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The Annals of Ulster

The Annals of Ulster are a chronicle of medieval Irish history, arranged as individual annual entries – hence the name ‘annals’. The Annals were compiled in Fermanagh in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries under the patronage of the Maguires, lords of Fermanagh. They contain short entries in chronological sequence on key people and events in Irish history from the fifth to the sixteenth century.

Two versions of the ‘Annals of Ulster’ survive in manuscript from that period. The older of the two is now MS 1282 in Trinity College, Dublin (TCD). A slightly later version is now Rawlinson MS B. 489 in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Written by eminent scribes on good quality vellum, these manuscripts were always intended as prestige items.
These annals chronicle Irish history from the mid fifth century to the mid sixteenth century. The text is arranged as individual annual entries – hence the name ‘annals’. They open with the coming of Christianity, and continue down to the compiler’s own day. Thus, they were an attempt at a complete history of the political and ecclesiastical world of early Christian and medieval Ireland.

 MS Rawl B 489 Fol 6R Small

Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS Rawlinson B 489, fol. 6r. Annals of Ulster for the years AD 588-600.

Commissioned researcher for The Annals of Ulster is Dr Bernadette Cunningham. To find out more about Dr Cunningham check out our blog:-

To read the full report on The Annals of Ulster by Dr Bernadette Cunningham download the pdf below. 

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Annals of Ulster