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Barrett, S
New Perspectives: Postgraduate Symposium for the Humanities - Reflections
The Poems of Blathmac, 8th Century Poetry in the 21st Century
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The Blathmac mac Con Brettan maic Conguso do Feraib Rois ‘Blathmac, Son of Cú Brettan, son of Congus of the Fir Rois’ are two long, 8th century, Old Irish, religious poems preserved in a 17th century manuscript now called MS G 50, which is housed in the National Library of Ireland, Dublin. While the provenance of the manuscript is not certain it has been suggested that this text was transcribed by Mícheál Ó Cléirigh, or one of his consorts, who are collectively known as the Four Masters. Mícheál Ó Cléirigh, a Franciscan brother, from County Donegal is renowned for the work he did as a collector of texts and is the chief scribe associated with the Annals of the Four Masters. The connection between this manuscript and Mícheál Ó Cléirigh is based on the fact that in 1846 it was in the possession of John O’Clery, who claimed to be a descendant of one of the Four Masters and who also claimed that the manuscript was once the property of his famous predecessor. The content of this manuscript would certainly be consistent with other material copied and collected by Mícheál Ó Cléirigh This manuscript was acquired by the National Library in 1931 and the poems were discovered in 1953 by Nessa Ní Shéaghdha (Stifter, The Language of the Poems of Blathmac 2015, 47). James Carney (1965, 45) stated in his Thomas Davis lecture ‘Some years ago in a manuscript in the collection of the National Library I came upon twenty-three pages of Irish verse which had not hitherto come under the notice of scholars’ (Carney 1965, 45). Blathmac’s poems were edited by James Carney and published in 1964 as part of the Irish Texts Society series. At the time it was rightly welcomed as a significant addition to the corpus of Irish literature. However, Carney’s edition is not a complete one. There is a section at the end missing. He did not work on the final part of the poems probably because of the poor condition of the last few pages of the manuscript. Additionally, Carney (1964, xxxix) conceived of his edition as an ‘interim comment on the text of the manuscript and there are indeed occasions where an improvement of the text is possible. Therefore a new edition including the previously unedited section is required and is one of the aims of my research project. Another aim is a specialised dictionary which will make the text available one line along with translation and linguistic analysis.
Dabek, M: Kerrigan, P; McCarthy, S; McGarry, S
Maynooth Academic Publishing
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