The Yellow book of Lecan, or Leabhar Buidhe Lecain is a composite/miscellany manuscript dating to the 14th/15th century and is currently housed in Trinity College, Dublin.
It is written in Middle Irish on vellum and contains almost the entirety of the Ulster Cycle of tales within it’s pages. An incomplete version of the Táin bó Cúailnge found here,made up of copies of other versions, was used with the incomplete version found in Lebor na hUidre (The Book of the Dun Cow) to form the complete recension of the Táin that we have today. The Ogham tract found in the Book of Ballymote is also found in this manuscript as well as the Irish triads, The Settling of the Manor of Tara and a version of St Patrick’s life. The life and the Settling were said to have been recounted by Fintan Mac Bócaire (one of the first arrivals in Ireland, who arrived with Noah’s granddaughter Cessair). The version of the life also tells of the giant Trefuilngid Tre-eochair who was based at the hill of Tara, who was the first person in Ireland to hear of the Crucifixion of Christ.
Also found within is Tech Midchuarta which gives us the seating plan of the royal dining hall at Tara
The book was sourced from either Ruaidhrí Ó Flaithbheartaigh or from Dáithí Óg Ó Dubhda in the year 1700. Ó Flaithbheartaigh and Ó Dubhda would have obtained them from Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh whose family created and preserved the book. Following this the pages were bound together, seventeen manuscripts as a single volume and were dubbed “The Yellow Book of Lecan”.
Contents include, but not limited to:
- Life of Saint Féchín of Fore
- “Sanas Cormaic”, Cormac’s Glossary
- O’Mulconry’s Glossary (Etymological Tract)
- Beginning of Togail Bruidne Da Derga
- “Cáin Domhnaigh”, The Law of Sunday: A legal tract forbidding work on Sunday
- “Bríathra Flainn Fhína maic Ossu”, ‘The wise sayings of Flann Fína Or Aldfrith, son of Oswiu’
- Audacht Morainn ‘The Testament of Morann’, a Speculum Principum or ‘Mirror of princes’
- The triads of Ireland
- Tech Midchuarta (plan and description).
- Aided Muirchertaig meic Erca ‘The Death of Muirchertach mac Ercae’
- Fled Dúin na nGéd ‘The Banquet of the Fort of the Geese’
- List of Archbishops of Armagh from St. Patrick to Giolla Mac Liag (Gelasius).
- Account of celebrated trees of Ireland prostrated by a storm in the year 665.
- Fragment of ‘The voyage of Máel Dúin’s coracle’.
- ‘The Voyage of Snedgus and Mac Riagla’
- ‘The Voyage of Bran mac Febaill’
- The adventure of Connla’
- Leabhar Ollamhan, including the Auraicept na n-Éces ‘Poets’ Primer’, a treatise on Ogham
- Amra Coluimcille
- Longes mac n-Uislenn ‘The Exile of the Sons of Uisliu
- Clesa Conculaind ‘The Feats of Cú Chulainn”
- Assembly of Druim Cet
- Aided Díarmata meic Cerbaill ‘The Death of Diarmait Mac Cerbaill”
- ‘The Wooing of Étain’
- The Four Jewels of the Tuatha Dé Danann On the Tuatha Dé Danann and their magical education,
- Poem ascribed to Torna Éces, on pre-Christian kings of Ireland buried on Croghan; on burial places in Teltown
- On the seven orders of ‘bards’
Jones, Mary (2003), “The Yellow Book of Lecan”, Jones’ Celtic Encyclopedia
Stokes, Whitley, ed. (1891), “Life of St Féchín of Fore”, Revue Celtique, 12: 318–353
Reeves, William, ed. (1873), “On the Céli Dé, commonly called Culdees”, Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, 24
Meyer, Kuno; Stern, L. Chr., eds. (1901), “Das Apgitir des Colmán maccu Béognae”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie (in German and Irish), 3: 447
O’Keeffe, J.G. (1931), “Dál Caladbuig and reciprocal services between the kings of Cashel and various Munster states”, Irish Texts, I: 19–21
Hull, Vernam (1930), “How Finn made peace between Sodelb and Glangressach”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie, 18: 422–4, doi:10.1515/zcph.19220.127.116.112
Stokes, Whitley, ed. (1905), “The Colloquy of the Two Sages”, Revue Celtique, 26: 4–64
Stokes, Whitley, ed. (1905), “The Adventure of St. Columba’s Clerics”, Revue Celtique, 26: 130–70
Hull, Vernam (1930), “The four jewels of the Tuatha Dé Danann”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie, 18 (1): 73–89, doi:10.1515/zcph.1918.104.22.168
Ferguson, Samuel (1879–1888), “On the legend of Dathi”, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 2nd, 2: 167–184
Maniet, Albert (1953), “Cath Belaig Dúin Bolc”, Éigse, 7: 95–111
Ó Muraíle, Nollaig (1996), “The Celebrated Antiquary: Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh (c.1600-1671) – His Life, Lineage and Learning”, Maynooth monographs, Maynooth An Sagart, pp. 16 and 23
Ó Concheanainn, Tomás (1986), “The manuscript tradition of two Middle Irish Leinster tales”, Celtica, 18: 13–33
Ó Concheanainn, Tomás (1986), “A personal reference by Giolla Íosa Mór Mac Fhirbhisigh”, Celticia, 18: 34
Ó Concheanainn, Tomás (1980), “The YBL fragment of Táin Bó Flidais”, Celtica, 14: 56–57
Abbott, Thomas Kingsmill (1900), Catalogue of the manuscripts in the library of Trinity College, pp. 328–37
Abbott, Thomas Kingsmill; Gwynn, E.J. (1921), Catalogue of the Irish manuscripts in the Library of Trinity college, pp. 94–110
“Leabhar Buidhe Lecain”, http://www.maryjones.us , list of contents of work by pages