Old Irish

"Dubhach sin, a dhú na ríogh" (That gloom, oh, fort of the kings)

Meter: rannaigecht mór -- ógláchas

This is a dramatic poem,

written from the viewpoint of the famous queen,


She was the daughter of one high king

(Flann Sionna, ard rí from 878-916)

and wife of another (Niall Glúndubh, ard rí from 916?-919


her third husband).

When he died fighting the Norse,

legend has it that she lived and died in poverty and starvation.

(History doesn't.)

She is used as an exemplar of how quickly life can change,

and it was popular to write "pityeful songs" from Gormfhlaith's

point of view.

This poem is part of a whole collection of such poems (the O'Gara MS).

Irish= English Interpretation

Dubhach sin, a dhúin na ríogh=

That gloominess oh fort of the kings

ní hiongnadh dhuit do dhith Néill

is not wonderful considering your loss of Niall

dob annamh leat orchra ort=

it is rare for you to be in decay

dubhach sibh anocht dá éis =

you are gloomy tonight from all that

Giodh dubhach ataoisi anocht=

It is gloomy beside you tonight

dobudh tusa cnoc n gcliar=

it is hard, you hill of the learned

dob annamh tusa leat féinit=

was rare for you to be all by yourself

in-aimsir Néill na Naoi nGiall=in the time of Niall of the Nine Hostages.

Gach flaitheas acht flaitheas Dé=

Every kingdom but the kingdom of God

a chaitheamh uile is é a chríoch=

its territory will all be worn out

an saoghal ní hadhbhar tnúidh=

the arrow is not desired by the dwelling

dubhach sin, a dhúin na ríogh=

that gloominess, oh, fort of the kings.

* Néill na Naoi nGiall/Niall of the Nine Hostages:

Not Gormfhlaith's dead husband. He was the ard rí of Ireland in

St. Patrick's time.

The nine hostages were sent to stay with him as assurance that

their kin (the tribal/provincial kings) would not fight against him.

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