Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition: T201045

Muirchú's Life of Patrick

Author: Muirchú maccu Machtheni

Background details and bibliographic information

File Description

Ludwig Bieler

translated by Ludwig Bieler

Electronic edition compiled by Liam Costello

Funded by University College, Cork, School of History

1. First draft.

Extent of text: 13590 words


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Distributed by CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.
Text ID Number: T201045

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This text was digitized and made available online as part of a work placement for the MA in Medieval History. The Latin text is available online, with many other resources, at the RIA's Confessio Hypertext Stack Project (


    Manuscript sources
  1. Dublin, Trinity College Library, Book of Armagh (MS 52), 9th century, fo. 2ra to 8vb. (The opening with the incipit is lost).
  2. Brussels, Bibliothèque royale 64, 11th century, fo. 299r to 303r.
  3. Vienna, Nationalbibliothek Ser. nov. 3642, 8th century, two fragments.
    Secondary literature (as per Donnchadh Ó Corráin's Clavis Litterarum Hibernensium)
  1. Sir Samuel Ferguson, 'On the Patrician Documents', Trans Roy Ir Acad 27 (1877/86) 67–134.
  2. John F. Shearman, Loca patriciana: an identification of localities, chiefly in Leinster, visited by St. Patrick (Dublin 1979).
  3. J.B. Bury, 'The tradition of Muirchú's text', Hermathena, no. 28, (1902) 172–207.
  4. J.B. Bury, The life of St Patrick and his place in history (London 1905; repr. Mineola NY, 1998).
  5. Eoin MacNeill, 'The earliest Lives of St. Patrick', J Roy Soc Antiq Ire 58 (1928) 1–21; repr. in idem, Saint Patrick, ed. John Ryan (Dublin & London, 1964) 113–36.
  6. Eoin MacNeill, 'Dates of texts in the Book of Armagh relating to Saint Patrick', J Roy Soc Antiq Ire 58 (1928) 85–101; repr. in idem, Saint Patrick, ed. John Ryan (Dublin & London, 1964) 137–57.
  7. Paul Walsh, 'Recent studies on the Patrician documents', Ir Ecclesiast Rec, 5th ser., 39 (1932) 232–42.
  8. James F. Kenney, 'St. Patrick and the Patrick legend', Thought 8 (1933) 5–34, 212–29.
  9. Paul Grosjean, 'Analyse du Livre d'Armagh', Analecta Bollandiana 62 (1944) 22–41.
  10. Paul Grosjean, 'Notes sur les documents anciens concernant S. Patrice', Analecta Bollandiana 62 (1944) 42–73.
  11. Kathleen Mulchrone, 'The Old Irish form of Palladius', J Galway Arch Hist Soc 22 (1946) 14–42 (Palladius [gt ] Collait).
  12. Charles A. Bolton, 'St Patrick and the Easter Fire', Ir Ecclesiast Rec, 5th ser., 69 (1947) 215–20.
  13. James Carney, Studies in Irish Literature and history (Dublin 1955: repr. Dublin 1979) 324–73, ('St Patrick and the Irish Kings').
  14. Paul Grosjean, 'Notes d'hagiographie celtique', Analecta Bollandiana 55 (1958) 378–418.
  15. Maurice P. Sheehy, 'The relics of the apostles and early martyrs in the mission of St Patrick', Ir Ecclesiast Rec, 5th ser., 95 (1961) 372–6.
  16. Ludwig Bieler, 'The Celtic Hagiographer', Studia Patristica, 5 (1962) 243–65: 249–56; repr. in idem, Ireland and the culture of early medieval Europe, ed. Richard Sharpe (London 1987) cap. 10.
  17. Ludwig Bieler, 'Muirchu's Interpretationen', Wiener Studien 79 (1966) 530–6, repr. in idem, Studies in the life and legend of St Patrick, ed. Richard Sharpe (London 1986) cap. 7.
  18. Lilli Gjerlow, 'Patrik', in Kulturhistorisk leksikon for nordisk middelalder fra vikingetid til reformationstid, xiii (Copenhagen 1968) 135–6.
  19. Liam De Paor, 'The aggrandisement of Armagh', in T. Desmond Williams (ed.) Historical Studies, 8 (Dublin 1971) 95–110.
  20. Ludwig Bieler, 'Textkritisches zu Muirchú', in O.S. Due, H. Friis Johansen, & B. Dalsgaard Larsen (eds.) Classica & Mediaevalia Francisco Blatt septuagenario dedicata, Classica & Mediaevalia Dissertationes, 9 (Copenhagen, 1973) 398–404, repr. in idem, Studies in the life and legend of St Patrick, ed. Richard Sharpe (London 1986) cap. 8.
  21. K.W. Nicholls, 'Some Patrician sites in eastern Connacht', Dinnseanchas, 5/4 (1973) 114–8.
  22. Ludwig Bieler, 'Muirchú's life of Patrick as a work of literature', Medium Aevum 43 (1974) 219–33; repr. in idem, Studies in the life and legend of St Patrick, ed. Richard Sharpe (London 1986) cap. 9.
  23. Ludwig Bieler, 'Ancient hagiography and the lives of St Patrick', in F. Paolo & M. Barrera (eds.) Forma futuri: studi in onore del cardinale Michele Pellegrino (Turin 1975) 650–5; repr. in idem, Studies in the life and legend of St Patrick, ed. Richard Sharpe (London 1986) cap. 11.
  24. Aubrey Gwynn, 'The problem of the 'dicta Patricii'', Seanchas Ardmhacha 8 (1976) 69–80, idem in 'Brian of Armagh (1005)', ibid., 9 (1978) 35–50.
  25. Richard Sharpe (review of Bieler, The Patrician Texts of the Book of Armagh) Éigse, 18 (1980/1) 329–32 (with corrigenda).
  26. Peter Dronke, 'St. Patrick's reading', Cambr Mediev Celt Stud 1 (1981) 21–8.
  27. Richard Sharpe, 'The Patrician document', Peritia 1 (1982) 363–9, (review of Bieler, The Patrician Texts of the Book of Armagh).
  28. Richard Sharpe, 'Paleographical considerations in the study of the Patrician texts in the Book of Armagh', Scriptorium 36 (1982) 3–28.
  29. Bernadette Cunningham & Raymond Gillespie, 'An Ulster settler and his Irish manuscripts', Éigse 21 (1986) 16–36, esp. 33–4.
  30. Walter Berschin, Biographie und Epochenstil im lateinischen Mittelalter, Quellen und Unterschungen, 9, 3 vols (Stuttgart, 1986–91) ii 238–43.
  31. C.J. Lynn & J.A. McDowell, 'Muirchú's Armagh', Emania, 4 (1988) 42–6.
  32. Jane Stevenson, 'Literacy in Ireland: the evidence of the Patrick dossier in the Book of Armagh', Rosamund McKetterick (ed.) The uses of literacy in early medieval Europe (Cambridge 1990) 11–35.
  33. Charles Doherty, 'The cult of St Patrick and the politics of Armagh in the seventh century', in Jean-Michel Picard (ed.) Ireland and northern France, AD 600–800 (Dublin 1991) 53–94.
  34. David N. Dumville (ed.) Saint Patrick: A.D. 493–1993, Studies in Celtic History 13 (Woodbridge 1993).
  35. Aideen O'Leary, 'An Irish apocryphal apostle: Muirchú's portrayal of Patrick', Harvard Theol Rev 89 (1996) 287–301.
  36. Edel Bhreathnach, 'Temoria: Caput Scottorum?' Ériu 47 (1996) 67–88.
  37. Thomas O'Loughlin, 'Muirchú's Vita Patricii: a note on an unidentified source', Ériu 47 (1996) 89–93.
  38. Gilbert Márkus, 'What were Patrick's alphabets?', Cambr Mediev Celt Stud 31 (1996) 1–15.
  39. John Carey, 'Saint Patrick, the druids, and the end of the world', History of Religions 36/1 (1996) 42–53.
  40. Pádraig Ó Riain, 'When and why Cothraige was first equated to Patricius', Z Celt Philol 49/50 (1997) 698–711.
  41. Joseph Falaky Nagy, Conversing with angels and ancients: literary myths of medieval Ireland (Dublin & Ithaca NY, 1997) 40–134, 199–215, 228–32, 265–78.
  42. Thomas O'Loughlin, Celtic theology: humanity, world and God in early Irish writings (London, 2000) 87–108.
  43. Thomas O'Loughlin, Journeys on the edges: the Celtic tradition (London, 2000).
  44. Thomas O'Loughlin, 'Muirchú's theology of conversion in his Vita Patricii', in Mark Atherton (ed.) Celts and christians: new approaches to the religious tradiitons of Britain and Ireland (Cardiff 2002) 124–45.
  45. Gearóid S. Mac Eoin, 'The four names of St Patrick', in Michael Richter & Jean-Michel Picard (eds.) Ogma: essays in Celtic Studies in honour of Prionséas Ní Chathain (Dublin 2002) 300–11
  46. Thomas O'Loughlin, 'Reading Muirchú's Tara event within its background as a biblical 'Trial of divinities'', in Jane Cartwright (ed.) Celtic hagiography and saint' cults (Cardiff 2003) 123–47.
  47. Nathalie Stalmans, Saints d'Irlande: analyse critique des sources hagiographiques (VIIe–IXe) (Rennes 2003) 68–82, 118–55, 172–6.
  48. Charles Thomas, 'Palladius and Patrick', Ailbhe Mac Shamhráin (ed.) The Island of St Patrick: church and ruling dynasties in Fingal and Meath, 400–1148 (Dublin 2004) 17–37.
  49. Thomas O'Loughlin, 'The capitula of Muirchú's Vita Patricii: do they point to an underlying structure in the text?', Analecta Bollandiana 123 (2005) 79–89.
  50. Thomas O'Loughlin, 'Muirchú's poisoned cup: a note on its sources', Ériu 56 (2006) 157–62.
  51. Thomas Owen Clancy, 'The cult of saints Patrick and Palladius in early medieval Scotland', in Steve Boardman, John Reuben Davies & Eila Williamson (eds.) Saints' cults in the Celtic World, Studies in Celtic History 25 (Woodbridge 2009) 18–41.
  52. Jacqueline Borsje, 'The Celtic evil eye and related mythological motifs in medieval Ireland, Studies in the Hisotry & Anthropology of Religion, 2 (Leuven, Paris and Walpole MA, 2012) 210–3
  53. Damian Bracken, 'The authority of the contemplative in Muirchú's Life of Patrick', in Seán Duffy (ed.) Princes, prelates and poets: essays in honour of Katharine Simms (Dublin 2013) 220–40.
  54. Joseph Falaky Nagy, 'Excavating Loegaire mac Néill', in Dónall Ó Baoill, Donncha Ó hAodha & Nollaig Ó Muraíle (eds.) Saltair saíochta, sanasaíochta agus seanchais: a Festschrift for Gearóid Mac Éoin (Dublin 2013) 181–9, 185–6.
  55. Tom McErlean, 'The archeology of the Ulster cycle on the north coast', in Gregory Toner & Séamus Mac Mathúna (eds.) Ulidia 3: Proceedings of the Third International Conference on the Ulster cycle of tales, University of Ulster, Coleraine, 22–25 June, 2009 (Berlin 2013) 1–16: 12–14 (Patrician references to Dún Sebuirgi al. Sobairche, Petra Patricii).
  56. John Carey, 'Muirchú and the Ulster cycle', in Gregory Toner & Séamus Mac Mathúna (eds.) Ulidia 3: Proceedings of the Third International Conference on the Ulster cycle of tales, University of Ulster, Coleraine, 22–25 June, 2009 (Berlin 2013) 121–6.
    The edition used in the digital edition
  1. The Patrician texts in the Book of Armagh. Ludwig Bieler (ed), First edition [288 pp.] Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies Dublin (1979) . Scriptores Latini Hiberniae. , No. 10


Project Description

CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Sampling Declaration

The present text represents pages 63–123 of the volume. All editorial introduction, notes and indexes have been omitted.

Editorial Declaration


The text has been checked and proofread twice.


The electronic texts represents the edited text.


Quotation marks are rendered q.


The hyphenation is that of the edition.


div0=the Saint's life; div1=the book; div2=the chapter; page-breaks are marked. Paragraphs are marked. Passages in verse are marked. The story was reconstructed by Bieleer from the three manuscripts into chapters 1-22 of Book 1. Manuscripts B and C start a second Book containing according to Bieler, 'a series of disconnected single stories'; the first three not being in A (7).


Names of persons and place names are not tagged. Numbers and dates are not marked. The sentences within each paragraph were numbered by the editor.

Canonical References

This text uses the DIV2 element to represent the Chapter.

Profile Description

Created: Translation by Ludwig Bieler. (1979)

Use of language

Language: [EN] The translation is in English.
Language: [LA] A few words are in Latin.

Revision History