Fragmentary annals of Ireland

  • Late Middle Irish, Early Modern Irish
  • prose
  • Irish annals
A fragmentarily preserved text of Irish annals and narrative expansions, possibly compiled in the 11th century and perhaps based on the lost Annals of Clonenagh (Radner). Five fragments now remain in a late, 17th-century transcript, each covering a part of the period between 573 and 914 and focusing on the province of Leinster.
Broken book of Giolla na Naomh Mac Áedhagáin (lost)
Dubhaltach’s version of FA (below) was itself copied from what he called a ‘broken book’ of Giolla na Naomh Mac Áedhagáin. If the latter is identical with the ollamh of that name recorded in the annals and if he was the scribe (rather than merely the owner) of the manuscript, this book would seem to date to the early 15th century.
Manuscript written by Dubhaltach Óg Mac Fir Bhisigh for John Lynch (lost)
The uniquely preserved text in the Brussels manuscript (below) was transcribed from a now lost manuscript written by Dubhaltach Óg Mac Fir Bhisigh for John Lynch.
  • Late Middle Irish Early Modern Irish
  • late Middle Irish and Early Modern Irish
prose (primary)
verse (secondary)
Textual relationships
Radner suggests that the annals in Egerton 1782, known since O'Grady as the Mionannála, may go back to an exemplar which also served as a source text (though not directly) for the Fragmentary annals.(1)n. 1 Joan N. Radner, Fragmentary annals of Ireland (1978): introduction.
Related: Annals of ClonenaghAnnals of Clonenagh

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

Associated items
Bronaig Conailli indiuBronaig Conailli indiu

Early Irish poem, 4 qq of which are quoted in the Annals of Ulster, in an entry sub anno 688 concerning the battle of Imlech Pich. The poem, here attributed to one Gabaircenn or Gaborchenn, laments the deaths of two leaders on the side of the Conailli, Dub Da Inber and Uarchride. On the grounds that quatrains 2-3 are metrically distinct from 1 and 4, Kuno Meyer expressed doubt if all four quatrains originally belonged together.

Cath AlmaineCath AlmaineCath CorainnCath CorainnCath Maige MachaCath Maige MachaDinnshenchas of Cell ChorbbáinDinnshenchas of Cell ChorbbáinDinnshenchas of Cell Chorbbáin (Kilcorban).Iniu feras Bruide cathIniu feras Bruide cath

Brief poem (3 st.) on a battle fought by Bruide against an unnamed son of Oswiu (mac Os(s)a), which is usually identified as the battle of Dún Nechtain (685), in which Bruide mac Bile (Bridei III), king of the Picts, defeated the Northumbrians and King Ecgfrith, son of Oswiu, was slain. The poem is found in the Fragmentary annals of Ireland, where it is attributed to one Riaguil of Bangor and given in the context of the death of Flann Fína, i.e. Aldfrith, king of Northumbria, apparently in the erroneous understanding that ‘Oswiu’s son’ is intended to refer to him rather than his half-brother and predecessor Ecgwin. A note in the left margin seeks to support this interpretation by identifying Bruide as Aldfrith’s contemporary Bruide mac Deril (i.e. B. mac Der-Ilei, Bridei IV).

Mór liach Life lonngalachMór liach Life lonngalachPoem (5 qq) on the death of Cerball mac Muirecán, king of Leinster (d. 909). It is attributed to his court poet Dallán (mac Móre).Scéla Cennétig meic Gáethíne ⁊ na LochlannachScéla Cennétig meic Gáethíne ⁊ na LochlannachMedieval Irish account in the Fragmentary annals of Ireland concerning Cennétig son of Gáethíne, (over)king of the Loígis (d. 903), and his dealings with the Lochlannaig (vikings from Lochlann, typically translated as ‘Norway’).


Irish annalsannals and chronicles, Irish histories
Irish annals
id. 35113

Fragment 1 (s.a. 573–628 = §§ 1–18)

Fragment 2 (s.a. 662–704 = §§ 19–167)

Fragment 3 (s.a. 716–735 = §§ 168–232)

Fragment 4 (s.a. 851–873 = §§ 233–410)

Joan N. Radner, Fragmentary annals of Ireland (1978) has suggested that this part of the manuscript is primarily based on two texts: the Clonmacnoise chronicle (now lost) and for much of the pseudo-historical material, the Osraige chronicle. To a smaller extent, use was made of additional material. See also Clare Downham, ‘The good, the bad and the ugly’, The Medieval Chronicle 3 (2004).

Fragment 5 (s.a. 906–914 = §§ 411–459)

===The king-tales===

A number of annals have been expanded to include short narratives about the careers of kings, such as Suibne Menn, Fínnachta Fledach, Máelshechnaill mac Máele Ruanaid and Cerball mac Dúnlainge. The following titles do not occur in the text of the Fragmentary Annals, but they have been adopted from Dan M. Wiley's overview of the early Irish king-tales.(2)n. 2 Dan M. Wiley, ‘An introduction to the early Irish king tales’ in Essays on the early Irish king tales... (2008). Some of them are also found in the Mionannála.

Paragraphs (Radner) Sub anno Text

Fragment 1

§ 4 s.a. 583 Aided Fheradaig Fhinn (The violent death of Feradach Finn)
§ 9 s.a. 605 Scéla Áedo Uaridnaig ⁊ Mura Othna (The story of Áed Uaridnach and Muru Othna)
§ 17 s.a. 615 Compert Suibni Minn (The conception and birth of Suibne Menn)

Fragment 2

§ 67.i s.a. 677 Scéla Fínnachta ⁊ Ríg Fer Rois (The story of Fínnachta Fledach and the king of Fir Rois)
§ 67.ii s.a. 677 Scéla Fínnachta ⁊ Adomnáin (The story of Fínnachta Fledach and Adomnán)
§ 67.iii s.a. 677 Scéla Fínnachta ⁊ Cinn Fáelad (The story of Fínnachta Fledach and Cenn Fáelad)
§ 67.iv s.a. 677 Scéla Fínnachta ⁊ Moling ⁊ Adomnáin (The story of Fínnachta Fledach, Moling and Adomnán)
§ 150 s.a. 700 Scéla Írgalaig meic Conaing ⁊ Adomnáin (The story of Írgalach mac Conaing and Adomnán)
§ 158 s.a. 703 Cath Corainn (The battle of Corann)
§ 177 s.a. 721 Fáitsine Fergaile meic Máele Dúin (The prophecy of Fergaill mac Máele Dúin)
§ 178 s.a. 722 Cath Almaine (The battle of Allen)

Fragment 3

§§ 233-235 s.a. 851-852 Scéla Máelshechnaill ⁊ na nDanar (The story of Máelshechnaill [mac Máele Ruanaid] and the Danes)
§ 254 s.a. 852 (?) Scéla Cerbaill meic Dúnlainge ⁊ na nDanar (The story of Cerball mac Dúnlainge and the Danes)
§ 260 s.a. 858 Cath Cairn Lugdach (The battle of Carn Lugdach)
§ 260 s.a. 858 Scéla Máelshechnaill ⁊ Cerbaill meic Dúnlainge (The story of Máelshechnaill [mac Máele Ruanaid] and Cerball mac Dúnlainge)
§ 279 s.a. 860 Cath Maige Macha (The battle of Mag Macha)
§ 314 s.a. 864 Sluagad Cerbaill meic Dúnlainge co Mag Feimin (The hosting of Cerball mac Dúinlainge to Mag Feimin)
§ 338 s.a. 866 (?) Scéla Cennétig meic Gáethíne ⁊ na Lochlannach (The story of Cennétig mac Gáethíni and the Norwegians)
§ 366 s.a. 868 Cath Cille ua nDaigre (The battle of Cell ua nDaigre)
§ 387 s.a. 870 Togail Dúin Bolg (The destructon of Dún Bolg)
§ 423 s.a. 908 Cath Belaig Mugna (The battle of Belach Mugna)
§ 443 s.a. 912 (?) Éirge Osraige i cenn Diarmata meic Cerbaill (The revolt of the Osraige against Diarmat mac Cerbaill)



Joan N. Radner, Fragmentary annals of Ireland (1978): introduction.
Dan M. Wiley, ‘An introduction to the early Irish king tales’ in Essays on the early Irish king tales... (2008).

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.] Radner, Joan N. [ed. and tr.], Fragmentary annals of Ireland, Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1978.
CELT – edition (2–182),: <link> CELT – translation (3–183): <link> CELT – introduction (vii–ix): <link>
[ed.] [tr.] OʼDonovan, John [ed. and tr.], Annals of Ireland: three fragments, Dublin: Irish Archaeological and Celtic Society, 1860.
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Digitale-sammlungen.de: <link> Digitale-sammlungen.de: View in Mirador

Secondary sources (select)

Hamel, A. G. van, “The foreign notes in the Three fragments of Irish annals”, Revue Celtique 36 (1915–1916): 1–22.
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
Mac Niocaill, Gearóid, The medieval Irish annals, Medieval Irish History Series, 3, Dublin: Dublin Historical Association, 1975.
Mc Carthy, Daniel P., The Irish annals: their genesis, evolution and history, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2008.  
comments: Contents: Chronicles and annals: origins, compilation, taxonomy and nomenclature (p. 1); Witnesses to the annals: the primary manuscripts (18); Annalistic literature (61); World history in Insular chronicles (118); The Iona chronicle (153); The Moville and Clonmacnoise chronicles (168); Liber Cuanach and its descendants (198); The Armagh and Derry chronicles (223); The Connacht and Fermanagh chronicles (245); The Regnal-canon chronicles (271); Final compilation stages (304); Reliable annalistic chronology (342); Epilogue (355); Twelve centuries of Irish chronicling: from Bethlehem to Bundrowes (355); Necessity for a comprehensive analysis of chronicle features (357); Outstanding chronicle compilations (358); Manuscript witnesses to the annals (361); Survey of annalistic verse up to A.D. 1000 (364); The regnal-canon (368); Bibliography (375) and index (393).
Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
February 2011, last updated: January 2024