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Eugene O’Curry Manuscripts

Eugene O'Curry

Eugene O'Curry

UCD Library Special Collections hold the manuscripts collected by Eugene O’Curry.
Identity Statement
Reference code IE/ UCD/SC/Gaelic Mss/1-19


  • Eugene O’Curry Manuscripts
  • Gaelic Manuscripts
  • UCD Irish Manuscripts

[This collection has been referred to as all of the above at various stages]


Level of Description

19 items.


Eugene O'Curry (1794-1862).

Biographical History

  • O’Curry was a notable antiquarian and an expert in Irish manuscript material.
  • O’Curry was born in Doonaha, County Clare, and received little formal education but was taught to read and write in Irish by his father.
  • He was employed by the Ordnance Survey as a researcher on topographical information between 1865 and 1842.
  • He listed the manuscripts of the Royal Irish Academy and the British Museum.
  • O’Curry was involved in the founding of the Irish Archaeological Society and the Celtic Society.
  • His work on early Irish law tracts led to the establishment of the Brehon Law Commission.
  • In 1853 he became a member of the Royal Irish Academy.
  • He was appointed the first professor of Archaeology and Irish History in the Catholic University of Ireland. 
  • His two important works were: Lectures on the Manuscript Materials of Ancient Irish History and Lectures on the History and Customs of the Ancient Irish.

Source of Acquisition
Acquired by UCD as part of the Catholic University Library in 1909.

Scope and Content
  • Gaelic Ms. 1: Iomarbháidh na bhFilí and other matter [1700s?].
  • Gaelic Ms 2: Book of prayers and other devotional matter, some herbal prescriptions. Scribe, Richard Tipper (1726).
  • Gaelic Ms 3: Religious poetry and prayers. Scribe, Patrick Keagheran (1724).
  • Gaelic Ms 4: Romantic tales. Scribe, Patrick O’Reilly (1826)*.
  • Gaelic Ms 5: Religious and historical poems. Scribe, [Pilip Ó Doailén?] (1773).
  • Gaelic Ms 6: Tales, religious and other poems, fragmentary annals of legendary period and 759–1450. Scribes include Mícheál Ó Longáin (1766)*.
  • Gaelic Ms 7: Popular 18th century verse. Scribes include Seán Ó Conuill (1774)*.
  • Gaelic Ms 8: Poetry of the Northern school. Scribe, George Kingson (1772).
  • Gaelic Ms 9: Copy of Parliament Chlainne Thomáis. Scribe, Mícheal Ua Caigh (1732)*.
  • Gaelic Ms 12: Collection of over 7000 Irish glosses, i.e., words with parenthetical explanations, collected by Eugene O’Curry (not dated).
  • Gaelic Ms 13: 18th century Munster poetry, mainly Limerick and Clare poets (not dated).
  • Gaelic Ms 14: Munster and bardic poetry collected by O’Curry (1838).
  • Gaelic Ms 15: Keating’s Forus Feasa ar Eirínn. Scribe, Uílliam Ó Loingsigh (1698).
  • Gaelic Ms 16: Religious bardic verse, lives of saints, etc. copied from various early sources by or for O’Curry [1860s?]
  • Gaelic Ms 17: Latin-English-Irish dictionary (not dated).
  • Gaelic Ms 18: Bardic poetry in Irish collected by O’Curry (1839).
  • Gaelic Ms 19: Copy of voyage of Maelduin (not dated).

* Note that Gaelic Ms 4, 6, 7, and 9 have been withdrawn due to their fragile state.

Above content taken from R.J. Hayes Manuscript sources for the history of Irish civilization

Access and Use

Photocopying of archival collections is not permitted. Photography permissions and policies vary. Please contact (opens in a new window)special.collections@ucd.ie for more details regarding the photography of this specific collection.

Primarily Irish.

Finding Aid

Two volume manuscript calandar written by T.F. Connolly under the supervision of Douglas Hyde. The date stamp on the calendar is the 28th August 1914.

The material is listed online in (opens in a new window)Sources: A National Library of Ireland database for Irish research. This search tool is the online version of Hayes, Richard J. (1965) Manuscript Sources for the History of Irish Civilisation, Boston: Hall, also available in James Joyce Library, Level 2, Ref GR 016/091.

More Information

Find information on Eugene O’Curry in the (opens in a new window)Dictionary of Irish Biography.

Lectures on the Manuscript Materials of Ancient Irish History are available in the James Joyce Library at GEN 941.501/OCU, or (opens in a new window)online from the (opens in a new window)University of Toronto - Robarts Library.

UCD Special Collections

James Joyce Library, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 7149 | E: special.collections@ucd.ie