin (Ollan) m. 612 AU) rather than his great-great-grandson li"~d n (Ol!an) m. 33 D. C (1912). In any case we cannot pursue him furthe. Ann. D. possibly on account Aeda Duib m. Mael-caech. The most regular tradition is also represented in the Imtheachta. mic Fearghusa" 34 as a of Guaire himself : separate individual. Deoch bean Laidgnen moir meic Colmain A further examination of Cummine's connections and relatives is celi Guairi is glan ngloir 40 shows how extraordinarily well developed and self-consistent. p ~ain" (RC xlviii. Language provides us with a terminus ad quem. 182. 38 of his close relationship with Guaire..1. mac Conaing (no Conaill). z7Ve. also supports the tradition that M6r The tradition that Cummine belonged to E6ganachta Caisil must was daughter of Aed Bennan: be regarded as one of several secondary developments.l«Uirch Pres. . 219. 6rg AT. p.IV. not with a terminus a quo. a version which also occurs in the Imtheachta e. 30 ~t~L d !llllY b1 loc. and Cummine's ingen Aeda Bennain37 father is one occasion described in the I mtheachta as "Fiachra mac Fearcuso rich Ciarraigi Luochra. The "ri Iar-Muman" element presumably refers to Fmchna. 743 AU). grand-daughter. 28 Vb 22. 165 V.I. Inisj). p. Maeli-duin (d. historic section of the E6ganachta genealogies. divid 34 Hy Ji'iachr. IV.\0 as a mistake 4e ~ Jclviii. to attach him to the Ui Fiachrach genealogies. describes him l.-_. ThigeTaJ. this version must still be J. mic Diarmada".. This will be discussed later.. . XXX. Inisf. cit. as another vers!O tha With the framework of the cycle. 1. shows again that there is no Mael Canaig ba fer co firneim. necessarily direct correlation between the language of the text and M6r Murnan ben Fingein find 36 the information it contains. B.1." 32 and goes on to state that Cummine's fath e Damnat aeb na greni a gellam was Fiachna [sic] Muillethan mac E6gain who belongs to the pre~ ba ceili d'Aed Bennain blaith.z (R. 182). which will be clearly made.96 SEAN 6 COILEAIN THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 97 of his birth calls him "Cummaini Fota mac Fiachna ri Iar-Mun-. 32 c. Tri meic Aeda Bennain 1 Damnatan ingine Feideilmid m. Ironically the pedigree is given to distinguish thiS In from "Cuinlin. 30 The fragmentary account in ~lll ~eated in the latter tract..g. 6zr Ann. 35 737-9. 35. ~ Be Under the influence of this group of tales. .

Mac Cana. p. RC xlviii. 172-3. dib eland Cholmain (sic leg. cit.) na rig radi sil Aeda Slani na sluag 48 But evidently there was some doubt as to her position as ancestress of Clann Cholmain M6ir. Fingin refi~cts th~t I:el~nd w~uld be in a sorry sta~! 1f only they three remamed ahve m 1t. Maine m. Cuircc. p. op. cf RC xlviii. He is however mentioned nl cela Cano meic Gartndin in connection with the battle. To this group of characters we may add M6r's sister Suithchern Ruithchern who was carried off by Cuanu mac Cailchine. 52 to do not wish to anticipate future consideration of the battle except state that practically everybody involved in it belongs to the ~~~wl 44 45 46 B. 223. but i§n_smgly the saga does not mention him. 185.U This fantastic marriage of the unborn infant to the fool.w is simply a development of one of them". 51 providing another example of the tendency of literary cycles or sub-cycles to operate on lenealogical lines. (Incidentally Aed Guaire opponent of Ruadan of Lorrha was brother of Brenaind Dall. Fiachrach Garrine. 50 husband of Guaire's daughter Cred.IV. cit. This Ere is also called Eithne: LU 4239 = SG I. degingen Chonchrai9. wife of Diarrnait fll~. p.rc I. Mor suggests that in th t event Fingin could hunt and Mac Da Cherda could provide them wi~ firewood and marry the child she was then bearing. lo or R17041-4. A eland Colman is Aed nach fellad . Her father Brenaind Dall is here described as being of the Conmaicne Cuile. B 502. Cf. Cerbaill. ibid. 109. and who appears as his ally in the saga of the battle of Cam Conaill. Cf. Mugain wife of "· rrnait m.1iJ . Celtica ix (1971).) So if Mugain is grandmother of Diarmait :· _eda Slaine. and that "the two Mugains are rner ~ different localizations of the same goddess and that M6r :Mu. Aeda Duib) and M6r goes out to view the hunt-in~~ IV.) Guas ceili Cuain meic Conaill . Cairpre m. who is relevant whether or not we concede Mac Canaof argument that she is ultimately the same as Mugain duaghter el~ Fiachna m.98 SEAN 6 COILEAIN THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 99 married to M6r's daughter was well established. 156 V ff. followed by his mad career to Dur!as and the assault on Guaire's bile. the leader of the hunt is named an Cuanu mac Cailchin · leaving only Mac Da Cherda within in the company of the ~--­ ~nd queen. Characteristically she is a near relative of the other West-Munster figures. LL 17159-63. te ibid 17035-40. 47 As wife of Diarmait m. for Gilla Mo Dutu continues: N6 combad mathair cheirt Cholmain eland Brenaind Daill caid na cross Ere co comthaitnim na clumi do Chonmaicnib Culi atchlos. king of Fir Maige Fene. 43 We then have Guaire's uterine brother married to a sister of M6r Murnan. M. 217. 46 Whatever their or! 41 42 43 But this variation merely guarantees the density of the system. Tommain to figure in the battle of Cam Conaill. 93 below.s 117 b 10. B 502. There is also Guas daughter of Mae!· duin m. 42 whom we have seen described as uterine brother of Guaire.l.IV. A probable Par d of this tradition occurs in the Imtheachta: One day the househol~ Y Fingin (m. and seizing an axe sets out t~ search for firewood. We might also expect s arc~~ m. hut he turns up in the genealogies of the neighbouring Ui Maine where we find him as grandfather of Marean m. He finds none to his satisfaction until he arrives at Guaire's "bile" at Durlas (possibly the bile rdtha of King and Hermit) which he proceeds to hack down. D. 49 We have seen that the genealogies also record the tradition wherebY M6r Murnan herself was a daughter of Mael-duin and therefore a sister of this Guas. Aeda Bennain whose husband Cuan m. Oano ll. 151 a 28 = CGH p. Mac Da Cherd mistakes the speculation for reality. q Lt = CGH p.l 33 Va I ff.. Duach Cliach m. being the daughter of Conchrad m. ". 265. 197. fiaith Hua Fidgenti45 b se characters are clearly distinguished in the tales. 0' Nolan op. can hardly have been described without an awareness of the tradition that Guaire himself married the daughter of Fingin and M6r. 222.meic Duach. :sn I' . ZCP iii (1900). Cerbaill she is the joint ancestress of the two principal branches of the southern Ui Neill. c To these figures we may further add Mugain. RC xlviii 181. 83. 183-5. 180. 206.. and n. opponent of Guaire in the battle of Cam Conaill...r. Ere is no less closely connected to the cycle than Mugain. a situation t Wch is not inconsistent with Mac Carra's thesis. Rawl. Sil nAeda Slaine of Brega and Clann Cholmain :M6ir of Mide: Mugain ben Diarmatta datta. 11 elleher. 98. The historical problem posed by the 143 a 50ent of Ui Duach to the E6ganachta does not concern us here. Tommain.s the aunt of Guaire's son-in-law. while Guaire himself and his full(?) brother are married to M6r's daughter. Conaill of Ui Fidgenti 44 also supported Guaire at Cam Conaill according to the saga: Ingen do Mael Dnin mac Aeda ardrig Murnan na sreth soirb (sic leg. Cerbaill may for our purposes be regarded as a separate ?~vidual.

Guaire m. To return to Ere and Mugain. · The system of relationships as it affects E6ganachta Locha Lein may be expressed by means of the following chart. ben Diarmata meic Cerbaill Is si seo . The transition is mainly effected by the USUal device of uterine relationship.. Amalgn:· another of Guaire's supporters was also related by marriage to ~ . are not necessarily more trustworthy. 182. 154 d 30 = CGH.. king of Ciarraige Luachra. Bennain who is variously called N oelethan and Dan d. torical source." proba?ly to be identified with the battle of Cam Conatll. In any case the forces involved in the battle belong at least as much to literature as they do to history. Hib. LL 18208-67. ~"as a guarantor in Cain Adamnain (Meyer ed. it has also preserved many val~ able pieces of information which tidier minds would have discard~ b Various other sources such as the Life of Mac Creiche.. Nechtain is simply a mistake for Dinertach m. 219. Gartnain. The physical aspect of the relationship is certainly questionable.. It will be seen also that Cuan m.). Tommain. and that Ui Liathain.. 55 RC xlviii. while the last. 172 but Dand in Powered.). Marean m. Whatever may be made of individual figures the structure as a whole cannot be dismissed lightly. Dillon ed. Conaill. expressed in a poem in LU and LL. When we consider further that Guai~ :r daughter Cred is said to have composed It i saigte gona suain ase s lament for Dinertach. p. But the whole question of Cred and her r~latwnshlPestress Dinertach. p.. and so I would propose goo AD as a terminus ad quem for the establishment of the basic frame of reference. Aeda Slaine. and the death of Mael-duin m. I nisj. 57 She . 6 Corrain. and which can be confirmed by other sources. it is also necessary t he be reared by f te in Ui Chonaill Gabra in accordance with her :da '.. Marean m. . if not actually Talamnach... who. Diarmait m. 1 (1968) p. l4b. Similarly in the Bansenchas the tradition that Mugain was of Connacht does not occur in LL but appears in later renderings. pp. . 56 show the wealth of material associated with the ~ .. . And even AU and Ann. Inisj. in the battle. 217. Tommain and Cano m.. . ll . 15 a. 6 Corrain. For "ri Fernae" read "r1 with reference to the Ciarraige. 1. and her adoptwn as anc by the O'Connors and the Maguires.el-tuile is great-great-grandfather of Flann Fe6rna who died in 58 741 (Ann. a daughter of Mael-duin m. Furthermore the latter seems to have been an old man when he died. . In support of this device Cummine Fota is also said to have been set adrift ?11 the river Suir thereby arriving at Deissi Murnan.100 SEAN 6 COILEAIN THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 101 framework of legend as set out here. I nisj. The first quatrain of this poem records the official doctrine that she was of Munster. is the person who ~ailed 17 C tee. From E6ganachta Locha Lein we move to Deissi Murnan at the other end of Munster. as they may simply have been stripped of their context. SS. 83-84)."Tuaristal rig Fe6rna Flaind" Of. Rdaugh~: of Mael-tuile was in turn held to be married to Mael-duin: LL Ia It • 0 xlvm. will have to be discussed separately. 1t becomes obvwus that we cannot consider th accounts of this battle which appear in the annals apart from th: whole traditional context. 78. 84. p. 8-10. Inisj. So while it is necessary that Cummine reach the tba 51 for the purpose of achieving continuity. p.a. 20).trobable that Colman m. 180.. dJ~a (father of Mac Da Cherda). and Cuaoned Conaill. whl~ incidentally has been badly underestimated by Plummer as acJl . More relevant here is the Life of Mochuta . Ed. Cf. p. and. . Mael-ochtraig m. 5 5 As usu~I. 230-2) I prefer the view that D:~~tsitl m. but it is none the less valuable f~ that as it actualizes an association which was already felt to exist. ~ --. We have already menti Guaire. es witll (cf.572. was of Ui Fidgenti 6~ and fell "isin ~reu~ Aidne. which follows the official dunad.. faced with conflicting tradltions they could never make up their minds. l'llol-2 . Lives of SS. like Cuan m. are also involved in the cycle by way of M6r's si ~ve SuitchernfRuithchern. Diarmait m. Hib. B 502. to Cuanu mac Cailchine. their representaror. siichstsche der Wissenschajten.l'o!na~nd Mochuda.Jy of Aed Bennan.ar Noeleathan in V. but the story 18 complicated at this point by a type of error common in oral ~ati~e: two mutually exclusive patterns are utilized to resolve a ~I~ Situation. 254. 49. Cerbaill may be responsible for the tradition. n. fU. Berichte XXXVI (1884) pp. father of Fland Fe6rna. dengusa . encounter with the first of these. in this regard. Gese!lseJI54 LU 4275-334 = SG I. 54 that Mugain was also of Connacht. 1970. This is especially so when all the annalistic accounts apart from AU and Ann. Aeda ~e. ~ runs through the whole gamut of characters from a grand1 as ghter of Aed Bennan.. Rechtabrat. it may be that their association in tradition as wives of Diarmait m. Windisch Kgl. 191-243. I do not see how retrospective unity could be achieved after the ninth century.the antiquarians wanted it both ways. cetfaid araile senchad .ter having died in 6rgj6zr (AU/Ann .m. of course. . Hag. refers to the alternative tradition: Mugain ingen Chonchraid chain meic Duach din des Mumain . lt ia awl. ~e the other relationships we have discussed this is also entirely possible according to the genealogical and annalistic information. While this inability to analyz~ produces an impression of untidiness.. JKAHS No. I nisj. Cert. and since it is consistently reflected in such diverse sources it must have been established at an early date._. Aeda Bennain is entered at 66r (Ann.). ba de Chonnachtaib Mugain 53 Despite Carney's objections (Eigse xiii. his fatl:. said here to be the wife of Mael-tuile. can be shown to derive from the saga. The passage of immediate relevance is that which describes . ibid. I.

.~0 · ol ~ '0 b!l-o-.... Mugain's father. 29 Va 30. ibid... Mael-ochtraig) of the Deissi on the one hand and between Cacht daughter of Mael-ochtraig and Fiachna.. as at ody IS t aken up the Shannon to Leth Cuinn for burial (Bruchst... n. It IS ~teresting to note that as Cummine was reared and died in Ui Fidgenti. 28 Vb 7. No mention of his connection with llote I~ made in the Imtheachta or in any of the related material... O!on~rte matris fmtre) and is probably not reliable.. <D Jl . so his death as well as his birth is associated with a river.e. e1 JE . some of the verse in the I mtheachta is strongly reminiscent (d ~~The connection of Declan and fte (d. regularly called Comgan.. D. ~ A ~" -6-§-:ss ·s o gb. ~· 0) and FM support it..s :e ':' 'C .. A fragment edited from YBL by J. 149. n.~ "' o "'1 b!l o 1' o:O "'""' <D .e. whereas the YBL fragment seems to regard the offence as real. 7.. p .-+>--p:)------::S . .. Inisf. d) .a!s a . ~ 0 103 -"-""' ~al~.<:: "' . 1162 (i.<:: ~=~ <D <D I ..8 ~ d ]'El-5 tC ~ ci5 ~1 §~~_§. 12 B1'1-u v (1911). <Ds 0 ~ .2 quoted above. of the annals only Ann.l 60 <D~ Jl ~~.g ·a o .. I nisj. 577 AU) with Cummine • ~1 ~nn..2 Life.a . ::s "~ ~~ aec.. cf.l. of course.<<D .]~ -. apart from the LB 110 D Fel .a .a 0 '" " . 570.!:l 'C~ rJ.!. 59 th~he circumstances by which uterine relationship was achieved are plained as follows in the I mtheachta: on the incestuous conception ~Cummine a double marriage is arranged between Mugain and Maolochtair (i. even of Christ himself.a... _. 662 AU) is. and. 661.8). G. 96). as h:'b'ted .. The Imtheachta here follows the pattern of Fingal R6ndin as the accusation is made by the druid's wife after she had failed to seduce him. Mugain had another son by Mael-ochtraig. e...-e 0:: H "' ~ § "' 1' ~1 . llllnc .. As a consequence of the transformation he is henceforth called Mac Da Cherda. "' .o :. the druid transforms him to a fool.a '0~ f. she seems to be otherwise unknown to tradition and does not appear in the Bansenchas.s .. tt-4·. 160 V. presumably :vr:onfert: in FM s. Cf. 7) that 8tateire bro_ught him to Connacht and established him as abbot at Clonfert. Colgan says (Acta Sancto1·um Hiberniae p. Inisf..... a.. (s.Ith Clonfert is tenuous enough.. The result is that Cummine is shuttled ~ kwards and forwards between Suir and Maigue and between bac spiritual influence of Declan and Mochuta and fte. historically impossible. in actis Curndhani et Conalli idiotarurn" (Acta Sanctorum •~ LL'Iae. O'Keeffe 61 also picks up the story at this point: ComganfCumascach is accused of sleeping with the druid's wife..• IV.l.102 SEAN 6 COILEAIN ::s THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 1'1 . MoCh6em6g.s <D . but said in one version of the I mtheachta to have been named Cumascach at first :60 the variation will be seen to be of possible significance when we come to discuss his pedigree. "s2 This description agrees with his function in tradition where he re~ularly appears as an inspired fool: "6inmit side 1 faith De. 500 years after his death) we are told that his relics hill:l t~ken from the earth and enshrined at Clonfert. a3 -gp$~-~ ee. 35774. No.IV. da cheird badur aige ceird bhaoisi 1 ceird gaoisi.s .In the C. but this 811: p rnent Is based on the tradition that he was uterine brother to Guaire (a Guario .:.o~o .IV. He himself refers us ~ibern8?urce "Vide plura . Cacht subsequently drops out of the tale.&'-ol-~-ol-~-. on the other. in revenge. 149.§ ol !:: ~ <D 0 -~-~---~ ll ~ ~ ol ~ 0 s ::s !'I ::SO~ :Ort 1 'C"-<0 ~ <l) ." 63 In this capacity he may be associated with such characters as Suibne and Moling.a ::s~O.-e ol '" 'i o ~0 0~ ~ .a P ·~ ~ ·~ j 1 ::s 1-. the name being explained as follows in the I mtheachta: "Comhdan mac an da cearda .i.a~ .·::S ~ ~ -rf: C!:) A ~ 1 ~0 !.. Colgan's explanation of the name "quia to his extreme fatuus mox summe prudens" is taken from this.l . 570 Ann.a~ I ~ '0 'Ol !:: z!.§ . Otherwise the evidence linking e.a@ ::s"' ol q ~ -~~ 8..a ·0 a pted position as nurturer of saints such as Brenainn.. 0 ~ «J$te _a ol 0. 34.

l-6. Inisj. Aeda m. He appears in Sanas Cormaic as Moc[c]u Cerd a.) It is Ofl{llce~~at the "macfmeic Aoinchearda Berre" of the Fionn material is a development CQJI Cherda on the analogy of the apparent numeral. Cf. 3. Comgan .th~ ta~es edited fi. 7a L .I::• Atsl. LB f . 68 Carney. Ca1rre(a) ~MMe." 71 Characters who share Mac Da Cherda's traits in the Imtheachta are Conall Clocach. but in the other Aed Bale mac Fingin co mbridb ba ri for dronga nDeisidh (ZCP xiii. and not at all well established. Marban's parents are here called "Becan" and "Becnalt JllaJ. 64 That actual confusion of Moling and Mac b~ Cherda did occur is shown by the appearance of a "Taircealtach lb. Mac Da Cherda does encounter Guaire's swineherd but the latter's name is given as "Dub Da Chet mac Moraind Min-fiaclaigh a crichaibh Corco Duibhne n6 Baiscind.m. "'hicll• 7o Aisl. 7.interchange in . Moling chap. 160 V.e though real names.Mael-umai.r. . pp. Ben Diarmata rigda Ruanaid rathmar Temair thenn in main. 67 Cf. s. S1m1lar Mo/Do vanatwn 1s. and so fun of Mar ban himself. MC. "Quies Me. Liadain and Cui1'ithir pp. 35784.sa · .1~ 151 V. adds Aenmac ac Mael-ochtra1ch .si. T.1. has had to correct his initial confusion of the pair on several occasions. Cf. 64 65 66 . a na cearta" in TFrag. the scribe of B. p.l. Cf.v.a. may have been the earliest form of the name. The identity of the Temair in question is placed beyond doubt by the Lee. mathair Chearnaigh Sotail76 That the Aed m.. Lee. pp.3. p. in view of the association of themes relati:· to the wild man and the hermit. · ned 1¢ 71 B. 12-. LL 5036. But apart from King and Hermit and what Carney calls Tradition B of the Tdinrecovery legends. an apprentice fool. ibid. pp.l. 858. G. s. 68 Marban is almost unknown to tradition.IV. 92 (upper margin). and belongs to ~ genealogical system which resembles that of Cummine Fota altho~g. 71 but Marban does not appear as a character proper in any of the texts. Cummine Fota is scarcely distinguishable from Mac Da Cherda in the latter's prophetic moods and Daibhidh 6 Duibhgeannain. 645. Cherd(d)a : LU p. Early 11-ish Lyrics.a. MC p 641. p. were probably selected for their humorous content. Aisl. D. BBCS xix (1960). and immediately precedes mention of Guaire's daughter Geilgeis and Cred. 72 D.1o They are mentioned together again in the B. No. MC p. ?n rigoinmit. cf. and LU and LL generally have Mac DajDa Cherda.104 SEAN 6 COILEAIN THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 105 of Buile Suibhne." 77 The following 71 in Bpe1hng) : Th. ~~ form Mac Mo Cherda also appears in LL. 11 '!\. Eigse v (1946). 645. 150. ~~ngin. Murphy. ~!Mac Mo Cherda ·LL 35774.r version of the I mtheachta where with Colum Cille they make up a stereotyped triad of early Irish prophets. and Ul Maine prose Bansenchas which calls her father king of the Deissi: Teamair ingen Aeda Builc m. 399. and there are still ther versions of the name. It is true that in that most literary of works.e following examples will give an idea of the distribution (I ignore minor variation (b) Moc[c]u Cerdda : Corm. less elaborate. 73 0 Generally Mac Da Cherda seems to have been attached to the Ui Rossa line o! the D{ds. 67 in addition to the fact that bot~ belong to the same literary setting in this instance. 1899. 28103. Various reasons have been proposed for this.. and Odran the son of their steward. Studies in Irish Literature and History.·om YBL b:y J.IV. Despite the attention pa:id to Marban it is evident that he is a ver'j marginal figure in the cycle. 222. Aeda Slaine according to the evidence of the LL Bansenchas. 35778. A'!'(= AU) 7 2o~J Mac DafDa &!lints: 8-44. Meyer ed.. In this regard we mig~t expect a close connection between Mac Da Cherda and M:arba Guaire's half-brother. 1919. par. 7e L 17147-52 '17 ~.ss and "mac na cearta" is almost certainly Mac Da Cherd ~ 6 straying out of his proper time frame.IV. 69 and I do not wish to discuss them or to introduce my own explanation here. (in hand H).IV. O'~e~ffe. 289 n. 114 ff. Apart from the Imtheachta Mac_Da Cherda is again mentlo a prophet in the poem Aisling ad-chonnairc Cormac. Eriu v (d) names. and would suggest :st he belonged to some branch of the Cerdraige.18 version of Aisl.1:·~· 185.Frag. 858: Tairchell was the original name a~ Moling. 98) Uou)i (b) and (c) . Aeda Slaine. Da mac_ Aeda : ~ael-~ma et ~ae~c[h]traig. Jloaaibr na. ba ingen d'Aed Builg mac Fingui . 165 ff.. BY contrast Mac Da Cherda is a cental figure. s. of course. Fhingen ri na nDesi bean Diarmada Ruanaig m. mathair Chernaig Sotail sair75 Significantly this passage comes immediately after that which treats of Guaire and his brother Laidcnen.a.1. 111lUed ~~ vana. MC (Meyer ed. 7' . Fel. and Moling was also credited with the same extrelb. co=on m hypocorlStlC forms of He is also almost certainly of the H. . 29 Vb 2. they are said to have studied together at Armagh. 69 Most recently by Mac Cana. 29770-1.tion is seen in two versions of the Convention of Druim Cett: in one he 1'1 Dess1 Aed mac Fingin" (RC xx.IV. Creigin fool of Fingin and M6r Murnan. Studies in Early Celtic Nature Poetry. except to state what is already agreed: that Mar ban is a late literary creation who never took root properly in tradition. s. Inisf. na C~rda Ann. Stokes ed." 74 This would make him a close relative of Temair ~ife of Diarmait m. na Cerda" Ann. Y s. . dna. 10. 121-2.a. 33 Vb 21. 138). If so the tradition a not survived.1. 13. of folly and wisdom. Jackson. 86. Ffngin of the genealogies was also known as Aed Bolg{Builg is confirmed by the Imtheachta where Mac Da Cherda's father is called "Maolochtair mac Aodha Builg. The LL genea}ogies read "Fogertach m.

whose daughter by M6r Murnan was wife of Guaire bi~self. Aed Aeda Slaine recalls the more distant relationship of Cummine Fota I Cobthach d.671 AU 645 Ann. Aeda Duib m. 619 Ann. and his sister the wife of his conqueror in the later. also p. Aeda Sla ine d. Inisf. 629). Inisf._ H 1 P· 36. However it must be admitted that sufficient here to note the coincidence that Mael-ochtraig's w~is c~l'lns of his t raditional association with such characters as Guaire. . 182. Inisf. I I The relationship of Mac Da Cherda to Temair wife of Diarmait m.).IV.r the fact that it is said there that Mac Da Cherda was first confirmed from the Bansenchas. Furthermore. I nisj. 645 (and in any case stood in a grandfather-grandson relationship).. I hope to show elsewh ere that t e t :ding him developed he was transferred to the main line.ch Ann. vided by the tale M 6r M uman ocus Aided Cuanach meic A ilchine (in which Mac Da Cherda also figures) where M6r Murnan ousts the This variant is also known to the B. Aeda Duib. Cobthaig than in the same generation as Cormac ote 60 above. a~ . as we ha Of)4:~nalistic obit. Inisf. 195. but SUitable point in both lines. he fits better as brother of Bran Find and son thO~~ it·~e in : 8 RC xlviii. and Fingin m.641 AT(= AU). Cerbaill and Diarmait m. I Mael-Fotha. The immediate genealogy as constructed from CGH pp. !111. .106 SEAN 6 COILEAIN 11 THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 107 chart shows the relationship of Mac Da Cherda to Temair. is the daughter of Guaire's conqueror in the earlier b attle.641 AT ( = AU). wife of Diarmait Ruanaid. Apart from Temair. ?'"eartilig said that Mael-ochtraig's pedigree varies: in the Bansenchas he is called mac and in VSH filius Oobhthaig neither of which agrees with this version of Mac Da C pedigree. Inuj. O'Nolan. although this cannot be . Ann. Cerbaill. Cf. 79 above.nr 178 R. However one version of the latte~ ?atned Cumascach suggests it. The obits of his father and grandfather are recorded in Ann. ewnlac. Aeda Duib m.rtaig I I Mael-ochtraig I Temalr (wife of Diarmait m. 80 This c~n only r_efer to Bran Find m. the rest is constructed from the Ui Rossa genealogy it appears in CGH pp. 632 to Mugain wife of Diarmait m. 394-5. 398-9: Fingin ~rd~ Duib. M~ile­ ochtraig m . Inisf. 79 Failbe Fland. 668 AU) . will be discussed beloW· 78 79 LL 35750 ff. Inisj.IV. p. 38. that I Diarmait m. Rigdamna side dino~'). i5~'~'berd&' ish ]:.. 1 .). B2 as he has an uncle named Cumascach 0 text does state that Mael-ochtraig was married to a daughter d In this line. 649). the sum of I these correspondences indicates an extremely closeknit and well I I Comgan Mac Da Cherda Bran Find developed corpus of material. t? belon~ to ~he principal line. whom I add from th Bansenchas. op. The variation. where she is unnamed. Aeda Slaine were often confused Mael-ochtra. Cobthmg whose obit occurs m 671 (AU and Ann. Ann. Maelochtraig ("Brathair do-som Bran Find mac Maile Ochtraich . cf. An important point of contact is prod. I Ross Cormac d ." 81 and although it does not explicitly appear in held to be the daughter of Mael-ochtraig.ig d. pp . 731 A nn. This annalistic accounts of this battle are even less reliable than at sfe~ence was facilitated by the fact that a Mael-ochtraig occurs relating to the battle of Carn Conaill (AU. and that as the legends sur(AU 627. Inisf. and ve oWn lllfne Fot a.if ~ -Seen'. with the addition of Mac Da Cherda on the evidence of the literary tradition would then be as follows: his daughter was probably held to be the wife of Fingin m. 0 The Ui Rossa were a relatively unimportant branch of the Deissi and it is not surprising to find that Mac Da Cherda is elsewhere understood. brother of Fingin m. . This scenario involves some minor juggling with generations bUt it is none the less valuable for that as an example of how a body f legend is assembled. Mac Da Cherda and Cummine Fota were uterine brothers. e -ochtraig m.r version of the Imtheachta daughter of the king of the Deissi as wife of Fingin m. So in one of_ the episo~es edited in E rzu v he IS said to be the brother of Bran Fmd m. d. Added to the tradition that Ann. Inisf. 645 Ann. Maile-Fothartaig since his obit may be of some relevance in assessing the claims of a~ alternative genealogy. and the probable reason for it. Here Fail be Fland's daughter is called Failind. 7 B The ousted queen was probably ~c Cobhthaigh. VSH I. n. Crimthainn. Ann.I Aed I Comgan Mac Da Cherda d. I add Cormac m. at 645 and 632 respectively.665. F ailbe Fla~ wIn general it would seem likely that the earlier of these traditions turns up again as Guaire's adversary in the battle of Carn Ferada~g roas t~at he belonged to the Ui Rossa. In theIr ust 1 of Mochuta she is called Cuciniceas. cit . wh~re Mac Da Cherda is at one point called "mac Mhaolochtair Crimthainn (d. . and that the latter plays a vital part in the Guaire cycle.lmsj. 262-3. cit. Rossa m.

. 261. op. 57-8. 32 ff. p. 400. 136 ff. n. 378. . Is diib dono Liadain ben Chuinthir sa Cf. (b) in one of the Eriu v episodes. . and Glld ungn~r. Maile-Fothartaig of Ui Rossa (d. pp. a 6 t e latter t. 18. ibid. her seven periods of youth may refer t o the seven Corco Loigde kings of Osraige 93 whom she may be understood to have wedded in accordance with the familiar theme which we elsewhere find associated with Corco Loigde in the person of Lugaid Loigde 94 and which Mac Cana has shown to have wide currency in Munster generally." 88 The obit of this Congal occurs at 701 in AU. the earlies one has also survived in this instance.. 'lrife of Dnt a lly ~he first such king of Osraige was Conchrad m. 84 85 86 87 d of Corco Loigde see Raw!. The relevant passages of the other texts are This raises many problems: for instance Ui Meic lair were of the E6ganachta not of Corco Duibne. = CGH.. 91 The fact that there was also an Aes Conchind in both Corco Loigde and Corco Duibne 92 would account for the Caillech's transference to the latter.i. 117. Suibne m. 46. Greene and O'Connor A Golden Irish Poetry pp.. LL 328 c 50 etc. Inisj The legends attaching to Mael-ochtraig. But there is a good deal of variation for which 'p. This merely compounds the problem "cell ere~s a. Dinds. P· 18. To the author royalty in contemporary terms meant the E6ganachta kingship and it is of the enduring nature of this and places such as Mag Femin associated with it. cit.tre usually called Aes Conchind Mingthi but in LL 325 h 1 and BB 197 118 t~e n~me IS Aes Achaid (Achaig BB) Mingthi.108 SEAN 6 COILEAIN THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 109 m.f·not referred to in list A. Suibne described in Eriu v as "Foglaid do Moel Ochtraig fo choill oc cosnom rigi". Oinmit side.. ']'reasvr'1 89 The Backward Look.. II. r In fact there is a third version of the pedigree of Mac Da Cherda and Mael-ochtraig which cannot be reconciled with any genealogical line known to me. 8-10. Duach father of Mugain. Th '' ~et·~t ~: LL 24992. and Guir. Anecd. Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae. 34. p . par. For Mongan read Marban in his list of characters. (b) Murphy ed.) 'ee tnli\i Celt. 92a It is possible then that. 88 Gain Ad. p. and Guir. Hog.. VSH I p. 14. 731 Ann. ri na nDeisi Maigi Femin o Dun Letrach for Siuirss We complete the survey of Deissi characters with Conamail m. 1'1 a. and belonged to the Corco Loigde. For Aes hEi[rc] 14~~c. Cummine Fota who is said to bless the Caillech. beneces .. 1 Chor~o Liad.i.i. Mention has been made above of Liadain and Cuirithir. et. p. 18. 34 etc. Soc.{eic l air Chonchinn(e) we should read Ui Meic Eire Chonchinne.. 96 and while no historical importance can be attached to Con ~r Aes Conchind of Corco Duibne see LL 324 f 55 etc. Misc. I 18 ff. p. PRIA 55 C 4 (1 Cf. pp. The grouping may be significant as it regularly is in the Ban8enchas. IV.f Iarmmt m. Cf. 87 and among his brothers is Congal who appears in Cdin Adamndin as "Conghal mac Suibneiri inna nDeissiu. di Chorco Dubne di . p. also probably originated with the Ui Rossa figu:c Although the surviving evidence is contradictory there would see e. (j irllham Carrigan. 30 fl' . xxii). pp.uities of the Diocese of Ossory. IT III. 322. who is of considerab( importance in his own right and who appears independently of M e Da Cherda. . Soc. . This appears (a) in Liadain and Cuirithir. anachronistic. mentioned in Lists A and B. 12a 'Utr . Vol. In~'id uachalla. pp. p. Onom. r.c d conchinn. 17. . JCHAS. The Lament of the Old Women of Beare. p.. 59 (1954). Tech nDuinn-suggest Corco Loigde rather than Co reo Duibne. List B : Anecd. of necessity. 86 This Conamail was of Ui Fothaid: in CGH he appears as Conamail m. meic Dineartaich . par."Nunc [Hui Meic-]32. to be no motivation for movement in the opposite direction. 12.b Jll9ic (b) Sentane Berre./J. veil appears in Liadain and Cuirithir as guardian of the lovers chastity. p. 259. O'Donovan. par 7. and I think it likely that for Ui it~ (a) Co n-accae Mac Da Cherda cucai. I. 7-8. Keat. of Celt. There is also a marked verbal correspondence : (a) Liadain ben do Duibne . The latter were also known as Cenel Conchinne. pp.vii (1957}. The Caillech is also connected with Corco Loigde by way of the lost tale of her romance with Fothud Canann. Digdi a ainm. and so the association of Conamail (whose death is not entered in the annals) with Mac Da Cherda would seem. Cerbaill. Celt. (Scela l&t!o '' . p. ZCP xix (1933}. In list B the title Searc Gailligi 0 . cf. 12. ~1 "'!a~ 9 Iair C[h]onchinn . Is ed Cenel Conchinni" CGH. 155 a. ." also Heist. As almost impossible to kill off any tradition effectively. 42-4. cf. 95 Fothud Canann regularly appears in the Corea Loigde genealogies.lJ. p. This is probably also the Gill Gonchinn of Liad.. pp. p. mac side Maile Ochtraig. II. 36. T~ text is closely connected with the prose introduction to the lament ~ the Caillech Berri. s. This might also go some way towards explaining a contradictory feature often noted with regard to the Caillech's lament that the placenames belong primarily to East and Central Munster. Inis Boi. that the Caillech is envious. n~i otha[d] Ganainde is followed immediately by Sere Grede do Ganann mac O is n. p. Rossa m. 175. and (c) in the Lecan prose B ansenchas 83 The last of these has already been referred to.. aa C~Cp xx. as first suggested to me by Professor Kelleher.v. 36. Soc. = CGH. . Commain. 11. 17. messe fein 6 chiJI Conchinn. 70 ff. pp. Note 79 above. and Frank 89 O'Connor has included it in the cycle on literary grounds. ~ 953) P· 90 (a} Liad. 148. placename Cell Achaid Conchinn in Corco Duibne (cf. The History and Antiq. 264. and in any event the substitution of Ui Meic Iair for Ui Meic Eire which must have taken place prior to the composition of Liadain and Cuirithir. 14. But the transition was never complet ely made and even in the account of her fosterage of Core Duibne the placenames-B6 Boi. would have left a later editor quite confused as t o the Caillech's homeland. mac Maile-ochtraig 8 maic Dinertaig dona Dessib Muman " (b) In Mac Da Cherda imraiter sund. = CGH.

Cormaic m. MO.From such secondary characters we move to the E6ganachta of ~~-~~nster. lettrach 1s a very corrunon element in placenames. the alternation of joy and suffering. 202 ff. 102. a clear and relatively stable outline emerges. · Si:t . s. 0 him and Cummine Fota is ascribed the Dindsenchas of Mag 108 ZCP · 10& Liad xix (1933). also prominent in prose romance. Aeda. ]!'oms to 43 (1932). lklore 1 1° A need. 99 should roughly coincide with the expulsion of the Corco Loigde from Osraige: the Caillech's final aging comes about when she can no longer renew herself in the kingship of her people. Indeed Fin tan is elsewhere described tbl'~e Caillech's son. Inisj. tll 00 1o2 Me Kenna. It is clear. 7. the aging was to be ~anent.).v. Illand appears as a tragic figure in Scela Cano where his death is foretold and lamented by Cano. DDan a.. cf_ LL 25010: "Na tr1 Fotha1d · · · 1 Cloende 1 Trende a n-anmand. The who rejuvenates Fintan with a kiss is here called "Eanmhac aidriogh na Sorch Iollann Iolchrothach" (p. While Lisronagh could only be very ~ !le. she wrongly calls Illand the son of Fintan (p. and with reterence to h1s arguroe turY should be noted that Catha! mac Finguine is also found elsewhere in a seventh-can context: Cf. oende 97 Raw!. r. thiJJlt 99 Comgan is associated with her in Aisl." and it is clear that there is some confusion between Illand mac Scandlain and Illand son of the king of Sorcha who is elsewhere said to rejuvenate Fintan. ~~aner:r"'er. that the traditional mi~: seventh century jloruit suggested by the Caillech's association with Cummine Fota and Mac Da Cherda. · the processes of aging and renewal. who is of course." 98 Cf. Binchy.e!placed m the main Deissi line seven generations after Cobthach m. pp.. p. Awl.. king of Osraige (d. p. particularly the female ones." 1 o4 While Cell Letrach is not identified by Hogan it seetns inevitable that it was sited near or at "Dun Letrach for Siuir" W hich we have already met as the residence of Mael-ochtraig. l~h n. -204). This explanation becomes very plausible ~ ?Wer suggests. p. p ta Identified by Hogan (Onom. 155 b 26 etc. cit. whatever the original mythological nature of the characters. 139-) In any case Dlin Letrach is not otherwise identifiable.) was the last of the seven Corco Loigde kings of Osrai: and he himself resides at Dun mBaithe which. father of Mac Da Cherda. I p. = CGH. that a significant body of tradition localized her in a a seventh-century West-Munster context. His father (d.. 98 It seems significant to me. 237). '!~Ill (CG~. p. While he is not mentioned in the Caillech's poem or in the later introduction to it he turns up somewhat incongruously in the dialogue between Fintan and the Hawk of Achill. p. 210. father ·Nhtra1g according to one pedigree. the composition of which Eleanor Knott would place in the fourteenth century:Ioo tiJrl~· cts. 264. THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE Ill this seeing that he is elsewhere freely admitted to be a supernat figure. Co. xxiv.rlly sa1d to be on the Suir it is possible that Dlin Letrach and Lios Ruadhrach !f. Tipp. 83 n. The Place-names of Decies. p. SOano. where the story is told as an uirsgeal. 176. The residence of Mael-ochtraig is given as Lios Ruadhrach in the (ot. Scandlain M6ir aln Cindfaelad. the name Lios Ruadhrach derives from Ruaidri m. p. But the Caillech was never fully euhemerized. however. (It may be also the Less Ruadrach of . _85 above. .I .t it (Eigse xiii. so Illand mac Scandlain :ht renew the Caillech. 656 Ann. ge. I nisj. in vie 0 of her proposed Corco L6igde origins. 105 . Cummine Fota and Mac Da Cherda figure prominently in the text. of course.). ~ Ann. 10& • and Ouir. "Luid sium didiu co mb6i hi Cill Letrech i tir na nDesse inna ailithri. . As Illand of of the king of Sorcha rejuvenated Fintan. · But finally this suggestion must remain a tentative one: the tradition is surrounded by a mythological aura which is difficult to penetrate. For a general discussion of the tradition see E. 34. 394). o. cf. 1oo Knott and Murphy Early Irish Litemture. 1970. and see have been unaware of the episode referred to inn. and consequently she appears in widely differing contexts. 97 the tradition might be -expected to reflect his own and ~~a] Caillech's location in the legendary corpus. p. Scand] ·· of Scila Cano who is to be identified with Illand m. although n. Hull. e Corco Loigde is represented in our material by Illand m. Mac Cana op. 396).l 02 What is of interest here is the reason for this confusion which I would suggest is a thematic and tradition~ one. Unlike Carney I do not ah·" t~at Oaillech Berre is here simply "the name or nickname of a student at Arroa. Inisj. 22. and I have attempted to show that in one of her manifestations she was probably regarded as the personification of the Corco Loigde kingship of Osraige. . MOp. providing a more convincing link than the Caillech's relatively marginal connection with the pair. 278). is alse. but the Caillech herself. this time. 29. whose father Cormac died in 828 (Ann. associated with the Caillech. 103 and it seems likely that the confusion of as two Illand's in the dialogue was caused by the prior association thethe Caillech with the family of Illand mac Scandlain. This is in contrast to the other areas of the cycle where. and the loss or snbJe tened loss of sight. 811 Pier and later names for the same place.llO SEAN 6 COILEAIN .. the great antiquity of its 6 Tri chet bliadhan gan temeal 6igi m'aisse fa dheriuth re linn mo dalta gan tair Illainn sgiamhaigh mheic SgannlainlOl Nowhere else in the poem is this Illand called "mac Scannlain. p. 376-409.2. We have already mentioned some E6ganachtat ~s1 links of which Mac Da Cherda himself is the most important. That the author was also acquainted with the finer points of the cycle is shown by a detail in the text: When Cuirithir flees Liadain for his soul's sake we are told. liss ruadhrach) with Lisronagh. however. In general themes the poem is reminiscent of the lament an f traditions of the Caillech reflecting as it does on the ravages 0 I. The association of Liadain and Cuirithir with the cycle will be found less controversial. and who is Of )(&.

pp. had important ecclesiastical ties with t~e Would seem to be of importance to Mac Cana's interpretation of Eoganachta. Fermoy. II. prior to the composition of LL in any event-as it occurs after t~t initial dunad. 82." The question of the relationship of this passage to what precedes it Emly. p. who edited it from LL and B. age. 206. No.the exception of M6r's unseemly lament for Fingin mac Aeda which quently visit the residence of Fingin and Mor which surprisingly is may have concluded the Neman or formed a separate tale. with In the Imtheachta also Mac Da Cherda and Cummine Fota fre.r and Dunadh Aird Eachrais in B. 111 Although this is not confirmed elsewhere in L:~ B :_A: need. as he finds no further use for it beyond line five of paragraph three.IV.ist.M. No.m Cloll wever in M 6r M uman ocus Aided Cuanach meic A ilchine the ~Ience of Fingin m. as in M 6r Muman ocus Aided Cuanach meic Ailchine.Aeda m. correctly named in his obit in AI 786. corressaid to be not at Cashel but at a place called Dunadh Aird E(a)chlais ponds to the tale of the elopement of Suithchern. 109 although eman section could not be carried over to an antiquarian note. Confusion of this kind is conunon: w~ have ~I e"'is8 1 noted it in the case of Diarmait· m. Met. if my identification of Dunadh Aird Eachlats/ E~resented as marrying into Eoganachta Aine in this text. 0'It hi 24972): Aithed Ruthcherni re Guanu mac Gailchin.] and that most of the remainder (from line 6 of paragraph 3 onwards).ltt6r inough the argument is hardly strengthened by the translation of the phrase -..Aeda Sl!'tme. r~ .112 SEAN 6 COILEAIN THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 113 Femin at the end of which they pay tribute to Fingin and Mor Mu although mention of the latter pair may be a later addition~n. is confuse his great-grandw1ele Mael-duin m. l.l.ls · . E6ganachta Glendamnach.M. E6ganachta Aine. cit.: immaredi dar Femen F. ~SS. 742. and tract on the divisions of Ireland. 136). The true frenzy of M. Mac Cana employs the abbreviation M. The editors of LL took the concluding "Aided Cuanach meic Is ferr d'andrib Inse Fail c. cf. It is untitled in the M6r ocus Fingen Femin F. 71. 31 Rb 35. It is clear from with Cuanu mac Cailchine. sui" (i. Inisj. 97: .IV.e. Jrei)(IS no Cf. Byrne. 45. "airchindech" of Emly. Allchini in sin" as their cue. rooo. par. and we again find M6r associated with it in the quatrain ~e story. which probably dates from c. 177 R. 742 AU.e. 107 I would suggest that it is to be (recte Cathal mac Aeda Flaind Cathrach). 1 06 Neman Fir Moire Muman 113 [i. Cath~ What is in question is not the rotation of the kingship of Munster. e. D. III. p. nor did Eachrais is correct. . Aeda Synod we find a Comgan. Cr. 202-4. 628 Ann. p. Inisj.) has been confused with hiS n~r even M6r's function as loathly lady.a. M. Cerbaill and Diarmait m . DaCh. ua. sister of M6r Murnan in D. of course. who may be the same person as Cornga lia v· BUpra n. Inisj.IV. Aeda. 108 as located at Emly: "co Dun nEchlas sair oc Imblich Ibair..eslaid to be at Cashel. described as "comarbae A1lb1 a . cf. . Danta Gr. B. [M6r Muman] Ferr Fingen inna each fer to refer to it. Ann. This is the most important single text in the Na dermat in rig las 'tai Cummine: 15: le body of legend under discussion.) 11 o More interesting is Mac Da Cherd~S r e. The supernumerary stanzas also seem to have b e added at different times: een ~a~tion.IV. [1)0 gh! a _lly. whose marriage to M6r the text describes. m but the close association great-grandfather Cathal mac Aeda Flaind Cathrach (d. Bruchst. 242.r. I Ni fuaramar mag is fer suggest that paragraphs one and two correspond to the lost tale amail Fingin sceo Femen F. "'jtll Mael-duin n . Ann.5 ~althese two elements by assuming that we have here a single coherent AT = AU. and the rotation of the identified with Dun nEchla(i)s described in the Dal Cais inspired kingship between E6ganachta Caisil. Mac Da Cherda: Rasisset in nero iarsain to~ provides a fair description of its contents.1. 6z. although his own treatment of it would indicate otherwise.q. ferl is not greatly more substantial. 315." M6r is risen") as "M6r is on her throne" (Alwyn and Brinley Rees. 106 107 10s 109 Da Cherda. s.g. The title by which I refer ocus na dermat a mnai Vi ~ was provided by O'Nolan.. Aeda Bennain in AU 786 and F.. Mac Cana op. ingen Aeda Bennain. Raw!. 145.11 ill lia~fP viii (191 2). pp. and apparently regards the whole as a single text. par. In the account of the so-called Wes~-~~~ns~~ ganachta Aine actually provide the successor to Cathal m.U 4 The passage which recounts the death internal evidence that this place is not at Cashel as there are references of Fingin mac Aeda and M6r's marriage to Cathal mac Finguine to journeys between the two places. Mac Cana himself has noted that neither is M6r Murnan association with Emly. mac Finguine (d. . 14. ] Soichearn da sleachtadh gach tir 1 15 Alth •• le Cuanna m6r mac Ailcin c~. Dinds. p. Conaic. as the mythological aura which surrounds Mor in the attributed to her on the death of Cathal mac Finguine. 523. 11• lleJ . Irish Kings and High-Kings. 149 b 16 = CGH p. and entitled it Aided Cuanach meic M6r.l\1 781. 59. 6): Aithi Ruithceirne la Guana mac Gailcin. 217. A (fL(~b~d. the evidence for Cummine Fota's similar connection with tf8. here. Ailchini. is probably an interpolated antiquarian note.

l. l." The Caillech Berri similarly reflects in her old age: cid becc roo leim dar duae. Carney's remarks in his introduction to Knott and Murphy. p. IS . 79. Ann. quotations from M6r Muman ocus Aided Guanach mete are as in LL 35737 ff. lla ~ L e_Lonan mac [F]indig of LL 35827 (v. 207. and that the text as we have it is a composite one. 645 etc. In this regard we might further stress a remarkable verbal parallel.l.. So the :~ns of Aed Bennan sweep the Erainn opposition eastwards before ! eern. . as Lonan mac Findig who represents the latter 119 is required to rise before the visiting king of the Deissi. 643. nor is it as clear as he would seem to assume. Erigsiu a Lonain riasin rig. Etersce01l. Suitcearn. Bui. on going to bed with Fingin mac Aeda :og discards them. who reigned ~a the mid-eighth century. p.iterat. but that either branch can easily dispose of any number on non-E6ganachta peoples. 248-9). 72-81. PBA XLIX (1963). na melainn cid aithleini. Gormflaith. It should be observed also that only in this part of the text is the Catha! whom M6r marries on the death of Fingin m. Cathail m.213. n. ~cr?ss the breadth of Munster. In any case it is clear that there was a later editor." Apart fr?~ this verbal correspondence there is a remarkable emphasis on clot~nrs imagery in both this text and the Caillech's poem. 219 s.iz0Mrt' t&~eJI ~~AS. Cf. w4 c:S The final cataclysmic battle reflects what 6 Buachalla regarded as the two principal themes of early Munster history: the conflict between E6ganachta and Erainn and "the strife between the rival east and west divisions of the E6ganachta which went on from the mid-fifth century right up to the early ninth century". Feice of ~le Tuaiscirt (CGH pp. T~e last E6gana~h lp Ame kmg of Munster was Cathasach m. LVII (1952). The Caillech describes the reverse proc in such stanzas as: 116 Early Irish Lyrics. can hardly be earlier than the late nint~ century . and who h ~ already been superseded by Fedelmid mac Crimthainn in the previa~ year. lla E . Finguine who must have been of very old man when he died in 821 (AU. 'IV The reality seems to have been more prosaic. Inisj. 120 In this battle the forces of the eastern branch. l.). Binnig (v. Aeda called "mac Finguine". The tone of the note suggests th t . Murphy translates the first line as "though my leap beyond th~ 0 had been small" but the distinction is not with regard to the srze the leap.114 SEAN 6 COILEAIN THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE Is me Caillech Berri.n which reflect the general uncertainty which followed the death as Catha! mac Finguine. Ann Inisj. LIX (1954). cf. Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Kingship. For laim Chatail no bid Lonan. 115 in the kingship of Munster. pp. 117 a d as if to testify its persistence and significance this clothing ~agery is also prominent in a number of po:m~ a~tributed to Fechtas and tanic ri na nDese. they are regarded as superior to Ele Tuaiscirt.n. although he does not appear in the ann .m. but between leaping and not leaping. 42. liS. 6 Cuiv.) fought between 6engus 11. Fermoy) is to be identified "'·lao J'c vru. and should be trans· lated "even if I had not leaped over the wall/rampart. discussed by Mac Carra. M6r begins her wanderings by leaping over the rampart of her father's fort in West Munster: "coro ling dar dua ind liss. while the sons of Cathal mac da Similarly rout their opponents westwards." While the Deissi would seem from this to be inferior to E6ganachta Locha Lein. noted by Gerard Murphy. 16. Firstly there is M6r herself as the figure of sovereignty.:e . her new position as queen is confirmed by placleSs a purple cloak about her. and the forces of E6ganachta Locha Lein under the sons of Aed Bennan serve as the focal points. (I wo~ld a!s? say here th~t t~e distmc~wn between historicity and non-histoncity of Gormflaith IS not as Important as carney would make it. no meilinn Ieini mbithnui. ibid. Quotations from the Caillech's !amen~ from this edition. I ar.g. ni ba nuae in brat beus. then. Bergm. 116 between this text and the lament of the Caillech Berri who may also be regarded as a sovereignty figure. M6r wan e ne about Ireland in rags. Aeda. This part of the saga Probably built around the battle of Cenn Con or Cathair Chinn on (AU 64o. There is no confrontation between the Principals : the message is that a battle between the two branches of !he E6ganachta would be indecisive. Early Irish _ 'fbe. This note. 'Indig' LL) m. Bardw Poetry. indiu tathum dom seimi. it may be that the confusion of the two Cathals here is due to the mistaken deduction of a later editor. 'Binnig' B. pp. Ito ~~a~. For the East-West t a rrva!ry see further Binchy. But for the most part it reflects very early and possibly contemporary tradition. 247 ff. was added by way of explanation after the rotation of the king\·!! h~d ea~ed and was in danger of being forgotten.)ns As a sovereignty figure M6r is preferred to the daughter of the king of the Deissi (Mael-ochtraig?) on the grounds that E6ganachta Locha U in are superior to the Deissi: "Anfaidsi or is ferr a cenel or Fingen. The text contains a series of fairly obvious political metaphors. The last E6ganachta Glendamnach king of Munster was Artri m. p . represented by E6ganachta Glendamnach under the leadership of the sons of Cathal m. and that it need not be presumed for the remainder of the text.

presumably in support of Gua1re.IV. Munst~e kings who fell in the battle. Both episodes imply rejection. Plununer. brother of Cathal m. Ronan is also mentioned elsewhere in the M. in D. where it occurs independently of the NemanfMor story supporting my contention that it is t o be regarded as a separate tale. and Mac Da Cherda is sent for to determine her origins. Here the episode is introduced by the words: E6~6r Scela imona Suitceirne ingine Aedha Beannain 1 Ronain Dicollai meic Fergusa Tuile . 151 V. (The fact that Mor Murnan's death ..k1~g of Uf Meic Caille and Ui Liathain." Ann. 'f 0 f other two Cuan mac Conaill of Ui Fidgenti and Cuan mac Amalgada 121 anachta Aine (to be discussed below) are related by marriage Murnan. both herd sheep. This suggests to me that Suithchern should be regarded with Moras a sovereignty figure. seem to regard it as a draw: "Fe ille. and to complete the parallel the Deissi are involved in both. We conclude with an examination of how each of these in turn relates to the cycle. From there the story.IV.r he is entitled king of Uf Liathain and in th!V.J Jo · Suithchern is already married to Ronan when the episode begins.. VSH II.1. Muimhne 1 p. both contract royal marriages.r .) While on one level the text reflects the power politics of seventh century Munster. and Mac Cana has seriously questioned it. At first sight that evidence would seem slight. While the other an~c {· credit Oengus Liath with the victory.1. but they have a common thematic shape. Suithchern as a captive. fe innund. 665) ~ been substituted. The passage in the NemanfMor section where Fingin's cast-off wife prepares a bed for Ffngin and Mor is functionally similar to the passage in the AithedfSuithchern section where Lonan. There is one important addition in the D. Mor and Suithchern are both daughters of Aed Bennan and therefore of royal birth. The problem is that no Talamnach appears in their GU~alogies.) Dicolla m.i. and it may be that the name of Talamnach m. Inisj. ri ua Liathain indistiur sunnai coleicc. ll. 121 We have seen that Cuanu mac Cailchfne of F!~ Maige Fene was regarded as Guaire's uterine brother. where Suithchern arrives at "Dun Chaireda i erich hua Liathan.I 23 .n entered in AU 632 etc. father of Bac Da ~herda. and her husband can find no fault with her except that he does not know her family or patrimony.tntheachta as holding a convention with Mael-ochtraig. whose daughter in turn was held to be the wife of to 're.r version: R6nan departs for the dwelling of Cuanu mac Cailchine at Liathmuine. 336 g 30 Heist. and h. I would further suggest that he has replaced . L . 29 Vb 1. Fergusa Tuile of Ui Liathain to whom all the vidence points as the original Uf Liathain representative in the saga ef battle. both arrive in lowly circumstances in Mid-Munster. 144) and Mael-duin m. . Inisj.tnan (m. the same year in which the death of Oentu Liath is entered. Cf.IV. is hardly relevant since. Ele Tuaiscirt and Fir Maige Fene.IV. both are left to lament a spouse. Talamnach king of Ui Liathain is named as one of the three. husband of Suithchern is compelled to rise before a man whose friendship is preferred to his. the battle of Carn Conaill in being related by marriage to Mor l~~~~· The fact that there is no Talamnach who was king of Uf ha111.IV. Laidcind gen:Baetain of Corco Baiscind122 who was slain in the battle of Loch Ill~n fought "eter Mumain ocus Chonnachtu" (Ann. She is described as the most beautiful of women. follows the outlines of the LL tale. records the death of Cua as in the following year (646). so that the association of the two events in traditi0 us was a very natural one. Aeda J?ennain. proceeded with her marriage to Lonan mac Fin dig and ~ncluded with her elopement with Cuanu mac Cailchine ending in 1 e latter's death. p. that mention of Mor at the beginning of the latter section is a feeble attempt at unity. 155.116 SEAN 6 COILEAIN THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 117 Liath. p. I have shown that the sections which deal with the two sisters are really separate tales. 380. Mor as a lunatic. Aeda Flaind Cathrach (L. He is not ~entioned in the LL composite tale being discussed. 35 Rb 10. Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae. Inisj. 122 ta." This episode is also described in the D. and as Mor does the round of the central Eoganachta Suithchern moves on the periphery between Ui Liathain. 124 It is clear then t ~ Ronan belongs to this set of characters and fulfils what seems 0~ e a basic requirement of the Munster kings involved in the saga M. Ann.1 . and although t he text becomes illegible at this point we may assume that the Aithed in its original form described Suithchern's marriage to R6nan (which was probably terminated by his death at Carn Conaill). the fact that t~s Neman and Aithed sections are quite distinct makes it seem like!. 89 and 0 ' = CGH pp. in as far as it is legible. The relationship of Ui Liathatn the cycle is something of a problem. the name and origin of each is at first unknown. Apart fron: this tale Ele Tuaiscirt cannot be related to the ~ycle~ Lonan mac Findig is known elsewhere to me only in the Ltfe 0 Finan of Cenn Etig where the saint gives him the rather doubtful assurance that he will not be defeated by his enemies until the day of his death. beginning with Suithchern sister of Mor. even if the entry ~s reliable. and that this does not seem to be even an Uf Liathain name.rv. D.r version of the Imtheachta. w~ be discussed more fully below. In the battle of Carn Conal. 12a })L 324 g 39. on another it brings together a wise range of legendary characters. 428.

. r It seems likely that Ronan Dicolla m. the Imtheachta and the account of Ronan's encounter e~ Moel Coirn" have the first version. 1 Goirmgel ingen Finain Rathain mathair Cathail meic Findguine. This comes from the Ui Maine prose Bansenchas and although it contains the confusion of Cathal m . bean Cuam m. 1\e~a Bean~ain ing~n. to Mor's (probable) great-grandson. ind rigan") and ·where Lonan mac Findig is compelled to rise before the king of the Deissi.' cycle. Aeda Duib. LL . Dicolla m. Conalll m. Is fria do raid : Adraei suas. This passage has been published in an entirely different conte. the fact that the transformation is achieved in preparation for the union provides the necessary unity. m Raw!. There is one further instance of Ronan's connection with Mor :Murnan wort h mentioning. 1g6. as Ronan m. M aine. ut Simply that the time frame to which they refer belongs to the seventh and early eighth centuries. This collapse does not seem to have taken place in Munster until the In!d-eighth century.. and coincides with the death of Cathal mac Fmguine. 27 Ra 20 ff. This recalls the passage in the LL compound tale where the daughter of the king of the Deissi prepares a bed for Fingin and Mor ("Sisi ro deraig d6ib . 17~~~i. ~b~d. 152 a 28 = CGH p. T.IV~.118 SEAN 6 COILEAIN THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 119 when added to the fact that Ronan fits in terms of time and ass . Inisf. 185.i. 125 RC xlviii. It follows that given part of the system we may presume to reconstruct the whole by making use of the comparative evidence. as does his pedigree in 1 77 a r g. which is strongly reminiscent of two parallel episodes _ Is M6r Muman ocus Aided Cuanach meic Ailchine. The pedigree given for Cuan here substantia lly agrees with t he . p. 232. although Fedelmid mac Crimthainn gave rise t o another set of legends in the following century they are essentially of a different kind. For related Bansenchas entnes see RC.. h ere name "Moel Coirn".. Fergusa Tuile. Carn Conaill saga. what :finally matters is not the fact itself but its position in the system. This is another example of how legendary relationships tend t o persist through several generations in a regular genealogical manner. but quotes a quatra·In • c in probably from one of the several lost tales wh1ch belonged to th. or. meic] Fergusa Tuile . misconstrued by Dobbs in RC xlviii. 1 the battle. p· ohoS and LL 17159-64. Aeda Fiaind Cathrach with his great-grandson Cathal m.xt. bratar do Moir Murnan. ben eile Cathail meic Findguine.IV. Cuan m.) Although in this instance there is an apparent lurse of time between the moment of transformation and sexual !on. o!'fic!lJ. in a passage which precedes the Imtheachta in D . I am not claiming that the legends ~ere ~omposed prior to 742. Finguine it is still significant: aJl Us M6r's encounter with Fingin m. This type of legend-making process does not seem to have proceeded beyond his reign. 127 As well as the question of rising before a superior there is here the matter of preparing a bed ('dergud') for Cuan and Guas. Fergusa Tuile should be . cf. lnde dllg passage which immediately precedes mention of Ronan in thee []~ ll1 aine prose Bansenchas not only i1_1troduces another participant . This may also be the case with the entry in Ann. · While details such as the custom of rising before a superior are in themselves of no significance.ad. 223. Note the grouping of chara cters in a ll versions of th e BanseJl which shows the same sense of a ssociation evident in the tales. with emendation 'mac Conaill' for 'meic Cona ill' in final 9-uatrain. Lucas. and we have seen that this relationship is expressed genealogically as well as thematically. n hUa F1gmnte. if we eliminate the confusion of generations. The passage is In Guais [sic] inge!l Mael D~in m. At least it explains why an Ui Liathain ~he was regarded as an appropriate participant in the battle. (This curious insistence of the previous : and the apparent importance of identifying the hag by name or . tions. 126 A. leads me to believe that he figured in an earlier form 0 ~Cia. t Suithchern does not appear elsewhere as loathly lady. Iif80 ~! This means that Suithchern's (probable) grand-daughter Caillech (called Ceallach in her obit in AU 732) was married to Mor's husband. :Ill to sleep with the hag.~chas. deirig do Cuan is do Guas. P· from D. and Guas. Cailleach ingen Dunchada Arda meic Ronain Dicolla mathair [leg. Gr1llme .l. Mor bean Cathail meic Findguine. ibid. Conaill of Ui Fidgenti. "Washing and Bathing in Ancient Ireland". The Ui Maine prose . nocor deirgead do laec luind bad amra na mac Conailll2 5 d describes the hag-queen transformation in a way that immediately The parallel ~eca ade complete by the fact that Ronan's previous wife challenges JS. 96 Vb 51. 1o6. It is t his type of consistency which allows us to correct variations in the system as I have done above in suggesting that Ronan be subst ituted for ~~~. bud significantly Ronan does encounter such a person. indeed this is one of the best and most explicit examples of the theme. the date of Cathal mac Finguine's death. It is clear that a similar set of traditions attached to Mor. Suithchern. they become significant as part of a complex pattern such as that being discussed. ·n are two aspects of the thematic complex which deserve ~rtfh:r investigation. 223. until the entire structure which supports the cycle collapses.~se. J'RSAI 95 (19 65). and to be expressed by way of similar themes.

53. of Fir Maige Fene. . Crichad an Chaoilli. as the account of a battle fought between an Ui Liathain expeditionary force led by Dicuill. 64. Fergusa Tuile is also the usual versio e in the genealogies. Instead hos .) Power.e.. Cuana mac Cailchin meic Dimma . 130. Comhdhan is Conall an rann leathach iomarbhadha eatorra &raon ••• 1as (Comdhan and Conall are. 151 a 48 = CGH. It is tempting to think of the AD entry on the death of Dicuill m.. 5. 40 at.130 Mrs. gonadh uime sin do rinne an da 6inmhid . 224. 131 But perhaps the most inclusive statement of his genealogical position and place in tradition is that which occurs in Betha M olaga. For general variation of this type see ZCP viii. Fergussa. 0 Daly has assembled much of the tradition relating to Cuanu in her foreword to the text of M esce Chuanach. th8 130 For this section of List B see Aneccl. 178-9. codorcair iarsin la Lonan134 We have seen that the tract on the mothers of the saints makes Cuanu a uterine brother to Guaire. Lives of SS." but it seems llJ. as in AU. PRIA 39 C 3 (1931). it'indig with the sentence: Is i [i. also known as Laech Liathmuine. (The pedigrees of the saints as given here agree with those provided for them in GRSH-)1 32 The text reads: 12s Raw!. z." Tha variant Ronan m. 27-28. . is a problem. said to be a fnenls or Mochuta in BColm. J!Ldd Ol 131 Eriu xix (1962). and as usual this connection is supported by traditional association. d of Incidentally the "Diingal mac Maelfothbil . and Fir Maige Fene under Cuanu. and a tale entitled Imscothadh Cuimine which very likely refers to Cummine Fota and perhaps contained an earlier version of I mtheachta na nOinmhideadh-at least the term Imscothadh is of similar meaning to Imtheachta. rogenair immorro ·nn Dimma . p. clann Luchta At r Dedhadh 1 clann Dimma 1 as 6na finib sin roghenair triar on6rach 1 ol~ 1 i ttalmain .r version of the [tntheachta as a huntsman at the court of Fingin and Mor. Molaga and Mochuille who belonged to different branches of Ui Chuscraid. Mochuilli mac Diuchaill meic Comain . loc. it is Guaire's own druid who. 46-7. p. 133 in-f o.scraid a ested Maine 72 Va 51. pp. ll2. II. as Mac Airt suggests.. so this context in liberality between Cuanu and of ~re Is ?diculed in a savage little in-tale in Betha M olaga.Present Cuanu with the impossible choice of being f sahnzed or allowing Carn Cuillinn to be plundered: laal llf.' 129 Certainly a great amount of material concerning Cuanu has been lost.m Guaire. Declan and Mochuda. refers to the dea~~ of Ronan's father Dicuill..i. For another example of 'scothad' in the sense of travelling see FeL p. and states his relationship to SS. This shows him to have been of Clann Dimma of Ui Chuscraid of Fir Maige Fene.IV.i. of course. 75-80. follows Mochuta's meeting with Catha! m. 1'exts III. 85. Fergusa Tuile. and that the entry. As well as being involved in the Aithed he seems also to have been the subject of the lost tale given in List B as Linne Laich Liathmuine. Dicolla m.As t~e theme of Guaire's own generosity is reduced to the absurd in 0 Gu "}-da. pp. 185. None of these tales is hsted J1l later List A. 132 GRSH p. Power. . He is 0f course also one of the principal figures in the Aithed or rather what emains of it in the LL composite tale.i.l 2 S n From Ronan we turn to Cuanu mac Cailchine. Dfcolla. The Ui Maine prose ~ansenchas which may be drawing from a fuller version of the Aithed separates the full and correct pedigrees of Cuanu and Lonan m. 1 • • cexts I. (I know of no tradition which refers to Guaire as a leper as sugg see in p.120 SEAN 6 COILEA:IN THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 121 634 which reads "Mors Ronain m. Comgan Mac Da Cherda and Conaii Clocach).. 24. cit. 108-110. Their rivalry in generosity is the theme of Mesce Chuanach. Cailcin go Liathmuine ar egin arna guin. 12-13. rogenair o a Degha.i. We have already considered Cuanu's association with Ronan m. probable that. Suithchern] rug Cuano m. To her genealogical references to Ui Ch{. It appears here in the same section as Neman Fir Moire Muman.e ~nbe of poets who make outrageous demands on Guaire's i~~sJlta~Ity. two entries have been rore together here. also refers to CuanU· especially p. The AU entry (at 632) reads "Bellum Ath Aublo in quo cecidit Dichuill mac Fergusa Tuile la Mumain. Ito . . huts 129 VSH I. Here Mo? telY heals the paralyzed right hand of Flandnait aaughter of Cuanu. as he does not seem to occur in the ann!L genealogies or indeed anywhere else. presumably at Guaire's ~~~bon.. agus bhi C?imhmheas oinigh is daonnachta eatorra. 219. M6r Murnan's second husband. 79 par. obhattar tri fine aireghda do Uibh Cuscraid an tan sin . ri Fer Maigi". 0 cloinn Luchta immorro rogenair Molaga . The episode imrnediO. and Keating could write: Fa fear comhaimsire do Ghuaire mac Colmain an Cuanna-so. . Molaga mac ~bh Dlighidh meic Duibh Deochain. 85 for possible site of Liathmuine. In the poem on the saints of Fergus' seed we find Guaire and Cuanu again associated with one another Guaire na naomh dhiobh gach duine gach fear dhiobh os Laoch Liathmhuine136 r. . Ath Abla (Ballyhooly) is also associated with Cuanu in the Life of Mochuta where he is called 'dux huius regionis. laa lr ~III. 116 l{e. Aeda. and noted that he appears in the D. quoted above. .i. cited by Mrs 0 Daly.:z Jclviii.

although such reference to a female ancestor is mo_st unusual. Memories of Cuanu himself survived in Connacht down to the sixteenth century at least as shown by the entry on the death of Mac Diarmada ALC r568 where he is called "Guaire duass~ch degoinigh tslechta Muireghaigh Mhuillethain. no attempt being made to eliminate contradictory informa~ion. Amalgada is said to be slain as well as a separate entry on his death. Ennai is the third of the Munster kings who died at Carn Conaill according to the saga of the battle.i.11}j~1r daughter in turn was named Gormfhlaith. Connach~ cona. attitude that 'Mumhan' here refers only to M6r's place Jlerao~ • ~nd that all later references to M6r Murnan in the Connacht annals are to this or the ' It 1.i.4ileU II. Inisj. I4zr. 140 The LL regnal list shows the same confusion: "Ciian m. Lasairfhfona.. Conn. Mac Da Cherda. Ann.. As well as Guaire and Cuanu. ' note p. Briain 1 ben Uater a Burc. 185. " Especially innesting is the fact that M6r Murnan was the name of the wife of ~rthal Croibhdhearg () Conchobhair. to ben dob fherr da tanic a Cenel Doftha riamh . Conaill while it records the death of Crundmael m.. 189-90.~e Murnan also occur in the Connacht area.Frafch (father of Cuan king of Munster by his own identification) or ~ rJf~ 1 d m. ingen J3rldia h. 138 and Cuan mac Amalgada also appear. 'L-it . Misc.360.e. that the addition was made at Clonmacnoise. Cummine Fota. 160. Ennai m. par. ~A. ~n~18 ~or's e~ death is entered in ALC 1218. CQ Pp. daughter. p. I prefer to think of the comparison as a direct one.t triana taobh iarna guin. His obits provide some of the clearest evidence that all the annalistic accounts with the exception of AU and Ann. dengusa Lappae as king of Ui Fidgenti in the same year as the battle i. 649). Fiach et Erriach et Eniach. 1 bennacht each cristaide le dnacal. considering the strong local Interest and the annals involved. 1 I 473 Ir.i. ~.d L. Amalgada m. et is edh 6n recomhallnadh 137 • \111 It is not easy to reconcile the statement that the unborn child of the lone woman who escaped fulfilled Molaga's prophecy and killed Cuanu with the Aithed tradition that Lonan mac Findig was his slay~r. I nisj. Fursa (son of Geilgeis daughter of Guaire by one tradition). 646. 1217n. In his elegy on the latter (Ir. Ann." Again in the same Annals at I52J. The evidence of AT is clearer still as it contains both the saga account of the battle in which Cuan m. I5·. 137 138 fill~ • 76) Giolla Brighde Mhac Con Midhe refers to her as: ua do Mh6ir a rnfnluachair 'l'he d . Amalgada "101QJ. nail 6 Briain or 0 .7 . Texts III. Slanaighis Molaga an mnaoi sin 1 cuiridh lamh ah leinib anunn et geallaidh gomadh hi an lamh sin nomuirfedh Cuana iartta. although this would not quite explain his Ele pedigree. AT p.s extremely unlikely that all this could have been done without an awareness leo ATrher tradition. M6a immorro doronss~ somh ina amail dodeonaigedh doibh ar romursat uile an baile et roloisccs: · et romarbhsat a dhaeine ach aenbhen roelo uaithibh 1 lamh a leini. 360) would seem to be Cuan's ""~elle:::. was married to Domhnall M6r 6 Domhnaill. ~.. It seems reasonable to assume. Pol. Aeda m..a. Ennai but this is an insignificant variation. derive from the saga. !)O!nh esc r1ption "a rnfnluachair" refers to the fact that this M6r was daughter of !. CS s. 0 Daly w~~ quotes this entry comments "That a Connacht annalist sho f0 mention Cuanu in the same breath as Guaire shows that his farne : generosity was not merely a local one. a ec no a marbad i cath Carn Conaill. Cuan m.e~ if we were to take the. Ennai is given in Rawl154 d 8 etc." This is not very stranga 0 when we consider that this cycle of tales originally operated ~be Munster-Connacht axis. FM s. The passage seems to be related to the visit of the "triar aesa cerdda" who prophesy his death to Cuanu in the Aithed section of the LL composite tale as in each case the prophecy of Cuanu's death inevitably fulfilled is preceded by the visit of three savants. ped1gree of Cuan m. 81. Inisf. 18-19.x. 402_taking readings E and N). Cathal mac Aeda Flaind Cathrach. ~. aithghin Moire :man ar clu 1 ar crabadh et ar deighbesibh .~her ~ga1d who also appears in the LL list (CGH.20 we find reference b. Of.Jn read: "Mor Murnan dedinach na Mumnech quieuit.a m~c Cailcinlg~ Laoch L1athmume. Amalgada m. Amalgaid .a. Ann. Ir. O'Rahilly.)" 141 It seems clear that the more elaborate entries on the battle were superimposed on the annals in the usual antiquarian fashion. Rose. Muimhneach p. Poems. Crimthaind (father of Cuan by my identification). and it is a testimonial to the endurance of~ 6r Munster-Connacht continuum that similar late references to . co nar gabsat m uadh acht an ba1le d argam doibh n0 ·l. C Cuillenn gurab an tan sin tangattar tri druidh Guaire mic Colmain r~rn. ccliaraibh do chui~~idh neich for ~uall. 9606 call him Cuan m. 116 ~~ · ~ath. 193." Mrs. Conn. So in Ann. l&J. 1.a . (ec. Like the Life of Mochuta. do macuib Lir . p. 1265. =CGH. glamhadh. records the battle at 649 and Cuan's death at 641 (it is interesting also to note that Ann. 'fe~. Wrongly identified by O'Brien in the index as Cuan m. ua M6iri Mumhan . Perhaps one of the lost tales describes the woman's flight to Ele Tuaiscirt where Lonan was born. Laoch LiathmhUlne Leithe Cuinn ar fheile ar fhirinne ar oineach. 263. that of Molaga refers to characters in this cycle of tales so consistently that we cannot regard it simply as an example of the tiresome and random convention which requires that one's favourite saint come into contact with every worthwhile individual of the period or near it. 139 as it seems likely that the astarts O'Connors were anxious to establish a connection with the ~aire cycle and with Guaire himself. as suggested by the flattering use of the term Ui Chreidhe to refer to them. Ainligi. ough O'Brien does not attempt to identify him either as Amalgaid m. ~. does not mention Cuan m. 124.. ~'Ann.a another M6r "ingen Maoilsechlainn Meic Caba uxor h.122 SEAN 6 COILEAIN THE STRUCTURE OF A LITER4RY CYCLE 123 Is hi immorro cathair as m6 dobi ar sccath Molaga isin aimsir sin . Deonaighidh tra Cuana crodh an bhaile dona druidhibh .

rtl~his concludes the survey of the Munster characters. Lorcan is probably a late substitution for the unfamilar Laidcnen. The 0 . Fro: the point of view of the cycle it does not greatly matter as t e 142 List A: Aithed Dige re Laidcnen. p. 45. Cork. 222. as I hope to show elsewhere. cit. (c) there were two Ornats who lived at the same time. and appears e early as Sanas Cormaic where Ornat laments the dead Laidcnen ~ the presence of her second husband as M6r lamented Fingin m. ) ''()il said h ere to be buried at Kilmacduagh are "Cana" (i. 143 Mac Cana has discussed the variant tra. 363. 3 146 RC xlviii. The variation is within fixed limits and along set\'~~ marked lines of exchange. Amalgada and wife of Guaire or of Sechnasach m. The term "a cer her fotll implies lmowledge of the tradition that Deoch later married Guaire. 211 Va. dall!l ofGuaire. gives two separate accounts of the battle of Carn Conaill which he must have known to be irreconcilable but yet felt obliged to record out of a sense of duty to tradition. ter Guaire. and Ao~.t. Gartnaill ' nW~ Chuinneall" (i. at one point seeming to identify Ornat with Deoch while fifty lines later Ornat (presuming her to be the same person) reappears among a group of eighth-century characters as wife of Sechnasach mac Fingin.145 The violent displacement in the latter instance is probably an attempt to conceal the contradiction which Gilla Mo Dutu saw to exist just as Keating. J . variation in Lee. Coingelt of Gaithreim Gellaig). This essential unity. p. I prefer to think of the original traditional situation as one in which Ornat daughter of Cuan an: wife of Sechnasach m. the remarkable thing is. List B: Aithi Dighi la Ladh~ 35 darY framework not only contributed to the confusion but also legen to explain it. The LL Bansenchas is ambiguous. and Geilgeis and Cred. Amalgada to G . the daughter of Fingin and wife of Guaire. The final result of this method is what we find in the Ui Maine prose Bansenchas where all possible variations are entertained: 14 6 (a) Ornat was daughter of Cuan m. Fingin. of Fingin and M6r was held to be married in turn to Laidcne. but the general outline seems rtJ. Fingin is clearly distinguished from Deoc daughter of Fingin and M6r wife of Laidcnen and Guaire. Aeda Flaind Cathrach and w~ similarly reproached. among the six said to be buried at Kilmacdua.A. that considering the range and diversity of the sources. 14. Sechnasach mac Fingin" LL ~~~ i We have already referred to the tradition whereby Deoch dau h3). 211 Ra 35-7: Lee. This complex and intricate set of relationships has hitherto been largely ignored in favour of the artificial and nontraditional T romddm Guaire. nhag 8 fiDd soir" 23. Anecd. II. pp. !)--42· 145 LL 17143-6 : 17193-6. IV (R.g VI Deogh inghean Aodha fuair eg agus Lore~in a ceidshearc. cf.a?<! fail Fingin co rruc mac do . Mac Cana has also noted (op. D. (b) she was a different person. ditions in some detail. pp. 139. Cano m. 144 ibid. LL 24973. and the question of origin is very cleafh secondary to the question of pattern. the Bansenchas connects him to M6r Murnan in that his dauU~re. CU.I. Similarly in the unpublished poem "Seisear 'sa. SEAN 0 COILEAIN University College. and that the margin of variation is so small. obablf.~hefll'i' derives from Deoch's grandfather Aed Dub m. and places where we soJll t substitute speculation for f<1. 357-8) that it is referredhaidb Oidheadh Ghloinne Lir. Ae~n Duib in the presence of Cathal m. It would be foolish to pretend ~t there are no discrepancies or anachronisms. 142 Within the context of t~r cycle confusion of Doech and Ornat was inevitable. cit.~ from a single traditional block.e.D. there are so few of them.ct. goo A. and her romance with the former is the subject of yet anot~n<! lost tale mentioned in Lists A and B.USr The materials which supply the evidence seem to have been ~e.e. op. Ornat is there said to be married to Sechnasach son of Fingi g ter M6r whose birth is mentioned in the LL composite tale ("Bn .124 SEAN 6 COILEAIN THE STRUCTURE OF A LITERARY CYCLE 125 While the saga of Carn Conailllinks Cuan m. There are e problems with regard to points of detail.i.) p. Crimthaind.3 Mac Cana. must derive from a very early period: I have already suggested a terminus ad qttem at c. 357 ff. I hope that this and following articles will do something to restore perspective to a substantial area of Irish tradition. though not necessarily all the details.

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