Betha Molaga ‘The life of Molaga’

  • Middle Irish, Early Modern Irish
  • prose
  • Irish hagiography

Life of St Mo Laga (Molaga) of Tulach Mín Mo Laga, Co. Cork

Latin translation
In his Acta sanctorum, Colgan published a Latin, revised version of the Life. The verse is omitted here and the order of the narrative is rearranged.
  • Middle Irish Early Modern Irish
Herbert (2004) suggests a date 1114 x 1119; Ó Riain (2011) favours a thirteenth-century dating of the text: ‘possibly in the period about 1261, when the bishop of Cloyne was obliged to bring a series of actions to recover his episcopal lands [see Pipe roll of Cloyne, 186] ... Mention of Dublin Castle, which was commissioned and built in the early thirteenth century, and the saint’s journey to the Welsh homeland of the Cambro-Norman adventurers who subjugated Ireland, point to a post-Conquest author intent on endearing himself to those in authority in his own time’.
prose (primary)
verse (secondary)


Irish hagiographyIrish hagiography

Irish hagiographyIrish hagiography


Mo Laga of Templemolaga
Mo Laga of Templemolaga
Patron saint of Tulach Mín Mo Laga (Labbamolaga, Templemolaga, Co. Cork).

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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.] OʼKeeffe, J. G. [ed.], “Betha Molaga”, in: J. Fraser, Paul Grosjean, and J. G. OʼKeeffe (eds), Irish texts, fasciculus III, London, 1931. 11–22 + fasc. V: 100 (corrigenda).
CELT – edition: <link> Celtic Digital Initiative – PDF: <link>

Secondary sources (select)

MacCotter, Paul, “Túath, manor and parish: kingdom of Fir Maige, cantred of Fermoy”, Peritia 22–23 (2011-2012, 2013): 224–274.
Ó Riain, Pádraig, A dictionary of Irish saints, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2011.  
Scarcely a parish in Ireland is without one or more dedications to saints, in the form of churches in ruins, holy wells or other ecclesiastical monuments. This book is a guide to the (mainly documentary) sources of information on the saints named in these dedications, for those who have an interest in them, scholarly or otherwise. The need for a summary biographical dictionary of Irish saints, containing information on such matters as feastdays, localisations, chronology, and genealogies, although stressed over sixty years ago by the eminent Jesuit and Bollandist scholar, Paul Grosjean, has never before been satisfied. Professor Ó Riain has been working in the field of Irish hagiography for upwards of forty years, and the material for the over 1,000 entries in his Dictionary has come from a variety of sources, including Lives of the saints, martyrologies, genealogies of the saints, shorter tracts on the saints (some of them accessible only in manuscripts), annals, annates, collections of folklore, Ordnance Survey letters, and other documents. Running to almost 700 pages, the body of the Dictionary is preceded by a preface, list of sources and introduction, and is followed by comprehensive indices of parishes, other places (mainly townlands), alternate (mainly anglicised) names, subjects, and feastdays.
Herbert, Máire, “Observations on the Life of Molaga”, in: John Carey, Máire Herbert, and Kevin Murray (eds), Cín Chille Cúile: texts, saints and places. Essays in honour of Pádraig Ó Riain, 9, Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2004. 127–140.
Celtic Digital Initiative – PDF: <link>
MacCotter, Paul, Colmán of Cloyne: a study, Cork Studies in Irish History, 4, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2004.
Ó Riain, Pádraig, “Traces of Lug in early Irish hagiographical tradition”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 36 (1977): 138–156.
Dennis Groenewegen
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August 2015, last updated: January 2024