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The Conquest by the Sons of Mil

This conquest is the most important for Celtic history because this was when the Gaels arrived in Ireland and they have since remained.

The Sons of Mil, originally of Spain, heard about the uncle, who after seeing a vision had travelled to Ireland, and had been killed by the Tuatha De Danann. They knew Ireland to be a good land, with good grazing and plentiful fish in rivers and lakes. So, bent on revenge, they gathered their families and belongings together and set sail for Ireland.

Donn, the eldest, was the commander of sixty-five ships and forty chieftains and their spiritual leader was Amergin, a poet skilled in all arts of magic.

As they reached Ireland the Tuatha De Danann protected Ireland by using druidic magic to make it disappear. The sailors stared in astonishment at the open sea. Amergin realised that magic was at hand. He advised Donn to sail around the land three times.

The island reappeared as soon as the ships finished the third circle and so the Sons of Mil landed on the eve of Beltain. They started marching inland.

As they headed inland they met the three goddesses of Ireland: Banba, Fodla and Erui (also known as Erin). They were the territorial goddesses and it was vital for the invaders to gain their co-operation. The first two goddesses didn't say much but Erui was full of praise for them. She told them that their arrival had been long awaited having been previously prophesied. She welcomed them and said that Ireland, the best island, was theirs to rule forever.

Donn replied, "If that happens it will not be due to you but to our gods and our fighting men."

Erin was angered by the arrogant answer and told him that his line would be forever cursed and would never rule Ireland.

The Sons of Mil left Erui and continued to Tara where they met the husbands of the three goddesses and kings of the Tuatha De Danann: Mac Cuill, Mac Cracht and Mac Greine. These three jeered at the Sons of Mil for being dishonourable by trying to take Ireland by surprise. The sons of Mil were given three options: leaving Ireland, submitting to the Tuatha De Danann or fighting. Donn really wanted to fight but Amergin had the final say in the matter.

He commanded them to retreat and leave the land for the Tuatha De until the Sons of Mil could take it honourably.

"Where shall we go then?" Donn asked.

Speaking the magical words of the druids, Amergin commanded them out to past the ninth wave.

Grudgingly the Sons of Mil obeyed and set sail until they were beyond the ninth wave.

In order to keep them from Ireland forever the Tuatha De conjured up a wild storm. The waves were so strong that even the seabed was lifted to the top and the sailors were terrified as they were driven out to the open sea.

Amergin knew that if the storm was druid-driven then the air above the mast would be calm. A sailor climbed the mast and he stuck his hand up above the mast. The air was clam. Before he could tell the others a sudden gust of wind blew him to his death on the deck below.

Amergin stood at the bow and chanted a poem to the goddess Erui, to appease her after what Donn had said to him. The storm calmed. However, Donn was still full of pride and he spoke arrogantly and showed disobedience to Amergin. This sealed his fate.

The storm blew up once again and his ship became separated from the others. Even as Donn defied the elements with his sword the boat was wrecked on the southwest coast and everyone aboard drowned, all but Amergin.

Emer and Eremon, the remaining brothers, shared the rest of the fleet between them. They landed on the shore and as Amergin set his right foot on the sand he uttered a poem claiming the land for the Sons of Mil.

The Tuatha De Danann's magic had been outwitted but it was many battles before the sons of Mil could claim victory.

However, the Tuatha De retained their supernatural powers and made life difficult for the newcomers. Eventually a truce was reached and there was peace between the two forces.

They divided the land between them, the underground going to the Tuatha De and the land above ground went to the sons of Mil. As a result the Tuatha De went to live underground. The Dagda gave a faery mound (known as a sidhe) to each of their chieftains and these mounds were to be the dwelling places of the faery folk of Ireland.

This was forever the agreement between the Tuatha De Danann and the Gaels.

Category: Invasions | Added by: obiflo (22 October 10)
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