The History of Ireland by Geoffrey Keating

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The History of Ireland 


Author: Geoffrey Keating

translated into English and preface by David Comyn, Patrick S. Dinneen

Funded by University College, Cork and Professor Marianne McDonald via the CELT Project

1. First draft, revised and corrected.


CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork College Road, Cork, Ireland. — (2002)

Distributed by CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.Text ID Number: T100054

Availability [RESTRICTED] Available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of academic research and teaching only.

Sources: Manuscript sources (a full list is given in Cunningham, The World of Geoffrey Keating).

  1. A MS in the Franciscan Convent Library, Dublin. Written in the convent of Kildare. Probably the oldest existing transcript of Foras Feasa, written before 1640.

  2. MS H. 5 26 by O'Mulconry, Trinity College Dublin, cat. no. 1397.

  3. MS H. 5 32, Trinity College Dublin, cat. no. 1403.

  4. Haliday's text, stated to have been printed from a MS "by O'Mulconry, dated 1657, but differing considerably in places from those named."

  5. An older MS, which was in the possession of D. Comyn, written by James O'Mulconry, of Ballymecuda, Co. Clare, dated 1643.

  6. A MS which was in the possession of D. Comyn, written in Dublin by Teig O'Nachtan, dated 1704.

Editions, translations and adaptations.

  1. The general history of Ireland ... Collected by the learned Jeoffrey Keating, D.D. Faithfully translated from the original Irish language, with many curious amendments taken from the Psalters of Tara and Cashel, and other authentic Records by Dermod O'Connor. Dublin, 1723.

  2. The Second edition. With an appendix, collected from the Remarks of the learned Dr. Anthony Raymond of Trim, not in the former edition. Westminster, 1726.

  3. [Another ed.] 2 vols, Newry, 1817.

  4. [Another ed.] Dublin, 1854.

  5. Forus Feasa ar Eirinn, mar a nochtar príomhdhala na hinnse o Pharthalon go Gabhaltus Gall, ar na chnuasach, & air na thiomsúghadh o phríomhlebhraibh Shenchusa Eirenn, agus o iliomad d'ughdaraibh baranthamhla coigcríche le Seathrún Ceitin, ollamh-diadhachta, An 1 chuid. (A complete History of Ireland ... Vol. I). 411 pp., Dublin, 1811.

  6. Díonbhrollach Fórais Feasa ar Éirinn: or Vindication of the Sources of Irish History by Rev. Dr. Geoffrey Keating, being the Introduction to his 'Groundwork of Knowledge of Ireland'. Edited (from MSS) with new translation, notes, vocabulary, etc. by David Comyn. 112pp., Dublin, 1898.

  7. Forus Feasa ar Éirinn. Keating's History of Ireland. Book I, Part I. Edited with Gaelic text (from a MS of T.C.D [H. 5. 26]), literal translation, explanation of Gaelic idioms, complete vocabulary, etc., by P. W. Joyce. 8 + 168 pp., Dublin, 1900.

  8. Foras Feasa ar Eirinn do réir an Athar Seathrun Céiting, ollamh ré diadhachta. The history of Ireland, from the earliest period to the English invasion. Translated from the original Gaelic, and copiously annotated, by John O'Mahony. With topographical appendix. 20 + 746 pp, New York, 1866.

  9. Sgélaigheacht Chéitinn. Stories from Keating's History of Ireland. Edited with Introduction, Notes and Vocabulary, by O.J. Bergin. 20 + 132 pp., Dublin 1909. Second edition, revised and enlarged, 1925. Third edition, revised and enlarged, 1930.

  10. Sir John T. Gilbert, Facsimiles of National manuscripts of Ireland. Pt. IV. [Pl LXXIII. History of Ireland by Geoffrey Keating. Trin. College. Commencement of Preface transcr. by John O'Maelchonaire. Text and transl. Pl. LXXIV. Michael Kearney's English version, 1668. Irish and Engl.] London, 1882.

  11. P. S. Dinneen, The history of Ireland. Foras Feasa ar Éirinn. Vol. IV. Containing the genealogies and synchronisms. With an index which includes the elucidation of place names and annotations to text of vols. I.II.III. Compiled and edited by Rev. Patrick S. Dinneen. (Irish Texts Society Vol XV.) 483 pp, London, 1914.

  12. Pádraig de Barra/Seathrún Céitinn, 'Foras feasa ar Éirinn', athnua le Pádraig de Barra. Imleabhar 1: .i. An díonbhrollach agus an chéad leabhar de Foras feasa ar Éirinn Seathrún Céitinn. Dublin 1982. Imleabhar II .i. an dara leabhar de Foras feasa ar Éirinn le Seathrún Céitinn. Dublin 1983.

Secondary literature relating to Keating and his writings.

  1. Ó Foghludha, Risteard, Saoghal-ré Sheathrúin Céitinn: Sacart is dochtúir san diadhacht, staruidhe, file, ughdar, &c. Risteard Ó Foghludha , "Fiachra Eilgeach" do scríbh, Dublin, 1908. (Reprinted from Gaelic Journal XVIII, 1-12, 47-57, 1908.)

  2. R. Henebry, Geoffrey Keating, in: Journal of the Ivernian Society 5 (1913) 197-202.

  3. Réamonn Ó Muireadaigh, Lámhscríbhinn agus blúirí eile ó Mhainistir Bhuithe, in: Seanchas Ard Mhacha 5 (no.2, 1970) 397-400. (Description of 18th century (?) FF MS in Monasterboice, Co. Louth).

  4. M. J. Connellan, 'The see of Tuaim in Rath Breasail synod', in: Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society 24 (1950/51) 19-26. (ad FF iii, 302-5).

  5. Anne Cronin, 'The sources of Keating's Forus feasa ar Éirinn, in: Éigse 4, 1943/44 (1945) (pt.4) 235-79, 1945/47 (1948) (pt. 2, 1946) 122-35 [no more publ.] 1. The printed sources; 2. Manuscript sources, (1) The manuscript sources of book 1, chaps. 4-23).

  6. Pádraig Ó Súilleabháin, 'Céitinn agus Caesarius Heisterbacensis', in: Éigse 9 (1958/61), (pt.4) 242. (Varia, no.4.)

  7. Brian Ó Cuív, (ed.), An eighteenth-century account of Keating and his Foras feasa ar Éirinn, in: Éigse 9 (1958) 263-69.

  8. Brian Ó Cuív (ed.), 'A seventeenth-century criticism of Keating's Forus Feasa ar Éirinn', in: Éigse 11 (1964/66) (pt. 2, 1965) 119-140. [From MS R.I.A. 23 M 40; with notes].

  9. Brian Ó Cuív (ed.), l. Labraid Loingsech [incl. ed. of relevant scholia to ACC, from MS N.L. G 50; on Keating's use of source material for the L. L. section in FF] in: Éigse 11, (1964/66) (pt. 3, 1965) 167-187, 290.

  10. Pádraig Ó Fiannachta, 'Stair finnscéal agus annála', in: LCC 2 (1971) (no.1) 5-13.

  11. Muireann Ní Bhrolcháin, A possible source for Keating's Forus feasa ar Éirinn, in: Éigse 19 (1982-83) 61-81.

  12. Nicholas Canny, 'The Formation of the Irish Mind: Religion, Politics and Gaelic Irish Literature 1580-1750', Past and Present 95 (1982) 91-116.

  13. Ó Dúshláine, Seán, 'More about Keating's Use of the Simile of the Dung-Beetle', in: Zeitschrift für Celtische Philologie 40 (1984) 282-285.

  14. Ó Dúshláine, Seán, 'Seathrún Céitinn agus an stíl bharócach a thug sé go h-Éirinn', in: Feasta 37/10 (1984) 10-15.

  15. Ó Corráin, Donnchadh, 'Seathrún Céitinn (c.1580-c.1644): an cúlra stairiúil', in: Feasta 37/10 (1984) 17-21.

  16. Bernadette Cunningham, 'Seventeenth-Century Interpretations of the Past: The Case of Geoffrey Keating', Irish Historical Studies 25, no. 98 (1986) 116-128.

  17. Breandán Ó Buachalla, 'Annála Ríoghachta Éireann' agus 'Foras Feasa ar Éirinn': an Comhthéacs Comhaimseartha, in: Studia Hibernica 22-23 (1982-83) 59-105.

  18. Diarmaid Ó Catháin, Dermot O'Connor: translator of Keating, in: Eighteenth Century Ireland, 2 (1987) 67-87.

  19. Brendan Bradshaw, 'Geoffrey Keating: apologist of Irish Ireland', in: Brendan Bradshaw, Andrew Hadfield and Willy Maley (eds.), Representing Ireland: literature and the origins of the conflict, 1534-1660, Cambridge 1993, 166-190.

  20. Bernadette Cunningham, Representations of king, parliament and the Irish people in Geoffrey Keating's Foras feasa ar Éirinn and John Lynch's Cambrensis eversus (1662), in: Jane Ohlmyer (ed.), Political thought in seventeenth-centuy Ireland, Cambridge 2000.

  21. Bernadette Cunningham, The World of Geoffrey Keating. History, myth and religion in seventeenth century Ireland, Dublin, 2000.

  22. Bernadette Cunningham and Raymond Gillespie, Patrick Logan and 'Foras Feasa ar Éirinn', Éigse 32 (2000) 146-152.

  23. Bernadette Cunningham, Geoffrey Keating's Foras Feasa ar Érinn, History Ireland, 9/1, Spring 2001.

The edition used in the digital edition.

  1. The History of Ireland by Geoffrey Keating, D.D. . D. Comyn , P. S. Dinneen (ed), First edition [The first three of four volumes in the series.] David Nutt, for the Irish Texts Society London (1902-1914) . Irish Texts Society [Comann na Sgríbheann Gaedhilge], No. IV; VIII and IX


Project Description

CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Sampling Declaration

The present text represents pages iii-xviii and 3-237 of vol. 1; 3-413 of vol. 2; 3-369 of vol. 3. Notes and indexes have been omitted; editorial corrigenda are integrated into the electronic edition. Missing text supplied by the editor is tagged SUP.

Editorial Declaration


Text has been checked and proofread twice (vol.3 three times) and parsed using NSGMLS. All regularizations are tagged. The History of Ireland is a large and complex work. Any corrections of errors in the original text, as edited by Comyn and Dinneen, or in this digital edition are welcome and will be credited to the scholars who submit them.


The electronic text represents the edited text.


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Profile Description

Created: Early 1900s

Use of language

Language: EN

The translation is in English.

Language: GA

Some quotations, terms and phrases are in Irish.

Language: LA

Some quotations, terms and phrases are in Latin.

Language: GR

A few terms are in Greek.


Revision History

  • (2002-06-19)

Beatrix Färber (ed.)

  • Minor changes to markup of quotations and header; vol. 3 appended to file; reparsed; HTML file created.

  • (2002-03-20)

Beatrix Färber (ed.)

  • Vol. 3 parsed using NSGMLS.

  • (2002-03-01)

Marcos Balé (ed.)

  • Third proofing of vol. 3.; markup of Irish terms and words.

  • (2002-02-01)

Ruth Murphy (ed.)

  • Structural markup and proof corrections applied to vol. 3.

  • (2001-08-25)

Pádraig Bambury (ed.)

  • First proofing and some structural markup applied to vol. 3.

  • (2001-08-20)

Pádraig Bambury (ed.)

  • Vol. 3 scanned.

  • (2002-03-06)

Beatrix Färber (ed.)

  • Minor changes to header; more proofing; vol. 2 appended to vol. 1; file parsed, HTML file created.

  • (2002-02-28)

Ruth Murphy (ed.)

  • Second proofing of vol. 2.

  • (2002-01-23)

Benjamin Hazard (ed.)

  • Structural markup of vol. 2 according to Irish version.

  • (2001-13-07)

Beatrix Färber (ed.)

  • Header created; markup of direct speech, quotations from written works and titles; Irish terms.

  • (2001-15-05)

Pádraig Bambury (ed.)

  • First proofing and application of structural markup to vol. 2.

  • (2001-08-05)

Pádraig Bambury (ed.)

  • Vol. 2 scanned; missing portions keyed in.

  • (2001-06-07)

Beatrix Färber (ed.)

  • Second proofing of vol. 1; header created; structural markup completed; Latin quotes inserted; content markup applied. File parsed; HTML file created.

  • (2001-05-05)

Julianne Nyhan (ed.)

  • First proofing of vol. 1; structural markup added.

  • (2001-04-25)

Julianne Nyhan (ed.)

  • Vol. 1 scanned.


Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition: T100054

The History of Ireland (BOOK I-II): Author: Geoffrey Keating



Book I:


Book II:

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