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Tráig Tuirbi

29 Jan

There is a well-known body of Irish placename lore called the Dindshenchas, which can be found in several different Irish manuscripts. The best known Dindshenchas tales are perhaps the Metrical Dindshenchas, which were translated by Edward Gwynn, and these can be found online in four volumes. There are also prose versions, which Whitley Stokes translated in a further four volumes. The following Dinnshenchas tales are from the lesser-known Edinburgh manuscript, which is dated to the fifteenth century. The selection of tales I’ve chosen relate to several well-known gods of the Irish landscape and also offer slightly different versions of the Dinnshenchas, some of which can only be found in the Edinburgh manuscript.

Traig Tuirbi, whence is it?

Not hard (to say). Tuirbe Tragmar, father of Gobbán the Wright,1 ’tis he that owned it. ‘Tis from that heritage he, (standing) on Telach Bela (“the Hill of the Axe”), would hurl a cast of his axe in the face of the floodtide, so that he forbade the sea, which then would not come over the axe. And his pedigree is not known, unless he be one of the defectives of the men of art who fled out of Tara before Samildánach,2 (and whose posterity) is in the secret parts of Bregia. Whence Tráig Tuirbi, “Turbe’s Strand.”

Tuirbe Tragmar was a negligent man,
Father of Gobbán with pure desire.
Unknown is his bright pedigree,
From him Tráig Tuirbi is named.

Whitley Stokes, ‘The Edinburgh Dinnshenchas‘, in Folklore IV, 1893, p488-489.

Notes

1 The name is reminiscent of Goibniu, but Stokes notes that the character here may refer to a seventh century architect.

2 An epithet of Lug; ‘Samildánach – ‘many skilled’.

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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