Abstracts/Achoimrí

Dr Mícheál Hoyne: Táth aoinfhir ar iath Maineach: dán ar Uilleam Ó Ceallaigh (†1381) i Leabhar Ua Maine.

Sa bhliain 1911 d’fhoilsigh Eleanor Knott a heagrán den dán cáiliúil Filidh Éireann go haointeach le Gofraidh Fionn Ó Dálaigh in Ériu. Is in ómós d’Uilliam Ó Ceallaigh, tiarna Ua Maine a dhein fleá mhór d’fhilí na hÉireann um Nollaig na bliana 1351, a chum Ó Dálaigh an dán sin. Tá dán eile againn ar an Uilliam céanna dar tús Táth aoinfhir ar iath Maineach; tháinig sé sin anuas chughainn in aon lámhscríbhinn amháin, Leabhar Ua Maine (ARÉ LS D ii 1), a scríobhadh ag deireadh an 14ú céad. Is é an dán sin a bheidh ina phríomhábhar don gcaint seo. Inseofar scéal bheatha Uilliam Uí Cheallaigh, pléifear tábhacht Leabhar Ua Maine mar foinse eolais ar stair fhilíocht na scol, agus taispeánfar a thábhachtaí is atá sé ceann a thógaint de stair eacnamaíoch na tíre agus forbairtí liteartha agus polaitiúla na Meánaoise Déanaí á meá againn.

Dr Síle Ní Mhurchú: Na hAislingí a chum Tadhg Dall Ó Huiginn.

Déanfar scrúdú ar an dá aisling a chum Tadhg Dall Ó Huiginn agus a chuir Eleanor Knott in eagar in A bhfuil aguinn dár chum Tadhg Dall Ó Huiginn (1550–1591): The bardic poems of Tadhg Dall Ó Huiginn (1550–1591) [Cumann na Sgríbheann nGaedhilge, Imleabhair 22 & 23]. Is iad sin Néall mná síthe sunn aréir (TD 39) agus An tusa an bhean do bhí sunn (TD 40). Féachfar ar an ngaol atá ag na haislingí seo leis na dánta grá agus le haislingí grá eile i dtraidisiún liteartha na nGael.

In this talk, I will examine the two aisling poems composed by Tadhg Dall Ó Huiginn and edited by Eleanor Knott in A bhfuil aguinn dár chum Tadhg Dall Ó Huiginn (1550–1591): The bardic poems of Tadhg Dall Ó Huiginn (1550–1591) [Irish Texts Society, Volumes 22 & 23]. These are Néall mná síthe sunn aréir (TD 39) and An tusa an bhean do bhí sunn (TD 40). I will look at the links between these aisling poems, the dánta grá and other love aislingí in Gaelic literary tradition.

Katie Ní Loingsigh: Eleanor Knott agus an tAthair Peadar Ó Laoghaire: beirt scoláirí léinn.

Sa pháipéar seo, tabharfar léargas ar an gcaidreamh a bhí ag Eleanor Knott leis an Athair Peadar Ó Laoghaire. Déantar sin trí anailís a dhéanamh ar an obair eagarthóireachta a rinne Knott ar leabhair an Athar Peadar mar aon le scrúdú a dhéanamh ar an gcomhfhreagras idir an bheirt scoláirí. Aithnítear go forleathan an ról tábhachtach a bhí ag an Athair Peadar le linn Athbheochan na Gaeilge agus an rian a d’fhág sé ar ghlúin scoláirí a tháinig ina dhiaidh, e.g. Osborn Bergin, T.F. O’Rahilly, Cormac Ó Cadhlaigh agus Eleanor Knott ina measc.

Cé nár lig an tAthair Peadar ach do líon beag daoine aon eagarthóireacht a dhéanamh ar a shaothar, bhí ardmheas aige ar Knott agus ar a cuid oibre. Thiomsaigh sí foclóir, Foclóir d’Eisirt (1910), mar chuidiú do léitheoirí agus d’fhoghlaimeoirí na teanga agus rinne sí eagarthóireacht ar roinnt leabhar dó. Tabharfar spléachadh sa pháipéar seo ar an obair eagarthóireachta a rinne Knott ar leabhair an Athar Peadar agus cíortar samplaí spéisiúla teanga a pléadh sa chomhfhreagras eatarthu chun an dúthracht a chaith Knott leis an obair a léiriú mar aon le hardchaighdeán a cuid oibre a thaispeáint.

Dr Chantal Kobel: The dating of Scéla Mongáin 7 Echdach Rígéicis.

In 1916, Eleanor Knott published the tale entitled ‘Why Mongán was deprived of noble issue’ in Ériu. A short introduction, translation and some notes that address difficult linguistic forms, accompany the edition. Knott (1916, 155) wrote that it ‘apparently belongs to the same period of composition’ as tales from the Mongán Cycle. However, she provides no linguistic evidence in support of such an early date. A thorough analysis of the text’s linguistic features is still wanting.

This paper will analyse the language and style of composition with a view to establish the date of the text, of which only a single copy survives. Some problematic forms which remained ‘obscure’ to Eleanor Knott will also be discussed.

Knott, E. (1916): ‘Why Mongán was deprived of noble issue’, Ériu 8, 155–160.

Axel Harlos: Saltair na Rann and its prose version in an Leabhar Breac.

In 1952 Eleanor Knott published her “Index to the Proper Names in Saltair na Rann” (Knott 1952). For this index, she not only collected all names contained in the poem, but also added references from the poem’s prose version.Until her study, this prose rendering had not received much scholarly attention since Rudolf Thurneysen had described it in a review of Whitley Stokes’s edition of Saltair na Rann (Stokes 1883) more than seventy years earlier (Thurneysen 1883–1885). In the introduction to the Index of proper names in Saltair na Rann, Professor Knott gives a brief but illuminating characterisation of the prose text. She provides a survey of the different text witnesses, compares them with each other and assesses the textual relationship between the poem and the prose text. All in all, she describes this relationship as sometimes quite “puzzling”, since the extant prose versions, “while agreeing generally with [Saltair na Rann], and including even some of its most astonishing errors, also omit from, and again add to, the verse, and contribute their own meed of error” (Knott 1952).

The prose text has been transmitted in two different sections: the first one covers the creation, the fall of Lucifer, and the story of Eve; the second part, commonly referred to as Scél Saltrach na Rann, gives an account of the Old Testament, roughly from the story of Jacob to the prophet Elisha.

So far, six manuscript versions of this second part have been identified, namely in Leabhar Ua Maine (published by Myles Dillon (1958)), an Leabhar Breac, The Book of Ballymote, MS. TCD H 2. 12, no. 9 and two different versions in the Yellow Book of Lecan. In this paper, I will pick up on Professor Knott’s observations and discuss some of the “puzzling” features in the relationship between Saltair na Rann and its prose version contained in an Leabhar Breac on the basis of selected passages.

Dillon, Myles: ‘Scél Saltrach na Rann’, Celtica 4 (1958), 1–43.

Knott, Eleanor: ‘An Index to the Proper Names in Saltair na Rann’, Ériu 16 (1952), 99–122.

Thurneysen, Rudolf : ‘Saltair na Rann’, RC 6 (1883–1885), 96–109.

Dr Nicole Volmering: The Problem of Pilate’s Queen.

In this paper I discuss Félire Óengusso, Prol. q. 32, ll.125-8, which describe Pilate’s queen as tolgda ‘strong; proud’ (Stokes/Carey tr. ‘haughty’). This allows Óengus to contrast Pilate’s queen with the Virgin Mary. However, this interpretation conflicts with the description of Pilate’s wife in the Gospel of Matthew and with the belief, current since the third century at the latest, that she was Christian. She became known as Procula later in the Middle Ages and is now recognised as saint in the Eastern and Ethiopian Orthodox Church. This paper investigates whether Óengus could have obtained his contradicting information from another source and will discuss alternative translations. In doing so, I will also briefly discuss Procula’s legacy in Irish literature.

Christina Cleary: Serialisation of medieval Irish literature: the case of Togail Bruidne Da Derga.

In honour of Eleanor Knott’s work on the Early Irish tale Togail Bruidne Da Derga (TBDD), ‘The Destruction of Da Derga’s Hostel’, this paper will investigate the group of remscéla, ‘prefatory tales’, associated with TBDD and the wider implications of medieval, literary serialization. The attested use of the term remscél appears sparingly throughout medieval Irish literature: apart from TBDD, the only other extant examples of the term refer to those tales associated with the Táin Cúailnge (TBC) and to the various episodes in the Irish adaptation of Lucan’s Pharsalia, In Cath Catharda ‘The War of the Romans’.

During this talk, I will draw comparisons between TBDD and TBC in particular and how the two extended narratives were prime candidates for literary serialisation. I will also investigate the differences in the nature of the textual relationship between the remscéla of TBC and TBDD; and, furthermore, how this impacts the definition of the term remscél. Taking stock of Erich Poppe’s study into the diachronic development of ‘cyclical impulse’ (Poppe 2008: 42), I will also comment on the manipulation of pre-existing tales for the purpose of complementing a literary series and if/how this manifests itself in the categorization of the TBDD remscéla.

Poppe, Erich, 2008: Of Cycles and Other Critical Matters. Some Issues in Medieval Irish Literary History and Criticism, E. C. Quiggin Memorial Lectures 9. University of Cambridge: Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic.

Patrick McCoy: Sin and Redemption in Íartaige na hingine colaige do Grécaib.

Íartaige na hingine colaige do Grécaib ‘The fate of the sinful daughter of the Greeks’ is a Middle Irish text found only in the Book of Leinster. It relates the story of a princess who from birth is meant to be a paragon of virtue; nevertheless, she sleeps with one of her male servants, inadvertently causes his death, and then murders two other servants. After many years the guilt becomes too much for her to bear, and she confesses her sins. As penance she becomes an anchoress for seven years, returns a saintly woman, and lives the rest of her life in a hermitage, until she finally dies and goes to heaven. As one can readily see from the works of Professor Eleanor Knott, good scholarship of medieval literature must begin with a careful edition and translation of the text in question. Despite how fascinating the Íartaige tale is, it has unfortunately gone relatively unnoticed over the last century, only translated previously into French by Henri d’Arbois de Jubainville in 1887 and into Latin by Standish Hayes O’Grady in 1892. In this paper I will discuss my edition and translation of the Middle Irish text, noting some of the interesting features of the text and comparing it to other versions of “the murdered substitute” tale type found in other languages.

Dr Fangzhe Qiu: Verses in ‘The Chronicle of Ireland’? Some linguistic evidence.

If all the extant Irish annals derived from one parental chronicle which came to an end in 911, did this ‘Chronicle of Ireland’ contain verses besides prose texts? In reconstructing the ‘Chronicle of Ireland’,1 Charles-Edwards excludes all the verses found in the daughter annalistic texts from the reconstruction except for one embedded in the main entry of AU 857.6. The reason for that, Charles-Edwards claims, is because ‘in the Annals of Ulster such poems are additions to the original text copied by the first hand; none of them meets the primary test for ascription to the Chronicle of Ireland.’2

Recently, however, Caoimhín Breatnach has convincingly shown that the textual history of AU is far more complicated that previously assumed,3 and Denis Casey has pointed out a number of verses shared between AU and the Clonmacnoise group in entries before 911.4 There are 21 quatrains found in both AU and at least one annals from the Clonmacnoise group, and it is not impossible that some of these were already present in the ‘Chronicle of Ireland’. This paper will examine the linguistic features of these verses to see if they could be contemporary to the entries to which they are attached, and will seek further evidence for their inclusion in or exclusion from the ‘Chronicle of Ireland’.

  1. T. M. Charles-Edwards, The Chronicle of Ireland, Translated Texts for Historians, v. 44 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2006).
  2. Charles-Edwards, p. 2.
  3. Caoimhín Breatnach, ‘The Annals of Ulster: Verse, Sources and Editions’, in Aon Don Éigse: Essays Marking Osborn Bergin’s Centenary Lecture on Bardic Poetry (1912), ed. by Caoimhín Breatnach and Meidhbhín Ní Úrdail (Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 2015), pp. 221–38.
  4. Denis Casey, ‘Poetry in the Chronicle of Ireland’, unpublished draft.
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