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Texts

Bruidhean (an) chaorthainn‘The hostel (bruiden) of rowan’

  • Early Modern Irish
  • prose
  • Finn Cycle
Late Gaelic prose romance in the form of a so-called bruidhean tale about Fionn mac Cumhaill and his men, perhaps composed in the 15th or 16th century. In the story, Fionn and a number of companions are entrapped in a sinister enchanted hostel or bruidhean by Míodhach (Midac), son of Colgán (Colga), king of Lochlann. Míodhach was taken up and reared by the Fían after his father was killed in an unsuccesful attempt to seize Irish territory, but on coming of age, plotted revenge and so invited Fionn to a feast at ‘The hostel of rowan’ on the Shannon. Once inside, Fionn and his men find themselves magically glued to their seats, awaiting death by decapitation, while Míodhach is making foreign allies. They chant a dord fían (a low kind of humming), which reveals their whereabouts to the remaining members of the Fían, including Oisín, Caoilte, Innse, and Diarmuid. A series of fights ensues in which the latter resist foreign attackers and kill Míodhach. Diarmuid slays the kings of Inis Tuile (Thule) and uses their blood to release Fionn and the other captured men from the spell of enchantment (although Conán Maol does not come away without being partially skinned alive). Finally, a great battle is fought and won over the ‘King of the world’, who is defeated and beheaded.
Manuscripts

include:

Language
  • Early Modern Irish
Form
prose (primary)
Textual relationships
A version of this story was known to Geoffrey Keating in the early part of the 17th century.(1)n. 1 ...tar ceann gur scríobhadh iomad d'fhinnscéalaibh filidheachta ar Fhionn agus ar an bh-Féin, mar atá Cath Fionntrágha, Bruighean Chaorthainn agus Imtheacht an Ghiolla Dheacair agus a samhail oile sin mar chaitheamh aimsire, tairis sin, is dearbh gur scríobhadh staire fírinneacha inchreidthe orra “...although many imaginative romances have been written about Fionn and the Fian, such as Cath Fionntragha, Bruighean Chaorthainn, and Imtheacht an Ghiolla Dheacair, and others of a similar kind, for the sake of amusement, still it is certain that true credible accounts of them were also written”, ed. and tr. Patrick S. Dinneen, Foras feasa ar Éirinn: The history of Ireland by Geoffrey Keating D. D. Volume II, containing the first book of the history from sect. XV to the end, vol. 2 (1908): 326–327.

Apart from the literary version found in manuscript form, the tale also circulated widely in oral form. Oral versions have been collected from both Scotland and Ireland, such as one recorded by J. F. Campbell in his Popular tales of the West Highlands, vol. 2 (1890): 192. An Irish version from the beginning of the 20th century was recorded by Énrí Ó Muirgheasa (Henry Morris) in Co. Donegal.(2)n. 2 See Énrí Ó Muirgheasa • Dómhnall Ó Baoghaill • Seaghan Mac a' Bháird, Bruidhean chaorthainn: Donegal folk version (1911); Dómhnall Ó Baoghaill • Énrí Ó Muirgheasa • Seaghan Mac a' Bháird, Bruidhean chaorthainn: leagan ó Thír Chonaill (1932).

Classification

Finn Cycle

Subject tags

 Rí an Domhain
Finn mac CumaillFionn mac Cumhaill / Find úa Báiscni (ass. time-frame: Finn mac Cumaill, Cormac mac Airt, Category:Finn Cycle) – Finn mac Cumaill (earlier mac Umaill?), Find úa Báiscni: central hero in medieval Irish and Scottish literature of the so-called Finn Cycle or Finn Cycle; warrior-hunter and leader of a fían
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Caílte mac RónáinCaílte mac Crundchon meic Rónáin (ass. time-frame: Category:Finn Cycle) – or Caílte mac Crundchon meic Rónáin, kinsman of Finn mac Cumaill and a prominent member of his fían; accomplished warrior and hunter; one of the protagonists of Acallam na senórach
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Oisín mac FinnOisín mac Finn / Oisín (ass. time-frame: Category:Finn Cycle, Finn mac Cumaill, Cormac mac Airt, Saint Patrick) – A fían-warrior, son of Finn, in the Finn Cycle of medieval Irish literature
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Oscar mac OisínOscar mac Oisín (ass. time-frame: Category:Finn Cycle) – son of Oisín son of Finn mac Cumaill
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Díarmait úa DuibneDíarmait úa Duibne – son of Donn and grandson or descendant of Duibne; warrior in Finn’s household; one of the protagonists of Tóruigheacht Dhiarmada agus Ghráinne
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Conán Mael mac MornaConán Mael mac MornaNo short description available
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Mídach mac ColgáinMídach mac Colgáin
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.
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Colgán [king of Lochlann]Colgán ... king of Lochlann
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.
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 Lochlann  Inis Tuile

Sources

Notes

...tar ceann gur scríobhadh iomad d'fhinnscéalaibh filidheachta ar Fhionn agus ar an bh-Féin, mar atá Cath Fionntrágha, Bruighean Chaorthainn agus Imtheacht an Ghiolla Dheacair agus a samhail oile sin mar chaitheamh aimsire, tairis sin, is dearbh gur scríobhadh staire fírinneacha inchreidthe orra “...although many imaginative romances have been written about Fionn and the Fian, such as Cath Fionntragha, Bruighean Chaorthainn, and Imtheacht an Ghiolla Dheacair, and others of a similar kind, for the sake of amusement, still it is certain that true credible accounts of them were also written”, ed. and tr. Patrick S. Dinneen, Foras feasa ar Éirinn: The history of Ireland by Geoffrey Keating D. D. Volume II, containing the first book of the history from sect. XV to the end, vol. 2 (1908): 326–327.
See Énrí Ó Muirgheasa • Dómhnall Ó Baoghaill • Seaghan Mac a' Bháird, Bruidhean chaorthainn: Donegal folk version (1911); Dómhnall Ó Baoghaill • Énrí Ó Muirgheasa • Seaghan Mac a' Bháird, Bruidhean chaorthainn: leagan ó Thír Chonaill (1932).

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.] Ó Cróinin, Breandán, “Bruidhean chaorthainn ón lámhscríbhinn is sine i Leabharlann Náisiúnta na hAlban”, unpublished MA thesis: NUI Maynooth, 1995.
The text according to the manuscripts in the National Library of Scotland
[ed.] Pearse, Patrick [Mac Piarais, Pádraic], Bruidhean chaorthainn: sgéal fiannaidheachta, Dublin: Conradh na Gaeilge, 1908.
Internet Archive: <link>
Irish version
[ed.] [tr.] Campbell, J. F. [ed.], Leabhar na Féinne: heroic Gaelic ballads collected in Scotland chiefly from 1512 to 1871, vol. 1, London, 1872.
Internet Archive: <link>, <link>, <link> Internet Archive – originally from Google Books: <link>, <link>
Vol. 1, 86–88 [‘An Bruighean Caorthuin (1603)’] Scottish version (fragment) direct link
[tr.] Joyce, P. W. [tr.], Old Celtic romances, 3rd ed. (1879), London: Longmans, 1907.
Internet Archive – 1920 reprint: <link> Internet Archive – 1879 edition: <link> Internet Archive – 1879 edition: <link>
177–222 Translation based on three MSS: RIA MSS 23 C 30 (1733), 24 B 15 (1841) and 23 L 24 (1766).

Secondary sources (select)

Breatnach, Caoimhín, “Exploiting the past: Pearse as editor and interpreter of fiannaíocht literature”, in: Higgins, R., and R. Uí Chollatáin (eds.), The life end after-life of P. H. Pearse. Pádraic Mac Piarais: saol agus oidhreacht, Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2009. 195–207.
197ff Discusses how Pearse and Joyce have approached the text (in their edition and translation respectively).
Ó hÓgáin, Dáithí, Fionn mac Cumhaill: images of the Gaelic hero, Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1988.
Murphy, Gerard, Duanaire Finn: The book of the lays of Fionn, 3 vols, vol. 3: Introduction, notes, appendices and glossary, Irish Texts Society 43, London: Irish Texts Society, 1953.
Internet Archive: <link>
xxviii–xxix Draws comparisons with an Irish folk tale concerning Lorcán Mac Luirc
Craigie, W. A., “Three tales of the Fiann”, Scottish Review 24 (October, 1894): 270–297.
Internet Archive: <link>
Contributors
Dennis Groenewegen
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