Texts

Foras feasa ar Éirinn‘The foundation/compendium of the historical knowledge of Ireland’

Keating (Geoffrey)
  • Early Modern Irish
  • Irish texts, Cycles of the Kings, Finn Cycle, Irish legendary history, Mythological Cycle, Ulster Cycle, History, Compilation, Compendium
The prose history of Ireland completed by Geoffrey Keating (Seathrún Céitinn) in c. 1634. Comprising an introduction, two books and appendices, it narrates the history of the island from the time of Creation to the Norman conquest in the 12th century. As set out by the vindicatory introduction (an díonbhrollach), the work was written in response to the cultural biases of Anglo-centric writers (e.g. William Camden and Edmund Spenser).
Author
Geoffrey KeatingKeating (Geoffrey)
Céitinn (Seathrún)
Irish priest, historian and poet; author of Foras feasa ar Éirinn
See more
(Seathrún Céitinn)
Manuscripts

A fair number of copies exist, some of which are listed below. Where available, the sigla are those assigned to them by Dinneen in his introduction to the second volume of the edition.

from the 17th century:
(mostly) 18th century
19th century
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 E 19
  • [No siglum] =
    Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 Q 17
    Transcript by Malachy O'Curry of a copy made by Sean Clarach Mac Donnell in 1720.
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 G 11
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 Q 20
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 12 E 13
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 12 E 14
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 24 C 58
  • Dublin, Trinity College, MS 1421
    p. 130
    Memoranda from this work and others
  • Maynooth, Russell Library, MS R 68
  • Dublin, Trinity College, MS 1443
    Version in English translation (end of the 17th century).
Language
  • Early Modern Irish
Date
17th century, finished by 1634
Textual relationships
Related: Bruidhean (an) chaorthainnBruidhean (an) chaorthainnLate Gaelic prose romance in the form of a so-called bruidhean tale about Fionn mac Cumhaill and his men, perhaps composed in the 15th or 16th century. In the story, Fionn and a number of companions are entrapped in a sinister enchanted hostel or bruidhean by Míodhach (Midac), son of Colgán (Colga), king of Lochlann. Míodhach was taken up and reared by the Fían after his father was killed in an unsuccesful attempt to seize Irish territory, but on coming of age, plotted revenge and so invited Fionn to a feast at ‘The hostel of rowan’ on the Shannon. Once inside, Fionn and his men find themselves magically glued to their seats, awaiting death by decapitation, while Míodhach is making foreign allies. They chant a dord fían (a low kind of humming), which reveals their whereabouts to the remaining members of the Fían, including Oisín, Caoilte, Innse, and Diarmuid. A series of fights ensues in which the latter resist foreign attackers and kill Míodhach. Diarmuid slays the kings of Inis Tuile (Thule) and uses their blood to release Fionn and the other captured men from the spell of enchantment (although Conán Maol does not come away without being partially skinned alive). Finally, a great battle is fought and won over the ‘King of the world’, who is defeated and beheaded.Annals of ClonenaghAnnals of Clonenagh

A largely lost set of annals associated with the monastery of Cluain Eidnech (Clonenagh) in present-day Co. Laois.

Lebor gabála ÉrennLebor gabála ÉrennSanas Cormaic/RincneSanas Cormaic/Rincne

Entry for ‘rincne’ in Sanas Cormaic, with an anecdote about Ferchess, Mac Con and Finn úa Báiscni.

Scéla Cormaic ⁊ CiarnaiteScéla Cormaic ⁊ CiarnaiteBrief account of the affair between Cormac mac Airt and Cíarnat, a Pictish princess who was taken captive.
Associated items
Guaire Aidne, Cumméne Fota and Caimín of Inis CeltraGuaire Aidne, Cumméne Fota and Caimín of Inis Celtra

Classification

Irish texts Cycles of the Kings Finn Cycle Irish legendary history Mythological Cycle Ulster Cycle
HistoryHistory
...

CompilationCompilation
...

CompendiumCompendium
...

Sources

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.] Comyn, David, and Patrick S. Dinneen (ed. and tr.), Foras feasa ar Éirinn: The history of Ireland by Geoffrey Keating D. D., 4 vols, Irish Texts Society 4–8–9–15, London: Irish Texts Society, 1902–1914.
CELT – edition (Book I-II): <link> CELT – translation (Book I-II): <link> Internet Archive – vol. 1: <link> Internet Archive – vol. 1: <link> Internet Archive – vol. 1: <link> Internet Archive – vol. 1: <link> Internet Archive – vol. 2: <link> Internet Archive – vol. 2: <link> Internet Archive – vol. 3: <link> Internet Archive – vol. 3: <link> Internet Archive – vol. 3: <link>
Comyn, David [ed.], Foras feasa ar Éirinn: The history of Ireland by Geoffrey Keating D. D. Volume I, containing the introduction and first book of the history, 4 vols, vol. 1, Irish Texts Society 4, London: Irish Texts Society, 1902.
CELT – edition: <link> CELT – translation: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
Dinneen, Patrick S. [ed.], Foras feasa ar Éirinn: The history of Ireland by Geoffrey Keating D. D. Volume II, containing the first book of the history from sect. XV to the end, 4 vols, vol. 2, Irish Texts Society 8, London: Irish Texts Society, 1908.
CELT – edition: <link> CELT – translation: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
Dinneen, Patrick S. [ed.], Foras feasa ar Éirinn: The history of Ireland by Geoffrey Keating D. D. Volume III, containing the second book of the history, 4 vols, vol. 3, Irish Texts Society 9, London: Irish Texts Society, 1908.
CELT – edition: <link> CELT – translation: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
Dinneen, Patrick S. [ed.], Foras feasa ar Éirinn: The history of Ireland by Geoffrey Keating D. D. Volume IV, containing the genealogies, synchronisms with an index [which includes the elucidation of place names and annotations to the text of Vols. I, II and III], 4 vols, vol. 4, Irish Texts Society 15, London: Irish Texts Society, 1914.
[ed.] Bergin, Osborn [ed.], Sgéalaigheacht Chéitinn. Stories from Keating’s History of Ireland, 3rd ed. (1910), Dublin: Royal Irish Academy, 1930.
Internet Archive: <link>
Edition of selections, based on the copy in Dublin, King's Inns Library, with variants from TCD 1397 and TCD 1403
[ed.] Joyce, P. W., Forus feasa air Éirinn: Keating's History of Ireland. Book I, Part I, Gaelic Union Publications, Dublin: Gill, 1880.
Internet Archive: <link>
Edition of the first part of Book 1, based on TCD 1397
[tr.] O'Mahony, John, Foras feasa ar Éirinn, do réir an Athar Seathrun Céiting, ollamh ré diadhachta: The history of Ireland, from the earliest period to the English Invasion, by the Reverend Geoffrey Keating, D.D., New York, 1857.
Internet Archive: <link>, <link> Internet Archive – originally from Google Books: <link>, <link>
English translation

Secondary sources (select)

Cunningham, Bernadette, The world of Geoffrey Keating: history, myth and religion in seventeenth-century Ireland, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2000.
Ó Riain, Pádraig [ed.], Geoffrey Keating’s Foras feasa ar Éirinn: reassessments, Irish Texts Society, Subsidiary Series 19, London: Irish Texts Society, 2008.
Cronin, Anne, “The sources of Keating’s Forus feasa ar Éirinn [1. The printed sources]”, Éigse 4:4 — 1943/1944 (1945): 235–279.
Cronin, Anne, “The sources of Keating’s Forus feasa ar Éirinn [2. Manuscript sources]”, Éigse 5:2 — 1945/1947 (1948): 122–135.
Ní Bhrolcháin, Muireann, “A possible source for Keating’s Forus feasa ar Éirinn”, Éigse 19:1 (1982): 61–81.
Dinneen, Patrick S. [ed.], Foras feasa ar Éirinn: The history of Ireland by Geoffrey Keating D. D. Volume II, containing the first book of the history from sect. XV to the end, 4 vols, vol. 2, Irish Texts Society 8, London: Irish Texts Society, 1908.
CELT – edition: <link> CELT – translation: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
xiii–xxxv On manuscript sources.
Contributors
C. A., Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
April 2011, last updated: March 2022