Irish Martyrologies

From A Smaller Social History of Ancient Ireland 1906

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CHAPTER IX....continued

Another class of Irish ecclesiastical writings are the Calendars, or Martyrologies, or Festilogies—Irish, Féilire [fail'ira], a festival list. The Féilire is a catalogue of saints, arranged according to their festival days, with usually a few facts about each, briefly stated, but with no detailed memoirs. One of these, commonly known as the Martyrology of Donegal, was compiled by Michael O'Clery, the chief of the Four Masters. It has been published with translation by Drs. O'Donovan, Todd, and Reeves. Another—the most elaborate and important of all—is the Feilire or Calendar of Aengus the Culdee, who wrote it about the year 800. The body of the poem consists of 365 quatrain stanzas, one for each day in the year, each stanza commemorating one or more saints—chiefly but not exclusively Irish—whose festivals occur on the particular day. But there are also prefaces and a great collection of glosses and com-mentaries, all in Irish, interspersed with the text; and all written by various persons who lived after the time of Aengus.

Church and Round Tower of Dysert-Aengus

FIG. 61. Church and (imperfect) Round Tower of Dysert-Aengus, one mile west of Croom in Limerick, where St Aengus the Culdee founded a church about A.D. 800. (From Mrs. Hall's Ireland).

The whole Féilire, with Prefaces, Glosses, and Commentaries, has been translated and edited, with learned notes, by Dr. Whitley Stokes. The Saltair na Rann, i.e. the 'Psalter of the Quatrains,' consists of 162 short Irish poems on sacred subjects. The whole collection has been published by Dr. Whitley Stokes, with glossary of words, but without translation.

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