Catalogue of Irish Manuscripts in Royal Irish Academy

23 P 3

Féilire Beag: Law

15th cent, (in part). Vellum. The volume consists of three fragments of manuscript, which were originally entirely independent of one another; their contents, the quality of the vellum, and the character of the handwriting are quite distinct. The total number of vellum folios is twenty-five, now numbered consecutively and interleaved with vellum. The folios appear to be detached from their conjugates; owing to the bound state of the ms., however, this is not quite certain. With the exception of the first nine folios, the handwriting is in double column ; the ruling throughout the first two fragments appears to be, where visible, by dry-point. The present consecutive foliation was added subsequent to binding the fragments together in the present volume; it ignores the non-homogeneous nature of the fragments, the misplacements of leaves, and all chasms. An earlier foliation still remains on folios of the first fragment which have not suffered mutilation by a vandal's knife (see below), e.g., the present fo. 4 was formerly fo. 17. This earlier numeration is given (within brackets) infra, when preserved. It is not, however, contemporary with the manuscript, and can thus at most indicate a former (not necessarily original) sequence of folios (see below).

It will be convenient to describe the three fragments separately here.

Fragment A. Ff. 19, foliated 1-19. 12 X 8 3/8 (ff. 2, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 considerably reduced in size by clipping; fortunately only blank strips of vellum have been removed as a general rule, so that damage to text is slight). Ff. 12, now very defaced, should stand before the present fo. 1, where, to judge from its condition, it apparently formed for a considerable time the first folio of this section. Chasms in the text result from loss of leaves before ff. 1 (now partly supplied by fo. 12), after fo. 12 itself, before fo. 13, and after ff. 4 (earlier foliation 17), 7(21), 9 (24), 18, 19. A late (17th cent.) note on fo. 19 v., inf. marg., reads: "Hic desunt plura folia." The leaves appear to be separated from their conjugates and bound separately. The earlier pagination (in brackets) would suggest a loss of at least twelve folios from the beginning of our fragment. There is, however, obvious rearrangement of folios in the present volume, e.g., the removal of fo. 12 from its place before fo. 1. Ff. 4, 5, 6, 7, 16, 17, 18, 19 are badly damaged and torn. Scribe : Uilliam Mac an Legha, who wrote the manuscript in 1467 in the house of Oedh Occ (+ 1491 AU) Magraith unnsa Mélaigh Moir ar Sliabh Dile (a border district between Tipperary and Kilkenny), see colophons, ff. 11 v. b, 16 v. b, given in full infra at their place of incidence. Ff. 1-17 are undoubtedly in Mac an Legha's own hand; from fo. 17 v. to fo. 19 a, 1. 33, there are changes of hand, a second scribe collaborating with him. An addition in later ink stands on fo. 19, col. b, and fo. 19 v. Lengthy marginal entries occur on ff. 9 i., 18 v. i., 19, col, a i., 19, col. b i., the whole being a copy of one long poem. These additional entries have been treated with a reagent, with consequent discoloration of the vellum. Some of the marginal scribblings are wholly illegible. Among legible names, etc., occurring are: fo. 5 (19) v., "[James] Hickies black book" (uncertain, the present cataloguer assuming that the reference is to a former owner whose name occurs in a 17th cent, hand on fo. 16 v.); fo. 7(21), "Nicolas Capias"; fo. 16v., "James Hickey his old book" ; fo. 17 i. (inverted), "Reilly" (17th cent. hand). Negligible entries occur ff. 7 (21) v., 13 v. i. (inverted), 15 v. i., 17 v. i., 18 i. (inverted), etc. Beautifully executed capitals of interlaced zoomorphic design have been superimposed throughout; the various sections of Féilire Óengusso begin almost invariably with the letter F, whether this suits the context or not. Vermilion and dull ochre pigments are used to illuminate the capitals. On fo. 4 (17) the initial is left unfinished and uncoloured; the ornate initials to be inserted on ff. 5 (19), 8 (23), 9 (24) are missing.

Fragment B consists of four folios from an undated legal codex. It is now foliated 20-23, and measures 11 X 8 3/8. The text is defective at beginning and end; in addition, ff. 21, 23 should read 23, 21. Some injured folios have been carefully repaired with vellum. The vellum here is quite different in quality from that of Fragment A, being hard and brittle, possibly owing to exposure to fire. There are slight traces of mildew, and the vellum is very dark in colour, particularly the margins. There is no scribal colophon or other indication of provenance or date. The handwriting of the Text is a coarse, inelegant book-hand, with Commentary and Glosses in a smaller hand; the general effect is that of the usual type of legal school-text. The crude capitals are rubricated. An illegible marginal note occurs on fo. 23 i.

Fragment C consists of two folios from a second legal codex, quite different in appearance from Fragment B. It is now foliated 24, 25, and measures 12 X 8 3/8|. The vellum is frail in quality and ivory-white in colour, except where yellowed by the application of a reagent. Handwriting of Text, Commentary, and Gloss differs in size, but the difference in proportion is much less marked than in Fragment B. The lay-out is well balanced and the penmanship accurate in detail. Graceful capitals of a simple interlaced leaf-design in an unusual pattern, rubricated, with application of chrome yellow, lend an air of elegance to the whole. The ruling is now practically invisible, but, where it can be traced, would seem to have been in brown. A bearded human figure is finely executed in pen and ink on the margin of fo. 25 v. a, suspended from an initial capital, with the inscription, "Fuath Ruiherd so." This may be an indication of the identity of the gifted penman, but cannot be relied on in the absence of other evidence. No indication of provenance occurs in this fragment. It is, however, possible that it derives from a Mac Aedhagáin school; the name "Ruiberd" is a Mac Aedhagáin name.

The ms. is bd. in calf, blind-tooled; gilt-lettered on spine : "Irish MS. Eccles." Former Academy number, 43/6 (acc. to O'Curry, Acad. Cat., p. 1055). It is often cited as " Féilire Beag," because the first article in the ms. is an imperfect copy of "Féilire Óengusso" (acc. to ms. note by Charles Plummer in his copy of O'Curry Transcripts, now in E.I.A. See infra, 1250).



1. The Martyrology of Óengus. Beg. here (without Prologue) Re síl dálach doíne, 273 qq. only, the quatrains for May, September, and December being lost with the original ff. 18, 22, 25 of the ms., gaps thus; occurring after the present ff. 4 (17), 7 (21), 9 (24). This text of Félire Óengusso is Stokes' ms. P (ed. 1905). The text is accompanied by interlinear glosses and marginal scholia. Epilogue follows on p. 10, beg. Ón Kalaind có araile, 142 qq. See also fo. 12, infra.

9, inf. marg, (in late hand). Buidh dodena meissi, 23 qq.; 9 qq. here; 6 qq. on fo. 18 v., inf. marg., and 8 qq. on fo. 19 a i. A reagent has been used here.

9, inf. marg, (in late hand). Da mieinn is mo lorg ar neac, 1 q .

11 v. b. Legend of Bresal mac Diarmato and the nun's cow. Beg. Fecht do rigne Bresal mac Diarmaddo. Pr. Stokes, Lives of Saints from the Book of Lismore. Introd., p. xxvii. At the end occurs the colophon: "A mí Abreil ata in rann fora fhuil in scelsa .i. hi Feilmair Micc Cúla. Finid. Iss ed is ais don Tigerna .i. secht mbliadna ~ tri .xx. ~ 4. c. ~ m. bliadan ~ .G. an litir domhnaigh ~ a hocht in nuimir óir. Uilliam Mac an Legha qui scribsit bona morte peribit."

12. Fragment of the prose Preface to Félire Óengusso. Acephalous, beg. here ~ .l. ina recles. Roindsaig Maelruain (— ed. Stokes, 1905, p. 10, last line). Colophon (fo. 12 b) reads: "Prologus toisich ind fhelere ~ a locc aimsir condice sin." Then follows the section, beg. Is fisid didu cia hernail aistiu.

12 b i. Legend of Brénainn and Seoithine, from Félire Oengusso. Beg. illegible (ed. Stokes, 1905, p. 40).

12 v. a m. "Scel ar Mide" (title added later). Legend of St. Ita (Mide), from Félire Óengusso. Beg. Foraith mor ngur ngalar (loc. cit., p. 42).

12 v. b m. Legend of St. Féichín, from Félire Óengusso. Beg. Moeca .i. Feichin (loc. cit., p. 48).

12 v. b i. (in hand of addition on p. 7 (24). Aphoristic text, beg. Gia messamh do duine .i. airisium faetha, 6 11. There is a chasm in ms. after fo. 12.

13. [Abair dam fri mac Saráin.] Acephalous, first line reading here far cubus caith ina luc; 30 1/2 qq. remain.

13 b i. Coma riaghail in Choimdhedh, 33 qq. Pr. Straehan, Ériu i, p. 191. "Riagail in Coimded,"

13 v. b i. Corann liath lethet baisi, 10 qq. "Riagail na Manach Liath andsio." Pr. Straehan, Ériu ii, p. 229, from this MS.

14 a m. Taihret duit a coibhsina, 10 qq.

14 b. Samadh buan briathar ísil, 14 qq. "Riagail Chormuic meic Cuilennain.'' Pr. Straehan, Ériu ii, p. 62.

14 v. a, Má asbera, a dhepraidh, 16 qq. "Riagail Chiarain annso." Pr. Straehan, Ériu ii, p. 227, from this ms.

14 v. b. Prose text, headed: ''Bithbin menadaighi (corr. from menagaighi) is e a huchtaras." Beg. Robhoi telchomarc már a Muigh Lena. Pr. Annie F. Scarre, Anecdota i, p, 75, from this ms.

14 v. b i. Extract from the Bríathra Flainn Fína, beg. Atcóta fírén fortachta (= ed. Anecdota iii, p. 12, l. 8). Scribal hand, but smaller than rest.

15. Homily on the Seven Deadly Sins. Beg. here Uana gloria .i. innocbail uaibhreoh is edh ainm in .uii. nduailchi. This homily is abstracted from the Irish Penitential, see E. J. Gwynn, Ériu 7, p. 122, where the Penitential is printed from the ms. 1227, supra (ibid., p. 138 ff.), and information given regarding other copies of this homiletic part of the document. The arrangement of sections here differs considerably from that of the copy Rawl. B 512, pr. Meyer, ZCP iii, p. 24, our initial line corresponding to p. 28, 1. 9, of Meyer's printed text.

15 v. b. [An Apgitir Crábaid], headed here "Incipitt uerbum filii Beognae uiri Dei." Beg. here Searc De bi fonigh anmuin (= § 6 of ed. Meyer, ZCP iii, p. 447). Cf. 1227, 47, supra.

16 a i. Cáin Eimhetne Bháin. Beg. Dolotar flaithi Laighin isin duinebath co arrigh. Pr. J. G. O'Keeffe, Anecdota i, p. 40, mainly from this ms. Colophon on fo. 16 v. b i. reads: '' Is fuin don ris sin a tigh Oeda Óicc meic Domnaill meic Oedha Óic Megraith annsa Mélaigh Móir ar slíabh Díle."

17. In clocc so na rígh rúadh, 32 qq. The lower half of eol. b is left blank; poem is incomplete.

17 v. Homily on God, beg. Atlóchumar buidhi do Dhia huilechumachtach. Pr. Meyer, ZCP iv. p. 241, from this ms. ; Strachan, Ériu iii, p. 1, from YBL.

18. Homily on God. Beg. [G]loria Deo principio .i. gloir do Deo. (A specimen section of this text is printed by Meyer, Archiv für Celtische Lexikographie, ii, p. 136.) Purton (Acad. Obs,, 81) draws attention to the fact that the opening words of this homily correspond almost exactly to the exordium of Messahalah, De Orbibns Celestibus in Stowe B. ii. 1 (1216, supra).

18. Trí fódáin nach sechaindter, 23 qq.

18 v. a i. Devotional tract, headed : "'Rosc Mocolmog maccu Beounda don (?) doehlaidh." Beg. Cidh is ingahhtha do dhuine? Ni anse : fergugud minic.

18 v. b m. Aíne in Chorguis ro ér Críst, 16 qq. Ends imperfectly, possibly "owing to a chasm in the ms. at this point.

18 v., inf. marg. Here stand 6 qq. of poem beg. fo. 9, inf. marg. (later hand).

19 a. Gabriel lim i ndomhnaighibh, 8 qq.

19 a m. Noimh na ceithre raithi, 7 qq.

19 a i., 19 b, and 19 v. are in the later hand and ink already met with on fí. 9, inf. marg., 18, inf. marg. A reagent has been used to restore the faded text, with the result that the leaf is discoloured.

19 a i. (later hand). Here stand ca. 8 qq. of poem beg. fo. 9, inf. marg. Badly rubbed, and injured by defect in ms. at this point. End of text stands fo. 19 b i.

19 b. (later hand). Deirbhshiur don egna an éigsi, 49 qq.


20. Miscellaneous Law Tract, consisting of short paragraphs, with Text, Commentary and Glosses. Beg. here imperfectly (Commentary) ina seilb na seoit ro tingeallta ann. Beg. (Text) Indleas gach tindsgra fri denge dligid o reachtaih comamsa (— H. 5. 15, p. 24 a). The entire text is included in the O'Curry Transcripts, pp. 1862-1909. Fo. 23 is taken by O'Curry to be the original fo. 21 and fo. 21 to be the last folio (fo. 23) of this section of the ms.


24. Fragment of a version of Lebar Aicle, differing widely in sequence of sections, from that of the printed text. Beg. here Bla druth diubrugud (— AL iii 206, 23). The entire text is included in the O'Curry Transcripts, pp. 1910-1940. Fragment ends (fo. 25 v. b) at a point corresponding to AL iii, 160, 4.