Betha Farannáin

  • Early Modern Irish
  • prose

Vernacular Irish Life of St Farannán (or Forannán), a local saint associated with Alt Fharannáin (townland of Alternan Park, Co. Sligo). In the opening passage, he is claimed to be fifth in descent from Éogan son of Níall Noígíallach.

First words (prose)
  • Tiondsccantar annso betha Fharannain uasail iolcraibtigh
Leabhrán mheic Seaáin Charraigh Í Maonaigh
According to the colophon (below), the text was copied as leabhran mheic Seaáin Charraigh Í Maonaigh .i. comarba Farannain “from the booklet of Seán Carrach Ó Maonaigh’s son, i.e. Farannán‘s comarba”.
ff. 91v–94v
rubric: ‘Betha Farannain’
beg. ‘Tiondsccantar annso betha Fharannain uasail iolcraibthigh’
Ends with a colophon dated 13 February 1629.
  • Early Modern Irish
  • Secondary language(s): Middle Irish
  • Early Modern Irish?
prose (primary)
Textual relationships
The text cites a quatrain attributed to Colum Cille, beg. Fuil súil nglais, which is also known from the Middle Irish commentary to Amra Choluim Chille.
(Possible) sources: Fil súil n-glaisFil súil n-glais
Associated items
Fil súil n-glaisFil súil n-glais



Farannán of Alternan
Farannán of Alternan
(supp. fl. 6th century)
Irish saint associated with Alt Fharannáin (now Alternan, Co. Sligo). In his Irish Life, he is represented as a contemporary of Colum Cille.

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Colum Cille
Colum Cille
(fl. 6th century)
founder and abbot of Iona, Kells (Cenandas) and Derry (Daire).

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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.

[ed.] Plummer, Charles [ed.], “Betha Farannáin”, in: Osborn Bergin, R. I. Best, Kuno Meyer, and J. G. OʼKeeffe (eds), Anecdota from Irish manuscripts, vol. 3, Halle and Dublin, 1910. 1–7.
CELT – Transcription: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
[tr.] Colgan, John, Acta sanctorum veteris et maioris Scotiæ seu Hiberniæ, sanctorum insulæ, Louvain: Everard De Witte, 1645.
Data.onb.ac.at: <link> Google Books: <link>, <link>
336–339 Translation into Latin.
Translation wanted
A study is being undertaken by Courtney Selvage of Ulster University.

Secondary sources (select)

Kenney, James F., “Chapter V: The monastic churches: II. The churches of the sixth to ninth centuries; general treatises”, in: James F. Kenney, The sources for the early history of Ireland: an introduction and guide. Volume 1: ecclesiastical, Revised ed., 11, New York: Octagon, 1966. 372–485.
443 [id. 223. ‘Life of St Farannán’]
Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
April 2021, last updated: June 2023