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The Gaelic Maundeville (Author: John Maundeville)

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The Gaelic Maundeville

The Buke of John Maundeville was translated into Irish in the year 1475 by Fingin O'Mahony, an Irish chieftain who died in 1496, and of this translation there are two copies (neither quite complete) and a small fragment. The first, oldest and best copy was written at Cell Créide (Kilcrea), a Franciscan monastery near Bandon, in the co. Cork, and was found by Dr. J. H. Todd1 in the Irish MS. at Rennes,2 ff. 52a2–68b2. The second copy is in the British Museum3, Egerton 1781, ff. 129 a–146b, and was made, probably in Brefne, not later than 1484. This contains at the end a folio the contents of which are wanting in the Rennes MS. For a comparison of these two copies see the Hon. John Abercromby's able paper, Revue Celtique 7, 66. The fragment is also in the British Museum, Additional 33,993, ff. 6a– 7a. It begins thus: ‘Seon Manndual .i. ridire do muindtir righ Saxan’, and ends thus: ‘& rucadur léo co garda Anda i fiadnaisi in espaic agus luchta.’

The present edition reproduces the Rennes copy, so far as it goes, and adds the last folio of the copy in Egerton 1781. I have divided the text into numbered paragraphs, extended the contractions, and given a literal translation and a list of the rarer words.

The Irish preface asserts that Fingin made his version from English, Latin, Greek and Hebrew. But it is clear enough that he worked solely from an English text. See the notes to paragraphs 4, 7, and 138.

For the sources of the Buke of John Maundeville, see Dr. Albert Bovenschen's Quellen für die Reisebeschreibung des Johanns von Mandeville, Berlin, 1888, and Mr. G. F. Warner's magnificent edition of an English and a French text, printed for the Roxburghe Club in 1889, from which I have borrowed most of the identifications of placenames.