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[Ir., lore of prominent places].

A collection of Old Irish local legends, in prose and verse, explaining the names and giving associations of famous rivers, fords, lakes, hills, and other places. Included also are stories of mythic and heroic figures who appear in lengthier narratives elsewhere; e.g. many stories are Fenian. While most texts are imaginative, much information contained is factual; the Modern Irish word dinnsheanchas means ‘topography’. The principal text is in the Book of Leinster (c.1150), but materials are preserved in many great Irish codices as well as in collections in Edinburgh and Rennes, France. See also CÓIR ANMANN.

See The Metrical Dindshenchas, ed. Edward Gwynn, Todd Lecture Series (5 vols., Dublin, 1903–35);Poems from the Dindshenchas, ed. Edward Gwynn (Dublin, 1900);‘Prose Tales in the Rennes Dindshenchas’, ed. Whitley Stokes, Revue Celtique, 15–16 (1894–5);Charles Bowen, ‘Studies in the Dindsenchas’, dissertation (Harvard, 1972);Tomás Ó Concheanainn, ‘The Three Forms of Dinnshenchas Érenn’, Journal of Celtic Studies, 3 (1981), 88–101;‘A Pious Redactor of Dinnshenchas Érenn’, Ériu, 33 (1982), 85–98.

Subjects: Religion.

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