Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Annals of the Four Masters
The Annals of the Four Masters or the Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland by the Four Masters are a chronicle of medieval Irish history. The entries span the dates between the Deluge in 2242 A.M. and AD 1616, although the earliest entries are believed to date from around AD 550.
The annals are mainly a compilation of earlier annals, although there is some original work. They were compiled between 1632 and 1636 in the Franciscan monastery in County Donegal. The entries for the 12th century and before are sourced from medieval monastic annals. The later entries come from from the records of the Irish aristocracy (such as the Annals of Ulster), and the seventeenth century entries are based on personal recollection and observation.
The chief author of the annals was Michael O'Clery, and he was assisted by, among others, Peregrine O'Clery, Fergus O'Mulconry and Peregrine O'Duignan. Because of the reputation of their work on the annals, these four historians became known as the four masters, a name which then became attached to the annals themselves. The patron of the project was Fearghal Ó Gadhra, a lord in County Sligo.
The annals were originally written in Irish. They were first translated into English by the nineteenth century historian, John O'Donovan. There are several original manuscripts still in existence. They are kept in Trinity College Dublin, the Royal Irish Academy, and University College Dublin.
- Catholic Encyclopedia: Annals of the Four Masters
- List of Published Texts at CELT — University College Cork's Corpus of Electronic Texts project has the full text of the annals online, both in the original Irish and in O'Donovan's translation.
- Irish Script On Screen — The ISOS project at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies has high-resolution digital images of the Royal Irish Academy's copy of the Annals.
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