Catalogue of Gaelic Manuscripts in the National Library of Scotland

© Ronald Black, 2015

Adv. MS 72.2.2


Mackinnon, pp.127f, Mackechnie 209-14.

17th-18th cent. Paper. Ff. 55. A collection of bardic fragments varying considerably in size, condition and legibility. There is a strong MacMhuirich representation, and the bulk of the material was probably obtained in Uist by James MacPherson. Nos.16-19 of the nineteen manuscripts received from MacPherson's trustee, John Mackenzie, by the Highland Society of Scotland on 5th January 1803 consisted of detached or remnant leaves, and part of this matter is here preserved. The initials of Highland Society officials John Campbell, Donald Smith, Donald Mackintosh and Lewis Gordon appear on ff. 41v and 43r. As described in Sinclair's Poems of Ossian (1807) and Skene's scroll catalogue of the Advocates' Gaelic MSS (1861), the material was as follows (present circumstances indicated):

No. 16

(a) "the conclusion of a Gaelic chronicle of the kings of Scotland down to King Robert III" (missing).

(b) "a Fingalian tale, in which the heroes are Fingal, Goll Mac Morni, Oscar, Ossian, and Conan" (missing).

(c) "upon the unwritten part of a letter sent to Donald Macvurich of Stialgary, is a poem by Macdonald of Benbecula, dated 1722, who seems to have been the last, or rather father to the bard of that name". (Cf. ff.41, 51, 52. On f.52r is pencilled "pt of 16").

(d) Poem by Donald Mackenzie (missing). Cf. scribe Domhnall mhic Coinnidh in Rylands MS, f. 67.

(e) Poem by "Tadg Og CC" (not in Adv.MS.72.2.2, but identical heading appears in Adv.MS.72.1.39 f. 27r).

(f) "A poem by Donald Macvurich, upon Ronald Macdonald of Clanronald". (Cf. f. 14).

(g) "Several hymns by Tadg, and many other good poems by the Macvurichs, and others". (Passim).


(a) Religious tracts (cf. f. 54 only).

(b) "Genealogy of Campbells" (f. 40).


"instructions for children in Gaelic and English, quite modern" (now in Adv.MS.73.2.20).


"Remnant leaves of a paper MS. with the name Cathelus Macvurich upon some of the leaves, and Niall Macvurich upon others". (Cf. ff. 12r, 28v only). "Conn Mac an Deirg…..written in the Roman character by the last Niall Macvurich, the last bard, and father to Lauchlan, who still lives". (Ff.19-21).

The remnants of the collection described above became the nucleus of attraction for a number of fragments detached from independent manuscripts - some of them, as noted below, also in the Advocates' collection. The resulting whole was inlaid and bound in 1915 according to the arrangement of Prof. W.J. Watson. This order leaves something to be desired. In addition, ff. 28, 30, 35 and 46, and probably f.34*, are reversed, and f. 49 was mounted upside-down. (Pace Watson, TGSI xxix, pp. 222 ff., 234.)

The fragmentary nature of the material cannot be overstressed. No leaf is entirely free of mutilation. Those which appear to have suffered no appreciable textual loss are ff. 1-12, 14, 16-18, 21, 23, 27, 34, 43, and 53-55 - less than half the total. Sizes range from 27 x 17½ cms (f. 6) to 10 x 7½ cms (f. 53).


The principal hands appearing in the manuscript are as follows (all Gaelic except as indicated):

Cathal MacMhuirich, ff. 27-9.

Domhnall MacMhuirich, ff. 14, 32, 41, 51-2. For identification cf. Ingliston MS A.iv.2, p.7.

Niall MacMhuirich, ff. 3-5, 16, 28, 33-6, 39-40, 42-3, 48.

Niall mac Lachlainn mhic Néill MhicMhuirich (Roman), ff. 1-2, 12-13, 17-21, 51v (19-21 Roman).

Eoghan Mac Pháill, ff. 7-11.


A .......... (hand of Adv.MS.73.2.20, no.1), f. 6.

B .......... ( ? Aonghas --------, cf. Adv.MS.72.1.42, ff. 1-10, Adv.MS.72.1.44, f. 85; "Hand G" of RIA A.v.2), ff. 23-26, 30-1.

C .......... ff. 37-38.

D .......... f. 44.

E .......... f. 45. = "Hand B" of RIA A.v.2 (744) = hand at ff. 10A etc. seq. of RIA E.iv.1 (751).

F .......... (hand of Adv.MS.72.1.49), f. 46.

G .......... f. 47.

H .......... f. 49.

I .......... (hand of Adv.MS.72.2.14), f. 50.

J .......... f. 53.

K .......... f. 54.

L .......... (Roman, 18th cent.), f. 55.



1 - 2 Domhnall MacMhuirich's hand. [Tadhg Dáll Ó Huiginn]. A Mhor cuimhnigh an cumhann, 49 qq.

3 - 5 Niall MacMhuirich's hand. Maith an chairt cennas na nGaoidheal, 51 qq., with prose introduction. In praise of Giolla Easbuig, 7th(?) Earl of Argyll. (5v blank). Copy W.

6 Hand A. Clú oirbhirt uaislighes nech, 24 qq. In praise of the succession of Giolla Easbuig (a MacDonald?), son of Eoin and Eilís. After gap following concluding echo on f. 6v are 4 qq. in praise of Máire, dau. of Brian. In the gap, upside down (in a late 17th / early 18th cent. hand), is "Scriptum per me Saram McDonnell / Soe I hope you will my lines Imbrace / and look upon them with a smiling face". Watermark: "coat of arms" and letters E R O. (Annotations by R. Black: Copy S, f. 44. Cf. CD, III, p. 379; MCR 39, p. 271. MacLeod (?Ó Muirgheasáin) connection with Kintyre – see CD III. 385. Or perhaps a Beaton? Cf. MCR 40, f. 42+: "My Lady Eles Countess of Antrim" d. 1674. Note a Gilleasbuig m. Eoin, MCR 40, f. 50r.)

7 r [Eoghan Mac Pháill's hand begins: "pot" watermark on ff. 7, 8, 9, 11. This section of 5 ff. is detached from Adv.MS.72.1.34. The Highland Society's Report of 1805 notes (Appendix, p.295) that Adv.MS.72.1.34 (described as "The second of the Kilbride MSS.", i.e. not counting Adv.MS.72.1.32) then consisted of (a) "a Tale in prose, concerning a King of Lochlin, and the Heroes of Fingal" (i.e. An Bhruidhean Chaorthuinn, Adv.MS.72.1.34, p.1); (b) "an Address to Gaul the son of Morni, beginning

Goll mear mileant—

Ceap na Cròdhachta—" (cf. LF p. v)

(f.7v infra); (c) "An Elegy on one of the Earls of Argyll, beginning

A Mhic Cailin a chosg lochd"

(f.8v infra; the line quoted is at f. 10r3 and is actually §13a of the poem); (d) "a Poem in praise of a young Lady" (f.9 infra); and (e) colophon —" The writing of this MS. as noted at the end of it, was finished by Ewan M'Phaill at Dunstaffnage, a castle of Lorn, the 12th October 1603". (Adv.MS.72.1.34, p. 41). If the order given in the Report is correct, it appears that the present section belongs to a point in Adv.MS.72.1.34 between the romantic tales and the colophon, i.e. around p. 39.] Lucht glac-úr ní fhaiciom a triall ó thraigh, 5 qq. (Copy Z, f. 7)

7 v- 8 r Goll [mear] mileat, 22 qq.

8 v, 10 , 11 r Dual ollamh do triall le toisg, 44½ qq. To Giolla Easbuig, 7th Earl of Argyll. Followed (11r) by 1 q. in praise of the Earl's wife Anna Dubhghlas, and by dedicatory stanza: "A leabhráin bhig iomchuir bennacht / go mac Radnaill nar smuain feall / anois nar dhúin rún mo dheghcroidhe / air bheith dhúin nar easbhaidh treall / Amen". (Cf. Bàrdachd p. 334.)

9 An bfaca tusa thu fén, 13 qq. Followed (9v) by 1q. erased, 2 triads (Tri gnethe as beg ar Dia; Tri gnethe martra) and probationes pennae.

11 v blank save for probatio pennae and An bhfaca tusa tu féin, 1st q. only.

12 (Domhnall MacMhuirich's hand resumes). Maith an sgel do sgaoil nar miosg, 13½ qq. On return from exile of Ailín, chief of Clanranald, c.1696. Headed "A nainm a nathar agas an mhic 7 an sbiorad naomh amen / Niall Mac Mhuiradhuigh cceadna". (Copy Y, f. 6)

13 watermarked fragment (verse, religious).

14 Tuar dothmeanmna dul Raghnuill, 41 qq. Elegy on Raghnall, chief of Glengarry, d. 1705. "Fleur-de-lis" watermark. (Copy X.)

[15 mounting cut out].

16 Niall MacMhuirich's hand. Domhnall mac Raghnuill rosg mall, 17½ qq. On the progenitor of the Clan Donald. (Copy Y, f. 10)

17 , 18 v Domhnall MacMhuirich's hand. Coir freasdal ar feill na gras, 10 qq. Religious. (18r blank).

19 v- 21 r Hand of Niall mac Lachlainn mhic Néill MhicMhuirich. Sceil er Chon Mc i deirg, 46 qq. Written phonetically. (19r, 21v, 22 blank). Ingliston MS A.iv.2, p. 8.

23 - 24 (Hand B begins). Feidhm flatha feitim einigh, 51 qq. In praise of Tadhg Mag Carrthaigh an Dúna (fl. 1618-49). Revised order of some qq. indicated in marg. (cf. RIA A.v.2, f. 78r).

24 v9 Oigri Domnaill dailis maoini, 12 qq. (incomplete).

25 r1 Note on conjugation of verb térnódh térnádh térnúdh.

25 r17 'Si mo gradh, on 'si mo gradh, 5 qq.

25 v San unnsa tra bios go beacht, 5 qq. On the mathematical divisions of time. (Also at RIA A.v.2.) Followed by further verse material (incomplete and partly illegible) including the couplet "Ocht mbliaghna is se céad gan ceilt / mile o ghein Iosa oirrdheirc".

26 r Fragment of note on conjunction . (26v scribblings, mostly late).

27 , 28 v1 Cathal MacMhuirich (autograph). Leasg linn gabhail go Gerrloch, 35 qq. Elegy on Caitir Fhíona (d. 1635), dau. of Sir Domhnall Gorm Òg, chief of Sleat. "Pot" watermark with letters B R, f. 27. Signed at end "Cathelus mack muirich".

28 v16- 28 r Niall MacMhuirich's hand. Omhan doibh a n-eagmuis aoin, 14 qq. Elegy. Additional 2 ll., f. 28r marg. sup., mostly illegible. (Copy Y, f. 2.)

29 r Cathal MacMhuirich's hand. §§10c-22 of Maith an chairt cennas na nGaoidheal, cf. f. 3r. (29v blank). Copy W.

30 v-r (Hand B resumes). 2 poems on Raghnall Óg, 2nd Earl and 1st Marquis of Antrim (1609-1683), both acephalous and imperfect. Poem a (20 qq.) is formally inscribed and is in rannaigheacht bheag. Poem b (c. 40 qq.) is scribbled in every available space, even between the lines of poem a, and is in séadna mór; internal evidence dates it to 1636-49.

31 Freagoir [meisi, a Mheic Coisi] (acephalous), here beg. Así fa lennan don laoch (20 qq.). This concluding portion contains extended analogue on dream of Aenghus. (The leaf contains extensive but highly perished marginalia in 2 hands, including hand B).

31 v13 Description of an O'Connor raid on Breifne, 13 ll. (acephalous).

32 This sheet was first used for the commencement of a letter: "Honourd Sr / Having the opportunity of this occasion."
Domhnall MacMhuirich's hand.

(a) Da chuis ag milladh ar meanmna, 22 qq. (imperfect). On exile (1715-25) of Raghnall, chief of Clanranald. The poem as published inRel. Celt. ii, pp. 280-284, from MCR 39, pp. 260-265, here appears thus: §§1-2, f. 32v marg. inf.; §§3-19, f. 32r ll. 1-34; §20, f. 32r marg. sin.; §21, f. 32r marg. inf.; §22, f. 32v marg. sup.

(b) 13 qq. of Cumha Séamuis ag lot laoch. Elegy on Séamus (d. 1719), 2nd son of Domhnall of Clanranald. The poem as published Rel. Celt, ii, pp. 274-280, from MCR 39, pp. 254-260, here consists of §§4-11, 20-1, 24-6, beg. 'S cion do aisdir umhla a fhir (f.32v).

33 r1 (Niall MacMhuirich's hand resumes). Adhbar tuirsi ag fuil Fhionghuin, 30 qq. (Copy Y, f. 18. ) To Lachlann Mór, chief of Mackinnon, on the death of his son Eoin, 1682.

33 v21 MacKinnon pedigree, largely illegible.

34 Elegy (20 qq. incomplete) on Aonghas, chief of Glengarry, Lord MacDonnell & Aros (d. 1680), prob. beg. 34v., Teasta ruire glic Gaoidheal. Copy Y, f. 15.

35 v-r [ ] uainn don ég anois, 22 qq. Elegy on Raghnall Òg, 2nd of Benbecula (d. 1679).

36 r-v Mairg shiúbhlas go brugh na mpíasd, 17 qq. Religious.

37 , 38 Hand C. Pp. 3-6 of introductory Grammatical Tract, beg. a hanmannubh substainntecha (ed. Bergin, p.2), ending Fiú airdri inme thaoisigh (ed. Bergin, p.4).

39 (Niall MacMhuirich's hand resumes). CATH ROIS NA RlOGH, fragment. Beg. ba leagadh dhá tharbh um bhurach an samhail. Cf. ed. Hogan, pp.100-104.

40 r Pedigree of Giolla Easbuig, 9th Earl of Argyll. (40v blank). Transcript: Adv.MS.73.1.15, f. 130v.

41 r (Domhnall MacMhuirich's hand resumes). 15 qq. of an elegy. Acephalous, partly illegible. Copy E, p. 9.

41 v Final 3 qq. of Cubhuidh triall ar ar tturus (see f.51), with 4 qq. in praise of William's wife Margaret MacKenzie. Copy E, p. 23.

42 (Niall MacMhuirich's hand resumes.) [Tadhg Dall Ó Huiginn]. §§20-33 of Tógaibh eadrad is Éire, here beg. Do rinne an céidfhear do char.

43 Mor a n-ainm a n-iath eile, 14 qq. Elegy on Iain Breac MacLeóid (d. 1693) and his son Ruairi Òg (d. 1699). "Pot" watermark.

44 Hand D. Charms, superstitions (acephalous). (a) aphrodisiac; (b) on unluckiness of Monday; (c) fertility charm; (d) charm against impotence; (e) charm for determining guilt or innocence of party accused of sexual misdemeanour; (f) aphrodisiac.

45 Hand E. [Gofraidh Fionn Ó Dálaigh]. 24 qq. of Madh fiafraidheach budh feasach, here beg. [Gurab iad sin, s] uairc an ríomh, i.e. §§25-41, 43-5, 47 and 50 of McKenna's ed. in Féilsc. Torna, with §§42 and 48 added interlineally by hand B.

46 v [Hand F. Leaf belongs to Adv.MS.72.1.49, where it should precede f. 1.] Námha agus cara ag an gceird (acephalous), here beg. Tegar chuige a ccruth uaibhrech (§§27-34 of copy in RIA 24.P.21).

46 r Eochaidh Ó Heodhusa. Ionmhuin tech re ttugas cúl, 8 qq. (§§1-3, 5, 4, 6, 7, 10 of ed. in Lr. Branach ). Contd. Adv.MS.72.1.49, f. 1r.

47 r Hand G. [Ó Maoil Chiaráin]. Tugadh oirne easbhuidh mhór. Incomplete, comprising §§1-3, 5, 9 and 6 of Breatnach's ed. (Éigse iii, pp. 167 ff.), and breaking off at §7a. (F. 47v blank). "Pot" watermark.

48 Niall MacMhuirich's hand. Detached from end of Adv.MS.72.1.50. [Míchél Ó Cléirigh, Seanchas Ríogh Éireann]. (48r1) "Do ríoghaibh iar gcreideamh" cont. at Donnchadh mac Floinn Sionna. (48v13) " Do riogaibh go bfreasabhra", beg. Toirrdhealbhach Ó Brian mac Taoidg mhic Briain and ending mhic Muircheartaigh na cochall croicenn.

49 Hand H. Fragment of treatise on cure of wounds, beg. Item is maith portulacha.

50 Hand I. Torn-off half of Adv.MS.72.2.14, f. 30, q.v.

51 - 52 r Domhnall MacMhuirich's hand. Cubhuidh ttriall ar air tturus, c. 11 qq. To William (1661-1738), son of Sir Norman MacLeod of Berneray. Gapped in two places, as f. 51 is only the torn-off top portion of a leaf. "A buill Domnall mac Mhic Mhuiradhuigh" appears f.51 marg. sup. In Domhnall's hand. F. 52r contains final 2 qq. up to concluding echo. (F. 52v has only the inscription, in unknown hand, "Wrote by Donald Macvurich / son of Lauchlan son of Nial Mor / is witness to a Letter dated Benbecula 1722.")

53 r (Hand J begins). On making a poultice, beg. (acephalous) blonaic mhuice arna lega.

53 v8 Definition of skin, beg. Est autem cutis.

54 Hand K. Roman Catholic prayers, beg. Iesus Maria, Iesus Maria, Iesus Maria.

55 r Hand L. List beg. "To Angus Og ½ / ¼". 10 items, incl. "To McMartin", "to McLeod", "To Alexr McRail". (55v blank).

© Ronald Black, 2015