A number of Irish annals, of which the earliest was the Chronicle of Ireland, were compiled up to and shortly after the end of the 17th century. Annals were originally a means by which monks determined the yearly chronology of feast days. Over time, the obituaries of priests, abbots and bishops were added, along with those of notable political events. Non-Irish models include Bede's Chronica maiora, Marcellinus Comes's Chronicle of Marcellinus and the Liber pontificalis.[1]


The origins of annalistic compilation can be traced to the occasional recording of notes and events in blank spaces between the latercus, i.e. the 84-year Easter table adopted from Gaulish writer Sulpicius Severus (d. c. 423).[1]


Manuscript copies of extant annals include the following:

MAP of Irish locales linked to Irish Annals writing assembled by De Reir Book of Moytura team

Other sources

Others which contain annalistic material include:

Many of these annals have been translated and published by the School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, or the Irish Texts Society. In addition, the text of many are available on the internet at the Corpus of Electronic Texts (CELT Project) hosted by the History Department of University College Cork, National University of Ireland. (See External Links below)

The famous epic political tract Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib also contains a great deal of annalistic material from the Viking Age in Ireland which is to be found in no other surviving sources. Much of this was taken from the same sources ancestral to the Annals of Inisfallen, which have come down to us both abbreviated and lacunose.

Lost annals

Annals known to have existed but which have been lost include:

Modern annals


  1. ^ a b Ó Corráin, "annals, Irish", p. 69.
  2. ^ "The Tripartite life of Patrick : With other documents relating to that saint". 1887.