Maol Póil and the dead nun

  • Irish
  • prose
  • Irish religious texts

Short story in which Maol Póil úa Cináetha, abbot of Cell Becáin, meets the ghost (bann-scál) of a dead gospel-nun (mainches soiscéla). Having discussed astrology with a fellow monk, the abbot goes to sleep. He has a dream-vision in which a nun, who had died six days previously, approaches him and insists that the abbot intercedes for her by chanting the Biait (Psalm 118: Beati immaculati...) in her honour.

No title occurs in the manuscript.
First words (prose)
  • Maol Póil húa Cináetha .i. ab Mainistreach Cilli Becáin robhúi ⁊ manach aili ac lúadh astrolaice
  • Irish
prose (primary)
verse (secondary)
Contains poems
In mháin is ferr ar talmain


Irish religious textsIrish religious texts



Maol Póil úa CinaethaMaol Póil úa Cinaetha
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

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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.] Pokorny, Julius [ed.], “Drie Erzaehlungen aus dem Buch von Lismore”, in: J. Fraser, Paul Grosjean, and J. G. OʼKeeffe (eds), Irish texts, fasciculus I, London, 1931. 42–44.  
comments: An edition of three narratives from the Book of Lismore:
I. Colum Cille, Comgall und Cainnech [fol. 43b2 ff], pp. 42-43
II. St Patrick und Laegaire's Sohn Lugaid [fol. 44a1 ff], pp. 43-44
III. Maoil Póil und die tote Nonne [fol. 44b1 ff], p. 44.
Celtic Digital Initiative: <link> CELT: <link>
[ed.] [tr.] Stokes, Whitley [ed. and tr.], Lives of saints from the Book of Lismore, Anecdota Oxoniensia, Mediaeval and Modern Series, 5, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1890.
CELT: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>, <link> Internet Archive: <link>
xv Edition and translation of the first few lines. direct link
[tr.] Ó Laoghaire, Diarmuid, “Old Ireland and her spirituality”, in: Robert E. McNally (ed.), Old Ireland, Dublin: Gill, 1965. 29–59.

Secondary sources (select)

Flower, Robin, Catalogue of Irish manuscripts in the [British Library, formerly the] British Museum, vol. 2, London: British Museum, 1926.
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September 2012, last updated: January 2024