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Title: Goibniu  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Tuatha Dé Danann, Balor, Ethniu, Lugh, Ogma
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


In Irish mythology Goibniu (Old Irish, pronounced ˈɡovʲnʲu) or Gaibhne (Modern Irish) was the smith of the Tuatha Dé Danann. He is believed to have been a smithing god and is also associated with hospitality.

The name of his father appears as Esarg or Tuirbe Trágmar, the 'thrower of Fomorians. Alternatively, he is grouped with Credne and Dian Cecht the physician.[2] When Nuada's arm is cut off in battle, Goibniu crafts him a new one of silver. He also makes weapons for the gods. In the Lebor Gabála Érenn, he is described as "not impotent in smelting",[3] and is said to have died, along with Dian Cecht, of a "painful plague".[3]

Goibniu also acts as a hospitaller who furnishes feasts for the gods. According to Altram Tige Dá Medar, the feast of Goibniu protected the Tuatha Dé from sickness and old age. He is said to be owner of the Glas Gaibhnenn, the magical cow of abundance. In the St Gall incantations,[4] he is invoked against thorns, alongside Dian Cecht.

Goibniu may be the same figure as Culann.

His name can be compared with the Old Irish gobae ~ gobannsmith,’ Middle Welsh gof ~ gofeinsmith,’ Gallic gobedbi ‘with the smiths,’ Latin fabersmith’ and with the Lithuanian gabija ‘sacred home fire’ and Lithuanian gabus ‘gifted, clever’.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Part I Book IV: The Dagda of ‘Gods and Fighting Men,’ by Lady Gregory, (1904), available at
  2. ^ Section 62 of the Lebor Gabála Érenn, available in translation at
  3. ^ a b Section 64 of the Lebor Gabála Érenn, available in translation at
  4. ^ The St. Gall Incantations. Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus edited and translated by Whitley Stokes and John Strachan. Cambridge: University Press, 1903.
  5. ^ Blažek, Václav 2008, Celtic ‘smith’ and his colleagues, in Alexander Lubotsky, Jos Schaeken and Jeroen Wiedenhof (eds.) Evidence and counter-evidence: Festschrift for F. Kortlandt 1, Amsterdam–New York: Rodopi, 35-53.

Primary sources

Secondary sources

  • James MacKillop (1998). Dictionary of Celtic Mythology. London: Oxford. ISBN 0-19-860967-1.
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