Emain Ablach

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[Ir. emain, brooch (?), twins (?); ablach, having apple trees].

Paradisiacal island off the coast of Alba [Scotland], the home of Manannán mac Lir, the Irish sea-god. As early as Sanas Cormaic [Cormac's Glossary] (9th cent.), Emain Ablach was erroneously identified with the Isle of Man, supported by a confusion of Man and Manannán. Emain Ablach is, however, an imagined not a real place. In Manx tradition, where it is called Eamhain of the Apples, there is no identification with the Isle of Man. Neither can Emain Ablach be identified with the Scottish island of Arran. The city or capital of the island is Cruithín na Cuan. Bran mac Febail began his fabulous voyage after a mysterious woman presented him with a silver branch with white blossoms from the apple tree of Emain Ablach; her song of the richness and delight of the place sent him on his quest; see IMRAM BRAIN [Voyage of Bran]. Some authorities suggest that Emain Ablach may be glossed as the ‘Land of Promise’ because that is the announced goal of Bran's quest; it is also glossed as the Isle of Women; see TÍR TAIRNGIRE. Emain Ablach appears to be one of several Celtic contributions to the Arthurian concept of Avalon.

Subjects: Religion.

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