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In far antiquity the Fir Bolg were the rulers of Ireland (at the time called Ériu) immediately before the arrival of the Tuatha Dé Danann, or the Children of Danu, whom many interpret as the Gaelic gods. The King of the Tuatha Dé Danann, Nuada, sued for half the island for his people, but the Fir Bolg king refused. They met at the Pass of Balgatan, and the ensuing battle - the Battle of Mag Tuired - went on for four days. During the battle, Sreng, the champion of the Fir Bolg, challenged Nuada to single combat. With one sweep of his sword, Sreng cut off Nuada's right hand. However, the Fir Bolg were defeated and their king, Eochaidh, was slain by a goddess, The Morrígan, though the fierce efforts of their champion Sreng saved them from utter loss. The Tuatha Dé Danann were so touched by their nobility and spirit they gave them one quarter of the island as their own. They chose Connacht and are mentioned very little after this in the myths.
The origin of the Fir Bolg name is the subject of some dispute. Older commentators consider them the "men of (the god/dess) Bolg" or "men of bags" (compare Irish bolg meaning 'belly', 'bag').
Tribal origins and history 
These people arrived in Ireland in three groups, the Fir Bolg, the Fir Domnann and the Gáilióin. According to the model proposed by O'Rahilly: the Fir Bolg are linked to the historical Belgae, known from Gaul and Britain, and to the historical Builg of Munster; the Fir Domnann to the British Dumnonii; and the Gáilióin are the Laigin, who founded Leinster. According to this model, the three groups probably represent the Ivernic-speaking peoples who inhabited Ireland before the Goidelic-speaking Gaels.
The Fir Bolg were recorded as being ejected from Ireland and returning under a King named Aengus. The Fir Bolg were given, as a place of settlement, the Aran Islands and surrounding coastland (the largest of these Islands, Inishmore—Árainn—is home to a fortress allegedly related to Aengus and the Fir Bolg, Dún Aengus). This episode of history, in which the Fir Bolg come from what is assumed to be a place near modern Scotland, settle in Ireland, and then go to the Aran Islands, on Ireland's western fringe, has given rise to one interpretation of Fir Bolg origins. A Pictish invasion of Ireland is the proposition in this account, and the Aran Islands were a last refuge for this invading force.
|Mythical invasions of Ireland||Succeeded by
Tuatha Dé Danann
Popular culture 
In the City of Heroes universe, a faction called "Fir Bolg" battles a faction named Tuatha Dé Danann based on the Irish history, although not in human form. Redcaps, mischievous fae creatures resurrect the Fir Bolg as flaming animated pumpkin plants, and the Tuatha Dé Danann as werewolf-like creatures with antlers and goat's legs.
In EVE Online, a Firbolg is a type of fighter drone, a frigate-size unpiloted automated attack ship that can only be utilised by carrier-class capital ships.
In the AD&D Universe, the firbolgs are a race of giants.
In the Myth (series) universe, the fir'Bolg are a muscular and hardy woodsmen race skilled in archery.
In the Dark Age of Camelot universe, the firbolg (or Fir'bolg) is a playable race of the hibernian realm, a half man, half giant, known for its strength and size.
In Huntik: Secrets and Seekers Firbolg the fierce giant is the name of one of the creatures known as the Titans that the characters of the series can summon to aid them in battle.
See also 
- Na fir bolg (a folk music festival)
- Ellis, Peter Berresford (2002) The Mammoth Book of Celtic Myths and Legends; pp 28. Constable & Robinson
- Squire Celtic Myth and Legend; pp. 47-77
- O'Rahilly, T. F. (1946) Early Irish History and Mythology. Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies
- Carey, John (1998) "Fir Bolg: a Native Etymology Revisited" in: Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies 16 (Winter 1998), pp. 77–83.
- Squire, Charles (190-?) Celtic Myth and Legend. London: Gresham
Further reading 
- Arbois de Jubainville, Henri d' (1884) Le Cycle mythologique irlandais. Osnabrück: Zeller
- Wilde, Sir William R. (1867) Loch Corrib, Its Shores and Islands. Dublin: McGlashan & Gill, chap. viii
- Arrowsmith, Nancy, with Moorse, George (1977) Field Guide to the Little People. London: Macmillan