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In Irish mythology, Banba (modern spelling: Banbha [ˈbˠanˠəwə]), daughter of Delbáeth and Ernmas of the Tuatha Dé Danann, is a matron goddess of Ireland. She was married to Mac Cuill, a grandson of the Dagda.[1]

She was part of an important triumvirate of matron goddesses, with her sisters, Ériu and Fódla. According to Seathrún Céitinn she worshipped Macha, who is also sometimes named as a daughter of Ernmas. The two goddesses may therefore be seen as equivalent. Céitinn also refers to a tradition that Banbha was the first person to set foot in Ireland before the flood, in a variation of the legend of Cessair.

In the Tochomlad mac Miledh a hEspain i nErind: no Cath Tailten,[2] it is related that as the Milesians were journeying through Ireland, "they met victorious Banba among her troop of faery magic hosts" on Senna Mountain, the stony mountain of Mes. A footnote identifies this site as Slieve Mish in Chorca Dhuibne, County Kerry. The soil of this region is a non-leptic podzol [1]. If the character of Banba originated in an earth-goddess, non-leptic podzol may have been the particular earth-type of which she was the deification.

The LÉ Banba (CM11), a ship in the Irish Naval Service, was named after her.

Initially, she could have been a goddess of war as well as a fertility goddess.


  1. ^ T. W. Rolleston (24 July 2012). Celtic Myths and Legends. New York: Dover Publications. p. 132. ISBN 9780486265070.
  2. ^ The Progress of the Sons of Mil from Spain to Ireland TCD H.4.22 Archived 2007-10-23 at the Wayback Machine, Celtic Literature Collective