Game of Thrones (Episode 2) – the Tuatha de Danann

Dun Anghusa on the Aran islands. A response to fear of the Tuatha de Dananns
Dun Anghusa on the Aran islands. A response to fear of the Tuatha de Danann

The Original Game of Thrones (Episode 2) – the Tuatha de Danann

In the previous episode a tribe by the name of Firblog (men of bags or leather wallets) had enjoyed an eighty year possession of Ireland but the new invaders, the Tuatha de Dananns, were to make their indelible mark on Irish history.

According to this book the arrival of the Tuatha de Dananns (Peoples of the goddess Danu) took place in the ‘year of the world 3303.’ The leader of the invaders was Nuadhat-Airgethlamh or Nuad of the Silver Hand and their first action was to burn their own fleet so no retreat was possible.

The Tuatha de Dananns were skilled in magic and according to the bards rendered themselves invisible until they had penetrated into the heart of the country. More likely that they landed under mist and fog and marched across Ireland where they met the Firblogs in battle on the shores of Lough Corrib.

Here a furious battle was fought during four days, in which the Firbolg were utterly beaten, and an immense number were slain. Even at the present day, the district in Sligo over which this great battle is said to have been fought is covered with memorials of it.

It extends over about five or six miles of country opposite the village of Cong, and on this piece of ground there are five groups of stone circles, three of which are over 54 feet in diameter, besides six or seven large cairns of stone. One of these cairns has always been known as the “Cairn of the One Man “; it was opened some years ago, and in it was found a single urn, in which the bones of a man had been interred. The urn is now in the Royal Irish Academy’s collection at Kildare Street, Dublin. There is an incident in the old tale of the battle which exactly explains this.

The King- of the Tuatha De Danann lost his hand in this battle and his people made for him a silver hand, so that he was known as Nuada of the Silver Hand. This story highlights the mechanical skill of which these early Irish inhabitants were believed to possess.

The Firblog would disperse and flee to Western Isles of Aran, Rathlin and the Hebrides where they built immense forts on the borders of the ocean, in which they defended themselves. (See image of Dún Aonghasa above)

The regin of the Tuatha De Danann would make a sizeable contribution to our current Gaelic DNA. Writing in the form of Ogham became etched across Ireland in this period while it was also during this time the annual feast of the god Lug at the beginning of August near the River Blackwater occurred. At the Festival of Lugnasadh, games, horse racing, marriages and religious ceremonies took place nearly 4,000 years before the birth of Christ. The custom of climbing hills and mountains at Lughnasadh has survived with the best known being the annual pilgramme to the top of Croah Patrick in Co. Mayo.

It was also during this time that Ireland would gain its name as Eire in Gaelic. Three Kings ruled Ireland at this time and wives of these three kings were Eire, Banda and Fodhla and the country was called after each queen during the reign of her husband’s administration. The name of  Eire won in the end as it was because the husband of queen Eire was reigning when the Milesians arrived and conquered the island. The names of Banda and Fodhla are frequently given to Ireland in all ancient Irish writings.

For ninety seven years the the Tuatha de Danann would rule Ireland until the invasion of the Milesians would bring them to their knees.

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