Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib‘The war of the Irish against the (Scandinavian) foreigners’

  • prose, prosimetrum
  • Cycles of the Kings
Long Middle Irish narrative work on the achievements of Brían Bóruma, especially those against the vikings.

See e.g. Máire Ní Mhaonaigh, ‘Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib and the annals: a comparison’, Ériu 47 (1996)

prose, prosimetrum (primary)
verse (secondary)
Associated items
The prophecy of BerchánThe prophecy of BerchánLong political poem (206 qq).


Cycles of the Kings
Cycles of the Kings
id. 80


Brian BoruBrían Bóruma (Brian Boru)
(c. 941–23 April 1014)
Brían Bóruma, Brian Bóruma
High-king of Ireland from the Dál Cais, son of Cennétig mac Lorcáin (d. 951); typically known for breaking the hegemony of the Uí Néill in Ireland; died at the battle of Clontarf (1014). He is the celebrated hero of Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib, a twelfth-century propagandistic narrative text that has helped to enhance his reputation.
See more


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.] [tr.] Todd, James Henthorn [ed. and tr.], Cogadh Gaedhel re Gallaibh: The war of the Gaedhil with the Gaill, or The invasions of Ireland by the Danes and other Norsemen, Rerum Britannicarum Medii Aevi Scriptores 48, London: Stationery Office, 1867.
Internet Archive: <link>
1–217 (text and translation); 221–235 (Appendix A: LL fragment)
[ed.] Best, Richard Irvine, and M. A. O'Brien, The Book of Leinster, formerly Lebar na Núachongbála, vol. 5, Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1967. xv + pp. 1119-1325.
CELT – pp. 1119-1192 and 1202-1325: <link>
1319–1325 (lines 39322–39550) Diplomatic edition of L

Secondary sources (select)

Downham, Clare, “The ‘annalistic section’ of Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib”, Peritia 24–25 (2013–2014): 141–172.  
Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib ‘The war of the Irish and the Foreigners’, one of the best known medieval Irish historical sagas, celebrates the deeds of the Irish king Brian Boru, culminating in his victory and death at the battle of Clontarf in ad 1014. The text did much to establish Brian’s reputation and the fame of the battle of Clontarf in Irish historiography. While most of the saga records Brian’s achievements, the early parts treat of events prior to his reign. This paper is an analysis of the function and chronology of these early sections. The conclusion is that the term ‘annalistic section’, often applied to them, is misleading. Such a term conceals the artistry and purpose of the author and conveys a mistaken view of their historicity.
Ní Mhaonaigh, Máire, “A neglected account of the battle of Clontarf”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 59 (2012): 143–167.
Jaski, Bart, “Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib”, in: Dunphy, R. G. [ed.], The encyclopedia of the medieval chronicle, 2 vols, Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2010. Vol. 1: 479.
Ní Mhaonaigh, Máire, “Some Middle Irish declensional patterns in Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 49–50 (1997): 615–628.
Ní Mhaonaigh, Máire, “Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib and the annals: a comparison”, Ériu 47 (1996): 101–126.
Ní Mhaonaigh, Máire, “The date of Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib”, Peritia 9 (1995): 354–377.
Dennis Groenewegen, Patrick Brown
Page created
October 2010, last updated: March 2021