Banba

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In Irish mythology, Banbha, sometimes written as Banba in English, daughter of Ernmas of the Tuatha Dé Danann, is the patron goddess of Ireland.

She was part of an important triumvirate of goddesses. 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’ [1], 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 Dingle, County Kerry. The soil of this region is a non-leptic podzol [2]. If the character of Banbha 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 (now decommissioned), was named after her.

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

Banbha Banahan, daughter of Irish legend Eoin Ó Beannacháin

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