Buile Shuibne‘The frenzy of Suibne’

  • Late Middle Irish, Early Modern Irish
  • prose, verse
  • Cycles of the Kings
  • Late Middle Irish Early Modern Irish
  • Late Middle Irish or Early Modern. Some of the verse may be predate the composition of this text.

prose, verse (primary)
prosimetrum (a prose framework with many poems interspersed).
Textual relationships


Cycles of the Kings


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'Keeffe, J. G. [ed. and tr.], Buile Suibhne: The Frenzy of Suibhne. Being the adventures of Suibhne Geilt: a Middle Irish romance, Irish Texts Society 12, London: Irish Texts Society, 1913.
CELT – translation (pp. 3–159): <link>
Based primarily on RIA B iv 1a, with variants from RIA 23 K 44. The Brussels text is given separately.
[ed.] O'Keeffe, J. G. [ed.], Buile Shuibhne, Mediaeval and Modern Irish Series 1, Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1931.
CELT – edition (pp. 1-83, 92-96): <link> Internet Archive: <link>
This 'edition' contains a reprint of O'Keeffe's 1913 edition. The Brussels text is printed on pp. 92-96.

Secondary sources (select)

Ó Béarra, Feargal, “Buile Shuibhne: vox insaniae from medieval Ireland”, in: Classen, Albrecht [ed.], Mental health, spirituality, and religion in the middle ages and early modern age, Fundamentals of Medieval and Early Modern Culture 15, Berlin, New York: De Gruyter, 2014. 242–289.
Rekdal, Jan Erik, “From wine in a goblet to milk in cowdung. The transformation of early Christian kings in three post-Viking tales from Ireland”, in: Steinsland, Gro, Jón Viðar Sigurðsson, Jan Erik Rekdal, and Ian Beuermann (eds.), Ideology and power in the Viking and Middle Ages: Scandinavia, Iceland, Ireland, Orkney and the Faeroes, Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2011. 211–267.
Bergholm, Alexandra, “‘Betwixt and between’: theorising liminality and sacredness in Buile Suibhne”, in: Ritari, Katja, and Alexandra Bergholm (eds.), Approaches to religion and mythology in Celtic studies, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2008. 243–263.
Bergholm, Alexandra, “Folly for Christ’s sake in early Irish literature: the case of Suibhne Geilt reconsidered”, Studia Celtica Fennica 4 (2007): 7–14.
Www.sfks.org: <link>
Bergholm, Alexandra, “Academic and neopagan interpretations of shamanism in Buile Suibhne: a comparative approach”, Studia Celtica Fennica 2 — Essays in honour of Anders Ahlqvist (2005): 30–46.
Www.sfks.org: <link>
Nagy, Joseph Falaky, A new introduction to Buile Suibhne: The frenzy of Suibhne, being the adventures of Suibhne Geilt: a Middle-Irish romance, Irish Texts Society, Subsidiary Series 4, London: Irish Texts Society, 1996.
Sayers, William, “The deficient ruler as Avian exile: Nebuchadnezzar and Suibhne Geilt”, Ériu 43 (1992): 217–222.
Hamilton, John Noel, “Varia (Alt- und Mittelirisches): 3. Some verbal forms in Buile Suibne”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 32 (1972): 121–124.
Hull, Vernam [ed.], “A note on Buile Shuibhne”, Celtica 9 (1971): 214.
Beneš, Brigit, “Spuren von Schamanismus in der Sage ‘Buile Suibhne’”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 28 (1960–1961): 309–334.
Lehmann, Ruth P., “A study of the Buile Shuibhne (suite et fin)”, Études Celtiques 7:1 (1955, 1955–1956): 115–138.
Journal volume:  Persée – Études Celtiques, vol. 7, fascicule 1, 1955: <link> Persée – Études Celtiques, vol 7, fascicule 2, 1956: <link>
Dennis Groenewegen