Dublin, Trinity College, MS 1318 Yellow Book of Lecan (Leabhar Buidhe Lecain)

  • Irish, Latin
  • s. xiv–xv
  • composite manuscript
  • Irish manuscripts
H 2. 16
Cat. no. 1318
Yellow Book of Lecan (Leabhar Buidhe Lecain)
manuscript miscellanies
Provenance and related aspects
Irish Secondary: Latin
s. xiv–xv
14th and 15th century
Hands, scribes
Codicological information
UnitCodicological unit. Indicates whether the entry describes a single leaf, a distinct or composite manuscript, etc.
composite manuscript
Distinct units

The manuscript is a large composite work whose codices and fragments were collected and united in a single volume by Edward Lhuyd. In their catalogue description, Abbott and Gwynn give its constituent sections as given below. The tables of contents provided in the entries linked below are also based on their description. In addition to paraphrasing or citing the catalogue, however, the tables build on it in order to provide a new, updated version within the overall framework of the catalogue. Most of the additional information is drawn from sources on the individual texts that are contained in the manuscript. Please note that there are still omissions that need to be addressed and that more work is needed to provide an overview of the scholia and glosses.(1)n. 1 T. K. Abbott • E. J. Gwynn, Catalogue of Irish MSS in TCD (1921): 94–131 and its supplement.

cols 1a*-2b*

1 f. Fragment 1 of Betha Féchín Fabair. First folio of a section which continues in col. 125 below. The pages of this folio, numbered 1 and 2, contain two columns each.

cols 3-122

20 ff. Sanas Cormaic (cols. 3-87, written by Iolland and Torna Ó Maoil Chonaire) and O'Mulconry's glossary (A-T).

cols 123a*-124b*

pp. 123-124 (1 f.). Fragment of TBDD.

cols 125-128

1 f. Fragment 2 of Betha Féchín Fabair. Second folio of the section beginning at p. 1 (col. 1a) above.

cols 129-216

23 ff. A duanaire of Classical Irish verse.

cols 217-280

16 ff. Miscellany of religious and secular literature. Written in 1407 by Donnchad Ó Duinín for Fingín Ó Mathghamhna.

cols 281-344

16 ff. Miscellany of religious and secular literature. Scribe: Murchadh Ó Cuindlis.

cols 345-364

6 ff. Fragment of an Early Modern Irish version of Táin bó Flidaise.

col. 369

Letter by Tadhg Ó Rodaighe (c. 1700).

cols 370-400

8 ff. The Yellow Book of Lecan proper. The title occurs in a marginal note in col. 380 by Ciothruad mac Taidg Ruaid.

cols 401-436

9 ff. Dinnshenchas Érenn (fragment).

cols 437-476

10 ff. Medical. Irish translation of Rosa Anglica.

cols 477-486

3 ff. Medical tract.

cols 487-499

4 ff. Medical. On the Aphorisms of Hippocrates.

cols 500-572

18 1/2 ff. Learned and gnomic literature (Auraicept na n-éces, etc.).

cols 573-958

99 ff. Miscellany mostly written by Giolla Íosa Mac Fhirbhisigh in about 1391. It currently falls into twelve sections. It includes early Irish narrative works such as Táin bó Cúailnge (cols 573-619) and Togail bruidne Da Derga (cols 716-739b).


4 ff. A manuscript no longer in YBL, but now existing separately as NLI G 4.

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.
  2. - When a catalogue entry does not exist yet, a desert brown link with a different icon will take you to a page on which relevant information is aggregated, such as relevant publications and other manuscript witnesses if available.
  3. - When a text has been ‘captured’, that is, a catalogue entry exists but is still awaiting publication, the same behaviour applies and a crossed eye icon is added.

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



T. K. Abbott • E. J. Gwynn, Catalogue of Irish MSS in TCD (1921): 94–131 and its supplement.

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.] “Trinity College, Dublin”, 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: <>.
Photographic reproduction.
[facs.] Atkinson, Robert [ed.], The Yellow Book of Lecan: a collection of pieces (prose and verse) in the Irish language, in part compiled at the end of the fourteenth century, Dublin: Royal Irish Academy, 1896.  
comments: Facsimile edition of the Dublin, Trinity College, MS 1318.
Facsimile edition.

Secondary sources (select)

Abbott, T. K., and E. J. Gwynn, Catalogue of the Irish manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, Dublin: Hodges, Figgis & Co, 1921.
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
94–110; 342–348 (supplement) direct link direct link
Ó Concheanainn, Tomás, “Gilla Ísa Mac Fir Bhisigh and a scribe of his school”, Ériu 25 (1974): 157–171.
OʼSullivan, William, “Ciothruadh’s Yellow Book of Lecan”, Éigse 18:2 (1981): 177–181.
Oskamp, Hans P. A., “The Yellow Book of Lecan proper”, Ériu 26 (1975): 102–121.
Dennis Groenewegen, Patrick Brown
Page created
November 2010, last updated: November 2022