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Imrum Snedhghusa ocus Mic Ríagla

Author: Unknown

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Whitley Stokes

Electronic edition compiled by Beatrix Färber and Ruth MurphyProof corrections by Ruth Murphy, Hilary Lavelle

Funded by The HEA via the LDT Project and PRTLI 4

1. First draft, revised and corrected.

Extent of text: 3670 words


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Distributed by CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.
Text ID Number: G303029

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    Manuscript sources
  1. Dublin, Trinity College Library, MS 1318 alias H 2 16, alias Yellow Book of Lecan, col. 391–395; 14th century (prose, edited by Stokes in this edition).
  2. Dublin, Trinity College Library, MS 1318 alias H 2 16, alias Yellow Book of Lecan, col. 707–715; 14th century (verse, edited by Stokes in RC 26).
  3. Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 1134, olim 23 E 29, alias Book of Fermoy, fol. 86.
  4. London, British Library Add. 30,512 (used by Tomás Ó Máille).
  1. Rudolf Thurneysen (ed.), Zwei Versionen der mittelirischen Legende von Snedgus und Mac Riagla, Programm zur Feier des Geburtstages seiner königlichen Hoheit des Grossherzogs Friedrich des durchlauchtigsten Rector Magnificus der Albert-Ludwigs-Universität zu Freiburg i. Br. (Halle 1904), repr. Gesammelte Schriften I-III, ed. Patrizia de Bernardo Stempel and Rolf Ködderitzsch (Tübingen 1991) II, 538–585.
  2. Tomás Ó Máille, ed., Merugud Cléirech Choluim Chille, Miscellany presented to Kuno Meyer 1912, 307–326 [from British Museum Additional, with variants from the Book of Fermoy].
  3. Whitley Stokes, ed. and trans., The Adventure of St. Columba's Clerics, in: RC 26, 1905, 130-170 [from Yellow Book of Lecan, cols. 707–715].
  1. Eugene O'Growney, Iomramh Sneadhghusa agus Mhic Riagla in: Gaelic Journal 4 (1891) 85–88 (Modern Irish translation).
  2. Rudolf Thurneysen, Sagen aus dem alten Irland. Berlin 1901 (German translation.)
  3. Donncha Ó hAodha, The Poetic Version of the Voyage of Snédgus and Mac Ríagla, in Dán do Oide (Dublin 1997) 419-438 (Modern Irish translation).
  1. Eugene O'Curry, Lectures on the Manuscript Materials of ancient Irish history. (Dublin 1861) 289; 333–334.
  2. Heinrich Zimmer, Keltische Beiträge II: Brendans Meerfahrt, Zeitschrift für deutsches Alterthum 33 no. 2–4. Berlin 1889.
  3. Gustav Schirmer, Zur Brendanus-Legende. (Leipzig 1888).
  4. A.G. van Hamel (ed.), Immrama (Dublin 1941).
  5. J. Wooding (ed.), The Otherworld voyage in early Irish literature. (Dublin 2000).
  6. Kevin Murray, The role of the Cuilebad in Immram Snédgusa ocus Maic Riagla, in: J. Wooding (ed.), The Otherworld voyage in early Irish literature. (Dublin 2000) 187–193.
    The edition used in the digital edition
  1. Whitley Stokes, The Voyage of Snedgus and Mac Riagla in Revue Celtique. Volume 9, Paris, Émile Bouillon (1888) page 14–25


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CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Sampling Declaration

The electronic text covers pages 14–24 and the Introduction on pp. 14–15. The English translation is available in a separate file.

Editorial Declaration


Text has been proof-read three times.


The electronic text represents the edited text including footnotes. The ae-ligatures have been rendered ae. Expansions are marked ex; text supplied by the editor is marked sup resp="WS"; footnoted editorial corrections take the form of corr sic="" resp="WS" Missing portions of text are indicated by gap. When displayed in HTML format (due to its constraints) both expansions and supplied text appear in italics. When in doubt, users are asked to consult the SGML/XML master file to identify the markup.


Quotations are rendered q.


When a hyphenated word (hard or soft) crosses a page-break, the page-break is marked after the completion of the hyphenated word (and punctuation).


div0=the saga.


Names of persons (given names) and places are not tagged.

Profile Description

Created: By an unknown Irish scribe Date range: 900-1200.

Use of language

Language: [GA] The text is in Middle Irish.
Language: [FR] A term in the introduction is in French.
Language: [LA] A word in the introduction is in Latin.
Language: [CY] A word in the introduction is in Welsh.
Language: [EN] Introduction and some words in the notes are in English.

Revision History

Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition: G303029

Imrum Snedhghusa ocus Mic Ríagla: Author: Unknown


The text of the following story, now for the first time printed, is taken from a transcript which I made in 1871 from the only known copy, that, namely, in columns 391–395 of H. 2. 16, a manuscript of the fourteenth century preserved in the library of Trinity College, Dublin, and commonly called the Yellow Book of Lecan. The story is one of a class of sagas called Imrama, of which only three other specimens are known to exist, and on which Dr. Schirmer of St Gallen is about to publish a treatise. Like the best known of these sagas, the Imrom Maele Duin, our story is twofold, each part of it being first told in prose and then in verse, which is full, as usual, of chevilles, is often obscure, and is sometimes obviously corrupt. In the present edition the verse is omitted.


The Voyage of Snedgus and Mac Riagla (or Mac Riaguil) has been analysed by O'Curry in his Lectures, p. 333, and is quoted by him in his Manners and Customs III, 385, as giving two instances of the rare word sianan, some kind of vocal music. Other such words are cuilefaid=culebad (gl. flabellum)1; fant 'hollow', borrowed from the Welsh pant; comgaire 'vicinity'; braga (dat. pl. braigtib) 'prisoner'; aile 'fence'; mesrugud 'adjudication'; forbas 'siege'; eisles 'neglect'. The phrase dia bliadna, literally '(that) day of (the following) year', and the act. redupl. future pl. 3 gébtait may also be noted.

Some of the persons named in our tale are historical characters of the seventh century. King Domnall son of Aed, son of S. Colomb cille's first cousin Ainmire, died A.D. 642 (or 639 according to the Four Masters). His successors, Maelcoba's sons, Conall Cael and Cellach, reigned jointly till A.D. 659 (or 656). The middle of the seventh century may therefore be fixed roughly as the date of incidents of the tale.

The Men of Ross, whose vengeful act gives rise to the story, were a tribe whose territory (according to O'Donovan2) ‘comprised the parishes of Carrickmacross and Clonany, in the county of Monaghan, and parts of the adjoining counties of Meath and Louth.’


Bai dochraite mor for Feraib Rois iar ndith Domnaill mic Aedha mic Ainmireach, & ba he fochond a ndochraide. Iar ngabail Érind do macaib Mael Coba tareis Domnaill batar mic Domnaill ir-ríghi Chenéoil Conaill & Fer Rois .i. Dondchud & Fiacho; Dondchad ar tír Conaill & Fiacha ar feraib Rois.


Ba mor a ndochraidi-side ic Fiacho, ar ni leicthi arm na hedach datha ic neoch dib, ar níptar riaraigh do rig riam reme sin, & ba hadbul meit a foghnoma.

Bliadain do Fiacho ar-righi forro. Dia bliadna tic Fiacha co hInber mBoinne & gairmthir chuice Firu Rois. Asbert friu: ‘Dénaid foghnom beos’.

‘Ni foil ocoinn ní as mo’, ar siat. Asbert som friu: ‘Tabraidh uar sele uile for mo dernaind.’

Doberad, & ba hamlaid bai an sele, & a leth di fuil.

Asbert-som andsidhe: ‘Ni fuil uar foghnom techta foraib beos, ar ni fuil uile an saile. Cuiridh na tulcha isna fantaib corop tir. Clandaid fedha isna muighib cor'bad caillte.’

Ba handsin do eirigh os allaid a comgaire doib. Eirgid uile muindtir in righ andiaidh ind ois. Ba handsin gabsat Fir Rois a armo fén don righ, ar ni raibe arm ic neoch dibseom, & romarbsat he iarom.

Ba holc la brathair, la Dondchad, an gnim-sin, & dothaet & gabais ar braigtib eat uile, & dober i n-oentech dia loscodh.

Bá andsin asbert-som fesin: ‘Ní coir dam an gnim-so do denom cen chomairle frim anmcharait, fri Colum cille.’

Tiaghar uadh co Colum cille. Ticc Snedhghus & Mac Riaghla o Cholum cille, co comairle léo dó .i. sesca lanamna do chor dib isan fairrge & co rucad Dia a breith forro.


Doberar eathair beca doib & cuirter forsin fairge, & tiaghar dia coméd cona tístais arculo.

Impait forculo Snédgus & Mac Riaghuil do dol co Hi, co Colum cille.

Amal batar ina curoch imráidhset eturro dul assa ndeóin isand-ocián n-imechtrach a n-ailithri, amal dochotar in sesca lanamna, cencop assa ndeóin dochotar sidhe.

Impaaid iarum desel, & nodo-séiti gaeth sel siartúaidh isan n-ocian n-imechtrach.

Iar tredhinus doib iarom nos-geib ellsgodh itad moire, cor'bo difulaing doib.

Ba handsin airchisis Crist doib, & dos-ber for sruth somblass amal lemnacht, & sassaither dhe. Atlaighit buidhe do Dia, & asberat: ‘Lecam ar n-imrum do Dia, & tabrum ar rama inar nói’. Ocus leacad iarsin a n-imrom aaenur, & doberad a rama ina nói, {MS column 392} & iar tiachtain doib3 is and asbert an fer dana:

    1. Snedhghus & Mac Riaghuil
      do munntir Coluim chilli


Doss-corathar iarsin co hindsi n-aile, & aile airgid dara medon, & cora éisc indti, & ba stiall archapur d'airged an corasain, & nolingdis frisin coraid ecne mora. Ba medithir colpthaigh firend cech eicne dib, & sastai-seom dib.

Imraised iarsin docum indsi aile, & oic imda aracind isin mdsi sin co cendaib cat forro. Aenócloch goidhelach indti, & dothaed isin traigh & ferais failte friu, & asbert friu: ‘Di feraib Gaideal damsa’, ol se. ‘Tancamar lucht curaigh sund, & ní mair dib acht missi m'aenur. Dochotar martra la


hechtrandu aitreabaid in n-innsi-seo’. Ocus dober biadh doib issin curach, & facbait bennachtain & berait bendachtain.

Nodo-séite an gaeth iarsin co hinnsi a mbúi crand mor co n-enlaith alaind. Búi en mor uaso co cind óir & co n-etib argait, & indisid scela tossaigh domain doib, & indisid gein Crist ó Mairi óigh, & a bathais & a césadh & a eiseirghi. Ocus indisidh scela Bratha; & ba handsidhe notuairctis an enlaith uile cona n-eitib a taebo co siltis a mbraenu folo assa taebuib ar omun airdhe mBratha. Ba comnai & ba cretra4 in fuil-sin. Ocus dober an t-én duillind do duillib an craind-sin dona cleirchib, & meit seched daim móir an dulind-sin. Ocus asbert forsna {MS 1318 col. 393}cleircib a tabairt léo for altóir Coluim cille na duille-sin, conid hi cuilefaid Coluim cille andiu: a Cenandus ata-side.

Ba bind ceol ina n-en-sin ic gabail tsalm & cantaci ic moludh in Choimdhidh, ar ba henlaith muigi nime eat, & ni crina corp na duille an craind-sin.

Bennachsat iarsain dona henaib, & imrait co tir n-uathmuir i mbatar dáine co cendaib con, co mongaib ceatra foraib. Dothaed clereach chucu asinn indsi, la forcongra nDé, dia forithin, ar ba gabudh doib and cen biadh; & dober doib iasc & fin & cruithnecht.

Imrait iarsin co rancatar tír a mbatar doine co cendaib mucc forro & siad [...], & meithle mora acco ic buain inn arba a medon an tsamraidh.

Dolotar ass iarsin ina curach, & gabait a salmo & guidhit Dia, co rancatar tir a mbatar díne d'feraib Gaedhel, &


gabsad mna na hindsi sianan doib focetoir, & ba bind lasna cleirchiu.

‘Canaid5 beous’, ol an clereach, ar se: ‘sianan na hErenn andso’.

‘Tiagham, a cliarcho!’ ar na mna, ‘co teagh rig na hindsi, ar ron-bia failte & lesugud and’.

Tiagait na mna & an cleirigh isan teach, & ferais an ri failte frisna cleircho, & cuirit a sciss and, & iarfaigis doib: ‘Can bar cenel, a clerco?’

‘D'feraib Erend duind’, ar an cleirich, ‘ocus do muintir Colaim cille.’

‘Cinnus atathar a n-Erind?’ ol se, ‘ocus cia lin mac {MS 1318 col. 394} as beo do Domnall?’ ar an ri.

Freacrais an cleireach: ‘It bí tri meic do Domnall; & dorochair Fiacha mac Domnaill la Firu Roiss, & rocuirit sesca lanamna dib forsm fairrgi issan gnim-sin.’

‘Is fir duib, a cleirchiu, an scel sin. As messi romarb mac rig Temrach, & as sindi rocuiredh isin fairrgi, & as dunn as maith, ar bem sund noco tí an mesrugudh6, ar is maith atam cen pecadh, cen col, cen gail ar cinadh. Maith an inis a tám, ar is indti atá Hele & Énocc, & as úasal in teghdais a foil Éile.’

Ocus dorigne failte moir frisna cleirchib & adbert: ‘Atait da loch isin tir-seo, loch uisce & loch tened, & ricfadís o cianaib for Erind mani padh Martain & Patraic oc guidhi leo’.

‘Ropad maith lind Enoc d'faicsin,’ ar an clerich.

‘Ata i n-inud diamair cor-risam uile don cath il-lo an messa’.

Imrait iarsin on tir-sin co mbatar for tondgor an mara


fri re ciana co ndorala furtacht mor o Dia doib, ar roptar scitha, co n-acatar inis moir n-aird, & ba haibind & ba noemda bís indti.

Ba maith an rí búi isin insi, & ba noemda & ba firian, & ba mor a sluag, & ba huasal teghdhais an rig-sin, ar boi cét dorus isin tigh-sin, & altoir oc gach doruss, & fer graid ic cach altoir ic idpuirt chuirp Christ.

Dolotar iarum isan tegh-sin an chleirig, & bendachais cach dib dia chele, & dolotar uile iarsin, etir mnai & fer, an sluag mor sin do laim occonn aifriunn.

Daltar fin forro iarsin, & adber in rí frisna clércho: ‘Apraidh’, ar se, ‘fri firu Erind dos-fil dígal mór foruib. Dosn-icbad allmaraigh dar muir & trebfaid có leth an n-indse, & gebtait forbais foraib, & is ed dober doib an dighal sin, a meit doberat eislis for timna nDé & fora forcetol. Mi for bliadain atathi for fairrgi & rosessidh inlan, & indisid bar scela uile d'feraib Eirind’.

16 Sept 1887
Whitley Stokes