LÁ ‘day’ often appears at or near the beginning of an early Irish story in phrases which are roughly equivalent to English ‘once upon a time’. Early versions include RO-BOÍ LÁ ‘there was a day…’ and LÁ N-ANN, literally ‘a day in it’, but later LÁ N-ÓEN ‘one day’ became more common. In the well-known ‘Voyage of Bran son of Febal’, for example, the narrative proper begins ‘is ed tossach in sceóil. Imluid Bran laa n-and a óinur i comocus dia dún, cocúala a ceól far íarna chúl…’ (this is the start of the story. Once, Bran went about alone near his fort and he heard music behind him…). The music, of course, lulls Bran to sleep – and so begins a series of interactions with the Otherworld.
View Entry »