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Cormac and Ciarnat

Author: Unknown

File Description

Kuno Meyer

Electronic edition compiled and proofed by Beatrix Färber

Funded by University College, Cork.

1. First draft, revised and corrected.

Extent of text: 826 words


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: T302001

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


    Manuscript source for Irish text
  1. London, British Library, Egerton MS 1782, fo. 44b (see Catalogue of Manuscripts in the British Museum by Robin Flower, vol. 2 (London 1926) 277).
  1. Kuno Meyer, Stories and songs from Irish manuscripts, III: Cormac and Ciarnat, Otia Merseiana 2 (1900) 75–76.
  1. Kuno Meyer, Stories and songs from Irish manuscripts, III: Cormac and Ciarnat, Otia Merseiana 2 (1900) 75–76.
    Sources, comment on the text, and secondary literature
  1. Joseph Vendryes, Les moulins en Irlande et l'aventure de Ciarnat, Revue Archéologique 14 (1921), 263–274.
  2. An early modern Irish version of the poem is found in Geoffrey Keating, Foras Feasa ar Eirinn, Book 1, p. 336, with facing English translation. Both are available online at CELT, in file G100054 and T100054 respectively.
    The edition used in the digital edition
  1. Kuno Meyer, Stories and songs from Irish manuscripts, III: Cormac and Ciarnat in Otia Merseiana. volume 2, London, Th . Wohlleben (1900-1901) page 75


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CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

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The present text represents page 75 of the printed edition.

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The electronic text represents the edited text.


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Profile Description

Created: Translation by Kuno Meyer Date range: c.1900–1901.

Use of language

Language: [EN] The translation is in English.

Revision History

Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition: T302001

Cormac and Ciarnat: Author: Unknown


Five men of Ulster brought Ciarnat, the daughter of a Pictish king, by force in captivity across the sea and the great main. And Cormac, Conn's grandson, heard that and sent to demand her, and she was taken to his house. Of all the women that lived in her time she was the most beautiful and loveliest. And she was with Cormac as his paramour, and the measure of his love for her was huge. Then Ethne Ollamda, the daughter of Cathair the Great, [Cormac's wife,] heard of her being with him, and she said that they would not be with him together. And Ciarnat must needs be given into the power of Ethne, who put a thrall's work upon her. And this was the thraldom, to grind nine bushels of corn every day. Then Cormac and she came together secretly, so that he made her pregnant, and she was unable to grind. Then Cormac took pity upon her and brought a millwright across the sea, and had a mill made to save Ciarnat.

Hence said the poet:

    1. Ciarnat, the bondmaid of Cormac the just,
      would feed many hundreds by a quern:
      Nine bushels every day she had to grind,
      'twas not the work of an idler.
    2. The noble king surprised her
      as she was alone in her house.
      And made her pregnant secretly,
      so that after that she was unable to grind much.
    3. Conn's grandson took pity upon her,
      he brought a millwright over the great sea;
      The first mill of Cormac, the son of Art,
      was a help to Ciarnat.