Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique, MS 5301-5320 Historical works

  • Irish
  • s. xvii
  • Irish manuscripts
  • paper
Historical works.
Cat. no. 4641
Irish annals
Provenance and related aspects
s. xvii
17th century
Origin, provenance
Later provenance: ass. with Charles P. Mac DonnellMac Donnell (Charles P.)
MacDonnell (Charles P.)
Irish scholar who has been identified as a “a member of the Royal Irish Academy [since 1847], the Irish Archæological Society, and the Celtic Society; from 1850 onwards he appears in Dublin directories as Pursuivant at Arms in Dublin Castle”.
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William ReevesReeves (William)
Irish antiquarian scholar; bishop of the Anglican see of Down, Connor and Dromore; keeper of the Armagh Public Library
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In 1851, Charles P. Mac Donnell, Esq., made copies of two accounts by Edmund MacCana at the behest of bishop William Reeves. Reeves later published a translation of one text (1854) and a transcription of the other (1864).
Hands, scribes
Codicological information
20.5 cm × 13.5 cm
c.20.5×13.5 cm (Mc Carthy and Jaski).
Foliation / Pagination
287 folios.
Modern bookbinding (parchment)
Distinct units
pp. 97-162

Manuscript containing the Annals of Roscrea.

Table of contents

Links to texts use a standardised title for the catalogue and so may or may not reflect what is in the manuscript itself, hence the square brackets. Their appearance comes in three basic varieties, which are signalled through colour coding and the use of icons, , and :

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The above method of differentiating between links has not been applied yet to texts or citations from texts which are included in the context of other texts, commonly verses.


While it is not a reality yet, CODECS seeks consistency in formatting references to locations of texts and other items of interest in manuscripts. Our preferences may be best explained with some examples:

  • f. 23ra.34: meaning folio 23 recto, first column, line 34
  • f. 96vb.m: meaning folio 96, verso, second column, middle of the page (s = top, m = middle, i = bottom)
    • Note that marg. = marginalia, while m = middle.
  • p. 67b.23: meaning page 67, second column, line 23
The list below has been collated from the table of contents, if available on this page,Progress in this area is being made piecemeal. Full and partial tables of contents are available for a small number of manuscripts. and incoming annotations for individual texts (again, if available).Whenever catalogue entries about texts are annotated with information about particular manuscript witnesses, these manuscripts can be queried for the texts that are linked to them.


Primary sources This section typically includes references to diplomatic editions, facsimiles and photographic reproductions, notably digital image archives, of at least a major portion of the manuscript. For editions of individual texts, see their separate entries.

[dig. img.] “Royal Library of Belgium”, Anne-Marie OʼBrien, and Pádraig Ó Macháin, Irish Script on Screen (ISOS) – Meamrám Páipéar Ríomhaire, Online: School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 2019–present. URL: <>.
[dig. img.] Belgica, Online: Bibliothèque royale de Belgique, 2012–present. URL: <>.

Secondary sources (select)

Jaski, Bart, and Daniel Mc Carthy, A facsimile edition of the Annals of Roscrea, Online: School of Computer Science and Statistics, Trinity College, 2011–. Word 97 document. URL: <>. 
The Irish chronicle known to modern scholarship as the ‘Annals of Roscrea’ is found only in the manuscript Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale 5301-20 pp. 97−161. It was first registered in print in the comprehensive catalogue of the manuscripts in the Burgundian Library at Brussels published in 1842, and an edition was published by Dermot Gleeson and Seán Mac Airt in 1959. Recent research has shown that the principal scribe, the Franciscan friar Fr Brendan O’Conor, transcribed his source, ‘mutila Historia D. Cantwelij’, in two successive phases and then in a third phase it was annotated and indexed by his fellow Franciscan Fr Thomas O’Sheerin. This research has also shown that the edition of Gleeson and Mac Airt is incomplete, having omitted the pre-Patrician section of the chronicle. Hence this, the first full edition of the work, has been prepared in facsimile form so as to make clear the successive phases of compilation of the text, to provide an accurate account of its orthography, to identify the relationship of its entries to those of other chronicles, and to furnish an AD chronology consistent with the other Clonmacnoise group chronicles.
comments: 1. A 30-page introduction describing the only manuscript of the Annals of Roscrea, namely [[Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique, MS 5301-5320

|Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale 5301-20]], followed by an account of the principles used in the compilation of the facsimile edition.

2. The facsimile edition formatted as a 65-page A4 document, representing a page-by-page facsimile of the 65 pages of MS Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale 5301-20, pp. 97-161.
Van den Gheyn, Joseph, Catalogue des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique, 13 vols, vol. 7: Histoire des pays: Allemagne, Angleterre, Autriche, Belgique (histoire générale), Brussels: Lambertin, 1907.
Belgica: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
48–50 [‘4641’] direct link
Radner, Joan N. [ed. and tr.], Fragmentary annals of Ireland, Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1978.
CELT – edition (2–182),: <link> CELT – translation (3–183): <link> CELT – introduction (vii–ix): <link>

External links

Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
June 2011, last updated: November 2022