Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson B 514

  • Irish
  • s. xvi
  • Irish manuscripts
  • vellum
Collection: Rawlinson manuscripts
Rawlinson B 514
Provenance and related aspects
s. xvi
16th century
Origin, provenance
Origin: Ireland
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ass. with Maghnus Ó DomhnaillÓ Domhnaill (Maghnus)
(d. 1563)
anglicised Manus O’Donnell; chief of the Ó Domhnaill family (O’Donnells); lord of Donegal (since 1537); married to Eleanor Fitzgerald; poet and author; compiled Beatha Cholaim Chille.
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“It is reasonable to assume that the manuscript belonged originally to Maghnus Ó Domhnaill who died in 1563” (Ó Cuív: 262). Note, however, that Caoimhín Breatnach (2007) has argued that the present copy is unlikely to have been the one produced for Ó Domhnaill.
Later provenance: County Donegal
County Donegal/Dún na nGall
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ass. with Mac Suibhne familyMac Suibhne family
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

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“Later owners named are Mac Suibhne of Baghaine (f. iiir of Part I), and ‘Donnogh mc Swyn’ and ‘Henry Swyne’ (f. [19]r of Part II).”(1)n. 1 Brian Ó Cuív, Catalogue of Irish MSS in the Bodleian (2001): 262. The evidence seems to point to some connection with the Clann Suibhne, particular that of Tír Boghaine (bar. Banagh, Co Donegal).
Hands, scribes
Hands indexed:
Main hand

There is no scribal signature, but the main hand can be identified with that of Harleian 5280, which belongs to Giolla Riabhach (Mór) Ó Cléirigh. This is corroborated by a colophon in a copy of the present manuscript, Franciscan MS A 19, which states that the exemplar was written by Giolla Riabhach Mór Ó Cléirigh.(1)n. 1 Brian Ó Cuív, Catalogue of Irish MSS in the Bodleian (2001): 262, 270. “The script is large and beautifully clear, with large capitals for initial letters of sections or paragraphs. Beginning at f. 18r of Part I and continuing as far as f. 20r the large initials are coloured with a lightish yellow; two on f. 19rb are crudely smudged with brown. The scribe left space for large ornamental initials on ff. 1r, 47r, 51v and 59v, but these were never inserted.”(2)n. 2 Brian Ó Cuív, Catalogue of Irish MSS in the Bodleian (2001): 262–63.

Giolla Riabhach mac Tuathail Ó CléirighÓ Cléirigh (Giolla Riabhach mac Tuathail)
(fl. 15th/16th century)
Ó Cléirigh (Giolla Riabhach Mór)
Irish scribe, son of Tuathal son of Tadhg Cam Ó Cléirigh. He is the main scribe of the miscellany Harley MS 5820 and Rawlinson MS 514 containing Maghnus Ó Domhnall’s Life of Colum Cille. His own floruit cannot be pinned down with any precision but his father is kown to have died in 1512.
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Second hand

“A second scribe, using lighter-coloured ink, added a short paragraph on f. 50vb of Part I” (Ó Cuív: 263).

Additional hand 1 of gathering L (f. 77v)

The final leaves of part II of the MS show a more varied distribution of hands. While Ó Cléirigh’s hand is still seen in this section, Ó Cuív observes “several [other] hands” on ff. 77(17), 78(18) and [79(19)].

One hand added a poem on f. 77(17)v, writing in “a clear but not particularly fine hand, not earlier than 1551”.

Additional hand 2 of gathering L (f. 77r) Another hand added a short annalistic note at the bottom of f. 77(17)r.
Additional hand 3 of gathering L (f. 78v, 79r)

Yet another hand added several verse items: three on f. 78(18)v, in two lines following the poem beg. Ceidtreabh Erend Inis Saimher, and another on f. [79(19)]r.

Copies or excerpts
Codicological information
Table of contents

Links to texts use a standardised title for the catalogue and so may or may not reflect what is in the manuscript itself, hence the square brackets. Their appearance comes in three basic varieties, which are signalled through colour coding and the use of icons, , and :

  1. - If a catalogue entry is both available and accessible, a direct link will be made. Such links are blue-ish green and marked by a bookmark icon.
  2. - When a catalogue entry does not exist yet, a desert brown link with a different icon will take you to a page on which relevant information is aggregated, such as relevant publications and other manuscript witnesses if available.
  3. - When a text has been ‘captured’, that is, a catalogue entry exists but is still awaiting publication, the same behaviour applies and a crossed eye icon is added.

The above method of differentiating between links has not been applied yet to texts or citations from texts which are included in the context of other texts, commonly verses.


While it is not a reality yet, CODECS seeks consistency in formatting references to locations of texts and other items of interest in manuscripts. Our preferences may be best explained with some examples:

  • f. 23ra.34: meaning folio 23 recto, first column, line 34
  • f. 96vb.m: meaning folio 96, verso, second column, middle of the page (s = top, m = middle, i = bottom)
    • Note that marg. = marginalia, while m = middle.
  • p. 67b.23: meaning page 67, second column, line 23
The list below has been collated from the table of contents, if available on this page,Progress in this area is being made piecemeal. Full and partial tables of contents are available for a small number of manuscripts. and incoming annotations for individual texts (again, if available).Whenever catalogue entries about texts are annotated with information about particular manuscript witnesses, these manuscripts can be queried for the texts that are linked to them.



Brian Ó Cuív, Catalogue of Irish MSS in the Bodleian (2001): 262.

Primary sources This section typically includes references to diplomatic editions, facsimiles and photographic reproductions, notably digital image archives, of at least a major portion of the manuscript. For editions of individual texts, see their separate entries.

[dig. img.] Oxford Digital Library, Early manuscripts at Oxford University, Online: University of Oxford, 2001–present. URL: <http://image.ox.ac.uk>.
[ed.] [tr.] OʼKelleher, Andrew, and Gertrude Schoepperle, Betha Colaim Chille: Life of Columcille. Compiled by Manus O'Donnell in 1532. Edited and translated from manuscript Rawlinson B. 514 in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, University of Illinois Bulletin, 15.48, Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois, 1918.
Internet Archive: <link>, <link>, <link> Internet Archive – originally from Google Books: <link>, <link>
Edition of the Life of Colum Cille.

Secondary sources (select)

Breatnach, Caoimhín, “Foinsí an leagain de Bheatha Cholaim Chille a scríobhadh faoi stiúradh Mhaghnuis Uí Dhomhnaill”, in: Pádraig A. Breatnach, Caoimhín Breatnach, and Meidhbhín Ní Úrdail (eds), Léann lámhscríbhinní lobháin: The Louvain manuscript heritage, 1, Dublin: National University of Ireland, 2007. 127–138.
Ó Cuív, Brian, Catalogue of Irish language manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford and Oxford college libraries. Part 1: Descriptions, Dublin: School of Celtic Studies, DIAS, 2001.
Quiggin, E. C., Prolegomena to the study of the later Irish bards, 1200–1500, Proceedings of the British Academy, 5, Oxford: British Academy, 1911.
Internet Archive: <link>, <link>, <link> Internet Archive – Angus Matheson copy: <link>
45–50 A list of poems contained in the manuscript.

External links

Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
February 2012, last updated: December 2022