The Legend Lives On
So just who are the Tuatha De Danann and what were/are they doing in Inishowen?
The Tuatha Dé Danann Clan can usually be translated as the 'People/Tribe of the Goddess Danu'. They are a mythical race of supernaturally-gifted people in Irish mythology and are said to represent the main deities of pre-Christian Gaelic Ireland. Namely, the Kings, Queens, Heroes, Warriors in Irish Legend.
It is said that the Tuatha are descendants from Nemed a previous leader of Ireland and that they came from four cities to the north of Ireland - Falias, Gorias, Murias and Finias. It is here where they acquired their magical skills and attributes. Legend would have us believe that they came to Ireland in 'Dark Clouds' and landed on the mountains, plus brought darkness over the sun for three nights. However, a later version depicts them arriving in Ships which they immediately burnt so that they should not think of retreating. i.e. The Clouds of smoke and mist from the earlier story.
A poem in the Lebor Gabála Érenn says of their arrival:
It is God who suffered them, though He restrained them
they landed with horror, with lofty deed,
in their cloud of mighty combat of spectres,
upon a mountain of Conmaicne of Connacht.
Without distinction to descerning Ireland,
Without ships, a ruthless course
the truth was not known beneath the sky of stars,
whether they were of heaven or of earth.
The Battles of Moytura
You will have to stop by the Visitor Centre to find out all the juicy bits of the Legends but we thought we better give some background info on some of the topics included in the Centre. King Nuada led the first Battle of Magh Tuiread (Moytura) in which they defeated the native 'Fir Bolg' who were the main inhabitants at the time. Nuada had his arm severed in battle to Sreng - The Champion of the Fir Bolg. (You can enjoy this epic battle in the Centre) Nuada, now blemished, no longer held the right to be King and was replaced by half-fomorian Bres who turned out to be an evil Tyrant.
Nuada later had his arm replaced by a Magical Silver Arm by Dian Cecht, you can try it on in our Visitor Centre! and was then reinstated as King once again. Bres, however would not go quietly and sought help from Balor - King of the Fomorians, in turn - the second Battle of Moytura. Nuada was then killed by Balor's poisonous eye, but Balor was then killed by Lugh, the Champion of the Tuatha Dé. Lugh in turn became King.
A third battle was fought against a new wave of invaders - The Milesians, in present day terms - from Portugal. The Milesians encountered three Goddesses while present - Ériu, Banba and Fodla. They requested that the Island be named after Ériu hence now Éire in modern day terms. If you go to Malin Head, Ireland's most Northerly Point you can see Banba's Crown, well worth a visit.
The Tuatha and Milesians agreed on a truce that meant the Milesians would anchor nine waves out at sea from the shore. When a plan by the Tuatha to overthrow the fleet with a conjured storm was thwarted, the Milesians attacked again and won. They then divided up the territory with the Milesians getting all the portion above ground and sending the Tuatha underground.
The Old Church Visitor Centre,
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