Dinnshenchas of Emain Macha

  • Middle Irish
  • prose
  • Dinnshenchas Érenn, dinnshenchas
Prose story relating the dinnshenchas for Emain Macha.
Context(s)The (textual) context(s) to which the present text belongs or in which it is cited in part or in whole.
Echtra Machae ingine Áeda Rúaid The title is attested in the A-version of the medieval Irish tale lists and may have referred to a version of the same tale.
Version 1
p. 68
The version edited by Kuno Meyer (1907) and regarded by Toner (2010: 98) as the earliest extant account.
Version 2 represented mainly by its occurrence as an interpolation in both Tochmarc Emire and the Réim rígraide section of Lebor gabála Érenn. The abridged version which is attested in a single copy of Dinnshenchas Érenn (C) is derivative and refers to Reím rígraide for a fuller account. Manuscripts include:
  • Middle Irish
prose (primary)
Textual relationships
Related: A fir ce no turcba raithA fir ce no turcba raithIrish poem (7qq) apparently concerning Emain Macha and Cimbáeth. It is found in NLI MS G 7, where it is prefaced with a short prose introduction (beg. Toforaint in Márrighan laithriuch nduine lie hAulta hi Machi) referring to the the dinnshenchas for Emain Macha. Editions, translations and discussions in secondary literature are unknown at this stage.Dinnshenchas of Ard MachaDinnshenchas of Ard MachaTract on the dinnshenchas of Ard Macha.


Dinnshenchas Érenn
Dinnshenchas Érenn
id. 6712
dinnshenchasIrish narrative literature, onomastic lore and learning, topographical literature
id. 32607


Macha MongrúadMacha Mongrúad
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

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Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

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Áed Rúad mac Baduirn
Áed Rúad mac Báduirn
(time-frame ass. with Ulster Cycle)
A legendary king of Ireland mentioned in some tales of the Ulster Cycle and related texts. According to an origin legend concerning Emain Macha, he ‘shared’ the kingship with Díthorba and Cimbáeth, being the first of them to hold it until he drowned in Ess Ruaid (Assaroe); he is identified as the father of Macha Mongrúad, from whom Emain Macha is said to take its name.

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Cimbáeth, son of Fintan, legendary king of Ireland and husband of Macha, who was the eponymous foundress of Emain Macha.

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Emain Macha
Emain Macha ... Navan Fort
County Armagh
No short description available

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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.] Meyer, Kuno, “A medley of Irish texts: XIV. The Dindshenchas of Emain Macha”, Archiv für celtische Lexikographie 3 (1907): 325–326.  
23 N 10, p. 68.
Celtic Digital Initiative – edition: <link> CELT – edition: <link>
Version 1 as it stands in RIA MS 23 N 10.
[ed.] Hamel, A. G. van [ed.], Compert Con Culainn and other stories, Mediaeval and Modern Irish Series, 3, Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1933.
CELT – Compert Con Culainn (1-8): <link> CELT – Aided Óenfir Aífe (9-15): <link> Internet Archive: <link>
33–35 (§ 30) Tochmarc Emire based on D iv 2 with variants in the footnotes.
[ed.] Meyer, Kuno [ed.], “Mitteilungen aus irischen Handschriften: IV. Aus Harleian 5280. Tochmarc Emire la Coinculaind”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 3 (1901): 229–263.
Celtic Digital Initiative – all Mitteilungen in ZCP 3: <link> CELT – edition: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
238–239 (§ 30) Harleian text of Tochmarc Emire.
[tr.] Draak, Maartje, and Frida de Jong [trs.], Van helden, elfen en dichters: de oudste verhalen uit Ierland, Amsterdam: Meulenhoff, 1979.
110–112 A translation into Dutch based on Van Hamel § 30.
See Tochmarc Emire for further editions and translations of this text.
[dipl. ed.] Best, Richard Irvine, Osborn Bergin, and M. A. OʼBrien, The Book of Leinster, formerly Lebar na Núachongbála, vol. 1, Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1954. 260 pp. + 4 pl.
CELT – edition (pp. 1-260): <link>
79–80 Diplomatic edition of the text in LL (LGÉ).
[ed.] [tr.] Stokes, Whitley, “The prose tales in the Rennes dindshenchas”, Revue Celtique 16 (1895): 31–83, 135–167, 269–312, 468.
TLH – edition (III, 31-83): <link> TLH – translation (III): <link> TLH – edition (IV, pp. 135-167): <link> TLH – translation (IV): <link> Celtic Digital Initiative – PDF: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
279–283 [id. 161. ‘Emain Macha’] Prose from LL (LGÉ). direct link
[ed.] [tr.] OʼCurry, Eugene, Lectures on the manuscript materials of ancient Irish history, delivered at the Catholic University of Ireland during the sessions of 1855 and 1856, Dublin, 1861.
Internet Archive: <link>, <link> Internet Archive – Originally from Google Books: <link>, <link>, <link> Internet Archive – multiple copies: <link>
526–528 LL version.
[ed.] [tr.] Gwynn, E. J., The metrical dindsenchas, 5 vols, vol. 4, Todd Lecture Series, 11, Dublin: Hodges, Figgis, 1924.
CELT – edition: <link> CELT – translation: <link> Internet Archive – vol. 4: <link>  : View in Mirador
308–311 [id. 112. ‘Emain Macha’] Prose from MS S in . direct link direct link direct link

Secondary sources (select)

Toner, Gregory, “Macha and the invention of myth”, Ériu 60 (2010): 81–109.  
This paper provides new literary analyses of two tales associated with Emain Macha, both of which feature a woman called Macha: Noínden Ulad, which purports to tell the origin of the debility that the Ulstermen suffered during the Táin, and the story of Macha Mongrúad, who overthrew her enemies and forced them to construct the fort of Emain Macha. The discussion considers issues of warriorhood, justice and gender, and seeks to disentangle the themes of sovereignty and war in relation to the women called Macha. Two of the four women bearing the name Macha are, in all probability, relatively late innovations, and the primary function of the remaining two figures lies in warfare.
Esp. 98–101
Ó Concheanainn, Tomás, “Leabhar na hUidhre: further textual associations”, Éigse 30 (1997): 27–91.
Toner, Gregory, “Emain Macha in the literature”, Emania: Bulletin of the Navan Research Group 4 (Spring, 1988): 32–35.
Macalister, R. A. Stewart [ed.], Lebor gabála Érenn: The book of the taking of Ireland, 5 vols, vol. 5, Irish Texts Society, 44, Dublin: Irish Texts Society, 1942.
Internet Archive: <link>
262–263 Macalister chose not to edit the LGÉ version of the text.
Gwynn, E. J., The metrical dindsenchas, 5 vols, vol. 4, Todd Lecture Series, 11, Dublin: Hodges, Figgis, 1924.
CELT – edition: <link> CELT – translation: <link> Internet Archive – vol. 4: <link>  : View in Mirador
459 [id. 112. ‘Emain Macha’] direct link
Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
November 2012, last updated: January 2024