English Translation of Foras Feasa ar Éirinn
Late 17th cent. Paper. 28.5 × 18.5 cms. 372 pp. with the following separate scribal numbering for each of the three parts: Book I 1-2, [3-4 missing], 9- 10, [11-14 missing], 15-126; Book II 1-118 followed by a blank leaf; Book III 1-126, [127-8 missing], 129-136. Due to marginal cropping much of this numbering has been wholly or partly cut away (especially in Books I-II. The text (marginal notes) has also suffered from this cropping. Scribe: Thomas Harte. A letter from the scribe to his son `Morgan Harte at Tuam', now prefixed to the recto of the binder's blank leaf, and given in full below, says the translation was `accomplished by means of a scoolemaster on[e] Henry O Hart a native of ... Sligo'.
The manuscript is in reasonably good condition; several margins, however, have been strengthened with strips of paper, a few pages in the third book are defaced and the last leaf is fragmentary.
Bound in half-russian with marbled endpapers and `Keating's History of Ireland / In Three Parts' gilt-lettered on spine; `13273 Ph' on verso of first endpaper and `Phillipps Ms 13273' on recto of binder's blank leaf. Listed under `Sir Wm Betham's MSS. 1854' in Phillipps's Catalogus. Purchased by the National Library for £8 from Sotheby 24/6/1935.
The following letter from the scribe to his son `Mr Morgan Harte at Tuam' (see verso) is prefixed to the binder's blank leaf: `About 27 years agou it was my chance to light upon Doctor Ketings Irish history of the Kings of Ireland, and for as much as I had never seene any thing of that kind before , and that what our English authors had delivered concerning the antiquities of this Kingdome is very lame and defective and for the most part fabulose as built upon a bad foundation layd by Giraldus Cambrensis who makes it his business to extenuat the worth of the Irish and advance that of his Kinsmen and countrymen beyond measure I was moved with a desire to gett the said History of Keting translated into English, which I accomplished by means of a scoolemaster on[e] Henry O Hart a native of the county of Sligo whom I kept to teach my children, and when it was done I thought to put it to the press but wanting incouragement I kept it by me haveing digestet it into the best order I could without altering the sense of the Author intending it only for my own private use. But now of last I have seen a Booke of Father Peter Welsh dedicatet to his late majesty the which in substance is noething else but Keting in another dress with his own animadeversions [sic] and therefore I thought it would not be amiss to bring Keting himself to light that it may be known how far those who have written since doo agree or disagree from that often quoted author.
Morgan this is in substance al I have to say which you may make use of to your best advantage altering or adding what shal seeme fitt by your friends there to whome had I any acquantance with also I should make it my request so to doo farewel
Your affectionate father
Tho. Harte '
1 `The Historic of the Kingdome of Ireland. The First Booke.' Beg. Of all the many European Kingdomes there is none whose histories may compare with that of Ireland for antiquities. Ends (p. 126) with `Heere endeth the first Booke'. Book II headed (p. 1) `The Historie of the Kingdome of Ireland. The First [sic] Booke' (running title `The Second Booke of the Historie of Ireland'). Ends (p. 102) with `The end of the second Booke' followed (p. 103) by the genealogies headed `Heere folowes the propagation and offspring of the children of Milesius of Biscain (according to Doctor Ketine) from whome are descended all the nobilitie and gentrie of the Irish nation called clanna Mileadh'. Ends p. 118 followed by blank leaf. The verse in Keating is also translated. Book III (not from Keating) headed `The Historie of the Kingdome of Ireland. The Third Booke / Chap. I. The Conquest of Ireland by King Henry the second commonly caled Henry Fitz Empresse'. 12 chapters. Breaks off (p. 136) with 12th chapter (headed [p. 131] `Of King James the first Monarch of Great Britain and Ireland') reduction of Ireland to a settled and civill government and catchword and