Irish grammatical tracts

  • Early Modern Irish
  • Irish texts on language and literature
Textbook compilations of Irish bardic schools on the proper uses of grammar. The tracts constitute a rich and valuable source for Irish bardic poetry, specimens of which are amply cited, and offers evidence for many different aspects of Classical Modern Irish.


Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Adv. MS 72.2.4
  • Early Modern Irish


Irish texts on language and literatureIrish texts on language and literature


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.] Mac Cárthaigh, Eoin, The art of bardic poetry: a new edition of Irish grammatical tracts I, Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 2014.
[ed.] Bergin, Osborn, “Irish grammatical tracts [I and II, §§ 1–11]”, Ériu 8 (supplement, 1916): i–v, 1–60.  
Critical edition of Irish grammatical tracts I (introductory part, pp 1–36) and part of II (on declension), §§ 1-11 (pp 37–60)
[ed.] Bergin, Osborn, “Irish grammatical tracts [II, §§ 12–87]”, Ériu 9 (supplement, 1921–1923): 61–124.  
Critical edition (continued) of Irish grammatical tracts, comprising part of II (on declension), §§ 12–87
[ed.] Bergin, Osborn, “Irish grammatical tracts [II, §§ 88–207]”, Ériu 10 (supplement, 1928–1926): 125–166.  
Critical edition (continued) of Irish grammatical tracts, comprising the final part of II (on declension), §§ 88–207
[ed.] Bergin, Osborn, “Irish grammatical tracts: III and IV”, Ériu 14 (supplement, 1946): 167–257.  
Critical edition (continued) of Irish grammatical tracts, comprising parts III (on irregular verbs, pp 167–250; from TCD 1319) and IV (on abstract nouns, pp 251–257)
[ed.] Bergin, Osborn, “Irish grammatical tracts V: metrical faults”, Ériu 17 (supplement, 1955): 259–293.  
Critical edition (final part) of Irish grammatical tracts, comprising part V (on metrical faults, pp 259–293)
Edition wanted
An edition of the syntactic tract on the subjunctive in TCD 1319 and TCD 1311 has not (yet) been published. Damian McManus has provided a transcription in a working document made available on https://www.tcd.ie/Irish/research/database.php

Secondary sources (select)

McManus, Damian, “Varia II: IGT/BST citations; some more identifications”, Ériu 61 (2011): 169–170.
McManus, Damian, “Varia II: IGT citations; more identifications”, Ériu 58 (2008): 181.
McManus, Damian, “Varia II. IGT citations; Further identifications”, Ériu 55 (2005): 145.
Breatnach, Pádraig A., “The metres of citations in the Irish grammatical tracts”, Éigse 32 (2000): 7–22.
McManus, Damian, “The Irish grammatical and syntactical tracts: a concordance of duplicated and identified citations”, Ériu 48 (1997): 83–101.
McManus, Damian, “Classical modern Irish”, in: Kim R. McCone, and Katharine Simms (eds), Progress in medieval Irish studies, Maynooth: Department of Old Irish, St. Patrick's College, 1996. 165–187.
Armstrong, John, “A glossarial index of nouns and adjectives in Irish grammatical tracts II–IV”, Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium 5 (1985): 187–410.
Ó Cuív, Brian, “The linguistic training of the mediaeval Irish poet”, Celtica 10 (1973): 114–140.
Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
September 2015, last updated: January 2024