Dubhaltach Mac Firbisigh

Great Book

Great Book of Irish Genealogies

UCD Library Special Collections holds the original 17th century manuscript of the Great Book of Irish Genealogies, or Leabhar na nGenealach.

Click here to view the manuscript online at Irish Script on Screen in English
Click here to view the manuscript online at Irish Script on Screen in Irish

Identity Statement

Reference code IE/ UCD/SC/Additional Ms 14

Title
ALeabhar na nGenealach or The Great Book of Irish Genealogies by Dubhaltach Mac Firbisigh.

Dates
[1649-1653?].

Level of Description
Item.

Extent
941pp.

Context

Creator
Dubhaltach Mac Firbisigh (160? – 1671).

Biographical History

  • The Book of Genealogies was originally compiled and written in Galway between circa 1645 -1666 by Dubhaltach Mac Firbisigh.
  • Mac Firbisigh was an Irish scribe, historian and genealogist who flourished between the years 1640 until his death in 1671.
  • The Mac Firbisigh family was a renowned learned family in late medieval Ireland. This explains his knowledge of Irish, English, Latin and Greek and his chosen ‘career’.
  • In the early 1640s he moved to Galway and it was there that he carried out his great work, researching and writing the Leabhar na nGenealach probably between 1645 and 1666.
  • Nollaig Ó Muraíle in the introduction of his biography entitled The Celebrated Antiquary Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh (1996) states that Mac Firbisigh ‘represents something of a bridge between the last remnants of the native Gaelic learning classes and the new Anglo-Irish antiquaries such as Ussher and Ware’.

Source of Acquisition
Bequeathed to UCD by Dublin solicitor Arthur Cox in 1929.

Scope and Content

  • The opening sentence of Leabhar na nGenealach, quoted in The Celebrated Antiquary Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh, goes some way towards describing the contents. It reads:

"the branches of kinship and branches of genealogy of every invasion which took possession of Ireland from this time up to Adam (except the Fomhóraigh, the Vikings and English, whom we treat of only since they came to our country), together with the history of the saints and the list of the kings of Ireland and finally, an index in which are collected, in alphabetical order, the surnames and famous places mentioned in this book…"

  • Nollaig Ó Muraíle, who edited a five volume printed set of the work in 2003, describes the book as:

"a compilation of Irish genealogical lore relating to the principal Gaelic and Anglo-Norman families of Ireland and covering the period from pre-Christian times to the mid-17th century and collected from a variety of sources."

  • This manuscript is one of UCD's greatest treasures. The manuscript is available for viewing digitally on Irish Script on Screen.

Access and Use

Access
The materials in this collection are available by appointment only to research students, reaching staff and scholars. Research students should have a letter of recommendation from their supervisor.

Reproduction
Photocopying or digital photographing of this material is not permitted.

Language
Irish.

Finding Aid
n/a.

More Information

View the Book of Genealogies online at Irish Script on Screen.

Ó Muraíle, Nollaig (1996) The Celebrated Antiquary Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh, , Maynooth: An Sagart , (Special Collections at 38.K.20 and on Level 2 at GEN 941.506/MACF/O).

Ó Muraíle, Nollaig (ed.) (2003-4)The Great Book of Irish Genealogies or Leabhar Mór na nGenealach: compiled (1645-66) by Dubhaltach Mac Firbisigh, edited with translation and indexes by Nollaig Ó Muraíle, Dublin: De Búrca, (Special Collections at 19.D.13 - 16 and on Level 2 at HSM 941.50002/MAC).

Find information on Mac Firbisigh in the Dictionary of Irish Biography (UCD only).