Dunnington LS 1

Ossianic Verse, Romances and Miscellaneous Poetry


Edited By Pádraig A. Breatnach
'A Journal of Irish Studies',
ÉIGSE (1991) Volume XXV

TWO IRISH LITERARY MANUSCRIPTS IN THE MID-WEST
BY EDGAR M. SLOTKIN (University of Cincinnati)

In early August of 1982 I received a letter from Mr. Michael Dunnington of Lexington, Kentucky, stating that he had recently purchased two Gaelic manuscripts from the sale of the library of the Holy Cross Fathers Society in Louisville, Kentucky. Both manuscripts are bound and bear the bookplate of the Holy Cross Fathers of Cincinnati. Up until 1971 the Holy Cross Fathers operated a monastery in a building leased from the government which had been the earliest United States Weather Service obser­vatory. This monastery had been a largely Irish-American foundation. When the lease expired in 1971, they moved to the Louisville seminary, taking the library with them. Obviously both manuscripts had been in the Cincinnati library up until that time and, since the scribe of one of them was a Breathnach and the owner of the other was a Breathnach, there is some reason to suspect that both were deposited together in the Cincinnati Monastery from one source. However, I have not been able to uncover this source. Since Mr. Dunnington recovered these manuscripts, it seems appropriate that they should be referred to in his name. They are now in my posses­sion, and I have deposited microfilms of them in both the Royal Irish Academy and the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.

My principles in describing the manuscripts are as follows. For both mss I reproduce titles, authors where attributions are provided, first lines, conclusions of prose pieces, the number of lines or stanzas of poetry, and such notes on glosses, etc. as seem appropriate or interesting. I provide an index of authors and of first lines of poems for the manuscript. For the second manuscript I provide an index of authors and first lines. Titles seem far more arbitrary and less helpful for identification purposes in the second ms. Scribal contractions are extended without notice. I have only normalized authors’ names in the indices. I have let seeming errors in titles or first lines stand.

Dunnington LS 1

19th cent. Paper. 16 x 13 cm. Bound in boards and cloth with paper trimmed. Pp. 2 (blank leaf and list of contents with verso blank) + 374 (p. [1] title: SgeulaAbhrain Gaodhilge with initials W.W.; verso numbered 1 with consecutive numbering through 30; 31 numbered 32, hence to 109 which is numbered the same recto and verso; 111 is numbered 112, hence to 204; the next leaf has been cut out of the MS and 207 scratched out; consecutive numbering to 267; 268 not numbered; 269 to 297 consecutive, but 298 is numbered 299 which is repeated next page; 299-332; hence 334 (no 333), 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139; with 340 the error is caught, hence to 370; 371 unnumbered; 372-376).

Scribe: Uilliam Breathnach. A colophon on p. 102 reads: Re Uilliamh Breathnac[h] san gCairrig bhig a gcontai Phortlairge san mide Mártadh, 1813. Breathnach repeats his name on pp. 126 and 300, and on p. 135 gives the date as May 30, 1813. On p. 375 we find two colophons in two slightly different hands: lair na Criochnugadh le Uilliam Breathnach san gCairig a gcontai Phortlairge do Uilliam Ua Eichiaruinn an Cearthramhad la don mide June 1818 Aiteim ort a leagatoir guid[h] orm ataim na ghábhad. Following this: Iáir na críochnúghádh le Uillíam Breathnach dhan cCairig a gContai Phortláirge do Uillíam Ua Eichiaruinn an ceathrámhadh Lá don Mhide June 1817 aitham ort a léaghathoir guidh orm oi[r] ataim na ghábhadh. I cannot account for the discrepancy in the dating.

William Breathnach is known for at least three other manuscripts, judging from catalogues so far published. National Library MS G 161 was written in 1812-1813 and turned up in the Phillips Collections. This manuscript consists of six tales, two of which appear in the Dunnington manuscript also.1 NLI G 643 was written in 1817 and shares two other pieces with this MS.2 Bodleian Irish MS e 3 is also written in part by Breathnach.3 He was, along with the scribe of the other MS, Tomás Ó hÍceadha, a member of Philip Barron’s Irish College at Seafield, County Waterford. 4

Uilliam Ó Eichiaruinn appears as a spelling of Ó hEachthigheirn, commonly Hearne in Waterford. The name William Hearne appears at the beginning and end of the table of contents and on the last page of the manuscript both in English and in ogam. It may be right to infer that he was the owner.

Page

[1]. Table of Contents. The last two entries here seem added by Hearne.

[3]. ‘Sgeula ⁊ Abhrain/Gaodhilge./W.W.’

1. ‘Laoidh Chab an dasainn’. Lá da rabhamairne Fiannuibh Fáil. 57stt. The second line is missing from st. 54.

12. ‘Sgealuigheacht Oisínn do Padhr[aig] air Laigne Mór’. La da rabhamar a nDun Baoi. 40 stt.

19. ‘Laoidh na Truag no laoid Ghaill Mic Moirne’. Truagh liom féin a laithreach lios. 65 stt.

30. ‘Sgealuigeacht Oisin do Chaoillte’. Creachtach anois mo chroidhe a Caoillte. 11 stt.

33. ‘Seilg Sliabh na mBan’. La da ndeacadh Fionn na bFhiann. 17 stt.

36. ‘Laoidh an Deirg’. Do aithreosainn caithréim an Fhir Mhóir. 17 stt.

46m, ‘Sgealuigeacht Caoillte d’Oisin Mic Fin’. An cuimhin leatsa a Oisin fheil. 77 stt. The page heading changes from ‘Sgealuigeacht Caoillte’ to ‘Sealuigeacht Oision’ at p. 54.

59m, 'Laoidh mna an bhruit'. La da ndeachadh Fionn aig ól. 21 stt.

67. 'Laoidh Airigin’. La da raibh Padraig na dhuin. 35 stt.

73. ‘Laoid[h] an moighre borb’. Ata sgeal beag agam air Fionn. 40 stt.

80. ‘Laoidhe air Tulad na bFiann’. A thulag glan Aobinn. 25 stt.

84m, ‘Comrag Maighnis righ Laclan do reir Oisín’. Leacht Goill do chradhus mo chroídhe. 42 stt. The page headings read ‘Comhrac’.

91m, ‘Comhrac Cuirioll ag[us] Goill mic Morne’. Is dubhach atá Almhuin na bhFian. 36 stt.

97b, ‘Laoidh an Duirn’. Féis ardtaisge Tighe Teamhrach. 31 stt. The first colophon follows this piece on p. 102.

103. ‘Seilg Sleibhe Grod’. Eisdig a uaislibh bhfear Fail. 71 stt. After stanza 20, line 4 is written in English, ‘to be read the 3 line.’

115. ‘Laoidh na Peiste’. An ccualadh tusa Fianna Fhinn. 19 stt.

118t, ‘Laoidh Maghnuis mc righ Loclann’. Oisin: A cleirig úd channus an tsailm. 50 stt. At the bottom of p. 126: ‘Crioch le laoidh Maghnuis mor re Uilliam Breatnach.’

127. ‘Laoidh na mna móire no Seilg Ghleana an Smoil.’ P[adraig:]A Oisinn is bínn liom bheal. 82 stt.

141. ‘Fiadhach an Ochtair’. Cuimhin liom la lith Leana. 9 stt.

142m, Oisín Mc Fhinn cct. Guith gadhair uim Chnoc na bhFíann. 12 stt.

144b, ‘Marbh rann Osgar mhic Oisín’. P[adraig]: Inis duin a Oisín. 87 stt. This poem is written in double columns.

152. ‘Tuarasgbhal cluig Phadraig’. An abhfuil ag Padraig do chléir. 17 stt.

155. ‘Molladh Goill mic Moirne’. Aird aigne Ghoill. 28 stt. Written in double columns.

157m, ‘Taisg na bhfian do reir Oisín’. Ata faoi thonuibh na dtonn. 14 stt.

159b, ‘An ceadh roinn dagallaig Phadraig ⁊ Oisinn’. P[adraig:] A Oisionn crionn is fada air bhaois. 262 stt. At the end on p.202: ‘Crioch leis an gceud roinn dagallaimh Phadraig ⁊ Oisín.’

203. ‘An dtaradh roin’. Begins: P[adraig:] A Padraig, followed by A Oisín is fada do shúan. 169 stt. After p. 204 a leaf has been torn out, and p. 207, which apparently recorded births of the Hearne family, has been inked out. The running head on the pages containing this poem reads ‘Agallaibh Phadraig agus Oisín.’

234. ‘Laoidh na Seilge’. A Phádraig a ccúala tu an tseilg. 84 stt.

248. TEORUIGEACHT DIARMUID ⁊ GHRAINE. Beg. ‘Lá dáir eirig Fionn mhic Chumáill an Almhuin leathan mhór láighionn agus do shuig air an bhfaithche gan giollacht gan óglach iona focair . . . .’ Ends (p. 300): ‘Gona bíad san imtheachtaib Diarmuid dhéidhgeal dreachsholuis Ui Duibhne ⁊ Graíne inghionn Cormaic mhic Airt mic Cuinn calma ceadchataig ardrig Eirionn go nuighe se/Sgriobtha re Uilliam Breathanac San gCairigbhig guidh orm a leightheoir.’

301. EACHTARA AN MADRA MAOIL Annso. Beg. ‘Seilg fíadhac agus fíanchosgar do chomorodh le Rígh Artuir mhic Iobhar mhic Ambrós mac Canstaintín uim an bhforaois mbaolach air magh na niongna.’ Ends (p. 135 sic, leg. 336): ‘Gurab iad san Eachtra agus Imteachta an Mhadra Mhaoil agus Sr. Balbhuadh go nduigsinn / Scriobha re Uilliamh Breathnach san gCairigbig guidh orm / A leighteor Finis May the 30 1813.’

136, (for 336) CAT[H] CLUANA TARBH Anso. Beg. ‘Air mbeith do Bhrian Bóiraimhe gan imreasan gan easaonta na chomhnuidhe ag Cean Corradh aithchuingios ar righ Laighion .i. Maolmordha mac Murcadh tri seolchrann dfiodbad áluinn . . . .’ Ends (p. 356m): ‘Acht faraoir treimse gairid na dhiagh sinn do rin Mac Mhurchadh Laigionn ⁊ Laighionnacaibh sinn do thabta fa daorsmacht galloacht tiocfadh an la a ionna mbeith ruagadh na Loclannach aig Muimhneachaib orgadh is nair bho fada uata e / Finis.’

The text here is somewhat different from the one Breathnach produced in Nat. Lib. MS G 161.

356m, BRUIGHEANN BHEAG NA HALMHUIN IDIR CLAN MORNE ⁊ BAOISGNE. Beg. ‘Do dirinead fleadh adhbhalmór le Fionn mic Cúmhaill dfíanaibh Eirion an Almhuin leathan mor Laighion ⁊ antan bo fhollamh an fléadh sinn.’ Ends (p. 367): ‘⁊ do moladar uile ui gonab ui sinn Bruigean bheag na hAlmhuine Finis.’ The following quatrain fills out the page: ‘Ceathrar darr ttug Fion fuath / cu trúagh is each mall / tighearna tire gan a bheith glic / is béan fir nach beireann do clann.’

368. An tAthair Padraig O Briain cct. A Dhomhnaill na páirte atáim cráidhthe aig an gcíos. 10 stt. First line missing from fourth set.

370. An Manghaire Súgach. A dalta dil an danaid leat mo chás anois. 11 stt.

[371b]. Seadann O Tuamadh aig freagra an Mhangaire. A charadh chumainn leanus laoithe is raidthe suilt. 10 stt.

373m, Michal O Domhnuill ar uair an bais. Is dubach mosnadh is nidh gan fath. 22 stt. Two stt. have been written in columns on the side of p. 374; the ends of the latter st. were lost when the page was trimmed for binding. p. 375 is written in double columns also.

376. Quatrain. Da bheith agamsa an péann do théann ag Ovíd seal The rest of the page is filled with doodles.

INDEX OF AUTHORS

370. Mag Craith, Aindrias (An Mangaire Súgach)

368. Ó Briain, Pádraig

373. Ó Domhnaill, Micheál

371. Ó Tuama, Seán

INDEX OF FIRST LINES AND TITLES

371. A charadh chumainn leanus laoithe is raidthe suilt

118. A cleirig úd channus an tsailm

370. A dalta dil an danaid leat mo chás anois

368. A Dhomhnaill na páirte atáim cráidhthe aig an gcíos

155. Aird aigne Ghoill

152. An abhfuil ag Padraig do chléir

115. An ccualadh tusa Fianna Fhinn

46. An cuimhin leatsa a Oisín fheil

127. A Oisinn is bínn liom do bheal

159. A Oisionn crionn is fada air bhaois

203. A Oisín is fada do shúan

234. A Phádraig a ccúala tu an tseilg

157. Ata faoi thonuibh na dtonn

73. Ata sgeal beag agam air Fionn

80. A thulaig glan Aobinn

356. Bruigheann Bheag na hAlmhuin

366. Cath Cluana Tarbh

367. Ceathrar darr ttug Fion fuath

59. Cnoc an aír air an ccnocsa shiair

30. Creachtach anois mo chroidhe a Caoillte

141. Cuimhin liom la lith Leana

376. Da bheith agamsa an péann bo théann ag Ovíd seal

36. Do aithreosainn caithréim an Fhir Mhóir

301. Eachtara An Madra Maoil 301

103. Eisdig a uaislibh bhfear Fail

97. Féis ardtaisge Tighe Teamhrach

142. Guith gadhair uim Chnoc na bhFíann

144. Inis duin a Oisín

91. Is dubhach atá Almhuin na bhFian

373. Is dubach mosnadh is nidh gan fath

33. La da ndeacadh Fionn na bhFiann

63. La da ndeacadh Fionn aig ól

1. Lá da rabhamairne Fiannuibh Fáil

12. La da rabhamar a nDun Baoi

67. La da raibh Padraig na dhuin

84. Leacht Goill do chradus mo chroídhe

248. Teoruigeacht Diarmuid ⁊ Ghraine

19. Truagh liom fein a laithreach lios


1 Cath Cluana Tarbh and Bruigheann Bheag na hAlmhuin.
2 Tóruigheacht Dhiarmoid ⁊ Ghraine and Comhrac Maghnus Rig Loclan.
3 See also NLI G 397, a collection of Ossianic verse, which apparently once belonged to our ‘William Walsh’. I am very grateful to Dr Pádraig de Brún who supplied some of these references and for his expert advice in general.
4 See Seamus Ua Casaide, ‘Philip Barron’s Irish College’ The Irish Book Lover 4 (1912) 77-80.