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Seathrún Céitinn, known in English as Geoffrey Keating, was a 17th century Irishmarker Roman Catholic priest, poet and historian. He was born in Burgess, Ballyloobymarker, just outside Cahirmarker in County Tipperarymarker c. 1569, and died c. 1644. He is buried in Tubridmarker Graveyard in the parish of Ballylooby-Duhill.

In November 1603, he was one of forty students who sailed for Bordeauxmarker under the charge of the Rev. Diarmaid MacCarthy to begin their studies at the Irish College which had just been founded in that city by Cardinal François de Sourdis, Archbishop of Bordeaux. On his arrival in France he wrote a poetical "Farewell to Ireland", and upon hearing of the Flight of the Earls wrote "Lament on the Sad State of Ireland." After obtaining the degree of Doctor of Divinity at the University of Bordeaux he returned about 1610 to Irelandmarker and was appointed to the cure of souls at Uachtar Achaidh in the parish of Knockgraffan, near Cahirmarker, where he put a stop to the then-common practice of delaying Mass until the neighbouring gentry arrived.

His major work, Foras Feasa ar Éirinn (literally "Foundation of Knowledge on Ireland", more usually translated "History of Ireland") was written in Early Modern Irish and completed ca. 1634.

The Foras Feasa traced the history of Irelandmarker from the creation of the world to the invasion of the Normans in the 12th century, based on the rich native historical and pseudohistorical traditions (including that of the Milesians), historical poetry, annals and ecclesiastical records. The Foras Feasa circulated in manuscript as Ireland's English administration would not give authority to have it printed because of its pro-Catholic arguments. Later in 1634 a political campaign for a general reform of anti-Catholic laws, known as the "Graces", was denied by the viceroy.

Having old English ancestry, Keating's political view was that Ireland's nobility and natural leadership derived from the surviving Gaelic clan chiefs and Old English landed families who had remained Roman Catholic. He also accepted the Stuart dynasty as legitimate because of its part-Gaelic ancestry. This had a continuing influence on the politics of the Confederatemarker and Jacobite supporters in Ireland until Papal recognition of the Stuarts ended in 1766. Keating continued to have an influence on Irish genealogical writers such as O'Hart into the 1800s.


  • Bernadette Cunningham The World of Geoffrey Keating: history, myth and religion in seventeenth century Ireland (Dublin 2000).
  • Geoffrey Keating Foras Feasa ar Éirinn: the history of Ireland D.Comyn and P.S.Dineen (eds.) 4 vols. Irish Texts Society (London 1902-14).
  • Geoffrey Keating Trí bior-ghaoithe an bháis: The three shafts of death ed. Robert Atkinson, LL.D. Royal Irish Academy (Dublin: 1890);
  • Geoffrey Keating Stories from Keating's History of Ireland edited, with introduction, notes, and vocabulary by Osborn Bergin. Royal Irish Academy (Dublin: 1981)
  • Geoffrey Keating Dánta, Amhráin is Caointe (Poems, Songs and Elegies), ed. Rev. John C. MacErlean, S.J. The Gaelic League (Dublin: 1900)
  • Geoffrey Keating Eochairsciath an Aifrinn: An explanatory defence of the mass, ed. Patrick O'Brien (Dublin: 1898)
  • Geoffrey Keating "History of Ireland: Foras Feasa ar Eirinn" trans. O'Mahoney. 3 vols. Irish Genealogical Foundation (1980)


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