Buile Shuibne ‘The frenzy of Suibne’

  • Late Middle Irish, Early Modern Irish
  • prose, verse
  • Cycles of the Kings
  • Late Middle Irish Early Modern Irish
  • Late Middle Irish or Early Modern. Some of the verse may be predate the composition of this text.

prose, verse (primary)

Prosimetrum (a prose framework with many poems interspersed).

Textual relationships
Related: Cath Maige Rath (second recension)Cath Maige Rath (second recension)Second and longer recension of the tale of the battle of Mag Rath.
Associated items
A bennáin a búiredáinA bennáin a búiredáinMor múich i tú-sa in-nochtMor múich i tú-sa in-nochtSúanach sin a Éorann ánSúanach sin a Éorann án


Cycles of the Kings
Cycles of the Kings
id. 80


Suibne Geilt
Suibne Geilt
(supp. fl. 6th/7th century)
A king of Dál nAraide who figures most prominently in the tale Buile Shuibhne.

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Rónán of Dromiskin
Rónán of Dromiskin
(ob. 665)
Rónán mac Beraig, abbot and patron of Druim Inasclainn (Dromiskin, Co. Louth). He is said to have died (ob. 665) as a result of the yellow plague (buidhe connaill).

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Mo Ling
Mo Ling
(d. 697)
Irish saint, abbot and patron saint of Tech Mo Ling (St Mullins, Co. Carlow) and reputed ‘bishop’ of Ferna (Ferns).

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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.] OʼKeeffe, J. G. [ed.], Buile Shuibhne, Mediaeval and Modern Irish Series, 1, Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1931.
CELT – edition (pp. 1-83, 92-96): <link> Internet Archive: <link>
This 'edition' contains a reprint of O'Keeffe's 1913 edition. The Brussels text is printed on pp. 92-96.
[ed.] [tr.] OʼKeeffe, J. G. [ed. and tr.], Buile Suibhne: The Frenzy of Suibhne. Being the adventures of Suibhne Geilt: a Middle Irish romance, Irish Texts Society, 12, London: Irish Texts Society, 1913.
CELT – translation (pp. 3–159): <link>
Based primarily on RIA B iv 1a, with variants from RIA 23 K 44. The Brussels text is given separately.

Secondary sources (select)

Ó Béarra, Feargal, “Buile Shuibhne: vox insaniae from medieval Ireland”, in: Albrecht Classen (ed.), Mental health, spirituality, and religion in the middle ages and early modern age, 15, Berlin, New York: De Gruyter, 2014. 242–289.
Rekdal, Jan Erik, “From wine in a goblet to milk in cowdung. The transformation of early Christian kings in three post-Viking tales from Ireland”, in: Gro Steinsland, Jón Viðar Sigurðsson, Jan Erik Rekdal, and Ian Beuermann [eds.], Ideology and power in the Viking and Middle Ages: Scandinavia, Iceland, Ireland, Orkney and the Faeroes, Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2011. 211–267.
Bergholm, Alexandra, “‘Betwixt and between’: theorising liminality and sacredness in Buile Suibhne”, in: Katja Ritari, and Alexandra Bergholm (eds), Approaches to religion and mythology in Celtic studies, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2008. 243–263.
Bergholm, Alexandra, “Folly for Christ’s sake in early Irish literature: the case of Suibhne Geilt reconsidered”, Studia Celtica Fennica 4 (2007): 7–14.
Www.sfks.org: <link>
Bergholm, Alexandra, “Academic and neopagan interpretations of shamanism in Buile Suibhne: a comparative approach”, Studia Celtica Fennica 2 — Essays in honour of Anders Ahlqvist (2005): 30–46.
Www.sfks.org: <link>
Nagy, Joseph Falaky, A new introduction to Buile Suibhne: The frenzy of Suibhne, being the adventures of Suibhne Geilt: a Middle-Irish romance, Irish Texts Society, Subsidiary Series, 4, London: Irish Texts Society, 1996.
Sayers, William, “The deficient ruler as Avian exile: Nebuchadnezzar and Suibhne Geilt”, Ériu 43 (1992): 217–222.
Hamilton, John Noel, “Varia (Alt- und Mittelirisches): 3. Some verbal forms in Buile Suibne”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 32 (1972): 121–124.
Hull, Vernam [ed.], “A note on Buile Shuibhne”, Celtica 9 (1971): 214.
Beneš, Brigit, “Spuren von Schamanismus in der Sage ‘Buile Suibhne’”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 28 (1960–1961): 309–334.
Lehmann, Ruth P., “A study of the Buile Shuibhne (suite et fin)”, Études Celtiques 7:1 (1955, 1955–1956): 115–138.
Persée – Études Celtiques, vol. 7, fascicule 1, 1955: <link> Persée – Études Celtiques, vol 7, fascicule 2, 1956: <link>
Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
October 2010, last updated: January 2024