Labhradh Longseach


Maon left Ireland after his father and grandfather had been killed by his uncle, Colethach Caol-bhreagh, and traveled to France, his grandmother's country, with a party of nine. The king of the French made Maon the leader of his household guards, and he became very successful. Maon became so successful that his fame spread to Ireland; and consequently many Irishmen followed him to France (they saw him as the heir to Ireland). He remained in France a long time.

Cobhthach Caol mBreagh held the kingship of Ireland for 30 years. He was given his name for a severe disease afflicting him through envying his brother Laoghaire Lorc. The disease caused his blood and flesh to melt away, so that he was thin. Magh Breagh was the name of the place in which he lay sick, and hence he was called Caol mBreagh.

Moiriath, daughter of the king of West Meath, conceived a violent passion for Maon on account of the greatness of his name and fame. She sent Craiftine the harper to him with many love presents and a love lay in which she set forth the intensity of her passion for him. When Craiftine arrived in France, he sang the lay for Maon. Maon was so delighted with the song that he asked the king of France for an auxiliary force so that he might go and regain Ireland. The king gave him a fleet-full, 2,200 men, which sailed to Loch Garman. (They landed at the Boyne and marched with Munstermen to Dinn Rig, some say he landed in Wexford harbor and did not have the help of the Munstermen).

On the eve of the greater Christmas, Maon marched to Dionn Riogh (Dinn Rig), where Cobhthach Caol mBreagh and many of his nobles were, and attacked the fortress, killing all his enemies. It was then that a druid who was in the fortress inquired who had executed the slaughter. "The mariner" (An loingseach), replied the man outside. "Does the mariner speak?" asked the druid. "He speaks" (Labhraidh), said the other. And hence the name Labhraidh Loingseach clung to Maon ever since. And it was he who first made in Ireland spears with broad greenish blue heads; for laighne means spears having wide green-blue iron heads; and from these spears the name Laighin is given to the people of Leinster.

        Two hundred and twenty hundred foreigners,
        With broad spears they came over;
        From these spears without flaw
        The Leinstermen are called Laighin.

All true Leinstermen that survive of the race of Heremon are descended from this Labhradh Loingseach, except O Nuallain who sprang from Cobhthach Caol mBreagh. Labhradh wore the crown of Ireland for 18 years before he was slain. There is a tale told about Labhradh in which it is said he had ears like a donkey. In the manuscripts, perhaps taken from Greek myth which it closely resembles.


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