Agallamh Oisín agus Phádraig ‘The dialogue between Oisín and Patrick’

  • Early Modern Irish, Modern Irish
  • verse
  • Classical Irish poetry, Finn Cycle

The Agallamh Oisín agus Phádraig, as intended here, refers to a series of poems that have been brought together in the framework of a dialogue between St Patrick and Finn's son Oisín.

Speaker: Saint PatrickSaint Patrick
(fl. 5th century)
St Patrick
No short description available
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Oisín mac FinnOisín mac Finn
(time-frame ass. with Finn Cycle, Finn mac Cumaill, Saint Patrick, Cormac mac Airt)
A fían-warrior, son of Finn, in the Finn Cycle of medieval Irish literature
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Síle Ní Mhurchú has identified as many as 75 manuscript copies of the Agallamh, including: 

  1. 17 copies with eleven lays in the order as you will see presented in the table of contents. 
  2. 24 copies that are incomplete (whether due to omission or loss of leaves) but follow the same order 
  3. 25 copies that are complete or near complete, but do not follow the same order or contain additions of other material; 9 such manuscripts contain a version with five additional lays, possibly of North Cork provenance. In addition, there are many attestations of individual lays. 

Some manuscript copies:

  • Early Modern Irish Modern Irish
  • Late Early Modern Irish, but with later stages of development.
verse (primary)
Associated items
Agallamh Oisín agus PhádraigAgallamh Oisín agus Phádraig

Early Modern Irish fíanaigecht poem, which occurs in the collection Duanaire Finn as well as the later Agallamh Oisín agus Phádraig

Aithrí agus bás OisínAithrí agus bás OisínFinal piece of Agallamh Oisín agus Phádraig, in which Patrick tricks Oisín into asking him for forgiveness and grants him absolution. Oisín dies not long afterwards.Anmanna na laochra do thit ar Chnoc an ÁirAnmanna na laochra do thit ar Chnoc an ÁirAnmanna na ngadhar is na gconAnmanna na ngadhar is na gconCaoineadh Áille ShnuaghealCaoineadh Áille ShnuaghealCath Chnoic an ÁirCath Chnoic an ÁirLaoi an bhraitLaoi an bhraitLaoi Mheargaigh na LannLaoi Mheargaigh na LannLaoi na seilgeLaoi na seilgeSeilg Sléibhe FuaidSeilg Sléibhe FuaidSeilg Sléibhe gCuilinnSeilg Sléibhe gCuilinn


Classical Irish poetryClassical Irish poetry

Finn Cycle
Finn Cycle
id. 578


Work in progress. Per Ní Mhurchú, Síle, “Agallamh Oisín agus Phádraig”, in The Gaelic Finn tradition (2012), the following list follows the arrangement of the lays as it is found in 17 manuscript copies.

A Oisín, is fada do shúan
Cath Chnoic an ÁirThe battle of Cnoc an Áir
Laoi Mheargaigh na LannThe lay of Meargach na Lann
Caoineadh Áille ShnuaghealThe lamentation of Áille Shnuagheal
Anmanna na laochra do thit ar Chnoc an ÁirThe names of the warriors who fell at Cnoc an Áir
Anmanna na ngadhar is na gconThe names of the dogs and hounds
Laoi na seilgeThe lay of the hunt
Seilg Sléibhe gCuilinnThe hunt of Slíab Cuilinn
La da raibh Fionn ag ol
Seilg Sléibhe FuaidThe hunt of Slíab Fuaid
Aithrí agus bás OisínThe repentance and death of Oisín


Primary sources

“To date, the published editions of fiannaigheacht lays have not provided a text of AOP that reflects what is found in the manuscripts” (Síle Ní Mhurchú, ‘Agallamh Oisín agus Phádraig: composition and transmission’ in The Gaelic Finn tradition... (2012): 206).
[ed.] Ó Siochfhradha, Pádraig [An Seabhac], Laoithe na Féinne, Dublin: An Chumainn le Béaloideas Éireann, 1941.
 : <link>
An edition aimed at the wider public rather than a scholarly audience.
[ed.] [tr.] OʼDaly, John [ed. and tr.], Laoithe Fiannuigheachta: or, Fenian poems, 2 vols, Transactions of the Ossianic Society, 4, 6, Dublin, 1859–1861.
Internet Archive – vol. 1: <link> Internet Archive – vol. 2: <link>
Volumes 1 and 2 contain editions, with facing translation, of some of the lays.

Secondary sources (select)

Ní Mhurchú, Síle, “Agallamh Oisín agus Phádraig: composition and transmission”, in: Sharon J. Arbuthnot, and Geraldine Parsons (eds), The Gaelic Finn tradition, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2012. 195–208.
Ní Mhurchú, Síle, “Agallamh Oisín agus Phádraig: the growth of an Ossianic lay”, in: Stefan Zimmer (ed.), Kelten am Rhein: Akten des dreizehnten Internationalen Keltologiekongresses, 23. bis 27. Juli 2007 in Bonn, 2 vols, vol. 2: Philologie: Sprachen und Literaturen, Mainz: Philipp von Zabern, 2009. 175–179.
Ó Fiannachta, Pádraig, “The development of the debate between Pádraig and Oisín”, in: Bo Almqvist, Séamas Ó Catháin, and Pádraig Ó Héalaí (eds), Fiannaíocht: essays on the Fenian tradition of Ireland and Scotland — The heroic process: form, function and fantasy in folk epic, 54, 55, Dublin and Dun Laoghaire: An Cumann le Béaloideas Éireann, 1987. 183–205.
Murphy, Gerard, Duanaire Finn: The book of the lays of Fionn, 3 vols, vol. 3: Introduction, notes, appendices and glossary, Irish Texts Society, 43, London: Irish Texts Society, 1953.
Internet Archive: <link>
Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
April 2012, last updated: September 2023