The Irish - Celtic, British and Saxon Chronicles

by Bill Cooper


In Part 1 of this study, we considered the very numerous written records of the ancient Middle East in which the Table of Nations was corroborated and verified as an historically accurate document. Briefly, this particular portion of the Genesis record told us what happened to the early nations in the centuries immediately following the Flood and how most of those nations developed and retained their ethnic and racial identities after the Dispersion from Babel, even carrying with them the names of their various founders. They were known amongst themselves and to each other by those same generic names, and it was the appearance of those names in the records of so many different languages and cultures that enabled us to test the claims of Genesis to be a thoroughly reliable historical account. In that part of our study alone, we were able to see how Genesis passed the test with an astonishingly high degree of accuracy.

Few people realize, however, that the records do not stop there. Records that we studied in Part 1 were mostly written and then lost (until rediscovered in modern times), during the Old Testament period, in which time many of the various peoples mentioned in them had vanished altogether from the historic scene, or had been assimilated into other more power nations and cultures. Even those who retained their national or tribal identities intact, gradually lost all trace and memory of their own beginnings, and thus went on to invent fantastic accounts of how they came to be. In time, their true histories became obscured beyond all recognition. Josephus was given good cause to complain that this had happened to the Greeks of his own day, and he lamented the fact that by obscuring their own history, they had obscured the histories of other nations also. 1

However, and as if more evidence were needed, there exists yet today, a considerable body of surviving records that have carried the story on, and which provide a direct link between the ancient post-Flood era and that of more modem times. These records have been preserved and transmitted, not by Middle Eastern nations, but by certain pre-Christian European peoples. (It is important that we remember the pre-Christian aspect of much of the following evidence, because it is too easily alleged by modernist scholars that these records are the inventions of early Christian monks, and are therefore worthless.) These surviving records belong to both the early Irish-CeIts, the British and the Saxons, and they have been neglected and ignored for far too long. We shall, therefore, take this opportunity to allow these records to speak for themselves and see what we can learn.


Virtually all the historical accounts that have survived from early Irish-Celtic times, have been labelled as "tradition," and the use of this one word in describing them has been enough to have them dismissed from serious discussion by modern historians. Yet:

"....tradition is not necessarily either a pure myth or a falsified account of facts. The traditions of a nation are like an aged man's recollection of his childhood, and should be treated as such. If we would know his early history, we let him tell the tale in his own fashion. It may be he will dwell long enough upon occurrences interesting (only) to himself, and apart from the object of our inquiries; it may be he will equivocate unintentionally if cross-examined in detail; but truth will underlie his garrulous story, and by patient analysis we may sift it out, and obtain the information we desire." 2

The records in which early Irish history is preserved have been masterfully set out and enumerated by Miss Cusack, authoress of The Illustrated History of Ireland, published in 1868 (and from which the above passage is taken). For her history, she drew upon an extensive number of manuscripts, many of which still survive, and are known under such evocative names as The Book of Leinster (written in 1130 AD, and copied from the much older Saltair of Cashel;) The Book of Ballymote (1390 AD;) and the Annals of the Four Masters. But two others received special mention, the Chronicum Scotorum, and the even more important (because earlier) Cin Droma Snechta.

The Cin Droma Snechta is now lost by all accounts, yet its contents were preserved by Keating, the Irish historian who wrote his own History from this and many other early manuscripts in about 1630. (See Bibliography.) The importance of the Cin Droma Snechta lies in the early date of its compilation, concerning which a note in the twelfth-century Book of Leinster tells us:

"Ernin, son of Duach, that is son of the King of was he that collected the Genealogies and Histories of the men of Erinn in one book, that is the Cin Droma Snechta." 3

The importance of this statement lies in the fact that Duach, Ernin's father, lived towards the end of the fourth century AD, which places the compilation of the Cin Droma Snechta well before the coming of Christianity to Ireland (and the oft-alleged forgeries of the Christian monks)!

The contents of the Cin Droma Snechta were themselves, of course, far older than the book into which Ernin had gathered them, and they thus pre-dated the close of the fourth-century by a very long time indeed. In short, this remarkable book recalled the times when certain peoples first settled in Ireland after the Flood (itself a very real event in the memory of the Irish), and it recalled those times and events with remarkable erudition. Admittedly there were some early Irish chroniclers who would look wistfully back to the time Ireland was settled before the Flood, but this was nothing more than Miss Cusack's Old Man recalling incidents that were real enough, even though time-scales and sequences had become blurred and confused. We should therefore, be wary of the fact that here we are dealing, not with documents that bear a Scriptural authority (or even claim one), but with the records of a people who had already begun to be confused about certain phases of their own past.

However, it must also be emphasized there are certain points about which the records are by no means confused, and these should be examined closely, for they reveal a sequence of historical events that accord closely indeed with the Genesis record in particular and other records in general, and of which too few students of history are aware.

These points relate to the colonization and recolonizations of Ireland after the Flood, and the compilers of the records even attempted to supply the dates in which these colonizations took place. Briefly, the records state the first colony to settle in Ireland after the Flood was that led by Partholan. All are agreed on this, and it is well worth taking seriously. This first colony is said to have landed in the 2520th year after the Creation (ie. Anno Mundi - the year of the World.) It is also recorded that while Partholan and his clan were roaming the sea searching for a land to settle, they were intercepted by a fleet of British ships returning to England from Denmark:

"...their leader, Partholan...entreated from the prince some small portion of land in Britain... the British prince received him under his protection, and assigned faithful guides to attend him into Ireland, which was then wholly uninhabited; and he granted it to them subject to an annual tribute, and confirmed the appointment of Partholan as their chief. This account... is specially set forth in an Irish act (11th of Elizabeth) among "the ancient and sundry strong authentique tytles for the kings of England to this land of Ireland." 4

That, however, is not the end of the account, for Partholan is recorded as having subsequently landed in the estuary of what is now the River Kenmare. (He was to die 30 years later in Anno Mundi 2550.) After only 300 years, the colony which he founded was wiped out by a plague, 9000 men, women and children dying in one week alone. The name of the area in which they had settled was later called Tattaght, a place where plague victims are buried together, and it is interesting to note it is still littered with ancient burial-mounds today.

Also of interest are certain details that were passed down to us concerning Partholan by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his History of the Kings of Britain. 5 We are told how Partholan's company consisted of thirty ships. (Nennius, in the Historia Brittonum, tells us that the people numbered a thousand.) We are also told the colony had been expelled from Spain, and that they were called Basclenses, i.e.Basques. Now, we know the Basques are of a somewhat mysterious origin, and speak a language quite unrelated to any known Indo-European tongue. In this context, it is of interest to note what Professor Mackie has written concerning the language of the early Picts who had more than a passing influence on the early history of the Irish:

"The Picts certainly used a form of P-Celtic (the mother of Welsh, Cornish and Breton,) with traces of Gaulish forms. However, it is clear, from the few scraps of evidence which survive, the Picts also used another language, probably unrelated to any "Indo-European" tongue and therefore so different from modern European languages as to be incomprehensible to us." 6

Presumably, this knowledge was not available to Geoffrey of Monmouth, whose works are so readily disparaged by modern scholars; and while more work may yet need to be done in exploring any relationship that may exist between the few surviving scraps of the early Pictish language and the language of the Basques, we are still faced with a formidable number of "coincidences" which, when added together, tell us that these early chronicles were not simply engaged in fabricating stories.

On the contrary, they were engaged in writing history, using records that were already ancient and damaged by transmission; yet what they wrote contained more than a kernel of truth. This much becomes plain as the story progresses.

The next colonization of Ireland after Partholan's, was that of Nemedh, who landed with his colony in Anno Mundi 2859, only a few years after the decimation by plague of the first settlers. The Nemedians are credited with having built certain forts and clearing the land for cultivation. A later outbreak of plague took its toll on the population, the remainder of whom are later recorded as fighting off an invasion by "Fomorians," who, according to the Annals of Clonmacnois: "were a sept descended from Cham (Ham,) sonne of Noeh, and lived by pyracie and spoile of other nation, and were in those days very troublesome to the whole world" (tr. Conell MacGheoghegan).7

After the battle, the few survivors of the Nemedians settled far inland, presumably for safety while they consolidated their numbers. Then they are recorded as dividing themselves up into three, "bands," each with their respective leaders. One group migrated to Europe, where they founded a nation known later to the Irish as the Tuatha De Danann. A second group migrated to the north of England, "which is said to have obtained its name of Briton from their leader, Briaton Maol." And the third group made their way to Greece.

This third group, known as the "Firbolgs," later returned to Ireland, which they subsequently divided up amongst themselves into five provinces. They were, however, conquered in their turn by the invasion, or rather return to Ireland, of the Tuatha De Danannan in the year Anno Mundi 3303.

The last colonization of Ireland after the Flood is recorded as taking place in Anno Mundi 3500, according to The Annals of the Four Masters:

"The fleet of the sons of Milidh came to Ireland at the end of this year to take it from the Tuatha De Dananns and they fought the battle of Sliabh Mis with them on the third day after landing." 8

The children of Milidh, known to us as the Milesians, had landed unobserved in the mouth of the River Slaneey in the county of Wexford, from where they marched on Tara, the central seat of government. More pertinent to our present inquiry, is the fact that they were descended from Miletus, who was himself descended from Magog, a son of Japheth, a son of Noah.

In this context it is especially interesting to note, even today, the word Milesian is used to describe the Irish, or thing pertaining to Ireland. Of further interest, is the fact the Milesians were again recorded as having come from Spain. We return to this "Spanish connection" shortly.

Meanwhile, Cusack adds yet again to our present store of knowledge: 9

"As the Milesians were the last of the ancient colonists..... only their genealogies, with a few exceptions, have been presented. The genealogical tree begins, therefore, with the brothers Eber and Eremon, the two surviving leaders of the expedition, whose ancestors are traced back to Magog, the son of Japhet. The great southern chieftains, such as the MacCarthys and O'Briens, claim descent front Eber; the northern families of O'Connor, O'Donnell, and O'Neill, claim descent from Eremon as their head. There are also other families claiming descent from Emer, the son of Ir, brother to Eber and Eremon; as also from their cousin Lugaidh, the son of Ith. From these four sources the principle Celtic families of Ireland have sprung..."

* * * * * __________________________________________________________________________ TABLE 1. A CHART SHOWING THE EARLY IRISH GENEALOGY.

(1 and 2) BAATH and JOBHATH. These two names also occur in the earliest portions of the British genealogy (see Table 4) where JOBAATH is rendered IOBAATH. An intriguing thought is the possibility that these two names may betray the origins of the European royal blood. The very concept of royalty has long been a mystery, as has the reason why descendants of a certain family have always been set apart from and above the common herd. The royal families of Europe have always been interrelated to a greater or lesser degree throughout history and it seems very likely that the blood-royal began with Baath and Iobaath. The fact that here Baath and Jobaath are depicted as brothers, whereas in British genealogy, they are depicted as father and son, testifies to the distortion these records underwent in transmission. Their historicity, however, is convincingly demonstrated in their appearance in such diverse records as the Irish-Celtic and British.
(3) PARTHOLAN. The first person to colonize Ireland after the Flood, His people landed in Ireland in the year 1484 BC, Patholan died in 1454 BC, and the entire colony was wiped out by plague 300 years later in 1184 BC.
(4 and 5) EASRU and SRU. These two names, along with those of Baath and Iobaath, also occur in the earliest portions of the British genealogy (see Table 2) where they are rendered IZRAU and EZRA, and again they appear to be the names of important founders of European royalty who lived before the division and dispersal of the various races and tribes of Europe.
(6) GADELAS. The founder of the Gaels and the Galic language.
(7) HEBER and EREMON. The leaders of the Milesian settlement who landed in Ireland in the year 504 BC. From Heber, from whom Ireland derives its name Hibernia, are descended the great southern clans of Ireland, the McCarthy's and O'Brien's, and so-on, while from Eremon are descended the northern clans of O'Connor, O'Donnnell and O'Neill.
(8) NEMEDIUS. Otherwise Nemedh, the leader of the Nemedian invasion of 1145 BC. His ancestry is a little more detailed than Heber and Eremon.
(1)BAATH                        (2)JOBHATH             FATHOCHTA
FENINSA FARSA                    FRAIMAINT           (3)PARTHOLAN
NIUL                             (4)EASRU      ____________|_____________
(B)GADELAS                       (5)SRU        ER  ORBHA  FEARON  FEARGNA
_____|____________                SEARA
HEBER(7)    EREMON                 TAIT
OGAMHAN                            PAIM
ADHOIN                           ADNAMHAIN
LAIMFINN                     (8)NEMEDIUS-MACHA
HEBER (GLUMM FIONN)                  |
   |          _______________________|_____________________________________
NEANUAILL               |                                   BRIATON-MAOL
NUAGHAD     ____________|____________

* * * *

The appearance of Magog's name in the Milesian ancestry is of great significance, for we saw in Part I of our study how Magog was the founder, or co-founder, of the Scythian peoples, and the early Irish chroniclers were emphatic in their claim that the Irish were descended from Scythian stock. This claim is confirmed in many points, not the least of which is the fact that "Scot" and "Scythian" share the same etymological root:

"Scot (is) the same as Sythian in etymology; the root of both is Sct. The Greeks had no c, and would change "t" into "th" making the root "skth," and by adding a phonetic vowel, we get Skuth-ai (Scythians,) and Skoth-ai (Skoths.) The Welsh disliked "s" at the beginning of a word, and would change it to "ys;" they would also change "c" or "k" to "g," and "th" to "d;" whence the Welsh root would be "Ysgd," and Skuth or Skoth would become "ysgod." Once more, the Saxons would cut off the Welsh "y," and change the "g" back again to "c," and the "d" to "t," converting the Ysgod to Scot." 10

The early Irish were originally known as Scots, of course, and they were later to leave Ireland and invade and settle the country that still bears their name, displacing and subduing the native Picts in waves and waves of invasion that have tested the sanity of school children ever since! 11

It is obvious from other points the early Irish looked back to the time when their ancestors had left the Aegean, or Eastern Mediterranean seaboard in search of a land in which they could settle; and it is equally obvious that in such a westward maritime migration, the Spanish Peninsula would be the most convenient stopping-off point during the first stage of migration.

In this context it is important for us to take special note of the names of the two patriarches who were to lead the Milesian (or Scythian) invasion of Ireland, Eber and Eremon; for in his own account of the matter, the Portuguese historian, Emanuel de Faria y Sousa, tells us that Iberus and Himerus were said to have "sailed into Ireland, and given the name Hibernia to it." 12

The early Irish historians further deduced their origins lay with the Phoenician colonists who had also previously settled that Spanish Peninsula, later to migrate to Ireland. In this context it is of additional interest to note that the ancient Greeks once held the Phoenician nation to have been founded by Phoenix, whose brother Cadmus had invented the alphabet. Likewise, the Irish also recalled the time when they lived under a king named "Phenius, who devoted himself especially to the study of languages, and composed an alphabet and the elements of grammar." It is agreed among scholars the system of alphabetic writing originated among the Phoenicians, and this is deduced from hard and independent archaeological evidence, not Irish myths. So it is clear at the very least, the early Irish chroniclers were passing on an account, albeit garbled in places, of authentic historical events, and of the equally historic descent of their own race from Phoenician and/or Scythian stock (see Table 1).


Further to these claims, we have already noticed the Irish chroniclers even attempted to date certain events in the early post-Flood history of Ireland and if we allow the records to simply tell their own story, we come to one particular corroboration that should at least give us pause for thought, and which argues strongly against the notion these early historians simply made it all up as they went along. Their account, though confused in places, must have derived from a body of solid historical data.

These early chroniclers dated events from the Creation of the World, (Anno Mundi,) and so we that may unravel the information they were attempting to convey, and purely for the purposes of this present study, we shall rely on Ussher's Chronology for the date of the Creation, 4004 BC. It must be stressed that we are using Ussher's Chronology, not because it is the best (it isn't,) but because someone had obviously reached Ussher's conclusions many centuries before him. This will become evident as we progress. 13

Thus, if the chronicles give a date for a certain event of, say Anno Mundi 2000, then we simply deduct 2000 from 4004 and arrive at a date of 2004 BC for the event in question. The conversion is that simple. As an instance, the date for the first colonization of Ireland (by Partholan,) is given in the chronicles as Anno Mundi 2520. For our own system, we deduct 2520 from 4004, and arrive at the year 1484 BC for this event (Table 2 and notes.)

Following Genesis chapter five, we see the Creation and the Flood is 1656, which converts to 2348 BC as the date for the Flood according to Ussher (and, apparently, the early Irish chroniclers.) Thus, deducting 1484 (the date of the Flood), we learn that Partholan's colony arrived in Ireland 864 years after the Flood; a period of time that is in remarkable accord with the general history of Europe and the Middle East as laid down in other ancient histories, and in the Genesis record.

However, more certain confirmation concerning the general reliability of these dates as given in the early Irish accounts, is the date given for the fourth (and final) colonization of Ireland by the Milesians. The chronicles tell us that this event occurred in Anno Mundi 3500, in other words in the year 504 BC; and a look at what was happening in Asia Minor at this moment in time is most instructive.

The city of Miletus, whose ruins stand on the present-day Turkish mainland, was finally overrun and destroyed by the Persian army in the year 494 BC, (14) and in the decades prior to this disaster, the people of Miletus had been under an ever-increasing threat. Life, such as it was, was neither comfortable nor certain, and nothing would have been more natural than that a colony of Milesians should decide to flee the Persian menace. They would seek a land sufficiently far away to be safe, was fertile, and which was well-known to the mariners (in particular the Phoenician mariners) of the Eastern Mediterranean. That the city of Miletus should be known to us today as having been an essentially Ionian outpost should be of no real consequence, for we have already seen the Irish accounts traced descent of the Irish variously from both Phoenician and Scythian stock, and both Phoenicians and Scythians would certainly have been found amongst the city's population; and we are thus compelled to take the claims of the early Irish chroniclers very seriously indeed.

    Event                    Date Anno Mundi        Date BC        Date PD
The Creation.                      0000              4004           ----
The Flood.                         1858              2348           0000
First colonization of              2520              1484            864
Ireland by Partholan.
Death of Partholan.                2550              1454            894
End of First Colony.               2820              1184           1164
Second colonization of             2850              1145           1203
Ireland under Nemedh.
Third colonization of Ireland      3303               701           1647
under the Tuatha De Dananns.
Fourth and final colonization of   3500               504           1844
Ireland under the Milesians.

TABLE 2. Important events in the early Irish-Celtic history, and their dates according to the chroniclers compared to Ussher's chronology.

The first column of Table 2 shows the dates given Anno Mundi for various events in early Irish-Celtic history. The equivalents of these dates, for both BC and PD (i.e. Post Diluvian = after the Flood,) appear in the other two columns. The early Irish, however, were not alone in establishing chronologies for their history. The early Britons and the Saxons did the same, and they all looked back to both a recent Creation and the Flood as historical, datable events. They differed in details, of course: the Irish chronicles generally favoured a date of 4000 BC for the Creation; the early British looked back a few hundred years further, counting instead of the 1656 years given in Genesis 5 for the Creation-Flood era, a period of 2242 years. (A principio mundi usque ad diluvium anni IICCXLII. Nennius, i. See Bibliography.) Interestingly, the British chronicles agree exactly with the Saxon for this figure, ("Fran Adame" to the "flod.....twa hund wintra & twa thusenda & twa flowertig." MS. Cotton. Vesparsian. D. IV. fol. 69.v.)
It would be interesting to find the sources for both the British and Saxon chronologies. It could not have been the Latin Bible, which agrees with the Hebrew in giving 1656 years for the Creation-Flood era. Likewise, it could not have been the Septuagint version, for that gives 2256 years for that period, and was also virtually unheard of in these islands until the 16th century Renaissance. It is equally unlikely that the British and Saxons borrowed from one another, simply because the Britons looked with disdain upon the historical claims that the Saxons had brought over with them. For example, Nennius informs us that although he had included certain Saxon genealogies in the first edition of his history of the Britains, he was later "advised" to omit them from subsequent editions. This "advice" came from Beulan, his master, who gave as his reason the "pointless" nature of Saxon claims and records. (Set cum inutiles magistro meo id est Beulano presbytero ulsae sunt genealogiae Saxonum at allarum genealogiae gentium nolul eas scribere)* Saxon chronology would therefore have received an equally short shrift.
Whatever the sources, they differed yet again from those used, for example, by Stowe in his Chronicle of England (see Bibliography,) whose dates give the Creation as occurring in only 3962 BC. Obviously, any date (Anno Mundi) for a certain event would differ drastically from one preferred date of Creation to the next. Indeed, Stowe has Partholan landing in Ireland over 1,000 years later (375 BC) than the date given for that event in the Irish Chronicles (1484 BC!)
As fascinating as they are, however, these differences in dating are relatively unimportant, and fairly easily resolved. What is important for our present study is the fact that these entirely diverse races and cultures all looked back to the same historical events, namely the recent Creation of the World and the universal Flood of Noah.
*(Morris, p.3 and Sisam, p. 292. See Bibliography.) __________________________________________________________________________

We are also obliged to take seriously the fact that these Irish accounts in spite of some admittedly garbled content, are more sensible and realistic in both their dates and narrative than those of certain other nations. We meet with none of the impossibly long reigns of which the Babylonians, for example, were so fond. In stark contrast to the historically perverse legends of Babylon, and the plainly fanciful accounts of many other peoples the early Irish chronicles give every indication they have been built upon carefully preserved and mainly accurate records reaching back to Ireland's earliest times, and that they are, consequently, possessed of a general trustworthiness.

Equally reliable are the pre-Christian genealogies that are presented in the ancient Irish chronicles, and which trace the descent of certain clans and tribes back to those same patriarches whose names appear in the Genesis record:

"The Books of Genealogies and Pedigrees form a most important element in Irish pagan history. For social and political reasons, the Irish Celt preserved his genealogical tree with scrupulous precision. Property rights and the governing power were transmitted with patriarchal exactitude on strict claims of primogeniture, which could only be refused under certain conditions defined by law...and in obedience to an ancient law, established long before the introduction of Christianity, all the provincial records, as well as those of the various chieftains, were required to be furnished every third year to the convocation at Tara, where they were compared and corrected." 15

It thus becomes clear the Irish genealogies were compiled at a time when it would have been beyond all possibility for the Christian monks to have influenced or altered them in any way, and we are left with the simple conclusion that these genealogies owed their existence to the preservation of records that was entirely independent of either the Jewish or Christian churches; and we see that the ancient Irish, in common with their forebears in the Middle East, preserved records of events that significantly confirm the Genesis account concerning the descent and dispersal of the nations.

The same can be said for an equally neglected series of documents that belong to another race altogether:

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