CELT document T303019

The Enumeration of Finn's People

Unknown author

Áirem Muintire Finn

Edited by Standish Hayes O'Grady

Whole text


The Enumeration of Finn's People

[1] This is the enumeration [and description] of Finn's people: their strength was seven score and ten officers, each man of these having thrice nine warriors, every one bound (as was the way with Cuchullin in the time when he was there) to certain conditions of service, which were: that in satisfaction of their guarantee violated they must not accept material compensation; in the matter of valuables or of meat must not deny any; no single individual of them to fly before nine warriors.

[2] Of such not a man was taken into the Fianna; nor admitted whether to the great Gathering of Usnach, to the Convention of Taillte, or to Tara's Feast; until both his paternal and his maternal correlatives, his tuatha and kindreds, had given securities for them to the effect that, though at the present instant they were slain, yet should no claim be urged in lieu of them: and this in order that to none other but to themselves alone they  p.100 should look to avenge them. On the other hand: in case it were they that inflicted great mischiefs upon others, reprisals not to be made upon their several people.

[3] Of all these again not a man was taken until he were a prime poet versed in the twelve books of poesy. No man was taken till in the ground a large hole had been made (such as to reach the fold of his belt) and he put into it with his shield and a forearm's length of a hazel stick. Then must nine warriors, having nine spears, with a ten furrows' width betwixt them and him, assail him and in concert let fly at him. If past that guard of his he were hurt then, he was not received into Fianship.

[4] Not a man of them was taken till his hair had been interwoven into braids on him and he started at a run through Ireland's woods; while they, seeking to wound him, followed in his wake, there having been between him and them but one forest bough by way of interval at first. Should he be overtaken, he was wounded and not received into the Fianna after. If his weapons had quivered in his hand, he was not taken. Should a branch in the wood have disturbed anything of his hair out of its braiding, neither was he taken. If he had cracked a dry stick under his foot [as he ran] he was not accepted. Unless that [at his full speed] he had both jumped a stick level with his brow, and stooped to pass under one even with his knee, he was not taken. Also, unless without slackening his pace he could with his nail extract a thorn from his foot, he was not taken into Fianship: but if he performed all this he was of Finn's people.

[5] A good man verily was he that had those Fianna, for he was the seventh king ruling Ireland: that is to say there were five kings of the provinces, and the king of Ireland; he being himself the seventh, conjointly with the king of all Ireland.

[6] Finn's two poll-wards were Noenalach, and Raer grandson of Garb; the two stewards of his hounds: Crimthann and Connla Cas; his dispenser: Cathluan son of Crimthann; his master of the banquet: Corc son of Suan; his three cupbearers: Dermot grandson of Duibhne, and Faillin, and Colla son of Caeilte; the two overseers of his hearth: Caeilte and Glanna; his two makers of the bed: Admoll and mac Neri; his twelve musicians: Fergus True-mouth, Fianu, Bran, two Reidhes, Nuada, and Aithirne Aghmar, and {} Flann and Aedh, Cobthach of  p.101 the high strains, and Cethern; his physician: Lerthuile; his two keepers of the vessels: Braen and Cellach Mael; his barber: Scannal his comber: Daelgus; his charioteer: Rinnchu; his two masters of the horse: Aena and Becan; his strong man: Urchraide grandson of Bregaide; his six door-keepers: Cuchaire and Bresal Borr, Fianchad and Mac-dá-fer, Imchad and Aithech son of Aithech-bal; his carpenter: Donngus; his smith: Collan; his worker in metal: Congaran; his horn-players: Culaing and Cuchuailgne; his two soothsayers: Dirinn and Mac-reith; his carver: Cuinnscleo; his candle-holder: Cudam; his two spear-bearers: {} and Uadgarb; his shield-bearer: Railbhe, and so on.


Document details

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Title statement

Title (uniform): The Enumeration of Finn's People

Title (original, Irish): Áirem Muintire Finn

Editor: Standish Hayes O'Grady

Responsibility statement

Translated into English by: Standish Hayes O'Grady

Electronic edition compiled and proof corrections by: Beatrix Färber

Funded by: UCC, School of History

Edition statement

1. First draft, revised and corrected.

Extent: 1210 words

Publication statement

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

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland

Date: 2016

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

CELT document ID: T303019

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

Source description

Manuscript sources for the Irish original

  1. London, British Library, MS Egerton 1782 (1517), f. 25rb–25vb.
  2. London, British Library, MS Harleian 5280 (16th century) f. 49r.
  3. Chatsworth (Derbyshire), Book of Lismore [15th century] f. 193va–193vb

Editions and translations

  • See below.


  1. Kuno Meyer, 'Introduction', in: id., Fianaigecht: being a collection of hitherto inedited Irish poems and tales relating to Finn and his Fiana, Todd Lecture Series 16, London: Hodges, Figgis, 1910. v–xxxi.
  2. Joseph Falaky Nágy, "Fenian Heroes and Their Rites of Passage," Béaloideas 54/55 (1986/1987) 161–182.

The edition used in the digital edition

‘Áirem Muintire Finn’ (1892). In: Silva Gadelica‍. Ed. by Standish Hayes O’Grady. Vol. II. London: Williams and Norgate, pp. 99–101.

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

  editor 	 = {Standish Hayes O'Grady},
  title 	 = {Áirem Muintire Finn},
  booktitle 	 = {Silva Gadelica},
  volume 	 = {II},
  address 	 = {London},
  publisher 	 = {Williams and Norgate},
  date 	 = {1892},
  pages 	 = {99–101}


Encoding description

Project description: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Sampling declarations

The electronic text covers pages 99–101. The Irish original is available in a separate file, G303019.

Editorial declarations

Correction: Text has been proof-read twice.

Normalization: The electronic text represents the edited text. The editor's conjections are integrated. There are no expansions marked in the printed text.

Quotation: There is no direct speech.

Hyphenation: When a hyphenated word (hard or soft) crosses a page-break, the page-break is marked after the completion of the hyphenated word (and punctuation).

Segmentation: div0=the tale; page-breaks are marked pb n=""/. Paragraphs are numbered.

Interpretation: Names are not tagged.

Profile description

Creation: By Standish Hayes O'Grady

Date: 1892

Language usage

  • The text is in Middle Irish. (ga)
  • The translated title is in English. (en)
  • One word is in Latin. (la)

Keywords: saga; prose; medieval; Finn mac Cumhaill; Fianna; Finn Cycle; translation

Revision description

(Most recent first)

  1. 2016-02-25: SGML and HTML files created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2016-02-01: File captured, proofread (1,2); encoded; header created; file parsed and validated. (ed. Beatrix Färber)

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G303019: Áirem Muintire Finn (in Irish)

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