Dublin, National Library of Ireland, MS G 50 Irish religious verse

  • Irish
  • s. xvii
  • distinct manuscript
  • Irish manuscripts
  • paper

A 17th-century Irish manuscript containing Amra Choluim Chille, Amra Senáin, the poems of Blathmac and other Irish verse items.

G 50
Provenance and related aspects
s. xvii
17th century
Origin, provenance
Later provenance: ass. with Cú Choigcríche Ó CléirighÓ Cléirigh (Cú Choigcríche)
(d. in or after 1664)
Irish scholar, poet, historian and scribe; one of the so-named ‘Four Masters’.
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Mícheál Ó CléirighÓ Cléirigh (Mícheál)
(d. 1643)
O'Clery (Michael)
Irish scholar, historian and scribe.
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Later provenance: ass. with Seán Ó Cléirigh [d. 1846]Ó Cléirigh (Seán) ... d. 1846
Seán (or John) Ó Cleirigh, Irish scribe who could probably claim descent from certain illustrious scholars of the Uí Chléirigh, even if his own testimony seems fuzzy and inconsistent. He appears to have had, perhaps inherited, an unknown number of Irish manuscripts written by or associated with Cú Choigcríche Ó Cléirigh, five of which he brought to Dublin in 1817.
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Later provenance: ass. with Edward O'ReillyO'Reilly (Edward)
(d. 1830)
Irish scholar and compiler of an Irish-English dictionary (1817)
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Hands, scribes
Hands indexed:
Hand A single, 17th-century hand appears to have been responsible for writing the manuscript.
Codicological information
UnitCodicological unit. Indicates whether the entry describes a single leaf, a distinct or composite manuscript, etc.
distinct manuscript
20.5 cm × 15 cm
The greater part of the manuscript is in good condition, with some exceptions: the first leaf is a fragment; this and the final leaf (pp. 141-142) are badly stained; further stains appear on p. 3 (outer margin) and to a lesser extent, on pp. 4-10 (outer margins). What follows p. 142 is a fragment of an unnumbered leaf.
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 :

  1. - If a catalogue entry is both available and accessible, a direct link will be made. Such links are blue-ish green and marked by a bookmark icon.
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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.] “National Library of Ireland”, 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, 1999–present. URL: <>.

Secondary sources (select)

Barrett, Siobhán, “A study of the lexicon of the poems of Blathmac son of Cú Brettan”, 2 vols, PhD thesis, NUI Maynooth, 2017.  
The aims of the project for the PhD were to produce a provisional revised edition and translation of the entire text of the Poems of Blathmac, to compile a lexicographic database for a specialised dictionary of the poems and a literary study of the text. The provisional revised edition, translation and lexicographic database are contained on the memory stick provided along with this thesis. This includes the previously unedited text of the ‘Fragmentary Quatrains’.

Chapter 1 of this thesis will present the evidence that exists about Blathmac, his family and their connection to the Fir Rois. It also deals with the provenance of the manuscript. In chapter 2, the content of the first poem is examined with emphasis on the theme of keening, and examines the reason for its composition. In chapter 3, the second poem is examined through the lens of the word célmain(d)e which, I argue, explains its purpose and the message that the poet is delivering. Chapter 4 contains a provisional edition of ‘The Fragmentary Quatrains’, a translation and notes. Chapter 5 is a list of all the verbs of both poems presented in alphabetical order. The provisional edition of the two poems is presented in Appendix 1. A compressed overview of the database is contained in Appendix 2. Appendix 3 is copy of Martin O’Leary’s score Figell Blathmaic. <link>
Mac Eoin, Gearóid S., “ [Review of: Carney, James P. [ed.], The poems of Blathmac, son of Cú Brettan: together with the Irish Gospel of Thomas and a poem on the Virgin Mary, Irish Texts Society, 47, London: Irish Texts Society, 1964.]”, Studia Hibernica 7 (1967): 222–226.
Carney, James P. [ed.], The poems of Blathmac, son of Cú Brettan: together with the Irish Gospel of Thomas and a poem on the Virgin Mary, Irish Texts Society, 47, London: Irish Texts Society, 1964.
Ní Shéaghdha, Nessa, Catalogue of Irish manuscripts in the National Library of Ireland, fasc. 2: Mss G 15 – G 69, Studies in Irish Manuscripts, Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1961.
– Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies: first 9 fasciculi: <link>
Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
May 2012, last updated: November 2022