Book of ballymote

The Book of Ballymote (Leabhar Bhaile an Mhóta, RIA MS 23 P 12, 275 foll.), named for the parish of Ballymote, County Sligo, was written in 1390 or 1391.

It was produced by the scribes Solam Ó Droma, Robertus Mac Sithigh and Magnus Ó Duibhgennain, on commission by Tonnaltagh McDonagh, in the possession of whose clan the manuscript remained until 1522, when it was purchased by Aed Óg O'Donnell, prince of Tír Conaill, for 140 milch cows. In 1620 it was given to Trinity College, Dublin, but was subsequently stolen from the library, and only returned to the Royal Irish Academy upon its foundation in 1785 by Chevalier O'Gorman who allegedly purchased it from a millwright's widow in Drogheda for 20 pounds.

The first page of the work contains a drawing of Noah's Ark. The first written page is lost, and the second page describes the ages of the world. After this follows

The book ends with various Greek and Latin fragments on the fall of Troy, including a fragment of the Aeneid.


  • Robert Atkinson. NY: AMS Press. ISBN 0-404-17535-X
  • O'Donovan, The Book of Rights, ed. and trans. 1847.
  • The Book of Ballymote: Photographic facsimile with introduction by R. Atkinson, (Dublin 1887).


  • McDonagh, James, History of Ballymote and the Parish of Emlaghfad (1998). [1]
  • Harrison, A.: 'Leabhar Bhaile an Mhóta ag tús an 18ú aois', Éigse 23 (1989), 147-50.
  • Ó Concheanainn, T.: 'The Book of Ballymote', Celtica 14 (1981), 15-25.

External links

  • Royal Irish Academy description
  • The Book of Ballymote (excerpt of McDonagh 1998)
  • Genealogies from the Book of Ballymote
  • Leabhar Bhaile an Mhóta (
  • Leabhar Bhaile an Mhóta
  • Irish Script on Screen has digital images of the document. Select "Collections", then select "Royal Irish Academy", then scroll down to MS 23 P 12, The Book of Ballymote.

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