Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition

Background details and bibliographic information

The Death of Finn Mac Cumaill

Author: [unknown]

File Description

Kuno Meyer

translated by Kuno MeyerElectronic edition compiled by Beatrix Färber

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

1. First draft, revised and corrected.

Extent of text: 1200 words


CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork
College Road, Cork, Ireland—

(2004) (2008)

Distributed by CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.
Text ID Number: T303003


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


    Manuscript sources
  1. Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Laud 610, folio 122 b2; for details see Brian Ó Cuív, Catalogue of Irish manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford and Oxford College Libraries, Dublin: DIAS 2001, pp. 62–88: 87.
  2. London, British Library MS Egerton 92, folio 6a, 1; for details see Robin Flower (ed.), Catalogue of Irish manuscripts in the British Library (formerly the British Museum) vol. 2, pp. 505–19: 505.
    Editions of this tale
  1. Kuno Meyer (ed.), The Death of Finn Mac Cumaill, Zeitschrift für Celtische Philologie 1 (1897) 462–65.
    Editions of related tales and secondary literature
  1. Kuno Meyer (ed. and trans.), Fianaigecht: Being a collection of hitherto inedited Irish poems and tales relating to Finn and his Fiana, with an English translation. Royal Irish Academy; Todd Lecture Series 16; Dublin and London 1910. (Repr. 1937 and 1993, DIAS, Dublin). [Still a standard work, comprising introduction to the Finn Cycle, annotated editions of various tales, with English translation, Glossary of the rarer words, and indexes of personal names, tribe names and place names.]
  2. Duanaire Finn, the Book of the Lays of Fionn, 3 vols; 1: Irish text with translation (part I); ed. by Eoin Mac Néill, ITS 7 (1908); 2: Irish text with translation (part II); ed. by Gerard Murphy, ITS 28 (1933); 3: Introduction, Notes, Appendices, Indexes and Glossary; ed. by Gerard Murphy, Anne O'Sullivan, Idris L. Foster, Brendan Jennings, ITS 43 (1953).
  3. James MacKillop, Fionn mac Cumhaill: Celtic Myth in English Literature. Syracuse 1986. [With useful, well-structured bibliography on pp. 197–249].
  4. Daithí Ó hÓgáin, Fionn Mac Cumhaill: Images of a Gaelic Hero. Dublin 1988.
  5. Máirtín Ó Briain, Review of above, Bealoideas 57 (1989) 174–183.
  6. Donald E. Meek, Review of above, Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies 22 (Winter 1991) 101–103.
    The edition used in the digital edition
  1. Kuno Meyer, The Death of Finn Mac Cumaill in Zeitschrift für Celtische Philologie. volume 1, Halle/Saale, Max Niemeyer (1897) page 462–465: 464–465


Project Description

CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Sampling Declaration

The present electronic text covers Kuno Meyer's English translation of the two fragments on pp. 464–465. The remaining text of the article, comprising introduction and annotated edition of the fragments, is available in a separate file, G303003.

Editorial Declaration


Text has been proof-read once.


The electronic text represents the edited text. Text supplied by the editor is tagged sup resp="KM".


Direct speech is marked q.


When a hyphenated word (hard or soft) crosses a page break, the break is marked after the completion of the hyphenated word.


div0=the saga fragments; div1=the individual fragment.


Names are not tagged, nor are terms for cultural and social roles. Irish words are tagged.

Canonical References

This text uses the DIV1 element to represent the Fragment.

Profile Description

Created: Translation by Kuno Meyer (c. 1896)

Use of language

Language: [EN] The translation is in English.
Language: [GA] One word is in Irish.

List of Participants

Revision History

Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition: T303003

The Death of Finn Mac Cumaill: Author: [unknown]


(Laud 610, fo. 122b, 2.)

After old age had come to Finn the grandson of Baiscne, his men noticed it on him, and he did not dissemble. ‘Why does he not stay’, said they, ‘near the king of Erin, and we should gather to thee.’ ‘I am well pleased’, said he. Nine remain with Finn. On the morrow one of them went with the fiann. Then another went, and so on until only one man was left with Finn. ‘'Tis true then’, said he, ‘it is old age the men notice on me. I shall know that by my running and leaping, for it is in the east my ‘Leap’ is, even on the Boyne, and I shall go to its brink.’ So he set out from the west on the high-road of Gowran into Mullaghmast. There in Mullaghmast he found a woman making curds [...]


(Egerton 92, fo. 6a, 1).

up to this,’ said Finn [...] said she [...] prophecy [...] ‘that he would die when he should drink
poison out of a horn.’ ‘True, O hag’, said he. ‘Here is my brooch for thee.’ Then he went along the Boyne eastward until he reached his ‘Leap’. Thereupon he fell between two rocks, so that his forehead struck against the rock and his brains were dashed about him, and he died between the two rocks. Fishermen of the Boyne found him. They were four, viz. the three sons of Urgriu, and Aiclech the son of Dubdriu. These found him, and Aiclech cut off his head. And the sons of Urgriu slew him i. e. Aiclech. They took his i. e. Finn's head with them into an empty house, and boiled their fish, and divided it in two. His head was over against the fire. ‘Give it a morsel’, said a black evil-jesting man, ‘since Aiclech is no more(?).’ Three times the fish was divided in two, and still there were three portions. ‘What is this?’ said one of them. Then said the head from before the fire:

    1. 'Tis this that causes the third division
      with you, without any flattery,
      That my bit be given me
      by you at the meal

[...] as the historian says:

    1. Finn was slain,
      'Twas by spears, without a hero's(?) wound:
      Aiclech son of Duibdriu took off
      His head from the glorious son of Muin.