Annals of Clonmacnoise

Annals of Clonmacnoise

The Annals of Clonmacnoise chronicle events in Ireland from pre-history to A.D. 1408. The original manuscript or manuscripts are lost, and the names of its compilers are unknown. It is so-called because it was thought to be based on materials gathered at the monastery of Clonmacnoise, though there is some doubt about this. The surviving manuscript is a translation into English written in the year 1627 by Connall MacGeoghegan of Lismoyny, near Clara, Co. Offaly, so that scholars now refer to this as 'Mageoghagan’s Book', cf. Murphy "Annals of Clonmacnoise" (Dublin 1896).

The Annals give the history of Ireland and the areas surrounding Clonmacnois from the creation of man to the year 1408. The translator points out that several parts of the original work are missing as from 1182 to 1199 and again from 1290 to 1299. He states that the originals were destroyed not merely by the books being burnt by marauding Vikings but also by tailors cutting the leaves of the books and slicing them off in long pieces to make their measures.

These Annals have usually gone by the name of the Annals of Clonmacnoise. In the book itself there is nothing to show why it should be called by this name. They do however give special prominence to the history of the parts of the country on both sides of the River Shannon at Clonmacnois and to the families inhabiting the areas of Ui Maine (Hy Many) surrounding them, namely O'Kellys, O'Rourkes, O'Molloys, O'Connors and McDermotts. The principal value of these Annals arises from the historical details given of these districts and families which are not found to the same extent elsewhere.

The original work was in Irish Gaelic. The translator more than once refers "to the ould Irish book out of which he wrote, to the old Irish book which he translates, out of which many leaves were lost or stolen.."

The translator of the original work was Connell McGeoghegan of County Westmeath. He dedicated this translation to his brother Terence whose family was among the last to uphold and practice the old Irish Gaelic Tribal Customs. The translation was completed on April 20th 1627 in the Castle of Lemanaghan in County Offaly. The original manuscript of McGeoghegan's translation is lost but there are several copies of it in both the Library of Trinity College and in the English Museum.

The translation was written in the quaint style of the Elizabethan period. Mc Geoghegan seems to have preserved the value of the original Gaelic phraseology and rendered it every justice as far as we can determine in the absence of the original manuscript.

And even the whole of the book is not given by the translator, as he states that ?the old Irish book by lying shutt and unused to, I could hardly read it, and left places that I could not read because they were altogether grown illegible and put out?

The translation of the Annals was first published in Dublin in 1896 and again reprinted by Llanerch Publishers in 1993.

ee also

* Irish annals
* The Chronicle of Ireland


* "Oxford Concise Companion to Irish Literature", Robert Welsh, 1996. ISBN 0-19-280080-9

External links

* [;idno=cdl360 The Annals of Clonmacnoise] Cornell University Library Historical Monographs Collection. {Reprinted by} [ Cornell University Library Digital Collections]

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