Íarus fis, túathus cath, airthius bláth, teissius séis.

Íarus fis, túathus cath, airthius bláth, teissius séis.

(in the west * knowledge * in the north * battle * in the east * blossom * in the south * melody)

Knowledge in the west, battle in the north, prosperity in the east, music in the south.

This proverb, found in "Suidigud Tellaich Temra" in Ériu 4, assigns characteristic traits to the four provinces of Ireland. The first two parts are also found in Sanas Cormaic (#789), which is dated to around 900 A.D. A fifth and final line is "fortius flaith", which R. I. Best took to mean "kingship in the centre". It may be worth noting that the enumeration begins with the west, the direction of the setting sun and thus of night. The Celts are reputed to have begun their reckoning of a day at sundown and of a year at the beginning of the dark days of winter. The naming of the provinces in the proverb then proceeds in a sunwise (clockwise) fashion, which is traditionally the auspicious direction.