Ethne - Daughter of Balor

Ethne (or Eithne) was the only daughter of Balor. She, it was foretold, would bear a son, who in time would kill his grandfather Balor. A great tower of glass was constructed on an almost inaccessible rock at the eastern end of Tory Island where Ethne was imprisoned. Balor kept Ethne here under the charge of twelve matrons, having instructed them never to let any man near her.


Thus did things remain until Cian, one of the Tuatha Dé Danann, with the help of the Druidess Birog, managed to enter the tower. Following their encounter Ethne gave birth to three sons by him.


On hearing this, Balor was enraged and ordered the three infants to be drowned in a whirlpool. They were rolled up in a sheet which was fastened with a pin.  As they were being carried across the land, the pin fell out and one of the infant sons fell into the harbour. Birog saved him but the other two infants were cast into the whirlpool and perished.


The baby was given to Tailltu, daughter of the King of Spain and Queen of the Fir Bolg who fostered the child and taught him how to be a champion.


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