CELT document T303030

The Voyage of the Hui Corra


Iomramh churraig Hua gCorra

Edited by Whitley Stokes


Here is the voyage of the Hui-Corra's boat


A princely landholder, hundreded, combative, was born, once upon a time, in the dear and beautiful province of Connaught, to wit, Conall the Red, descendant of Corra the Fair. Thus was that landholder: a man happy, wealthy, exceeding prosperous; and never had his house been found without Three Cries therein, to wit, the cry of the strainers a-straining ale, and the cry of the vassals over the cauldrons a-forking out (joints) to the hosts, and the cry of the warriors at the chess-boards a-winning games from each other. Never, too, was his house found without the Three Sacks, to wit, a sack of malt for preparing yeast, a sack of wheat for preparing the refection of the guests, and a sack of salt to make every food taste well.


This was his wife: Caerderg, daughter of the erenagh 1 of Clogher 2. No want, in sooth, had they, save that they had no fitting children; and not (altogether) childless were they; but their children would not stay with them, and died immediately after their birth.


So one night, in his bed, the landholder said to his wife: “It is sad for us, ” said he, “not to have a son to be a fitting successor in our place after us.”


“What wouldst thou fain do therefore?” says the wife. “This is what I would fain do”, quoth the landholder,  p.28 “make communion with the Devil 3, if perchance he would give us a son or a daughter as successor, who would take our place after us.”


Then they fasted against the Devil, and the lady forthwith became with child, and she was nurturing her pregnancy till the end of her nine months. Thereafter came unto the lady great efforts and mighty birth-pangs, and she bore three sons in that great bringing-forth, to wit, a son at the beginning of the night, and a son at midnight, and a son at the end of the night. And they were baptized according to the heathen baptism 4, and these were their names, even Lochan, and Enne and Silvester 5.


Thereafter they were nourished and carefully tended until they were swift and strong on sea and on land, so that they out-went their coevals in every play and in every fair discipline; and full lips and constant tongue had every one who used to hear them or see them at that time.


One day, when they were leaning on the side-rail of the bed in their father and mother's house, wearied with charging and hurling, the people of the house said that they had found neither fault nor blemish on those smooth-delightful greatly famous sons, save only their baptism into the Devil's possession. “If,” say the sons, “it is the Devil who is our king or lord, it is hard for us not to rob and plunder and persecute his enemies that is to kill clerics and to burn and wreck churches.”


Then those sons arose, and they took their weapons and went to Tuam. And they wrecked and burnt the place, and committed robbery and outrageous brigandage throughout the province of Connaught upon churches and clerics, so that the evil and horror of their robbery was heard of throughout  p.31 the four quarters of Ireland altogether. Till the end of a year they dealt in that wise, so that during that time they destroyed one more than half of the churches of Connaught.


At the end of a year Lochan said to his brothers: “We have been very forgetful, ” says he, “and our lord the Devil will not be thankful to us concerning it.”

“What is this?” says the other sons.

“Our grandfather”, says he, “even our mother's father; we have not killed him and burnt his church upon him.”


They go to his country on the spot, without truce, without sparing.


The erenagh was there before them on the green of the church, with a great assembly of his community around him, to serve them and attend them with the choice of every food and the power of every liquor; and the secret intention of the cleric towards them was not that which they had towards him, but to kill him and to burn and wreck his church.


Then came the Hui Corra to the place wherein the cleric dwelt, and they determined not to kill the cleric, nor to burn the stead, until the night should come, and the kine and cattle of the stead should come to their byres and their proper places. The cleric comes with them to the stead, and he perceived that they had this secret intention, and he put them into the fair-sided, shining silver, and food and ale were taken to them, so that they became exhilarated and mirthful. Afterwards, couches and lofty beds were spread for them.


Then a deep slumber and sleep fell upon Lochan, and a marvellous vision has shewn to him, to wit, he was taken to see Heaven and Hell. And then he awoke. The other two also awoke and said:“Let us go”, say they, “to wreck and destroy the stead.”


“Meseems”, quoth Lochan, “that is not that is meetest  p.33 for us to do. For evil is the lord whom we have served, and good is the lord on whom we have hitherto wrought robbery and brigandage. And I beheld a vision hideous and awful, to wit, that I was borne away to see Heaven and (also) Hell, a place wherein were abundance of punishments on throngs of human souls and on devils. So I saw the four rivers of Hell, even a river of toads and a river of serpents, a river of fire and a river of snow. I beheld the Monster of Hell with abundance of heads and feet upon it 6, and (all) the men of the world would die of seeing it. Thereafter I perceived that I was borne away to gaze at Heaven, and I beheld the Lord Himself on His throne, a birdflock of angels making music to Him. Then I saw a bright bird, and sweeter was his singing than every melody. Now this was Michael in the form of a bird 7 in the presence of the Creator. This is my counsel to you”, says Lochan, “to quit your weapons and in future to follow GOD.”

“What is that?” says Enne. “Will the Lord accept from us repentance for the great evils we have wrought?”


They go to their mother's father, and ask that question of him.


“God would accept it, without doubt”, quoth he.


“If so”, saith Lochan, “let mass be said to us out side in his stead. and let us make stacks of our spearshafts, and let us go to Findén 8 the fosterfather of Ireland.”


Thus was it done by them. They fare forward on the morrow to Clonard, to the place where Findén was biding.


There as he then, on the green of the stead.


“Whom have we here?” say the clerics who were along with the saint.



“These are the Húi Chorra, the marauders”, says one of them.


All who were along with Findén fled and left him alone. It seemed to them that the Húi Chorra had come to kill them.


“The clerics are fleeing before us”, saith Lochan.


“That is so, surely”, say his brothers. “Let us cast from us our states, the remains that we have of our weapons, and let us make genuflexion to the cleric.” Thus they did.


“What is your desire?” says the elder.

“We are fain”, say they, “to believe and be pious and to serve God, and to quit the lord with whom we have been hitherto, even the Devil. ”

“Good is that counsel”, says the cleric. “Come over with me”, says he, “into the stead, to the place where stands the assembly.”


They go with him into the stead. Then the assembly made a resolve, to wit, that a son of the Church 9 should be instructing them, that they should speak to none save their tutor, and that their instruction should continue till the end of a year. A year were they on that wise, so that they read the canonical scriptures. When they finished that, the assembly is thankful for their piety and their good manners.


At the end of a year they come to Findén, and prostrated themselves before him, and said: “It is time to pass judgement upon us for the great evils we have a wrought.”


“What is that?” says Findén: “is it not enough for you to be in this assembly even as ye are?”

“It is not enough”, say they.

“What are the greatest evils ye have wrought?” says the cleric.

“We have burnt one more than half of the churches of Connaught 10, and neither bishop nor priest got abatement of quarter at our hands.”


“Ye will not succeed 11”, says Finnén, “in putting souls into the men ye have murdered; but there is one thing ye could do, to wit, building houses in place of the churches ye have burnt, and restoring everything else ye have destroyed in those churches. And I”, says he, “will put the vigour and strength of a hundred into each man of you, and I will banish from you weariness of feet and hands and small of back, and I will give you growth and profit which will never fail.”


Well then, they went forward thence to Tuam, and began to work and slave there till they completed the renewal and restoration of every thing which they had destroyed in the place. By the end of the year they had been at every church throughout Connaught, restoring everything which they had previously destroyed; and then they came to speak with Findén.


“Have ye finished”, asked Findén, “restoring every church which ye destroyed?”

“We have finished”, say they, “save only one stead, even Kinvara 12.”

“Sad in sooth!” quoth Findén, “that is the first stead which we ought to restore, to wit, the stead of that holy erenagh Old Cammán of Kinvara. And now depart and restore that stead well; and every judgement which that holy old man shall pass upon you, execute it patiently.”


Thereafter they go to Kinvara, and restored everything that they had destroyed therein.


One day, when they came forth over the edge of the haven, they were contemplating the sun as he went past them westwards, and they marvelled much concerning his course. “And in what direction goes the sun”, say they, “when he goes under the sea? And what more wondrous thing”, say  p.39 they, “than the sea without ice, and ice on every other water?”


This is the resolve they formed: to bring to them certain wright who was a friend of theirs and who was in that country, and (to get him) to build for them a three-skinned boat 13. The boat was built, so that it was ready, strong and staunch. This is the price which the wright asked for building it, that he himself should be allowed (to go) with them in the boat 14.


Now when it was time for them to embark they beheld a troop passing them, and this was the troop, a party of jesters. The jesters saw the boat being launched on the sea. “Who are the people launching this boat on the sea?” say they. Said the buffoon of the party: “I recognise them”, quoth he. “Three sons of Conall the Red descendant of Corra the Fair, of Connaught, the robbers and the brigands, going on their pilgrimage and to seek the Lord on the sea and on the mighty main. Howbeit”, quoth he, “by my word, they do not need more than I to go and seek for heaven.”


“By my word”, quoth the leader of the party, “it is long till thou shalt go on thy pilgrimage.”

“Say not so; it shall be done”, quoth the buffoon: “but I will go with them here on my pilgrimage, now without delay.”

“We had (thy) word”, say the jesters, “that thou wouldst not take our dresses with thee, for nought of the raiment upon you is thine own.”

“It is not that which will keep me with you”, quoth he. So everything was stripped off him, and they let him go from them to the boat, fierce, stark-naked.


“What thing art thou, O man?” say the crew.


“A wretched man going with you on his pilgrimage”, says he. “Thou shalt not come”, say they, “and thou fierce, stark-naked.”

“Say not that, O warriors”, quoth he, “for God's sake. Refuse me not, and I will make for you merriment of mind and nature, and your act of devotion will not be the less.”


They agreed to let him (go) with them for God's sake.


Thus were they then, after building a church and an altar to the LORD on their own heritage.


“Let us now go on board our boat”, says Lochan, “since we have finished restoring the churches we destroyed, and since we have built a church to the LORD on our own heritage.”


Nine, now, this was their number 15, and among them was a bishop, and a priest, and a deacon. One gillie they had, he was the ninth man.


Then they made fervent prayer to God in order that they might find fair weather, and that the Lord would restrain the storm of the waves and the roaring of the sea 16, and the many awful monsters.


Then they went on board their boat and began to row, and they were thinking whither they should go. “Whithersoever the wind shall take us”, says the bishop. Thereafter they shipped their oars and offered themselves to God 17.


Well then, a mighty wind drove them due westward into the ocean of the great sea. And they were forty days and forty nights on the ocean, and many various marvels were shewn to them by God.


First there was shewn to them an island full of men agrieving and lamenting. One of the crew 18 went to ask tidings of the island-folk, to know what they were about. He begins to wail and lament like every one.



They leave him there and rowed forth into the sea.


Thereafter the jester died on board and they were sad and sorry thereat. As they were there they saw the little bird on the gunwale of the boat, and then the bird said: “For God's sake, O men, tell me the cause of your sadness.”

“We had a little jester delighting us, and he died a short time ago in the boat, and that is the cause of our sadness.”

“I am your jester”, says the bird “and be not mournful any more, for I shall now go to heaven.”

Thereafter he bids them farewell.


Thereafter they row on for a long while, till another wonderful island was shewn to them, with a beautiful bright grove of fragrant appletrees therein. A very beautiful river (flowed) through the midst of the grove. Now when the wind would move the treetops of the grove sweeter was their song than any music. The Húi Corra ate somewhat of the apples 19 and drank somewhat of the river of wine, so that they were straightway satisfied, and perceived not wound or disease in them.


Thereafter they began to row for a long time, and a certain island was shewn to them with four sets of various men therein. They divided the island into four, to wit, a folk sedate, fair-grey in (the first) place in it. royal lords in the second place: champions in the third place: servants in the fourth place 20. Beautiful and bright were they all. Play without resting had they. A certain one of the crew 21 went to ask tidings of them. Black was he and hideous beside the bright folk to whom he came. He began at once to play and laugh, so that he was as gay and bright as they themselves, and he remained with them in the island, and thereat the Húi Corra were mournful. Then they sail on 22.



Thereafter then was shewn to then another island with one pedestal under it, supporting the island high over the great sea, and they heard above them a great cry converse of the man upon it, and they attained not to see them.


Then they leave that island and began sea-voyaging. Thereafter that a marvellous river in the form of a rainbow 23, which rises up into the firmament; and not a drop falls from it until it would fall at the same time again into the sea. And harsh as the noise and the sound thereof, and it appeared not from noon on Saturday till terce on Tuesday, and during that season it had the taste of honey.


Thereafter there was shewn to them on the second day a marvellous thing on the sea, a thing more wondrous than aught else, namely, a great pillar, silvern and four-cornered, in the midst of the sea, and a fishing-net drawn from its summit into the deep. Of silver, moreover, and a white bronze was that net. Lochan put by a mesh of that net, wherein were three half-ounces of silver and of white bronze. For a token of this tale he put the mesh aside, and Mael duin beheld the same thing 24.


Then they sail on until thereafter there appeared to them another island with one son of the Church 25 therein. Fair indeed was that island, and wondrous the description thereof. Red flowers the size of tables therein, And they a-dropping and pouring, honey. Beautiful bright bird-flocks therein, and they a-singing plaintive melodious music. The Húi Corra were asking tidings of that cleric. “Daga 26, a disciple of Andrew the Apostle, am I”, quoth he; “and one night I forgot my nocturn, wherefore I was sent in pilgrimage into the ocean; and here I am awaiting Doomsday; and the birds that ye see are the souls of holy human beings.”



Then they bid him leave, and they rowed thence till they reached another island. Dead men in one part of it: living men in another part. They uttered great yells and awful howls whenever the enormous rollers of red flame of the fiery sea came over them. Great and vast was the plain wherein they were, and of them was a band with feet of iron under them. Thereafter the pilgrims rowed thence till they saw the heavy, fiery flagstones, and thereon a huge host burning, with red fiery spits through them. They were uttering great grievous yells. The pilgrims were asking them what were the flagstones. “This is a flagstone of the flagstones of Hell”, say they “and we are souls that fulfilled not in the earthly life our judgement of repentance. And tell everyone to save himself from this flagstone, for whosoever cometh here departeth not till Doomsday.”


After that there appeared to them another island, wonderful, shining, with a brazen palisade around it, and a brazen net spread on its spikes outside. They leave their boat on the sea-strand and went towards the fortress which was in the island; and when they heard the music of the wind against the net, they cast themselves into sleep till the end of three days and three nights. Thereafter they awake from their sleep, and a certain woman went to them out of the garth. She bids them welcome. Two blunt shoes of white bronze she wore 27, and a pitcher of brass was in one of her hands: a drinking-cup of silver in the other hand. She distributes to them food which seemed to them like soft cheeses. She dealt out to them the water of the well that was in the strand and there was no savour that they did not find therein. And the woman quoth to them: “Get you gone”, quoth she, “for though your kindred is the same as ours, not here is your resurrection.”



Then they bid the woman farewell, and they row the boat on the sea, till there appeared to them great, many-coloured birdflocks, and vast was the number thereof. One of the birds alighted on the gunwale of the boat.


“It would be delightful”, say the crew, “if this were a messenger from the Lord to bring us tidings!” With that the elder (brother) raises up his face. “God is able (to do) that”, quoth he.

“It is to hold speech with you assuredly I have come”, saith the bird.

Vivid was the colour of that bird, to wit, in its breast were three beautiful bright rays, with a sun's radiance.

“Of the land of Erin am I”, quoth the bird, “and I am the soul of a woman, and I am monkess unto thee”, she saith to the elder.

“Tell me of this”, saith he, “are we going to hell?”

“Ye will not go”, saith the bird.

“We render thanks to God”, saith the elder, “for we ourselves have deserved to go into hell in our bodies.”

“Come ye to another place”, saith the bird, “to hearken to yon birds. The birds that ye see are the souls 28 that come on Sunday out of hell.”

“Let us fare hence”, saith the elder “We will go the way that thou wilt go”, say his fellows.


As they were wending their way, they see three wondrous rivers whereout the birds would come over them, to wit, a river of otters 29 and a river of eels, and a river of black swans. And the bird quoth: “Let not the shapes which ye see make you sad. For the birds which you behold are the souls of man enduring punishment for the sins they have committed, and there are devils in yon shapes behind them pursuing them,  p.51 and the souls utter heavy and great cries as they flee from their punishment by the devils. Lo, I am leaving you,” saith the bird; “and much knowledge of your goings hath not been vouchsafed to me, and someone else will relate them to you. 30


“Declare to (us)”, saith the elder to the bird, “what are those three most beautiful rays in thy breasts?”

“I will tell you”, saith the bird, “There was a man in the world whose wife I was, and I did not his will, and I clave not to lawful wedlock. He was sick and I was not with him. And I went three times to visit him, to wit, once to see him, another time with food for him, and the third time to attend him and to watch him. So that those (three times) are the three very beautiful rays in my breast; and all my colour would have been (like) that had not I severed from lawful wedlock.”


Thereafter the bird went from them and bids them farewell.


Another beautiful bright island was shewn to them. Shining grass was therein, with variety of purple-headed flowers. Abundance of birds and ever-lovely bees singing music to the heads of those flowers. A very aged grey-haired old man playing a harp in the isle. He was chanting a wonderful melody that was the sweetest of the melodies of the world. Each of them saluted the other, and the old man told them to fare forth.


So they voyage thence for a long time, till they saw a solitary man rowing, with a fiery spade in his hand. Then a huge red roller would come over him, and it aflaming. So when he emerged he was screaming and yelling miserably, suffering that punishment. “What art thou, O man?” say they.

“I am one who used to row on Sunday”, he quoth; “And this is my punishment therefor; and for the sake of God  p.53 make prayer with me that my punishment be lightened!” So they prayed with him, and then they fared away.


Then there was shewn to them a miller big, surly (?), rough, jet-black, tanned, hideous. Nothing under his fork was manifest to them, and they saw nothing over it. It seemed to them that, in the present world, there were no jewels or treasures or kine which he had not, casting them into the mouth of the mill 31.

“Why art thou doing that, O man?” say they.

“I will tell you”, quoth he. “Everything as to which niggardliness is shewn in the world, that is what I put into the mouth of this mill, and I am the Miller of Hell.”

Then they fare forth.


Thereafter was shown to them a huge horseman on the sea. At one time a wave would overwhelm him, and at another time he was screaming.

“What causes that, O man?” say they.

“I will tell you,” quoth he. “I stole a horse from a brother of mine, and I rode it on a Sunday, and I am being punished therefor, with a horse of fire between my legs 32 continually; and that is the punishment of everyone who rides on a Sunday 33.”

They go thence afterwards.


There was shewn to them an island full of men, and they a-wailing and shrieking and making great moan. Jet black birds with beaks of fire and real, fiery talons a-mangling them and burning them, and taking the full of their beaks and talons out of them.

“What be ye, O men?” say the pilgrims.

“Dishonest braziers and smiths are we”, they reply;  p.55 “and our tongues are blazing in our heads as a penalty for every one's shame by reason of our handiwork.”


Thereafter was shewn to them a huge giant, black, fuliginous, vast; and as big as a wether's fleece was every lake of fire that came out of his gullet. In his hand an iron staff, which was as large as a mill-shaft. A bundle of firewood on his back, the load of a team of six (oxen) therein. Every now and then the bundle would blaze. He would fling himself under the sea to escape (the flame). But it was an increase of punishment which he would get from the sea-wave of fire rising over him. Then he would scream, enduring the agony that would come upon him.

“What art thou, O wretched man?” say they.

“I will tell you”, saith he. “On every Sunday I used to carry on my back a bundle of firewood 34, and this is the retribution that is inflicted upon me.”


Thereafter there appeared to them a fiery sea, and men's heads in abundance therein, and each of the heads was dashing against another 35. “That which we see is an abode of death” says one of his brothers 36 to the elder.

The worms (that lived in the sea) pierced through one of the two lower hides of the boat  37.

“Let not that trouble you”, saith the elder. “GOD is able to save us though we be in (only) the one hide; and even though yon (worms) desire to destroy us, they cannot go against His will.”


Thereafter there appeared to them another island, bright and beautiful. A smooth wood therein, and it full of honey. A heath, green-grassed and soft in its centre. A lake therein, sweet-tasted, shining. They remained a week is that  p.57 island, putting their weariness from them. Now as they were going away from it, a monster rose out of the lake, and it seemed to each of them that on him the monster would make an attack. So they trembled greatly before it, till afterwards it plunged down again in the same place.


From that island they went to sea and rowed for a long time till they found an island, with the community of Ailbe of Emly 38 therein. At midnight they arrived there. On the strand they found a spring, but it was turbid. They found another spring, and this was clear and bright. The gillie desires a drink from the spring. “It is better to get leave”, saith the elder, “if there is any one in the island.” Thereafter they saw a great light, and they come under that radiance till they beheld the twelve men making their prayer, and these had no light save the sunny countenance of each towards the other 39. One of them comes to the pilgrims, and bids them welcome, and asks tidings of them. They tell him their adventures, and entreated a drink out of the well. So he said to them: “Ye have permission”, quoth he, “to fill your vessels with the water that is the clearest of them, when your elder shall bid you (to do so).”


“Who are ye?” says the gillie.

“The community of Ailbe of Emly” quoth he, “and we are the crew of Ailbe's second boat 40; and we are alive here till Doomsday as God has permitted, singing requiems for every one who is dead on the sea. And get ye out of this land”, quoth he, “before the morning, for not here will be your resurrection. And unless ye depart(?) before morning it will be the worse for you, for it will be torment of mind and nature to you to sever from (this island) if ye see it in the day. So that it is better for you to go forth from it in the night.”

They fulfilled all things, even as he quoth to them.



“Shall we take with us some of the stones of the beach?” say they.

“It is better to get permission”, says the elder.

The gillie again gets permission.

“It is the better to get permission”, says the elder who was in the church. “Howbeit”, saith he, “they who shall take them will be mournful; and mournful, too, will be they who shall not take them.”

Some of them take one stone: some two stones: some three stones. When it was morning on the morrow they drank draughts of the water of the island, and it cast them into heavy sleep from one hour to another. On rising out of their sleep they all took their stones, whereof one was crystal, another was silver, another was gold. Mournful was he who took any of them with him, and mournful was he who took none, to wit, he who took somewhat was mournful because of the smallness of his taking: so thus the words of the old man were fulfilled.


Thereafter a wondrous island was shewn to them. A psalmsinging venerable old man, with fair, builded churches and beautiful bright altars. Beautiful green grass therein. A dew of honey on its grass. Little ever-lovely bees and fair, purple-headed birds chanting music therein, so that merely to listen to them was enough of delight.


Then they rowed onwards till they sighted another beautiful island. Therein was a church hidden, secluded. A solitary ecclesiastic, very aged, grey-haired, a-chanting his prayers therein. They struck the clapper in the doorway. A bright bird comes to commune with them, and they tell it their tidings. The bird tells that to the elder. “Open to them!” says the elder. The bird opened the door before them, and each saluted the other, and they sleep there that night. A messenger comes to them from heaven with his ration for each of them. On the morrow the elder told them to depart, for their resurrection was not destined to take place there; and he related to them their adventures from that time forth.



They came thence to an island wherein dwelt one of Christ's disciples. Marvellous, moreover, was the island. A cell and a church were therein. They chanted their paternoster to God before the church. quoth the elder who was in the church: “Welcome (is) the prayer of our tutor Jesus!” “What is that?” said the sage who was in the doorway: “in what place hast you seen Him?” “One of His disciples am I”, saith he, “and I failed Him, and fled from Him on the sea, till I chanced upon this island, and I ate some of the herbs of the island and also of its fruit, till an angel came to me from heaven and quoth to me: “Not rightly hast you done,” quoth he: “howbeit you shall bide in this life without death till doomsday.” So I stand in that wise till today, and through him there comes not to me a meal at every none 41.”


Thereafter they (all) went into one house and besought food from heaven for them. When they had prayed that a meal should be given to them (all) at the same time, the angel comes to them and leaves their meal on a flagstone before them on the strand, to wit, a cake for each man of them, and upon it a piece of fish wherein was every savour that each of them severally would desire 42.


Thereafter they bade farewell, and the old man related to them their (future) wanderings and the order of life And he said to them: “Ye shall go”, saith he, “from me over the sea to the Point of Spain 43, and a boat's crew 44 will meet you oh the sea a-fishing, and they will take you with the to land. And when thou”, he said to the bishop, “shalt go out of the boat on shore, make prostration thrice unto God, and around the sod whereon you shalt set thy face the host shall assemble on every side. They will establish a church and community there. And thy fame shall reach to Rome, and Peter's successor shall bring you eastwards to Rome, and thou shall leave yon priest in that place, and thou  p.63 shalt leave the deacon as a sacristan, and that place shall be upheld in use till Doomsday. You shall leave the gillie in Britain, and he shall remain there so long as he shall be alive.”


Then they bid farewell to the old man and leave the island, and all was fulfilled from beginning to end, even as he had told them. The bishop came from Rome as we said before, and the gillie told all those tales to him. Thereafter the gillie died 45, and those tales remained with the bishop. He related them to Soerbrethach bishop of his community, and he related them to Mo-Cholmóc 46 a son of Colman in Aran. Wherefore the bishop uttered these words:


  1. (We) the Húi-Chorra of Connaught
    Without fear against banks of billows,
    Over the gravel of the mightily-roaring sea
    For knowledge of the wonderful folk,
    In a boat (?) lasting, blessed,
    On a course satisfying, firm,
  2. We went on our pilgrimage
    At the blast of the whistling wind.
    To (obtain) forgiveness of our sins,
    There is the cause of asking.
  3. We have finished this act of devotion.
    I give thanks to the Mighty One,
    Though we have deserved malediction
    We have not destroyed our{}
  4. They bowed their heads,
    This clan, the Húi Corra.

So far the Voyage of the Húi Corra's Boat.

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Title (uniform): The Voyage of the Hui Corra

Title (original, Irish): Iomramh churraig Hua gCorra

Author: unknown

Editor: Whitley Stokes

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Translated by: Whitley Stokes

Text donated by: Jonathan Wooding

Electronic edition compiled by: Beatrix Färber and Miriam Trojer

Proof corrections by: Miriam Trojer

Funded by: The HEA via PRTLI 4 and The EU under the LEONARDO Lifelong Learning Programme

Edition statement

1. First draft, revised and corrected.

Extent: 7900 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: 2009

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

CELT document ID: T303030

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

Source description

Manuscript sources for the Irish text

  1. Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 20, 439, 187–189 (alias 23 M 30: see Catalogue of Irish Manuscripts in the Royal Irish Academy, fasc. 1).
  2. Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 1134, olim 23 E 29, alias Book of Fermoy 170a–177b.

Editions and translations

  1. Eugene O'Curry, Lectures on the Manuscript Materials of ancient Irish history. (Dublin 1861) [summary, p.289–293, plus short passages].
  2. Eugene O'Curry, Manners and Customs of the Ancient Irish. Vol. 1–3 (London 1873) [two short passages of it are translated in Vol. 3, p. 607].
  3. Patrick Weston Joyce, 'The Voyage of the Sons of O'Corra', in: Old Celtic Romances (1894, 2nd ed.).
  4. Heinrich Zimmer, Keltische Beiträge III, Zeitschrift für deutsches Alterthum 35 (1891) [abridged and not very accurate German translation].


  1. Marie Henri d'Arbois de Jubainville, Essai d'un catalogue de la littérature épique de l'Irlande, précédé d'une étude sur les manuscripts en langue irlandaise conservés dans les Iles Britanniques et sur le continent (Paris 1883, repr. 1969).
  2. Marcus Dods, An Account of some of the more Important Visions of the Unseen World, from the Earliest Times. Edinburgh : T. & T. Clark, 1903.
  3. Charles Stuart Boswell, An Irish Precursor of Dante. A study on the Vision of Heaven and Hell ascribed to the Eighth-century Irish Saint Adamnán, with translation of the Irish text (Grimm Library No. 18) (London 1908).
  4. St. John D. Seymour, 'The Eschatology of the Early Irish Church, Zeitschrift für Celtische Philologie 14 (1923) 179–211.
  5. James F. Kenney, The Sources for the Early History of Ireland, vol. 1. Ecclesiastical (New York 1929, 1966 repr., Dublin 1993 repr.).
  6. St. John D. Seymour, Irish Visions of the Other-World: A Contribution to the Study of Medieval Visions (London 1930).
  7. A. G. van Hamel (ed.), Immrama, Medieval and Modern Irish Series (Dublin 1941).
  8. Bernard McGinn, Apocalypticism in the middle ages: an historiographical sketch, Medieval Studies 13 (1975), Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, Toronto, 252-286. Reprinted in: Bernard McGinn, Apocalypticism in the Western Tradition (Brookfield, Vermont 1994).
  9. Bernard McGinn, Visions of the End: Apocalyptic Traditions in the Middle Ages (New York 1979).
  10. Proinsias Mac Cana, The Learned Tales of Medieval Ireland (Dublin 1980).
  11. Martin McNamara, 'Early medieval Irish eschatology'. In: Próinséas Ní Chatháin and Michael Richter (eds.) Irland und Europa im früheren Mittelalter: Bildung und Literatur (Stuttgart 1996) 42-75.
  12. Jonathan M. Wooding (ed.), The Otherworld voyage in early Irish literature (Dublin 2000).
  13. Benjamin Hudson, 'Time Is Short: The Eschatology of the Early Gaelic Church', in: Last Things: Death and the Apocalypse in the Middle Ages, ed. by Caroline Walker Bynum, Paul H. Freedman. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press 2000) 101-123.
  14. Martin McNamara, Apocalyptic and eschatological heritage: the Middle East and Celtic realms, Dublin 2003.
  15. More Voyage texts are available at Dr. Wooding's Celtic Christianity eLibrary at http://www.lamp.ac.uk/celtic/ccelibrary.htm.

The edition used in the digital edition

‘The Voyage of the Hui Corra’ (1893). In: Revue Celtique‍ 14. Ed. by Whitley Stokes, pp. 22–69.

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

  editor 	 = {Whitley Stokes},
  title 	 = {The Voyage of the Hui Corra},
  journal 	 = {Revue Celtique},
  number 	 = {14},
  address 	 = {Paris},
  publisher 	 = {Émile Bouillon},
  date 	 = {1893},
  pages 	 = {22–69}


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Project description: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

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The electronic text covers odd pages 27–63. The Irish original is available in a separate file.

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Correction: Text has been proof-read twice.

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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 saga.

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Profile description

Creation: By an unknown Irish scribe

Date: 15th century and earlier

Language usage

  • The translation is in English. (en)
  • Some words are in Irish. (ga)
  • One word is in German. (de)
  • Some words are in Italian. (it)

Keywords: saga; prose; medieval; Voyages; Immrama; translation

Revision description

(Most recent first)

  1. 2009-07-08: SGML and HTML versions created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2009-07-08: Additions to bibliography made. (ed. Miriam Trojer)
  3. 2009-07-07: File parsed; header created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  4. 2009-07-03: Text proof-read (2); structural markup added; footnotes integrated. (ed. Miriam Trojer)
  5. 2009-06: Donated a scanned and proofed HTML version of the file. (text donation Dr J. Wooding, Lampeter)

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G303030: The Voyage of the Hui Corra (in Irish)

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  1. "The lay impropriator [manager?] of the church lands", O'Curry, who would not allow that a mediaeval Irish cleric could have children. But he is expressly called an cleirech in paragraph 11 and 12. 🢀

  2. Perhaps Clochar mac Daimhene (now Clogher) in Tyrone 🢀

  3. The Irish díberga seem to have devoted themselves to the Devil by putting certain marks on their heads. See the Book of Armagh, 6 a I, the Tripartite Life, Rolls ed., p.286, note 6, and cf. the Fourth Life of S. Brigit (Trias Thaum., 556, col. I) cc.37, 40 a I, as to the signa diabolica, "stygmata diabolica in capitibus." 🢀

  4. As to heathen baptism of the Celts see Rhys, Hibbert Lectures, p. 500 note, and the Coir Anmann, s.v. Connal Cernach, H. 3. 18, p.592a. 🢀

  5. The names of three saints commemorated at Dec. 31 in the Félire Oengusso, and in the Martyrology of Gorman. 🢀

  6. Compare the descriptions of this monster in Tidings of Doomsday, LU. 33a (Revue Celtique, IV, 252) an in Visio Tnugdali, ed. Wagner, p. 36. 🢀

  7. So this archangel appears in bird-form and sings to S. Brendan, Lives of Saints from the Book of Lismore, p. XIV. 🢀

  8. See an Irish Life of this saint, Lives of Saints from the book of Lismore, pp. 75-83. He died A.D. 550 or 552, and is commemorated in the calendars on Dec. 12 and Feb. 23.Revue Celtique, XIV. 🢀

  9. i. e. an ecclesiastic. The phrase reoccurs in paragraphparagraph 52 and 72. Zimmer, p.176, misreads maic eculsa, and misrenders this by Novizen 🢀

  10. See above, paragraph 8. 🢀

  11. Lit. it will not come from you. 🢀

  12. "At the head of the Bay of Galway", O'Curry, Lectures, p.292, and see O'Donovan, Four Masters, A.D. 814, note n. 🢀

  13. i. e. a boat made of wickerwork and covered with three layers of hide. See below, paragraph 66. 🢀

  14. So in the Togail Troi (LL. 219a) the builder of Argo asks only that the ship and her crew should take their names from his. 🢀

  15. i. e. The three Húi Corra, the bishop, the priest, and deacon, the wright, the player and the gillie. 🢀

  16. It would seem from the mention of ice in paragraph 32 that the Húi Corra's voyage began in winter. 🢀

  17. Compare the Voyage of Snedgus and Mac Riagla, Revue Celtique, IX, p. 18, paragraph 14. 🢀

  18. This must have been the wright, for the jester dies (paragraph 46), and the gillie is mentioned paragraphparagraph 68, 75. 🢀

  19. These satisfying apples seem borrowed from the Voyage of Mael Duin, chap. VII, Revue Celtique, IX, 470. 🢀

  20. Compare the Voyage of Mael Duin, chap. XXXI, Revue Celtique X, 70. 🢀

  21. This must have been one of the Húi Corra: see paragraphparagraph 45, 46. 🢀

  22. Compare theVoyage of Mael Duin, chap. XXVII. 🢀

  23. Compare the Voyage of Mael Duin, chap. XXV. 🢀

  24. See the Voyage of Mael Duin, chap. XXVI. 🢀

  25. i. e. an ecclesiastic 🢀

  26. An Irish bishop Degha is commemorated in the Martyrology of Donergal at Aug. 16. 🢀

  27. "a shift of the silk was against he sun of her white skin: a beautiful golden tunic above that smooth shift: a mantle fair-coloured, fivefolded over the tunic, and a brooch of refined gold in the mantle over her bosom" 23 M. 50, p. 195. In O'Curry's Manners and Customs, I, p. dcxlii, this passage is foisted (without notice) into what purports to be a translation from the Book of Fermoy. 🢀

  28. Fot the notion that souls assume the form of birds see infra paragraph 57, and Revue Celtique, II, 200. The belief that the damned are freed from their pain on Sunday is found also in the Breuddwyt Pawl Ebostol, in Selections of the Hengwrt MSS, vol. II, p. 284. 🢀

  29. Compare Divina Commedia, Inferno XXII, 36 (e trassel su, che mi parve una lontra), Revue Celtique, XIV. 🢀

  30. See below, paragraphparagraph 72, 75. 🢀

  31. Compare the Voyage of Mael Duin, chap. XIV. 🢀

  32. Literally "in my fork". 🢀

  33. So in LB. 203a: Nach ech riadar isin domnach is ech tened bís hi ngaul a marcaig a n-iffern. "Every horse that is ridden on Sunday will be a horse of fire in the fork of his rider in hell". 🢀

  34. Compare the story in Numbers, XV, 32-36, of the man that gathered sticks on the Sabbath, and see J. Grimm, Deutsche Myhologie 2te ausg. 680. 🢀

  35. Compare Divina Commedia, Inferno, VII, 112-114: Questi si percotean non pur con mano, Ma con la testa. 🢀

  36. Literally, says the brother. 🢀

  37. See above paragraph 33. 🢀

  38. In the couny of Tipperary. S. Ailbe is commemorated at Sep. 12 in the Félire Oengusso and the Martyrology of Gorman. He died A.S. 541. His pedidree is in LL. 349c, where he is called Ailbe Imlecha Ibair. 🢀

  39. For other instances of such radiance, see Indian Fairy-tales, by Maive Stokes. London, 1880, p. 241, and compare Exodus XXXIV. 30, 35. 🢀

  40. Or "the crew of one of Ailbe's two boats." 🢀

  41. See Revue Celtique, IX, 495, note 2. 🢀

  42. Compare the Voyage of Maelduin, c. XVI: secip blas bá mellach la nech fogebed fair and c. XVII: cach blas adcobrad iss ed fogebed fair🢀

  43. Probably cape Finisterre 🢀

  44. This is a mere guess at the meaning of lucht noenaigh🢀

  45. Literally, fell. 🢀

  46. Perhaps the Mo-cholmóc (or Colmán), celebrated in the Félire Oengusso at July 25. 🢀


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