Monday, March 28, 2011


Oisin at Tir Na Og part 2

In the Spring of 282 AD or so after Cormac m Airt, Ard Ri , high king of Ireland had broken the mighty Fian at the Battle of Gabra, the remanants were hunting game venison on Lock Lein [Lean] at Kerry when they raised a herd of deer from the grass and the hounds gave chase with the men of the Fian in full pursuit close behind.

As they road foward they saw a rider coming toward them from the west and soon saw it was a maiden on a white steed and they reigned in from the chase as she approached.
Fion, father of Oisin, was greatly suprized.
She wore a golden diadem on her head and brown robe of silk from China spangled with stars of red gold.
This fastened by a golden Brooch.

The robe fell from her shoulders down to the ground and her yellow hair fell over her robe in bright ringlets.
She had blue eyes clear and bright as dew drops ,and small white hands controlling her steeds golden bit and she was more graceful than a swan on Loch Lein.
The horse wore a flowing mantle and 4 shoes of yellow gold.

Fionn called out to her,
"who art thou?' 'Ce bionn tu?'
'Tell the name of your country and why you have come.'

She replied she had come from her county in the western sea, daughter of the king of Tir na n Og and she was called
NIAMh [wash time] of the golden hair.

She said she had come to Erinn because she loved his noble son OIsin the Fawn as he was brave, gentle, noble and kind.

Oisin, when he saw the princess from Tir na Og fell in love with her at first sight and asked her to be his wife.

She placed him under geasa.
A pledge which a hero never breaks , to come with her to Tir na n Og the land of youth forever.
A country full of gold, silver,jewels,honey wine and fruit all year round.

She promised him as her dowry 100 swords, 1000 silk and satin robes, 100 horses, 100 hounds, herds of cows, flocks of sheep with golden fleeces, coats of protective mail [armour] and a special sword from which no one ever escaped.
Each day in Tir na NOg were feis and fun and harpers playign sweet music.
There was no decay or death in Tir na n Og and life was always young and full of beauty.

When it was settled and the Fiann knew he was going they shouted 3 shouts in grief for his loss.
But Fionn said he would never see his son Oisin again and Oisin shed tears and kissed his fathers cheeks.

He than mounted the White steed with his lady Niamh and the steed galloped away to the west.

When he reached the strand of the great sea ,he shock himself, neighed 3 times and rode over the face of the deep sea like a cloud in March.

At last they lost sight of Erinn land and on the journey passed islands, cities, lime white mansions, Griannans and palaces.

A lovely maiden on a brown steed passed them holding a golden apple and a young warrior on a white steed went after her in his long flowing mantle of yellow silk with a golden hilted sword.

They came to the land of virtues ruled by Fomor of the Blows and his Queen ,the daughter of the king of the land of Life.

Fomor had kidnapped her by force from her own county.

But she put the king under geasa never to ask her to marry him before she had found a champion to fight for her against him.
No Hero could ever be found with courage to meet the giant Fomor in single combat.

Oisin of course took on this task to kill the giant kidnapper and free the lady.

This blue eyed captive princess from the land of life fed her guests on choise food and drinking horns of mead and sweet wine goblets and
in tears, told her guests, seated in golden chairs that a long as the cruel giant lived she would never return to her own country.

oisin pledged to meet the giant who then ,large and ugly, came into the palace with a great iron club in his hand.
He threw down his load of deerskin and chllenged Oisin to battle with a loud rought cry.

Oisin fought him for 3 days and 3 nights without food, drink or sleep intil he killed the giant Fomor and cut of his head.

The 2 maidens Niamh and the princess shouted 3 crys of joy when they saw the monster dead but Oisin was near death himself covered with wounds and dizziness and feebleness from the battle.

The Princes of Life applied balsms and healing herbs to his body and he was healed.
The giant was then buried in a great carn and an ogam stone with his name placed over the top of the carn.

The next day Niamh and Oisin resumed their journy westward over the clear green sea and like a cloud in March they again set sail.
A storm arose and lighing flashed but their course was straignt on and when the sun shone again they were at a county full of flowers and plains ,blue hills, and bright lakes and water falls [eas].

A golden palace awaited them covered with gems of blue green, crimson and yellow and this the Tir na n Og at last.

The king and his men came out to greet the travelers, with his crown on his head of gold and diamonds and the queen followed with 100 young maids in her train.

The king gave Oisin
100 thousand welcomes
Cead mile failte.

A banquet was held for 10 days and Niam and Oisin were married in holy wedlock.

After 300 years, Oisin had desire to return to Erinn and so he did with permission of the king of Tir na n Og and his daughter NIAMh.

Written by P W Joyce

published in the Great Folktales of Old Ireland, by Mary McGarry, 1972, Wolfe Publishers, London

presented by Judi Donnelly
copyright March 26 2011

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