Book of Fermoy

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Book of Fermoy
Royal Irish Academy
Also known asLeabhar Fhear Maí, Book of Roche
Date14th–16th century
Place of originIreland
Language(s)Middle Irish, Early Modern Irish
Scribe(s)Domhnall Ó Leighin, Uilliam Ó hIcedha, Dáibith Ó Duib, Torna Uí Mhaoil Chonaire
Size34.5cm x 26cm
Scriptcoarse bookhand (pp 1-16)
small neat upright hand (pp 147-51)
cursive hand (pp 217-24)

The Book of Fermoy (Irish: Leabhar Fhear Maí, aka RIA MS 23 or the Book of Roche, leabhar de Róiste) is a medieval Irish text dated to the 14th to 16th century AD.[1]


The book was written in the Irish language in the 15th C. by several scribes. The 238 pages contain numerous tales, histories, and biographies.[1] James Henthorn Todd acquired the work in 1858 - he suggested the title "Book of Roche" would be equally applicable to the work due to the large quantity of content relating to the history of the Roche Family of Fermoy; one "David [Mór] son of Maurice son of John Roche" is mentioned in the text as a patron of one set of scribes.[1]


Summary based on (Todd 1868). Folio numbering follows Eugene O'Curry's added pagination as in Todd. (a/b refer to each side of the page)
Folio Title or incipit Content notes
1-8 Leabhar Gabhála Part of the Leabhar Gabhála including the biblical beginnings to the history of Partholon and Nemed
9-23 "Book of Fermoy"

(according to Todd 1868)

Numbered from p. 22, suggesting loss of earlier content.

Contents include "Legend of Mór Mumham", including "Elopement of Ruithcearna with Cuana mac Cailcin"

24 Bai Fingen mac Lucta aidchi Samna i nDruim Fingin Story of fifty wonders witnessed when Conn of the Hundred Battles was born, as related to Fingen mac Luchta King of Munster
25 Cia so agras coir um Cruachain Poem on the right of sovereignty of Connaught
26 Mor loites lucht an indluig Poem "Much do slandering people destroy"
27 Baile suthach Sith Emhna "The fairy hill of Sith Emhna", written in praise of Raghnall mac Gofraidh, King of the Isles
28 Gerr o dob inghill mna Mumhan Thought to be an elegy to Siubhan daughter of Cormac Mac Carthy
29-31 Incipit Cath Crinda "Here begins the battle of Criman" - relating to the rise of Cormac mac Airt as a king of Ireland
32 Bruíden Meic dareo annso sísana "The court of the son of Daire" Rebellion of the Athech-Tuatha against the Milesians
33a Aní diaroibe in Ces for Ultaibh só sis Account of the origin of the debility of the Ultonians
33b Cinaeth O'Hartigan cecinit Poem describing the death and burials of the seven sons of Aedh Slaine
33b Fothad na Canoine cecinit Poem to Aedh Oirnighe on becoming King of Ireland 793
34b Indarba Mochuda ar Raithin Account of the banishment of St. Mochuda from Raithin
38-42 Betha Sain Seoirsí Life of Saint George
42b-43 Scēl Saltrach na Muice Story of the Pigs
44-48 Destruction of Jerusalem under Vespasian and Titus
48b Indescipherable poem
49-50 Tochmarc Treblainne The courtship of Treblainn, daughter of Cairbre Niafar, King of Leinster, by Froech, son of Fidach, of the Firbolgs
51 Tale of Cairbre Crom, King of Hy Maine, Connaught, his murder, and restoration by St. Ciaran of Clonnmacnois
51b-55 Biography of Conn of the Hundred Battles
56 Eulogy poem to David Mac Muiris Roche, Lord of Fermoy
57a Aroile duine truagh bocht Tale of a poor man and King David
57a Ceitre hairdi an domain ; toir , tiar , ter , tuaigh Account of four people (corresponding to the points of a compass) who lived through the deluge
57a Dá mac amhra.. Legend relating to King David
57a-58a Bo bí aroile urraíghi Life and Martyrdom of St. Juliana
58a Tuaruscbail Iudáis Scairioth Account of Judas Iscariot; relating to a legend of St. Brendan
58b Mearugud Clereach Coluimcille Account of the journeys of two of St. Columcille's clerics
59b Beatha Bairre Corcaídhe annso sís "The Life of Barre of Cork"
60a-61b Beata Molaga Life of St. Molaga
61b Ectra Cormaic macAirt Adventures of Cormaic macAirt
62b Acso ant adhbhar fanabar Domnach Crom Dubh Tale on origin of the name Crom Dubh Sunday
63-72a Account of the life of Christ, and acts of successive Roman emperors to the destruction of the Temple under Titus
72a Aroile oglach do bí in abdaine Drumanaigh Fool story
72b-73a Da bron flatha nime.. Story of the biblical Elias and Enoch
73a Extracts from the life of St. Ambrose
73b blank
74-74b Gabum dechmadh ar ndana 13th C.religious poem by Donnchadh Mór O'Daly, abbot of Boyle (incomplete)
75a Garb eirge idhna bhratha Judgement day poem by Donnchadh Mór O'Daly
75a O Mhuire, a mathair ar nathar Poem to the Virgin Mary
76b Mianna Cormaic mic Airt Poem "The Desires of Cormac Mac Airt"
76b Gearoid Iarla dochum na Fuatha bega sosiis Poem attributed to Gerald, fourth Earl of Desmond (d.1397)
77a O mnaib ainmnighther Eri "From women Eri is named" Pangyric to the wife of David son of Morris Roche, daughter of O'Brien
77b Eogan mac Conchobair hi Dalaighe "Rogan, son of Conchobhair O'Dalaighe" Pangyric to the wife of David son of Morris Roche, daughter of O'Brien
78 Cerball mac Conchobhair i Dhalaige "Cearbhall, son of Conchobhair, mac conchobair" Elegy to the wife of David son of Morris Roche, daughter of O'Brien
79a A tegh beg tiaghar a tegh mór "From a small house people go to a big house". Pangyric on Diarmait O'Brien
79b Cath almhaine so "The battle of Almhain here" (prose)
80b Longarad Coisfhind amuig Tuatha.. Legend of Longarad of Disert-Longarad
Some missing leaves
85a-88b Feacht naen dandeachadh Fiachna Find mac Baedain meic Murcertaigh meic Muredhaigh Life of the 6th C. Mongan, son of Fiachna, King of Ulidia. Version of the Echtrae Mongain maic Fiachna
89a- Feacht naen da roidhe conn .c. cathach mac Feidhlimigh rectmair mic Tuathail techtmair mic Feradaigh find fechtnaig.. Tale of Conn of the Hundred Battles, his grief on death of Eithne Taebhfada, and the visitation of Becuma Cneisgel of the Tuatha de Danann (Version of Echtra Airt meic Cuind)
92b Maelmuire magrath .cc.. Poem, panygric to Emma daughter of the Earl of Desmond (14th. C)
93a-96 Poems, Pangyrics on David Roche of Fermoy
96 List of land of the estate of the Roches of Fermoy (partly illegible)

Schedule of rents

97 missing
98 Account of early colonists of Ireland, and of Tuan mac Cairrill
98b Bliadain don cuaille co cert Verses on the lifespans of men and animals, and on durations of tillage in fields
99a (Loss of pages) Last page of the Tale of Lady Eithne
99b Fintan and the Hawk of Achill
100a End of (incomplete) poem. Characters include Cormac and Diarmid mag Carthaigh
100a-103a 18 short poems. Possible school lessons or practice
103a Muircheartach O Floinn .cc. Poem in praise of Mór and Johanna. daughters of Owen Mac Carthy
103b Eogan mac Aenguis dalaigh Poem in praise of Johanna wife of David Roche of Fermoy
104 More poems similar to those on folios 100-103
105a- Imrumh churaigh ua corra Version of The Voyage of the Uí Chorra
109 Righal nell noigiallaigh os clann Ethach, anso "Inauguration of Niall of the Nine Hostages over the clann Eochaidh"
110 Cesta grega andso "Greek questions here"
111-116 Legend of Eithne, daughter of Dichu. The poems Dena damh a cana pen, Denum impodh inisnimhuch, Goirid mhe a muintir nimhe, and Cluittir libh fert fiail Ethne are inserted in the latter part of the tale
166b Eoghan mor u daligh .cc. Poem beginning "Teach me, O' Mary", partly illegible
117a Poem on the crucifixion and passion of Christ
117b-119a 'Brian o huiginn Poem. Pangyric on David son of Maurice Roche, contains a list of places he had plundered in Munster
119a-120a Seaan og mac rait .cc. Poem in praise of the territory held by David son of Morris Roche, of Fermoy
120a OMaothagan .cc. Poem in praise of Cathilin mother of David son of Morris Roche
121a Cormac mac Eoghain u Dalaig Poem in praise of Cathilin, daughter of Tadgh Mac Carthy, mother of David son of Morris Roche
121b Ua Maethagan .cc. Poem in praise of Morris, son of Morris Roche
121b Note (in English) stating "The former pages of this Book, from the beginning to this page, was 288"
122 Formerly black, now scribbled. Including notes by latter editors including William O'Hara (1805), and Eugene O'Curry (1858)
123a Poem in praise of Cathilin, daughter of Tadhg Mac Carthy
123b Maithiar mór o cillin .cc. Poem. Difficult to read
124-126 Tochmare Eimire Fragments of the "Courtship of Eimire"
127 Page apparently not numbered by mistake by O'Curry
128-129 Druighean da Dearga Version of the tale "Palace of Da-Dearga", concerning the death of Connaire Mór
Remainder The remainder of the work contains medical tracts, which (Todd 1868) did not consider formed part of the "Book of Fermoy". A final fragment has the conclusion of a religious tract


  1. ^ a b c RIA.


  • "[1134 23 E 29] Book of Fermoy", Irish Scripts on Screen
  • Todd, James Henthorn (1868), Descriptive Catalogue of the contents of the Irish Manuscript commonly called "The Book of Fermoy"
  • "The Book of Fermoy / The Book of Roche",

External links[edit]