Airec menman Uraird maic Coisse ‘The stratagem of Urard mac Coise’

Urard mac Coise
  • Middle Irish
  • prose
  • Cycles of the Kings, Medieval Irish literature about poets

A Middle Irish saga which relates how the poet Urard/Aurard mac Cosse (fl. 10th/11th century) obtained compensation from Domnall mac Muirchertaig, king of Tara, following a raid on his home. It includes version B of the medieval Irish tale lists.

Urard mac Coise
Urard mac Coise
(d. 983 x 1023)
Irish poet

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Ascribed to: Urard mac Coise
Urard mac Coise
(d. 983 x 1023)
Irish poet

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Ascribed to Urard (Airard) mac Coise and commonly considered to have been written by him.
While certain men of the Cenél nÉogain are on a raid, they pillage and destroy the home of the poet Urard mac Coise at Clartha. Urard visits Domnall mac Muirchertaig, king of Tara from the Cenél nÉogain, to obtain compensation. Domnall, not knowing the purpose of the poet's visit, welcomes him at court and asks for tidings (scéla). Urard seizes the opportunity to play a trick on the king: he enumerates the many stories (scéla) that he knows, concluding with an unknown tale called Orgain cathrach Maíl Milscothaig (‘The destruction of Máel Milscothach's fort’). The king asks him to tell the tale. In the story then recounted by Urard, the poet Máel Milscothach (Urard's alter ego) receives compensation from the king of Tara for the destruction of his fort. When Urard reveals that the king of the story is none other than Domnall himself, Domnall comes to understand the message intended for him. He orders those responsible for Urard's losses to pay compensation. Further, when the poets and judges of Ireland are convened, he says that the honour-price (eneclann) of a poet should be repaired. Flann, fer léiginn of Clonmacnoise, to whom the matter is referred, decides that Urard should receive full compensation and that he as well as every ollam from that day onwards should have an honour-price equivalent to that of the king of Tara.
  • Middle Irish
prose (primary)
Textual relationships
The text includes recension B of the medieval Irish tale lists (see there).
Associated items
Medieval Irish tale listsMedieval Irish tale lists


Cycles of the Kings
Cycles of the Kings
id. 80
Medieval Irish literature about poetsMedieval Irish literature about poets


Urard mac Coise
Urard mac Coise
(d. 983 x 1023)
Irish poet

See more
Domnall mac MuirchertaigDomnall mac Muirchertaig
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

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The division into 33 chapters below follows that of Mary E. Byrne, ‘Airec menman Uraird maic Coisse’ in Anecdota from Irish manuscripts... (1908).

[1] 1

» Places: Clartha

[2] 2

[3.1] 3.1. Introduction to the tale-lists

[3.2] 3.2. Miscellaneous list » entry

[4] 4. Tána, Echtrai and Comperta » entryentryentry

[5] 5. Catha and Togla » entryentry

[6] 6. Fessa, Baili, Tochmarca, Aitheda and Togla » entryentryentryentryentry

[7] 7. Tomadma, Físa, Serca, Slúagid and Tochomlada » entryentryentryentryentry

[8.1] 8.1. Oirgne » entry

[8.2] 8.2



















Includes verse: A óca batar ardaigh


Includes verse: A fhir thall dar fearba fis









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.

[ed.] Byrne, Mary E., “Airec menman Uraird maic Coisse”, in: Osborn Bergin, R. I. Best, Kuno Meyer, and J. G. OʼKeeffe (eds), Anecdota from Irish manuscripts, vol. 2, Halle and Dublin, 1908. 42–76.  
comments: An edition of Airec menman Uraird maic Coisse
Celtic Digital Initiative: <link> Scéla – transcribed by Štĕpán Kosík: <link>
Based on 23 N 10, with variants from Rawlinson B 512 and Harleian 5280.
Translation wanted
No translation recorded at this stage.

Secondary sources (select)

Mac Cana, Proinsias, The learned tales of medieval Ireland, Dublin: DIAS, 1980.
Poppe, Erich, “Reconstructing medieval Irish literary theory: the lesson of Airec Menman Uraird maic Coise”, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 37 (Summer, 1999): 33–54.
Toner, Gregory, “Reconstructing the earliest Irish tale lists”, Éigse 32 (2000): 88–120.
C. A., Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
October 2010, last updated: January 2024