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The Text of Immram Brain Part 2: Manannan’s Poem and the Prophecy of Mongan

Here is the second part of the text of Immram Brain, as edited by Séamus Mac Mathúna.  The translation is based on that of Kuno Meyer, although where my translation differs significantly from his, I have included his translation in brackets.

For Chris Thompson’s rendition of part of the poem, see Manannán’s Prophecy of Mongán.

I have also marked the scribe’s glosses with brackets, introduced with .i. in the text and i.e. in the translation. I think many of these glosses highlight the cross-referencing of Christian with non-Christian material, as we discussed in the episodes, Immrám Brain and Mongán and his Missus.

Points of interest, such as the names for various Otherworld places or tricky translations, are marked in bold.

Isolde Carmody

¶32] Luid Bran íarom ara bárach for muir. Trí nónbuir a llín. Oínfer forsna trib nónburaib dia chomaltaib ocus comaísib.

Bran went then the next day onto the sea. Three nines was their complement. One man over [each of] the three nines [was] of his foster-brothers and confidantes.

Óro-boí dá láa ocus dí aidchi forsin muir co n-accae a dochum in fer isin charput íarsin muir.

When he had been two days and two nights on the sea, he saw coming towards him the man in the chariot over the sea.

Canaid in feer ísin tríchait rand n-aile dó, ocus sloindsi dó, ocus as-bert ba hé Manannán mac Lir, ocus as-bert boí fair tuidecht i nÉrinn íar n-aimseraib cíanaib, ocus no-gigned mac óad, .i. Mongán mac Fíachnai, is ed forid-mbíad.

That man sings another thirty verses to him, and he named himself to him [to Bran], and he said he was Manannán son of Lír, and he said it was upon him to go to Ireland after distant ages, and that a son would be born from him, i.e. Mongán son of Fíachna, that is what he would be called.

Cachain íarom in tríchait rand-so dó:

He sang then these thirty verses to him:

¶33] Caíne amr(a)i lasin mBran

It is a beautiful wonder to this Bran

ina churchán tar muir nglan;

In his coracle across a pure sea;

os mé im charput di chéin,

But to me, in my chariot from far away,

is mag scothach imma-réid.

It is a blossoming plain around which he rides.


¶34] A n-as muir glan

That which is a pure sea

don noí bro(i)nig i-tá Bran,

for the breasted boat in which is Bran,

is mag meld co n-imbud scoth

It is a plain of delight with excess of blossoms

damsa i carput dá roth.

to me in a two-wheeled chariot.


¶35] Ad-cí Bran

Bran sees

lín tonn tibri tar muir glan;

numerous waves which beat across a pure sea

Ad-cíu cadéin i mMaig Mon

I myself see in the Plain of Sport

scotha cennderca cen on.

Red-topped blossoms without flaw.


¶36] Taitnet gabra lir i ssam

Horses of the sea shine in summer

sella roisc ro-siri Bran;

As far as Bran’s eye has stretched;

bru(i)ndit scotha [v.l. srotha] srúaim de mil

Blossoms [v.l. streams] pour forth rivers of honey

i crích Manannáin maic Lir.

in the territory of Manannán son of Lír.


¶37] Lí na fairci fora-taí,

The lustre of the waves on which you are,

geldod mora imme-raí,

the radiance of the sea around which you row,

ra-sert buide ocus glass:

yellow and blue-green are arrayed

is talam nád écomrass.

it is land that is not insubstantial.


¶38] Lingit ích bricc ass de brú,

Speckled salmon leap out from the womb

a mmuir find for n-aicci-siu;

of the fair sea on which you look;

it loíg, it óain co ndagdath,

they are calves, they are lambs, with good colour,

co cairdiu, cen imarbath.

[.i. it luig & it uain na bratana atchi Bran]

Friendly, without killing each other.

[i.e. they are calves and they are lambs, the salmon which Bran sees]


¶39] Cé ad-chetha oínchairpthech

Although [only] one charioteer is seen

i mMaig Meld co n-imbud scath / sreth,

in the Plain of Delight with excess of blossoms / streams

fil mór d’echaib fora brú

[.i. boi mor dirimne ina farr- & ni faca Bran.]

there are many horses upon its breast

[i.e. there were countless others in the sea and Bran did not see them]

cen suide, nád aicci-siu.

besides, which you do not see.


¶40] Mét in maige, lín in tslóig,

The size of the plain, the number of the host,

taitnet líga co nglanbóaid;

colours shine with pure glory;

findruth aircit, drep[p]a óir,

fair streams of silver, cloths of gold,

táircet fáilti cach imróil.

they give welcome, all great draughts.


¶41] Clu(i)che n-aímin n-inmeldag

A wonderful game, utterly delightful,

aigdit fri find-immarbáig,

they play in fair contention,

[Meyer: They play (sitting) at the luxurious wine,]

fir is mná míni fo doss

gentle men and women, under a tree

cen pheccad cen immarboss.

without sin, without transgression.

[Note: “immarmus / immarboss” is especially used of the Fall of Man i.e. original sin]


¶42] Is íar mbarr fedo ro-sná

It is over the top of a wood has swum

do churchán tar indrada,

your coracle, across raised beds

fil fid fo mess i-mbí gnóe [.i. segda]

there is a wood in which is beautiful [i.e. fortunate] fruit

fo braini do beccnoë.

under the prows of your little boat.


¶43] Fid co mbláth ocus torad

A wood with flowers and fruit

fors-mbí fíne fírbolad,

on which is the true scent of wine,

fid cen erchra[e] cen esbad

a wood without decay, without defect,

fors-fil du(i)lli co n-órdath.

on which are leaves with the colour of gold.


¶44] Fil dún ó thossuch dú(i)le

We are from the beginning of the elements

cen aíss, cen forbthe n-ú(i)re

without age, without readiness for the grave

[lit. without being perfect for clay]

ní-frescam de mbeth anguss,

we do not expect, therefore, that there is non-vitality,

nín-táraill int immarbuss.

The [original] sin has not come to us.

The following four stanzas really feel like interpolation. They are of a different character, mood and quality from surrounding stanzas.

¶45] Olc líth do-lluid ind nathir

An evil time when the serpent went

cosin n-athair dia chathair,

to the father, to his city,

saíbsi chen(a)e recht i mbith ché

squinting [?], moreover, in this world

[Meyer: “She has perverted the times in this world,” His note on this line admits the translation is “not much better than a guess”.]

co-mbu haithbe nád buë.

so that there was an ebb that was not native.


¶46] ran-ort i croís ocus saint

He has slain us in greed and lust

tresa-nderbaid a soírchlaind,

through which he has ruined his noble offspring,

ethais, corp crín, cró péne

he has gone, his body withered, to a pen of pains

ocus bithaittreb rége.

and eternal territory of torture.


¶47] Is recht óabair i mbith ché

It is the right of pride, in this world,

cretem dú(i)le, dermat nDé,

[.i. adrad idal]

to believe in creation, to forget God,

[i.e. to adore idols]

troíthad galar ocus aíss,

overthrow by disease and age,

apthu anma[e] tre togaís.

death of the soul through deception.


Note on S48: In this stanza, the glossator emphasises that the poem is describing the coming of Christ, whereas in the following stanza, he clarifies that the poem is back to talking about Mongan.

¶48] Ticfa tessarcon ó(a)sal

[.i. Crist.]

A noble salvation will come

[i.e. Christ]

ónd Ríg do-reä-rósat,

from the king who has made us,

recht find fo-glóisfe[a] muire,

A fair rule will come over the seas,

sech bid Díä, bid duine.

aside from being god, it will be a person.

Note on S49: The glossator emphasises that whereas the previous stanza described the coming of Christ, this stanza is describing Mongan.

 ¶49] In delb í no-fethi-su,

This shape on which you look,

ricf[e]a it lethi-su,

will come to your own lands

[lit. to your sides / halves]

arum-thá echtra[e] dia taig

It is upon me to venture to her house

cosin mnaí i lLinemaig.

[.i. compert mongain]

to the woman in the Plain of Multitudes / Linen

{Linemag / Moylinney is in the NE of Ireland}

[i.e. the conception of Mongan]


¶50] se(i)chis Monindán mac Lir

For it is Manannán son of Lír

asin charput cruth ind fir,

out of the chariot in the shape of a man,

biëid dia chlaind densa i ngair

there will be from his offspring [in] a short while

fer cain i corp criäd-glain.

[.i. Mongan]

a great man in a body of pure clay

[i.e. Mongan]


¶51] Con-lé [.i. coibli coiblide.] Monand macca Lirn

Manannán son of Lír will lie with [i.e. co-lying]

lúthlige la Caíntigirn,

– Energetic lying – with Fair Noblewoman,

gérthair dia mac i mbith gnó,

His son will be named in the exquisite world,

atn-didma Fiachna[e] mac ndó.

Fiachna will acknowledge the boy as his own.


¶52] Moíthfid sognáiss cach síde,

He will melt the hearts of fine companions in every síd,

bid tretel cach dagthíre,

He will be the pet of every good country

ad-fí rúna ri[u]th ecn(a)i,

He will relate mysteries, an onrush of knowledge

isin bith cana ecl(a)i.

in the world, without his fear.

[i.e. he will not be afraid]


¶53] Biäid i fethol cech míl

He will be in aspect of every beast

itir glasmuir ocus tír,

both of the sea-green sea and of the land,

bid drauc re mbuidnib i froiss,

He will be a [fire-breathing serpent / ] dragon in front of war-bands in showers [of snow, of rain and / or of spears]

bid cú allaid cech indroiss.

He will be a wolf [lit. wild hound] of every great forest


¶54] Bid dam co mbennaib aircit

He will be an ox / stag with silver horns / antlers

i mruig i n-agtar carpait,

in the territory in which chariots are driven

bid ecne brecc i llind lán,

He will be a speckled salmon in a full pool,

bid rón, bid ela findbán.

He will be a seal, he will be a fair-white swan.


¶55] Biäid tre bithu síru

[.i. post mortem. .i. nomen regionis.]

He will be throughout long ages

[i.e. after death i.e. name of a place]

cét mblédne i findrígu;

[.i. amra infoircnedeg .i. in futuro corpore. in futuro corporis]

A hundred years in fair kingship:

[i.e. wonder of the wounded places? the number of wounds? the cure of wounds? i.e. the body in the future i.e. the future of the body]

silis lerca lecht imchéin,

he will clear battle-fields, eternal monument,

dercfid róï roth imréin.

He will redden places, the wheel around the sea? [i.e. horizon?]

[Meyer: wheel around a track]


¶56] Imm ríga la fénnidi

Among kings with warriors

[lit. members of a Fían]

bid láth gaile fri haicni,

he will be a warrior [lit. rutting heat!] in nature,

i ndirth(a)ig mbroga for á

into fitting houses of a territory on a height

fo-cicher[r] airchent a Íli.

[.i. proprium iluch.]

I will place a destiny from Islay.

[i.e. characteristic of a victory cry]


¶57] Art ara-ngén la flaithi

I will beget him in a high place / nobley with nobles

gébth(a)ir fo mac n-imra(i)gni,

He will be taken [i.e. overthrown] by a son of error [illegitimate?]

sech bid Monindán mac Lir

In spite of the fact that Manannán son of Lír will be

a ath(a)ir, a fithithir.

his father, his poetic tutor.


¶58] Bíëd bes ngairit a ré

[.i. in corpore.]

(His time will be short) – He will be

[i.e. in the body]

coícait mblédne i mbith ché

fifty years in this world

oircthi ail dracon din muir

[.i. isi aidid mongain clochan asin tabaill]

Struck down by the wish / stone / weapon of a dragon from [over?] the sea

[i.e. it is “The Death of Mongán” by a stone from the sling]

rolaad do isind níth i Senlabuir.

[.i. dun .i. dun .i. oiged mongain]

[Which is] cast at him in the battle in Senlabor.

[i.e. fort i.e. fort i.e. the Death of Mongán]

[Senlabor and Loch Ló seem to be in Crích Maine, a territory between the rivers Suck and Shannon.]


¶59] Timgéra dig a lLoch Láu

[.i. post mortem. ]

He will beg a drink from Loch Ló,

[i.e. after death]

in tan friss-seill sidán cráu,

While he gazes on a stream of blood

gébtha[i] in drong find fu roth nél

The fair host will take him under a cloud-wheel [i.e. nebula? IC]

dund nassad nád-etarlén.

To the festival without trouble.


¶60] Fossad air sin imrad Bran,

Steadily, so, let Bran row around,

ní cían co Tír inna mBan,

It is not far to the Land of Women,

Emnæ co n-ildath féle

Emain, with every kind of hospitality,

ricfe[a] re fuiniud ngréne.

You will reach before the setting of the sun.


¶61] Luidi Bran óad íarom con[d]a-accae in n-insi.

Bran went from him after that until he saw an island.

Im-raad immecúairt ocus slóg mór oc gignig ocus gáirechtaig.

He rowed a circuit around it, and [there was] a great crowd slathering and guffawing.

[Meyer: gaping and laughing]

Do-écitis uili Bran ocus a muintir, ocus ní-ant(a)is fria n-acaldaim.

They were all staring at Bran and his people, but they didn’t stay to talk to them.

Ad-aigtis treftecha gáire foo.

They kept giving bellows of laughter at them.

Foídis Bran fer dia muintir isin n-insi.

Bran sent one of the men of his people onto the island.

Reris lea chéliu ocus ad-acht ginig foo amal doíni inna hinse olchene. Im-raad in n-inis immecúairt.

He rowed himself among the others and he [was] impelled to slather at them like the other people of the island. He rowed a circuit around the island.

In tan do-téged a fer muintire sech Bran at[n]- gla(i)tis a chocéli.

Whenever the man of his people would come past Bran, his comrades would call to him.

Nís n-aicilded-sa immurgu acht dosn-écad nam[m]á ocus ad-aiged gin(a)ich foo.

He would not talk to them moreover, but would only stare at them and [was] impelled to slather at them.

Is ed ainm inna hinse-so Inis Subai. Fan-ácabsat and íarom.

The name of this island is the Island of Joy. They left him there after that.


¶62] Ní-bu cían íar sin co-rráncatur Tír inna mBan.

It was not long after that when they reached the Land of Women.

Co n-accatar braine inna mban isin phurt.

They saw the leader [“bran”] of the women in the port.

As-bert toísech inna mban: “Tair ille isa tír, a Brain maic Febail. Is fochen do thíchtu.’’

The chief of the women said: “Come here onto land, Bran Mac Febal. Your arrival is welcome.”

Ní lám(a)ir Bran techt isa tír.

Bran did not attempt to go onto land.

Do-cuirethar in ben certli do Braun tara gnúis cach ndíriuch.

The woman throws a ball of wool to Bran, straight over his face.

Fo-ceird Bran a láim forin certli. Lil in certle dia dernainn.

Bran put his hand on the ball of wool. The ball of wool stuck to the palm of his hand.

Boí in sná(i)the inna certle i lláim inna mná. Con-sreng in curach dochum poirt.

The thread of the ball of wool was in the hand of the woman. She drew the currach towards the port.

Lotar íarom i tegd(a)is máir. Ar-ránic imdai cecha lámamn(a)e and .i. trí noí n-imdæ.

After that, they go into a great house. They found a couch for every couple there i.e. three nines of couches.

In praind do-breth for cech méis ní(r)-airchiú[ir] díib.

The food that was put on every tray did not run out on them.

Ba blédin don-árfas-sa dóib boith and. Ecmaing bátir ilblédni.

It seemed to them a year that they stayed there. In fact, it was many years.

Nís-tesbi nach mblass.

They didn’t want for any flavour.


¶63] Gabais éolchaire fer ndíib .i. Nechtan mac Ollbrain.

A longing [for the familiar] took hold of one of the men i.e. Nechtaan mac Ollbrain. [“Pure son of Great Leader”]

Note: Later, he is referred to as “mac Collbrain” – This seems to be a simple transference of the final “c” of “mac” to the beginning of “Ollbran”. We see the same process from Find Mac Umall to Finn Mac Cumall.

Atáigh a chenél fri Bran ara-tíasad leis dochum nÉrenn.

His people were asking Bran to go with him to Ireland.

As-bert in ben ro-bad aithrech ind faball.

The woman said that they would regret that course.

Da-lotar cammæ ocus as-bert in ben arná-tuinsed nech díib a tír ocus ara-taidlitis leu in fer fon-ácabsat i nInis Subai tar éssi a chéli.

They went anyway, and the woman said that none of them should touch the land, and that they should take the man they left on the Island of Joy with them.


¶64] Do-llotar íarom conda-rráncatar in dáil i Srúib Brain.

They went after that until they reached an assembly in Srub Brain.

[Either in Kerry or in Donegal – the northern one is at the entry to Loch Foyle, which is named for Bran’s father, Febal.]

Íarmi-foachtatar-side dóib cía do-lluid [d]in muir.

They enquired of them who it was came from the sea.

As-bert Bran: “Messe Bran mac Febail.’’

Bran said, “I am Bran mac Febal.”

“Ní-beram aithgnu inní sin,’’ ol a chéli didiu. “Atá i ssenchassaib linni chenae Imram Brain.’’

“We are not familiar with that one,” said his companion however. “Although The Voyage of Bran is in our histories [senchas].”


¶65] Do-cuirethar úadaib in fer asin churuch.

The man hurls himself from them out of the currach.

Amal con-ránic-side fri talmain inna hÉrenn, ba ló(i))thred fo chétóir amal bid i talam no-beth tresna hilchéta blíadnae.

As soon as he reached the land of Ireland, he was an ash-heap immediately, as though he had been in the ground over many hundreds of years.

Is and cachain Bran in rand-so:

Then Bran chanted this verse:

Do mac Collbrain ba mór baíss

For the son of [C]Ollbran, it was a great foolishness

tárcud a láme fri haíss,

Raising his hand against age,

cen nech do-rratad toinn (.i. usci) glain

Without anyone placing a pure wave [i.e. water]

for Nechtan for mac Collbrain.

Over Nechtan, over the son of [C]Ollbran.


¶66] Ad-fét íar sin Bran a imthechta ó thossuch cotici sin mo lucht ind airechtais, ocus scríbais inna rundnu-so tre ogum, ocus celebrais dóib íar sin, ocus ní-fessa a imthechta ónd úair sin.

After that, Bran told of his journeys from the beginning until now to my people of the assembly, and he wrote these sections in Ogam, and he took leave of them after that, and none know his journeys after that time.

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