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The Annals of Ulster ( ) are a chronicle of medieval Irelandmarker. The entries span the years between AD 431 and AD 1540. The entries up to AD 1489 were compiled in the late 15th century by the scribe Ruaidhrí Ó Luinín, under his patron Cathal Óg Mac Maghnusa on the island of Belle Isle on Lough Ernemarker in the province of Ulster. Later entries (up to AD 1540) were added by others.

Previous annals dating as far back as the 6th century were used as a source for the earlier entries, and later entries were based on recollection and oral history. T.M. Charles-Edwards has claimed that the main source for its records of the first millennium AD is a now-lost Armagh continuation of the The Chronicle of Ireland.

The Annals used the Irish language, with some entries in Latin. Because the Annals copied its sources verbatim, the annals are useful not just for historians, but also for linguists studying the evolution of the Irish language.

A century later, the Annals of Ulster would become an important source for the authors of the Annals of the Four Masters.

The Librarymarker of Trinity College Dublinmarker possesses the original manuscript, although the Bodleian Librarymarker in Oxfordmarker has a contemporary copy which fills some of the gaps in the original. There are two main modern English translations of the annals — Mac Airt and Mac Niocaill (1983) and MacCarthy (1893).


  • Mac Airt, Seán and Gearóid Mac Niocaill (eds and trs.).The Annals of Ulster (to AD 1131). DIAS, Dublin, 1983. Available from CELT: edition in vol. 1 (AD 431-1131), pp. 38-578, which excludes the pre-Patrician sections (Irish World Chronicle), pp. 2-36.
  • Mac Carthy, B. (ed. and tr.). Annala Uladh: Annals of Ulster otherwise Annala Senait, Annals of Senat: a chronicle of Irish affairs from A.D. 431 to A.D. 1540. 4 vols. Dublin, 1895. Available from the Internet Archive: vol. 1 (AD 431–1056), vol. 2 (AD 1057–1378) and vol. 3 (AD 1379–1588). Available from CELT, with notes of warning:


  • Oxford Concise Companion to Irish Literature, Robert Welsh, 1996. ISBN 0-19-280080-9

Further reading

  • Byrne, Francis John. "Chiasmus and hyperbaton in the Annals of Ulster." In Ogma: essays in Celtic studies in honour of Próinséas Ní Chatháin, ed. Michael Richter and Jean-Michel Picard. Dublin, 2002. 54–64.
  • Dumville, David N. "Latin and Irish in the Annals of Ulster, AD 431–1050." In Ireland in early medieval Europe: studies in memory of Kathleen Hughes, ed. Dorothy Whitelock, Rosamond McKitterick and David N. Dumville. Cambridge, 1982. 320–41.
  • Dumville, David N. "On editing and translating medieval Irish chronicles: The Annals of Ulster." Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies 10 (1985): 67–86.
  • Gwynn, Aubrey. "Cathal mac Maghnusa and the Annals of Ulster." Clogher Rec 2 (1958–9): 230–43, 370–84. Revised version in Aubrey Gwynn, Cathal Óg mac Maghnusa and the Annals of Ulster, ed. Nollaig Ó Muraíle. Enniskillen, 1998.
  • Hughes, Kathleen. Early Christian Ireland. Introduction to the sources. London and Ithaca NY, 1972. 99–159.
  • Hull, Vernam. "The Middle Irish preterite passive plural in the Annals of Ulster." Language 28 (1952): 107–8.
  • Jaski, Bart. "Additional notes to the Annals of Ulster." Ériu 48 (1997): 103–52.
  • MacDonald, A.D.S. "Notes on monastic archaeology and the Annals of Ulster, 650–1050." In Irish antiquity: essays and studies presented to Professor M. J. O'Kelly, ed. Donnchadh Ó Corráin. Cork, 1981. 304–19.
  • MacDonald, A.D.S. "Notes on terminology in the Annals of Ulster, 650–1050." Peritia 1 (1982): 329–33.
  • Mac Niocaill, Gearóid. "Annála Uladh agus Annála Locha Cé, 1014–1220." Galvia 6 (1959): 18–25.
  • Mac Niocaill, Gearóid. The medieval Irish annals. Dublin, 1975.
  • Mc Carthy, Daniel P. "The original compilation of the Annals of Ulster." Studia Celtica 38 (2004): 77-84.
  • Mc Carthy, Daniel P. "The chronological apparatus of the Annals of Ulster AD 82-1029." Peritia 16 (2002): 256-83.
  • Mc Carthy, Daniel P. "The chronological apparatus of the Annals of Ulster AD 431-1131." Peritia 8 (1994): 46–79.
  • Mc Carthy, Daniel P. "The chronology of the Irish annals." Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy C 98 (1998): 203–55.
  • Mc Carthy, Daniel P. Irish chronicles and their chronology. Website.
  • Meckler, Michael. "The Annals of Ulster and the date of the meeting of Druim Cett." Peritia 11 (1997): 44–52.
  • Ó Máille, Tomás. The language of the Annals of Ulster. Manchester, 1910. PDF available from the Internet Archive.
  • Ó Muraíle, Nollaig. Aubrey Gwynn, Cathal Óg mac Maghnusa and the Annals of Ulster. Enniskillen, 1998.
  • Ó Muraíle, Nollaig. "Cathal Mac Maghnusa: his time, life and legacy." Clogher Rec 16.2 (1998): 45–64.
  • Smyth, Alfred P. "The Húi Néill and the Leinstermen in the Annals of Ulster, 431–516 A.D." Études Celtiques 14 (1974): 121–43.

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