Codices Hibernenses Eximii III: Book of Uí Mhaine
The Book of Uí Mhaine is miscellaneous in content, comprising a wide range of texts in Old, Middle and Early Modern Irish, in prose and poetry, and covering a diverse range of genres from history to poetry, grammar to dindshenchas, glossaries to genealogies. Miscellaneous, however, does not necessarily mean random. Certain thematic clusters can be identified within the manuscript, and the layout and juxtaposition of texts appear to be both deliberate and meaningful. The manuscript contains much that represents senchas—the learned historical discourse of medieval Ireland—but there is also much about it that is more innovative, not least ‘the free mixture and association of contemporary poetry and older poetry in a single book’. Many of the poems in Book of Uí Mhaine are of particular social or political importance, and a significant number of them are uniquely preserved there.