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Professor Damian Mc Manus

Fellow Emeritus (Irish)


Damian McManus is Professor of Early Irish in Trinity College, Dublin, and Head of the Department of Irish. He is a graduate of the University of Dublin (BA 1977), where he also completed his doctorate on 'The Latin loanwords in Early Irish' in 1982. He is an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellow, a Fellow of Trinity College and Member of the Royal Irish Academy. His main areas of research are Primitive Irish, in particular the Latin loanwords and the Ogam alphabet, and Classical Modern Irish. He is author of A guide to Ogam, joint editor of Stair na Gaeilge, and has published many articles in learned journals in Celtic Studies. He was director of the Trinity-based 'Bardic Project', which published five hundred medieval Irish poems from manuscripts in Irish and British libraries (A Bardic miscellany, eds D. McManus and E. Ó Raghallaigh, 2010), and created a database of two thousand such poems ( He has also been joint editor of Ériu, the journal of the Royal Irish Academy devoted to Irish philology and literature, since 2005.
Damian McManus, 'Identification copula clauses with substantives of different gender in Early and Classical Irish' , North American Journal of Celtic Studies, 4, (2), 2021, p30 pages , Notes: [This paper investigates identification copula clauses of the Old-Irish type Críst didiu is sí in chathir, 'Christ then, he is the city', Middle Irish iss é mo lennan é, 'he is my beloved' and Classical Irish mo theanga is é m'arm-sa í, 'my tongue is my weapon'. It argues that the pronoun following the copula in such phrases is a mere shoehorn to the following defined substantive, that the iss é mo lennan é type should not be classified under the rubric 'repetition of the pronoun', as is often done, but rather as a pronoun-subject construction analogous to other emerging pronoun-subject constructions with active and passive verbs in Middle Irish, and it seeks to explain why the construction mo theanga is é m'arm-sa í, with different gender in the substantives, is more likely to be encountered in Classical verse than the type with the one gender], Journal Article, SUBMITTED
Damian McManus, 'Binomial phrases, dvandva compounds and the house in which Cú Chulainn was born', Ériu, 70, 2020, p30 pages , Notes: [This paper investigates merismatic binomial phrases in Irish and links these to dvandva compounds, describing the latter as the most intimate linguistic collocation of such binomials. The paper presents a selection of these collocations and compounds framed in a discussion of the house in which Cu Chulainn was born, described in the oldest witness as a tech cen bratt cen biad 'a house offering neither food nor shelter'. ], Journal Article, SUBMITTED
joint editor, Ériu 69, Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, 2019, Book, PUBLISHED
Damian McManus, 'Early Modern Irish miscellanea', Ériu, 69, 2019, p155 - 170, Notes: [The paper investigates three matters: (1) the DIL headword nemdaid 'a dweller in Heaven'; it is argued that this is a ghsotword, the correct reading in the one instance of it being neamhdháigh 'unlikely'; (2) the generic use of the definite article, as in Ó hEódhasa's an bhean 'all women'; (3) the dropping of the n of the definite article before consonants in certain specified sequences in Early Modern Irish manuscripts.], Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Multiple authors, Ériu, Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, 2018, Book, PUBLISHED
Damian McManus, Celebrating the canine ii: the hunt in medieval Ireland with special reference to the evidence of Classical Irish poetry, Ériu, 68, 2018, p145-192 , Notes: [This paper investigates the nature of the hunt in Medieval Ireland. It confirms from the evidence of Fianaigecht material backed up by contemporary Classical Irish poetry that the hunt was in the nature of a drive and ambush rather than a chase, that two types of hound were used in the hunt, the gadhair to drive the quarry from its covert and the coin to drive them to the site of ambush, that this practice was common in Scotland as well as in continental Europe at the time, and that the deployment of the hunt was an important part of the training of a young nobleman in Ireland. ], Journal Article, PUBLISHED
joint editor, Ériu 67, vol 67, Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, 2017, Book, PUBLISHED
Fault-finding in the Grammatical Tracts in, editor(s)Gordon Ó Riain , Dá dtrian feasa fiafraighidh; essays on the Irish grammatical and metrical tradition, Dublin, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 2017, pp199 - 231, [Damian McManus], Notes: [The late medieval Irish Grammatical and Syntactical tracts, which provide the most detailed linguistic analysis of a European vernacular language in their time, cite over four thousand couplets from the cream of Bardic poetry composed in the period from 1200 to 1450. Most of these citations illustrate the correct use of language but over three hundred are deemed faulty. This paper investigates the faults and seeks to explain what could give rise to them in such a regulated system. ], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Damian McManus, 'On the use of the Urlann in Deibhidhe and Séadna metres in Classical Irish verse', North American Journal of Celtic Studies, 1, 2017, p61 - 81, Notes: [This paper examines the very considerable flexibility available to the poet in the rigid framework of the Classical Modern Irish Dán Díreach metres, Deibhidhe and Séadna, and focuses particular attention on the urlann. It introduces the concept of 'the urlann space' and 'available syllable balance' and argues that the urlann-friendliness of different metres is related to these criteria. Giolla Brighde Ó hEódhasa's statement that there should be 'one word only' in the urlann space in Deibhidhe is examined and several exceptions in the form of double-urlann couplets from all periods of Bardic poetry are presented, though it is acknowledged that the phenomenon is rare.], Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Damian McManus, Celebrating the canine: an edition of Slán dona saoithibh sealga 'Farewell to the masters of the hunt', an elegy for Diarmaid Mág Carthaigh's ( 1368) hound., Ériu, 67, 2017, p187 - 213, Notes: [This edition of the poem Slán dona saoithibh sealga 'Farewell to the masters of the hunt' begins by addressing the question as to whether this is the elegy for a Mág Carthaigh hound referred to by Fearghal Óg Mac an Bhaird in his poem, Teasda eascara an fhiadhaigh 'Dead is the wild game's foe. The contents of the poem are then summarised and an edition complete with translation and critical apparatus is presented. ], Journal Article, PUBLISHED

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joint editor, Ériu 67, Dublin, RIA, 2017, Book, PUBLISHED
Cormac mac Airt in Classical Irish poetry: young in age but old in wisdom, and not entirely flawless in, editor(s)Matthieu Boyd , Ollam: Studies in Gaelic and related traditions in honor of Tomás Ó Cathasaigh, America, Rowman and Littlefield, 2016, pp117 - 139, [Damian McManus], Notes: [This paper investigates the role played by the legendary Cormac mac Airt as model ancestor in Classical Irish poetry. Cormac is a first-function figure, i.e. a 'king-hero' and is always portrayed as such, in contrast to, say, Cú Chulainn, the martial-hero. The portrayal of Cormac is for the most part favourable, the only stains on his character arising from his dispute with his poet and his treachery in the Battle of Crinna.], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Damian McManus, Index to Bardic poems and sources, 2010, - 58, Notes: [This is an index to the Bardic poems, the texts of which, both published and unpublished, were prepared by the Department of Irish, TCD, as part of the Bardic Poetry project. It will be found at as DATABASE INDEX], Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED
Damian McManus, Citations from the Irish Grammatical Tracts and the Bardic Syntactical Tracts, 2010, -, Notes: [This file contains the texts of all cited couplets and quatrains in the Irish Grammatical and Syntactical tracts, including the unpublished syntactical tract on the subjunctive (for details see the end of the file). The citations are arranged alphabetically for convenience and numbered consecutively. Duplicate and triplicate entries appear in italics; the bracketed number(s) at the end of these entries refer the reader to the duplicate(s) as numbered in this file. Citations which have been identified in the poetry are coloured blue and marked with an * and are followed by details of the relevant poem. It will be found at as CITATIONS], Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED
Damian McManus, Cited Poems, 2010, - 7, Notes: [This is an index to the first lines of poems from which citations appear in the medieval Irish Grammatical and Syntactical Tracts. It will be found at as CITED POEMS], Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED
McManus D., Review of Literacy in Medieval Celtic Societies, by Huw Price , Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies, 39, 2000, p75-7 , Review, PUBLISHED
McManus D., Review of Language in Pictland. The Case Against `Non-Indo-Eurpoean Pictish, by Katharine Forsyth , Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies, 38, 1999, p108-110 , Review, PUBLISHED
McManus D., Review of And shall these mute stones speak?, by Charles Thomas , Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies, 1997, Notes: [(Post-Roman inscriptions in Western Britain, Charles Thomas, 1994)], Review, PUBLISHED
Ogham in, editor(s)P. Daniels, W. Bright , The World's Writing Systems, Oxford Univ. Press, 1996, pp340 - 345, [McManus D.], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Preface in, first reprint of R.A.S. Macalister's Corpus Inscriptionum Insularum Celticarum, Four Courts Press, 1996, [McManus D.], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED


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Medieval Irish: language and literature. Historical and comparative linguistics. Writing systems, in particular Ogam Classical Modern Irish Bardic poetry. The Grammatical and Syntactical tracts of the Classical Modern Irish poets.