Story Archaeology

Uncovering the layers of Irish Mythology through a regular podcast and related articles.

Lug and Balor Meet

from Cath Maige Tuired, edited by Elizabeth Gray

Translation by Isolde Carmody

Here is the next piece of roscad poetry attributed to Lug in our text.  It is the traditional climax of the battle, where Lug finally confronts his grandfather, Balor, which had been prophesied as the moment of Balor’s death.

This section has not had a published translation as part of the whole saga.  The syntax is quite clunky, because I have tried to maintain a correspondance between the translation and the original language.  Poetic renderings will come in future podcast episodes and articles… watch this space!

ll 627 – 641: S 133

Is (n)ann isbert Lucc: ‘Odeo cie toi fir bic cia bith imbá inlá biu fo ló marbu duit.’

It is then that Lug said:    “In the end[?], though the man is little, it is he who is wounding, [deciding] whether today is the day for your death.”

Balor dixit, ‘For iathmaigi al-fois filiu fon’ fola immus-riad riadha fo comrac sil silme amsil amnus fen.’

Balor said:   “You see on greatly-steady [?] meadow-plains – (under the cloak) – around which he rides [his] way; to [?] encounter the seed I sowed, I am the germ of [the] attack myself.”

Lug-dixit, ‘Is tu torat- Lughdech lisbert-ac tot-sili

Lug said: “It is you that brought Lug[dech] a strife-burden of conflict for your propagation [?]

do-t-oirrse pu mo cloidim

may death [by] my sword be fitting for you

do-t-gart mo tuili

you were summonned [by] my will,

mo cerdae cles tuatha.

by my crafts, tricks of the Túatha.


Bid olc de cuanaib fal Fomoiri

Let it be evil to wolf-packs of Fomoire

fo tuili fo trethan duib

undr floods, under deep seas

fo tonnae lia cip-tuccai conaib dinn.

Under waves [may you remain] / Under flood-waves, [with] whatever property you can bring with you. [i.e. you can carry]

Ni beraid mes na blicht.

May ye not carry off / produce tree-fruit or milk.

Ni beraid arith ith

May ye not carry off / produce green corn or grain

ni beraid eraig aigthe.

May ye not attain body-fines or honour

Aic! Aic! Fe! Fe!

No! No! Woe! Woe!

Ni fo-cen tis-sta

May ye not bring to an end,

naithech nes bretach bith-maru

(irresponsible peasant!), the world

in-ar-braind beg an-tetru tromma fortaib-sin troga for-lica lim.

In our wave-swell which sustains the great-heavy seas, I bring them forth [lit. to birth] to overwhelm ye.

[NOTE: Braind could be praind, “wave-swell” or bran, “raven”; tethra is often the sea but is also glossed as badb, “scald-crow”; and trogan is a word relating to female ravens.]

Os me Lug na-m-fadbid oldam dilaim denaith duilem for-dia-cimdes gene

From me, Lug, do not plunder

What ye make is better than what ye reject

better for you to create beings [i.e. procreate?]

os-gene no-m-nasaid mo carp-ni-taidlib-thi tres ceptucas

at-brothru fo tonnaib lirdib.

since those beings who bind [me] you will not battle-injure my body, even if you bring hairy lumps [of it?] under multitudinous waves.

Linaid tethru tres-tuath com-milae

The sea fills [with] battle-tribes which it grinds together

mara melli cr-i cruaid.

the sea decimates harsh flesh.

Caramain bith aithis for farmnaib dea.

A beaten body is a blemish on the shoulders of a god / on the utmost of gods.

Tetrais tuli maru luadaib.

May the floods of the sea inundate [so that] ye move.

Cloidem cosst-druad menmaind logha

Lug’s / a lynx’s mind is a sword for a druid:

luaithe gaithe

swiftness of wind

donal druag

howling of dragons

frasaib tenid

showers of fire

ten’al leom-

sternness of lions


Shining of sun

gili escie.’

Radiance of moon”

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