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Irish History

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Irish History – as I take it.

Where else to start with but The Annals of the Four Masters;

The Annals of the Four Masters is an iconic history of Ireland. It is the most extensive compilation of the ancient annals of Ireland. This work influenced the writing of national history from the 17th century onwards. Its importance increased when the annals were edited and published in seven volumes between 1848 and 1851 by the great scholar John O’Donovan.

Title Page, Annals of the Four Masters, Volume I

Enlarge image

Originally called the Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland, this chronicle of Irish history from prehistory to 1616 AD was compiled by the Irish Franciscans. The entries which are sparse and meager during the earlier period grow less so as the “Annals” progress.

In the early 17th century, there was a period of massive upheaval in Ireland which included the Flight of the Earls in 1607. The Irish Franciscans began to reassemble the documentary evidence of Ireland’s history.

Michael O’Clery, a native of Donegal, was a trained antiquary and poet, descended from a long line of scholars. He was sent from Louvain to Ireland in 1626 to collect manuscripts relating to the lives of the Irish saints. While in Ireland, however, he had the idea of collecting all the ancient vellum books of local annals throughout the country and writing a new kind of all-encompassing ‘Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland.’

Complete copy on pdf;

More on legends and stories under College Essays on this blog.


About pfiddle

Fiddle teacher - mostly Irish trad. Fiddle, mandolin and concertina. Tour guide to the culturally curious. Eco-warrior, (won E.U. Flower Award for Eco Accommodation. Also Irish (Gold) GHA. Green Hospitality Award.) Mad keen on self-build - especially straw-bale and cob. 55 with a full head of (slightly) graying hair. No tattoos or piercings. Fond of animals - but legally so. Fond of food - I eat nothing else. Vegetarian by choice, Irish by the grace of birth, Munster by force of (rugby) arms.

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