Introduction to the Dinnshenchas Érenn

  • Middle Irish
  • prose
  • Medieval Irish literature, Dinnshenchas Érenn, Irish legendary history, Medieval Irish literature about poets
Introduction to the Dinnshenchas Érenn. It is in the form of a short story which asserts that the collection was composed by Amairgen mac Amalgada, poet of Diarmait mac Cerbaill (d. 565), high-king of Ireland. When the men of Ireland were convened at Tara, the poet fasted on Fintan mac Bóchra (a survivor of the Flood, according to other tales) for three days and nights, so that the latter would reveal his knowledge of the notable places of Ireland.
First words (prose)
  • Senchas dind Érend inso
Context(s)The (textual) context(s) to which the present text belongs or in which it is cited in part or in whole.
  • Middle Irish
  • Middle Irish (?)

prose (primary)
Textual relationships
Related: Suidiugud tellaig TemraSuidiugud tellaig Temra


Medieval Irish literatureMedieval Irish literature

Dinnshenchas Érenn
Dinnshenchas Érenn
id. 6712
Irish legendary historyIrish legendary history

Medieval Irish literature about poetsMedieval Irish literature about poets


Díarmait mac Cerbaill
Díarmait mac Cerbaill
(supp. d. 565)
In Irish historical tradition, high-king of Ireland, son of Fergus Cerrbél.

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Amairgen mac Amalgada
Amairgen mac Amalgada
(supp. fl. 6th century)
legendary poet of Díarmait mac Cerbaill

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Fintan mac Bóchra
Fintan mac Bóchra
(time-frame ass. with universal history)
A figure of medieval Irish tradition who survives the Flood and lives to give eye-witness accounts of the history of Ireland

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Cenn Fáelad mac Ailella
Cenn Fáelad (mac Ailella)
(supp. fl. 7th century)
Irish scholar. A peculiar tale which became attached to him in Irish tradition is that following an injury sustained in battle, he lost a portion of the brain known as the ‘brain of forgetting’ and thereby became a repository of knowledge and lore.

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Temair ... Tara
County Meath
No short description available

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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.

[ed.] [tr.] Stokes, Whitley, “The prose tales in the Rennes dindshenchas”, Revue Celtique 15 (1894): 272–336, 418–484.  

An edition and translation of the prose texts in the Dinnshenchas Érenn as they occur in Rennes, Bibliothèque de Rennes Métropole, MS 598. Missing texts are supplied from the Book of Lecan version.

TLH – edition (I, pp. 277-336): <link> TLH – translation (I): <link> TLH – edition (II, pp. 418-484): <link> TLH – translation (II): <link> Celtic Digital Initiative: <link> Internet Archive – 272–336: <link> Internet Archive – 272–336: <link> Internet Archive – 418–484: <link> Internet Archive – 418–484: <link>
277–279 [id. 0. ‘x’]
[ed.] [tr.] Stokes, Whitley, “The Bodleian dinnshenchas”, Folk-Lore 3 (1892): 467–516.
TLH – edition: <link> TLH – translation: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
469 [id. 0. ‘Sencas Dinn Erinn’]
[ed.] [tr.] Crowe, John O'Beirne [ed. and tr.], “The dind-senchus of Eriu”, The Journal of the Royal Historical and Archaeological Association of Ireland, 4th series, 2:1 — 1872 (1874): 139–190.
Internet Archive: <link>, <link>
[ed.] [tr.] Petrie, George, and John OʼDonovan [collaborator], “On the history and antiquities of Tara Hill”, Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy 18 (1839): 25–232.
Internet Archive: <link>
129–130 direct link

Secondary sources (select)

Thurneysen, Rudolf, Die irische Helden- und Königsage bis zum siebzehnten Jahrhundert, Halle: Niemeyer, 1921.  

Contents: Part 1 (chapters 1-23): Allgemeines; Part 2 (chapters 1-85): Die Ulter Sage.

Internet Archive: <link>
Dennis Groenewegen, Marie-Luise Theuerkauf
Page created
May 2012, last updated: January 2024