ANNALS OF THE FOUR MASTERS
17th cent. Paper (watermark: vase with an s-shaped
handle). 6¾ ×
10½; some pp. slightly
larger, owing to the fact that sections of the paper following fo.
195 (245) are untrimmed. Pp. 1044, now bearing a consecutive
foliation, 1-522 (which is that used in this Description), two
additional leaves (catalogued below as pp. [i]-[iv]), one a former
flyleaf, the other bearing watermark of MS. proper, being
unnumbered. This foliation is superimposed on an earlier foliation
which ran 1-137, 178-209, 230-239, 230-572, skipping nos. 138-177,
210-229, and duplicating nos. 230-239. The earlier foliation is not
contemporary with the MS.; it is cut away in
places with trimming of margins for binding. The volume is in
excellent condition, with the exception of pp. [iii], [iv], ff. 1-7,
and ff. 520 to end, which are stained and damaged. There are no
chasms in the MS. proper (ff. 1-522). the handwriting is in single
column; lining is by dry point. Minute scraps of paper bearing
notes (including Charles O'Conor's) are pasted to ff. 278, 355
verso, 358 verso, 364 and back flyleaf, possibly by
binder. Latest binder's flyleaves bear date “1807.”
Leaves excised, e.g., after fo. 231 et passim, show no
corresponding gaps in text. They are replaced by intercalated
leaves or were excised before text was transcribed on
following leaves; owing to the bound state of the MS.
it is impossible to decide between these alternatives. There is
neither signature nor date on the MS. proper
(ff. 1-522). P. [iii] bears date 1634 (see infra). Two
scribes have executed the main body of the text : - A,
who transcribed ff. 1-190, 193-222, 224-285 verso, and whose
hand occurs elsewhere, e.g., at ff. 432m., 436, 438
i., 446, 453v., 455m., 478; B, who transcribed the
main body of text from fo. 286 to fo. 464, and possibly to end,
though the hand changes so as to resemble D towards the end.
B, like A, was almost wholly occupied by the
transcription of a clean draft of material which must have
previously existed in the form of rough notes; his hand occurs
elsewhere in this MS. very rarely, e.g., on fo.
223. A is a careful, stiff hand, very upright, tall narrow
lettering with a tendency to drop below the guide lines. It is
readily distinguishable from B, a rounder, freer hand,
sloping more to the right than A and sharing many
characteristics of the Ó Cléirigh hands C and
D, particularly D. Collaborating with AB are
three compiler-scribes, viz., C, Brother Michél
Ó Cléirigh, whose well-known hand (cf. his
autograph D. i. 2) appears passim in additions which range
from a few words to two complete folios of text, his longer
insertions occurring on pp.[iii], [iv], ff. 188, 199i.,
218i., 218i., 218v.m., 227, 231-232, 252, 254,
271-272, 275-276, 286, 311v., 319, 332, 339, 350, 353, 364, 365,
370-371, 374i., 377, 396, 403, 414, 417, , 454; D,
Cúchoigcriche (mac Diarmada) Ó
Cléirigh: ff. 191, 192, 196v., 222m., 344i.,
345i., 387, 388, 389v., 403i., 406, 414v.i. and
innumerable shorter additions passim (this hand is
undoubtedly that of the scribe of nos. 137, 138, 617, 790 supra)
; E, a graceful hand, sharply sloping to the right, which
appears occasionally , e.g., on ff. 160v.m., 218v.,
and shorter additions passim. [A comparison of the known
signatures of Muiris Ó Maoilchonaire and Fearfeasa Ó
Maoilchonaire with our MS. suggest a possible
identification of A with Muiris and E with Fearfeasa.
The hand B is probably that of Conaire Ó Cléirigh.]
Hands, other than those of scribes, occurring in the MS.
are “Henry Burc,” whose signature occurs passim
with dates 1651 (fo. 248 verso), 1654 (fo. 218 verso),
1655 (fo. 103 verso), 1656 (fo. 199), 1657 (fo. 244), 1658
(fo. 166 verso); “Cathal O Conchabhair” (fo.
[i]), whose hand appears in notes passim and even in additions to
text; “Dennis O Connor,” p. [i] (see infra); and
“M.B,” fo. 375. Of these only Cathal Ó
Conchabhair declares himself to be an owner (p. [i]). He received
the MS. in 1734 from the Archbishop of Tuam, Brian Ó Gadhra
(ibid.), a member of the family of Fearghal Ó Gadhra,
the munificent patron of the work, to whom the present volume is
dedicated by Brother Michél Ó Cleirigh, 1634 (see
infra, p. [iii]). Cf. Bibl. MSS. Stowensis, p. 113,
where it is stated that Denis O' Conor presented this volume to the
Marquess of Buckingham.
Bd. in calf, blind-tooled; gilt-lettered on spine “Irish
Ms. No. XXI. Annales IV Magistrorum Hibernici.” The no. “879”
is affixed to volume. Formerly in Stowe and Ashburnham Collections.
Flyleaves watermarked “1807” give approximate date of
present binding; the MS. was however, previously
bound by Dr. Fergus of Dublin, at his own expense on 1735, while the
MS. was the property of Charlie O'Conor (see p. [i], infra).
Now pinned to front flyleaf are two fugitive leaves:
(a) 5½ ×
7¼, and (b) 6 ×
7¾, bearing (a)
the conclusion of an English version of the “Approbationes”
(fragment). Leaf (a) should be read after leaves (c)
Bound between front flyleaves are two further fugitive leaves,
(c), (d), 5½ ×
7¼, bearing fragment of the English version of the
“Approbationses.” Leaf (a) supra is to be
read after (d); it has recently become detached.
[Pp. [i], [ii] appear to be an early
binder's flyleaf (that of the 1735 binding?). The watermark
(indecipherable) is not that of the MS.]
[i], originally blank, now bears (in the hand of Charles O'Conor):-
(a) A statement that Seán
Ó Fearghusa mac Macraith, a Dublin medical man, got this
volume bound at his own expense in 1735 [no doubt when the MS. was
on loan to him from O'Conor for the purpose of transcription of the
copy T.C.D. H. 2. 9 an d10 (now no. 1300) by Hugh Molloy].
(b) A statement, dated 1734, that
the MS. was then in the possession of “Cathal Ó
Conchabhair,” having been presented to him by the Archbishop
of Tuam, Brian Ó Gadhra. Charles O'Conor's full pedigree is
(c) Obit of Brian Ó Gadhra,
3rd April, 1740.
[Pp. [iii], [iv] bear as watermark a
vase with an s-shaped handle.]
[iii]. Dedication of the Annals to Fearghal Ó Gadhra, 1634, in Brother Michél Ó Cléirigh's handwriting. Incomplete, breaks off at end of p. [iv], rest now wanting here.
The Testimonium is now missing from the volume. To judge by the T.C.D. Catalogue description of Hugh Molloy's copy of 1734-5 (T.C.D., no. 1300) both Dedication and Testimonium were in our MS. in 1735.
P. [iv] is followed by several blank
flyleaves, watermarked “1807.”
The ANNALS OF
THE FOUR MASTERS,
A.M. 2242-A.D. 1171,
inclusive, occupy the entire volume, ff. 1-522 of present foliation
(ff. 1-572 of an earlier but not contemporary foliation). Among
sources mentioned in marginal additions to the text are Leabhar
Leacain, Lebor na Huidre, Lebor Dinnshenchusa, Leabhar Cluana Mic
Nois. The distribution of hands has been noticed in broad
outline, supra. Description . The MS.
(to judge from its history) is the original O'Gara presentation
Appended here is a catalogue of the
principal marginalia in later hands. References are to the
61v. “Giniolach Mhaoilre Óig a Búrc a Dísirt Clearáin” (cancelled). Followed by his obit, 2nd October, 1647. In Henry Burke's hand.
103v. Os re meallamh a mairionn
(?), 1st., followed by a prayer for Sorcha, Máire,
Onora, Sisule, Una, Evilin. Gach neach leigfios mo leabhair
láin, 1 q. Initialled “H.B.” 1655.
103v. A note on De Burgo family
history, beg. Tomas mac Uillech Umhaill de Burgo a quo Sliocht
Mhic Thomais. Note on Maolre of Sliocht Tomáis and
pedigree of Maolre Óg a Búrca (see fo. 61v). In the
same hand as foregoing
138. “Constructio prophecie
anno Domini 1520.” On a stone bearing a prophetic
inscription, found in Helvetia. Partly cut away.
164. Note on age of the World.
166v. Obit of Oliver
Cromwell, 3rd September, 1658. Record of natural
phenomena of the same year. Initialled “H.B.”
218v m. Flann Mainistrech. Padraig
ab Eirinn uile, 5 qq. (see fo. 221). In Henry Burke's hand.
220v. Muinnter Phadruig na patter,
12 qq. Signed “H. Burc.” O'Donovan (ed., p. 134)
incorporates this and the poem Padruig ab Eirinn uile (ed.
p. 130) as part of the original text of the Four masters! The
originals of this section of the Annals (see ed.,
Introduction, pp. vii, viii) were not accessible to O'Donovan.
226v. Secundinus, Cristum
illum, etc. Fragment merely. Signed “Henry Burc.”
244. Dallán Forghaill.
Is leighes legha gan lés, 1 q. “Do bhás
244 (lengthwise). Trieghaid
doil[igh] gach tíre dhe, 1 q. Signed “Henry Burc.”
248v. “De meritis Beatae
Surnae,” etc. A Legend. Signed “Henry Burc.”
277v. Record of a shower of blood
(“fras folla”) at Baile Logh Reach. Co. Galway.
Initialled “B.MacG.” Dated 1704.
281. Addition to text of Annals
A.D. 746. Signed B. MacGill[ ].
366 (in an unidentified hand). Vos
precor orate, ut sint sibi dona beata, 2 11. Inserted after an
entry in the hand of Brother Michael.
374v. Ní hionon mo dháil
as dáil na nglansaoithe suairc, 1st.
375. Tá tá ccrádh
ccrádh go dobrónach, 1st.
375. Philip Mac Caiside. Trí
briathar léa mbíogaim, 1 q. initialled “M.B.”
“Ar na chommadh le Philip Mac Caiside.” The items on
ff. 374V, 375 (given here) are all in the same hand.
402. A Mhurachadh, fuirruigh re
cach, 2 qq. Initialled “B. Mac C.”
410v. Note on a Lunar Eclipse,
signed “Henry Burc.” Dated 16th Jany., 1657.
437. Mo theagasg dhuit, a dhuine,
11 qq. Initialled “H.B.”
458. A Dhia 's a liagh 's a
bhiadh m'anma, 1 st. “Ar na sgriobha re B. MacC.”
507v. A note on the days
propitious (or otherwise) for undertakings.
507v. Líon do mhíosa
ón Márta mháir, 1 q. Followed by a
charm-prayer (“Ortha coisgthe fola”), beg. Sanguis
mane in te. To be written on the forehead of the patient.
508. Story of Benén and the
Druid in the burning house (from Patrick's life, but not text of
520v. Cure for toothache. This
and items noted on ff. 507V, 508 are not signed, but appear to be in
Henry Burke's hand.
521v. Dated 1655 and initialled
“H.B.” Account of an incident which happened at the
execution of Seón Syly (?) at Galway. One Tadhg Ó
Conalláin is mentioned in the narrative, which is partly
illegible and cut away.
522v. Initials “H.B. 1655.” Some illegible lines of verse. At end is a note (in what appears to be Henry Burke's hand) on the age of the World. Signature is indecipherable.
Slip pasted to back flyleaf (flyleaf of 1735 or earlier). Ta an peann sa ar mearbhall 's ar beagan sgléis, 1st. “.i. (?) leanna do leigis na n-aicid reamhraite.” In an unidentified hand. Copyist's (?) partly erased note (“. . . to p. 17 . . . 42 orig. to p. 1006 inclusive”) stands on inferior outer corner. The verso of this leaf once bore some writing (on paper affixed).
Charles O'Conor's notes on text,
passim, and scribblings in pencil in other hands (generally
in English) are not noticed here.