Selling the Pass

This is a phrase, very general in all Ireland, applied to those who turn queen's or king's evidence, or who impeach their comrades for money. The tradition is that a regiment of soldiers was sent by Crotha, “lord of Atha,” to hold a pass against the invading army of Trathal, “King of Cael.” The pass was betrayed for money. The Fir-bolgs being subdued, Trathal assumed the title of “King of Ireland.”

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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