Book Series Clavis Litterarum Hibernensium

Clavis Litterarum Hibernensium

Medieval Irish Books & Texts (c. 400 - c. 1600)

Donnchadh Ó Corráin

  • Pages:3 vols, 1932 p.
  • Size:155 x 245 mm
  • Language(s):English, Latin
  • Publication Year:2017

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-54857-9
  • Hardback
  • Available

The first comprehensive survey of all medieval Irish literature, Latin, Irish, French & English, the CLH is a measure of the state of medieval Irish studies today.


« L’extraordinaire richesse d’informations fournie par la CLH (…) permette une exploitation optimale de ce remarquable instrument. » (R. Godding, dans Analecta Bollandiana, 135//II, 2017, p. 436)

“We congratulate Ó Corráin for his pioneering labour of love and Brepols for maintaining their impressive support for mediaeval literature in general and Irish studies in particular.” (J.K. Elliott, in Novum Testamentum, 60, 2018, p. 222)

« Voici, en trois épais volumes, une somme et un extraordinaire point de départ. » (A. Schoysman, dans Scriptorium Bulletin Codicologique, 1, 2018, p. 18)

"It is no exaggeration to say that these books will open up the exegesis of this literature in ways that were formerly impossible. (…) It will be the task of the next generation of scholars to pursue this work piecemeal and to take up the challenge that O C. has bequeathed.” (Michael Clarke, in Mittellateinisches Jahrbuch, 53/3, 2018, p. 499-500)

“Even a brief perusal of this work demonstrates the quantity and quality of the medieval Irish literary achievement in both Latin and the vernacular and across a variety of genres. That he has largely achieved his goal is testament to the breadth and depth of Ó Corráin’s knowledge, built over the course of a career spanning nearly half a century. The result of his labor of love is a landmark accomplishment that speaks in important ways about the current status of the discipline and will be valued by future generations of students and scholars alike.” (Patrick Wadden, in The North American Journal of Celtic Studies, 3/1, 2019, p. 85)

"In a towering beacon of scholarship of the kind that other countries expect of learned academies or institutes of advanced studies, Prof. Ó Corráin in this marvellous Clavis single-handedly (...) has produced 'a monument more lasting than bronze' (...) The Clavis is not just the book of the decade in Early Irish Studies; it is a work for the ages." (Dáibhí ó Cróinín, in History Ireland, vol. 27, no. 3, May/June 2019, p. 58-59)

“For the scholar with a particular interest in medieval Ireland, this book offers something far greater: by ordering and enumerating this mass of sources with appropriate bibliographical references within the confines of one volume, Donnchadh Ó Corráin has helped to make the medieval Irish literary tradition as a whole more visible, and more comprehensible. This Clavis will stand as a lasting testimony to a master scholar.” (Clare Stancliffe, in The Journal of Theological Studies, 70/2, 2019, p. 884)

"Only occasionally does a work appear whose impact on our praxis of scholarship is so great that anyone working in the field must thereafter take account of it. Even fewer are the occasions when a work that is, of its nature, taxonomic and bibliographical can claim such a significance. (...) looking at entry after entry one is staggered that Ó Corráin could not only assemble such a vast array of detail but orchestrate it so that others’ work is focused and lightened over the whole range of the material. (...) The CLH is, therefore, a measure of the state of medieval Irish studies today." (Thomas O'Loughlin, in The Irish Theologcial Quarterly 85/1, 2020, p. 80–86)

“Ó Corráin’s erudition and status as one of the founding fathers of the modern discipline of Irish medieval history qualified him as the perfect editor of this authoritative, comprehensive, rationally organized, and easy-to-use repertory, which is set to reshape our understanding of key strands of the field of medieval Irish studies. (...) scholars of all disciplines, who are interested in medieval Irish sources, will now have their go-to work of reference for decades to come.” (Roy Flechner, in Early Medieval Europe, 28/3, 2020, p. 500)

« ...nulle doute que la Clavis de Donnchadh Ó Corráin ne fournisse la réponse elle-même, du moins tous les instruments permettand de l'apporter, réalisant ainsi un « travail de mémoire » dont nous avons dans nos disciplines bien peu d'exemples de cette maîtrise. » (Benoit Gain, dans Revue des études latines 97, 2019, p. 228-235)




Donnchadh Ó Corráin († 2017) was emeritus professor of medieval history at University College-National University of Ireland, Cork. He was a member of the Royal Irish Academy, visiting Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, 1978-9; and Senior Visiting Research Fellow at Balliol College Oxford, 1993-4. He was founder-editor of Peritia, 1982-2014 (25 volumes). He established the CELT on-line corpus of Irish texts ( He has published widely on medieval Irish literature, text history, vernacular law, church history, canon law, genealogy, politics, kingship, social history, the Vikings, and other topics.


This three-volume ground-breaking and comprehensive bibliography of Irish texts and manuscripts is the first study of its kind to describe the entire historical and literary output of Irish writers, at home and abroad, throughout the middle ages (4th to 17th centuries). It surveys writers in Latin and the vernaculars, ranging through biblica, liturgica, computistica, hagiographica and grammatica, as well as all the genres of Irish and the other vernacular writings of Ireland
The focus is on both individual manuscripts and textual transmission. In the case of manuscripts it succinctly lists all the salient information (origin, provenance and date, foliation, pagination and dimensions), accompanied by a detailed chronologically arranged bibliography for every codex. For individual texts it lists the manuscripts in which they occur, or, when relevant, where such a list can be found, together with a comprehensive bibliography of relevant publications. For both manucripts and texts, there are running cross-references to the standard works of reference. The Index Manuscriptorum is the most comprehensive of its type ever provided for this subject. Moreover, the chapters on manuscripts and texts written in Irish provide the first full treatment of several areas, including annals, genealogies, vernacular law, early poetry, bardic poetry and metrics.


Preface – Abbreviations – Bibliography, Catalogues & Guides

1. Epigraphy, Writing, Form and Image

2. Early Codices in Ireland and Britain

3. Biblica

Apocryphal & Eschatological Varia
Homiletics & Catechetics

4. Patristica: Irish Texts and Manuscripts

5. Hagiography, Hagiology, Hymnology & Liturgy

Vernacular Hagiography

6. Irish Books and Authors Abroad I: Columbanus, Luxeuil, and Bobbio

7. Irish Books and Authors Abroad II: Echternach, Fulda, St Gall, Würzburg

8. Irish Scholars Abroad III: Works & Manuscripts

Cellán, Joseph Scottus, Catulfus
Dícuil the Geographer (c. 760–post 825)
Anonymi & Varii
Sedulius Scottus (fl. 840-860)
Johannes Scottus Eriugena
Other Irish Scholar-Peregrini & their Books
Carmina of Colmán, Donatus, Dub Dúin, Electus
Anonymi Hibernici
Miscellaneous Texts, tenth to twelfth centuries

9. Irish Scholars and Greek in the West

10. Latin Grammatical Tracts

11. Computus

12. Hiberno-Latin Writers and Texts

Early Medieval Anonymous Latin Texts

13.    Penitentials

14.    Canon Law

15.    Synodal Legislation & Monastic Rules

Synods, Canons, Sabbatarianism
Monastic Rules

16.    Irish Latin Manuscripts, Principally Tenth to Twelfth Centuries

Gospels & Missals

17.    Tenth to Twelfth-Century Latin Texts and Authors

Scholarly Works & Class Books

18.    The Vernacular Laws

19.    Annals

Later, mainly Anglo-Irish, Annals & Chronicles

20.    Genealogies

21.    Early Irish Manuscripts: Glosses and Texts

22.    Major Vernacular Codices, Literary and Historical

23.    Earliest Vernacular Literary Texts

24.    The Poet-Scholars I: Early-Medieval Grammatical Theory, Poetics, Poetry & Piety

Poetics & Lyric Poetry
Select Religious Verse & Litanies

25.    The Poet-Scholars II: Learning, Wisdom & Prophecy

Glossaries & Reference
Wisdom Texts
Prophecy and Eschatology

26.    The Poet-Scholars III: Irish Classical Poetry

Grammatical & Syntactical Texts
Irish Classical Poetry

27.    Medieval Vernacular Narrative Prose

Clerical Anecdota

28.    Historicist & Historical Vernacular Texts – Verse, Prose and Prosimetrum

1. Uí Néill & Airgialla
2. Origin Legends
3. Topographical Lore
4. Rights and Tributes
5. Historical and Historicist Poets
6. Poems on Leinster
7. Munster Texts on Éoganacht and Dál Cais
8. Connachta
9. Kings and Vikings
10. Irish Historia Britonum
11. Church Histories

29.    Classica

30.    Foreign Medieval Literature – Translations and Adaptations

Select Religious Texts

31.    Medicine and Science

32.    Books mainly of the Anglo-Irish

Latin Martyrologies, Service Books, & Texts
Religious Texts
Canon Law & Heresy
Historical Works
Old-French Texts
English Texts

Index (Manuscripts; Texts, Auhors & Scribes; Initia) - Concordances