GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2007-06 > 1181588559
Subject: Re: [DNA] The People of the Lightning: Fir Bolg and Belgae
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2007 15:02:39 EDT
Here's O'Rahilly's take on the meaning of Bolg or Builg, ie, Belgae.
"Bolg would go back to a Celtic Bolgos; Bulga, or Bolga, to Bolgios. The
latter, as we shall see, is recorded by Pausanias as the name of a Celtic
chief. The derivation of these names is not open to doubt; they are to be
referred to the IE. root bheleg-, 'shine, flash (especially lightning)', see for
instance in Lat. fulgeo, 'I flash', fulgur, 'lightning', fulmen, 'a
thunder-bolt'.....accordingly we may take it that Bolgos (Bolg) properly means
'lightning'. ... Similarly, Bolgios, Ir. Bulga, Bolga, means 'he of the
lightening.'...The Builg (Celt. Bolgi) therefore, called themselves after one of the names
of their ancestral god, viz., Bolgos and thereby, so to speak, dedicated
themselves to that deity. So the gai Bulga or gai Bolga was the spear of the
lightening-god, ie., the lightning or thunderbolt."
"Belgae, the name applied to a considerable section of the Continental
Celts, is but another form of Bolgi...Bolgios, double forms of the name of one of
the leaders of the Celtic invasion of Macedonia in 280 BC; his name is given
as Belgius by Pompeius Trogus and Justin...There cannot then be any doubt that
the Builg, or Fir Bolg, of ancient Ireland were in origin an offshoot of the
"There is nothing new in this equation of the Fir Bolg with the Bolga, for
as long ago as 1685 R. O'Flaherty had assumed that the names were identical
(Ogygia). Unfortunately, modern investigators, turning their back on
O'Flaherty, hav only succeeded in shrouding the question in obscurity."
Some placenames retaining the name Builg -
Aithbhe Bolg, Aghabulloge, Co. Cork
Cathair Bolg, Caherbullog, Co. Clare
Cluain Bolg, Clonbulloge, King's Co.
Cnoc Bolg, Knockbulloge, Co. Tipperary
Druim Bolg, Drombologe, Co. Donegal and Drumbullog, Fermanagh and Leitrim
Dumha Bolg, Co. Westmeath
Dun Bolg, Co. Wicklow
Gleann Bolg, obsolete
Inis Bolg, obsolete
Mag Bolg, Moybologue, a parish in Meath
O'Rahilly gives a list of Irish tribes as branches of the Erainn or Belgae
Corcu Loigde (west half of Cork)
Corcu Duibne (Kerry)
Corcu Baiscinn (West Clare)
Calraige (Westmeath, Longford, Roscommon, Mayo, and especially Sligo)
Dal Fiatach (the ancient Uladh in Co. Down)
Dal Riata (north Antrim)
Other Ernian tribes were given fake pedigrees:
Osraige, Ui Bairrche, Ui Liathain, Desi
O'Rahilly believed the Erainn or Belgae came to Ireland from Britain (and
not directly from the continent).
"The chief value for us of these legends concerning Lugaid is that they show
us that the Erainn, according to their own traditions, came to Ireland from
Britain, where they had already acquired power."
This is just a portion of O'Rahilly's treatment of the Builg, Erainn,
Belgae. I'd have to type in the entire chapter to do it justice.
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