The Cuilmenn

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter I

The CUILMENN is the first of the lost books which we mentioned. It is thus referred to in the Book of Leinster:[2] "The filés [bards] of Erinn were now called together by Senchan Torpéist [about A.D. 580], to know if they remembered the Táin bó Chuailgné in full; and they said that they knew of it but fragments only. Senchan then spoke to his pupils to know which of them would go into the countries of Letha to learn the Táin which the Sai had taken 'eastwards' after the Cuilmenn. Eminé, the grandson of Nininé, and Muirgen, Senchan's own son, set out to go to the East."

Here we have simply an indication of the existence of this ancient work, and of the fact that in the earliest, if not in pre-Christian times, Irish manuscripts travelled to the Continent with Irish scholars—Letha being the name by which Italy, and especially what are now called the Papal States, was then designated by Irish writers.


[2] Leinster.—Book of Leinster, H.2.18, T.C.D. See O'Curry, p. 8.