About the Project

The aim of the eSenchas project is to provide an online resource for analysing medieval Irish texts, by harnessing and developing existing digital tools. Over time, should funding allow, we hope to build up a comprehensive digital research environment which prioritises the study of the text, and provides a wide range of resources to enable this, accommodating many different users’ needs and interests. The project seeks to be user-friendly in its design, and to cater to a broad spectrum of users and researchers, be they academics, students or the interested lay person.

In this website, the centrality of the text is emphasised. Users are directed immediately to an electronic edition of the text in which they are interested. They can then approach the text from a number of different perspectives, utilising a range of digital tools to explore the network of textual, linguistic and palaeographic layers, as well as background information, which surrounds each text.

The digital textual resources available in the field of Medieval Irish include the following: the Electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language (eDIL), Meamram Páipéar Ríomhaire / Irish Script on Screen, CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts, and CODECS: Online Database and e-Resources for Celtic Studies. These have been incorporated into the material made available through this website where appropriate – for example:

  • In collaboration with the Electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language, we have linked each individual word of every text to the relevant entry in the online dictionary, enabling the user to form their own conclusions regarding textual interpretation.
  • With the permission of the Royal Irish Academy and Irish Script on Screen, we have provided manuscript images so that the edited text may be viewed alongside its original manuscript form. It may also be viewed alongside a translation.
  • In the interest of accumulating as many digital resources as possible, users will also be directed to other sources of information related to their particular text – for example, to pursue further reading on JSTOR, or to view the location of place-names via Logainm.

This project is currently in a pilot phase. We have begun by selecting two tales from the collection of early Irish material concerning Mongán mac Fiachnai, preserved in Lebor na hUidre ‘The Book of the Dun Cow’. We hope to add further texts, from this manuscript and others, at a future date. Any feedback would be gratefully received – please contact a member of the team.


For permission to use manuscript images from Lebor na hUidre ‘The Book of the Dun Cow’ (Dublin, RIA MS 1229; 23 E 25), we are grateful to the Royal Irish Academy, as well as to the Irish Script on Screen Project of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. We wish to thank Siobhán Fitzpatrick, Librarian of the Royal Irish Academy, and Professor Liam Breatnach, Director, School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, for facilitating this.

The two texts presented here used the XML files from CELT as their starting point, and we thank Dr Beatrix Färber of University College Cork for permission and assistance.

We acknowledge with gratitude the funding for this pilot project provided by the Research Student Development Fund of the Faculty of English, University of Cambridge, and by the University of Cambridge Isaac Newton Trust.

We are indebted to Niall O’Leary who developed the website and to the computing expertise of Jen Pollard of the University of Cambridge.