The Deluge

The chroniclers of Sacred History fix the date of the building of Nineveh as one hundred and fifteen years after the Flood; the Tower ot Babel as one hundred and forty years; and the reign of Belus, son of Nimrod, in Babylon, as about two hundred and fifteen years.[1] According to the Four Masters, Partholan was the first planter of Ireland, one hundred and eighty-five years after the building of Nineveh, or three hundred years after the Deluge.[2]


[1] Years: According to Dr. O'Connor, in his Rerum Hibernicarum Scriptores Veteres, the year of the Pagan Irish was luni-solar; consisting, like that of the Phoenicians and Egyptians, of 365 days and six hours. But while it is certain that the ancient Irish had four seasons in their year, the fact is, that, according to the "Book of Rights," we cannot yet determine the season with which the Pagan Irish year commenced.

[2] The Deluge: According to the Four Masters, a colony reached Ireland before that of which Partholan was the planter. Ceasair came to Ireland "forty days before the Deluge," with a colony of fifty damsels and three men—"Bith, Ladhra, and Fintan their names." On this subject some humorist has written—

"With fifty damsels in her train,

Came Ceasair o'er the Eastern main;

Three heroes with her crossed the water,

Attendants on Bith's roving daughter."

Ceasair is reputed to have been a daughter of Bith, who was a son of Noah, and a half brother of Shem, Ham, and Japhet. Because Bith and Ceasair abandoned the true God, Noah refused them a place in the Ark; and the narrative goes on to say that, thus refused, they, with Ladhra and Fintan consulted together, and by Ceasair's advice applied to an idol, who told them to build a ship, but the idol could not tell them at what time the Deluge was to take place. They accordingly built a vessel, and having well stored it with provisions, Bith, Ladhra, and Fintan, together with three ladies, Ceasair, Barran, and Balva, accompanied by their handmaids, then put to sea; and, after some time, on the fifteenth day of the Moon, and forty days before the Deluge, they landed near Bantry, in the county Cork, and from thence proceeded to where the rivers Suir, Nore, and Barrow join, below Waterford, where they parted: Fintan taking Ceasair and seventeen of the damsels; Bith took Barran and seventeen more; and Ladhra took Balva and the remainder of the damsels to Ard-Ladhra ("and from him it was named"), now the hill of Ardmine, county Wexford, where he died, being "the first that died in Ireland." After his death Balva and her handmaids returned to Ceasair, and Fintan and Bith divided them between them; but Bith having soon after died at Sliabh-Beatha (now know as "Slieve Beagh"—a mountain on the confines of the counties of Fermanagh and Monaghan, "and from him the mountain is named"), Fintan became so alarmed at the prospect of the large family left in his charge, that he deserted them and fled to the territory of Aradh [Ara], near Loch Deirgdheire (now "Lough Derg"—an expansion of the river Shannon, between Killaloe, in the county Clare, and Portumna in the county Galway), where he died; and from Fintan is named Feart Fintain, i.e., "Fintan's Grave." Thus abandoned, Ceasair and her band of women retired to Cuil Ceasra, where she died of a broken heart, and was buried in Carn Ceasra, on the banks of the river Boyle, in Connaught, near Cuil Ceasra.

In a poem which some wag has attributed to this Fintan he is made to say that he survived the Flood; and that he continued alive till the sixth century of the Christian era, when he died. No doubt the narrative, that a colony reached Ireland "forty days before the Deluge," seems very apocryphal; but, as the Four Masters mention the circumstance, we thought it right to here give the foregoing details.