Ireland emerged slowly from the death grip of the last ice-age around 10,000 years ago. The land bridges which connected it with its nearest neighbors, England and Scotland, vanished as the vast ice sheets melted. A tale is told of the arrival of Cessair, a daughter of Noahs’ son Bith and his wife Birren, just prior to the great deluge. She is said to be the first named individual to arrive in Ireland and was buried on the summit of Knockmaa, which is located south east of Tuam, in county Galway.

The First One

Cessair did come with fifty men,
to County Cork one fine spring day.
The ice had gone from off the glen,
ten hundred years, now long astray.
The flood to flee and its huge swell,
no room upon the ark, they say.
Were kin of Noah, so they tell,
left Bith and Birren far away.
Sailed the seas for seven years,
a deluge would sweep all life away.
Heart sore, spent and full of fears,
a green land beckons, this fine day.
A land of mists and young oak tree,
with lake and hill in future time.
Fleet fawns wild, and running free,
it's empty now, but soon will shine.
Some will take it, as if their own,
others more kind and loving be.
More will raze it down and burn,
the deaf ear hard, the eye not see.

Image above, "Cessair," courtesy of Celtic artist and Wild Geese member Jim Fitzpatrick.

From "The Journey: A Nomad Reflects."

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Tags: Cork, History of Ireland, Mythology


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