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Texts

Annals of the Four Masters

Ó Cléirigh (Mícheál) • Ó Maoil Chonaire (Fear Feasa) • Ó Cléirigh (Cú Choigcríche) • Ó Duibhgeannáin (Cú Choigcríche) • Ó Cléirigh (Conaire) • Ó Maoil Chonaire (Muiris)
  • Early Modern Irish
  • prose
  • Irish annals
Title
Annals of the Four Masters
The compilation was known originally as Annála ríoghachta Éireann (‘Annals of the kingdom of Ireland’). It came to be named after the ‘Four Masters’ since John Colgan applied this term to Mícheál Ó Cléirigh and his three chief assistants, even if two other scribes were involved in the project.n. 1 John Colgan referred to the Quattuor Magistri in his introduction to the Acta sanctorum Hiberniae. Joep Leerssen, Mere Irish and Fíor-Ghael: studies in the idea of Irish nationality, its development and literary expression prior to the nineteenth century (1986): 478.
Author
Mícheál Ó CléirighO'Clery (Michael) / Ó Cléirigh (Mícheál) (d. 1643) – Irish scholar, historian and scribe
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Fear Feasa Ó Maoil ChonaireÓ Maoil Chonaire (Fear Feasa) (fl. 17th century) – Irish scribe; one of the scholars known as the Four Masters
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Cú Choigcríche Ó CléirighÓ Cléirigh (Cú Choigcríche) (d. in or after 1664) – Irish scholar, poet, historian and scribe; one of the so-called ‘Four Masters’.
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Cú Choigcríche Ó DuibhgeannáinÓ Duibhgeannáin (Cú Choigcríche) (fl. 17th century) – Irish scribe, known as one of the Four Masters
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Conaire Ó CléirighÓ Cléirigh (Conaire)
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.
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Muiris Ó Maoil ChonaireÓ Maoil Chonaire (Muiris)
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.
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The chief compiler and scribe is Mícheál Ó Cléirigh (d. c. 1643), a Franciscan friar from St Anthony at Louvain, who for many years had been active as a scribe and historian in his native Co. Donegal and further afield. Between 1632 and 1636, he undertook the project with a small team of assistant scribes, Fearfeasa Ó Maoilchonaire, Cú Choigcríche Ó Duibhgeannáin and Cú Choigcríche Ó Cléirigh (the other three ‘Masters’). In addition, occasional assistants were Conaire Ó Cléirigh and at one time, Muiris Ó Maoilchonaire.
Manuscripts
Language
  • Early Modern Irish
Date
Compiled, in two successive stages, between 1632 and 1636.
Provenance
Franciscan house of refuge at Drowes, Co Donegal.
Form
prose (primary)
verse (secondary)

Classification

Irish annals

Sources

Notes

Primary sources Text editions and/or modern translations – in whole or in part – along with publications containing additions and corrections, if known. Diplomatic editions, facsimiles and digital image reproductions of the manuscripts are not always listed here but may be found in entries for the relevant manuscripts. For historical purposes, early editions, transcriptions and translations are not excluded, even if their reliability does not meet modern standards.

[ed.] [tr.] O'Donovan, John [ed. and tr.], Annala rioghachta Eireann: Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland, by the Four Masters, from the earliest period to the year 1616, 7 vols, 2nd ed., Dublin, 1856.
CELT – edition (vol. 1): <link> CELT – edition (vol. 2): <link> CELT – edition (vol. 3): <link> CELT – edition (vol. 4): <link> CELT – edition (vol. 5): <link> CELT – edition (vol. 6): <link> CELT – translation (vol. 1): <link> CELT – translation (vol. 2): <link> CELT – translation (vol. 3): <link> CELT – translation (vol. 4): <link> CELT – translation (vol. 5): <link> CELT – translation (vol.6): <link> Internet Archive – multiple copies: <link>

Secondary sources (select)

Cunningham, Bernadette, The Annals of the Four Masters: Irish history, kingship and society in the early seventeenth century, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2010.
Mc Carthy, Daniel P., The Irish annals: their genesis, evolution and history, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2008.
Walsh, Paul, The Four Masters and their work, ed. Colm O Lochlainn, Dublin: Three Candles, 1944.
Walsh, Paul, Irish men of learning: studies, ed. Colm O Lochlainn, Dublin: Three Candles, 1947.
Contributors
Dennis Groenewegen
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