Chatsworth (Derbyshire), Book of Lismore = Book of Lismore (Leabhar Leasa Móir)
  • s. xv
Carey, John, The ever-new tongue: In tenga bithnúa. The text in the Book of Lismore, Apocryphes (APOCR) 15, Turnhout: Brepols, 2018.  
The Ever-new Tongue is a medieval Irish account of the mysteries of the universe, remarkable for its exotic sources and for the rich exuberance of its style. This translation, based on the definitive edition of the text, renders this remarkable work available to a wider readership. The Ever-new Tongue (In Tenga Bithnúa), composed in Ireland in the ninth or tenth century, purports to reveal the mysteries of the creation, of the cosmos, and of the end of the world, as related by the soul of the apostle Philip speaking in the language of the angels. Drawing on a multitude of sources, both mainstream and heterodox, it reflects the richness of early Irish learning as well as the vitality of its author’s imagination.

The present volume is based on the full critical edition of The Ever-new Tongue, including detailed linguistic analysis and textual notes, which appeared in 2009 in the Corpus Christianorum, Series Apocryphorum (CCSA 16). The aim here is to offer to a broader readership a translation of the oldest (and most conservative) version of the text, preserved in the Book of Lismore, together with such other parts, fully updated, of the larger study as may be of interest to non-Celticists.

Table of contents:
Abbreviations; Bibliography; Introduction; I. Recensions and manuscripts; II. Synopsis; III. Background and sources; IV. Theology; ‘The ever-new tongue’ (Translation); Appendix: Dating the text; Glossary.
Ó Macháin, Pádraig, “Ealaín na lámhscríbhinní: Leabhar Leasa Móir agus muintir Longáin”, in: Ó Macháin, Pádraig, and Sorcha Nic Lochlainn (eds), Leabhar na Longánach: the Ó Longáin family and their manuscripts, Cork: Clo Torna, 2018. 175–216.
McLaughlin, Roisin, “Reading Irish manuscripts: texts on kingship and judgement in UCF-OFM manuscript A 9”, Celtica 28 (2016): 151–167.
Sharpe, Richard, “Medieval manuscripts found at Bonamargy friary and other hidden manuscripts”, Studia Hibernica 41 (2015): 49–85.  
The well-documented story that four manuscripts were found during building work in the ruins of Bonamargy friary in or before 1822 is tested and found not to fit the assumptions that have been brought to it. The books could not have been old Franciscan books, hidden by the friars, and it is not even apparent that they were deliberately hidden. Other manuscripts now known have stories about their hiding or their discovery, and some are patently false, others become doubtful when probed, such that the idea of deliberate hiding of manuscripts is scarcely credible. The Book of Lismore was found, neglected, it appears, in Lismore castle. The Domnach Airgid was, apparently hidden as a relic and retrieved soon afterwards at the time of the Williamite war. The Book of Dimma was never hidden, and the manuscripts at Cong may have been lost long before the story told about them. The finding of the Stowe Missal in an old wall is a story not attested before Eugene O’Curry (1841), who had shortly before worked on the Book of Lismore. The Bonamargy books remain unexplained.
Ó Macháin, Pádraig, “Leabhar Leasa Móir agus lucht léinn sa naoú haois déag”, An linn bhuí 18 (2014): 233–249.
Ó Macháin, Pádraig, “Chatsworth, The Book of Lismore: summary description”, Ó Macháin, Pádraig (director), Irish Script on Screen (ISOS) – Meamrám Páipéar Ríomhaire, Online: School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. URL: <>.
Carey, John, Máire Herbert, and James Knowles (eds), Travelled tales — Leabhar Scealach Siulach: The Book of Lismore at University College Cork, Cork: Cork University Press, 2011. 56 pp.
– First essay (PDF): <link>
Mac Aongusa, Máire [ed.], “Airne Fíngein”, TLH: Thesaurus Linguae Hibernicae, Online: University College Dublin. URL: <>.
Kühns, Julia S., “An edition and translation of the Agallamh beag from the Book of Lismore”, unpublished MPhil dissertation: University of Glasgow, 2006. – PDF: <link>
Ó Cuív, Brian, “Observations on the Book of Lismore”, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 83 C (1983): 269–292.
Jstor: <link>
Ó Maidín, Pádraig, “Pages from an Irishman’s diary: this period then”, Éire-Ireland 6:4 (Winter, 1971): 23–28.
Kenney, James F., “Chapter IV: The monastic churches, their founders and traditions: I. The primitive foundations”, in: Kenney, James F., The sources for the early history of Ireland: an introduction and guide. Volume 1: ecclesiastical, Records of Civilization: Sources and Studies 11, Revised ed. (1929), New York: Octagon, 1966. 288–371.
308   [118] “The Book of Lismore”
Collins, John T., “Notes: The Book of Lismore”, Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society 52:175 (1947): 88–90. <link>
O'Keeffe, J. G., “A poem on the Day of Judgment”, Ériu 3 (1907): 29–33.  
comments: A poem on the Day of Judgment
TLH – edition: <link> TLH – translation: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
O'Grady, Standish Hayes, and Henri Gaidoz [introd.], “Légendes nées de noms propres: 1. Les O'Daborchon”, Mélusine: recueil de mythologie, littérature populaire, traditions et usages 4 (1889–1890): 298–299 (cols).
Gallica: <link>
O'Curry, Eugene, Lectures on the manuscript materials of ancient Irish history, delivered at the Catholic University of Ireland during the sessions of 1855 and 1856, Dublin, 1861.
Internet Archive: <link>, <link> Internet Archive – Originally from Google Books: <link>, <link>, <link> Internet Archive – multiple copies: <link>
181–202   [Lecture IX] “Of the chief existing ancient books”

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