ANNALS OF THE FOUR MASTERS
17th cent. Paper. 28 x 19 cms. Pp. xxxii (numbered in pencil)+ff. 551 (numbered 1-523 with some omissions and the following errors: 287 twice; 390 three times; 10 ff. originally unnumbered after f. 419, now numbered in pencil 405a-414a; foliation resumed with 415, 415-19 now altered in pencil to 415a-419a). Ff. 407a-409a and most of f. 406 blank without apparent loss of text. Ff. 231 and 287 are substitute leaves; leaves also cut out before ff. 17, 201, 256, 261, 263, 265, 268, 280, 283, 288, 290, 291, 352, 357, 358, 393, 397, 409, 412, 509. Twenty-three folios at end unnumbered. Single columns; traces of dry-point ruling frequent throughout MS. Bound in stiff boards and vellum bearing title 'No 1, Annales 4 Magistrorum' on front and 'Annales Hibernici, Fr. O'Cleary &c' on spine. Cover now loose.
This is an autograph copy of the Annals but there are no scribal signatures in the main body of the text. Most of the testimonials and approbations at the beginning (noted below) appear to be originals; that on p. xxv, however, is in the hand of Br Míchéal Ó Cléirigh and merely signed by Flann Mac Aodhagáin (cf. A 16, xiii). The following hands appear in the text of the Annals, but the absence of signed examples of the handwriting of those engaged in the work makes identification usually impossible: (1) Ff. 1-299 r (with some interruptions), 303 v m-381 v, 390 [b] r; 390 [c] v-413 v, 416 r-419 v, 516 r-v, are in a hand closely resembling that of Br Míchéal Ó Cléirigh but appearing to differ sufficiently from it to warrant its being tentatively attributed to his brother, Conaire Ó Cléirigh. (2) Ff. 414 r-415 r, 420 r-426 v and several additions throughout (e.g. f. 228 r) appear to be undoubtedly in the hand of Br Míchéal Ó Cléirigh. (3) Ff. 382 r-390 [a] v, 390 [b] v-390 [c] r, 509 r-515 v, 516 v. (4) Ff. 9 v m-10 r, 125 v m-126 r 5, 299 v-303 v m. (5) and (6) Ff. 415 a r-508 v, 517 r to end, are by two hands not easily distinguishable from each other (except e.g. on ff. 435 r, 448 r). One of these hands has also contributed a number of additional entries in the earlier part of the MS (e.g. ff. 344 r, 385 r). (7) F. 231 (substitute leaf) is in a hand which does not appear elsewhere in the MS. (8) An important series of clearly-marked additions and corrections has been contributed throughout by this hand, which appears also to be that of the authors' preface (p. xxiii). Marginal notes by Colgan and others also occur in the MS; some further annalistic matter on last page and inside back cover.
This MS was not consulted by O'Connor (1826) or O'Donovan (1848-51) for their respective editions. It seems clear that only two copies of the original Annals were made and that the present MS is the first part of the copy sent to Louvain and intended for publication. Father Paul Walsh has argued (The Four Masters and this work (Dublin 1944) §4, and elsewhere) that this MS belongs to the same set as RIA 23 P 6, 23 P 7 (originally one MS according to O'Curry) and that the lacuna (over 100 folios in his estimation) in the other set (RIA C. iii. 3 and TCD H.2.11) is due to loss of leaves at the beginning of H.2.11. It has also been suggested (C. Mooney, IER 60 (1942) 223 n. 4) that A 13 is a companion volume of H.2.11. This is made more probable by the fact that the lacuna involved may be about 160 folios (depending on which of two foliations in C.iii.3 is original). An autograph MS containing the second part of the Annals, said to have been in the Barberini Library in Rome in 1854 (C. MacDonnell, PRIA 6 (1854) 95), may have contained the missing portion. See also C. Giblin, 'The Annals of the Four Masters', Great books of Ireland (Thomas Davis Lectures, Dublin 1967) 90-103. Father Giblin has searched unsuccessfully for the missing volume in the Barberini Library, but thinks it may still be found among unclassified MSS there.
Inserted loosely inside the front cover are the following original documents: (a) A sheet of parchment, measuring 26.5 x 27 cms approx., bearing an imprimatur signed by Thomas Fleming [O.F.M.], archbishop of Dublin and dated Dublin, 5 February 1636 [printed by J. T. Gilbert, HMC rep. 4 (1874) app., 604 (no. xxii)]. (b) A sheet of paper, 28.5 x 37.5 cms approx., folded into two leaves and bearing a recommendation in Latin of Br Míchéal Ó Cléirigh, dated Franciscan Friary, Carrigfergus, 2 July 1637 and signed by Fr Henricus Mellanus, [Provinciae pater] et Commissarius ad hoc deputatus, and Fr Patricius Heg[arty], Diffinitor. (c) A similar sheet of paper bearing a Latin approbation of Br Míchéal, similarly dated and signed by Fr Henricus Mellanus, Fr Patricius Hegarty, Fr Columbus Davetus Conventus Guardianus, Fr Antonius Dunganus Guardianus Dunensis, Fr Edmundus Cavellus Predicator. These documents and the introductory matter on pp. xvii-xxxii, with the exception of the Ó Gadhra genealogy (pp. xxi-xxii), have been printed by P. Walsh, Gleanings2 (1933) 69-85 (see also IMN 1916, 17-24). Another loose leaf of parchment, bearing a separate approbation from Fr Malachy O'Quelly, archbishop of Tuam, existed in 1755 (ibid., 81, 84).
xv. Note in Latin by Fr Peter McCormick, written at Louvain, 30 Sept. 1755, in which he discusses which work of Míchéal Ó Cléirigh's this is. Continued on p. xvi with supplementary note on p. xiv.
xvii. Testimonium in Latin, 15 May 1632, signed Fr Valentinus Browne, minister provincialis. P. xviii blank.
xix. Dedication in Irish (1634) to Ferghal Ó Gadhra, patron of the work, with his genealogy (pp. xxi-xxii). Signed Br Michel O Clerigh.
xxiii. Authors' preface in Irish (see above), dated 10 August 1636. Gives names of those engaged in the work: 'An Brathair Michél Ó Clérigh, Muiris mac Torna Uí Mháoilconaire fri ré aoínmhíosa, Fearfeasa mac Lochluinn Uí Mháoilchonaire acontaé Rossa Commáin ina ndís Cúcoigriche mac Díarmuta Uí Clerigh a Contae Dhúin na nGall, Cúcoigcriche Ó Duibgennáin mac Túatháil acontae Liathtroma, ~ Conaire [.i. mac Donnchadha, above line] O Clerigh a Contaé Dhúin na nGall'. Signed (p. xxiv) Br Michel O Clerigh, Muiris O Maoilconaire, Fearfeasa Ó Máoilconuire, Cúcoigriche O Clerigh, Conaire Ó Clérigh, Fr Bernardinus Clery Guardianus Dungalensis, Br. Muiris Ulltach, Br. Muiris Ulltach.
xxv. Testimonial in Irish of Flann Mac Aodhagáin, 'isin mBaile mc. Aedhaccain adubhart 2. November. 1636' (see above).
xxvi. Testimonial in Irish of Conner Mac Brody da ngoirtear Mac Bruaidedha, 'i cCill Chaoide .ii. [or .11. ?] November 1636'.
xxix. Approbation in Latin of Malachias [O' Quelly], archbishop of Tuam, 'Galuiae decimo quarto kalendas Decembris 1636'.
xxx. Approbation in Latin of Fr Boetius [Egan], bishop of Elphin, 'Rosrielae Novem. 27. 1636'.
xxxi. Approbation in Latin of Fr Thomas Fleming, archbishop of Dublin, 8 February 1636.
xxxii. Approbation in Latin of Rochus [Mac Geoghegan], bishop of Kildare, 'in loco nostrae mansionis die 8 ° Jan. anno Domini 1637'.
1. [Annála Ríoghdhachta Éireann.] Beg. Aois domhain. 2242. Aois domhain gus an mbliadainsi na dileann .... Ends with the year 1169 at f. 523 v. Frequent blank spaces (left for additional entries?).