The prophecy of Berchán
verse beg. Aris biuc a mheic bic báin

  • Middle Irish
  • verse
  • Early Irish poetry
Long political poem (206 qq).
The prophecy of Berchán
This is the title of the standard edition of the text by Benjamin Hudson.
First words (verse)
  • Aris biuc a mheic bic báin
Ascribed to: BerchánBerchán
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

See more
The first part is ascribed to the Irish abbot Berchán.
Three stanzas of the poem only, concerning the Vikings coming to Ireland.
f. 64(121)rb.i–vb
rubric: ‘Boili Bercain’
beg. ‘Aris biuc, a meic big bain’
First 115 qq.
Manuscript (lost) written by Mícheál Ó Cléirigh in 1627
pp. 169–172
Fragment ending at stanza 66.
  • Middle Irish
verse (primary)
Number of stanzas: 206


Early Irish poetryEarly Irish poetry

Early Irish poetryEarly Irish poetry


id. 47094
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

See more


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.] Hudson, Benjamin T., The Prophecy of Berchán: Irish and Scottish high-kings in the early Middle Ages, Westport, Connecticut, and London: Greenwood Press, 1996.
[ed.] [tr.] Anderson, Alan Orr [ed.], “The prophecy of Berchan”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 18 (1930): 1–56.
[ed.] [tr.] Skene, William F., Chronicles of the Picts, chronicles of the Scots, and other early memorials of Scottish history, Edinburgh, 1867.
Internet Archive: <link>, <link> Internet Archive: <link>, <link>
79–105 Beg. Tri fichid bliadhain o a marac.
[ed.] [tr.] OʼKearney, Nicholas, The prophecies of Ss. Columbkille, Maeltamlacht, Ultan, Seadhna, Coireall, Bearcan, Malachy, &c. : together with the prophetic collectanea, or gleanings of several writers who have preserved portions of the now lost prophecies of our saints, with literal translation and notes, Dublin, London: John O'Daly, John Russell Smith, 1856.  

O’Kearney’s source materials for the texts he provides are not clear. On pp. 16-17, he tries to assure the reader “that the original Irish accompanying the translation has been copied from old vellum manuscripts, and that no pains or expense has been spared to procure copies wherever they were known to have extant. To this may be added the care and trouble taken to collate the transcripts made with an old paper copy of most of those rophecies which belonged to a student, named O'Hagan, of St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, who, at his decease, some years ago, bequeathed it to the Library of that Institution, where it now lies, and can be inspected by the curious. Hence, it is hoped that the antiquity of the language will be found a sufficient proof of their originality, and the purity of the metre, of their perfect correctness.” The paper manuscript referred to is not known today.

HathiTrust: <link>
126–131 Selection beg. Martain tar eis d'Eirind uaim

Secondary sources (select)

Anderson, Alan Orr [ed.], Early sources of Scottish history A.D. 500 to 1286, 2 vols, Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1922.
Internet Archive – volume 1: <link> Internet Archive – volume 2: <link>
Vol. 1, xxxiv–xxxv
C. A., Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
March 2013, last updated: January 2024