The quarrel between Finn and Oisín
verse beg. Is derb lem-sae, cia domaimse in fer líath

  • Old Irish
  • verse
  • Early Irish poetry, Finn Cycle

Poem cast as a dialogue between Finn and Oisín, with prose introduction and conclusion.

First words (verse)
  • Is derb lem-sae, cia domaimse in fer líath
First words (prose)
  • Bói Find úa Báiscne fo Erinn oc cuinchid a maic .i. Oiséne
  • Old Irish
The poem “must have been composed during the Old Irish period, perhaps even as early as the eighth century”, although the text is imperfectly preserved in later manuscripts (Hull, following Meyer).(1)n. 1 Vernam Hull, ‘The quarrel between Finn and Oisin’, Modern Language Notes 57 (1942): 434.
verse (primary)
prose (secondary)


Early Irish poetryEarly Irish poetry

Early Irish poetryEarly Irish poetry

Finn Cycle
Finn Cycle
id. 578


Finn mac Cumaill
Finn mac Cumaill (Find úa Báiscni)
(time-frame ass. with Finn Cycle, Finn mac Cumaill, Cormac mac Airt)
Finn mac Cumaill (earlier mac Umaill?), Find úa Báiscni: central hero in medieval Irish and Scottish literature of the so-called Finn Cycle; warrior-hunter and leader of a fían

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Oisín mac Finn
Oisín mac Finn
(time-frame ass. with Finn Cycle, Finn mac Cumaill, Saint Patrick, Cormac mac Airt)
A fían-warrior, son of Finn, in the Finn Cycle of medieval Irish literature

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Facsimile reproduction of the beginning of the text in the Leabhar Chille Brighde (Smith 1805, upper part of plate II, before p. 293).



Vernam Hull, ‘The quarrel between Finn and Oisin’, Modern Language Notes 57 (1942): 434.

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.

A new edition is being prepared by David Stifter.
[ed.] [tr.] Meyer, Kuno [ed. and tr.], “The quarrel between Finn and Oisin”, in: Kuno Meyer, Fianaigecht: being a collection of hitherto inedited Irish poems and tales relating to Finn and his Fiana, 16, London: Hodges, Figgis, 1910. 22–27.
CELT – edition: <link> CELT – translation: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
+ 115 (2nd reprint only)
[add.] Meyer, Kuno, “Erschienene Schriften”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 8 (1912): 594–600.
Internet Archive: <link>
599 Reprinted and translated in the 2nd reprint of Meyer (1910): 115.
[ed.] [tr.] Smith, Donald, “XIX. Account of the principal manuscripts now in the possession of the Highland Society, relating to the subject of the Committee’s Inquiries”, in: Henry Mackenzie, Report of the Committee of the Highland Society of Scotland: appointed to inquire into the nature and authenticity of the Poems of Ossian, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1805. 285–312, plates I–III.
Digital.nls.uk: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
293, Plate II Beginning of the text from the now lost Leabhar Cille Brighde.

Secondary sources (select)

Murray, Kevin, The early Finn Cycle, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2017. 200 pp.  
The Finn (or Fenian) Cycle (fíanaigecht) is classified by modern scholarship as one of four medieval Irish literary cycles along with the Ulster Cycle, the Cycle of Historical Tales (or Cycles of the Kings) and the Mythological Cycle. It is primarily composed of material dealing with the legendary character Finn mac Cumaill, his warrior band (fían), his son Oisín and his grandson Oscar. In a fashion recalling the expansion of the Arthurian legend throughout Europe, the traditions centred on Finn grew from localized beginnings to spread throughout the entire Gaelic-speaking world. This study takes as its focus the early Finn Cycle, up to and including the composition of the most significant fíanaigecht tale, Acallam na senórach (‘The colloquy of the ancients’), at the beginning of the Early Modern Irish period. The volume also deals in detail with topics such as the nature of the fían; the extent of early fragmentary Finn Cycle sources; the background to Tóraigheacht Dhiarmada agus Ghráinne (‘The pursuit of Diarmaid and Gráinne’); the boyhood deeds and death of Finn; and the development of the Fenian lay tradition. The Early Finn Cycle details and investigates the primary and secondary sources for the study of this material and traces the literary development of the early fíanaigecht corpus. In so doing, it seeks to account for the emergence of the Finn Cycle from fragmentarily documented beginnings to become the dominant genre of Gaelic literature after 1200.
Hull, Vernam, “The quarrel between Finn and Oisin”, Modern Language Notes 57:6 (1942): 434–436.
 : <link>
Suggests an emendation of two lines.
Meyer, Kuno, “Miscellanea [1. Éremón. 2. Macha. 3. Erim. 4. remáin, eráin. 5. On some passages in Tigernach's Annals]”, Revue Celtique 33 (1912): 94–99.
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
96‒98 [‘4. remáin, eráin’]
C. A., Dennis Groenewegen
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February 2011, last updated: January 2024