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Meyer, Kuno / The Triads of Ireland
Produced by Geetu Melwani, Brian Foley, Christine D. and
the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at

[Transcriber's note: Linenotes and Footnotes moved as close as
possible to their applicable entry to facilitate readability.]








_Printed by_ PONSONBY & GIBBS, _Dublin University Press_










The collection of Irish Triads, which is here edited and translated for
the first time, has come down to us in the following nine manuscripts,
dating from the fourteenth to the nineteenth century:--

=L=, _i.e._ the Yellow Book of Lecan, a vellum of the end of
the fourteenth century, pp. 414_b_--418_a_, a complete copy.

=B=, _i.e._ the Book of Ballymote, a vellum of the end of
the fourteenth century, pp. 65_b_-66_b_ (ends imperfectly).

=M=, _i.e._ the Book of Húi Maine, a vellum of the
fourteenth century, fo. 190_a_[1]-fo. 191_a_[2]. A complete
copy beginning: 'Ceand Erenn Ardmacha,' and ending: 'tri
hurgairt bidh a caitheam díescaidheadh (_sic_) a chaitheam
iarna coir a caitheam gan altughudh.' Then follow proverbial
sayings from the 'colloquy of Cormac and Cairpre,' such as:
'Dedhe ara ndligh gach maith domelar ithe [et] altugud. Anas
deach gacha fleidhe a cainaltughudh [et] a mochdingbail.
Caidhe deach samtha. Ni _hansa_. Gal gan forran. Deasgaidh
codulta frislige,' &c., ending: 'deasgaidh aineolais
imreasain. Ni d'agallaim Cormaic [et] Cairpre coruici sin.'

=Lec=, _i.e._ the Book of Lecan, a vellum of the fifteenth
century. The leaves on which the Triads are found are now
bound up with the codex H. 2. 17 belonging to Trinity
College. It is a complete copy beginning on p. 183_b_:
'Ceand _erenn_ Ardmacha,' and ending on p. 184_b_:
'ceitheora aipgitri baisi baig connailbi gell imreasain.'[1]
=N=, _i.e._ 23. N. 10, a paper MS. written in the year
1575,[2] pp. 98-101. A complete copy, the gap between pp.
100 and 106 being made up by pp. 7_a_-10_b_ of the vellum
portion of the manuscript.

[1] By an oversight I have referred to this MS. sometimes by Lec and
sometimes by H. In some cases both Lec and H will be found quoted in the
variants. The same MS. is always meant.

[2] As appears from the following colophon on p. 101: 'Oraoit uaim ar do
lebor a hOedh in c_éd_luan iar n-aurtach Johannes. Baile Tibhaird ar bla
maige mo mendad scribne hi farrad Se(a)ain hi Maoilconari. Mese
(Dubthach) do scrib in ball soin da derpiris [et] rlæ. Anno domini 1575.
Guroiuh maith ag_a_t.

=H=[Prime], _i.e._ H. 1. 15, pp. 946-957. This is a paper
manuscript written by Tadhg Tiorthach O Neachtain in 1745.
It is a complete copy, with copious glosses in Modern Irish,
the more important of which are printed below on pp. 36-43.
At the end O Neachtain has added the following:--'Trí
subhailce diadha: creidhemh, dothchus agus grádh. Trí a
n-aon: athair, mac, spiorad naomh, da raibh gloir, mola[dh]
[et] umhlacht tre bith sior tug ré don bhochtan bocht so.
Aniu an 15 do bhealltuine 1745. Tadhg O Nechtuin mac Seain a
n-aois ceithre bliadhna déag et trí fithchit roscriob na
trithibh [.s]uas.'

These manuscripts have, on the whole, an identical text, though they all
occasionally omit a triad or two; and the order of the single triads
varies in all of them. They have all been used in constructing a
critical text, the most important variants being given in the
foot-notes. The order followed is in the main that of the Yellow Book of

There are at least three other manuscripts containing copies of the
Triads. One of them I discovered in the Stowe collection after the text
had been printed off. It is a paper quarto now marked 23. N. 27,
containing on fo. 1_a_-7_b_ a copy of the Triads, followed on fo.
7_b_-19_a_ by a glossed copy of the _Tecosca Cormaic_. It was written in
1714 by Domnall (or Daniel) O Duind mac Eimuinn. Its readings agree
closely with those of N. In § 237, it alone, of all manuscripts, gives
an intelligible reading of a corrupt passage. For _cia fochertar
im-muir, cia berthair hi tech fo glass dodeime a tiprait oca mbí_, it
reads: _cia focearta im-muir, cia beirthear hi tech fo glass no do
theine, dogeibther occan tiprait_, 'though it be thrown into the sea,
though it be put into a house under lock, or into fire, it will be found
at the well.' In § 121 for _cerdai_ it reads _cerd_; in § 139 it has
_rotioc_ and _rotocht_; in § 143 for _grúss_ its reading is _grís_; in
§153 it has _aibeuloit_ for _eplet_; in § 217 _tar a n-éisi_ for _dia
n-éisi_; in § 218 _lomradh_(twice) for _lobra_ and _indlighidh_ for _i
n-indligud_; in § 219 it has the correct reading _éiric_, and for
_dithechte_ it reads _ditheacht_; in § 220 it reads _fri aroile_ for
_fria céile_; in § 223 after _ile_ it adds _imchiana_; in § 224 it reads
_grís brond .i. galar_; in § 229 for _meraichne_ it has _mearaigheacht_;
in § 235 it has _mhamus_ for _mám_; in § 236 _Maig Hi_ for _Maig Lii_;
and for _co ndeirgenai in dam de_ it reads _co nderna in dam fria_.

Another copy, written in 1836 by Peter O'Longan, formerly in the
possession of the Earls of Crawford, now belongs to the Rylands Library,
Manchester, where it was found by Professor Strachan, who kindly copied
a page or two for me. It is evidently a very corrupt copy which I have
not thought worth the trouble of collating.

Lastly, there is in the Advocates' Library a copy in a vellum manuscript
marked Kilbride III. It begins on fo. 9_b_^2 as follows:--'Treching
breath annso. Ceann Eirind Ardmacha.' I hope to collate it before long,
and give some account of it in the next number of this series.

In all these manuscripts the Triads either follow upon, or precede, or
are incorporated in the collections of maxims and proverbial sayings
known as _Tecosca Cormaic_, _Auraicept Morainn_, and _Senbríathra
Fíthil_, the whole forming a body of early Irish gnomic literature which
deserves editing in its entirety. It is clear, however, that the Triads
do not originally belong to any of these texts. They had a separate
origin, and form a collection by themselves. This is also shown by the
fact that the Book of Leinster, the oldest manuscript containing the
_Tecosca Cormaic_ (pp. 343_a_-345_b_), the _Senbríathra Fíthail_ (pp.
345_b_-346_a_), and the _Bríathra Moraind_ (pp. 346_a_-_b_), does not
include them.

It is but a small portion of the large number of triads scattered
throughout early Irish literature that has been brought together in our
collection under the title of _Trecheng breth Féne_, i.e., literally 'a
triadic arrangement of the sayings of Irishmen.' I first drew attention
to the existence of Irish triads in a note on Irish proverbs in my
addition of the _Battle of Ventry_, p. 85, where a few will be found
quoted. A complete collection of them would fill a small volume,
especially if it were to include those still current among the people of
Ireland, both among Gaelic and English speakers. I must content myself
here with giving a few specimens taken at random from my own

Three kinds of martyrdom that are counted as a cross to man,
_i.e._ white martyrdom, green martyrdom, and red
martyrdom.--The Cambray Homily (_Thesaurus Palæohibernicus_,
II., p. 246).

Three enemies of the soul: the world, the devil, and an
impious teacher.--Colman maccu Beognae's Alphabet of Piety
(_Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie_, III., p. 452).

Three things whereby the devil shows himself in man: by his
face, by his gait, by his speech.--_Ib._, p. 453.

Three profitable labours in the day: praying, working,
reading.--Regula Choluimb Cille (_Zeitschr._, III., p. 29).

Three laymen of Ireland who became monks: Beccan son of
Cula, Mochu son of Lonan, and Enda of Arann.--Notes on the
Félire of Oengus (Henry Bradshaw Society, vol. xxix., p.

Three chief artisans of Ireland: Tassach with Patrick,
Conlaed with Brigit, and Daig with Ciaran.--_Ib._, p. 186.

Three poets of the world: Homer of the Greeks, Vergil of the
Latins, Ruman of the Gaels.--Book of Leinster, p. 354_b_.

The three worst counsels that have been acted on in Ireland
through the advice of saints: the cutting short of Ciaran's
life, the banishment of Colum Cille, the expulsion of
Mochuta from Rathen.--Notes on the Félire of Oengus, p. 204,
and Tripartite Life, p. 557.[3]

[3] Where for 'wrong stories' read 'wrong counsels' (_sanasa sáeba_).

This triad is thus versified in the Brussels MS. 5100:--

Teora saoba sanasa Leithe Cuind roc[h]aras-[s]a:
Mochuda cona clamhra[i]d d'ionnarba a Rathain roghlain,
cur Coluim Cille tar sal, timdibhe saeghail Ciaráin.

Three things there are for which the Son of living God is
not grateful: haughty piety, harsh reproof, reviling a
person if it is not certain.[4]

[4] LB., p. 225 marg. inf., and Brussels MS. 5100, fo. 86_a_:

Fuil trí ní (a trí Br.) doná (danach Br.) buidech mac Dé bí:
crábud úallach, coisced (coiccsed Br.) serb, écnach duine mad inderb.

Three things there are for which the King of the sun is
grateful: union of brethren, upright conversation, serving
at the altar of God.[5]

[5] Edinburgh MS. xl, p. 28, and Brussels MS. 5100, fo. 86_a_:

Fuil tréide dianab buidech rí gréine:
óenta bráthar, comrád (fodail Ed.) cert, altóir Dé do thimthirecht.

Woe to the three folk in horrid hell of great blasts: folk
who practise poetry, folk who violate their orders,

[6] LB., p. 236, marg. inf.:

Mairg na trí lucht a n-iffirn úathmar anside:
óes dogní dán, óes choilles grád, óes amsaine.

Three things there are which do not behove the poor of
living God: ingratitude for his life whatever it be,
grumbling, and flattery.[7]

[7] LB., p. 238, marg. inf.:

Fuil trí ní ná dlegair do bocht Dé bí:
dimmda da bethaid cipé, cesacht ocus aibéle.

The following modern triads I owe to a communication from Dr. P.W.
Joyce, who heard them in his youth among the people of Limerick:--

Three things to be distrusted: a cow's horn, a dog's tooth,
and a horse's hoof.

Three disagreeable things at home: a scolding wife, a
squalling child, and a smoky chimney.

The three finest sights in the world: a field of ripe wheat,
a ship in full sail, and the wife of a Mac Donnell with

[8] This triad comes from the Glynns of Antrim, the Mac Donnells'

In our collection an arrangement of the Triads in certain groups,
according to their contents, is discernible. Thus, the first
sixty-one--of which, however, the opening thirty-one are no Triads at
all--are all topographical; and among the rest, those dealing with legal
matters stand out clearly (§§ 149-172).

When the collection was made we have no means of ascertaining, except
from internal evidence, such as the age of the language, and a few
allusions to events, the date of which we can approximately fix.

The language of the Triads may be described as late Old-Irish. Their
verbal system indeed is on the whole that of the Continental glosses,[9]
and would forbid us to put them later than the year 900. On the other
hand, the following peculiarities in declension, in which all the
manuscripts agree, make it impossible for us to put them much earlier
than the second half of the ninth century.

[9] I may mention particularly the relative forms _téite_ 167, _bíte_
127, _ata_ 75, 76, 224, &c., _berta_ (O. Ir. _berte_) 109, 110, _fíchte_
(145), _coillte_ (166), _téite_ (167), _aragellat_ (sic leg. with N)
171; the deponent _neimthigedar_ 116, &c.; _ató_, 'I am' (104), and the
use of the perfective _ad-_ in _conaittig_ 77, 78.

The genitive singular of _i-_ and _u-_stems no longer shows the ending
_-o_, which has been replaced throughout by _-a_.[10] Now, in the Annals
of Ulster, which are a sure guide in these matters and allow us to
follow the development of the language from century to century, this
genitive in _-o_ is found for the last time in A.D. 816 (_rátho,
Ailello_). Thence onward the ending _-a_ is always found.

[10] _rátha_ 56, _foglada_ 92, _flatha_ 151, 248, 253; _dara_ 4, 34;
_Ela_ 31, 35, 44 (cf. _Lainne Ela_, AU. 816); _átha_ 50, _betha_ 82, 83,

The place-name _Lusca_, 'Lusk,' is originally an _n-_stem making its
genitive _Luscan_. This is the regular form in the Annals of Ulster till
the year 880, from which date onward it is always _Lusca_ (A.D. 916,
928, &c.). In our text (§ 46) all the manuscripts read _Lusca_.

In slender _io-_stems the dative singular in Old-Irish ends in _-iu_. I
find this form in the Annals of Ulster for the last time in A.D. 816
(_Gertidiu_). Thence onward it is always _-i_, as in our text (_hi
Cúailgni_ 43, _d'uisci_ 64).

The nasal stem _léimm_ makes its nom. plur. _léimmen_ in Old-Irish. In §
32 we find instead (_tair-_)_leme_. So also _foimrimm_ makes its nom.
plural _foimrimme_ in § 163.

The word _dorus_ is neuter in Old-Irish, making its nom. acc. plural
either _dorus_ or _doirsea_. In our text (§§ 173, 174) the word is
masculine, and makes its nom. plural _doruis_.

_Druimm_ is an _i-_stem in Old-Irish, but in the later language passes
into an _n-_stem. In § 51 we find the nom. pl. _drommanna_.

The neuter _grád_ in § 166 makes its nom. plur. _grúda_ for O. Ir.

[11] The infinitive _bith_ for O. Ir. _buith_ (91), the dative _cinn_
for O. Ir. _ciunn_ (98, 135), the nom. pl. _sligthi_ for O. Ir. _sligid_
(which I have restored in § 49), the confusion between _do_ and _di_
(e.g. 83), and other details are probably due to the Middle-and
Modern-Irish transcribers.

On linguistic grounds, then, I should say that our collection was made
some time during the second half of the ninth century. That it cannot be
dated earlier is also apparent from another consideration. Professor
Zimmer has taught us to search in every ancient Irish text for
indications of its having been composed either before or after the
Viking period. I find no words from the Norse language in the Triads,
or, if there are any, they have escaped me; but there are two distinct
references to the Viking age. In § 232, a Viking in his hauberk (_Gall
ina lúirig_) is mentioned as one of three that are hardest to talk to;
and, in § 44, Bangor in Co. Down is called unlucky or unfortunate, no
doubt, as the gloss says, because of the repeated plunderings and
destruction of its monastery by the Norse during the early part of the
ninth century (A.D. 823, 824).

In endeavouring to trace the origin of the Triad as a form of literary
composition among the Irish, one must remember that it is but one of
several similar enumerative sayings common in Irish literature. Thus the
collection here printed contains three duads (124. 133. 134), seven
tetrads (223. 230. 234. 244. 248. 251. 252), and one heptad (235). A
whole Irish law-book is composed in the form of heptads;[12] while
triads, tetrads, &c., occur in every part of the Laws.[13] Such
schematic arrangements were of course a great aid to memory.

[12] See _Ancient Laws of Ireland_, vol, v., pp. 118-373.

[13] Thus in the first volume of the Laws we find duads on p. 228, 15;
294, 27; triads on p. 50, 9. 27; 230, 4; 264, 20; 288, 28; tetrads 40,
21; 54, 7; 64, 1; 240, 24; 256, 4, &c.; 272, 25; 274, 3, &c.; pentads
30, 21; 50, 32; 90, 29; 102, 6; hexads 68, 11; 248, 7: a heptad 134, 9;
an ennead 16, 20.

If the Triad stood alone, the idea that it owes its origin to the effect
of the doctrine of the Trinity upon the Celtic imagination might
reasonably be entertained. The fact that this doctrine has led to many
peculiar phenomena in Irish folklore, literature, and art has frequently
been pointed out. Nor would I deny that the sacred character of the
number three, together with the greater facility of composition, may
have contributed to the popularity of the Triad, which is certainly the
most common among the various numerical sayings as well as the only one
that has survived to the present day.

However that may be, I believe that the model upon which the Irish
triads, tetrads, pentads, &c., were formed is to be sought in those
enumerative sayings--_Zahlensprüche_, as the German technical term
is--of Hebrew poetry to be found in several books of the Old Testament.
I am indebted to my friend the Rev. Carl Grüneisen for the following
list of such sayings, which I quote in the Vulgate version.


Ecclus. 23: 21, Duo genera abundant in peccatis, et tertium
adducit iram et perditionem, &c.

_Ib._ 26: 25, In duobus contristatum est cor meum, et in
tertio iracundia mihi advenit: 26 vir bellator deficiens per
inopiam, et vir sensatus contemptus, 27 et qui transgreditur
a iustitia ad peccatum, Deus paravit eum ad romphaeam.

_Ib._ 26: 28, Duae species difficiles et periculosae mihi
apparuerunt: difficile exuitur negotians a neglegentia, et
non iustificabitur caupo a peccatis labiorum.


Proverb. 30: 15, Tria sunt insaturabilia, et quartum quod
nunquam dicit: sufficit. 16 Inferuns, et os vulvae, et terra
quae non satiatur aqua; ignis vero nunquam dicit: sufficit.

_Ib._ 30: 18, Tria sunt difficilia mihi, et quartum penitus
ignoro: 19 viam aquilae in caelo, viam colubri super petram,
viam navis in medio mari, et viam viri in adolescentia.

_Ib._ 30: 21, Per tria movetur terra, et quartum non potest
sustinere: 22 per servum cum regnaverit: per stultum cum
saturatus fuerit cibo, 23 per odiosam mulierem cum in
matrimonio fuerit assumpta, et per ancillam cum fuerit heres
dominae suae.

_Ib._ 30: 29, Tria sunt quae bene gradiuntur, et quartum
quod incedit feliciter: 30 leo fortissimus bestiarum, ad
nullius pavebit occursum, 31 gallus succinctus lumbos, et
aries, nec est rex qui resistat ei.

Ecclus. 26: 5, A tribus timuit cor meum, et in quarto facies
mea metuit: 6 delaturam civitatis, et collectionem populi, 7
calumniam mendacem, super montem, omnia gravia, 8 dolor
cordis et luctus mulier zelotypa.


Proverb. 30, 24: Quattuor sunt minima terrae, et ipsa sunt
sapientiora sapientibus: 25 formicae, populus infirmus qui
praeparat in messe cibum sibi, 26 lepusculus, plebs invalida
qui collocat in petra cubile suum.


Proverb. 6. 16 Sex sunt quae odit Dominus, et septimum
detestatur anima eius: 17 oculos sublimes, linguam mendacem,
manus effundentes innoxium sanguinem, 18 cor machinans
cogitationes pessimas, pedes veloces ad currendum in malum,
19 proferentem mendacia testem fallacem, et eum qui seminat
intra fratres discordias.


Ecclus. 25, 9: Novem insuspicabilia cordis magnificavi, et
decimum dicam in lingua hominibus, &c.

The question arises whether these biblical sayings were the direct
source from which the Irish imitations are derived, or whether the Irish
became acquainted with the numerical Proverb through the medium of Greek
and Latin literature. As the Irish clerics ever since the days of St.
Patrick were diligent students of the Bible, there would be nothing
strange in the former assumption. But there exists at least one early
document which renders the latter equally possible. Under the title of
_Proverbia Grecorum_ we possess a collection of sayings translated by
some Irish scholar in Ireland from the Greek into Latin before the
seventh century.[14] Among them we find three triads,[15] two
pentads,[16] three heptads,[17] and two octads.[18]

[14] This is the opinion of S. Hellmann, their latest editor. See his
_Sedulius Scottus_, p. 135, in Traube's _Quellen und Untersuchungen zur
lateinischen Philologie des Mittelalters_, vol. i.: München, 1906.

[15] A. 39, 41. B. 5.

[16] A. 52.

[17] A. 54. B. 3, 7.

[18] B. 1, 2.

As examples I select the following two triads:--

Tres bacheriosi(?) sunt: terribilis bellator armatus
promptusque ad praelium, leo de spelunca quando praedam
devorat, aper ferus de silva quando furore in aliquem

Tres sunt imperfecti qui numquam ad perfectionem vitae
disciplinae pervenire possunt; tunc enim a vitiis recedunt,
quando mala facere non possunt. Antiquus nauta qui multis
annis seductis onmibus emere et vendere poterat; senex
auriga qui in curribus et in equis Deo derelicto vana cura
atque conversatione meditatur atque utitur; vetula ancilla
quae dominae suae subdole in omnibus rebus quae cottidiano
ministerio perficiuntur male retribuit.

Triads occur sporadically in the literature of most other nations, and
have occasionally been collected. But I am not aware that this kind of
composition has ever attained the same popularity elsewhere as in Wales
and Ireland, where the manufacture of triads seems at times almost to
have become a sport.

The wittiest triads are undoubtedly those in which the third item
contains an anticlimax. Two perfect examples of this kind were composed
by Heine when he tells the foreigner visiting Germany that he need but
know three words of the language: _Brot_, _Kuss_, _Ehre_; and in his
often quoted witticism: _Der Franzose liebt die Freiheit wie seine
Braut, der Engländer wie seine Frau, der Deutsche wie seine alte




1. Cenn Hérenn Ardmacha.

[Note 1: _om._ BMHNLec]

2. Ordan Hérenn Clúain Maic Nóis.

3. Ana Hérenn Clúain Iraird.

4. Cride Hérenn Cell Dara.

5. Sruithe Hérenn Bendchor.

6. Cóemna Hérenn Lusca.

7. Áinius Hérenn Cenannus.

8. Dí [.s]úil Hérenn Tamlachta [et] Findglais.

[Note 8: dá súil L Finnglaisi N Findglais Lec]

9. Tech commairce Hérenn Tech Cairnig for sligid Assail.

[Note 9: _om._ L]

10. Idna Hérenn Inis Cathaig.

11. Reclés Hérenn Glenn Dá Locha.

12. Féinechas Hérenn Clúain Húama.

13. Tech Foichle Hérenn Fernæ.

14. Litánacht Hérenn Less Mór.

15. Senchas Hérenn Imblech Ibair.

16. Bérla Féine Hérenn Corcach.

17. Légend Hérenn Ross Ailithre.

[Note 17: Ailaicre B Elichre M]

18. Téite Hérenn Tír Dá Glas.

[Note 18: téde N teide BM]

19. Anmchairde Hérenn Clúain Ferta Brénainn.

[Note 19: ancairde BLec Brenainde N]

20. Escaine Hérenn Lothra.

[Note 20: hescoemna L]

21. Brethemnas Hérenn Sláine.

22. Dúire chrábaid Hérenn Fobur Féichín.

[Note 22: dire BM Féichín _om._ BM Fabair Feithin N]

23. Áibne Hérenn Ard mBreccáin.

24. Diúite Hérenn Ross Commáin.

[Note 24: diuidus BM diuitecht L]

25. Fáilte Hérenn Ráith mBoth nó Druimm Lethan.

26. De[.s]erc Hérenn Dún Dá Lethglas.

[Note 26: desearc L deeirc B deirc M]


1. The Head of Ireland--Armagh.

2. The Dignity of Ireland--Clonmacnois.

3. The Wealth of Ireland--Clonard.

4. The Heart of Ireland--Kildare.

5. The Seniority of Ireland--Bangor.

6. The Comfort[19] of Ireland--Lusk.

[19] Or, perhaps, 'good cheer.'

7. The Sport of Ireland--Kells.

8. The Two Eyes of Ireland--Tallaght and Finglas.

9. The Sanctuary of Ireland--the House of Cairnech upon the Road of

[20] A road running from Tara westward into Westmeath.

10. The Purity of Ireland--Scattery Island.

11. The Abbey-church of Ireland--Glendalough.

12. The Jurisprudence of Ireland--Cloyne.

13. The House of Wages[21] of Ireland--Ferns.

[21] Or 'hire.'

14. The Singing the Litany of Ireland--Lismore.

15. The Lore of Ireland--Emly.

16. The Legal Speech of Ireland--Cork.

17. The Learning of Ireland--Roscarbery.

18. The Wantonness of Ireland--Terryglas.

19. The Spiritual Guidance of Ireland--Clonfert.

20. The Curse of Ireland--Lorrha.

21. The Judgment of Ireland--Slane.

22. The Severity of Piety of Ireland--Fore.

23. The Delight of Ireland--Ardbrackan.

24. The Simplicity[22] of Ireland--Roscommon.

[22] Or 'uprightness.'

25. The Welcome of Ireland--Raphoe or Drumlane.

26. The Charity of Ireland--Downpatrick.

27. Trichtach Hérenn Dairchaill.

[Note 27: _om._ BM techtach E Durcaill N Darachill L]

28. Fossugud Hérenn Mag mBile.

[Note 28: Mag Mile L]

29. Martra Hérenn Tulen.

[Note 29: _om._ L]

30. Ailbéimm Hérenn Cell Rúaid.

[Note 30: aulbeimnech L Ruadh N Ruadain L]

31. Genas Hérenn Lann Ela.

32. Trí tairleme Érenn: Daire Calgaig [et] Tech Munna [et] Cell

[Note 32: _om._ HBM]

33. Tri aithechpuirt Hérenn: Clúain Iraird, Glenn Dá Locha, Lugbad.

[Note 33: aithich Lec heathachbuirg M Lugmag NBM]

34. Trí clochraid Hérenn: Ard Macha, Clúain Maic Nóis, Cell Dara.

[Note 34: clothraige BM clot_hr_ai N clochraid L clochraidi Lec]

35. Trí háenaig Hérenn: áenach Tailten, áenach Crúachan, áenach Colmáin

[Note 35: haenaigi L Colman MSS]

36. Trí dúine Hérenn: Dún Sobairche, Dún Cermna, Cathair Chonrúi.

[Note 36: duin NBM]

37. Trí slébe Hérenn: Slíab Cúa, Slíab Mis, Slíab Cúalann.

[Note 37: sleibte BM]

38. Trí haird Hérenn: Crúachán Aigli, Ae Chúalann, Benn mBoirchi.

[Note 38: hard N cích Cualann L benna LN]

39. Trí locha Hérenn: Loch nEchach, Loch Rí, Loch nErni.

[Note 39: Rib BM Rig N]

40. Trí srotha Hérenn: Sinann, Bóand, Banda.

41. Trí machaire Hérenn: Mag Midi, Mag Line, Mag Lifi.

[Note 41: maige HBM]

42. Trí dorcha Hérenn: úam Chnogba, úam Slángæ, dercc Ferna.

[Note 42: doirchi L uaim Chruachan NL uaim Condba B uaim Cnodba HM
Slaingai BM Slaine N Slaine [et] uaim Chruachan nó dearc Fearna _add._

43. Trí díthruib Hérenn: Fid Mór hi Cúailgni, Fid Déicsen hi Tuirtri,
Fid Moithre hi Connachtaib.

[Note 43: dithreba BM Fid Dexin N]

44. Trí dotcaid Hérenn: abbdaine Bendchuir, [A] abbdaine Lainne Ela, ríge
Mugdorn Maigen.

[Note 44: dotchaid LHLec [A] .i. ar imad argain air L
abdaine Sláne nó Colmain Ela BM Laind Ela BM]

27. The ... of Ireland--Dairchaill.

28. The Stability of Ireland--Moville.

29. The Martyrdom of Ireland--Dulane.

30. The Reproach of Ireland--Cell Ruaid (Ruad's Church).[23]

[23] 'Ruadan's Church,' L.

31. The Chastity of Ireland--Lynally.

32. The three places of Ireland to alight at: Derry, Taghmon,

33. The three rent-paying places of Ireland: Clonard, Glendalough,

34. The three stone-buildings of Ireland: Armagh, Clonmacnois, Kildare.

35. The three fairs of Ireland: the fair of Teltown, the fair of
Croghan, the fair of Colman Elo.

36. The three forts of Ireland: Dunseverick, Dun Cermna,[24] Cathir

[24] On the Old Head of Kinsale.

37. The three mountains of Ireland: Slieve Gua,[25] Slieve Mis, Slieve

[25] _i.e._ the Knockmealdown mountains.

[26] The Wicklow mountains.

38. The three heights of Ireland: Croagh Patrick, Ae Chualann,[27] Benn

[27] 'The Liver ('Pap,' L.) of Cualu,' either the Great Sugarloaf or

[28] _i.e._ Slieve Donard.

39. The three lakes of Ireland: Lough Neagh, Lough Ree, Lough Erne.

40. The three rivers of Ireland: the Shannon, the Boyne, the Bann.

41. The three plains of Ireland: the plain of Meath, Moylinny,

[29] _i.e._ the plain of Kildare.

42. The three dark places of Ireland: the cave of Knowth, the cave of
Slaney, the cave of Ferns.

43. The three desert places of Ireland: Fid Mór (Great Wood) in Coolney,
Fid Déicsen (Spy-wood) in Tuirtri,[30] the Wood of Moher in Connaught.

[30] The Húi Tuirtri were settled in the four baronies of Upper and
Lower Antrim, and Upper and Lower Toome in county Antrim.

44. The three unlucky places of Ireland: the abbotship of Bangor, the
abbotship of Lynally, the kingship of Mugdorn Maigen.[31]

[31] Now Cremorne barony, county Monaghan.

45. Trí huilc Hérenn: Crecraigi, Glasraigi, Benntraigi.

[Note 45: Grecraigi HBM]

46. Trí cáemnai Hérenn: abbdaine Lusca, ríge trí Cualann, secnabbóite
Arda Macha.

[Note 46: ríge fer Cúalann NL sechnap L segnab-i nArdmachai N]

47. Trí trága Hérenn: Tráig Ruis Airgit, Tráig Ruis Téiti, Tráig Baili.

[Note 47: trachtai L]

48. Trí hátha Hérenn: Áth Clíath, Áth Lúain, Áth Caille.

49. Trí sligid Hérenn: slige Dála, slige Asail, slige Midlúachra.

[Note 49: sligthi MSS]

50. Trí belaige Hérenn: Belach Conglais, Belach Luimnig, Belach
Duiblinne .i. Átha Clíath.

[Note 50: belaig L Conglaisi N Luimne N .i. Átha Clíath _om_. N]

51. Trí drommanna Hérenn: Druimm Fingin, Druimm nDrobeoil, Druimm

[Note 52: _om._ HBM]

52. Trí maige Hérenn: Mag mBreg, Mag Crúachan, Mac Liphi.

53. Trí clúana Hérenn: Clúain Maic Nóis, Clúain Eois, Clúain Iraird.

54. Trí tellaige Hérenn: tellach Temrach, tellach Caisil, tellach

[Note 54: Temair Crúachu Caisel HBM]

55. Trí hessa Hérenn: Ess Rúaid, Ess Danainne, Ess Maige.

56. Trí fothirbi Hérenn: Tír Rátha Laidcniáin, Slíab Commáin, Slíab

[Note 56: _om._ HBM fothairbe N]

57. Trí tiprata Hérenn: Tipra na nDési, Tipra Húarbeoil, Tipra Úaráin

[Note 57: tiubrai N tipra Cuirp N nDési HBM tipra Uarainn Garaid HBM
t. Uaran nGarad N Breifene N tipra Braithcleasan Brigdi H Braichleasan
Brigde BM]

58. Trí haimréide Hérenn: Breifne, Bairenn, Bérre[A].

[Note 58: haimreid L Boirind M [A] Beandtraigi H]

59. Trí hinbera Hérenn: Inber na mBárc, Inber Féile, Inber Túaige.

60. Trí hairderca Hérenn: Léimm Conculaind, Dún Cáin, Srub Brain.

[Note 60: hirrdraici H oirrdirc M]

45. The three evil ones of Ireland: the Crecraige,[32] the Glasraige,
the Benntraige.[33]

[32] A tribe settled in the barony of Coolavin, county Sligo, and in the
adjacent part of county Roscommon.

[33] Either Bantry in county Cork, or Bantry in county Wexford.

46. The three comfortable places of Ireland: the abbotship of Lusk, the
kingship of the three Cualu,[34] the vice-abbotship of Armagh.

[34] 'Of the men of Cualu,' NL.

47. The three strands of Ireland: the strand of Ross Airgit,[35] the
strand of Ross Teiti, the strand of Baile.[36]

[35] A territory in the barony of Upper Ormond, county Tipperary.

[36] Now Dundalk.

48. The three fords of Ireland: Ath Cliath (Hurdle-ford), Athlone (the
Ford of Luan), Ath Caille (Wood-ford).[37]

[37] Perhaps Áth Caille Rúaide on the Shannon.

49. The three highroads of Ireland: Slige Dala,[38] Slige Asail, Slige

[38] The great south-western road from Tara into Ossory.

[39] A road running northward from Tara.

50. The three mountain-passes of Ireland: Baltinglass, the Pass of
Limerick, the Pass of Dublin.

51. The three ridges of Ireland: Druim Fingin, Druim nDrobeoil, Druim

[40] In Breffny.

52. The three plains of Ireland: Moy Bray, Moy Croghan, Moy Liffey.

53. The three meadows of Ireland: Clonmacnois, Clones, Clonard.

54. The three households of Ireland: the household of Tara, the
household of Cashel, the household of Croghan.

55. The three waterfalls of Ireland: Assaroe, Eas Danainne,[41] Eas

[41] On the Shannon opposite Dunass, co. Clare.

56. The three fields (?) of Ireland: the land of Rathlynan, Slieve
Comman, Slieve Manchain.

57. The three wells of Ireland: the Well of the Desi, the Well of
Uarbel,[42] the Well of Uaran Garaid.

[42] Probably near _Sescenn Uarbéoil_ in Leinster (Mountseskenn?).

58. The three uneven places of Ireland: Breffny, the Burren, Beare.

59. The three estuaries of Ireland: Inver na mBarc,[43] Inver Feile,[44]
Inver Tuaige.[45]

[43] _Dún na mBárc_ is in Bantry Bay.

[44] The estuary of the Feale.

[45] 'The axe-shaped estuary,' _i.e._ the mouth of the Bann.

60. The three conspicuous places of Ireland: Cuchulinn's Leap,[46]
Dunquinn, Sruve Brain.[47]

[46] _i.e._ Loop Head.

[47] In the west of Kerry (i n-iarthar Hérenn, YBL. 123^b31).

61. Trí gnátha Hérenn: Tráig Lí, Lúachair Dedad, Slíab Fúait.

[Note 61: gnath N gnáith HM Líí N]

62. Trí hamrai la Táin Bó Cúailnge: .i. in cuilmen dara héisi i nÉrinn;
in marb dia haisnéis don bíu .i. Fergus mac Róig dia hinnisin do Ninníne
éicius i n-aimsir Corbmaic maic Fáeláin; intí dia n-aisnéth_er_, coimge
bliadna dó.

[Note 62: _om._ HBMLec coimde N]

63. Trí meinistri fer Féne: .i. cích, grúad, glún.

64. Trí dotcaid duine: deog therc d'uisci, ítu i cormthig, suide cumang
for achad.

[Note 64: dotchaid L dodcaid BM luige dige BM luige re dig H]

65. Trí dotcaid threbtha: gort salach, iarmur cléithe, tech

[Note 65: dotchaid L dodcaid B iarmor B]

66. Trí hairgarta ecalse: caillech fri clocc, athláech i n-apdaine,
banna for altóir.

[Note 66: hairgairt L hairgair H hurgoirt B ina habdaine B bainne NM
bæ[=n] for a haltoir B]

67. Trí fáilti co n-íarduibi: fer tochmairc, fer gaite, fer aisnéise.

[Note 67: fochmairc NHBMLec aisneidsi N]

68. Trí bróin ata ferr fáilti: brón treóit oc ithe messa, brón guirt
apaig, brón feda fo mess.

[Note 68: is ferr H ita ferr L at ferr N broin MB ac aipgiudud BM ig
messrugud H]

69. Trí fáilti ata messu brón: fáilti fir íar ndiupairt, fáilti fir íar
luga eithig, fáilti fir íar fingail.

[Note 69: measum B iar ndiubairt N iar mbreith diubarta BM iar
mbreith a dibirta H failte fir luga eithig B fir _om._ BM failte fir iar
marbad a bráthar a[c] cosnom a [.f]eraind fris BM]

70. Trí fiada co n-an[.f]iad: gréss i n-óentig fri muintir, uisce rothé
dar cosa, bíad goirt cen dig.

[Note 70: fiad L anbfiad N tri fiaidaichi ad mesa H greasa BM for
cosaib HM dar cosaib NB biad goirt doib B]

71. Trí dotcaid maic athaig: clemnas fri hócthigern, gabáil for tascor
ríg, commaid fri meirlechu.

[Note 71: dotchaid L dodca d B hoigthigearna MN tarscur BM tascor
(nó tarcor) N tairrseach (!) L]

72. Trí dotcaid threbairi: tarcud do drochmnái, fognam do
droch[.f]laith, cóemchlód fri droch[.f]erann.

[Note 72: dodchaidh B targad BM drochlaith M drochlaech H claechlud
H caemclodh M drochírind B]

73. Trí búada trebairi: tarcud do degmnái, fognam do deg[.f]laith,
cóemchlód fri dag[.f]erann.

[Note 73: trebtha N targad B deadlaech H claechmod H deigferand HM
degthigern (!) B]

61. The three familiar places[48] of Ireland: Tralee, Logher, the Fews.

[48] Or, perhaps, 'places of common resort.'

62. Three wonders concerning the Táin Bó Cúailnge; that the _cuilmen_
came to Ireland in its stead; the dead relating it to the living, viz.
Fergus mac Róig reciting it to Ninníne the poet in the time of Cormac
mac Fáeláin; one year's protection to him to whom it is recited.

63. The three halidoms of the men of Ireland: breast, cheek, knee.

64. Three unfortunate things for a man: a scant drink of water, thirst
in an ale-house, a narrow seat upon a field.

65. Three unfortunate things of husbandry: a dirty field, leavings of
the hurdle, a house full of sparks.

66. Three forbidden things of a church: a nun as bellringer, a veteran
in the abbotship, a drop upon the altar.

67. Three rejoicings followed by sorrow: a wooer's, a thief's, a

68. Three sorrows that are better than joy: the heaviness of a herd
feeding on mast, the heaviness of a ripe field,[49] the heaviness of a
wood under mast.

[49] 'Of a ripening field,' BM.

69. Three rejoicings that are worse than sorrow: the joy of a man who
has defrauded another, the joy of a man who has perjured himself, the
joy of a man who has committed parricide.[50]

[50] 'Of a man who has slain his brother in contesting his land,' BM.

70. The three worst welcomes: a handicraft in the same house with the
inmates, scalding water upon the feet, salt food without a drink.

71. Three unfortunate things for the son of a peasant: marrying into the
family of a franklin, attaching himself to the retinue of a king,
consorting with thieves.

72. Three unfortunate things for a householder: proposing to a bad
woman, serving a bad chief, exchanging for bad land.

73. Three excellent things for a householder: proposing to a good woman,
serving a good chief, exchanging for good land.

74. Trí hóenaig eserte: célide hi tig gobann, célide hi tig [.s]áir, dul do
chennuch cen áirche.

[Note 74: hænaigi nasearta B neiseirti H haonaige neserte N esertai
Lec airrdhe N]

75. Trí cóil ata ferr folongat in mbith: cóil srithide hi folldeirb,
cóil foichne for tuinn, cóil snáithe dar dorn dagmná.

[Note 75: foloingead imbith B is ferr isin mbith N sreibe LLec
srithide B srithide foildeirb N]

76. Trí duirn ata dech for bith: dorn deg[.s]áir, dorn degmná, dorn

[Note 76: for doman BM dorn sair dorn gabonn dorn daim N degdaim BM]

77. Tréde conaittig fírinne: mess, tomus, cubus.

[Note 77: tri conaitig B]

78. Tréde conaittig brethemnas: gáis, féige, fiss.

[Note 78: a tri conaitig B]

79. Trí túarascbála étraid: osnad, cluiche, céilide.

[Note 79: osnaid N miad LBM]

80. Tréde ara carthar escara: máin, cruth, innraccus.

[Note 80: a tri BM treidi H gnás alaig erlabra HM airdearcus B]

81. Tréde ara miscnigther cara: fogal, dognas, dímainche.

[Note 81: treidi H a tri M tri L fogail H dimainecht HM]

82. Trí buirb in betha: óc contibi sen, slán contibi galarach, gáeth
contibi báeth.

[Note 82: contib BM contibe N gallrach BM gallrai N bæth contib gæth

83. Trí buidir in betha: robud do throich, airchisecht fri faigdech,
cosc mná báithe do drúis.

[Note 83: urchuidme ria foidhech N ærcuidmed fri foigeaeh B mná
druithi B]

84. Trí cáin docelat éitchi: sobés la anricht, áne la dóer, ecna la

[Note 84: doceilead eitig B handracht B dodealb B dodeilb N]

85. Trí héitich docelat cáin: bó binnech cen as, ech án amlúath, sodelb
cen tothucht.

[Note 85: doceiled BM beinnech N]

86. Trí óible adannat seirc: gnúis, alaig, erlabra.

[Note 86: haibne adannaid searc B adanta serce N alaid N]

87. Trí haithne co fomailt: aithne mná, aithne eich, aithne [.s]alainn.

[Note 87: haithneada Lec tomailt B salainn L]

88. Trí búada téiti: ben cháem, ech maith, cú lúath.

[Note 88: teite N buadnasa tétnai HBMLec]

89. Trí ségainni Hérenn: fáthrann, adbann a cruit, berrad aigthe.

[Note 89: segaind M tri comartha segainn N segraind B Hérenn _om._
MB fatraind B fadbann N fadhbond MB aigthe _om._ BM a cruit _om._ MN]

74. Three holidays[51] of a landless man[52]: visiting in the house of a
blacksmith, visiting in the house of a carpenter, buying without bonds.

[51] Or, perhaps, 'fairs, foregatherings.'

[52] Or 'vagrant.'

75. Three slender things that best support the world: the slender stream
of milk from the cow's dug into the pail, the slender blade of green
corn upon the ground, the slender thread over the hand of a skilled

76. Three hands that are best in the world: the hand of a good
carpenter, the hand of a skilled woman, the hand of a good smith.

77. Three things which justice demands: judgment, measure, conscience.

78. Three things which judgment demands: wisdom, penetration, knowledge.

79. Three characteristics of concupiscence: sighing, playfulness,[53]

[53] Or 'dalliance.'

80. Three things for which an enemy is loved: wealth, beauty, worth.[54]

[54] 'distinction,' B. 'familiarity, fame (leg. allad), speech,' H.

81. Three things for which a friend is hated: trespassing,[55] keeping
aloof,[56] fecklessness.

[55] Or 'encroaching.'

[56] Literally, 'unfamiliarity.'


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