Aided Bresail meic Díarmata‘The violent death of Bressal mac Díarmata’

  • Early Irish
  • Cycles of the Kings, Aideda

A brief, early Irish saga and hagiographical legend, which relates how Díarmait mac Cerbaill had his son Bresal slain for appropriating a nun’s cow and how St Béccán rescued the soul of the king’s son from hell, resuscitating him.

Independently attested
Version incorporated in the second recension of Aided Díarmata meic Cerbaill.
  • Early Irish


Cycles of the Kings
Cycles of the Kings
id. 80



resuscitation of the deadmotifs relating to the dead
resuscitation of the dead
id. 26773
Díarmait mac CerbaillDíarmait mac Cerbaill
(supp. d. 565)
In Irish historical tradition, high-king of Ireland, son of Fergus Cerrbél.
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Bressal mac DíarmataBressal mac Díarmata
(fl. 6th century)
A son of Díarmait mac Cerbaill who is known from an early Irish legend in which his father has him killed as a punishment for theft after which St Beccán (of Emlagh, a church near Kells) brings him back from hell.
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Béccán of EmlaghBéccán of Emlagh
(supp. fl. 6th century)
Béccán mac Cúla
Béccán/Beccán mac Cúla/Cula, patron saint of Imlech Fiaich (Emlagh, Co. Meath) near Kells.
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Luchair of ElgraigeLuchair of Elgraige
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

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Colum CilleColum Cille
(fl. 6th century)
founder and abbot of Iona, Kells (Cenandas) and Derry (Daire).
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Cenandas, Cenannas ... Kells
County Meath
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Primary sources Text editions and/or modern translations – in whole or in part – along with publications containing additions and corrections, if known. Diplomatic editions, facsimiles and digital image reproductions of the manuscripts are not always listed here but may be found in entries for the relevant manuscripts. For historical purposes, early editions, transcriptions and translations are not excluded, even if their reliability does not meet modern standards.

[dipl. ed.] OʼSullivan, Anne [ed.], The Book of Leinster, formerly Lebar na Núachongbála, vol. 6, Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1983. xv + pp. 1327-1708.
CELT – pp. 1327–1595 (excl. pp. 1596–1708): <link>
1612 Diplomatic edition of the text in LL
[ed.] Meyer, Kuno [ed.], “Mitteilungen aus irischen Handschriften: Aided Bresail”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 7 (1910): 305–307.  
comments: Aided Bresail, based on Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS B iv 2.
TLH – edition: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
based on RIA MS B iv 2.
[ed.] [tr.] Stokes, Whitley [ed. and tr.], Lives of saints from the Book of Lismore, Anecdota Oxoniensia, Mediaeval and Modern Series, 5, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1890.
CELT: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>, <link> Internet Archive: <link>
xxvii–xxviii Book of Lismore version. direct link
Cf. the Martyrology of Donegal, under 5 April:
[ed.] [tr.] OʼDonovan, John, James Henthorn Todd, and William Reeves [ed. and tr.], The martyrology of Donegal: a calendar of the saints of Ireland, Dublin, 1864.
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
[tr.] Jackson, Kenneth Hurlstone [tr.], A Celtic miscellany: translations from the Celtic literatures, Revised ed., Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.

Secondary sources (select)

Wiley, Dan M., “An introduction to the early Irish king tales”, in: Dan M. Wiley (ed.), Essays on the early Irish king tales, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2008. 13–67.
Plummer, Charles, “A tentative catalogue of Irish hagiography”, in: Charles Plummer [ed.], Miscellanea hagiographica Hibernica: vitae adhuc ineditae sanctorum Mac Creiche, Naile, Cranat, 15, Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1925. 171–285.
[id. 77.]
C. A., Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
October 2010, last updated: December 2022