Murphy: The Annals of Clonmacnoise

Pdf Murphy, Denis. The annals of Clonmacnoise: From the creation to A.D. 1408. Dublin: University Press, 1896.
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The Annals of Clonmacnoise: From the creation to AD 1408 first published in 1896 is a printed version of an early 17th century translation of the history of Clonmacnoise from prehistoric times to the early 15th century. It was translated into Elizabethan English by the scholar Connell McGeoghegan, near Clara, Co. Offaly. The original Gaelic Irish manuscript is now lost but copies still survive in Trinity College , Dublin and the British Museum , London .

The original documents on which the annals are based no longer exist and the identities of the original compliers are also a mystery. The collection was named the Annals of Clonmacnoise because it is believed that they were gathered in the monastery of Clonmacnoise however there is not enough evidence to support this assumption. The annals tell the history of the area surrounding Clonmacnoise on both sides of the River Shannon. It recounts the history, hereditary and deeds of a number of branches of the O'Neill clan that include the O'Kellys, O'Rourkes, O'Molloys, O'Connors and McDermotts. Many of the historical details in the Annals of Clonmacnoise are not available in other medieval histories.

The format of the Annals of Clonmacnoise are an attempt to explain the origin of the Irish nation. In Christian times it was believed that the world was only a few thousand years old and all of humanity were the descendants of Adam and Eve and Noah and other survivors of Biblical deluge. Their descendants were supposedly the first human settlers in Ireland culminating in the Milesian invasion of Ireland . The Milesians are the alleged ancestors of the Gaelic Irish clans who came to rule the region around Clonmacnoise up until the 15th century.

The editor of the 1896 volume was Denis Murphy (1833-1896) who was born in Newmarket , Co. Cork before becoming a Jesuit novice at the age of sixteen and later became a distinguished scholar. He edited journals such as the Kildare Archaeological Journal, produced works such as Cromwell in Ireland (1883), a translation of the Life of Hugh O'Donnell (1893), A Short History Of Ireland (1894) and was working on History of the Irish Martyrs at the time of his death in 1896.


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