De causis torchi Corc' Óche‘On the reasons for the migration of the Corco Óche’

  • Old Irish
  • Medieval Irish literature
Early Irish tale on the migration of the Corco Óche. It offers a mythological account of the origin of Lough Neagh (Loch nEchach), which is said to be named after Echu mac Maireda.


Medieval Irish literature


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.] Vries, Ranke de, Two texts on Loch nEchach: De causis torchi Corc' Óche and Aided Echach maic Maireda, Irish Texts Society 65, London: Irish Texts Society, 2012.  
This volume, edited by Ranke de Vries, contains editions of two important texts related to the mythological origin of Lough Neagh and its aftermath. The earlier of the two texts, De causis, contains a seventh-century poem by Luccreth moccu Chíara that can be regarded as the earliest example of deibide. The second, Aided Echach, is a prosimetric text found only in Lebor na hUidre (in the hand of the interpolator H). The editions are preceded by a general discussion on the development of the tradition concerning the origin of the lake.

Secondary sources (select)

Vries, Ranke de, “Two early examples of the preposition acht followed by the accusative case outside the law texts and an example of acht inge”, Ériu 60 (2010): 137–144.  
1. Acht followed by the accusative case

To the list of reliable examples of acht followed by accusative case may now be added two unambiguous early instances that occur outside the legal tradition. Both examples are found in the early Old Irish text De causis torchi Corc’ Óche ‘On the reasons for the migration of the Corco Óche’ (hereafter cited as De causis). The complete text will be found in Laud Misc. 610, fol. 94Rb23–94Vb16, and there are incomplete versions in the Book of Ballymote (BB) on pp. 169b20–170a12 (= fol. 96Rb20–96Va12), and the Book of Lecan (Lec), fol. 125Ra1–125Rb20.

2. Another example of acht inge ‘except for’

In the BB and Lec versions of De causis, it appears that we have another example of acht inge. In the first instance of acht + accusative discussed above, where Laud has Di-legath síl Dubthig Dōeltengath and act cethra conchuiriu, BB and Lec have the respective readings dileagad sil dubtaich dælteangthaich acht .i. ceithre conchuiri and dileagad sil dubthaich dæltengaig acht .i. ceithri conchoiri, where .i. can really only be taken as an abbreviation for inge.
(source: Royal Irish Academy (PDF))
Dennis Groenewegen
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