Ancient Leinster Tributes

Tuathal, the 106th Monarch of Ireland, who is No. 78, p. 357, Vol. I., had two beautiful and marriageable daughters, named Fithir and Darina. Eochy-Aincheann, King of Leinster, sought and obtained the hand of the younger daughter Darina, and, after the nuptials, carried her to his palace at Naas, in Leinster. Eochy determined by stratagem to obtain the other daughter also: for this purpose he shut the young queen up in a certain apartment of his palace and gave out a report that she was dead; he then repaired, apparently in great grief, to Tara, informed the Monarch that his daughter was dead, and asked her sister in marriage. Tuathal gave his consent, and the false King Eochy returned home with his new bride. Soon after, Darina escaped from her prison, unexpectedly encountered the king and his new wife, her sister Fithir: in a moment she divined the truth, and had the additional anguish of seeing her sister, who was struck with horror and shame, fall dead before her face. The death of the unhappy princess, and the treachery of her husband was too much for the young queen; she returned to her solitary chamber, and soon died of a broken heart. The insult offered to his daughters, and their untimely death, roused the indignation of Tuathal, who, at the head of a powerful force, conquered and beheaded Eochy Aincheann, ravaged and burned Leinster to its utmost boundary, and then compelled its humble and terror-stricken people to bind themselves and their descendants for ever to the payment of a biennial tribute to the Monarch of Ireland; which, from the great number of exacted by it, obtained the name of the “Boromean Tribute;” “bo” being the Irish word for cow. In the old Annals this tribute is thus described:—

“The men of Leinster were obliged to pay

To Tuathal and all the monarchs after him,

Three score hundred of the fairest cows.

And three-score hundred ounces of pure silver,

And three-score hundred mantles richly woven,

And three-score hundred of the fattest hogs,

And three-score hundred of the fattest sheep,

And three-score hundred cauldrons strong and polished.”

This tribute continued to be levied until the reign of the Monarch Finaghtach, about A.D. 680, by whom it was abolished; but, as a punishment on the Leinster men for their adherence to the Danish cause, it was, A.D. 1002, revived by Brian Boru, King of Munster, when he attained to the Monarchy. It was from this circumstance of reviving the “Boromean” tribute, that Brian obtained the surname “Boroimhe” (Boru).—Miss Cusack.