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On the 26tli of January 1857, the Master of the UolIs suhmitted to the Treasury a proposal for the puhlicatiou of materials for the History of tliis Coimtry from the Invasion, of the Eomans to the Reign of Henry VIII.

The Master of the Eolls suggested that these materials should he selected for puhlication under competent editors without reference to periodical or chronological arrange- ment, without mutilation or ahridgment, preference heing given, in the first instance, to such materials as were most scarce and valuable.

He proposed that each chronicle or liistorical document to he edited should he treated in the same way as if the editor were engaged on an Editio Princeps ; and for this purpose the most correct text should he formed from an accm'ate collation of the best MSS.

To render the work more generally useful, the Master of the Ptolls suggested that the editor should give an account of the MSS. employed by him, of their age and their peculiarities ; that he should add to the work a brief account of the life and times of the author, and any remarks necessary to explain the chronology; but no other note or comment was to be allowed, except what might be necessary to establish the correctness of the text.

a 2

Tlie works to be published in octavo, separately, as they were finished ; the whole responsibility of the task resting upon the editors, who were to be chosen by the Master of the Rolls with the sanction of the Treasury.

The Lords of Her Majesty's Treasiuy, after a careful consideration of the subject, expressed their opinion in a Treasury Minute, dated February 9, 1857, that the plan recommended by the Master of the Ptolls "was well calculated for the accomplishment of this important national object, in an effectual and satisfactory manner, within a reasonable time, and provided proper attention be paid to economy, in making the detailed arrangements, without unnecessary expense."

They expressed their approbation of the proposal that each chronicle and historical docimient should be edited in such a manner as to represent with all possible correct- ness the text of each Avriter, derived from a collation of the best MSS.j and that no notes should be added, except such as were illustrative of the various readings. They suggested, however, that the preface to each work should contain, in addition to the particulars proposed by the Master of the llolls, a biographical account of the author, so far as authentic materials existed for that pm^pose, and an estimate of his historical credibility and value.

Bolls flouse^

December 1857.

co'gccDh 'gcce^het ne "sccllaibk




Specimen of the M.S.L (Book of Leinste-r]

I)^ i Son.ílimiíad) Li'Ji

co^ixDh ^cceiDhel no- -^idlaibk

















Description op the Manuscripts used in forming

THE Irish Text of the present Work, . . ix

The Author, and Age of the Work, . . . xix

Summary of the Contents of the Work, with Topo- graphical AND Historical Explanations of the Text, xxviii


Appendix (A). The Fragment of this Work preserved in the

Book of Leinster, . . . . . . . .221

Appendix (B). Chronology and Genealogy of the Kings of Munster and of Ireland, during the period of the Scandinavian Invasions, 235

Table I. Kings of Ireland descended from the Northern

Hy Neill (Cinel Eoghain Branch), . . . 245

Table II. Kings of Ireland descended from the Southern Hy Neill (the Chinn Colmáin of Meath, and the Clann Aodlia Slaine), ..... 246

Table III. Genealogy of the Dal Cais, . . . 247

Table IV. Showing the Descent of Maelmuadh (or MoUoy), Lord of Desmond, and his relationship to Brian and Mathgamhain, . . . . 248

Table V. Showing the Descent of the Family of

O'Donnabhain (or O'Donovan), .... 249



Appendix (C). Maelseachlainn's Description of the Battle

OF Clontarf, from the Brussels MS., .... 250

Appendix (D). Genealogy of the Scandinavian Chieftains

NAMED as Leaders of the Invasions of Ireland, . . 263

Table YI. Genealogy (A) of Olaf the White, King of Dublin, and (B) of Gormo Gamle, called by the Irish Tomar, . . . , . . .264

Table VII. Genealogy of the Hy Ivar, or Descendants

oflvar, 268

(A) Limerick Branch, . . . . .271

(B) Dul)lin Branch, 276

(C) Waterford Branch, 292

Table VIII. Descendants ofCearbhall (or Carroll), Lord

of Ossory and Danish King of Dublin, . . 297

(A) Descendants of Cearbhall by his Sons, , 298

(B) Descendants of Cearbhall by his Daughters, 300



Description of the Manuscripts.

The following work has been edited from three Manu- scripts, two of them unfortunately imperfect.

The first and most ancient of these consists of a single I. The folio, closely wi'itten on both sides, in double columns. It in th" Book is a leaf of the Book of Leinster, now preserved in the of Leinster. Library of Trinity College, Dublin. It contains the first twenty-nine sections oidy of the work : nevertheless, imperfect as it is, this fragment, for many reasons, is so important, that the Editor has thought fit to preserve it, with a translation, in the Appendix.

The Book of Leinster^ is a Bihliotheca, or Collection of Date and Historical Tracts, Poems, Tales, Genealogies, &c. It was the Book of wi'itten by Finn, Bishop of Kildare, or at least, during his Leinster. lifetime, for Aedh Mac Crimhthainn, or Hugh Mac Griffin, tutor of Diarmait Mac Murchadha [Dermod Mac Murrogh], the King of Leinster who was so celebrated for his connexion with the Anglo-Norman invasion^ of Ireland, in the reign of Henry II.

The following note occurs in the lower margin of fol. 206 6. of this MS. It is in a hand closely resembling that in which the book itself is written, and certainly of the same century :

" Life and health from Finn, bishop [i.e., of Kildare^] to Aedh Mac Crimh-

1 Booh of Leinster. For a short sum- mary of its contents, see O'Curry's Lectures, p. 187.

2 Invasion. For this reason he is commonly called by the Irish who were not of his clan or his adherents,

Diarmait na nGall, or Dermod of the foreigners.

8 Kildare. This explanatory paren- thesis is written in the original, as a gloss, over the word "bishop," in the same handwriting as the note itself. h


tliainn, tutor [pi^xleit^inx)] of the chief king of Leth Mogha [i.e., NuadhatiJ and successor^ [comuiibii] of Colum IMac Crimhthainn, and chief historian of Leinster in wisdom and knowledge, and cultivation of books, and science and learning. And let the conclusion of this little history be written for me accurately by thee, O acute Aedh, thou possessor of the sparkling intellect. May it he long hefore we are without thee. It is my desire that thou shouldest be ahoays with us. Let Mac Lonam's book^ of poems be given to me, that we may find out the sense of the poems that are in it, et vale in Christo,* etc."

Finn, Bishop of Kildare died in T ] CO, according to the Annals of the Four Masters.^ He appears to have occu-

1 Nuadhat. This explanation is also in the original, as a gloss, over the word Mogha. Diarmait claimed to be King of Munster, or Leth Mogha, i.e., Mogh's half, the southern half of Ireland, so- called from Eoghan Taidhleach, sur- named Mogh Nuadhat, or Nuadhat's slave. See O'Curry's Battle of Magh Lena, p. 3.

2 Successor. This signifies that Aedh was abbot or bishop of Tirdaglass, now Terryglass, county of Tipperary ; where was a celebrated monastery, founded by Colum Mac Crimhthainn, who died A.D. 548.

s Mac Lonain's book. Flann Mac Lonain, a celebrated Irish poet, many of whose productions are still extant, died in 891.

4 Vale in Christo. The Editor has taken theliberty of altering a few words of Mr. O'Cuny's translation of this curious entry (Lectures, p. 186); but the passage in italics he has allowed to stand, because although he believes Mr. O'Curry's reading of the original (App. Ixxxiv) to be wrong, he is un- able to correct it. It is very obscure in the MS., having been written upon an erasure, which has caused some of the letters to be blurred or blotted; the words which Mr. O'Curry prints cmn ■p.o Tfiicem tdo-o (?) Innsnaiy^, appear to the Editor to be ciun ^«1^; ceiyi tich ic hiiisnaTp, of which he can make no sense. It will be ob- served that the foregoing note does

not assert Bishop Finn to have been the scribe by whom the Book of Lein- ster was written. That he was so, is inferred by ]Mr. O'Cuny from the great similarity of the handwriting of the note to that of the text; and Finn, if not the writer of the IMS., was pro- bably the writer of the note. The " little history," or historic tale, al- luded to, if we suppose it to be that to which the note refers, ends imper- fectly at the bottom of folio 206 b. The next leaf begins in the middle of a sentence having no connexion with what went before; and the de- fect is of long standing, for the old paginations, made in the fourteenth or fifteenth century, take no notice of it, the next folio being marked 207. The page to which the foregoing note is appended contains the story of the Progress of Tadhg, son of Cian, son of Oilill Olum, into Meath, or the Battle of Crinna. See O'Curry, Lect. App. Ixxxix, p. 593 ; Keating (in the reign of Fergus Dubhdedach) ; O'Flaherty, Offi/ff., p. 331-2. The words of the note " Let the conclusion of this little history 1)6 written for me," appear to intimate that the " little history" was unfinished when the note was written ; and the inference is, that it never was completed.

^ Four Masters. Finn, it will be observed, calls himself "bishop," ndt bishop of Kildare, which is a subse- quent insertion. This is an evi-



pied that see since 1148, in which year his predecessor, O'Dubhin, died ; but he was a bishop when the foregoing note was composed, and therefore the portion of the book to which it relates must have been written between the years just mentioned, if not before.

Of Aedh Mac Crimhthainn, the Irish Annals have im- fortunately preserved no record ; but if he was tutor to King Diai-mait Mac Mm-chadha (who was born in 1110), he must have lived very early in the twelfth century.

It will be observed that the foregoing note is wiitten in a strong spirit of partisanship, the writer asserting boldly the claim ^ of his chieftain, Diarmait, to be the chief King of Leth Mogha, that is, of Leinster and Munster, the southern half of Ireland ; and the same spirit appears in another place, fol. 200 a., where a hand much more recent

dence of antiquity, the establishment of territorial dioceses being then re- cent, and the titles derived from them not having as yet come fully into use. This prelate assisted at the hSynod of KeUs in 1152, according to Keating, ■svho calls him (as in some copies) " son of Cianain," but other copies read " son of Tighernain." The Four Mas- ters call him Finn Mac Gormain, and the Dublin Ann. Tnisfall. (A. D. 1160) Mac Gormain, without any Christian name. Ware has " Finan (MacTiar- cain) O'Gorman." This is, no doubt, an error for Finn Mac Cianain O'Gor- main, and is an attempt to recon- cile the authority of Keating with that of the Four Masters. But the Four Masters call him Mac Gormain, not O'Gormain; there is no inconsis- tency in his being Mac Cianain, or son of Cianan, and also Mac Gormain. At that time Mac Gormain had come to be assumed as a patronymic or family name, instead of the more correct form O'Gormain. See O'Donovan, Topogr. Poems, p. liii, note (433). We have another instance of this in Kintc Der-

mod, who is called Mac Murchadha or Mac Murrogh, from his grandfather, although he was the son of Donn- chadh, and ought therefore to have been O'ilurrogh. Topogr. Poems, p. xlvi, n. (393), and p. 1, n. (405). See his genealogy in 0' Donovan's note, Four M., A.D. 1052, p. 861. O'FIa- herty, Ogyg'uu p. 438.

1 Claim. The same claim is made in another place in this MS. (fol. 20 a) in an addition to a list of the kings of Leinster, in which Diarmait is thus spoken of "Diaixmaic mac "Don- chg'oamaclTluiicha'Da-xlui. Ocur* ba 111 Ceciii nioga uile ep'oe, ocu'p 1T)iTii epT)e. CC éc i pe^ina, lojx liibuaTO 011 jca ocu'p achyiisi, in .1x1°. anno aecoci'p ■puae. "Di- armait, son of Dunchadh, son of Mur- chadh [reigned] 46 [years]. And he was king of all Leth Mogha and also of Meath. He died at Ferns after the victorj' of Unction and Penance, in the 61st year of his age." This note is in a hand more recent than that of the MS., and was written probably in 1171, the vear of King Diarmait's death.



thau that of the MS., has written in the upper margin, the following strong expression' of grief :

" [O Mary !] It is a great deed that is done in Erinn this day, the kalends of August. Dermod, son of Donnchadh Mac Murchadha, King of Leinster and of the Danes,- was banished by the men of Ireland over the sea eastward. Uch ! Uch ! O Lord ! what shall I do."

The event thus so pathetically lamented took place in the year 1 1 66.^ We know not who it was that so recorded his despair ; but the note is evidence that this book, to which the name of " Book of Leinster" has been given, was written in the lifetime of Dermod Mac Murrogh, and was, most probably, his property, or that of some eminent personage amongst his followers or clansmen, before the English invasion.

These circumstances are important, as proving beyond all reasonable doubt, that the copy of the present work which this MS. once contained,'* and of which only a single folio leaf remains, must have been wiitten in the twelfth centuiy, and the original must therefore have been stiU earlier. The author mentions no event later than the battle of Clontarf, A.D. 1014, and was probably a con- temporary and follower, as he certainly was a strong partizan, of King Brian Borumha, who fell in that battle. The MS. of which we are now treating was, therefore, written certainly before 1166, and probably within the century after the death of the author of the work. This MS. The editor in the notes upon the first twenty-eight chap- denoted by ^gj.g Qp sections of the text, has distinguished the various

the letter '^

^Expression. Seetheoriginallrishin O'Curry's Lectures, ^TJ/jewd No. Ixxxv. The first words, "O Mary," are now so obscure in the MS. that they can only be considered as a conjectural restoration suggested by Mr. O'Currj-.

^ Danes. Meaning the Danes of Dublin.

3 Year 1166. See Four Masters. The foregoing note gives us the addi- tional fact that Dermod fled on the Ist

* Contained. The Book of Leinster is now very imperfect. The Editor found eleven of the original folia of it at St. Isidore's College, Rome. They were probably lent to Colgan, in ac- cordance with a practice which has proved injurious to many of our Irish MSS. They contain some of the works of Aengus the Culdee, and also the Martyrology of Tallaght, wanting No- vember and the first sixteen days of

of August. December, by the loss of a leaf.



readings of this MS.^ by the letter L. It exhibits several peculiarities of spelling, interesting to the philological student of the Celtic languages ; but it has not been thought necessary to notice all these, as the whole of this valuable fragment has been preserved in the Appendix^.

The second Manuscript employed in forming the text ii. The of the present work, is also a fragment, although a ^u^i^inMS-

Í , ' ... . denoted by

more considerable one, and is likewise preserved in the the letter Library of Trinity College, Dublin. We have called this ^' the Dublin MS., and its readings are marked D. in the notes.

This copy was found about the year 1840, by the late its age. eminent scholar, Mr. O'Curry, bound up^ in one of the Seabright MSS., formerly in the possession of the cele- brated antiquary, Edward Lh\yd. There is notliing except the appearance of the MS. and its handwriting to fix its age ; but judging from these criteria we cannot be far wi'ong in supposing it to have been wi-itten about the middle of the fom'teenth century.^ It is imperfect both at the beginning and at the end : wanting from the first to the fifth chapters inclusive, at the beginning, and from the middle'^ of chapter cxiii. to the end of the work. There are also some intervening defects, arising from a

1 This MS. The mitial letter, B., p. 2, is an exact fac-simile of the initial with which this MS. begins.

2 Appendix. Some few examples of the peculiarities alluded to are given, p. 223, note 3. They may, probably, be regarded as characteristic of the old Leinster dialect of the Irish lan- guage.

3 Bound up. It occurs in the MS. H. 2, 17, and was described by Dr. O'Donovan in his unpublished Cata- logue of the Irish MSS. in the Library of Trinity CoUege, Dublin, under the date of Jan. 1840. But this frag-ment was undoubtedly first identified, as con-

taining the long lost Danish wars, by Mr. O'Curry, who says {Lectures, p. 232), "Of this tract I had the good fortune, some sixteen j^ears ago, to dis- cover an ancient but much soiled and imperfect copy in the Library of Trinity College." The Lecture in which this statement occurs was delivered June 19, 1856.

* Fourteenth century. Mr. O'Curry says, " The ancient fragment must be nearly as old as the chief events towards the conclusion of the war." Ibid. This is certainly a mistake.

5 Middle. See p. 199, line 9 from bottom.



III. The

Brussels copy, de- noted by the letter B.

loss of leaves in the MS. A list' of these defects is given below.

The orthography of this MS. is far from correct. It omits almost uniformly the eclipsed letters, and those which are quiescent or dropped in ordinary pronunciation : a circumstance which frequently causes considerable dif- ficulty. To enable the reader more easily to understand what is meant, some examples, selected almost at random, are given below in the note.^ They are evidence of an impure orthography, and of a j)eriod when the language was in its decline.

The third MS. is a paper copy preserved in the Bur- gundian Library, Brussels, which has the advantage of being perfect. It is in the handwi-iting of the eminent Irish scholar, Friar Michael O'Clery, by whom it was transcribed in the year 1635. This appears by the fol- lowing note at the end :

CC'p í/eat5aift Conconnacc í "Oalaig •DO ^ccyiiolj an byicrcaiiT, bocc Tlli- cíieió Cleyii5 an coip af aifi y^ccyiio- baT) fo, Til cconuemc na bnataii 1 mbaile T^ige ■pa^xannain, a mi TDaiaca na biia-ona •po 1628, ocuy yio Y'ccyiiobaT) an coip ■po la-p an Tibifiátaiii céT)na i cconueinr; T)úin na n'gatl, a mip 'Nouenibeifi na bba'óna fo 1G35.

Out of the book of Cuconnacht O'Daly, the poor friar Michael O'Clery wrote the copy from which this was written, in the convent of the friars in Baile Tighe Farannain, in the month of March of this year 1628; and this copy was written by the same friar in the convent of Dun-n"a-nGall [Done- gal], in the montli of November of tliis year 1635.

1 List. Part of chap. xxx. and xxxi. (see p. 35) is wanting in D., also from the second line of ch. xxxiii. to the seventh line of ch. xxxvii. (pp. 39-43). Again, from the last two lines of ch. Ivi. (p. 85) to line 5 of ch. Ixi. (p. 92) ; from the middle of ch. Ixvii. (p. Ill) to the middle of ch. Ixix. (last line of p. 115) ; ch. Ixx. (p. 117) to Ime 7 of ch. Ixxii. (p. 1 19) ; and from ch. Ixxvi. (p. 133) to the middle of ch. Ixxx. (line 1, p. 141).

2 N^ote, The omission of p is very common, as in 'oacicin for-opacicin ;

"oacil^ for Tjpacil; e-o for pe-o ; aj;- bail for pagbail ; oyicu for po|xcu ; baii. for bpail or bopail; "oo tiegfia for -DO ■piiegiia ; imctgu-p for impa- ^vf, ecocaifi for -pecacayi ; acp^om for pacpom ; YiegaiYi for ppiegaiifi. The omission of t), as in 'oiobai'D for 'opio'obai'D ; man for -onian. The omission of t, as •pen'oucup for r-en- ■Duécup^; cai6 for cacaiB; of b, as muna'Dtip for nibuna'oup; apasu-o for bapaguT) ; and of m, as ciinig for cumnij;. Some other instancesare men- tioned in the notes.



From this we should, perhaps, infer that Michael O'Clery made two copies of the tract on the Danish Wars, one in March, 1628, in the Convent of Baile-Tighe Faramiain (now Multyfarnham, in the county of West- meath), "out of the Book of Cuconnacht O'Daly;" and another, probabh^ taken fi-om his former copy, in Novem- ber, 1635, when he was in the Convent of Donegal. This latter transcript is the book now in the Brussels Library, which has been used in forming the text of the present work, whenever the Dublin MS. was defective. Its various readings are distinguished in the notes by the letter B.

The Book of Cuconnacht O'Daly is now unknown; but Book of Cu- lts owner or compiler was probably the same who is de- o'dTi'^^*^ scribed by the Four Masters, as a chief bard^ or historian, and a native or resident of Lackan, in Westmeath. He died, according to the same authorities, at Clonard, in Meath, A.D. 1189. Lackan^ is close to Multyfarnham, and it was natm-al that the book, compiled by its gi'eat bard, should be preserved in the neighbouiing Franciscan Abbey. From these facts it seems probable that the Book of Cuconnacht O'Daly was a " Bibliotheca," or a collection of historical documents, transcribed in the early part of the twelfth century, and therefore of about the same date

1 Clnefhard. CCiT.'Doltaiii l^é "Dan. Four M. at the year 1139. For the si- tuation of Lackan, see Dr. O'Donovan's note, Fmr M. at A.D. 746, p. 349. The genealogy of Cuconnaght O'Daly •Nvill be found iu the " Historical Sketch of the family of O'Daly," prefixed to Aenghus O'Daly's Tribes of Ireland, edited by Dr. O'Donovan. Dublin, (John O'Daly) 1852.

2 Lackan. In the gloss on the FeUre of Aengus, at June 28 (Brussels copy), the situation of Lackan is thus de- scribed: Leacuin ainni an cempuiL?y Ciiuimne y.é cao5 Ouailce [for inbaile Tije] Paiiannain. "Lea- can is the name of the church of S.

Cruimmin, near Buailte Farannain." The abbey of Multyfarnham continued in the possession of Franciscan friars, notwithstanding the suppression, and in 1641 was the head quarters of the Confederate Koman Catholics. See Cox, Eib. Angl. ii., App. p. 41. This occasioned the dispersion of the friars ; but within the present century a convent has been re-established there, and buildings erected in the ruins of the ancient house. See Sir H. Piers's ac- count of Westmeath, in Vallancey's Collectanea, i., p. 68. The abbey of Donegal also continued in the posses- sion of the friars until the times of Cromwell, but is now in utter ruin.






as the Book of Leinster, of which we have akeady spoken. It follows that the original of the Wars of the Danes and Irish, which was copied into these collections, must have had some celebrity before the year 1139, when O'Daly died, and was therefore, probably, composed before the end of the preceding century.

Michael O'Clery, the transcriber of the Brussels MS., was a lay brother of the order of St. Francis, and is cele- brated as having been the chief of the compilers of the gi-eat Chronicle known as the Annals of the Four Masters. His original Christian name^ was Tadhg, Teague or Teige, and he was commonly called Tadhg an tsleihhe, or "Teige of the Mountain," before he took the name of Michael in religion.

In his transcript of the Danish Wars, he has modernized taken with ^|^g spelling:, and has probably introduced other more

the original r o' i >/

MS. from serious deviations from the text of O'Daly 's MS. He

-which he intended his copy for the use of his contemporaries, and transcribed. i ii- i/. ti

therefore, perhaps, deemed himseu at liberty to adopt the modern orthogi'aphy and other gi'ammatical peculiarities which would be to them most intelligible. This cii'cum- stance no doubt has greatly diminished the value of his manuscript, especially as we cannot be certain whether his departure from the ancient original was confined to such minor alterations.^ It was unfortmiately the cus- tom of Irish scribes, to take considerable liberties with the works they transcribed. They did not hesitate to insert poems and other additional matter, with a view to gratify their patrons or chieftains, and to flatter the vanity of their clan. It is to be feared, that for the same reason, they frequently omitted what might be disagi-ee- able to their patrons, or scandalous to the Church ; thus

1 Christian name. For an account of this distinguished antiquary, see O'Donovan's Introduction to the Four Masters, and O'Curry's Lectures.

2 Alterations. See p. 83, where O'CIen* has sub.-itituted an " etc." for

the words "for the good of the souls of the foreigners who were killed in the battle:" which words, taken in connexion with the context in which they stand, are certainly very obscure. But they occur in the Dublin MS.



they were unconsciously guilty of anachronisms and various mistakes, which have the effect of thi'owing dis- credit upon the works so transmitted to us, as disproving apparently their claim to antiquity.

Evidence of such interpolations is abundantly afforded Evidence by a comparison of the three MSS. employed in this i^ionsTn" edition of the Danish Wars. The ancient MS. in the the MSS. Book of Leinster, although a mere fragment, is of great importance in this point of view. It proves, for example, that the lists of the Kings' of Ireland and Munster in the Brussels MS. are an interpolation. The original work gave only the names of the King of Ireland and of the contemporary King of Munster, in whose times the pirate fleets fii-st made their appearance. In the Brus- intei-poia- sels MS. there is inserted after this, a full list of both ^Jj°g°^jg ^ series of kings during the whole period of the Scandi- navian invasions. We find also passages given as mar- ginal notes in the older MS., which are received into the text, and sometimes, perhaps, misunderstood,^ or incor- rectly transcribed, in the later copy. But the O'Clery MS., notwithstanding these defects, is of great value. It is certainly an independent authority. It contains four poems which are not in the Dublin copy. Three of these are in the form of a dialogue between Mathgamhain'' and Brian, and the fourth is said to have been the com- position of " Mathgamhain's blind bard." They are evi- dently interpolations made by some transcriber who was attached to Brian's party. The first (p. 63) is an apology for Brian's difficulties, when, as we are told, his followers were reduced to fifteen ; and it contains a gentle censure of Mathgamhain for being "too quiescent" towards the foreigners. The second (p. 77) celebrates the victory of the Dal Cais over the foreigners, at Sulcoit. The third (p. 81) attributed to " the poet," who is not named, cele-

1 Kings. See chaps, ii., iii., and Ap- pend. A, p. 22 1.

2 Misunderstood. See the note i, p. 222. Compare also p. 8, note *.

3 Mathgamhain. This name is pro- nounced Mahun. or Mahoon, the accent behig on the last syllable, Dal- Cais is pronounced Dal-Cash.



brates the defeat of the Danes of Limerick : and the last (p. 97), by Mathgamhain's " blind bard," is an elegy, not without spirit, on the treacherous murder of that chief- tain. Interpola- Qn the otlier hand, the Dublin frao-ment contains some

tions in - •Till 11 !•

the MS. D. passages oi considerable length, both m prose and verse, which are not in the Brussels copy. For example, the poetical address' from Gilla-Comhgaill O'Slebhin, ui'ging Aedh, or Hugh, O'Neill to join King Maelsechlainn against Brian ; the description^ of the march of Brian's army to Clontarf, with the arrival of the auxiliaries Fergal O'Rourke, and his followers ; the bombastic account of the enemy's forces and their arms, as contrasted with Brian's troops^; and the combat of Dunlaing of the Liffey, who is said to have been defeated and beheaded by Fer- gal O'Rom^ke* in this battle, although the Annals of Ulster and the Four Masters give a difierent account of his death.

In noting the various readings detected by a collation of the MSS., the editor has taken no notice of mere dif- ferences of spelling except in some rare instances. Irish orthography, in the twelfth centuiy, was so unsettled, and, indeed, is still so unsettled, that the same word is fre- quently written by the same scribe in different speUings on the same page. To note all such variations would have swoUen the work to a size out of all proportion to the value of the information so collected.

Various readings

^Address. See ch. Ixxiii. p. 121. Giolla Comhgaill O'Slebhin, or Ua Slebhene, died in 1031, according to the Four Masters, who call him " chief poet (pyiiiii-ollarii) of the North of Ire- land." The date of his mission to O'Neill, here alluded to, was 1002 or 1003.

^Description. Chap. Ixxxix., p.l55.

^ Troops, Chap, xcviii., p. 171.

^ Feryal G'Rourlce. Chap, ci., p. 177. It is worthy of note that B. (O'Clery's copy) omits everything con- nected with Fergal and his presence in the battle : neither is he mentioned by the Four Masters, who naturally followed the authority of O'CIery, who was one of them.


The A uthor and Age of the Work.

The Cogadh Gaedhil re Gallaibh, or " Wars of the The work Gael with the Gaill," that is to say, of the Irish with the g.°^g° Norsemen, has been frequently quoted by Keating. It Coigan,and was known also to Colgan ; and the Four Masters have jjag^e"^ occasionally transfen'ed its veiy words to their pages. It is mentioned also by Mac Cui'tin^ and O'Halloran,^ who cite it as in theii' time an accessible authority of which the original was well known. But for many years all copies of it were supposed to have perished, until the discovery of the Dubhn MS. by Mr. O'Cuny, in 1840. Soon after- wards it was ascertained that another copy was preserved at BiTissels, together with some other Irish MSS. of great interest. Tlie Editor accordingly went there in Aug-ust, Collation 18-Í8, and made a full collation of the Brussels copy, with Brussels the Dubhn MS., transcribing all that was necessary to MS. by the supply the deficiencies of the latter. Afterwards, through the influence of the Earl of Clarendon, then Lord Lieu- tenant of Ireland, he obtained from the Belgian Govern- ment a loan of this and some other MSS., and in 1853 caused a complete copy of it to be made by Mr. O'Curry Transcript for the Library of Trinity CoUege, Dublin. These trans- g,jí ^^ ^'•• cripts have been carefully collated in fonning the text of the present edition.

The work has external as well as internal evidence of Evidence of antiquity. Its author, as we have seen, was a con- ^°*^i^^- temporaiy and strong partizan of King Brian Borumha. It exliibits many traces of the political feehngs engen- dered by the intestine dissensions of the Dal Cais, and

'^ Mac Curtin. "Discourse in Vin- , authority for any thing relating to the

dication of the Antiquity of Ireland :" Danish -wars in Ireland." Dublin, 4°, 1717, p. 171, 175, 181, et { ^ 0' Halloran. "Hist, of Ireland,"

passim. In p. 204, he says, " Coga I vol. ii., p. 153. 4°, Lond. 1778. GaU h Gaoidkealuibh is the onlv best



Its author, said to be Mac Liag.

No ancient authority for this.

their contest for sovereignty with the Clann Cohnain, ' in the tenth and eleventh centuries. Copies of it were pre- served in the historical collections made by eminent anti- quaries in the early part of the twelfth century. The author makes no use of the era Anno Domini, but dates from the reigns of the Kings of Ireland and Mimster ; sometimes also from local events^ in the provincial history of Ireland.

Dr. O'Conor^ asserts without hesitation that the author of this work was Mac Liag, whose death is recoided by the Four- Masters, at the year 1015 (the true date being 10] 6), in these words :

" Mac-Liag, i.e., Muircheartach, son of Cucheartach, chief poet (ard-ollcmiK) of Ireland at that time, died."

In the Dublin Annals of Innisfallen, at A.D. 1016, the same event is thus recorded :

" Mac-Liag, i.e., Muircheartach beg, son of Mael-ceartach, chief poet (ard- ollamh) of Ireland, died in [the island called] Inis-an-Gaill-duibh, in the Shannon."

But the editor has not discovered any ancient authority for attributing this work to Mac Liag*. The Four Mas-

1 Clann Colmain. See Geneal. Table II., Append. B., p. 242. The kings of Ireland, Maelseachlainn I. and Mael- seachlainn II., were the hereditaiy chieftains of the Clann Colmain, or descendants of Colman mór, son of Diarmait, King of Ireland, A.D. 544, of the Southern Hy Neill. See pp. 131 and 181.

2 Local events. See ch. iv., p. 5 ; ch. xiv., p. 1 5 ; ch. xxiii., p. 23 ; ch. xxvii., p. 29. O'Flaherty, Ogygia, Pref. p. [40], is of opinion that the vulgar Christian era was not used in Ireland until after the year 1020.

^ Dr. 0' Conor. In his list of the ancient authorities quoted or employed by the Four ISIasters in the compila- tion of their Annals, Dr. O'Conor thus Bpeaks of the present work : " xlviii.

Coccadh Gall la Gaoidhil, Bella Alieni- genarum cum Hibemis. Auctore Mac Liago Scriptore saiculo xi. Vide iv. Mag. ann. 1015." Eer. Hib. Scriptt., vol. i. Epist. Nuncup., p. Ivi.

4 Mac-Liag. The Four Masters, immediately after the words above quoted, give the first and the last quatrains of verses composed by Mac- Liag. In the former of these he calls himself "Muircheartach beg, son of Mael-certaich;" and O'Flaherty, Ogyg. p. 334, tells us that he was of the family of O'Conchearta of Lig-gna- thaile, in Corann, a territory which included the barony of Galeng, or Gallen, in the county of Mayo, toge- ther with the barony of Luighne, now Leyney, and the present barony of Corann, in the county of Sligo. Mael-



ters make no mention of its author. Mac Cui-tin and

O'Halloran, who have quoted it by the Irish title it still

bears, are silent as to the author's name. Even O'Reilly/

in his list of Mac Liag's works, omits the Cogadh Gaedhil

re Gallaibh. Colgan had a copy of it, the same most Coigan

probably which is now in the Brussels Collection. He ™e„tTon"of

the author.

certaigh and Cucertaigh seem to have been used as .synonymous for the family name of the poet ; and ]Mac Liag was, probably, not his Christian name, but an appellation given to dis- tinguish him from the many others of the family who were named Muir- cheartach, or Moriarty. For the same reason he appears to have been called Muircheartach beg, or the little. His tribe name, Mael-certaich, signifies the devoted servant of, tonsured in honour of Certach ; and Cu-certaich, the hound, or dog of, that is, the faithful servant of, Certach, who was, no doubt, one of the many saints of that name. There was a saint Mac Liag, descended from CoUa Uais, King of Ireland in the fourth centurj^, (Alartyrol. of Donegal, 8 Feb.) ; and the Christian name Gilla-Mic-Liag, or servant of Mae Liag, was used in the eleventh century. The Four Masters mention the death of IMac Conmara Ua Mic Liag, or grandson of Mac Liag, A.D. 1048; and the Annals of Ulster record the death of Cumara mac mic Liag, or son of Mac Liag, whom they call Ard ollamh Erenn, or chief poet of Ireland, and who seems to have succeeded his fa- ther, the bard of Brian Borumha, in that office^ Hence it appears that Mac Mic Liag and O'Liag had come to be used as surnames to denote this particular branch of the familv. Be- sides the Book of the Danish Wars, now published, Mac Liag is said to

have written a Life of Brian Borumha, and a book of the Battles of ISIunster. They are quoted by Mac Curtin as three distinct works, and as extant in his time ; that is to say, at the begin- ning of the last century. Dr. O'Conor refers to Mac Curtin for the existence of these books, and therefore was pro- bably not himself acquainted with them. Rer. Hib. Scriptt.,\o\.\. Proleg. part ii. Elenchtis, p. 7. Probably the Book of Munster Battles may be the same as the Leabhar Oiris agus annala ar cogthaibh agus ar cathaihh Erenn, " The Book of Antiquity and Annals of the Wars and Battles of Ireland," which O'Reilly says he had in his pos- session, and which he tells us, although it professes to treat of the "wars and battles of Ireland," is in reality con- fined to the battles of Munster. Trans. Ibemo-Celtw Society, p. Ixx. It is now in the Library of the Royal Irish Academy. The late James Hardi- man, Irish Minstrelsy, vol. ii., p. 361, sq., has published some extracts from this book in the original Irish, which prove, beyond a doubt, that the work must have been of a much later age than that of Mac Liag, or that if it was by him, the phraseologj' and language must have been greatly modernized by its transcribers. The specimens of it printed by Mr. Hardiman are in a dialect of Irish which cannot be older than the seventeenth century.

1 O'Reilly. Trans. Ibemo-Celtic So- ciety, p. Ixx. Dublin, 1820.



Keating does not name the author.

has given the following account' of it, in which, however, he says nothing of its author :

" I have a full history written of these wars of Ireland, which in the Tiilgar tongue is called Cogadh Gaoidhel re Gallaihh, i.e., Wars of the Irish with the foreigners ; in which from A.D. 812, when (as Eginhard, or some other author of the same age, in his Life of Charlemagne, says) ' The fleet of the Northmen in- vaded Ireland, the island of the Scoti ; and after a battle with the Scots, an innu- merable multitude of the Northmen was destroyed, and in an ignominious flight returned home.' Almost everj' j'ear afterwards we read of fresh battles and conflicts of the Irish with the Danes and Northmen,