Texts

Betha Finnchua Brí Gobunn‘The life of Finnchua of Brí Gobann’

  • Irish
  • prose

Vernacular Irish Life of Finnchua, al. Finnchú, of Brí Gobann (Brigown, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork). The text presents its subject, not as a mere local saint, but as one whose activities extended further afield in Ireland, concluding with a visit to Rome.

Manuscripts
  • Leabhar Mainistrech Buite meic Bronaidh [date unknown]
     
    ‘Book of Monasterboice’. Lost. See colophons below.
    • Leabhar gerr Í Buadhacháin [date unknown]
       
      ‘Short book of the Uí Buadhachain’. Lost. See colophons below.
      • Chatsworth (Derbyshire), Book of Lismore = Book of Lismore (Leabhar Leasa Móir) [s. xv]
        ff. 67(25)vb.30–72(30)rbheading: ‘Beatha Finnchua Bri Gobunn inso’beginning: ‘Boi brugaidh amra an Ulltaib feacht naill do Mhughdhornaibh do shunnradh’
         
        Earliest known version, edited by Stokes (1890). Ends with the colophon Conadh iat sin gnimhradha ⁊ geineamain Finnchua ⁊ a chatha ⁊ a conghala ⁊ a thurusa o do labuir a mbroinn a mhathar no gu ndeachaidh do Roim Letha cu raibhi fria re mbliadna innti oc aithrigi amail ro scribh fesin i leabhur Mainistreach Baidhi meic Bronaigh. In brathair O Buaghachain ro scribh an bethaso as leabhur Mainestreach Baidhi (ISOS).
        • Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique, MS 2324-2340 (3410) [1629]
          ff. 113v–122rheading: ‘Betha Fionnchua Brigobhann annso’beginning: ‘Boi bruccaid amhra ind Ulltoibh feacht naill do mugdornaib do sunnrad .i. Findlogh mac Séttna’
           
          Concl. with colophon conid iatt sin gniomhradha, et genemain Fionnchon & a chatha ⁊ a conghala & a thurusa o do labhair i mbroinn a mháthar nó go ndechaidh do Roimh Letha go raibhe fri re mbliadna innte oc aitricche amail ro sccriobh feisin i lleabhar Mainistrech Buite meic Bronaidh. Finis. Finis., as well as a subscription As leabhar Meg Carthaigh Riabhaigh ro scriobhadh an betha so Fionnchon i cconveint na mbrathar i tTegh Molaga .20. Iunii .1629. (transcribed by Pádraig A. Breatnach, ISOS).
        • Cork, University College, MS 90
           
          Modern transcript from the Book of Lismore.
        • It is possible that the text is contained in further modern transcripts of the Book of Lismore.
      • Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique, MS 2324-2340 (3410) [1629]
        ff. 35r–43vheading: ‘Betha Fionnchon naoimh annso .i. Fionnchú Bhrí Gobhann’beginning: ‘Ard-brucchaidh amhra rogeinedh in Ultaibh darbho comhainm Finnlogh mhac Sédna.’
         
        Concludes with a colophon which is fuller than that of the Book of Lismore: Gonadh iad sin gniomradha Fionnchon, ⁊ a chatha o do labhair a mbroinn a mhathar go ndeachaidh do Roimh Letha, ⁊ go raibhe fri ré bliadhna innte ag aithrighe dona gniomhaibh sin, ⁊ dona cathaibh amhail ro lesaigh fein ⁊ ro sgriobh uile a leabhar Mainistreac Buite Mhic Brónaidh. ⁊ ro sgríobh an brathair O Buadhachain asin leabar sin Buite in[a] leabar gerr fein go bfuil ar cuimne o sin. Finis. (transcribed by Pádraig A. Breatnach).
      • Dublin, University College, MS Franciscan A 9 [s. xv (?)]
        ff. 17a–24a.iheading: ‘Vita S. Finnchuonis’beginning: ‘Ardbrughaidh amra rogeineadh a nUlltaibh’
         
        Concl. with colophon: Conidh iat sin gnimradha geinemna Fínnchua ~ acatha ~ acongala ~ turusa . . . ~ rosgrib uile alebar mainistrec Buithe mic Bronuidh gur sgrib in brathair hua Buadhachain isin lebarsin Buithe ina lebur gerra fein .i. libur gerr i Buadhachain. F.i.n.i.tt. (ISOS); cf. Plummer: dona gnimaib sin ⁊ dona cathaib, amal ro lesaigh fein ⁊ ro sgrib uile a lebar Mainistrech Buithe mac Brónuidh, gur sgrib in brathair Ua Buadhachain asin lebur sin Buthi ina lebur gerr fein .i. libur gerr I Buadhachain, “Of these acts and battles which he [Finnchua] himself corrected, and wrote completely in the book of the Monastery of Buite, son of Bronach [i.e. Monasterboice], and the brother O'Buadachain copied it from this book of Buite into his own short book, to wit, the Short Book of the Uí Buadachain”.
      • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS A iv 1 (Stowe 9, 968) [c. 1627]
        pp. 65–89
         
        Expl. do gabsad na haingil a spiorad anma cugta maill re hanoir ⁊ cainticib dia breith a bfiadnaisi na Trinoidi, ⁊c.
  • Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Adv. MS 72.1.24
    ff. 1r–8rbeginning: ‘A…d brugaid amru ro g….’
     
    Copy unknown to Stokes and Plummer. The first and final page are much faded and largely illegible. According to Ronald Black (ISOS catalogue description), this copy is close to the Book of Lismore version and continues a little where the Book of Lismore breaks off.
Language
  • Irish
Date
“composed ... probably in the fourteenth century, if not later” (Ó Riain); “eleventh- or twelfth-century life” (Johnston).
Provenance
Origin: Ireland
Ireland
Unknown. According to Ó Riain, “there is some evidence to suggest that the Life was written in the Cistercian abbey of Fermoy[,] which may have had a claim to lands in north Cork associated with Fionnchu”. He also emphasizes the establishment of the Cistercian abbey of Mellifont near Monasterboice.
Form
prose (primary)

Classification

Subjects

Finnchú of BrigownFindchú of Brigown / Findchú mac Finnloga / Fanahan (supp. fl. 7th century, d. 655/665?) – patron saint of Brí Gobann (Brigown in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork)
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Sources

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.] Stokes, Whitley [ed. and tr.], Lives of saints from the Book of Lismore, Anecdota Oxoniensia, Mediaeval and Modern Series 5, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1890.
CELT: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>, <link> Internet Archive: <link>
84–98 (text); 231–246 (English translation); 347–348 (notes);vii, cviii (introduction) Edited from the Book of Lismore.
[ed.] Fáinne Fionn, “Beatha Fionnchon Brighobhann [pt 1]”, The Irish Rosary 15 (1911): 840–843.
Edited from RIA MS A iv 1.
[ed.] Fáinne Fionn, “Beatha Fionnchon Brighobhann [pt 2]”, The Irish Rosary 16 (1912): 47–48, 195–196, 313–314.
Edited from RIA MS A iv 1.

Secondary sources (select)

Ó Riain, Pádraig, A dictionary of Irish saints, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2011.  
Scarcely a parish in Ireland is without one or more dedications to saints, in the form of churches in ruins, holy wells or other ecclesiastical monuments. This book is a guide to the (mainly documentary) sources of information on the saints named in these dedications, for those who have an interest in them, scholarly or otherwise. The need for a summary biographical dictionary of Irish saints, containing information on such matters as feastdays, localisations, chronology, and genealogies, although stressed over sixty years ago by the eminent Jesuit and Bollandist scholar, Paul Grosjean, has never before been satisfied. Professor Ó Riain has been working in the field of Irish hagiography for upwards of forty years, and the material for the over 1,000 entries in his Dictionary has come from a variety of sources, including Lives of the saints, martyrologies, genealogies of the saints, shorter tracts on the saints (some of them accessible only in manuscripts), annals, annates, collections of folklore, Ordnance Survey letters, and other documents. Running to almost 700 pages, the body of the Dictionary is preceded by a preface, list of sources and introduction, and is followed by comprehensive indices of parishes, other places (mainly townlands), alternate (mainly anglicised) names, subjects, and feastdays.
335–337 [‘Fionnchú’]
Johnston, Elva, “Munster, saints of (act. c.450–c.700)”, Oxford dictionary of national biography, Online: Oxford University Press. URL: <http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/51008>.
Downey, Clodagh, “Intertextuality in Echtra mac nEchdach Mugmedóin”, in: Carey, John, Máire Herbert, and Kevin Murray (eds.), Cín Chille Cúile: texts, saints and places. Essays in honour of Pádraig Ó Riain, Celtic Studies Publications 9, Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2004. 77–104.
Grosjean, Paul, “MS. A. 9 (Franciscan Convent, Dublin)”, Ériu 10 (1926–1928): 160–169.
Plummer, Charles, “A tentative catalogue of Irish hagiography”, in: Plummer, Charles [ed.], Miscellanea hagiographica Hibernica: vitae adhuc ineditae sanctorum Mac Creiche, Naile, Cranat, Subsidia Hagiographica 15, Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1925. 171–285.
189–190 [id. 36.]
Contributors
Dennis Groenewegen