Do fhaillsigud Tána bó Cúailnge‘On the recovery of (the) Táin bó Cúailnge

  • Late Old Irish, Early Middle Irish
  • prose
  • Medieval Irish literature about poets, Ulster Cycle
Do fhaillsigud Tána bó Cúailnge
‘On the recovery of (the) Táin bó Cúailnge
Or less literally, ‘How (the) Táin bó Cúailnge was found’ (see <DIL s.v. ‘foillsigud’>, a verbal noun of <DIL s.v. ‘foillsigid’>).

Thurneysen distinguishes between three recensions.

Recension 1 (Book of Leinster version)
Shortest version, which concludes with a list of remscéla to the Táin.
Recension 2 (Stowe version)
The list of remscéla is not incorporated into this text, but it precedes it in the MS.
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS D iv 2 (992) [s. xv]
    ff. 47(49)vb.i–48(50)rbheading: ‘Do faillsiugud Tana bó Cuailngi in remscél-sa sís’beginning: ‘Iarsinní dia raibi etarport isna dainib moraib ro bátar i n-Érinn’
    Follows a list of remscéla to the Táin.
Recension 3 (Egerton version)
‘Mixed’ copies containing both LL and Egerton versions
  • Late Old Irish Early Middle Irish
  • “The two versions extant in LL and D iv.2 (FTBC I and II) appear to be Old Irish or, at least, late-Old Irish; whereas the younger version (FTBC III) may have been created during the late-Old Irish to early-Middle Irish period”; “The language of the earliest extant version in LL appears to be Old Irish but it is difficult to give it a definitive date because of the brevity of the text; there is not a sufficient number of significant linguistic features upon which to base a solid argument” (Cleary 2018: 60, 83). Similary, Kevin Murray says that “Apart from a light veneer of Middle Irish, the language of the narrative [of the Book of Leinster version] is Old Irish [...] It seems probable that the composition of the Finding of the Táin should be dated to the late Old Irish period (that is, to the ninth century)” and goes on to list relevant linguistic features (2001: 19).
prose (primary)
Textual relationships
Related: Táin bó CúailngeTáin bó CúailngeTromdámh GuaireTromdámh Guaire


Medieval Irish literature about poetsMedieval Irish literature about poets

Ulster Cycle
Ulster Cycle
id. 1797


Senchán TorpéistSenchán Torpéist
(fl. 6th–7th century)
Irish poet associated with Gúaire Aidne, king of Connacht; popular figure in Irish literary tradition, notably as one credited for having retrieved the Táin and, especially in Tromdám Gúaire, as the leader of a band of poets seeking to test the limits of Gúaire’s hospitality.
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Emine úa NinéneEmine úa Ninéne
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

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Muirgen mac SencháinMuirgein (Muirgen) mac Sencháin
Irish poet; son of Senchán Torpéist; sent by his father to seek knowledge of the Tain
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Fergus mac RóichFergus mac Róich
(time-frame ass. with Ulster Cycle)
warrior in tales of the Ulster Cycle; former king of Ulster in exile in Connacht; Medb’s lover
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Rudolf Thurneysen, ‘Zu irischen Texten’, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 12 (1918): 407.

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 [ed.], “Neue Mitteilungen aus irischen Handschriften: Die Wiederauffindung der Táin Bó Cúalnge”, Archiv für celtische Lexikographie 3 (1907): 2–6.
CELT – edition from Egerton 1782: <link> CELT – edition from Stowe D iv 2: <link> Celtic Digital Initiative – PDF: <link>
From Egerton 1782 and Stowe D iv 2.
[ed.] [tr.] Murray, Kevin [ed.], “The finding of the Táin”, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 41 (Summer, 2001): 17–23.
LL version.
[dipl. ed.] Best, Richard Irvine, and M. A. OʼBrien, 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>
LL version. direct link
[ed.] [tr.] Zimmer, Heinrich, “Keltische Studien 5. Über den compilatorischen karakter der irischen sagentexte im sogenannten Lebor na hUidre”, Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung auf dem Gebiete der indogermanischen Sprachen 28, Neue Folge 8 (1887): 417–689.
Internet Archive: <link>
433–435 Edition from LL, with German translation.
[ed.] Carey, John, “Varia II: The address to Fergus's stone”, Ériu 51 (2000): 183–187.
[ed.] Corthals, Johan, “Why did Fergus rise from his grave?”, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 55 (2008): 1–9.
[tr.] Kinsella, Thomas [tr.], The Tain: translated from the Irish epic Táin Bó Cuailnge, London: Oxford University Press, 1969.
1–2 Literary translation in English.

Secondary sources (select)

Cleary, Christina, “An investigation of the remscéla Tána bó Cúailgne and an edition and translation of Aislinge Óenguso with textual notes”, PhD thesis, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Irish and Celtic languages, 2018.  

This thesis is presented in two parts. Part 1 is a study of the application of the term remscél prefatory tale to Early Irish literature, specifically to those tales associated with the Táin Bó Cúailnge (TBC), and the wider implications of its usage, which led to the emergence of this medieval literary series. My starting point is the lists of so-called remscéla, which are extant in the following manuscripts: 12th-century Book of Leinster, p. 245b; 15th-century RIA MS D iv.2, f. 47vb; 17th-century RIA MS C vi.3, f. 27v; and two sets of transcriptions of a now-lost manuscript, NLS MS Adv. 72.1.46, by the Scottish antiquarian Ewen M Lachlan, i.e. NLS MS Adv. 72.3.5, p. 253, and NLS Ingliston MS A vi.1, box 4, p. 17. I include also in this study the compilation of the 16th-century BL MS Egerton 1782, which contains thirteen of the tales, described as remscéla in the aforementioned lists, as a complete collection that physically preface TBC in this manuscript. This represents the idea that, at least, the Early Modern Irish scribe of Eg. 1782 viewed the remscéla as complementing TBC in the manner of a complete series. What follows is an investigation of the relationships of individual tales that fall under the classification of remscél in the remscéla lists to the TBC; these are also plotted along a relative chronology of their composition, including the composition of various recensions of individual tales. Additionally, I include a study of the application of the term remscél to tales associated with Togail Bruidne Da Derga and the Middle Irish adaptation In Cath Catharda; both of which contribute to understanding the term remscél within the context of those tales associated with TBC. Part 2 of this thesis presents a new edition of the Old Irish text Aislinge Óenguso (), complete with full manuscript readings, a translation, and textual notes to each section of text discussing noteworthy linguistic features and editorial choices.

Tara.tcd.ie: <link>
Davies, Morgan Thomas, “Cultural memory, the finding of the Táin, and the canonical process in early Irish literature”, in: Jan Erik Rekdal, and Erich Poppe (eds), Medieval Irish perspectives on cultural memory, 11, Münster: Nodus Publikationen, 2014. 81–108.
Bondarenko, Grigory, “Oral past and written present in ‘The finding of the Táin’”, in: Ruairí Ó hUiginn, and Brian Ó Catháin (eds), Ulidia 2: proceedings of the Second International Conference on the Ulster Cycle of Tales, Maynooth 24-27 July 2005, Maynooth: An Sagart, 2009. 18–24.  
Pre-Christian Irish culture as any pre-literate society and culture was governed by the traditional type of memory. The medieval Irish texts on the other hand witness gradual shift from this type of memory towards the historical one. The historical type of memory is characterised by its special attention to causes and effects, and to results of actions: this memory fixes crops for particular years but not the sowing-time. This type of memory causes written history to appear on the cultural level (Lotman 2000, 364). It is more or less clear that this shift could not have been an instantaneous one especially as we know that the early medieval Irish filid retained forms of the early traditional type of memory during the whole period of Middle Ages. Certain stories from the dindshenchas and certain tales devoted to exemplary characters fulfilled mnemonic functions.
(source: Source)
University of Ulster – eprint: <link>
Corthals, Johan, “Why did Fergus rise from his grave?”, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 55 (2008): 1–9.
Incl. discussion of the rosc(ad) in LL and comparison with one uttered by Fergus in TBC I.
Szövérffy, Joseph, “Siaburcharpat Conculainn, the Cadoc-legend, and the Finding of the Táin”, Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies 17:2 (1957): 69–77.
Ó Máille, Tomás, “The authorship of the Culmen”, Ériu 9 (1921–1923): 71–76.
Thurneysen, Rudolf, “Zu irischen Texten”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 12 (1918): 398–407.  
Contents: Athirne von seiner Ungastlichkeit geheilt -- Aislingi Oengusai -- Cath Maige Tuired -- Nachträge.
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
April 2011, last updated: April 2021