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Mag Tuired


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[cf. Ir. tuire, pillar].

Fabled place-name, site of two battles between the Tuatha Dé Danann and their enemies, the First Battle with the Fir Bolg, the Second Battle with the Fomorians; see CATH MAIGE TUIRED [The (Second) Battle of Mag Tuired]. The better-known Second Battle is attributed to an expanse of flat land near the west shore of Lough Arrow, Co. Sligo, Kilmactranny parish, south of the village of Castlebaldwin. A nearby modern hamlet bears the name Moytura. A second expanse of flat land, still called the Plain of Moytura, lies in southern Co. Mayo, 3.5 miles NE of the town of Cong and 3 miles SW of Ballinrobe. Sir William Wilde, the 19th-century enthusiast, favoured the Mayo site as the ‘true’ Mag Tuired, while most modern commentators favour the Sligo site. Others have asserted that the First Battle of Mag Tuired took place in Mayo and the Second in Sligo. If the placename may indeed be glossed as ‘Plain of the Pillars’, then archaeological evidence favours the Sligo site, where a tall stone column once stood with many other monuments. The once common translations of Mag Tuired as ‘Plain of Weeping’ and ‘Plain of Reckoning’ are insupportable.

See Thomas F. O'Rahilly, ‘Mag Tuired’, in Early Irish History and Mythology (Dublin, 1946), 388–90.

Subjects: Religion.


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