CELT document T100044A

The three drinking-horns of Cormac úa Cuinn

Unknown author

[From the Liber Flavus Fergusiorum] English translation

Whole text


The three drinking horns of Cormac úa Cuinn' (From the Liber Flavus Fergusiorum)

Once on a time Aed Oridnide, son of Niall Frosach, son of Feargal, son of Maelduin, came to establish order in the province of Connacht. He crossed Eas Ruaid, and his table-servants and his drinking-horns were lost therein. Aed came to Corca Tri, and rested at the house of the king of Corca Tri. Fifty of the kings of Erin accompanied Aed.

Aed ate a meal on Sunday night along with the kings: but though he ate he drank not a draught, for he had no drinking-horn, because his horns and his quaighs were lost at Ath Enaig, above Eas Ruaid, as the army was crossing. His way was, that he drank never a draught from any other vessel, since he was weaned from his mother, save only from a horn. A grief it was for the king of Corca Tri and his consort that all should be drinking, and the king of Erin refusing to drink. Angal raised his hands to God, and persisted (?) in taking neither sleep nor food till morning. And on the morrow his wife said to him: “Go,” said she, “to Guaire mac Colmain at Durlas (for that was the home of hospitality and generosity from the time of Dathi onward) to see if you would get a horn there through his hospitable bounty.” Angal, king of Corca Tri, stepped out through the door of the rath, and his right foot stumbled, so that a stone fell from its place in the fort; and it was the stone that covered the mouth of the flue wherein were the three horns that were the best in all Ireland; namely, the Twisted Horn, and the Litan, and the Eel. These were the cups that were brought by Cormac ua Cuinn over the sea; and Nia mac Lugna Firtri, the second foster-brother of Cormac ua Cuinn, had hidden them after Cormac was slain; and Cairbre Lifechair came over the sea, and though he found the other horns, these horns were not found till the time of the  p.188 saints and of Aed Oridnide mac Neill. For a veil was spread over them by God, till He discovered them to the king of Corca Tri, by reason of his hospitable bounty.

Angal offered thanks to God, and bore off the horns, full of mead all three. He put them in the hands of Aed Oirdnide, king of Erin, who gave thanks to God, and put the Litan in the hands of the king of Ulster, the Eel-Horn in the hands of the king of Connacht, and reserved to himself the Twisted Horn.

Afterwards it descended to Maelsechlainn mac Domhnaill; and he offered it to God and to Ciaran, jointly, till the Day of Judgement.


Document details

The TEI Header

File description

Title statement

Title (uniform): The three drinking-horns of Cormac úa Cuinn

Title (supplementary): [From the Liber Flavus Fergusiorum]

Title (supplementary): English translation

Responsibility statement

translated by: E. J. Gwynn and Benjamin Hazard

Electronic edition compiled by: and Benjamin Hazard

Funded by: University College, Cork and The Higher Education Authority via the LDT Project

Edition statement

2. Second draft, revised and corrected.

Extent: 1414 words

Publication statement

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

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland—http://www.ucc.ie/celt

Date: 2004

Date: 2008

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

CELT document ID: T100044A

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

Source description

Manuscript Sources

  1. Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, 23 O 48 (Liber Flavus Fergusiorum). Vellum; ca. 1435–40; for details see Kathleen Mulchrone, T. F. O'Rahilly et al. (eds.), Catalogue of Irish Manuscripts in the Royal Irish Academy (Dublin 1926–43), MS 476, pp. 1254–73.
  2. Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, 23 N 10, 56–56i; for details see Richard Irvine Best (ed.), Ms. 23 N 10 (formerly Betham 145) in the Library of the Royal Irish Academy: with descriptive introduction (Dublin, 1954), xiv; see also Kathleen Mulchrone, T. F. O'Rahilly et al. (eds.), Catalogue of Irish Manuscripts in the Royal Irish Academy (Dublin 1926–43), MS 967, pp. 2769–80.

Editions and translations

  1. E. J. Gwynn (ed. and trans.), 'The three drinking horns of Cormac úa Cuinn' from the Liber Flavus Fergusiorum, Ériu 2 (1905) 186–88.
  2. Kuno Meyer (ed.), Abenteuer Königs Aed Oirdnide, Mitteilungen aus irischen Handschriften, Zeitschrift für Celtische Philologie 8 (1912) 102–3. (Available on CELT as file G100044.)

The edition used in the digital edition

‘The three drinking horns of Cormac úa Cuinn [From the Liber Flavus Fergusiorum]’ (1905). In: Ériu‍ 2. Ed. by E. J. Gwynn, pp. 186–88.

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

  editor 	 = {E. J. Gwynn},
  title 	 = {The three drinking horns of Cormac úa Cuinn [From the Liber Flavus Fergusiorum]},
  journal 	 = {Ériu},
  number 	 = {2},
  address 	 = {Dublin},
  publisher 	 = {Royal Irish Academy},
  date 	 = {1905},
  pages 	 = {186–88}


Encoding description

Project description: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Editorial declarations

Correction: Text has been checked and proof-read twice.

Normalization: The electronic text represents the edited text. Editorial notes are tagged note type="auth" n="". Text in Irish (other than proper names) and Latin is indicated.

Quotation: Direct speech is tagged q.

Hyphenation: Soft hyphens are silently removed. When a hyphenated word (hard or soft) crosses a page-break, this break is marked after completion of the hyphenated word.

Segmentation: div0=the tale. Page-breaks are marked pb n="".

Interpretation: Names are not tagged, nor are terms for cultural and social roles. Titles of books and journals are tagged.

Profile description

Creation: Translation by E. J. Gwynn; for Irish text see file G100044A. 1904–1905

Language usage

  • The text is in English. (en)
  • Some words are in Irish. (ga)
  • One word is in Latin. (la)

Keywords: histor; prose; medieval; translation

Revision description

(Most recent first)

  1. 2008-10-19: Title elements streamlined, keywords added, file validated; new wordcount made. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2008-07-18: Value of div0 "type" attribute modified, 'creation' tags inserted, content of 'langUsage' revised. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 2005-08-25: Normalised language codes and edited langUsage for XML conversion (ed. Julianne Nyhan)
  4. 2005-08-04T16:35:54+0100: Converted to XML (conversion Peter Flynn)
  5. 2004-04-02: Header modified, file proofed (2); more markup applied; file re-parsed; HTML file created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  6. 2004-03-31: Additions to bibliography and minor changes to header; file parsed. (ed. Benjamin Hazard)
  7. 2004-03-26: Header inserted from companion file and modified; file proofed (1). (ed. Benjamin Hazard)
  8. 2004-03-26: Text captured by scanning. (data capture Benjamin Hazard)


Corca Tri is a tribal name, applied to a territory which included the present baronies of Gallen, in Mayo, and Leyny and Corran, in Sligo (Four Masters, a 885: Martyrology of Oengus, Index). Corran is the Irish Corann (Rev. Celt., xv. 477). Our text says that Cormac's horns were hidden by Niamh mac Lugna ⁊ trit an dara comalta do Chormac. This is evidently corrupt. Cormac's foster-brothers were the sons of Lugna Firtri, king of Corann, who sheltered Cormac's mother Etan (Silva Gadelica, II. 286). I therefore emend the text by substituting 'Firtri' for the meaningless ⁊ trit. “Nia mor mac Lugna Firtri” is mentioned in the Book of Ballymote as "the son of Cormac's mother": see Irische Texte, III. 185, where “Lugdech” should be “Lugna”. It appears, then, that Etan was taken to wife by Lugna, and bore him this son. The two foster-brothers mentioned in Silva Gadelica, II. 288, Ochomon and Nathnach, may have been Lugna's sons by another wife. As Corann is part of the territory of the Corca Firtri, it may be assumed that Lugna Firtri, king of Corann, belonged to that tribe: probably he was their king, and ancestor of the Angal who comes into our story. The Genealogy of the Gailenga of Corann is given in the Book of Lecan, 427. col. 3. Lugna Firtri is there called Lugna Fertri, and is said to have been grandson of Fiachu Suide, and descended from Morann mac Lir. The explanation of his cognomen given in the Coir Anmann (Ir. Texte, III. 382) is evidently fanciful.

E. J. Gwynn

Index to all documents

CELT Project Contacts



For details of the markup, see the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI)

page of the print edition

folio of the manuscript

numbered division

 999 line number of the print edition (in grey: interpolated)

underlining: text supplied, added, or expanded editorially

italics: foreign words; corrections (hover to view); document titles

bold: lemmata (hover for readings)

wavy underlining: scribal additions in another hand; hand shifts flagged with (hover to view)

TEI markup for which a representation has not yet been decided is shown in red: comments and suggestions are welcome.

Other languages

G100044A: The three drinking-horns of Cormac úa Cuinn (in Irish)

Source document


Search CELT


    2 Carrigside, College Road, Cork