Topographia Hiberniae

Gerald of Wales
  • Latin
  • prose
  • Anglo-Latin texts, Cambro-Latin texts

A work written in Latin by the Norman-Welsh clergyman Gerald of Wales in which he gives an ethnographic account of Ireland and her inhabitants. Gerald wrote the work after two visits to relatives in Ireland in the 1180s and later produced a revised recension.

Topographia Hiberniae
Also known as Topographia Hibernica.
multiple versions
Gerald of Wales
Gerald of Wales
(c. 1146–1220 x 1223)
No short description available

See more
  • Latin
1180s (first and second recensions); revised again in the early 13th century.
prose (primary)
Textual relationships
Related: Konungs skuggsjáKonungs skuggsjáRetractationesRetractationesShort tract written by Gerald of Wales towards the end of his career, in which he admits to errors in some of his previous writings and also defends himself against polemical criticisms. The title echoes that of Augustine’s work of the same name.
Associated items
Topographia Hiberniae ITopographia Hiberniae I

First version of Gerald of Wales’ Topographia Hiberniae.


Anglo-Latin textsAnglo-Latin texts

Cambro-Latin textsCambro-Latin texts


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.] Dimock, J. F., Giraldi Cambrensis opera, 8 vols, vol. 5: Topographia Hibernica et Expugnatio Hibernica, London, 1867.
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[tr.] OʼMeara, John J., Gerald of Wales. The history and topography of Ireland, revised ed., Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1982.
[tr.] OʼMeara, John J., The first version of the ‘Topography of Ireland’ by Giraldus Cambrensis, Dundalk: Duldalgan Press, 1951.

Secondary sources (select)

Sharpe, Richard, James P. Carley, Rodney M. Thomson, and Andrew G. Watson, English Benedictine libraries: the shorter catalogues, Corpus of British Medieval Library Catalogues, 4, London: British Library, British Academy, 1996.  

The Benedictine abbeys were renowned for containing the finest libraries of medieval England. Among the 120 documents brought together in this volume, there are a significant number of catalogues from major libraries in every century from the 12th to the 16th, including a unique 15th-century index catalogue, recently identified as coming from St Mary's Abbey, York. The documentary evidence recorded here varies greatly in form, including not only catalogues and inventories but also records of books borrowed, account rolls detailing expenditure on book production, memoranda on the contributions of individual abbots or priors, wills and simple lists of texts seen by visitors to the libraries. This volume encompasses the whole range of Benedictine libraries, including those which best illustrate what was typical of Benedictine learning in medieval England.

788 Notes that John Leland knew of a copy at St Mary‘s Abbey in York.
Lapidge, Michael, and Richard Sharpe, A bibliography of Celtic-Latin literature, 400-1200, Royal Irish Academy Dictionary of Medieval Latin from Celtic Sources, Ancillary Publications, 1, Dublin: Royal Irish Academy, 1985.
23 [id. 52.]
Hardy, T. D., Descriptive catalogue of materials relating to the history of Great Britain and Ireland to the end of the reign of Henry VII, vol. 2: From A.D. 1066 to A.D. 1200, London: Longman, Green and Roberts, 1865.
Internet Archive: <link>
[id. 606.]
Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
March 2013, last updated: January 2024