Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition: T100001A

The Annals of Ulster

Author: [unknown]

Background details and bibliographic information

File Description

Electronic edition compiled by Pádraig Bambury, Stephen Beechinor

Funded by University College, Cork and
Professor Marianne McDonald via the CELT Project.

1. First draft, revised and corrected.

Proof corrections by Pádraig Bambury, Stephen Beechinor

Extent of text: 91 260 words; 1 volume


CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College Cork
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Distributed by CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.
Text ID Number: T100001A

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Available with prior consent of the CELT project for purposes of academic research and teaching only.


Text of volume 1 copyright to the School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.


[In this digital edition we have used Mac Airt & Mac Niocaill's translation of their edition (1983) of the annals for the entries up to AD 1131. Their translation (pp 3-37) of the Pre-Patrician or Irish World-Chronicle, which is best treated as a separate text, was omitted. Their edition extends from AD 431 to AD 1131.2. For the rest of the entries up to AD 1201 Hennessy & Mac Carthy's translation of their edition was used. The remainder of volumes 2 and 3 is in preparation.]


    Manuscript sources
  1. (i) Dublin, Trinity College Library, MS 1282 (olim H. 1. 8, siglum H, earlier A; vellum; s. xv 2/xvi in; for a description of the MS see Abbott and Gwynn, Catalogue of Irish manuscripts in Trinity College Library (Dublin 1921) 20 and B. Mac Carthy, Annals of Ulster iv (Dublin 1901) ii-iii; scribe Ruaidhri Ó Luinín (to AD 1489), additional hands to 1504, 1510 (?); ends imperfect). There are lacunae for the years 1102-8, 1115.4-1162.3, and 1374-8. The first lacuna may be supplied from MS (ii); part of the second, viz. from 1115.5 to 1131.2 and from 1155 to 1162.3, may again be supplied from MS (ii); but for 1131.3 to late 1155 both MSS are lacunose. Literature: TCL Ir Cat 20; B. Mac Carthy (ed.) Annals of Ulster, iv (Dublin, 1901) pp. ii-iii.
  2. (ii) Oxford, Bodleian Library, Rawlinson B 489, siglum R, earlier B; vellum; s. xvi 1; patron Ruaidhrí Mac Craith of Termonmagrath. There are two main scribes: (i) Ruaidhrí Ó Casaide, archdeacon of Clogher (died 1541) who wrote from the beginning to f. 32ra9 (AD 952); and (ii) Ruaidhri Ó Luinín, ollam to Maguire (died 1528) who continued the work to f. 107vb12 (AD 1507). A third scribe, whose name is not known, began on f. 107vb (the annal for 1507) continued, alternating from time to time with a fourth. Many hands appear in later folios, among them that of Matha Ó Luinín (died 1588) grandson of Ruaidhri Ó Luinín. MS (ii) is a fair copy of MS (i) but with supplementary entries, and it preserves some text lost by mutilation in MS (i) as detailed above. Lacunae: 1131.3-1155, 1307-15. Literature: Oxford Cat i 153-63; B. Mac Carthy (ed.) Annals of Ulster, iv (Dublin, 1901) pp. iv-vi; Francis John Byrne, 1000 years of Irish script (Oxford: Bodleian Library 1979) [sect ]19.
  3. (iii) (a) London, BL, Additional 4795 olim Clarendon xlix; paper; s. xvii; many hands. The text extends from AD 431 to 1132.1 and 1156 to 1307. (b) London, BL, Additional 4789 olim Clarendon xliii, 318a-321b; paper; s. xvii?. The text extends from AD 1486 to 1504. The siglum for these two MSS is C. This is a translation into English of the greater part of the Irish text. Where original Latin occurs, it is retained. This text has some notice of events not recorded in the Irish original. Literature: B. Mac Carthy (ed.) Annals of Ulster, iv (Dublin, 1901) pp. vi-vii.
  4. (iv) London, British Library, Additional 4784 olim Clarendon xx, ff. 21a-32b, siglum D; paper. This is a translation into Latin of the Irish text, AD 1200-96, with some material from other sources. Literature: B. Mac Carthy (ed.) Annals of Ulster, iv (Dublin, 1901) pp. vi-vii.
  1. W. M. Hennessy & B. Mac Carthy, Annala Uladh: Annals of Ulster otherwise Annala Senait, Annals of Senat: a chronicle of Irish affairs from A.D. 431 to A.D. 1540. 4 vols. (Dublin, 1887-1901, repr. [with fresh introduction and bibliography, ed. Nollaig Ó Muraíle] Dublin, 1998). Volume i, AD 431–1056; volume ii, 1057–1378; volume iii, 1379–1588; volume iv, introduction and indexes. W. M. Hennessy edited volume 1; B. Mac Carthy edited volumes 2-3, and compiled volume 4 (the introduction and index). MS 1 (excluding the so-called Pre-Patrician Annals, f. 12r–14v) is printed with intermittent distinction of hands (by parentheses, brackets, textual footnotes) and omission of some interlinear interpolations; readings from MS 2 are sometimes cited in text or in footnotes, and text lost in MS 1 is supplied from MS 2. MSS 3 and 4 are occasionally cited in footnotes, in the translation (s.a. 1132 for example), and ? in text. Expansions of manuscript abbreviations are not indicated.
  2. Seán Mac Airt & Gearóid Mac Niocaill, (ed. & trans.) The Annals of Ulster (to A.D. 1131) (Dublin 1983). Text from MS 1 (including f. 12r–14v, the so-called Pre-Patrician Annals) with distinction of the main hand and the hands of successive interpolators and glossators; additional material from MS 2 is printed and distinguished. Expansions of manuscript abbreviations are indicated.
  1. Hennessy & Mac Carthy (1887–1901).
  2. Mac Airt & Mac Niocaill (1983)–to 1131.
  1. TCL Ir Cat 20.
  2. Oxford Cat i 153-63.
  3. H. d'Arbois de Jubainville (notice of Hennessy, vol. i) Revue Celtique 8 (1888) 402-406.
  4. Whitley Stokes, 'Notes on the Annals of Ulster', Academy 36 (1889) 207-8, 223-5, 240-1; 50 (1896) 182-3, 223-4 [criticism of, and corrigenda to, the edition of Hennessy & Mac Carthy, vols i and iii].
  5. Whitley Stokes, 'The Annals of Ulster', Revue Celtique 18 (1897) 74-86 [reviews of the edition of Hennessy & Mac Carthy, ii-iii, with numerous corrections].
  6. Tomás Ó Máille, The language of the Annals of Ulster (Manchester, 1910).
  7. Seán Ó Catháin, 'Some studies in the development from Middle to Modern Irish, based on the Annals of Ulster', Zeitschrift für Celtische Philologie 19 (1933) 1-47.
  8. Paul Walsh, 'The dating of Irish annals', Ir Hist Stud 2 (1941) 355-75.
  9. T. F. O'Rahilly, Early Irish history and mythology (Dublin, 1946) 235-59, 501-12.
  10. Vernam Hull, 'The Middle Irish preterite passive plural in the Annals of Ulster', Language 28 (1952) 107-8.
  11. Aubrey Gwynn, 'Cathal mac Maghnusa and the Annals of Ulster', Clogher Rec 2 (1958-9) 230-43, 370-84, repr. (with introduction [1-25], corrections and annotations [53-57] and bibliography [59-61])in Nollaig Ó Muraíle (ed.) Aubrey Gwynn, Cathal Óg mac Maghnusa and the Annals of Ulster, (Enniskillen, 1998).
  12. Gearóid Mac Niocaill, 'Annála Uladh agus Annála Locha Cé, 1014-1220', Galvia 6 (1959) 18-25.
  13. J. Bannerman, 'Notes on the Scottish entries in the early Irish annals', Scott Gaelic Stud 11 (1968) 149-70, repr. in John Bannerman, Studies in the history of Dalriada (Edinburgh & London, 1974) 9-26.
  14. Isabel Henderson, 'North Pictland', in Edward Meldrum (ed.) The Dark Ages in the Highland (Inverness, 1970) 37-52.
  15. Kathleen Hughes, Early christian Ireland: introduction to the sources (London & Ithaca NY, 1972) 99-159.
  16. A. P. Smyth, 'The earliest Irish annals: their first contemporary entries, and the earliest centres of recording', Proc Roy Ir Acad (C) 72 (1972) 1-48.
  17. Marjorie O. Anderson, Kings and kingship in early Scotland (Edinburgh & London, 1973) 1-42.
  18. Alfred P. Smyth, 'The Húi Néill and the Leinstermen in the Annals of Ulster, 431-516 A. D.', Études Celtiques 14, (1974) 121-43.
  19. Gearóid Mac Niocaill, The medieval Irish annals (Dublin, 1975).
  20. F. J. Byrne, 1000 years of Irish script (Oxford, 1979) [sect ]19.
  21. A. D. S. MacDonald, 'Notes on monastic archaeology and the Annals of Ulster, 650-1050', in Donnchadh Ó[nbsp ]Corráin (ed.) Irish antiquity: essays and studies presented to Professor M.[nbsp ]J. O'Kelly (Cork, 1981) 304-19.
  22. A. D. S. MacDonald, 'Notes on terminology in the Annals of Ulster, 650-1050', Peritia 1 (1982) 329-33.
  23. David N. Dumville, 'Latin and Irish in the Annals of Ulster, AD 431-1050', in Dorothy Whitelock, Rosamond McKitterick & David N. Dumville (eds.) Ireland in early medieval Europe: studies in memory of Kathleen Hughes (Cambridge, 1982) 320-41.
  24. Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, 'Irish annals from Easter tables', Peritia 2 (1983) 74-86.
  25. David N. Dumville, 'On editing and translating medieval Irish chronicles: The Annals of Ulster', Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies, 10 (1985) 67-86.
  26. Richard Sharpe, 'Saint Mauchteus, discipulus Patricii', in Alfred Bammesberger & Alfred Wollmann (eds.) Britain 400-600: language and history (Heidelberg, 1990) 85-93.
  27. Daniel P. Mc Carthy, 'The computus and the Annals of Ulster', Peritia 8 (1994) 46-79.
  28. Michael Meckler, 'The Annals of Ulster and the date of the meeting of Druim Cett', Peritia 11 (1997) 44-52.
  29. Bart Jaski, 'Additional notes to the Annals of Ulster', Ériu 48 (1997) 103-52.
  30. Daniel P. Mc Carthy, 'The chronology of the Irish annals', Proc Roy Ir Acad (C) 98 (1998) 203-55.
  31. Nollaig Ó Muraíle, 'Cathal Mac Maghnusa: his time, life and legacy', Clogher Rec 16/2 (1998) 45-64.
  32. Francis John Byrne, 'Chiasmus and hyperbaton in the Annals of Ulster', in Michael Richter & Jean-Michel Picard (eds.) Ogma: essays in Celtic studies in honour of Próinséas Ní Chatháin (Dublin, 2002) 54-64.
  33. Daniel P. Mc Carthy, on his website at offers comprehensive information on two traditions of dating used in the Irish Annals, together with two ancillary articles, 'Chronological synchronisation of the Irish annals', and 'Collation of the Irish regnal canon'.
  34. Daniel P. Mc Carthy, 'The original compilation of the Annals of Ulster', Studia Celtica 38 (2004) 77–84.
  35. Daniel P. Mc Carthy, The Irish Annals: their genesis, evolution and history (Dublin 2008).
    The edition used in the digital edition
  1. The Annals of Ulster. Seán Mac Airt and Gearóid Mac Niocaill First edition [xv + 2 plates + 579 pp.] School of Celtic Studies (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies) Dublin (1983)
  2. Annala Uladh. Annals of Ulster, otherwise Annala Senait, Annals of Senat; a chronicle of Irish affairs A.D. 431-1131: 1155-1541. Vol.II A.D. 1057-1131:1155-1378.. B. Mac Carthy (ed), First edition [iv + 565] Her Majesty's Stationery OfficeDublin (1893)


Project Description

CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Sampling Declaration

The present electronic text represents pp. 39-579 of the translation of the edition of Mac Airt and Mac Niocaill and pp. 127-237 of the translation of Mac Carthy's edition. Missing text supplied by the editors in the body of the work is tagged SUP. Editorial and scribal corrections entered in the body of the work are tagged CORR and the original reading is kept in the SIC attribute.

Editorial Declaration


The text has been thoroughly checked and proofread twice. There will be errors and ambiguities in this text as there are in the original editions. Readers are invited to submit corrections and emendations both of this electronic edition and of the editions on which it is based. Any improvements will be credited to the scholars who submit them.


The electronic text represents the translated text without alterations.

The few examples of in the print text are not retained since they are merely graphical.

Otherwise, normal CELT conventions have been applied in regard to text divisions, word segmentation, and capitalization in proper names.


The few quotations are tagged q. Citations from other texts, including scripture, are tagged in accordance with TEI guidelines.


Soft hyphens are silently removed. When a hyphenated word (hard or soft) crosses a page-break or line-break, the page-break is marked after the completion of the hyphenated word.


div0=the whole work; div1=the individual annal (the text for a given year); div2=the individual entry in an annal, which is numbered in the translation. Passages of verse occurring within text paragraphs or within marginalia are treated as embedded texts and, where relevant, stanzas are enumerated in the structural mark-up. The page-breaks of the printed texts are marked.


Names have not been tagged. Offices and titles (king, lord, abbot, erenagh, coarb, lector, sage, oeconomus, etc.) have not been tagged. Numbers have not been tagged. Dates and untranslated Gaelic terms have been tagged.

Canonical References

This text uses the DIV1 element to represent the Year.

Refs: EVENT (<DIV2>)

This text uses the DIV1 element to represent the Year.

Profile Description

Created: By Seán Mac Airt (translation); revision of translation by Gearóid Mac Niocaill. B. Mac Carthy (translation). Date range: c.1893 (Mac Carthy) . Date range: 1952-1983 (Mac Airt/Mac Niocaill).

Use of language

Language: [EN] The translation is in English.
Language: [GA] Some words, terms and phrases are in Irish.
Language: [LA] Some words and phrases are in Latin.

Revision History