Genemain Moling ocus a bethu ‘The birth of Mo Ling and his life’

  • Early Modern Irish
  • prose

Vernacular Irish Life of St Mo Ling. The text is a patchwork (in the neutral sense of the word) of various legends about the saint, including his birth and upbringing, encounters with a spectre, with Suibne Geilt and Grág, and the Bórama tribute.

pp. 30a.m–30b.7
rubric: ‘De Sto. Molingo a tTigh Moling a ccuigedh Laighean’
Fragment corresponding to §§ 38–39, ed. by Grosjean, ÉC 2 (1937).
f. 11ra–va.5
Fragment. Acephalous and breaking off incomplete.
Plummer (1925): “PETRIE, Round Towers, gives a short extract from an Irish Life of Moling in the possession of Mr. Hardiman. It corresponds with the last three lines of § 47 of Stokes' edition.”
p. 58
Meyer's suggestion to Stokes that another copy exists in Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique, MS 5301-5320 (see notes by Stokes 1907) appears to have been made in error and was later corrected by Plummer (1925).
  • Early Modern Irish
  • ?
prose (primary)
Associated items
A Brigit bennach ar sétA Brigit bennach ar sét

An Irish poem of prayer attributed to Mo Ling at the end of the Bóroma tract, in which Brigit and other saints are addressed.

A Brigit cuinnigh ar Críst an cobairA Brigit cuinnigh ar Críst an cobair

An Irish poem of praise (5 qq) addressed to St Brigit in the life of St Mo Ling that is known as Genemain Moling ocus a bethu (‘The birth and life of Mo Ling’). According to that narrative, Mo Ling recited the poem as a prayer for protection before continuing on a perilous journey and did not encounter an ambush thereafter. It is one of two poems addressed to Brigit in the life, the other beginning A Brigit bennach ar sétt.

Mo Ling and the leperMo Ling and the leperIrish anecdote about St Mo Ling and a leper. 



Mo Ling
Mo Ling
(d. 697)
Irish saint, abbot and patron saint of Tech Mo Ling (St Mullins, Co. Carlow) and reputed ‘bishop’ of Ferna (Ferns).

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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.

Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique, MS 4190-4200
[ed.] [tr.] Stokes, Whitley, The birth and life of St Moling: edited from a manuscript in the Royal Library, Brussels, Specimens of Middle-Irish Literature, 1, London, 1907.  

Revised version of “The birth and life of St Moling”, Revue Celtique 27 (1906): 257–312, incorporating later suggestions and including the poems that were omitted in Revue Celtique.

Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive – originally from Google Books: <link> CELT – edition: <link> CELT – translation: <link>
Revised version of the original article and its corrigenda and addenda in Revue Celtique. Edition based on the Brussels MS (B), with readings from LFF (L) and the Franciscan manuscript (F).
[add.] [corr.] Stokes, Whitley, “Notes on the birth and life of St. Moling”, Revue Celtique 28 (1907): 70–72.
Internet Archive: <link>, <link> Gallica: <link>
[ed.] [tr.] Stokes, Whitley, “The birth and life of St Moling”, Revue Celtique 27 (1906): 257–312.
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive – offprint: <link>
Earlier version.
[ed.] Grosjean, Paul, “Textes hagiographiques irlandais”, Études Celtiques 2:4 (1937): 269–303.  

Contents: I. Le miracle du décapité; II. Comment l’Amra de Colum Cille sauva Mac Taidhg de la captivité et du diable; III. La Vision de Baithin; IV. Comment Brendan de Clonfert changea un enfant de fille en garçon dans le sein de sa mère; V. Dialogue de s. Brendan avec son disciple Moinen sur la mort; VI. Les prières de l’anachorète Fergal; VII. Le balai de Fánaid; VIII. Saint Moling et le lépreux; IX. Eulalie de Shaftesbury et le rosaire; X. Sur sainte Reichtín; XII. Un miracle de la Vierge: la statue du Mont-Saint-Michel; XIII. S. Dunchad Úa Braein; XIV. Extraits de la Règle de Tallaght.

Persée – Études Celtiques, vol. 2, fascicule 3, 1937: <link> Persée – Études Celtiques, vol. 2, fascicule 4, 1937: <link>
286–288 Fragment from UCD Franciscan A 9.
[tr.] OʼCurry, Eugene, and W. K. Sullivan [ed., appendices], On the manners and customs of the ancient Irish: a series of lectures, 3 vols, vol. 3: Lectures, vol. 2, London, 1873.
Internet Archive: <link>, <link> Internet Archive – originally from Google Books: <link>, <link>, <link>
34–36 Free translation of the episode concerning the Yew of Ross and Gobbán saer.

Secondary sources (select)

Kenney, James F., “Chapter V: The monastic churches: II. The churches of the sixth to ninth centuries; general treatises”, in: James F. Kenney, The sources for the early history of Ireland: an introduction and guide. Volume 1: ecclesiastical, Revised ed., 11, New York: Octagon, 1966. 372–485.
462 [id. 249. ‘Birth and Life of Moling’]
Plummer, Charles, “A tentative catalogue of Irish hagiography”, in: Charles Plummer, Miscellanea hagiographica Hibernica: vitae adhuc ineditae sanctorum Mac Creiche, Naile, Cranat, 15, Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1925. 171–285.
Utrecht University Library: <link>
Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
October 2018, last updated: June 2023