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MS Parrthas an Anma


The manuscript described below is in the ownership of Dr Colm Ó Sé, having been given to him by his father, Dr Liam Ó Sé (†2010). I wish to express my thanks to Dr Ó Sé for permission to catalogue it and for providing information regarding its previous ownership. The catalogue description follows the style and method of Pádraig de Brún, Catalogue of Irish manuscripts in King’s Inns Library, Dublin (Dublin 1972).1


18th century. Paper. 19 × 14.5 cm. Pp. 290, with scribal pagination 1–17, 19/18 (‘(19) or (18)’), 20–243, 245/4 (‘(245) or (244)’), 246–92. Scribe: Uilliam ó Haonnagan, Dublin (‘Maile áth Clíadh’), 1759 (p. 1; cf. p. 56, where scribe’s calculation is based on date of writing of 1759).

Bound in full white calf; penultimate binding cords above and below, passing through eyelets in outer covers, extend beyond fore-edge to form thongs for secure closing of book. Housed in bespoke phase box (21 × 18 cm) bound in quarter green calf with gold tooling; ‘PARRTHAS / AN ANMA’, ‘Uilliam Ó Lionnagáin [sic] / [decorative device] /scriba’, ‘Baile Áth Cliadh / 1759’ in gold on spine. Binding and box by Des Breen (brochure enclosed). Original endpapers, two front and two back; offset of ink from p. 1 on verso of second front endpaper. Collation obscured in binding. Signatures (lower margin): ‘a 1’ (p. 1), ‘A 2’–‘A 4’ (pp. 3, 5, 7), ‘B.1’–‘B.4’ (pp. 17, 20, 22, 24), ‘C.1’–‘C.4’ (pp. 34, 36, 38, 40), ‘D.1’–‘D.4’ (pp. 50, 52, 54, 56), ‘E.1’–‘E.4’ (pp. 66, 68, 70, 72), ‘F.1’–‘F.4’ (pp. 82, 84, 86, 88), ‘G.1’–‘G.4’ (pp. 98, 100, 102, 104), ‘H.1’–‘H.4’ (pp. 114, 116, 118, 120), ‘I.1’–‘I.4’ (pp. 130, 132, 134, 136), ‘L.1’–‘L.4’ (pp. 146, 148, 150, 152), ‘M.1’–‘M.4’ (pp. 162, 164, 166, 168), ‘N.1’–‘N.4’ (pp. 178, 180, 182, 184), ‘O 1’ (p. 194), ‘O.2–‘O.4’ (pp. 196, 198, 200), ‘P.1’–‘P.4’ (pp. 210, 212, 214, 216), ‘R.1’–‘R.4’ (pp. 226, 228, 230, 232), ‘s.1’–‘s.4’ (pp. 242, 245/4, 247, 249), ‘T.1’–‘T.4’ (pp. 259, 261, 263, 265), ‘U.1’–‘U.4’ (pp. 275, 277, 279, 281), ‘A.1’ (p. 291). Ruled in grey, recto and verso, with prickings in inner and outer margins at edge of text grid; vertical bounding-lines visible on most pages; 16 (p. 1), 21–24 lines (19–24 lines in pp. 220–226); double columns, pp. 151.5–z, 152–3, 154.15–z, 155, 156.1–12, 157.3–z, 158–60, 161.1–12, 280.17–z, 281; text on p. 234 written within ruled x-shaped frame, the upper portion comprising lines 1–12, the lower, lines 13–23. Catchwords (except pp. 154, 177, 281). Decorative initials and capitals occasionally (e.g. pp. 6, 268, 270–71). Text interpolated mid-line with blank spaces to form frames for drawings never filled in, pp. 144.6–11, 149.16–20 (for wood-cuts in original publication in imitation of which drawings were evidently to be inserted, see Antoin Gearnon, Parrthas an anma (Lobháin 1645), pp. 263, 279, respectively). Text arranged in double columns to form frames for single drawings never filled in, pp. 191.2–10 (= Gearnon, p. 352), 229 (lines x–z) cum 230 (lines 1–4) (= Gearnon, p. 433), 235.16–21 (= Gearnon, p. 443), 239.1–7 (= Gearnon, p. 449), 249.10–15 (= Gearnon, p. 465), 253.14–18 (= Gearnon, p. ‘413’ [recte 471]), 258.1–9 (= Gearnon, p. 478), 261.1–8 (= Gearnon, p. 483); text similarly arranged for four drawings each never filled in, pp. 220, 223, 225, 226 (= Gearnon, pp. 402–05, 412–15, 419–22, 423–6, respectively) and for three drawings each never filled in, pp. 221, 222, 224 (= Gearnon, pp. 406–07 and ‘380’ [recte 408]; ‘371’ [recte 409] and 410–411; and 416–18, respectively); note that this textual presentation is presumably modelled on that of RIA 24 L 28 (814), the exemplar of this manuscript (see below), where the corresponding text is similarly arranged to provide blank spaces for drawings never filled in (cf. ibid., pp. 157, 162, 203, 237–46, 251, 259, 263, 277, 283, 288, 292; note, however, that the blank spaces in ibid., pp. 164 (= Gearnon, p. 283), 169 (= Gearnon, p. 295), 215 (= Gearnon, p. 371) and 228 (= Gearnon, p. 389), are not reproduced in the present manuscript). Slight tear in pp. 88–9, upper margin; condition excellent.

Though omitting the introductory matter – title-page, dedication, address to reader and table of contents (A.Ó Fachtna (ed.), Parrthas an anma (Baile Átha Cliath 1953), lines 1–10, 11–40, 41–127 and 128–466, respectively) – and the appended Licentia, Approbatio religionis, Censura ordinarii and Errata (Ó Fachtna, pp. 198–200), this copy of Parrthas an anma is among the more complete 18th-century copies of the text extant. Purchased by Dr Liam Ó Sé (1921–2010) from Pádraig Ó Táilliúir about 1977, it is to be distinguished from the fragmentary and incomplete manuscript of the same text owned by Dr Ó Sé (see P. de Brún, Lámhscríbhinní Gaeilge: treoirliosta (Baile Átha Cliath 1988) 44 § 182 and n. 73), microfilmed by the National Library of Ireland in 1955, and presented by him to Kilrush Public Library, Co. Clare, in 1995. This latter copy, which is undated and unsigned, comprises 52 pages (pp. [1]–[28] and [29]–[52] = Ó Fachtna, lines 1–963 and 4569–5308, respectively) and is listed – without reference to its current location – in Richard Sharpe, Mícheál Hoyne (ed.) Clóliosta (Dublin 2020) 121, as one of ‘Dr Liam O’Shea’s Irish manuscripts’.

The present manuscript (de Brún, Treoirliosta, 44 § 182, no. [7]) was unavailable for inclusion in the list of manuscript copies of Parrthas an anma given in Clóliosta (pp. 120–121). (Note, incidentally, that in that list the numbers ‘NLW MS 621A’ and ‘NLW MS 9040A’ (Clóliosta, 120), refer to the same manuscript; note also that ‘Monaghan, St Macartan’s College, MS 6’ and ‘Maynooth, MS MF 6’, (ibid.), refer to the same manuscript, as do ‘Maynooth, MS MF 10’ and ‘Monaghan, St Macartan’s College, MS 5’ (ibid., 120–121): see de Brún, Treoirliosta, 29 n. 47. Note too that ‘Belfast Museum, MS IX’, described as ‘now missing’ in Clóliosta, 121, is in Belfast Central Library (see de Brún, Treoirliosta, 9–10 § 19 and n. 17; cf. (Libraries NI, Belfast Central Library, ‘Bryson and MacAdam manuscripts’)).

The copy of Parrthas an anma in this manuscript (pp. 1–275.9) can be shown on textual evidence to derive directly from RIA 24 L 28 (814) (pp. 1–311), an unsigned 17th-cent.(?) manuscript, which RIA Cat. (p. 2534) tentatively attributes to Anthony Gernon, an ascription that has, however, been discounted by Ó Fachtna (p. xviii n. 1). Furthermore, it seems likely that the remaining items in this manuscript – with the exception of the final one (see below) – also derive directly from RIA 24 L 28 (814) (see RIA Cat., 2534–5), although preceding a number of scribal revisions in that manuscript.

Recto of front endpaper bears the words ‘Glor milis guth’, apparently non-scribal and intended as beginning of a text; recto also appears to bear at its upper edge remains of some letters lost due to cropping.


p. 1 . ‘PARRTHAS AN ANMA / Ionn a bhfuil foircheadal beathadh an Chroisdaidhe. arna / sgriobhtha lé / Uilliam ó Haonnagan / Maile áth Clíadh Mlíaghan an Tighear= / =na. 1759.’ Foll. (after blank space of four lines) by ‘An chéud Ran donn fhárrthasso. ina tteagaisg= / =thear cionnas as coir dhúinn ar ngnathoibre letheamhla spoi= / =radálta. ⁊ teamporálta do dhéunamh do reir thoile / Dé. An chéud Chaibidil don urnaighthe as indéu= / =nta ag eirghe san maidin’ (p. 1.7). Text proper beg. Ceisd Créud as indéunta san maidin? (p. 1.12). Ends Críosd da mhorthrocaire do thabhairt na corónasa dhúinn. Amen. / ‘FINIT’ (p. 275.9). Corresponds to Ó Fachtna, lines 467–6440. In a variation from the printed book – and the scribe’s exemplar – the age of ‘Luther’s heresy’, given by Gearnon as 128 years (Ó Fachtna, lines 1686–7), is given here, to coincide with the year of transcription (1759), as 242 years (óir ní fhuil éithriceacht Luitéir an acht lé ghá mhlíaidhin ar cheathrachad ar ghá chéud, p. 56.6–7). As to cross-references within the text, note that at p. 204.9, Ó hAonnagán has allowed the internal cross-reference found in his exemplar (‘fol. 189’, RIA 24 L 28 (814), p. 218.15; = ‘fol. 329’, Ó Fachtna, l. 5043) to stand, whereas the correct page-reference for this manuscript is 177. Similarly, at p. 246.11 here, he has allowed the exemplar’s internal cross-reference to the text of the creed – a reference that does not occur in the printed text (Ó Fachtna, l. 5886) – to stand (‘fol. 33’, RIA 24 L 28 (814), p. 273.7), whereas the correct page-reference for this manuscript is 31.

p. 275.10 . Headed (foll. blank space of five lines between this and previous item): ‘Do shochar an Aifrinn’. On the fourteen benefits of the Mass, attributed to St Augustine. Beg. AG so sochar atá ag an duine an lá éisdeas aifrin go hiomlán ó thús go deire. Go bhfaghann se cceithre tiodhlaicthibh déug san lá sin. mar a deir San Augustin naomhtha annso (p. 275.11). 14 benefits (numbered); opening words only of benefit 13 (13. is roifhearr, p. 276.y), with remainder of line left blank for text omitted. Ends maithtear dó íad. ag an aifrinn ar gceann. noch éisdeas (p. 277.2).

p. 277.3 . Short prayer (Irish and Latin) by St Bernard. Beg. Bíodh a fhios agad a mo Anam. Ends noch dfearaibh amháin fon ngréin do frídhe neamhchaidhneac ‘San Bearnard’ (p. 277.7). Foll. by Latin text beg. Cognosce anima mea (p. 277.8); ends Homo. qui solus sub sole. sine macula inventus. ‘s. Bernardus’ (p. 277.12). To be said at Mass or when receiving Holy Communion: ‘Abair do láthair an chuirp naomhtha na bríathradhsa ag aifrin. nó ag glacadh comaoineach’ (p. 277.13–14).

p. 277.15 . CRÉ NÍCÉANACH. Beg. Creidim a naoindía. athair uilechumhachtaidh. Ends ⁊ ré beatha an tsaoghul thiocfas. amén (p. 278.16).

p. 278.17 . Prayer to the Blessed Virgin, headed ‘ORRTHA CHUM MUIRE MHATHAIR / PAIDIR AVE. AGAS CRÉ.’ Beg. A Thighearna roimhilis Íosa CRíosd aoinmhic Dé athair uilechumhachtach. Ends an nainim an Athair. ⁊ an Mhic. ⁊ an Spiorad naomh. amén (p. 280.4). Foll. by account of finding of prayer and its efficacy beg. Ar thombadh na Maighdine glórmhar Muire fríthe an orrthaso sgríobhtha a litreacaibh órdha. ⁊ tá déifeacht innte (p. 280.5); ends cuirthear na timchioll í. ⁊ budh sodhaclach tuisme a tóircheas (p. 280.12). Foll. by instruction for recitation ‘Abarthar paidir. ave. ⁊ cré. na toiseach . . . ⁊ gheabhaidh fo thrí amharc uirre roimhe a bháis’ (p. 280.13–15).

p. 280.16 . Headed ‘AN TE DEUM ⁊ C̄’ Moladhmaoidne thusa a Dhé. 11 qq. (arranged in two columns and written as prose).

p. 282 . [PARRTHAS AN ANMA, excerpt]. Headed ‘DON OIDE FAOISIDIN’. Beg. Athair ghradhaigh cionntaighim mé féin ionnta so (p. 282.2). Breaks off with p. 292 léigim mé féin ar mo ghluinibh. aga meas na hain [=gil catchword]. Corresponds to Ó Fachtna, lines 4788–5022. Textual evidence suggests that this excerpt was copied from an exemplar other than pp. 192.11–203.11 of this manuscript and other than RIA 24 L 28 (814), pp. 205.1–217.13.

(© Aoibheann Nic Dhonnchadha, School of Celtic Studies. Published by kind permission of Ossory, Laois and Leinster 9 (in press).)

  1. Note in particular the convention set out in that work that ‘Bibliographical references are usually confined to works which make use of the copies being catalogued of the texts in question and are otherwise included only with acephalous or imperfect texts’ (ibid., xvii). I am grateful to Dr Pádraig de Brún for commenting on a draft of this description; and to Margaret Irons, Librarian, School of Celtic Studies, for her generous assistance.