Catalogue of Gaelic Manuscripts in the National Library of Scotland

© Ronald Black, 2011

Adv. MS 72.1.29


Mackinnon, p.88; Mackechnie, p.170.

Vellum (12 ff. and 2 fragments) and paper (4 fragments). Oblong quarto, 19 x 27 cms. and under. A collection of the religious poems of Tadhg Óg Ó Huiginn (d.1448) written chiefly by Eoghan Carrach Ó Siaghail (f.6r). Eoghan Carrach is the scribe of a poem in Bodleian MS. Laud Misc. 615, p.129, and of Franciscan MS. A 8, written for Niall Óg Ó Néill during 1532-45 (Dillon, Mooney and de Brún, Cat. Of Irish MSS. in the Franciscan Library, Killiney, p.16; cf. Proc. Brit. Acad. 12, p.17). The manuscript was completed for him by two anonymous scribes, referred to below as A and B. It is in single columns, mostly unruled.

The binding is a leaf from a Gradual (folio, 41 x 27 cms.) written in a large, formal (?)15th cent. bookhand, containing part of the mass for Ember Saturday of Advent, with music. Decoration (including staves and ornamental initials) is in red. The leaf was cut across horizontally. The upper portion (18.5 cms. high) is now the front cover, f.1, with original recto on inside; the lower portion (22.5 cms. high, but folded over at top and bottom to form flaps) is now the back cover, f.16. The two portions are stitched together with thread, and the manuscript is bound into the front cover with leather thongs.

There are four vestigial paper flyleaves, ff.2-3 and their conjuncts ff.14-15. Of these, the only substantial one, f.2, was written on prior to being reduced to its present size; the remainder, despite being much smaller, clearly were not, as the writing on them is vertical. The conjuncts of vellum ff.12 and 13 are also vestigial; they are now ff.3a and 3b. The following is an attempt to distinguish the many non-scribal hands which appear on these flyleaves and elsewhere.

C John O Morisone, cf. Eóin Óg Ó Muirgheasáin (fl.1626), SGS 8, p.27, and 12, p.195. Red-brown ink.

D James Beaton (hand K of Adv.MS.72.1.33). Grey-black ink.

E Niall MacMhuirich. Blue ink.

F A good Gaelic hand. Anon. Brown ink.

G Edward Fleming. Grey-black ink. (There is a pedigree of the Flemings of Derry in SRO GD 50/218, John MacGregor collection.)

H John Beaton. Brown-black ink. Cf. hand 68 of Adv. ms72.1.2.

I Neil Beaton.

J Andrew Beaton.

K Anon. scribbles.

L Neat Gaelic hand. Anon. Bluish ink.

M Malcolm Beaton. Grey-black ink.

N Neat hand. Anon. Red-brown ink.

O Bold hand. Anon. Grey-black ink.

P Anon. Gaelic hand related in style to D. Grey-black ink.

The notes appear to throw some light on the transmission of the manuscript, and are indeed remarkable in linking it with no less than three of the foremost professional families of Gaelic Scotland – Ó Muirgheasáins, Beatons and MacMhuirichs. “Nelanus Omorissa” was a canon of Derry in 1540 (Costello, De Annatis Hiberniae 1, p.287), cf. the O Morisone petition to the Bishop of Derry noted at f.2v.

James Beaton’s notes at f.2r appear to locate him at Larne and subsequently at “Artw”; this may be for Hiorta (St. Kilda), elsewhere called “Arte”, cf. TGSI 48, p.208. Niall MacMhuirich’s signature is added underneath Beaton’s note about Lachlann mac Domhnaill mhic Néill; we know from the MacMhuirich pedigree (TSGI 43, p.283) that Niall Mór was son of Lachlan, son of Donald, and this may therefore provide evidence for pushing the pedigree one step farther back. However, as the hands of several further Beatons appear, it is clear that it must have been from that family that the manuscript was obtained by the MacLachlans of Kilbride. It is no.25 of the Kilbride collection. “17th. Divine Poems” appears at f.1r in what appears to be Major John MacLachlan’s hand, very indistinct, and Hugh Kerr has left his name or initials on every leaf except ff.3a, 3b, 14 and 15, with “No.25” at ff.1r, 16r, and 16v.

Upper corners of vellum leaves are much mouse-eaten, with some loss of text. Outer covers and some other portions are worn and indistinct. Foliation is modern. Hand of ff.4-11 is Eoghan Carrach’s, except where mentioned.

Eight of the poems are edited in McKenna’s Dán (Dublin, 1922) from the Duanaire in the Yellow Book of Lecan. Quiggin, when preparing an edition of the Duanaire, made a number of transcripts from the present manuscript; these are in MS.14872. See also his Prolegomena, p.123.


1 Cover, see above. F.1r: “Ja..” (hand D).

2 Paper leaf, originally oblong quarto, but with outer portion irregularly torn away, and upper corner mouse-eaten: now 17 x 17 cms. max. Many of the texts on it are therefore imperfect.

2 r Hand C: (a) “James Biettone: Contra: Johne o morisone is my name and for to shaw I thinke no shame James bettonne is my freinde.” (b) “James biette”. (c) “James bitton”. (d) “J J J”. (e) “James Biettonne / Johne o morisone”. (f) “a b c d e f g”. (g) Vestiges of Gaelic script in perished top-right corner. (h) “Lest my fre………”

Hand D: (a) “James bietonne it his my neame and for to writh I thinke not shame sopos my not faer I hawe binne short whayll at the Larne”. (b) “At artw ye xvi day sep”. Hand K imitates “At artw ye”. (c) “At artw ye xvi day of septembere it is ..... betwix laucland mc donald mc nell and n……….” In a more faded ink are: (d) “Icmccccs bcccctccncccc” (i.e. James Betone). (e) “James be” (in imitation of hand C (b) above. (f) “Hone…… Syr and ……” (top right corner).

Hand E: (a) “The man is bles”. (b) “neill mc mwrich with my at the pen”. (c) “James / Jo” (in imitation of hand C (e) above).

Hand F: (a) Ni bfuil feidhm aguinn air fion, 3 qq. (b) “At artw ye…..” (in imitation of hand D (b) above).

Hand G, upside down: “James”.

2v Hand D: fragment, apparently verse, ending “buig mar blaith na gcrann” (in perished top-left corner).

Hand G: Deanna a Criost mo choimhed, 1 q. “Dia maille reit a fir an leabuir so as fada leam nach bhfuil tú ag teacht dod tirse sguiream go lá / Edward Fleming with me han”. Cf. f.6v.

Hand C(?): “…. some I regeard tell ….. doeth my heart ……. / ….. humble petition of …….(l)on o Morisone: The the right reverend father in God john by the devine providence Lord bishopp of derry / …… Sir: ….. farre from ……”

3 Paper leaf, 17 x 4 cms.

3 r Hand C(?): (a) “Some gillia / she is feare whom”. (b) “Some”. (c) “Somgill…..”

Hand G: (a) Dea Deana Criost mo comed, 1 q. (b) “In dei”. (c) Cionnus sin a fphin, 1 q.

3 v blank.

3 a Irregular vellum fragment, 7 x 4 cms. max.

3 a r Hand H: (a) “Johne”. (b) “ffoyne” (?).

3 a v Hand I: “….pub ….. to me Neill McVey”.

3 b Irregular vellum fragment, 9.5 x 1.5 cms. max.

3 b r Hand H: “Macolmus mcphe…..”

3 b v blank.

4 r Tadhg Óg. Gabh mh’ eignech, a Eóin baisdi, 28 qq. F.4r, margin: scribal addition, largely illegible; it does not appear to be part of the text. Hand C(?) subscribes a name (?), erased.

4 v m Fearg an choimdhi re cloinn Adhuim, 29 qq.

5 v Tadhg Óg. Ag so bragha dheit a Dhe, 34 qq. F.5v, margin, hand B: Torum a mbéul binn ar mo theanguidh, 1 q.

6 r z Nama ceird muna cleachtar, 1 q. Followed by “Misi Eogan Carruch O Siagail do graibh fin”.

6 v Tadhg Óg. Tagair red mac, a Mhuire, 36 qq. F.6v, margin, hand G: “Go chuire Dia slan fear an leabair so chuiguin don tiorse amen .i. Semus Beattene. Meise Edward Flemyng”. F.7r, margin, hand J: “….adhill . o Ghiollainndris mac Domhnaill mhic Eoin”.

7 v Aighi mhisi ac mathair Dhe, 30 qq.

8 r i Tadhg Óg. Tairg mo mhunadh, a Mhuire, 38 qq. F.9r, margin: 1½ qq., indistinct, hand B; hand K adds “… Domnall”.

9 r i Idem. Tene arna fadadh fearg De, 40 qq. F.10r, margin: hand K, illegible.

10 v Idem. Imdha rod direch go Dia, 42 qq. F.10v, margin, hand B: “….bi a mheic ar mo”, cf. f.9r, margin.

11 v m Idem. Beag nach tainic mo terma, 45 qq. Re-inked in places. Continued at f.12r by hand A, then at f.12v by B; finished by A.

12 v m Hand B. Denadh Críosd comuirle a mathar, 31 qq. Continued at f.13r by hands A and B. Ends f.13v3 (hand B). F.12v, margin: Do (?)cheadgradh is do ben, 1 q. (hand B); Leaba cumhand is hi caol, 1 q. (hand A); “tabair mo bennacht ann so” (hand L, upside-down).

13 Vellum leaf, full width but wedge-shaped i.e. 7.5 cms. high at spine, extending to 13.5 cms. at outer edge.

13 r See above.

13 v Hand C: (a) “James Biettonne est huius libris possessor …..” (b) “James”.

Hand M: (a) “Misi Giolla Colum Maigbeath”; (b) “Cing Airtuir mac Iubhair noco Cuchuloinn mauc Soaldamh Uladh go fear an uearla uinn on Bhoinn”. The hand of (b) also strongly resembles that of Brian Ó Siaghail, Laud Misc. 615, pp.139-40.

Hand N: (a) “…onaty of dunagall”. (b) “beinnacht o giolla chol….. maig beath go”.

Hand H, upside-down: (a) “natiuitas Johannis Maig Beath 1596 / hic liber est meus possuis produieri”. (b) “Misi Eoin”.

In addition there are monograms and scrawls in various anon. hands.

14 Paper stub, 16 x 2 cms. max.

14 r blank.

14 v Hand D(?): “Dia maille re fear an leabair”.

15 Paper leaf, 16 x 4 cms. max.

15 r Hand G: (a) “… in mynd”. (b) “O man in myd remember yis and morne neked and neked most returne finis amen”.

Hand D: “O man in mynd remember thi and mor / O man in mynd remember yis and mourne neaked”. Hand K imitates “mourne”.

15 v Hand O: “In my defenc god my de / In dei nomine amen”. Hand K imitates “ei no”.

Hand P: (a) Deana Crist mo choimhed, 1 q. (b) “amen amen fegearlin mor fe”.

16 Cover, see above.

© Ronald Black, 2011