Flann Mainistrech

Flann Mainistrech was a chief professor of the school of St. Buite, at Monasterboice, in the 11th century. He was of Munster extraction. "Of Flann's private life or history nothing remains to us; of his public life we have on record the fact of his having risen to the highest position in the profession of learning, . . and we have evidence of his great celebrity in after ages in the high compliment paid to him by the Four Masters (whose words of praise are always very measured), in the following entry of his death: 'A. D. 1056. Flann of the Monastery, chief professor of Saint Buite's monastery, the wise master of the Gaedhils in literature, history, philosophy, and poetry, died.'"

Flann compiled very extensive historical synchronisms, which have been much respected by some of the most able modern writers on early Irish history."[260] O'Curry gives a lengthened analysis of his numerous poems, and writes as follows of some of them: "They are precisely the documents that supply life and the reality of details to the blank dryness of our skeleton pedigrees. Many a name lying dead in our genealogical tracts, and which has found its way into our evidently condensed chronicles and annals, will be found in these poems, connected with the death, or associated with the brilliant deeds of some hero whose story we would not willingly lose; while, on the other hand, many an obscure historical allusion will be illustrated, and many a historical spot as yet unknown to the topographer will be identified, when a proper investigation of these and other great historical poems preserved in the Book of Leinster shall be undertaken as part of the serious study of the history and antiquities of our country."


260. O'Curry, Eugene: Manuscript Materials of Ancient Irish History. Dublin, 1861.

261. O'Curry, Eugene: Ancient Irish Manners and Customs: Edited by W. K. Sullivan, Ph.D. 3 vols. London, 1873.