The legend of Breogan

The first one originates in the Leabhar Ghabala or Book of Invasions which is a complication of previous Irish legends made in the 12th century. According to this source, Breogan, the son of Brath, was a Celtic leader who subjugated the tribes of Spain. After conquering the whole land, he founded the city of Brigantia (A Coruña) and built next to it a tower which he called Tower of Breogan. Upon his death, he was succeeded by his son Ith, who, seeing from the top of the Tower the lands of Ireland, set off to conquer them. But the enterprise failed. He died and was brought back to Brigantia where he was buried. The enterprise was taken over by his son, Mil, who again attempted the conquest of Ireland. This time he managed to defeat the Thuatha-Dé-Dannan and rule the whole country.

The spread of this legend was boosted in the 17th century by the Irish Colleges that settled in Spain, and specifically, that of Santiago de Compostela which played a relevant role due to its proximity to A Coruña. With the passing of time, the account sank into oblivion – at least in Galicia – until it was brought back to light by a Celtic trend led by writers such as Manuel Murguía or Eduardo Pondal. Conversely, in Ireland, the myth remained alive all along.