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An Scéal 'Cath Almaine' mar Fhuinneog ar Éirinn Luath-Chríostaí  / The Saga of 'The Battle of Allen' as a Window on Early Christian Ireland

An Scéal 'Cath Almaine' mar Fhuinneog ar Éirinn Luath-Chríostaí / The Saga of 'The Battle of Allen' as a Window on Early Christian Ireland

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"Cath Almaine / The Battle of Allen"

Cath Almaine, known in English as 'The Battle of Allen', took place in 722 A.D.  The ancient saga composed about the battle tells us much about religion, folk-belief, custom, warrior monks, holy lepers, the concept of sainthood, and head-hunting in early Christian Ireland.

Format:  dual-language PDF, Irish and English side by side

Length:  approximately 2125 words per language, 4250 in total, on 10 pages

The English translation of this dual language article begins:

"Cath Almaine" is a story written in Middle Irish which was composed some time after 950 A.D. based on a battle which was fought in 722 A.D.  In that year, the High-King Fergal mac Máele Dúin demanded the bóramha or ''cattle-tribute'' from the Laighin.  The Laighin and their king Murchad mac Brain refused.

The High-King called on Conn's Half (i.e., on the Uí Néill, the Airghialla, and the Connachta) to come together to invade Leinster.  But, according to the story, the warriors of the North were reluctant.  They said that they should wait to see what Donn Bó would do, the young man who was best in Ireland for the composition of lays, the telling of stories, the harnessing of horses, the riveting of spears, and the plaiting of hair.  But Donn Bó didn't get permission from his mother to go on this hosting until she got a promise from Máel mac Failbe, coarb of St. Colm Cille, that Donn Bó would return to her safe and sound.

The host of Conn's Half entered Leinster.  The host insulted Áedán, a leper in Cluain Dubhail.  Áedán said that God would avenge him upon the Uí Néill forever.  Donn Bó became terribly discouraged.  He refused to sing or recite for Fergal that night, but he promised that he would sing a song for him the next night no matter where they might be.

Download this dual-language article to get the whole story! 



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