Dinnshenchas of Codal
verse beg. Tug mac an Dagdha dhimoír

  • Middle Irish
  • prose, verse
  • Early Irish poetry, Dinnshenchas Érenn, dinnshenchas
Prose narrative and a few quatrains of verse on the dinnshenchas of Codal (location uncertain).
First words (verse)
  • Tug mac an Dagdha dhimoír
First words (prose)
  • Codhal cidh díatá?
entire text • single version
Context(s)The (textual) context(s) to which the present text belongs or in which it is cited in part or in whole.

The text is known from a single copy:

  • S =
    Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS D ii 2 (1222) [s. xvi (?)]
    ff. 81vb (inf.)–82va
    The poem starts at the bottom of f. 82rb. There is a gloss in the margin of f. 82rb, which reads: dare (occurring at the height of ...íaromh do réir Elcmaire an br... in the prose text). See ISOS for a digital image.
  • Middle Irish
prose, verse (primary)
Number of stanzas
Textual relationships
Cf. Dinnshenchas of Benn Codail, a different story about an eponymous figure called Codal corr-chíchach.


Early Irish poetryEarly Irish poetry

Dinnshenchas Érenn
Dinnshenchas Érenn
id. 6712
dinnshenchasIrish narrative literature, onomastic lore and learning, topographical literature
id. 32607


The DagdaThe Dagda
Eochaid Ollathair, In Dagda
No short description available
See more
Codal [eponymous figure]Codal ... eponymous figure
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

See more
Áed mac in DagdaÁed mac in Dagda
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

See more

No description available

See more

The story is first told in prose and subsequently referred to in a brief poem (3 qq). Gwynn states that the poem is ‘plainly incomplete’.

The outrage

Prose. When Eochaid Ollathair alias the Dagda, high-king of Ireland, divides Ireland among the Tuatha Dé Danann, he grants Mag Fliuchross to his son Áed. Áed puts his soldier (óclach) Codal corr-chíchach (‘round-breast’) in charge of that plain.

Áed is romantically/sexually interested in Codal’s beautiful wife, Echrad, daughter of Garann glúnmhár (‘big-knee’), and sends a druid (draid) to make advances to her, but Echrad rejects him. When Áed learns of this, he reports the situation to his father, saying that he will languish away if he does not sleep with her. The Dagda, who prefers risking a revolt among the Tuatha Dé over leaving his son in his unhappy state, tells his son to detain Codal as a prisoner and to sleep with Echrad. This is done, Codal being guarded by 3 x 9 men.

Poem. The first quatrain of the poem describes Áed’s act of giving love (serc) as gan tarba fri h-anbaíl; Codal as Áed’s friend (cara); Echrad as being con n-amharc n-anbail (Gwynn: ‘with the wanton glance’).

» People: The Dagda • Áed mac in Dagda • Codal ... legendary figure • Túatha Dé Danann • Echrad ingen Garainn » Places: Mag Fliuchrois • Codal

Conflict and resolution

Prose. News of Áed’s ill deed reaches Echrad’s father Garann and those who are feasting with him at his house: Danainn; Gorm, daughter of Danainn; and Sen son of Sengann. When they have tracked down Áed at his house, they slay everyone in his household, but Áed escapes. Echrad (‘the woman’) is carried to Garann and his son Gruad.

A battle is pitched between the Dagda and Garann: the Dagda with his household and his sons Áed, Cermait cáem and Óengus, together with Midir his fosterfather (aite), and Bodb Derg; Garann, in his turn, receives help from the kin of Éogan of Inber.

Elcmaire the judge (breithem) intervenes to make peace between them. His judgment is that Codal is to be granted the land where the injustice was done to him (...a dílsiugad dó 'na enech); and that Áed should not seek redress. Codal’s possession of the land is secured through sureties (rátha); hence the hill (tulach) has become known as Codal.

The other hill (tulach) Codlín takes its name from Codlín, son of Codal and Echrad.

Poem. The second quatrain adds, or makes explicit, that Codal, where Codal had been wronged, is the site of a stronghold (dún). Codal’s fighting abilities are highlighted in this passage (e.g. Codal na rún rind-mer, tr. by Gwynn as ‘Codal, skilled in secrets of spear-craft’). The meaning of the third quatrain, addressed by the speaker to rí na rend n-imrebach (line 10), is not wholly transparent: ‘Let me lay the vast dwelling (an bárc bleidech) in the dust / ... / and let my name rest on the hill, / even on well-named wound-dealing Codal’ (Gwynn).

» People: Garann glúnmhár • Danainn • Gorm ... daughter of Danainn • Sen mac Sengainn • Sengann • Gruad mac Garainn • Cermait • Óengus mac ind Óc • Midir • Bodb Derg • Éogan of Inber • Elcmaire • Codlín ... son of Codal


Primary sources Text editions and/or modern translations – in whole or in part – along with publications containing additions and corrections, if known. Diplomatic editions, facsimiles and digital image reproductions of the manuscripts are not always listed here but may be found in entries for the relevant manuscripts. For historical purposes, early editions, transcriptions and translations are not excluded, even if their reliability does not meet modern standards.

[ed.] [tr.] Gwynn, E. J., The metrical dindsenchas, 5 vols, vol. 4, Todd Lecture Series, 11, Dublin: Hodges, Figgis, 1924.
CELT – edition: <link> CELT – translation: <link> Internet Archive – vol. 4: <link>
268–271 [id. 76. ‘Codal’] Prose introduction and poem. direct link direct link direct link

Secondary sources (select)

Gwynn, E. J., The metrical dindsenchas, 5 vols, vol. 4, Todd Lecture Series, 11, Dublin: Hodges, Figgis, 1924.
CELT – edition: <link> CELT – translation: <link> Internet Archive – vol. 4: <link>
447 [id. 76. ‘Codal’] direct link
Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
November 2012, last updated: September 2022