Sunday, March 15, 2009

from Annals of the 4 Masters—St Patrick Timeline

Notes from the ANNALS OF THE 4 MASTERS
AKA The Annals of Donegal comprised of the:
Annals of Tigernach,
Annals of Clonmacnaoise,
Annals of Inisfallen,
Annals of  Ulster,
and the Book of Conquests; and the books of O'Maol Conereys, Kilronan, Leacan, Isles of the Saints, MacMangus, etc. (Michael O'Clery, et al, compilers 1332-1608).

(Note Bene: Most  of this is more or less from the Univ. of Cork electronic texts and Annals, v.2, Owen Connellan, tr., Dublin, 1845. I've long since lost the original links. So sorry. I compiled this timeline at the end of last century (by hand)—at a time when I had limited internet access—and there was no such thing as broadband so I've included a Wikipedia link above. Hope that helps. There is so much more available on the web these days than when I began studying the Irish texts.


I spent a lot of time searching UC Berkeley Library microfiche databases. I also spent a lot of time in the dusty library basement with turn of the (19th) century facsimiles of Irish Annals. This was all long before I started blogging—as blogging hadn't yet been invented. I never expected my notes to live on in this form. But someone asked me for a timeline. And so here it is. 


This timeline is also augmented from miscellaneous timelines I was reading [they are marked in various ((inventive)) parentheses]. I used several timelines in order to be able to read Patrick's Confessios and Adámnan's Life of Columba in some sort of  quasi-historical context. 


So this is really my personal cribnotes for a class I took at UC Berkley on Medieval Irish texts with Professor Dan Melia. I found it helpful to have both the subject's and the author's timeline at hand—especially since the Viking invasions both promulgated and destroyed much of Ireland's literary history and oral tradition. 


I found that I had to read the texts with two minds, maybe three minds—from the medieval mindset—and from the modern mindset—simultaneously. What was commonplace knowledge during medieval times was often omitted from the texts. (So you have to fill in the missing blanks with your modern mindset). Current medieval notions and schools of thought also have to be kept in mind. What was accepted knowledge, what was the new thinking of the time, etc. And keep in mind what was considered to be old-fashioned thinking way back then.


You have to bring a lot to the table to read ancient texts. You cannot read the texts with 20th or 21st century eyes—then judge them with with modern morals and value systems. That will interfere with your understanding of the medieval world. Sorry this is so clumsily said—I'm sure someone has said this more succinctly. Just my observations. 


I loved Dan Melia's advice on reading the texts: you need to build separate rooms in your mind to house the texts. Mansions of the mind! I needed a freakin' master floor plan to find my way out of the labrynth. The timelines were my only hope. There are also some lovely quatrains buried in the Annals. Tidbits to keep you going.  —MH)

((From the Annales Cambriae; ‡ = different MS)) and is marked as such. Often, there was a conflict of dates—I noted them whenever possible. My comments are marked with [these.]



(429) 430. The second year of Laeghaire. In this year Pope Celestinus the First sent Palladius to Ireland, to propagate the faith among the Irish, and he landed in the country of Leinster with a company of twelve men. Nathi, son of Garchu, refused to admit him; but, however, he baptized a few persons in Ireland, and three wooden churches were erected by him, namely, Cell Fhine, Teach Na Romhan, and Domhnach Arta.

At Cell Fhine he left his books, and a shrine with the relics of Paul and Peter, and many martyrs besides. He left these four in these churches: Augustinus, Benedictus, Silvester, and Solinus. Palladius, on his returning back to Rome (as he did not receive respect in Ireland), contracted a disease in the country of the Cruithnigh, and died thereof.

431. Saint Patrick was ordained bishop by the holy Pope, Celestine the First, who ordered him to go to Ireland, to preach and teach faith and piety to the Gaeidhil, and also to baptize them.

432. Patrick came to Ireland this year, and proceeded to baptize and bless the Irish, men, women, sons, and daughters, except a few who did not consent to receive faith or baptism from him, as his Life relates.

[There were more than a few that resisted—but Patrick was not above smiting the non-believers.. Interesting, he was given the tropes and powers of the druids. Monks hedging their bets?]

Ath Truim was founded by Patrick, it having been granted by Fedhlim, son of Laeghaire, son of Niall, to God and to him, Loman, and Fortchern. Flann Mainistrech cecinit:

Patrick, Abbot of all Ireland,
son of Calphrann, son of Fotaide,
Son of Deisse,—not fit to be dispraised,
son of Cormac Mor, son of Lebriuth,
Son of Ota, son of Orric the Good,
son of Moric, son of Leo of full success,
Son of Maximus, 'tis not unfit to name him,
son of Encretti, the tall and comely,
Son of Philisti, the best of men,
son of Fereni without a tempest,
1Son of Britan, otter of the sea,
1from whom the vigorous Britons came;
Cochnias was his modest mother;
1Nemthor his native town;
1Of Munster not small his share,
which Patrick redeemed from sorrow.

437. Finnbharr Mac Ua Bairdene, died.

438. The Seanchus and Feinechus of Ireland were purified and written, the writings and old books of Ireland having been collected and brought to one place, at the request of Saint Patrick. These were the nine supporting props by whom this was done:

Laeghaire, i.e. King of Ireland,
Corc, and Daire, the three kings;
Patrick, Benen, and Cairneach, the three saints;
Ross, Dubhthach, and Fearghus, the three antiquaries,

as this quatrain testifies:

Laeghaire, Corc, Daire the stern,
Patrick, Benen, Cairneach the just,
Ross, Dubhthach, Fearghus with goodness,
the nine props these of the Seanchus Mor.

(Armagh founded)

447. Secundinus, i.e. Seachnall Mac Ua Baird, the son of Patrick's sister, Darerca, Bishop of Ard Macha Armagh, yielded his spirit on the twenty seventh of November, in the seventy fifth year of his age.

((447 ‡ Days as dark as night.‡Annales Cambirae))

448. The family of Patrick of the prayers,
who had good Latin,
I remember; no feeble court were they,
their order, and their names.
Sechnall, his bishop without fault;
Mochta after him his priest;
Bishop Erc his sweet spoken Judge;
his champion, Bishop Maccaeirthinn;
Benen, his psalmist;
and Coemhan, his chamberlain;
Sinell his bell ringer,
1and Aithcen his true cook;
The priest Mescan, without evil,
1his friend and his brewer;
The priest Bescna, sweet his verses,
the chaplain of the son of Alprann.
His three smiths, expert at shaping,
Macecht, Laebhan, and Fortchern.
His three artificers, of great endowment,
Aesbuite, Tairill, and Tasach.
His three embroiderers, not despicable,
Lupaid, Erca, and Cruimthiris.
Odhran, his charioteer, without blemish,
Rodan, son of Braga, his shepherd.
Ippis, Tigris, and Erca,
and Liamhain, with Eibeachta:
For them Patrick excelled in wonders,
for them he was truly miraculous.
Carniuch was the priest that baptized him;
German his tutor, without blemish.
The priest Manach, of great endowment,
was his man for supplying wood.
His sister's son was Banban, of fame;
Martin his mother's brother.
Most sapient was the youth
Mochonnoc, his hospitaller.
Cribri and Lasra, of mantles,
beautiful daughters of Gleaghrann.
Macraith the wise, and Erc,—
he prophesied in his three wills.
Brogan, the scribe of his school;
the priest Logha, his helmsman,—
It is not a thing unsung,—
and Machui his true fosterson.
Good the man whose great family they were,
to whom God gave a crozier without sorrow;
Chiefs with whom the bells are heard,
a good family was the family of Patrick.
May the Trinity, which is powerful over all,
distribute to us the boon of great love;
The king who, moved by soft Latin,
redeemed by Patrick's prayer.

((453 Easter altered on the Lord's Day by Pope Leo, Bishop of Rome.))

((454 St. Brigid is born.)) at Faughart.

457. The battle of Ath Dara was fought against the Leinstermen by Laeghaire, son of Niall. Laeghaire was taken in that battle; and Laeghaire took oaths by the Sun and the Wind, and all the elements, to the Leinstermen, that he would never come against them, after setting him at liberty.





The Ui Neill and the Oirghialla attempting to bring it to Armagh; the Ulta to keep it with themselves. And the Ui Neill and the Oirghialla came to a certain water, and the river swelled against them so that they were not able to cross it in consequence of the greatness of the flood. When the flood had subsided these hosts united on terms of peace, i.e. the Ui Neill and the Ulta, to bring the body of Patrick with them. It appeared to each of them that each had the body conveying it to their respective territories, so that God separated them in this manner, without a fight or battle. The body of Patrick was afterwards interred at Dun Da Lethglas with great honour and veneration; and during the twelve nights that the religious seniors were watching the body with psalms and hymns, it was not night in Magh Inis or the neighbouring lands, as they thought, but as if it were the full undarkened light of day.


Since Christ was born, a correct enumeration,
Four hundred and fair ninety,
Three years add to these,
Till the death of Patrick, chief Apostle.

((521 St. Columba is born. The death of St. Brigid (523).))

(523) 525. Saint Brighit, virgin, Abbess of Cill Dara, died. It was to her Cill Dara was first granted, and by her it was founded. Brighit was she who never turned her mind or attention from the Lord for the space of one hour, but was constantly meditating and thinking of him in her heart and mind, as is evident in her own Life, and in the Life of St. Brenainn, Bishop of Cluain Fearta. She spent her time diligently serving the Lord, performing wonders and miracles, healing every disease and every malady, as her Life relates, until she resigned her spirit to heaven, the first day of the month of February; and her body was interred at Dun, in the same tomb with Patrick, with honour and veneration.

535. The church of Doire Calgaigh was founded by Colum Cille, the place having been granted to him by his own tribe, i.e. the race of Conall Gulban, son of Niall.

543. The fifth year of Diarmaid. There was an extraordinary universal plague through the world, which swept away the noblest third part of the human race.

548. St. Ciaran, son of the artificer, Abbot of Cluain Mic Nois, died on the ninth day of September. Thirty three years was the length of his life. St. Tighearnach, Bishop of Cluain Eois, died on the 4th of April. St. Colum, son of Crimhthann, died. St. Finnen, Abbot of Cluain Eraird, tutor of the saints of Ireland, died.

(549 a great mortality. c. 500 Brigid founds Kildare; Brendan founds monasteries, travels to Wales & Iona).

553. Brenainn of Birra was seen ascending in a chariot into the sky this year. Cluain Fearta was founded by St. Brenainn.

554. The last feast of Teamhair [Tara] was made by Diarmaid, King of Ireland. Curnan, son of Aedh, son of Eochaidh Tirmcharna, i.e. the son of the King of Connaught, was put to death by Diarmaid, son of Cearbhall, in violation of the guarantee and protection of Colum Cille, having been forcibly torn from his hands, which was the cause of the battle of Cul Dreimhne.

555. The battle of Cul Dreimhne was gained against Diarmaid, son of Cearbhall, by Fearghus and Domhnall, the two sons of Muircheartach, son of Earca; by Ainmire, son of Sedna; and by Ainnidh, son of Duach; and by Aedh, son of Eochaidh Tirmcharna, King of Connaught.

[The first instance of copyright.]








((689. The rain turned to blood in Britain, and ‡in Ireland‡ milk and butter turned to blood)).

690. It rained a shower of blood in Leinster this year. Butter was there also turned into lumps of gore and blood, so that it was manifest to all in general. The wolf was heard speaking with human voice, which was horrific to all. (Tirechan writes Collectanea of St Patrick).

(697. Synod of Birr, Adamnan's Law of the Innocents promulgated).

(700. Adamnan published Vita Columbae Muirchu: Vita Patricii; Crith Galblath; anon. Life of Cuthbert); Famine & pestilence toook place during three years in Ireland so that man ate man.)

703. Adamnan, son of Ronan, abbot of Ia Coluim Cille, died on the 23rd of September, after having been twenty six years in the abbacy, and after the seventy seventh year of his age. Adamnan was a good man, according to the testimony of St. Beda, for he was tearful, penitent, given to prayer, diligent, ascetic, and temperate; for he never used to eat excepting on Sunday and Thursday only; he made a slave of himself to these virtues; and, moreover, he was wise and learned in the clear understanding of the holy Scriptures of God.

715. The fair of Tailltin was celebrated by Fearghal, son of Maelduin; and Fogartach Ua Cearrnaigh disturbed the fair, for he killed Maelrubha, and the son of Dubhsleibhe.

716. Three wonderful showers fell in this year: a shower of silver on Othain Mor, a shower of honey on Othain Beag, and a shower of blood in Leinster.







It was in it i.e. this year, moreover, that the cakes were converted into blood, and the blood flowed from them when being cut. It was in it also the birds used to speak with human voice.

815. There were unusual ice and great snow in this year, from Christmas to Shrovetide.

819 The plundering of Edar by the foreigners, who carried off a great prey of women.

822. The law of Patrick was promulgated over Munster by Felim, son of Crimhthann, and by Airtri, son of Conchobhar, i.e. Bishop of Ard Macha.

830. The first plundering of Ard Macha. Ard Macha was plundered thrice in one month by the foreigners, and it had never been plundered by strangers before. The plundering of Daimhliag and the tribe of Cianachta, with all their churches, by the foreigners....Tuathal, son of Fearadhach, was carried off by the foreigners, and the shrine of Adamnan from Domhnach Maighen.

835. Cluain Mor Maedhog was burned on Christmas night by the foreigners; and a great number was slain by them, and many prisoners were carried off. The oratory of Gleann Da Locha was also burned by them. All the country of Connaught was likewise desolated by them. Great produce both of masts and acorns, which so choked up the brooks that they ceased running. Cill Dara was plundered by the foreigners...

836. A fleet of sixty ships of Norsemen on the Boyne. Another fleet of sixty ships on the Abhainn Liphthe. ...plundered and spoiled... churches and habitations of men, and goodly tribes, flocks, and herds....The first taking of Ath Cliath by the foreigners. (Dublin).

854. Great ice and frost, so that the chief lakes and the chief rivers of Ireland were passable to footmen and horsemen, from the ninth of the Calends of December to the eighth of the Ides of January .

875. Great wind, lightning, and thunder, in Ireland this year; and showers of blood were afterwards shed, so that lumps of gore and blood were visible on the extensive plains at Dumha An Deasa. The shrine of Colum Cille, and his relics in general, were brought to Ireland, to avoid the foreigners.

887. The plundering of Cill Dara and Cluain Iraird by the foreigners.


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