Catalogue of Gaelic Manuscripts in the National Library of Scotland

© Ronald Black, 2011

Adv. MS 72.1.38

(Gaelic MS.XXXVIII). IRISH TALES & VERSE

Mackinnon, pp.118, 146–52, 179 f., 206; Mackechnie 189–91


17th cent. Paper. 18½ x 14½ cms. Pp.190. ‘Pot’ watermark (passim) indicates dating in first half of 17th cent.; the variety of it which occurs up to p.28 belongs notably to period 1608–21. Chronology at p.171 points more precisely to 1618. Other watermarks appear at pp.49 f. (“horn”) and 59 f. Four principal scribes contributed to the work:

A Pp.5–28, 47–114, 117–42, 155–70, 175–92. Formal, slightly pointed. Charles O’Conor of Belanagare (1710–91).

B Pp.29 f., 193. The hand of Adv.Ms.72.1.43 etc.

C Pp.31–46, 143–54, 171–4.

D Pp.115 f.

The titles of most of the tales were added by a different hand, now scarcely legible. A further hand wrote ‘Cath Cnaca go nuighe sin’ at p.5 and ‘Ag so an lebhar as liomsa an leabharsa’ at p.116. Another inscribed ‘Ag so leabhar Mhanus mhic Muirish’ at p.5, and yet another scribbled on p.[194]. On p.115 marg. sup. are traces of what appears to be a couplet of English verse in a rough 17th-cent. script. The manuscript evidently entered the possession of James Macpherson, for it became no.2 of the 19 items received by the Highland Society of Scotland on 10th January, 1803, from Macpherson’s literary executor, John Mackenzie, Secretary of the Highland Society of London. The minutes of H.S.S. for that date show that it had already been paginated, that the inscription ‘J. Everitt for J. Mackenzie Esq. Secrety. of the Highland Society’ appeared on both p.1 and p.193, and that the front cover was then loose. Pp.1–4 came adrift with the front cover between then and 1809 (Ingliston MS. A.iv.4) and are still missing. The pagination appears to be in Everitt’s hand. Lewis Gordon, Depute Secretary of the H.S.S., wrote ‘No.2. of Invy. / L.G.’ on p.5. It was one of the first manuscripts to be examined by Ewen MacLachlan, who left notes on pp.5 and [194]. His description of it is in Adv.MS.72.3.4, and his transcripts of the contents are in MS.3281 and Adv.MS.72.3.5. Deposited with Adv. collection in 1850. The corners are somewhat perished at beginning and end, with some loss of text. The first remaining leaf is much smaller than the rest. In 1909 it was inlaid and sumptuously bound in leather, tooled gilt, by Douglas Cockerell, controller of the bindery of W.H. Smith and Son, London. The remainder of the old cover (vellum leaves from a medieval Latin noted service book fastened with thongs and stitched formal bookhand to a leather spine) is preserved in a special inset at the end of the volume.

p.

5 End of tale Cath Chnuca, being merely last 2 qq. of concluding lay Calma do chaithréim, a Chuinn: beg. here [Do] béruidh mhnaói bus glan gus. Concluding echo ‘Ca’, then ‘Finit don sgeal’.

6 blank.

7 OIDHEADH CHON CULAINN & DEARGRUATHAR CONAILL CHEARNAIGH. Beg. Feachd n-aon día ttángador Ulaidh go hEmhain mhíonalainn Mhacha. Composite tale. Unfinished (lacking concluding lay). Cf. Adv.MS.72.1.45.

70 blank.

Title here (distinguished by ultra violet) is Cath Muidhe Mucrime an so sios overwritten in yet another hand Cath Muighe Mucroime.

71 CATH MHUIGHE MUCRUIMHE. Beg. Airdri cródha cruithniamhdha calma ciaillbhreathach ro ghabhusdar cennas Éirend gan uireasbhuigh.

115 Mallocht ort, a chinneamhuin, 7 qq. (§1 repeated marg. inf.)

116 Scribblings.

117 OILEMHUIN CHUCHULIN; 7 OIGHEADHE CONLAOIDH. Beg. Dia raibhe Cuchuluind ‘na mhacaomh og aluinn.

143 Vocabulary entitled ‘Coir anmann’, in 3 cols., beg. Annoid .i. eagluis and ending úath .i. úir.

154 Tuilsither mo dherca súain, 5 qq. (heavily glossed by same hand). ‘Oisín ro chan ann sin a ttráigh Mara Tallann ar nia na muice.’

155 OIGHEADH CHLOINNE LIR. Beg. Iomthús Thúath Dé Danann andso ó Chath Táilten anúas.

171 .1 Chronology of 6 notable events. No.4 (Ón aimsir fa ttainig an dara Hannri a nÉirinn – 447) indicates that the list was compiled in 1618. No.6 (On aimsir fa ttainig an priont – 159) supports this. Scored out.

171 .7 Aoibhinn sin, a Eire ard, 42½ qq.

175 AN BHRAOGHAN CAORRTHIN. Beg. Airdri uasal oiregha ro ghabh flaithes & forlamhas.

193 [This leaf should follow Adv.MS.72.1.42, f.26, q.v.] Final 11 qq. of Beannacht Dé gom dhaingensa.

[ 194 ] no text.

The beg. of this manuscript is the continuation of RIA E.iv.1 (751) ff.54r-58v) allowing for a chasm of about 4 ff. + the chasm of 4 pp. caused by the loss between 1803–9 noted above. (Page-size, style and watermark are identical, as well as hand.)

© Ronald Black, 2011