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NOTES TO FINGAL.
P. 4. v. 1. CUCHULLIN. Cuthullin the son of Semo, and grandson to Caithbat, a druid celebrated in tradition for his wisdom and valour. Cuthullin when very young married Bragela the daughter of Sorglan, and passing over into Ireland, lived for some time with Connal, grandson by a daughter to Congal the petty king of Ulster. His wisdom and valour in a short time gained him such reputation, that in the minority of Cormac, the supreme king of Ireland, he was chosen guardian to the young king, and sole manager of the war against Swaran king of Lochlin. After a series of great actions he was killed in battle somewhere in Connaught, in the twenty-seventh year of his age. He was so remarkable for his strength, that to describe a strong man it has passed into a proverb, “ He has the strength of Cuthullin." They shew the remains of his palace at Dunscaich in the Isle of Skye; and a stone, to which he bound his dog Luath, goes still by his name.
P. 4. v. 5. Cairbar or Cairbre, signifies a fierce strong man.
P. 4. v. 7. 'Nuair thainig fear coimheid a chuain,] Cuthullin having previous intelligence of the invasion intended by Swaran, sent scouts all over the coast of Ullin, or Ulster, to give early notice of the first appearance of the enemy, at the same time that he sent Munan the son of Stirmal to implore the assistance of Fingal. He himself collected the flower of the Irish youth to Tura, a castle on the coast, to stop the progress of the enemy till Fingal should arrive from Scotland. We may conclude from Cuthullin's applying so early for foreign aid, that the Irish were not then so numerous as they have since been; which is a great presumption against the high antiquities of that people. We have the testimony of Tacitus, that one legion only was thought sufficient, in the time of Agricola, to reduce the whole island under the Roman yoke; which would not probably have been the case had the island been inhabited for any number of centuries before.
P. 4. v. 8. Fithil.] Fithil, or rather Fili, an inferior bard.
P. 4. v. 16. Fionnghal.] Fingal the son of Comhul and Morna the daughter of Thaddu. His grandfather was Trathal, and great grandfather Trenmor, both of whom are often mentioned in the poem.
P. 6. v. 37. Meallmor] Signifies a great hill.
P. 8. v. 52. Buail sgidth Sheuma,] Cabait, or rather Cathbait, grandfather to the hero, was so remarkable for his valour, that his shield was made use of to alarm his posterity to the battles of the family. We find Fingal making the same use of his own shield in the 4th book. A horn was the most common instrument to call the army together.
P. 8. v.61. Curtha.] Signifies the madness of battle.
P. 10. v. 95. Crom!eac.) Signified a place of worship among the Druids. It is here the proper name of a hill on the coast of Ullin or Ulster.
P. 12. v. 109. Conal.] The friend of Cuthullin, was the son of Caithbait prince of the Tongorma, or the island of blue waves, probably one of the Hebrides. His mother was Fioncoma the daughter of Congal. He had a son by Foba of Conacharnessar, who was afterwards petty king of Ulster. For his services in the war against Swaran he bad lands conferred on him, which, from his name, were called Tir-chonnuil or Tir-connel, i. e. the land of Connal.
P. 12. v. 118. Eirin.] A name of Ireland; from ear or iar West, and in an island. This name was not always confined to Ireland, for there is the highest probability that the Ierne of the ancients was Britain to the North of the Forth. For lerne is said to be to the North of Britain, which could not be meant of Ireland. - Strabo, l. 1, 2, and 4, Causab. l. 1.
P. 14. v. 133. Calmar.] Calmar, or Calmear, a strong man.
P. 14. v. 141. Lochlin.] Lochlin, or Lochlan, the Gaelic name of Scandinavia in general,
P. 14. v. 145. Innis-torc.] The Orkney Islands.
P. 16. v. 179. Fearguis.] Fearguis, or Fearguith, the man of the word; or a commander of an army. P. 18. v. 188. A Chuchullin, tha ceithir chlachan
Air Caithbaid taisgte'san uaigh.] This passage alludes