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Professor Liam Breatnach

phone: +353-1-6140165
e-mail: lbreatnach@celt.dias.ie

Research Interests

Professor Liam Breatnach is co-editor of the journal Ériu, published annually by the Royal Irish Academy. His research interests include: Old Irish language, Middle Irish and the historical development of Irish, Early Irish law texts, and poets, poetry and metrics.


Uraicecht na Ríar: The poetic grades in early Irish law, Early Irish Law Series 2 (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies 1987) xii + 189.

A Companion to the Corpus Iuris Hibernici, Early Irish Law Series 5 (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies 2005) xvi + 499.

Il Medioirlandese / Middle Irish. A Translation into Italian of the Gaelic Text An Mheán-Ghaeilge by Liam Breatnach. Translated with notes by Elisa Roma (Lewiston / Queenston / Lampeter 2013). [This is a translation of the corresponding article from 1994]

‘The Early Irish Law Text Senchas Már and the Question of its Date’. E.C. Quiggin Memorial Lectures 13 (Cambridge 2011) 48 pp.
Books edited
Donnchadh Ó Corráin, Liam Breatnach and Kim McCone (eds), Sages, Saints and Storytellers: Celtic Studies in Honour of Professor James Carney, Maynooth Monographs 2 (Maynooth: An Sagart, 1989) xvi + 472.

Kim McCone, Damian McManus, Cathal Ó Háinle, Nicholas Williams and Liam Breatnach (eds), Stair na Gaeilge in ómós do Phádraig Ó Fiannachta (Maigh Nuad: Roinn na Sean-Ghaeilge, Coláiste Phádraig, 1994) xxiv + 905.

‘The Suffixed Pronouns in Early Irish’, Celtica 12 (1977) 75-107.

Tochmarc Luaine ocus Aided Athairne‘, Celtica 13 (1980) 1-31.

‘Some Remarks on the Relative in Old Irish’, Ériu 31 (1980) 1-9.

‘The Caldron of Poesy’, Ériu 32 (1981) 45-93.

‘On Abstract Nouns From Prepositions in Irish’, Celtica 15 (1983) 18-19.

‘Varia IV: 1. On the Agent Suffix -e in Irish. 2. Cuchtaire “kitchener”: a Ghost-word. 3. Do-midethar in the Meaning “guesses, solves a riddle”‘, Ériu 34 (1983) 194-5.

‘Addenda and Corrigenda to “The Caldron of Poesy”‘, Ériu 35 (1984) 189-191.

‘Canon Law and Secular Law in Early Ireland: The Significance of BrethaNemed‘, Peritia 3 (1984) 439-59.

(with Donnchadh Ó Corráin and Aidan Breen) ‘The Laws of the Irish’, Peritia 3 (1984) 382-438.

‘Varia VI: 1. The Earlier Form of lour “enough”. 2. The Preterite of sichid/seichid “says”. 3. Ardri as an Old Compound’, Ériu 37 (1986) 191-3.

‘An Aoir sa Ré Luath’, An Aoir: Léachtaí Cholm Cille XVIII (1988) (ed. P. Ó Fiannachta), 11-19.

‘The Ecclesiastical Element in the Old Irish Legal Tract Cáin Fhuithirbe‘, Peritia 5 (1986) [1988] 35-50.

‘An Edition of Amra Senáin‘, in Sages, Saints and Storytellers: Celtic Studies in Honour of Professor James Carney, eds D. Ó Corráin, L. Breatnach, K. McCone (Maynooth 1989) 7-31.

‘Conchobar mac Nesa (? First Century AD) and the Triumph of Christianity’, in Worsted in the Game: Losers in Irish History, ed. Ciaran Brady (Dublin 1989) 11-18.

‘The First Third of Bretha Nemed Toísech‘, Ériu 40 (1989) 1-40.

‘Lawyers in Early Ireland’, in Brehons, Serjeants and Attorneys: Studies in the History of the Irish Legal Profession, eds Daire Hogan and W.N. Osborough (Dublin 1990) 1-13.

‘On the Citation of Words and a Use of the Neuter Article in Old Irish’ Ériu 41 (1990) 95-101.

‘Varia V: 1. On the Nasalization of the Preverb to. 2. The Flexion of ainb “ignorant”‘, Ériu 41 (1990) 139-41.

‘Zur Frage der Roscada im Irischen’, in Metrik und Medienwechsel – Metrics and Media, ed. Hildegard Tristram (Tübingen 1991) 197-205.

‘Sedulius Scottus, St. Gall Stiftsbibliothek 73, and Latin in the Irish Laws’, Proceedings of the Irish Biblical Association 16 (1993) 123-4.

‘An Mheán-Ghaeilge’ in Kim McCone et al. (eds) Stair na Gaeilge in ómós do Phádraig Ó Fiannachta (Maigh Nuad 1994) 221-333.

‘Varia II. 1. Irish geined and geinit, Gaulish geneta, Welsh geneth. 2. Prepositions with Added Vowel in Relative Compound Verbs’, Ériu 45 (1994) 195-198.

‘On the Glossing of Early Irish Law-texts, Fragmentary Texts, and Some Aspects of the Laws Relating to Dogs’ in Anders Ahlqvist Et Al. (Eds) Celtica Helsingiensia.Proceedings From A Symposium on Celtic Studies, Societas Scientiarum Fennica, Commentationes Humanarum Litterarum 107 (Helsinki 1996) 11-20.

‘Law’, in Kim McCone and Katharine Simms (eds), Progress in Medieval Irish Studies (Maynooth 1996) 107-21.

‘Poets and Poetry’, in Kim McCone and Katharine Simms (eds), Progress in Medieval Irish Studies (Maynooth 1996) 65-77.

‘On the Flexion of the ā-stems in Irish’, in Anders Ahlqvist and Věra Čapková (eds) Dán Do Oide. Essays in Memory of Conn R. Ó Cléirigh (Dublin 1997) 49-57.

‘On the Original Extent of the Senchas Már‘, Ériu 47 (1996) 1-43.

Cáin Ónae: An Old-Irish Law Text on Lending’, in Jay Jasanoff, H. Craig Melchert and Lisi Olivier (eds) Mír Curad: Studies in Honor of Calvert Watkins (Innsbruck 1998) 29-46.

‘On Words Ending in A Stressed Vowel in Early Irish’, Ériu 53 (2003) 133-42.

‘On Satire and the Poet’s Circuit’, in Unity in Diversity. Studies in Irish and Scottish Gaelic Language, Literature and History, eds Cathal G. Ó Háinle and Donald Meek (Dublin 2004) 25-35.

‘Miscellanea Hibernica: 1. Old Irish tráigid (ebbs, recedes). 2. The Simplex serbaid. 3. do-maisi and a Detail of Syncope’, in A Companion in Linguistics: a Festschrift for Anders Ahlqvist on the Occasion of his Sixtieth Birthday, eds Bernadette Smelik, Rijcklof Hofman, Camiel Hamans and David Cram (Nijmegen 2005) 141-51.

‘Satire, Praise and the Early Irish Poet’, Ériu 56 (2006) 63-84.

‘A Verse on Succession to Ecclesiastical Office’, in Pádraig A. Breatnach, Caoimhín Breatnach, Meidhbhín Ní Úrdail (eds) Léann Lámhscríbhinní Lobháin. The Louvain Manuscript Heritage. Éigse Publications 1 (Dublin 2007) 32-41.

‘Varia: 1. An Old Irish gloss on Cáin Lánamna. 2. An instance of do-maisi in the Irish Gospel of Thomas. 3. An OIr attestation of suacht, in Félire Óengusso’, Ériu 57 (2007) 155-63.

Cinnus atá do thinnrem: a poem to Máel Brigte on his coming of age’, Ériu 58 (2008) 1-35.

Araile Felmac Féig don Mumain: Unruly Pupils and the Limitations of Satire’, Ériu 59 (2009) 111-37.

‘Law and Literature in Early Mediaeval Ireland’, in L’Irlanda e gli irlandesi nell’alto medioevo. Spoleto, 16-21 aprile 2009. Atti delle Settimane LVII (Spoleto 2010) 215-38.

‘The King in the Old Irish Law Text Senchas Már’, in Folke Josephson (ed.) Celtic Language Law and Letters, Proceedings of the Tenth Symposium of Societas Celtologica Nordica, Meijerbergs Arkiv för Svensk Ordforskning 38 (Göteborg 2010) 107-28.

‘Saint Patrick’s Oath’, in Anders Ahlqvist and Pamela O’Neill (eds) Language and Power in the Celtic World. Papers from the Seventh Australian Conference of Celtic Studies. The University of Sydney, September–October 2010 (Sydney 2011) 13–35.

‘Dinnseanchas Inbhear Chíochmhaine, “trí comaccomail na Góedelge”, agus caibidil i stair litriú na Gaeilge’, in Eoin Mac Cárthaigh & Jürgen Uhlich (eds) Féilscríbhinn do Chathal Ó Háinle (Indreabhán 2012) 39–55.

‘Varia III. The meaning of nómad’, Ériu 62 (2012) 197–205.

‘The lord’s share in the profits of justice and a passage in Cath Maige Tuired’, Celtica 27 (2013) 1–17.

‘Forms of payment in the Early Irish law tracts’, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 68 (Winter 2014) 1–20.

‘Varia I. 1. De Duodecim Abusivis Saeculi in Mediaeval Ireland. 2. ané, aná and an example in Bardic Syntactical Tracts’, Ériu 64 (2014) 205–11.

(with Elizabeth Boyle) ‘Senchas Gall Átha Clíath: Aspects of the Cult of St Patrick in the Twelfth Century’, in John Carey, Kevin Murray and Caitríona Ó Dochartaigh (eds) Sacred Histories. A Festschrift for Máire Herbert (Dublin 2015) 22–55.

‘Legal and Societal Aspects of the Poems of Blathmac’, in Pádraig Ó Riain (ed.), The Poems of Blathmac son of Cú Brettan: Reassessments. Irish Texts Society Subsidiary Series 27 (London 2015) 104–18.

‘Lebor na hUidre: Some Linguistic Aspects’, in Ruairí Ó hUiginn (ed.) Lebor na hUidre. Codices Hibernenses Eximii 1 (Dublin 2015) 53–77.

Sluindfet dúib dagaisti in dána: A Middle Irish Poem on Metres’, in Caoimhín Breatnach and Meidhbhín Ní Úrdail (eds) Aon don Éigse. Essays Marking Osborn Bergin’s Centenary Lecture on Bardic Poetry (1912) (Dublin 2015) 51–90.

‘On the Line-Break in Early Irish Verse, and Some Remarks on the Syntax of the Genitive in Old and Middle Irish’, in Matthieu Boyd (ed.) Ollam. Studies in Gaelic and Related Traditions in honor of Tomás Ó Cathasaigh (Madison/Teaneck 2016) 195–209.

‘The Glossing of the Early Irish Law Tracts’, in Deborah Hayden and Paul Russell (eds) Grammatica, Gramadach and Gramadeg. Vernacular Grammar and Grammarians in Medieval Ireland and Wales (Amsterdam and Philadelphia 2016) 113–32.

Review of U. Roider, De Chophur in da Muccida (Innsbruck 1979), in Kratylos, Jahrgang 25 (1981) 228-30.

Review of P. Ó Riain, Corpus Genealogiarum Sanctorum Hiberniae (Dublin 1985), in Éigse 22 (1987) 163-5.

Review of S. Mac Mathúna, Immram Brain (Tübingen 1985), in Celtica 20 (1988) 177-192.

Review of Stephen N. Tranter & Hildegard L.C. Tristram (eds), Early Irish Literature – Media and Communication. Mündlichkeit und Schriftlichkeit in der frühen irischen Literatur (Tübingen 1989), in Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies 23 (1992) 120-2.

Review of Rijcklof Hofman, The Sankt Gall Priscian Commentary. Part 1 (Münster 1996), in Éigse 31 (1999) 159-67.

Review of Kevin Murray, Baile in Scáil ‘The Phantom’s Frenzy’ (London 2004). Irish Texts Society volume 58, in Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 55 (2008) 75-82.