Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter III

The third "taking" of Ireland was that of Nemedh. He came, according to the Annals,[5] A.M. 2859, and erected forts and cleared plains, as his predecessors had done. His people were also afflicted by plague, and appeared to have had occupation enough to bury their dead, and to fight with the "Fomorians in general," an unpleasantly pugilistic race, who, according to the Annals of Clonmacnois, "were a sept descended from Cham, the sonne of Noeh, and lived by pyracie and spoile of other nations, and were in those days very troublesome to the whole world."[6] The few Nemedians who escaped alive after their great battle with the Fomorians, fled into the interior of the island. Three bands were said to have emigrated with their respective captains. One party wandered into the north of Europe, and are believed to have been the progenitors of the Tuatha De Dananns; others made their way to Greece, where they were enslaved, and obtained the name of Firbolgs, or bagmen, from the leathern bags which they were compelled to carry; and the third section sought refuge in the north of England, which is said to have obtained its name of Briton from their leader, Briotan Maol.[7]


[5] Annals.—Ib. I. p. 9.

[6] World.—See Conell MacGeoghegan's Translation of the Annals of Clonmacnois, quoted by O'Donovan, p. 11.

[7] Maol.—The Teutonic languages afford no explanation of the name of Britain, though it is inhabited by a Teutonic race. It is probable, therefore, that they adopted an ethnic appellation of the former inhabitants. This may have been patronymic, or, perhaps, a Celtic prefix with the Euskarian suffix etan, a district or country. See Words and Places, p. 60.