Irish Mythology |The Milesian Invasion


 This story is a little different in format to the others in this section. I have lifted it directly from my novel, The Four Treasures of Eirean, and it is told in the words of one of the characters, the old Professor Kilmore Willows, who is actually the creator of one of the Treasures, the Dagda’s cauldron. Here he is telling the hero, Conor, how the Tuatha de Denann were defeated, which follows the mythology closely. Where this version deviates, however, is in attributing the Denann downfall to Bres. This aspect is purely fiction, my artistic license, as they say.

” It is said that the Milesians were the first Gaels to come to Ireland, and that all men and women alive in Ireland today are descended from them. Whilst the tribe of the Denann are dismissed as nothing more than a fabulous  invention, a magical race created out of the mythology of Ireland‘s dim and distant past, scholars and historians are generally agreed that the Sons of Mil were a true historical people, who came to our shores in the late bronze age, and ruled until the Norman English invasion of the C12th AD.

” I guess they did what any conqueror would do. After their victory, the Milesians set about removing all traces of the Denann, discrediting their magic and their memory, dismissing them as nothing but a bunch of mischievous fairies. In time, this slander became all that remained. Yet the legend persisted, dilute but not forgotten.

” The Sons of Mil were a purely practical race. They possessed no magical powers. But they were fierce and war-like, determined and they had weapons of iron. They were cunning and they were clever, and they were fueled by revenge.

” You look surprised, Conor! As well you might. But you see, after so many hundreds of years of peaceful rule, it seems the Tuatha de Denann had grown complacent. The great kings were gone, Nuada, Lugh, the Dagda, Daelbeth. Ireland, or Inis Fail as it was known back then, was in the hands of three brothers, Mac Call, Mac Cecht and Mac Greinne, who ruled jointly. Their father feared that neither one of them was strong or wise enough to rule alone, and he was right. For the three brothers spent most of their time squabbling amongst themselves over who had inherited the greater share of their father’s lands and wealth.

” So it was when Ith of the Milesians and his son came visiting to Ireland. Why did they come? Who can say? But Ith felt a burning desire to explore this land. Curious, it seems to me. I believe he was invited by one who was up to no good, one who was evil enough to engineer this whole sorry sequence of events. You know of whom I speak, don’t you?

” The Kings were in heated debate at Tara, when Ith came to them. They made him welcome, shared with him their table, and he listened to their words. He was shocked to hear them arguing so, for his journey had shown him a beautiful, plentiful land with more than enough riches to go around. Finally, he had to say his piece, and he praised their country, and their father for his generosity.

” The three kings listened to Ith’s enthusiastic words, and grew suspicious. They believed that perhaps he liked it so much, he might come back with an army and take it from them. Why would they think so badly of the visitor they had welcomed so well only a few short hours previously, simply because he spoke warmly of their lands and their father? The Denann were always known for their hospitality and generosity. Such mean-spiritedness was out of character. I have my own suspicions as to how the seeds of doubt were sown in their minds. I think you understand my meaning.

” So when Ith left that night to return to his ship, the Denann Kings sent a company of men to lay in ambush for him. It was cruel and shameful! Ith was mortally wounded in the attack, and carried back to his ship by his son and a few of his surviving companions. They set sail for home immediately, but Ith died from his wounds before they landed.

” Now Ith was very highly regarded amongst his own people, and when the mourning was done, the Milesians were set on revenge. They gathered together a mighty army and assembled a fleet of sixty-five ships, and sailed for Ireland. When the Denann saw the ships on the horizon, their sorcerers and druids surrounded their shores with a barrier of mist and storm. But after several days of circling the island, searching for an inlet in which to moor, the Sons of Mil landed at last in Kerry, and made straight for Tara.

” Along the way, they met the three Queens of Ireland, Eriu, Foddla and Banba. The women prophesied that Ireland would belong to the Sons of Mil for ever. This excited the Milesians, and in return they promised that the ladies would always be remembered in the name of the land. So it is that we come by the name of Eire, Eirean, or Errin, derived from Eriu. Then the Milesians continued on with great confidence and resolve.

” At Tara, the poet Amergin was called by his Milesian brothers to negotiate with the Denann. He delivered this ultimatum; hand over Ireland peaceably, or fight to keep her. The Denann wanted to fight, but were not battle ready. It takes time to set up an army and prepare it. As I have said, the good times had enabled the Denann to grow complacent.

” Instead, it was agreed that the Milesians would return to their ships and withdraw out to sea by the distance of nine waves. If they were able to come back inland, and land their ships safely, Ireland was theirs. A strange agreement, by anyone’s standards! But the Denann set great store by their magical powers and believed they could destroy their enemy. Equally, the Milesians set no store by magic at all, they believed Ireland was already theirs.

” So all was done as agreed. And instead of readying themselves for war, the Denann sent their greatest magicians to call up the most terrible storms. The Milesians could not fight the storm, and the fleet was split up and driven apart. Many were lost. And yet, three of the Milesian leaders weathered these magical storms to lead their men ashore, and they were the poet Amergin, and his two surviving brothers Ebber Finn and Eremon. How could this be? How could a non-magical race defeat the magic of the Denann? Perhaps there is another who had a hand in all this, someone else who was eager to exact revenge on the Denann! Someone who possessed powerful magic, and would not hesitate to use it against the Denann! However it came about, one group landed in Kenmare Bay in Co Kerry, and the other group landed in the mouth of the River Boyne. Both groups marched inland, eager to claim their prize.

” But the Denann were unwilling to hand over their lands, despite their agreement. They hurriedly cobbled together an army to meet the approaching Milesians, but it was not adequately armed or organised, and to make matters worse, they had to split the army in two to meet both the Milesian war bands. Two battles were fought, one led by the Milesian Queen Scota at Slieve Mis in Co Kerry, the other at Taillten, which is now known as Teltown, in Co Meath.

” It was a disaster! Slaughter! Whilst these battles were taking place, Bres came to poor Analee, who was no more than a mere child at the time, and misled her into stealing the Four Treasures for him. It was the final nail in the coffin, so to speak. Without the sources of their powers to support them, and weakened as they already were by their lack of preparation, their poorly armed forces, and the dividing of their army, the results of the battles were already decided. Suffice it to say, that although Scota was lost, the Milesians were the victors, and the three Denann Kings were killed alongside their wives, who had not so long ago prophesied their own fate to the Milesians.

” The Milesians marched on to Tara, where Amergin divided the Kingship between his two brothers, the north to Eremon, and the south to Ebber Finn.

” It was over. The reign of the Tuatha de Denann had come to its end. I leave it to you, Conor, to decide how much of a hand Bres had in these events. I have my own views. But other than Bres’s interaction with Annalee, nothing else can be confirmed. In any case, the Denann disappeared, and dwindled, until nothing remained but a faint memory… “

11 Comments on “Irish Mythology |The Milesian Invasion

  1. The DNA shows us that the majority of people in Europe are Celt/Gaels from Basque land (DNA Ruisco R1b) and clades of the Gaels which mutated from that numbering 16 or more different major ones. Ireland is dominated by Rox-(R1b-9) of which 93% of Irish men belong and is the oldest Haplogroup of Ruisco.. If you look at Steven Oppenheimer’s book, “The Origins of the British”. The others are Ruy, the most common; R1b-(10); Rob-(R1b-8); Rox; ; Ruslan is in half of all European men. See Oppenheimer’s book.
    Of the European men are belonging to Wodan ((SYKES) or Ivan “I”) groups (Oppenheimer northern groups from Sweden, Norway and Jutland or Denmark called Ingert; Ian;Ivan These can include Vikings from Norway or Denmark, Germans Fresians. Rostov is Russian and included in these Northern groups. These go back a long way in time. The last Ice ages – one at 22,000 years ago to 18,000 years ago came first and then there was a thaw and a luul and another Ice age came at 12,000 yhears ago to 9500 years ago and the floods that came next were mentioned in India, Sumeria and by the Bible. as these ice ages came and went they PUSHED DOWN THE HUMANS FROM THE NORTH AS IT WAS SO COLD . They went into the Balkans and into Basque country. This happened several times and the sea eventually created the North sea and flooded the land there. This was like a giant washing machine pushing the population up to the north and then down to the south as the cold came and went. The result is what we have now. We call ourselves the names of countries which did not exist then and we were much more closely related.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well most of that is way above my head! 😊 But thank You, I get the gist of it. I think it is very humbling to realise just how connected we all are. Patriotism is a good thing until it gets taken to extremes. There is no excuse for elitism and racism. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, appreciate it. 😊


    • Before the Basques appeared in Europe or the Northern people in the north, They actually like all people who came out of Africa, about 83,000 years ago, went to India and all the rest of the world came from India, starting with the most adventurous-Cain (M130) -(ancient), who is found in India, Andaman Islands, Indonesia and Australia. His Counterpart was Manju (L3) who is also ancient, found in Africa, small amounts in India (due to her kind being almost wiped out during the Toba Volcanic Explosion), from Indonesia (74,000 years ago), Andaman Islands, and Australia, where both Cain and Manju reside. Cain came from Seth and Seth’s “brother travellers” were Cain and Abel. These names obviously are only used by the genealogists as they are easier to remember, as DNA groups are given Numbers too. Manju is the grt grtx 100000 grandma of many of us. She was African and some people do not like this as they are prejudiced. This prejudice I have discovered also comes from Pakistani and Indian people today, unfortunately. Manju is my ancestor and the ancestor of most people in Europe. From her came Nasreena and Rohani and the descendant of Rohani went north west. I come from her. Most of my kind are in Basque country. Another ancient female is Ursula (the Bear) or Europa. She is very ancient and is found in Greece and Europe and my Scottish mother in Law was from Ursula/Europa. We are all human and share all our ancient ancestry. Yes we have mixed, but the father still gives his sons his Haplotype (called Haplogroup if you are referring to a group), and the Mother, her daughters Haplotype. A daughter does not inherit her father’s Haplotype but might inherit many other characteristics, such as height, colour of eyes, propensity for laughter or anger etc. However I was able to find out from a male cousin, what my father’s Haplotype was. I inherited my mother’s Haplotype. A male can also find out his mother’s Haplotype is.

      Liked by 1 person

    • if a human society elects not to base its sense of identity on genetic requirements, I say more power to em. Science shouldn’t be abused to the tune of being attempting to silence the oral histories or poetry or culture of a group of people. The things science hasn’t discovered yet may later cause revision to the current understanding of the data, and these histories should remain available and be honored as such now and in the future, regardless. Science also suffers when abused, since people shun anything clearly being used against a people in the manner of a weapon because it appears highly biased and subjective, which science is not. And the idea of ideas not subject to revision upon new information being gained is antithetical to science by nature. Listen to the stories and appreciate them for what they are instead of trying to impose an opposite claim of your own over them, I implore you.


      • Well I’m not really sure what you’re accusing me of here, Pamela, you’re not making yourself clear. This blog is surely celebrating the old stories as they stand, as we have inherited them, there is no agenda on my part. Sometimes I try and make sense of them as they seem to me, and everyone is free to disagree, there is no right and wrong. You are very welcome here, but please don’t come with accusations towards me or any of my blog visitors.


      • Actually, humans base most of their preferences on appearance, and DO discriminate based on DNA.
        Just look around you.
        I don’t know what YOUR agenda may be, but as a scientist, you have clearly ignored the most basic guiding principle of science, which is to base your conclusions on a logical set of observation. As one trained in astrophysics and aerospace technology, I would say that your goal is the same as the two I just mentioned, which is this:
        Deceive the common people. Never let them find all the truth about anything.
        It’s why I chose auto mechanics over aerospace technology, which, as a child, was my passion. I would not have been able to live with myself if I’d made such a Macchivellian bargain.
        Shame on you.


  2. I chanced upon this page after I received the results of my DNA. My father was Irish, so no surprise that 76% of my DNA was Irish. My mum was English, but only 11% of my DNA was from Great Britain. 9% of my DNA is Iberian Peninsula. That was the shock. I decided to look into it and came upon this myth/legend. My DNA would appear to support it…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love your story, Helen. Thank you for sharing it. I love that tracing our genetics can throw up such wonderful surprises. I’d love to do it myself… is it easy to do? I wouldn’t know where to start! 😁


  3. The story of the Milesians has always fascinated me. We have friends in Galicia and I’ve asked them if they have an equivalent myth but surprisingly they don’t. Being the victors you’d have thought they would. Did you know that the Irish in certain regions share an astonishingly high amount of genetic material with the Galicians? It’s a lovely story anyway and until it’s proved wrong I’ll go on believing in it 🙂


    • I didnt Know that, Jane, but it makes sense. Perhaps once the conquering Milesians settled in here they became more Irish and didnt have much contact with their original home any more, and so the myth was never perpetuated there. Perhaps it never happened… I doubt we’ll ever know the truth. But you’re right, it’s a great story!


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