Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 P 16 (1230) = Leabhar Breac (‘Speckled Book’)
  • s. xvin
The Leabhar Breac conference. Royal Irish Academy, Online: Royal Irish Academy, Soundcloud, 2023. Audio recording. URL: <>. 
A two-day conference exploring the historical, ecclesiastical, literary and illustrative aspects of An Leabhar Breac which ran from Thursday 27 April - Friday 28 April 2023 in the Royal Irish Academy.Royal Irish Academy Library in association with the Maynooth University Department of Early Irish, and the School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.The Royal Irish Academy manuscript An Leabhar Breac/The Speckled Book was written in Irish by Murchadh Riabhach Ó Cuindlis (a scribe of the Book of Lecan), at Cluain Lethan in Múscraige Tíre, in north Co. Tipperary and at other locations, between the years 1408 and 1411. In the 16th century the manuscript was held by the Mac Egans of Duniry, the most prominent of the hereditary legal families of late medieval Ireland, whence it also received the title of Leabhar Mór Dúna Doighre/The Book of the MacEgans. It is the largest Irish vellum manuscript created by one scribe and contains religious and biblical material derived from Latin, Irish literature and history, including the lives of St Patrick and St Brigid, the Litany of Our Lady, Félire Óengusso Céli Dé, the humorous saga Aisling Meic Conglinne, and some reworkings of biblical history. This two-day conference will explore the historical, ecclesiastical, literary and illustrative aspects of An Leabhar Breac, this most impressive example of a predominantly religious manuscript compilation in the Irish vernacular.
Horst, Tom ter, “Codeswitching in the Irish-Latin Leabhar Breac: mediæval homiletic culture”, PhD dissertation, LOT, 2017.  
An Leabhar Breac ('The Speckled Book'; c.1410) is a manuscript containing a collection of mostly religious material in both Latin and Irish, now housed in Dublin at the Royal Irish Academy. The present publication explores the make-up of the manuscript, focusing on the question which languages are used where and for which texts, and singling out individual texts which use a combination of languages within the same speech act, a process called codeswitching. Special attention is paid to the genre of the homily, a moral commentary on religious themes. The use of Latin and Irish in such texts can shed light on the intellectual culture of Ireland, an important centre of learning in mediaeval Europe. The Leabhar Breac manuscript is a composite piece of various sources, most of which date to about 1100, though some may be dated as late as 1350. By studying the languages of these texts, one can hypothesise about the languages and dates of their sources, and thus about the availability and level of Latin learning in Irish intellectual society through time. For this purpose it is important to study not only individual texts but also the quires in which they occur. The hierarchy and juxtaposition of texts and languages is an indication of their intended manner of composition, while the level of compositional ability on the part of the author or scribe is a reflection of bilingual education. Such a bilingual education can then be compared to similar circumstances such as Latin-English sermons in England.
LOT – PDF: <link>
McNamara, Martin, “The ‘Leabhar Breac gospel history’ against its Hiberno-Latin background”, in: Guy Guldentops, Christian Laes, and Gert Partoens (eds), Felici curiositate: studies in Latin literature and textual criticism from antiquity to the twentieth century: in honour of Rita Beyers, 72, Turnhout: Brepols, 2017. 23–54.  
The text known as the ‘Leabhar Breac gospel history’ is a vernacular Irish text, introduced by synchronisms and miraculous events at Christ’s birth, followed by apocryphal Infancy Narratives from the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem over the birth of Jesus, the episode of the Magi, the flight into Egypt and the sojourn there, to the death of Herod and the murder of Zacharias, John’s father. After this come four unpublished texts on the public life of Jesus: the baptism of Christ, the finding of the apostles, the household of Christ, and Christ’s first sermon, ending, in some versions, with an account of the destruction of Jerusalem (‘The Avenging of Christ’s Blood’). This article concentrates on the sources behind these four texts, sources ranging from apocryphal to early and medieval Hiberno-Latin texts, making for a study of the understanding and the transmission of Bible learning in Ireland from the eighth to the thirteenth century - in Latin and vernacular Irish.
Follett, Westley, “Religious texts in the Mac Aodhagáin library of Lower Ormond”, Peritia 24–25 (2013–2014): 213–229.  
The most prominent Irish legal family of their time, Meic Aodhagáin maintained a celebrated law school in Lower Ormond in northern Co Tipperary. Through the analysis of manuscripts produced by two fifteenth-century scribes who worked among Meic Aodhagáin, this study identifies some of the texts likely to have been kept at the family’s Lower Ormond school. From the resulting list it is evident that Meic Aodhagáin possessed a considerable collection of vernacular religious material, especially homilies and passions, quite apart from law books.
Miles, Brent, “The Sermo ad reges from the Leabhar Breac and Hiberno-Latin tradition”, in: Elizabeth Boyle, and Deborah Hayden (eds), Authorities and adaptations: the reworking and transmission of textual sources in medieval Ireland, Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 2014. 141–158.
Poppe, Erich, “Textual authority and adaptation in ‘Christ’s first preaching’ in the Leabhar Breac”, in: Elizabeth Boyle, and Deborah Hayden (eds), Authorities and adaptations: the reworking and transmission of textual sources in medieval Ireland, Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 2014. 159–184.
McLaughlin, Roisin, “A text on almsgiving in RIA MS 3 B 23 and the Leabhar Breac”, Ériu 62 (2012): 113–183.  
This paper presents a Latin-Irish text on almsgiving in RIA MS 23 P 16 (1230; the Leabhar Breac) and a previously unpublished Middle-Irish version which is found in RIA MS 3 B 23 (1227). Editions and translations of both texts are provided and the language of the latter text is discussed. Many of the Latin sources in the text are identified, and some general observations are made concerning the compilation and transmission of Latin-Irish texts. In addition, a transcription of the text as found in Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Laud 610 is given as an appendix.
Zecher, Patrick J., “Judas, his mother and the cock that lived: three anecdotes from the Leabhar Breac”, in: Franziska Bock, Dagmar Bronner, and Dagmar Schlüter (eds), Allerlei Keltisches. Studien zu Ehren von Erich Poppe. Studies in honour of Erich Poppe, Berlin: curach bhán, 2011. 97–104.
Harlos, Axel, “Three sheepish episodes from Scél saltrach na rann as contained in the Leabhar Breac”, in: Franziska Bock, Dagmar Bronner, and Dagmar Schlüter (eds), Allerlei Keltisches. Studien zu Ehren von Erich Poppe. Studies in honour of Erich Poppe, Berlin: curach bhán, 2011. 105–114.
McLaughlin, Roisin, “A Latin-Irish text on fasting in the Leabhar Breac”. Vol. 60: 37–80.  
The purpose of this paper is to provide an edition of a Latin-Irish text on fasting entitled Cétaín in Braith and to examine its structure and sources.
Herbert, Máire, “Medieval collections of ecclesiastical and devotional materials: Leabhar Breac, Liber Flavus Fergusiorum and the Book of Fenagh”, in: Bernadette Cunningham, Siobhán Fitzpatrick, and Petra Schnabel (eds), Treasures of the Royal Irish Academy Library, Dublin: Royal Irish Academy, 2009. 33–43.
Barbet-Massin, Dominique, “Le traité irlandais sur les couleurs liturgiques du Leabhar Breac”, in: Louis Lemoine, and Bernard Merdrignac (eds), Corona monastica: moines bretons de Landévennec. Histoire et mémoire celtiques. Mélanges offerts au père Marc Simon, Rennes: Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2004. 101–118.
Darling, Gregory J., “The Cross legends of the Leabhar Breac: a critical edition, translation, and commentary”, PhD. diss., City University of New York, 2003.  

This dissertation includes a critical edition and translation into English of the legends of the true cross as set forth in the Royal Irish Academy MS. Leabhar Breac (pp. 221-236a). It also includes a commentary which involves such issues as the origin and development of legends of the cross and their treatment in the insular context and which provides a codicological and paleo graphical description of each Irish manuscript containing variants of the Leabhar Breac cross legend texts or versions separate from these latter texts. The Leabhar Breac, written in 1411, is a large compendium of religious texts—apocryphal, hagiographical, homiletic, devotional, and legal—with a few secular narrative texts interspersed among them. Legends of  the finding of the cross also are preserved in other, later, Irish manuscripts. Microfilms and photostats of these manuscripts have been examined for the sake of ascertaining whether and where there have been substantial omissions or additions of material (such additions or omissions to be indicated in textual notes) and for the sake of discerning whether they contain variant texts of the Leabhar Breac material or in feet different versions. These latter manuscripts and their context are described in the Introduction. This dissertation adheres to the following order: 1) introduction and commentary, 2) edited text, 3) textual notes, 4) translation, 5) annotations, 6) glossary, 7) Works Cited.

Haubrichs, Wolfgang, “Die altlateinische Gallicanus-Version (Gall.) der Georgslegende und ihr Reflex im Leabhar Breac”, in: Próinséas Ní Chatháin, and Michael Richter (eds), Ireland and Europe in the early Middle Ages: texts and transmissions / Irland und Europa im früheren Mittelalter: Texte und Überlieferung, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2002. 170–185.
McNamara, Martin [intr. and notes], Pádraig Ó Fiannachta [ed. and tr.], Brian Ó Cuív [ed.], Caoimhín Breatnach [ed. and tr.], Máire Herbert [tr.], and Jean-Daniel Kaestli [notes], “The Infancy narrative of the Leabhar Breac and related manuscripts”, in: Caoimhín Breatnach, John Carey, Brian Ó Cuív, Pádraig Ó Fiannachta, Martin McNamara, Jean-Daniel Kaestli, and Diarmuid Ó Laoghaire (eds), Apocrypha Hiberniae, part I: Evangelia infantiae, 2 vols, vol. 1, 13, Turnhout: Brepols, 2001. 247–439.
“Royal Irish Academy”, Anne-Marie OʼBrien, and Pádraig Ó Macháin, Irish Script on Screen (ISOS) – Meamrám Páipéar Ríomhaire, Online: School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1999–present. URL: <>.
“MS 23 P 16 (An Leabhar Breac)”
Mac Eoin, Gearóid, “Observations on some Middle-Irish homilies”, in: Próinséas Ní Chatháin, and Michael Richter (eds), Irland und Europa im früheren Mittelalter: Bildung und Literatur / Ireland and Europe in the early Middle Ages: learning and literature, Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1996. 195–211.
Rittmueller, Jean, “The Leabhar Breac Latin and Middle-Irish homily In cena Domini: an edition and source analysis’”, unpubl Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University Press, 1984.
Mac Donncha, Frederic, “Don tarmchrutta – an 11th-century homily on the transfiguration”, Collectanea Hibernica 25 (1983): 7–11.
Considine, Patrick, “Irish versions of the Abgar legend”, Celtica 10 (1973): 237–257.
Kenney, James F., “Chapter VII: Religious literature and ecclesiastical culture”, in: James F. Kenney, The sources for the early history of Ireland: an introduction and guide. Volume 1: ecclesiastical, Revised ed., 11, New York: Octagon, 1966. 622–744.
739   “616. Biblical stories and legends in Leabhar Breac
739   “617. The passions and the homilies in Leabhar Breac
Ó Cuív, Brian, “The seventeen wonders of the night of Christ’s birth”, Éigse 6:2 (1950, 1948–1952): 116–126.
Hull, Vernam, “Two Middle-Irish religious anecdotes”, Speculum 3:1 (1928): 98–103.
Thurneysen, Rudolf, “Allerlei Irisches”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 10 (1915): 421–443.
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive – originally from Google Books: <link>
“I. Bec mac Dé”
Fraser, J., “The passion of St. Christopher”, Revue Celtique 34 (1913): 307–325.
Internet Archive: <link>, <link>
Dottin, Georges, Manuel d’irlandais moyen, 2 vols, vol. 2, Paris, 1913.
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
Best, R. I., “The Lebar Brecc tractate on the canonical hours”, in: Osborn Bergin, and Carl Marstrander (eds), Miscellany presented to Kuno Meyer, Halle: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1912. 142–166, 487.
Internet Archive: <link>, <link>
OʼNowlan, Thomas P., “Imchlód aingel”, in: Osborn Bergin, and Carl Marstrander (eds), Miscellany presented to Kuno Meyer, Halle: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1912. 253–257, 487.
Internet Archive: <link> TLH: <link>
Pseudonymous [Mac Eclaisi], “Fragment from ‘Leabhar Breac’”, The Irish Ecclesiastical Record 28 (1910): 475–479.
Internet Archive: <link>
Stokes, Whitley, “The Lebar Brecc tractate on the consecration of a church”, in: Miscellanea linguistica in onore di Graziadio Ascoli, Turin, 1901. 363–387.
Internet Archive: <link>
Olden, Thomas, “On an early Irish tract in the Leabhar Breac, describing the mode of consecrating a church”, Transactions of the St. Paul's Ecclesiological Society 4 (1897–1898): 98–104, 177–180.
Bernard, J. H., “On the Stowe St. John, and on the citations from scripture in the Leabhar Breac”, Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy 30 (1892–1896): 313–324.
Hogan, Edmund [ed.], The Irish Nennius from L. na Huidre and homilies and legends from L. Brecc: alphabetical index of Irish neuter substantives, Todd Lecture Series, 6, Dublin, 1895.  
Consists of texts and translations of [1] the Lebor na hUidre fragment of the Lebor Bretnach: The Irish Nennius, LU 1a (p. 1); Senchas na torothor (p. 7); Ambrose and the king of the Britons, LU 2a (10); De chathaigecht Gorthemir (12); and [2] a selection of homilies from the Leabhar Breac: Instruction on the Sacraments, LB 257 (p.17); Articles of the Creed, LB 256a (p.29); Incipit do scelaib na soscel, 133b (p.38); Do scelaibh na mbuachalla, 136a (p. 52); Incipit do scelaib na ndruad, 137a (p.59); Oided na macraide, 139b (p.74). With preface, index of Irish neuter endings, alphabetical index of Irish neuter nouns, and an index of rare words.
Internet Archive: <link>
Warren, Frederick E. [ed.], and W. Griggs, The antiphonary of Bangor: an early Irish manuscript in the Ambrosian Library at Milan, 2 vols, Henry Bradshaw Society, 4, 10, London: Harrison, 1893–1895.
Internet Archive – part II: <link>, <link> Internet Archive – part II (some pages missing, e.g. pp. 5, 13): <link>
83–102   “Appendix”
Mac Carthy, Bartholomew [ed. and tr.], The codex Palatino-Vaticanus, no. 830, Todd Lecture Series, 3, Dublin, 1892.
Internet Archive: <link>, <link>, <link> Internet Archive – originally from Google Books: <link>
38–71   [Lecture I] “Text. Lebar Brec: Creation of heaven: creation, fall and penance of Adam and Eve”
Stokes, Whitley, “On professor Atkinson’s edition of The passions and homilies in the Lebar Brecc”, Transactions of the Philological Society 21 (1888–90, 1891): 203–234.
Internet Archive: <link>
Meyer, Kuno [ed. and tr.], “Anecdota from Irish MSS: 3. The mothers’ lament at the Slaughter of the Innocents”, Gaelic Journal 4:37 (February, 1891): 89–90.  
Text and translation.
Internet Archive: <link> <link>
Stokes, Whitley, “Dr. MacCarthy’s ‘Fragmenta hibernica’”, The Academy 32 (1887): 72–73.
Google Books: <link>
Schirmer, Gustav, “Die Kreuzlegenden im Leabhar Breac”, Inaugural-Dissertation, 1886.
Schimmer, Gustav, “Die Kreuzeslegenden im Leabhar Breac”, PhD thesis, University of Leipzig, 1886.
Internet Archive – Originally from Google Books: <link>
Malone, Sylvester, Church history of Ireland: from the Anglo-Norman invasion to the reformation, with succession of bishops down to the present day, 2 vols, vol. 2, 3rd ed., Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son, 1880.
Internet Archive: <link>
Stokes, Whitley, “Mélanges: A parallel”, Revue Celtique 3 (1876–1878): 443–444.
Internet Archive: <link>, <link>, <link> Internet Archive – originally from Google Books: <link>
Stokes, Whitley, Three Middle-Irish homilies on the Lives of saints Patrick, Brigit and Columba, Calcutta, 1877.
CELT – Betha Phatraic (ed.): <link> CELT – Betha Phatraic (tr.): <link> CELT – Betha Brigte (ed.): <link> CELT – Betha Brigte (tr.): <link> CELT – Betha Choluim Chille (ed.): <link> CELT – Betha Choluim Chille (tr.): <link> Internet Archive: <link>
Stokes, Whitley [ed. and tr.], “A Middle-Irish homily on S. Martin of Tours”, Revue Celtique 2 (1873–1875): 381–402, 508.
Internet Archive: <link>


Results for Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 P 16 (1)