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The Four Jewels of the Tuatha

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Irish and Celtic myths and legends, Irish folklore and Irish fairy tales from the Mythological Cycle

Lost treasures of great power, The Four Jewels of the Tuatha De Danann

It was at the dawning of the world when the fair folk walked in broad daylight as bold as you and I, before the coming of the Milesians with their bitter iron blades and earthen ways, it was the time when magic was wrought and druidry had power, when heroes gave battle to gods and the titanic children of Seth still troubled the dreams of Heaven, it was the age of the Tuatha Dé Danann and their four great treasures!

Soon after the Fir Bolg returned to Ireland, fleeing the unjust yoke of Greek rule in the southern seas, there came a great smoke and mist across the ocean froth, the fleet of the Tuatha De. From four island-cities in the west or perhaps in the Otherworld itself they came seeking their destiny, and the names of those cities were Fálias of the sciences and Goirias of the faith, Muirias the fortress of pinnacles and Fionnias the bright.

In these places they had studied occult knowledge and all the masteries that could be known, warlike ways and crafty arts, sorcery, druidism and witchcraft, magical skills and the making of mounds and circles. The most ancient texts in Lebor Gabála Érenn, or The Book of the Taking of Ireland tell us that they wove their lore in clever words of beauty and poetry, the better to recall them, and their teachers were four druids.

The names of these four druids were Mórfheasa who was in Fálias, Easras in Goirias, Uiscias in Fionnias, and Séimhias in Muirias. These wise men and tellers of tales wrought mightily and bound their power in four treasures which the Tuatha brought with them across the lashing seas.

From the city of Fálias came the Lia Fáil, the stone of Kings, which was placed in Teamair, or Tara as we know it today. Whenever the true king of Ireland made it his seat, it would cry out in a great voice like thunder, or deep roaring like a river beneath the earth. All knowledge was hidden in its swirled carvings. Some say it was taken from Tara to other places, but the truth of that is not known.

The Druid Easras in Goirias, where every word was a prayer, warped the fates into the Spear of Lugh of the Silver Arm. None who held the Spear of Destiny could lose a battle or stand against the man who held it, although its owner must surely die should he lose it. It has travelled far and wide to distant lands over the passing ages, gaining a dark renown, becoming the ambition of tyrants and warlords for it was made to slay heroes. Nobody knows where it truly lies, and perhaps that's for the best.

The Claímh Solas, the Sword of Light, was forged by Uiscias in the searing heat of the day-foundries of Fionnias and was brought by Nuada who made it his own. Once drawn it must slay whomever it was raised against, and there was no escaping its wrath. It burned with a pulsing heat and a blinding light. The sword was thrust into the bosom of the Taker of Souls sent to reap the battle-harvest of the Second Battle of Moy Tura where the Fomors were defeated, and it fell with that demon-spirit into the clasping depths of the underworld. Whispered tales tell that a fairy Queen stole it back though, and lends it to heroes who complete three tasks for her.

And lastly from the hand of Séimhias in Muirias was given the Cauldron of Abundance called the Undry to Dagda Mór, the father of many, and none could walk away from it unsatisfied. Its waters could heal any wound and even bring back life to the dead, and it had no bottom – indeed, some say it was itself a passage to the Otherworld, by which a traveller could visit magical isles and even return to the cities from whence came the Tuatha!

The Tuatha Dé Danann of the precious jewels,
Where did they find learning?
They came upon perfect wisdom
In druidism, in devilry.

Fair Iarbhoneal, prophet of excellence,
Son of Neimheadh, son of Aghnamhan,
Had as a foolish offspring the active Beothach,
Who was a hero of cleaving, full of wonders.

Clann Bheothach, - long-lived their fame -
The host of valiant heroes came,
After sorrow and after great sadness,
All their slips to Lochlainn.

Four cities,- just their renown -
They held with great strength.
On this account they passionately made competition
For learning their true wisdom.

Fálias and bright Goirias,
Fionnias, Muirias of great prowess,
From which battles were won outside,
The names of the chief cities.

Mórfheasa and noble Easras,
Uiscias and Séimhias ever-fierce,
To name them, - a discourse of need -
The names of the sages of noble wisdom.

Mórfheasa the poet of Fálias itself,
Easras in Goirias, of keen desires,
Séimhias in Muirias, fortress of pinnacles,
Uiscias the fair poet of Fionnias.

Four presents brought with them,
By the nobles of the Tuatha Dé Danann:
A sword, a stone, a cauldron of worth,
A spear for the death of noble champions.

Lia Fáil brought from Fálias,
Which shouted under the kings of Ireland.
Sword in the hand of the nimble Lúgh
From Goirias, - a choice of vast riches.

From Fionnias far over the sea
Was brought the deadly spear of Nuadha.
From Muirias, a huge mighty treasure,
Cauldron of the Daghdha of noble deeds.

King of Heaven, King of feeble men,
May he protect me, King of royal regions,
The man in whom is the endurance of spectres,
And the strength of the gentle race.

Below on the map is marked the landing place of the Tuatha De Danann, where they first brought their four treasures to Ireland.


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