CELT document G301042

Scél Baili Binnbérlaig


In his Appendix to his Lectures on the MS. Materials of Ancient Irish History, pp. 472–475, O'Curry has published and translated the story of Baile Binnbérlach from H. 3. 18, p. 47. The same text is found in the British Museum MS Harl. 5280, fo. 48a; with this difference that for many ordinary Irish words (gnáthfhocla) of H.3. 18, Latin, Hebrew, and archaic Irish words have been substituted. We have here, in fact, an instructive example of that delight in obscure modes of diction, which Irish poetry so often shows in its use of kennings, 1 extinct forms of language, antiquated native, and  p.221 lastly even foreign words. We know that a regular training in the use of such expressions formed part of the curriculum of the aspiring fili, and I think that it was these various modes of expression that were comprehended under the name of bérla na filed "the language or dialect of the poets", which the young fili, then called anroth, was required to master in the sixth year of his apprenticeship. See Thurneysen, Irische Texte, vol. III, I, p. 38. An amusing example of the use of such language occurs in Cormac's Glossary, s.v. lethech.

While in a literary point of view the use of the incongruous elements, misplaced fragments of learning, only serves to mar a pretty tale, it supplies the modern student with some valuable linguistic material. For this reason I have thought it worth while to publish the following text. I add a translation and a glossary of the old and rare words.


Edited by Kuno Meyer

Whole text

Scél Baili Binnbérlaig

 48aBaili Binnberlach mac Buain. Tri hui Cabha maic Cinga maic Rosa maic Rudraigi: Monach ⁊ Baili ⁊ Fercorb, de quibus Dal m-Buain ⁊ Dal Cuirb ⁊ Monaig Arad. Oenmac Buain .i. Baili. Ba saincais-seom di Aillinn filia Lugdach bein Fergusai Goo, no di deir Eogain maic Dathi ⁊ ba sainamor do cech oen atchid ⁊ dicechlad eter issai ⁊ genai ar a urriseib. Corrusdailset coir dala i n-dormainecht ic Ros na Turigin occ Laind Moelduib ar bru Boinne Breg.

10 Dogene an uir atuaid dia torrachtoin o Eomuin Machi tar Sliauh Fuaid ⁊ tar Teme Muiri co Traig m-Baili. Ro turnaid a n-drubai ⁊ russcuirid a n-gabrai for an rindiuc dia gleth. Digensad ainius ⁊ oibnius.


A m-botar ann conacatar elpoid uathmor ænnoé cugo 15 indes. Ba hudmall a rem ⁊ a ascnamh. Meti les noraited in trogain sín sighi seig di aild no clo do glasréin. A clipio fri tir. “Ar a cind!” ol Baile, “conatcomaircter nde cid ted no canus tanuic no cia fath a cudnoidh.” “Di Tuaig-Inbir tiagoim ⁊ tar ais budthuaid anussai o 20 Slioab Suidiu Laigeon ⁊ nintha do imtecht liumm acht no Lugdach maic Fergusai tuc grad do Baili mac Buain ⁊ tainic dia dal, corucsat oic Laigevn fuirri ⁊ bathaid, amail rusgellsad draide ⁊ degfaidi doib, na comraicdis a m-bethaid et conricfaidis iarna nás ⁊ nach scerdais tre bithu sir. Is 25 siad sin mo scelai.” ⁊ 'musteti uaib iermo ⁊ niptar cuimgech a fostad. Otcechlai Baile anni sin crinniur marb cin anima ⁊ clandtair a fert ⁊ a raith ⁊ saitir a airne ⁊ dogniter a oenuch guba la hUllto. ⁊ lossaig  48b eo trian lige combo reil delb ⁊ fuaith capaid Baili for a 30 ind, unde dixid Traigh m-Baili.

Iarom 'musla buddes in fer cetno co forad a m-bai an ingen Aildinn ⁊ docing isan grianan. “Can tic anti nat aithgenamar?” ol ind ingen. “A fochlai Erend o Tuaig-Inbir ⁊ secha so co Sliab Suidi Laigen.” “Scelai lat?” ol 35 in ingen. “Ni fuil sceloi is cointi sund, acht adconnorc Ultai ac oenuch guba et oc cloidi ratha ⁊ ic sadad lia ⁊ ac graifned a anma Baili maic Buain rigdamnoi Ulad do thin Trago Baili, et se ic torrachtain lennain ⁊ mna serce dia tard tal, ar ni fuil a scoth doib coristais a m-bethaid no 40 nech dib d'faircsin aroili ina m-biu.” Dobidg amach iar n-indiuld an misceoil. Difuit Aillinn marb cin anmoin ⁊ claitir a fert ⁊rl. Et assoid abhold trian lige ⁊ ba gesco mor a cind septimo anno, ⁊ fethol chuid Aillinne for a uachtar.


45 A cind secht m-bliadan dana tescait mail ⁊ faidi ⁊ fisidi int év boi os Baili ⁊ 'musgniet tauhull filiud nde ⁊ scribait fise ⁊ fese ⁊ serco ⁊ tochmarco Ulad inni. Fon fiu cetni scriutar tochmarco Laigen inti-si.

Doruacht ant samhuin iarsuidi ⁊ dogniter a fes la hArt 50 mac Quind. Tolotatar dil ⁊ aes cacha danai fon fes sin amail ba bes ⁊ doradsad a taibli leo. ⁊ dusci Art ⁊ otconnairc 'muscomairc. Et tucad cuce in di tabald co m-batar ina lamoib eneuch a n-inchoib. Imusling an tabold for araili dib cor' imnaisced amail fethlind im urslait. Et ni 55 tualaing a n-imscarad ⁊ batar amail gach sed isan taisced i Temraig, curusloisc Dunlang mac Enda diar'ort an in-genraid, unde dixit:

  1. Aboll Aildinde ardai,
    ibor Baili, becc forboi,
    60 cia dobertar au laidhe,
    ni tuicid daine borba.

Et amail adbert ingen Cormaic ui Quinn:

  1. Es fris samlaim Aluime,
    fri hibor Traga Baili,
    65 fris combaroim aroili,
    frisan abaild a hAili.

Fland mac Lonain dixit:

  1. Desid Cormac im cel coir
    conid fris format ant sluaig,
    70 tabrad Dia airi noeb nár
    in craeb do Traig Baili buain.
  2. Forbuir bili buidnip reb,
    rolaa a delb truimib tor,
    diarcelgad rocelgaid fir
    amlaid sin rocelgaid cor.

75 Cormac dixit{}

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Title statement

Title (uniform): Scél Baili Binnbérlaig

Author: unknown

Editor: Kuno Meyer

Responsibility statement

Electronic edition compiled by: Beatrix Färber and Ruth Murphy

Proof corrections by: Ruth Murphy and Hilary Lavelle

Funded by: The HEA via the LDT Project and PRTLI 4

Edition statement

1. First draft, revised and corrected.

Extent: 2250 words

Publication statement

Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland

Date: 2009

Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

CELT document ID: G301042

Availability: Available with prior consent of the CELT project for purposes of academic research and teaching only.

Source description

Manuscript source

  • London, British Library, MS Harl. 5280, fo. 48a-b;.

The edition used in the digital edition

‘Scél Baili Binnbérlaig’ (1892). In: Revue Celtique‍ 13. Ed. by Kuno Meyer, pp. 220–223.

You can add this reference to your bibliographic database by copying or downloading the following:

  editor 	 = {Kuno Meyer},
  title 	 = {Scél Baili Binnbérlaig},
  journal 	 = {Revue Celtique},
  number 	 = {13},
  address 	 = {Paris},
  publisher 	 = {Émile Bouillon},
  date 	 = {1892},
  pages 	 = {220–223}


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Project description: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

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The electronic text covers pages 220–223. The English translation is available in a separate file.

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Creation: By an unknown Irish scribe 1000-1100?

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  • The text is in Middle Irish. (ga)
  • Some words are in Latin. (la)
  • Introduction and some words in the notes are in English. (en)

Keywords: saga; prose; medieval; Kings Cycle

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(Most recent first)

  1. 2009-05-25: File proofed (3); introduction and content of footnotes added; some more markup applied. Header created; file parsed; SGML and HTML files created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2008-08-26: Text proof-read (2); structural and content markup added. (ed. Ruth Murphy)
  3. 2006-08: Text proof-read (1). (ed. Hilary Lavelle)
  4. 2006: Text scanned and basic XML markup applied. (text capture Data capture company)

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