By Peter O'Connor
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Extra info for Beyond the Mist: What Irish Mythology Can Teach Us About Ourselves
N EMED Tuan mac Cairill tells of the next invaders, the Nemedians, who also supposedly came from Greece. These people continued the tradition of cultivating the land and are said to have cleared another twelve plains. They would appear to represent an attempt to explain the beginnings of agriculture in Ireland. Like Partholón they fought the Fomorians and, following the death of Nemed and many of his tribe due to plague, the Fomorians subjugated the Nemedians to their rule. At Samain, the beginning of winter, they demanded payment of two-thirds of all the Nemedians’ corn, milk and children.
M IDIR Midir is usually seen as the Dagda’s son, although in some versions he is the Dagda’s brother. He is also Oenghus’ foster-father, the person who counselled Oenghus on how to acquire the fairy palace at Bruig na Bóinne. Midir is lord of the otherworld, dwelling at Brí Léith (near present-day Ardagh), and it is to this sídhe, or fairy mound, that he brings his lover Étain. Some see him as the Irish equivalent of Hades, or Pluto, god of the underworld. However this would appear to be a little simplistic, especially as all the Tuatha Dé Danann chiefs were lords of an underworld or otherworld realm.
P ARTHOLÓN Following the demise of Cessair and her tribe it is said that Ireland remained unpeopled for a period of three hundred years, until the arrival of Partholón and his followers. Partholón himself fled from Greece after killing his parents in a dispute over the kingship with his brother. He brought skilled people with him, and it was Partholón and his followers who first established many crafts and customs in Ireland. Ale, for example, was brewed for the first time and the first guesthouse was established, and laws were passed on the ownership of land.
Beyond the Mist: What Irish Mythology Can Teach Us About Ourselves by Peter O'Connor