The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland (1851)

Author: John O'Donovan

Book ID: 67876

Price: 1,650.00

The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland. By the Four Masters, From the Earliest Period to the Year 1616. Dublin: Hodges & Smith, 1851. First Edition Thus. Six Volumes (including index), bound in five. Pp (1) Lxxi, 816; (2) 816-1193, Index: 405; (3) xlix, 657; (4) 658-1159; (5) 1260- 1875; (6) 1876- 2498, including Appendix, with four-page Hodges & Smith catalogue at rear. Original brown cloth boards, title in gilt to spines, Celtic design in blind to front & rear boards. Bindings heavily chipped & worn, hinges with reinforced tape, contents pages in nice bright condition throughout.

First published in three volumes in 1848, covering the period 1174 to 1616, as the editor originally intended to publish only that portion not included by C. O’Conor in Rerum Hibernicarum Scriptores. In 1851, two additional volumes were issued with a revised introduction, and new title pages to the other volumes, incorporating the history from the earliest period to 1171 AD.

Subscribers copy issued to the  Very Rev. Richard Butler (1794-1862), Dean of Clonmacnoise. A church of Ireland clergyman and antiquarian, the Rev. Butler published an English version of a Latin redaction of the Annals of the Four Masters in 1835. A founder of the Irish Archaeological Society, he was made dean of Clonmacnoise in 1847. His best-known work was Some Notices of the Castle and of the Abbies of Trim (1835).

‘Annála Ríoghachta Éireann’ was compiled in 1632-36 from ancient manuscripts, by Michael O’Clery, assisted by Cú Choigcríche Ó Cléirigh, Fearfeasa Ó Maol Chonaire, and Cú Choigcríche Ó Duibhgeannain.–collectively known as the Four Masters.

“In 1623 Michael O’Cleirigh, a Franciscan brother and trained chronicler arrived from Lovain and four years later commenced to travel the length and breath of the country in search of old documents, manuscripts and books dealing with the ancient kingdoms of Ireland. In a project that took ten years to complete he copied down everything he could find and periodically he would travel back to Donegal (the Franciscan friary, near Donegal Town) where he and his three companion analysts organised and shuffled all the information into chronological order. Hand-written copies of the Annals were deposited in various centres including Dublin and in safe places such as Louvain but it was not until 1851 that the (complete) Annals were finally printed and published for the first time. Many of the works consulted by O’Cleirigh and his team were lost or destroyed during subsequent periods of political and social upheaval thus making the Annals a priceless source of reference.” [Pat Liddy].

Its importance increased when the annals were edited and published between 1848 and 1851 by the great scholar John O’Donovan.

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