verse beg. Rige duit, a Choirpri chain

  • Early Irish
  • verse

Early Irish dialogue poem (8 qq) between Colum Cille and Coirpre mac Lugdach, with whom he bargains the terms and conditions of his kingship. It is found in the prose preface to the Amra Choluim Chille, according to which Coirpre Líath mac Lugdach was made king instead of his brother Crimthann, although he was later killed while under Colum Cille’s protection (fáessam).

First words (verse)
  • Rige duit, a Choirpri chain
Ascribed to: Colum Cille
Colum Cille
(fl. 6th century)
founder and abbot of Iona, Kells (Cenandas) and Derry (Daire).

See more
  • Early Irish
verse (primary)
Number of stanzas: 8 qq.



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.] Stokes, Whitley [ed. and tr.], “The Bodleian Amra Choluimb Chille”, Revue Celtique 20 (1899): 31–55, 132–183, 248–289, 400–437. Corrigenda in Revue Celtique 21 (1900): 133–136.
Internet Archive: <link>, <link>

Secondary sources (select)

Jaski, Bart, Early Irish kingship and succession, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2000.  
Early medieval Ireland was politically fragmented, with a multitude of lordships and kingships ruled by dynasties of which many were genealogically inter-related. This book begins by discussing the political power of the Irish lords and kings over their subjects, their roles as mediators between natural and divine forces and their position as rulers over their subjects. It then moves on to a detailed analysis of the rule of succession in early Ireland. A lord or king had to be qualified for his office, and for this many considerations were taken into account, such as his pedigree, the status of his mother, his behaviour and his physical appearance. This is widely evidenced in legal material, saga literature, annals and other sources, and the author sets these notions in a wider context of various aspects of Irish political and social life, such as the division of the inheritance, loss of noble and royal status, clientship and suretyship. The meaning of the titles rígdamna and the office of tánaise ríg are also examined. The Irish custom of succession forms the background to the tendency of close and distant relatives to compete for power and of the ruling dynasties to expand and fragment. It also explains why it was so difficult for one dynasty to become permanently paramount in Ireland. The book concludes with a discussion of the nature of the kingship of Tara.
131 and 131 n. 59

Does not discuss the poem as such, but comments on the succession dispute and the identity of Cairpre Líath. He makes a case for identification with a Cairpre Líath who appears in genealogies as the son of Sétna, of the Cenél Conaill.

Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
December 2022, last updated: June 2023