Book of Ballymote

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Book of Ballymote
Royal Irish Academy
Book of Ballymote 008r.jpg
Also known as Leabhar Bhaile an Mhóta
Date 1390–91
Place of origin Ballymote
Language(s) Middle Irish, with some Latin
Scribe(s) Solamh Ó Droma, Roibéard (Robertus) Mac Síthigh, Maghnus Ó Duibheannáin
Patron Tonnaltagh McDonagh
Material Vellum
Size 40cm x 26cm
Format Folio
Condition Imperfect
Script Irish minuscule
Contents genealogy, history, hagiography
Ballymote is located in island of Ireland
Location of Ballymote in Ireland

The Book of Ballymote (Irish: Leabhar Bhaile an Mhóta, RIA MS 23 P 12, 275 foll.), was written in 1390 or 1391 in or near the town of Ballymote, now in County Sligo, but then in the tuath of Corann.

It was produced by the scribes Solamh Ó Droma, Roibéard (Robertus) Mac Síthigh and Maghnus Ó Duibheannáin, on commission by Tonnaltagh McDonagh, in the possession of whose clan the manuscript remained until 1522, when it was purchased by Aodh Óg Ó Domhnaill, prince of Tír Conaill, for 140 milch cows. In 1620 it was given to Trinity College, Dublin. It was given on loan to the Revd Anthony Raymond, a former Fellow and vicar of Trim in 1719 or 1720, to be used in research he was doing on the work of Geoffrey Keating and he allowed other scholars access to it. When Raymond died in 1726, the book was retained by Tadhg Ó Neachtain for some years, probably until his death in the early 1750s. He copied extensively from it. It was never returned to the College, but was given to the Royal Irish Academy upon its foundation in 1785 by Chevalier O'Gorman who allegedly purchased it from a millwright's widow in Drogheda for 20 pounds.

The first page of the work contains a drawing of Noah's Ark. The first written page is lost, and the second page describes the ages of the world. After this follows

The book ends with various Greek and Latin fragments on the fall of Troy, including a fragment of the Aeneid.


  • Robert Atkinson. NY: AMS Press. ISBN 0-404-17535-X
  • O'Donovan, The Book of Rights, ed. and trans. 1847.
  • The Book of Ballymote: Photographic facsimile with introduction by R. Atkinson, (Dublin 1887).


  • McDonagh, James, History of Ballymote and the Parish of Emlaghfad (1998). [1]
  • Harrison, A.: 'Leabhar Bhaile an Mhóta ag tús an 18ú aois', Éigse 23 (1989), 147-50.
  • Ó Concheanainn, T.: 'The Book of Ballymote', Celtica 14 (1981), 15-25.

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