‘The (violent) death of Úalu’
Crossing the Cronn: the rising of the Cronn and the death of Úalu (Recension I and II)
The River Cronn rises in flood against the hosts of Connacht ‘as high as the tops of the trees’, hampering their progress. Forced to pass the night by the river-banks, Medb tells some of her people to attempt the crossing.
The next morning, the warrior Úalu makes the attempt with a flagstone (líac) on his back. The waters overcome him, however, and he dies being turned over with the stone on his belly.
His body is interred, with his headstone, at Lía Úaland (‘Stone/Pillar Stone of Úalu’), which lies by the adjacent road.
In the morning (after Loche's death), the hosts of Connacht proceed to the river Glais Cruind (‘Stream of Cronn’), in short the Glais(e). In this recension of the story, two successive attempts are made to cross the river, both of them to no avail.
The first one takes place at Clúain Carpat (‘Meadow of the Chariots’), where the flooding waters sweep a 100 chariots out to sea.
When Medb challenges her people to test the depth of the waters, Úalu, one of her household warriors, steps forward. With a heavy stone (cloch) on his back, he makes the attempt but perishes in the surge of the waters.
His body, with the stone still on his back, is taken from the river and buried at Lia Úaland (‘Stone/Pillar Stone of Úalu’).
Crossing the Cronn: Bernas Bó Cúailnge (Recensions I and II)
Forced to skirt round the river Cronn, the hosts travel to its source. Medb orders them to make a passage through the mountain that would bear witness to the humiliation of the Ulstermen. The mountain pass is dug or carved out (in three days — TBC I) and becomes known as Bernas Bó Cúailnge (TBC I) or Bernas Tána Bó Cúailnge (TBC II).
That day, Cú Chulainn kills off many of the host: Cronn and Cóemdele (TBC I), another 100 warriors (TBC I and II), including two scholars (senchaid) of the Táin called Roán and Roae (TBC I) or Róen and Roí (TBC II), and 144 kings (TBC I). TBC II also highlights the reluctance of the warriors to confront Cú Chulainn in combat.
Crossing the Colptha: Cúailnge and the Colptha (Recension I)
Having passed through Bernas Bó Cúailnge, the hosts spend the night in Glenn Dáil Imda in Cúailnge, at Botha, so-called because of the huts (botha) they built for the night.
The next morning, they proceed to the river Colptha, but find that the river is rising up against them. A 100 chariot-warriors die in an attempt to cross it, drowning in the district of Clúain Carpat (‘The Meadow of the Chariots’). Forced to pass around the river, the hosts go to its source at Belat Alióin (cf. Belat Aileáin in TBC II).
Crossing Glais Gatlaig (Recensions I and II)
Having crossed it, the hosts spend the night at Líasa Líac, so-called because of the sheds/byres (líasa) they built for their calves.
The hosts proceed, via Glenn Gatlaig, to the river Glais Gatlaig (formerly Sechaire), but find that the stream is rising in flood against them. These places are so-called because a withe (gat) was used to bind every calf (lóeg) to the other.
(The hosts spend the night in Druim Féne in Conaille.)
Having come through the new mountain pass, the hosts spend the night at Belat Aileáin. Here the cattle produce such large quantities of milk that henceforward, the place is known as Glenn Táil.
In this recension of the story, the place is also equated with Líasa Líac, so called because of the sheds/byres (líasa) they built for the cattle.
The hosts proceed to the river Glais Gatlaig (formerly Sechair), which acquires its new name because withes (gat) and ropes are used to bind the herds of cattle together. In this manner, the cattle are conveyed across the stream.
(The hosts spend the night in Druim Féne in Conaille Muirthemne.)
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