Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition: T100054

The History of Ireland

Author: Geoffrey Keating

Background details and bibliographic information

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translated and preface by David Comyn, Patrick S. Dinneen

Electronic edition compiled by the CELT Team

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

1. First draft, revised and corrected.

Extent of text: 173970 words


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Text ID Number: T100054

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    Selected manuscript sources (a full list is given in Cunningham, The World of Geoffrey Keating).
  1. UCD-OFM A 14; begun in convent of Kildare on a 4th of September. Though undated, but believed to be one of the oldest existing transcripts. This was the exemplar kept in the Franciscan Library, Donegal; taken to Louvain, and used by Colgan; later taken to Rome.
  2. TCD 1397 (H 5 26); by Seán mac Torna Ó Maolchonaire, c 1650.
  3. TCD 1403 (H 5 32). 1645 at Donegal (?), scribe of first part Seán mac Torna Ó Maolchonaire; second part written in archaic style; perhaps by M. Ó Cléirigh?
  4. Dublin, King's Inns, copied in July 1657, by Seán mac Torna Ó Maolchonaire for Domhnall Ó Cearbhaill. This text was used by Haliday, and differed "considerably in places from those named."
  5. A MS which was in the possession of D. Comyn, written by Séamas Ó Maolchonaire of Ballymecuda, Co. Clare, dated 1643.
  6. A MS which was in the possession of D. Comyn, written in Dublin by Tadhg Ó Neachtáin dated 1704.
    Editions, translations and adaptations
  1. The general history of Ireland ... Collected by the learned Jeoffrey Keating, D.D. Faithfully translated from the original Irish language, with many curious amendments taken from the Psalters of Tara and Cashel, and other authentic Records by Dermod O'Connor. Dublin, 1723.
  2. The Second edition. With an appendix, collected from the Remarks of the learned Dr. Anthony Raymond of Trim, not in the former edition. Westminster, 1726.
  3. [Another ed.] 2 vols, Newry, 1817.
  4. [Another ed.] Dublin, 1854.
  5. Forus Feasa ar Eirinn, mar a nochtar príomhdhala na hinnse o Pharthalon go Gabhaltus Gall, ar na chnuasach, & air na thiomsúghadh o phríomhlebhraibh Shenchusa Eirenn, agas o iliomad d'ughdaraibh baranthamhla coigcríche le Seathrún Ceitin, ollamh-diadhachta, An 1 chuid. (A complete History of Ireland ... Vol. I). 411 pp, Dublin, 1811.
  6. Díonbhrollach Fórais Feasa ar Éirinn: or Vindication of the Sources of Irish History by Rev. Dr. Geoffrey Keating, being the Introduction to his 'Groundwork of Knowledge of Ireland'. Edited (from MSS) with new translation, notes, vocabulary, etc. by David Comyn. 112pp, Dublin, 1898.
  7. Forus Feasa ar Éirinn. Keating's History of Ireland. Book I, Part I. Edited with Gaelic text (from a MS of T.C.D [H. 5. 26]), literal translation, explanation of Gaelic idioms, complete vocabulary, etc., by P. W. Joyce. 8 + 168 pp, Dublin, 1900.
  8. Foras Feasa ar Eirinn do réir an Athar Seathrun Céiting, ollamh ré diadhachta. The history of Ireland, from the earliest period to the English invasion. Translated from the original Gaelic, and copiously annotated, by John O'Mahony. With topographical appendix. 20 + 746 pp, New York, 1866.
  9. Sgélaigheacht Chéitinn. Stories from Keating's History of Ireland. Edited with Introduction, Notes and Vocabulary, by O.J. Bergin. 20 + 132 pp, Dublin 1909. Second edition, revised and enlarged, 1925. Third edition, revised and enlarged, 1930; reprinted 1981.
  10. Sir John T. Gilbert, Facsimiles of National manuscripts of Ireland. Pt. IV. [Pl LXXIII. History of Ireland by Geoffrey Keating. Trinity College. Commencement of Preface transcr. by John O'Maelchonaire. Text and transl. Pl. LXXIV. Michael Kearney's English version, 1668. Irish and Engl.] London, 1882.
  11. P. S. Dinneen, The history of Ireland. Foras Feasa ar Éirinn. Vol. IV. Containing the genealogies and synchronisms. With an index which includes the elucidation of place names and annotations to text of vols. I. II. III. Compiled and edited by Rev. Patrick S. Dinneen. (Irish Texts Society Vol XV.) 483 pp, London, 1914.
  12. Pádraig de Barra/Seathrún Céitinn, 'Foras feasa ar Éirinn', athnua le Pádraig de Barra. Imleabhar 1: .i. An díonbhrollach agus an chéad leabhar de Foras feasa ar Éirinn Seathrún Céitinn. Dublin 1982. Imleabhar II .i. an dara leabhar de Foras feasa ar Éirinn le Seathrún Céitinn. Dublin 1983.
    Further reading: a selection
  1. Ulick de Burgh, Earl of Clanricarde (ed), Memoirs of the Right Honourable The Marquis of Clanricarde, Lord Deputy General of Ireland, containing Several Original Papers and Letters of King Charles II, Queen Mother, the Duke of York, the Duke of Lorrain, the Marquis of Ormond, Archbishop of Tuam, Lord Viscount Taaffe, &c. relating to the Treaty between the Duke of Lorrain and the Irish Commissioners, from February 1650, to August 1653. Publish'd from his Lordship's Original MSS. To which is Prefix'd, a Dissertation, wherein some Passages of these Memoirs are illustrated. With a Digression containing several curious Observations concerning the Antiquities of Ireland. London: Printed for James Woodman, at Camden's Head, under Will's Coffee-House, in Bow-Street, Covent-Garden, 1722.
  2. John O'Donovan, Annala Rioghachta Eireann: Annals of the kingdom of Ireland by the Four Masters, from the earliest period to the year 1616. Edited from MSS in the Library of the Royal Irish Academy and of Trinity College Dublin with a translation and copious notes. (Dublin 1848–51).
  3. Eugene O'Curry, Lectures on the manuscript materials of ancient Irish history (Dublin and New York 1861; repr. Dublin 1878; repr. Dublin 1995). [comments on Keating's FFE].
  4. Thomas D'Arcy McGee, A popular History of Ireland: from the earliest Period to the Emancipation of the Catholics, 2 vols. (New York 1863).
  5. William P. Burke, 'Geoffry Keating', Journal of the Waterford and South-East of Ireland Archaeological Society 1, no. 4 (1895) 173–82.
  6. William P. Burke, 'Correspondence', Journal of the Waterford Archaeological Society 2 (1896) 238–239.
  7. Douglas Hyde, Literary History of Ireland. From earliest tiems to the present day [general remarks about Keating's work and style in relation to other writers] (2nd impression, New York 1901) 556–557; 580.
  8. Eoin Cathmhaolach Mac Giolla Eáin (=John MacErlean), Dánta Amhráin is Caointe Shethrúin Chétinn; Dochtúir diadhachta (1570-1650 A.D.) (Baile Átha Cliath [Dublin] 1900).
  9. Ris[t]eárd Ó Foghludha (=Richard Foley), Saoghal-ré Sheathrúin Céitinn: Sacart is dochtúir san diadhacht, staruidhe, file, ughdar, &c. Risteard Ó Foghludha (Richard Foley or 'Fiachra Éilgeach') do scríbh, (Dublin 1908. Reprinted from Gaelic Journal XVIII, 1–12, 47–57, 1908.)
  10. Richard Henebry, 'Geoffrey Keating', in: Journal of the Ivernian Society 5 (1913) 197–202.
  11. Gerald O'Nolan, A critical analysis of Keating's prose (Dublin: Educational Co. of Ireland 1922).
  12. Geoffrey Coulter, 'Dr. Geoffrey Keating. A learned outlaw. History written in a cave', Irish Times, 25 October 1929, p. 4.
  13. Anne Cronin, 'The sources of Keating's Forus feasa ar Éirinn', in: Éigse 4, 1943/44 (1945) (pt. 4) 235–79, 1945/47 (1948) (pt. 2, 1946) 122–35 [no more publ.] 1. The printed sources; 2. Manuscript sources, (1) The manuscript sources of book 1, chaps. 4–23).
  14. M. J. Connellan, 'The see of Tuaim in Rath Breasail synod', in: Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society 24 (1950/51) 19–26. (ad FF iii, 302–5).
  15. Pádraig Ó Súilleabháin, 'Céitinn agus Caesarius Heisterbacensis', in: Éigse 9 (1958/61), (pt. 4) 242 (Varia, no. 4).
  16. Brian Ó Cuív, (ed), An eighteenth-century account of Keating and his Foras feasa ar Éirinn, in: Éigse 9 (1958) 263–69.
  17. Cainneach Ó Maonaigh, Scríbhneoirí Gaeilge an seachtú haois déag. Studia Hibernica 2 (1962) 182–208.
  18. Brian Ó Cuív (ed), 'A seventeenth-century criticism of Keating's Forus Feasa ar Éirinn', in: Éigse 11/ 2 (1965) 119–140. [From MS RIA. 23 M 40; with notes].
  19. Brian Ó Cuív (ed), l. Labraid Loingsech [incl. ed. of relevant scholia to ACC, from MS NLI G 50; on Keating's use of source material for the Labraid Loingsech section in FF] in: Éigse 11, (1964/66) (pt. 3, 1965) 167–187, 290.
  20. Aidan Clarke, The Old English in Ireland 1625–42 (London 1966).
  21. Pádraig Ó Fiannachta, 'Stair finnscéal agus annála', in: Léachtaí Cholm Chille 2/1 (1971) 5–13.
  22. Francis John Byrne, 'Senchas: The nature of Gaelic historical tradition,' Historical Studies, 9 (1974) 137–59 (esp. 147–148: 'FFÉ as an example of pseudo-history and blending of seanchas with continental models of history).
  23. Brian Ó Cuív, 'The Irish language in the early modern period', in: Theodore William Moody; Francis Xavier Martin; F. J. Byrne (eds), A new history of Ireland, vol. 3: Early Modern Ireland, 1534–1691 (Oxford 1976) 509–545.
  24. Kathleen Hughes, The Early Celtic Idea of History and the Modern Historian (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1977), esp. 19–22: 'FFÉ as an example of pseudo-history and blending of seanchas with continental models of history'.
  25. Seán Ó Dúshláine, Nóta ar cheapadóireacht an Chéitinnigh, in: Éigse 18 (1980–81) 87–92.
  26. Patrick J. Corish, The Catholic Community in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Dublin 1981).
  27. Muireann Ní Bhrolcháin, 'A possible source for Keating's Forus feasa ar Éirinn', in: Éigse 19 (1982–83) 61–81.
  28. Nicholas Canny, 'The Formation of the Irish Mind: Religion, Politics and Gaelic Irish Literature 1580–1750', Past & Present 95 (1982) 91–116.
  29. Breandán Ó Buachalla, 'Annála Ríoghachta Éireann' agus 'Foras Feasa ar Éirinn': an Comhthéacs Comhaimseartha, in: Studia Hibernica 22–23 (1982–83) 59–105.
  30. Seán Ó Dúshláine, 'More about Keating's use of the simile of the Dung-Beetle', in: Zeitschrift für Celtische Philologie 40 (1984) 282–285.
  31. Seán Ó Dúshláine, 'Seathrún Céitinn agus an stíl bharócach a thug sé go h-Éirinn', in: Feasta 37/10 (1984) 10–15.
  32. Donnchadh Ó Corráin, 'Seathrún Céitinn (c.1580–c.1644): an cúlra stairiúil', in: Liam Prút (ed) Dúchas 1986–1989 (Baile Átha Cliath 1990).
  33. Bernadette Cunningham, 'Seventeenth-century interpretations of the past: the case of Geoffrey Keating', Irish Historical Studies 25/ (1986) 116–128.
  34. Joseph Th. Leerssen, Mere Irish and Fíor-Ghael: Studies in the idea of Irish nationality, its development and literay expression prior to the nineteenth century (Amsterdam/Philadelphia 1986).
  35. Diarmaid Ó Catháin, Dermot O'Connor: translator of Keating, in: Eighteenth-Century Ireland. Iris an Dá Chultúr 2 (1987) 67–87.
  36. James Stewart, 'Topographia Hiberniae', Celtica 21 (1990) 642–657.
  37. Michelle O'Riordan, The Gaelic mind and the collapse of the Gaelic world (Studies in Irish history) (Cork 1991).
  38. Brendan Bradshaw, 'Geoffrey Keating: apologist of Irish Ireland', in: Brendan Bradshaw, Andrew Hadfield and Willy Maley (eds), Representing Ireland: literature and the origins of the conflict, 1534–1660, (Cambridge 1993) 166–190.
  39. Michael Olden, 'Geoffrey Keating – Seathrún Céitinn: Tipperary priest and scholar, 1570–1649', in: Michael Hallinan (ed), Tipperary county: people and places: an anthology of the evolution of county Tipperary, some historical events and the history of the principal towns in the county (Dublin 1993) 14–22.
  40. Marc Caball, 'Providence and exile in early seventeenth-century Ireland', in: Irish Historical Studies, 29 (1994) 174–188.
  41. Michelle O'Riordan,'"Political" poems in the mid-seventeenth-century crisis', in: Jane H. Ohlmeyer (ed), Ireland from Independence to Occupation 1641–1660 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1995) 112–27.
  42. Mícheál Mac Craith, 'Creideamh agus athartha: idéeoloaíocht pholaitíochta agus aos léinn na Gaeilge i dthús an seachtú haois déag', in: Máirín Ní Dhonnchadha (ed), Nua-léamha: gnéithe de chultúr, stair agus polaitíocht na hÉireann, c1600–c1900 (Aspects of Irish Culture, History, and Politics) (Baile Átha Cliath/Dublin 1996) 7–19.
  43. Bernadette Cunningham, 'Representations of king, parliament and the Irish people in Geoffrey Keating's Foras feasa ar Éirinn and John Lynch's Cambrensis eversus (1662)', in: Jane Ohlmyer (ed), Political thought in seventeenth-century Ireland, Cambridge 2000, 131–54.
  44. Nicholas Canny (ed), Making Ireland British, 1580–1650 (Oxford 2001).
  45. Bernadette Cunningham, The World of Geoffrey Keating. History, myth and religion in seventeenth century Ireland (Dublin 2000; paperback ed. 2004).
  46. Bernadette Cunningham and Raymond Gillespie, Patrick Logan and 'Foras Feasa ar Éirinn', Éigse 32 (2000) 146–152.
  47. Bernadette Cunningham, 'Geoffrey Keating's Foras Feasa ar Érinn', History Ireland, 9/1, Spring 2001.
  48. Bernadette Cunningham, 'Geoffrey Keating's family connections', in: Tipperary Historical Journal (2002) 59–67.
  49. David Berman & Alan Harrison, 'John Toland and Keating's History of Ireland', in: Donegal Annual 36 (1984) 25–29.
  50. Marina Keating, 'Geoffrey Keating's Foras Feasa ar Eirinn: an exercise in historical preservation or historiographical production?' Galway: National University of Ireland, 2002. (M.A. Thesis (Minor) Dept of English).
  51. Ray Cashman, 'Ethnohistorical Preservation and Persuasion in Foras Feasa ar Éirinn', in: New Hibernia Review 5.4 (2001) 147–152.
  52. Alan Harrison, Ag Cruinniú Meala: Anthony Raymond (1625–1726), ministéir protastúnach agus léann na Gaeilge i mBaile Átha Cliath (Dublin 1988).
  53. Katharine Simms, 'Bards and barons: the Anglo-Irish aristocracy and the native culture', in: Robert Bartlett and Angus Mackay (eds) Medieval frontier societies. Oxford (1989) 177–197.
  54. Pádraig Ó Riain, 'The Psalter of Cashel: a preliminary list of contents', in: Éigse 23 (1989) 107–130.
  55. Máire Ní Mhurchú & Diarmuid Breathnach (éag.), 1560–781 Beathaisnéis, uimhir a seacht, Leabhair Taighde, an 89ú Imleabhar (Baile Átha Cliath: An Clóchomar Teoranta 2001).
  56. Joseph Francis Kukhta 'Sources for further Research: Michael Kearney: a missing link to the mysterious Geoffrey Keating?', Canadian Journal of Irish Studies 31/2 (Fall 2005) 50–53.
  57. Edwards, David, 'A haven of popery: English Catholic migration to Ireland in the age of plantations', in: Alan Ford and John Mc Cafferty (eds), The origins of sectarianism in early modern Ireland (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005) 95–126.
  58. Breandán Ó Buachalla, The Crown of Ireland (Galway 2006).
  59. Bernadette Cunningham, O'Donnell histories: Donegal and the Annals of the Four Masters, (Rathmullan: Rathmullan & District Local History Society 2007).
  60. Pádraig Ó Riain (ed), Geoffrey Keating: Reassessments, ITS, Subsidiary Series 19 (London 2008).
  61. Beatrix Färber, 'Bedeutung und Rezeptionsgeschichte des 'Foras Feasa ar Éirinn', Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 59 (2012) 97–118.
  62. Beatrix Färber, Geoffrey Keating's Foras Feasa ar Éirinn in manuscripts, print and electronic edition, MPhil by Independent Research, School of History, University College Cork (2013).
  63. Benjamin Hazard and Marc Caball (eds), 'A late seventeenth-century, partial English translation of the preface to Geoffrey Keating's Foras Feasa ar Eirinn, in Analecta Hibernica 44 (2013), 15-49.
  64. Johannes Boemus (=Hans Böhm), 'Mores, leges, et ritus omnium gentium' (Augsburg 1520, often reprinted). [Mentioned by Keating p. 228, Bk 1. Haliday's and O'Mahony's reading 'Johannes Baronius' is incorrect.]
  65. William Camden, Britannia [in Latin] (London 1610). The first translation into English by Philemon Holland was published in 1610. (A full critical edition in Latin and English is available at A second edition, translated into English, with additions and improvements was published by Dr Edmund Gibson 1722.
  66. Colm Lennon, Primate Richard Creagh and the Beginnings of the Irish Counter-Reformation, Archivium Hibernicum 51 (1997) 74–86. [On the scholarly works of bishop Richard Creagh].
  67. Aided Néill Nóigiallaig (The Death of Niall of the Nine Hostages), ed. by Kuno Meyer, Archiv für Celtische Lexikographie 3 (1907) 323–324 (text available online at CELT in file G302021). For another version of the same text, see Kuno Meyer, Otia Merseiana 2 (1900–1901), 84–92. (Text and English translation available online at CELT in files G302003 and T302003.)
    The edition used in the digital edition
  1. The History of Ireland by Geoffrey Keating, D.D. . David Comyn (ed), Patrick S. Dinneen (ed), First edition [The first three of four volumes in the series.] David Nutt, for the Irish Texts SocietyLondon (1902–1914) . Irish Texts Society [Comann na Sgríbheann Gaedhilge]. , No. 4; 8 and 9


Project Description

CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Sampling Declaration

The present text represents pages iii-xviii and 3-237 of vol. 1; 3-413 of vol. 2; 3-369 of vol. 3. Notes and indexes have been omitted; editorial corrigenda are integrated into the electronic edition. Missing text supplied by the editor is tagged SUP.

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Text has been checked and proofread twice (vol.3 three times) and parsed using NSGMLS. All regularizations are tagged. The History of Ireland is a large and complex work. Any corrections of errors in the original text, as edited by Comyn and Dinneen, or in this digital edition are welcome and will be credited to the scholars who submit them.


The electronic text represents the edited text.


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div0=the history; div1=the book; div2=the section; div3=the subsection; paragraphs are marked; passages of verse occurring within paragraphs are treated as embedded texts; the stanzas are marked lg; metrical lines are marked l. Page-breaks are marked pb n="nn".

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Personal, collective and place names have not been tagged. Neither have social and professional roles. Obsolete names, however, have been supplied with the regularized form given in the editor's footnotes. Some cultural terms of special importance mentioned in the text, like Leabhar Gabhála and the Lia Fáil, have been tagged. Titles of works/names of books mentioned by Keating have been tagged. Further encoding is envisaged in a future edition.

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Profile Description

Created: Translated by David Comyn and Patrick S. Dinneen Date range: c. 1898-1908.

Use of language

Language: [EN] The translation is in English.
Language: [GA] Some quotations, terms and phrases are in Irish.
Language: [LA] Some quotations, terms and phrases are in Latin.
Language: [GR] One term is in Greek (latinised).

Revision History