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The O'Davorens of Cahermacnaughten, Burren, Co. Clare by Dr. George U. Macnamara

Part I: Historical: Contents of Egerton 88

The following is a description and complete list of the works contained in Egerton 88:[27]

Egerton MS. 88 – Small folio, vellum. A. D. 1564, etc. in double columns written in various years by Domhnall ua Duibhdabhoirenn and his pupils. 93 folios. None of the handwriting is very good, with the exception of Cormac ua Briain’s and Magnus ua Dabhoireann’s.

Colophons, Notes, and Marginalia abound in this MS. The scribes, it seems, often worked sorely against their will, and under circumstances of great discomfort, notably cold and hunger. Dictation too was a common practice, so it is no wonder that errors are frequently met with in the MSS. which have survived. A fair share of liberty prevailed in the Park seminary, but Domhnall evidently could compel obedience.

Facetious and familiar marginalia, very idiomatic, but often colloquial, provincial, and more or less phonetically written, are often difficult to understand.

The following list is a brief summary of the contents of this M.S.:

1. Tract on the law of Honour-price.
2. Concerning cows in-calf and calved.
3. Concerning injuries to the person (resumed from 1).
4. Compensation due for satirising, etc.
5. Of injuries committed by oxen.
6. Of damage caused by swine.
7. Of injury to sporting dogs.
8. Concerning the right to keep dogs. ‘A chief is entitled to keep a greyhound. A young
hospitaller, a doctor, a harper, and the chief’s wife may keep a lap dog.’
9. The rights of ollamhs, etc.
10. How various classes of the community may be sued.
11. Concerning an accessory to a theft.
12. Concerning idiots, lunatics, and maniacs.
13. Concerning valid judgments. The ‘five paths’ considered are ‘Truth and Legality,’
‘Right and Possession,’ and ‘the right of Appeal.’
14. A tract on evidence. In every tribal community are seven classes that may rightfully
depose a supreme chief.
15. Section on a chief's right to give evidence.
16. Tract on decisions given in cases relating to bees.
17. On limitations of pleading.

18. The Death of Cúrói [mac Daire].
19. Amra Conrói, or Elegy on the death of that hero.
20. ‘The Siege of the Men of Fálga’ [the Isle of Man] - very corrupt and obscure.
21. An excerpt out of Tochmarc Eimhri.
22. ‘A bowl-ful of words’: i.e. a few obscure figurative expressions.
23. Memorandum upon scribal compendia,
24. A triad on hospitality.
25. Tale of the abduction of Connla ruadh.
26. ‘Adventures of Febhal's son Bran.’
27. ‘Frenzy of Conn hundred-battler’: very obscure and corrupt.
28. ‘Birth of Cuchullain.’
29. ‘Destruction of Dáderga’s dwelling’: a fragment.
30. ‘The last Will of Morann son of Moen.
31. Excerpt from the lost Book of Druim-snechta.
32. ‘Cuchullainn's Supernatural Chariot.’
33. ‘The Birth of Mongán.’
34. ‘A Legend of Mongán. At the end lie is identified with Finn mac Cumhaill.

35. Copy of a very important tract modified from the old maxims of Law, and probably dating from the 12th century.
36. On the law of Cattle-driving. [useful still G.U.M.]
37. On the liabilities incurred by the spectator of a crime [also useful just now: G.U.M.].
38. Tract called Mellbretha or Sweet-Judgments, said to date from the 3rd cent. copied by Maghnus O'Davoren.
39. On the binding power of covenants.
40. On the seventeen cases that bring a man disrepute.
41. On the right of affording protection exercisable by each grade of chiefs.
42. On Fines and Compensations.
43. On Exemption, etc.
44.–45. On Covenants and Contracts.
46. On Releases.
47. On the compilers of the Senchas mór, etc.
48. On Honour-price.
49.–55. On Debts, Fines, Damages etc.
56. On Social Observances.
57.–58. On Evidence.
59. On Violation of protection, etc.
60. On the Law of Asylum.
61. On Ecclesiastical Asylum.
62. On Reprisal or Distress.

63.–64. Fragments of a tract introductory to the ‘Poet’s Primer.’
65.–68. ‘The Poets’ Book’: sections of.
69.–70. Preface and text of the ‘Dialogue of the Two Sages.’
71. The Valuable Law Glossary, chiefly of legal terms, transcribed, if not actually compiled, in O'Davoren's school at Park. Across the top margin is the heading in Latin and Irish: - ‘Mine is to begin and God's to finish. [Written] for Domhnall ua Duibdhaboirenn the night following St. Bridget's feast, 1569.’


The O’Davoren Sept;
Location of their School at Páirc


Demise of Law School