Annals of the Four Masters

The Annals of the Four Masters (or The Annals of Donegal, as they were also called) were compiled chiefly by the O’Clerys, a very learned family, who were hereditary historians to the O’Donnells, Princes of Tyrconnel. The four who compiled the Annals were Michael O’Clery, Cucogry O’Clery, Conary O’Clery, and Peregrine O’Duigenan; besides these four, two other eminent antiquaries assisted, namely Fearfeasa O’Mulconaire, and Maurice O’Mulconaire, of Roscommon, the hereditary historians to the Kings of Connaught. Michael O’Clery spent fifteen years in collecting MSS. in various parts of Ireland. These Annals commence at the earliest period of Irish history, and are carried down to A.D. 1616. Dr. O’Connor, Librarian to the Duke of Buckingham, at Stowe, in his great work, “Rerum Hibernicarum Scriptores Veteres,” translated into Latin, and published with the original Irish, in the year 1824, part of those Annals, namely to the English Invasion, in 1171. In 1845, the remaining portion, from 1171 to 1616, was translated from the original Irish by Owen Connellan, Irish Historiographer to Kings George IV., and William IV. To this very excellent translation copious explanatory notes are added by the translator, and by several eminent Irish Antiquaries. And in 1851, the Annals of the Four Masters were again translated and edited, from the Earliest Period to the Year 1616, by John O’Donovan, LL.D., M.R.I.A.; and published in seven quarto Vols., by Hodges and Smith, Grafton-street, Dublin. These Annals are among the most important ever written on Irish history.