c. 700–800 Táin Bó Cúailnge



This template creates a reference for quotations from the Táin Bó Cúailnge, or "The Cattle Raid of Cooley", an Ulster Cycle tale originating from c. 700-800, but known now in later manuscript copies and editions.[1] Stifter and Qiu's summary of dating the composition of the tale is as follows:

Episodes of the famous heroic saga Táin Bó Cúailnge may first have been written down in the 8th century and were then joined with other episodes in the 9th century [Recension I (TBC-I), preserved in the Lebor na hUidre (LU) and the Yellow Book of Lecan (YBL)]. What we have, however, is a copy from the early 12th century [i.e. LU] that may well have partially adapted to the orthography and to the pronunciation of that time. Then we have another completely reworked version, in a very bombastic style, written in the latter part of the 12th century [Recension II, preserved in the Book of Leinster (TBC-LL)].

The LU edition preserves the beginning of the text with some Middle Irish interpolations added by a scribe commonly labelled H. It is missing the ending; on the other hand, the YBL edition has the opposite situation, with the beginning missing and the ending intact. In terms of Cecile O'Rahilly's edition of the Recension I Táin, Murray (2017) identifies four sections where Middle Irish interpolations occur:[2]

  • Lines 66-112
  • Lines 1545-1712 (the interior "is replete with Old Irish features" but the connecting sentences are clearly written in Middle Irish)
  • Lines 1904-1995 (once again contains "substantial Old Irish elements" surrounded by linking Middle Irish sentences)
  • Lines 2524-2546 (Comrac Maind; 100% written in Middle Irish)

There are also other sections believed by O'Rahilly to be later interpolations:

  • Imacallaim na Mórígna fri Coin Culaind (lines 1845-1874) is often believed since Windisch to be entirely an interpolation, but Cleary believes that only the sentence referring to the Middle Irish tale Táin Bó Regamna was inserted later. The Táin Bó Regamna, she supposes, is in fact derived from the passage (or its archetype); the reverse of the usual suggestion.
  • Sections found in the LU-YBL edition but not TBC-LL:
    • Most of Page 9 (up to line 214) of Strachan's edition
    • Lines 416-483 in Strachan's edition
    • Lines 1575-1584 in Strachan's edition
    • LU 6115-6125
    • The last paragraph of the YBL edition is suspected by O'Rahilly to be a later addition, additionally citing her skepticism of Findabair ever being able to walk out of the tale safe and sound. Thurneysen simply believes that tales of Findabair being slain and her simultaneous survival at the end are the results of disagreement between two oral sources.

References are canonically in the form "TBC-I 212", where I indicates that the primary source is the Yellow Book of Lecan, and the number is the line number.

If no parameter is given, it gives the bare reference.

If only one parameter is given and it is not one of the letters listed below, it assumes that the source manuscript is the Yellow Book of Lecan. If it is one of those letters, it gives it without numerical reference.

  • {{RQ:sga:TBC|212}}
  • c. 700–800 Táin Bó Cúailnge, from the Yellow Book of Lecan, published in The Táin Bó Cúailnge from the Yellow Book of Lecan, with variant readings from the Lebor na hUidre (1912, Dublin: Hodges, Figgis, and Co.), edited by John Strachan and James George O'Keeffe, TBC-I 212
  • {{RQ:sga:TBC|LL}}
  • c. 1050 Táin Bó Cúailnge, from the Book of Leinster, published in Táin Bó Cualnge from the Book of Leinster (1970, Dublin), edited and with translations by Cecile O'Rahilly, TBC-LL

Two parameters specify source manuscript and reference:

  • {{RQ:sga:TBC|I|212}}
  • c. 700–800 Táin Bó Cúailnge, published in Táin Bó Cúailnge. Recension I (1976, Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies), edited and with translations by Cecile O'Rahilly, TBC-I 212
  • {{RQ:sga:TBC|LU|4734}}
  • c. 700–1200 Táin Bó Cúailnge, from the Lebor na hUídre, LU 4734
  • {{RQ:sga:TBC|LL|1370}}
  • c. 1050 Táin Bó Cúailnge, from the Book of Leinster, published in Táin Bó Cualnge from the Book of Leinster (1970, Dublin), edited and with translations by Cecile O'Rahilly, TBC-LL 1370


  1. ^ David Stifter, Fangzhe Dimurjan Qiu (2018) “Chronologicon Hibernicum: A Probabilistic Chronological Framework for Dating Early Irish Language Developments and Literature”, in Marinos Ioannides, Eleanor Fink, Raffaella Brumana, Petros Patias, Anastasios Doulamis, João Martins, Manolis Wallace, editors, Digital Heritage: Progress in Documentation, Preservation, and Protection, Cham: Springer Nature Switzerland, →ISBN, pages 731–740
  2. ^ Murray, Kevin (2017) “H and the First Recension of the Táin”, in Studia Celtica Fennica, volume 14, Finnish Society for Celtic Studies, pages 129-140