The Saltair of Tara

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter I

The SALTAIR OF TARA next claims our attention; and we may safely affirm, merely judging from the fragments which remain, that a nation which could produce such a work had attained no ordinary pitch of civilization and literary culture. The Book of Ballymote,[3] and the Yellow Book of Lecan,[4] attribute this work to Cormac Mac Art: "A noble work was performed by Cormac at that time, namely, the compilation of Cormac's Saltair, which was composed by him and the Seanchaidhe [Historians] of Erinn, including Fintan, son of Bochra, and Fithil, the poet and judge. And their synchronisms and genealogies, the succession of their kings and monarchs, their battles, their contests, and their antiquities, from the world's beginning down to that time, were written; and this is the Saltair of Temair [pron. "Tara," almost as it is called now], which is the origin and fountain of the Historians of Erinn from that period down to this time. This is taken from the Book of the Uachongbhail."[5]

Site of Tara


[3] Ballymote.—Library R.I.A., at fol. 145, a.a.

[4] Lecan.— Trinity College, Dublin, classed H. 2.16.

[5] Uachongbhail.—O'Curry's MS. Materials, p. 11.