|Although it is just one of several Irish
annals, The Annals Of Ireland by the Four Masters is
probably the best known account of ancient Irish history (and the one most often referred
to). It covers events from the earliest times to 1616 AD. As indicated above it was
completed in 1636, and it is believed to be based largely on earlier historical records
(some of which have now been irretrievably lost it seems). Brother Michael O'Clery (whose
name appears above) was the chief of the Four Masters employed to compile this major
The first direct mention (we know of) of the "Fionn Sneachta" name by the Four Masters is as shown in item 3
of the table below; and as can clearly be seen, this particular King of Ireland had
several very close relatives who were also Kings (both before and after his own reign):
||The Four Masters associate the
reign of King Fiacha Fionn-Scothach with events which
took place at the large Celtic site named "Cruachain" in County
Roscommon (also called Rathcrogan): which
is now understood to be one of the most important Celtic royal sites in Europe. According
to Brother O'Clery and his colleagues, shamrocks and white flowers appeared in great
abundance all over Ireland during the time of his kingship.
||King Ollamh Fodhla
established Feis-Teamhrach (The Great Feast of Tara). This
feast was held each year and attended by the King's friends and dutiful subjects. Ollamh
Fodhla means "The Chief Poet of Ireland". A corrupted version of his name
(which was pronounced "Ollav Fola" or "Ullav Fola") gave the present
province of Ulster its name. Most of the old province of Ulster is now under the
jurisdiction of the United Kingdom. It is generally known as Northern Ireland (or
"The Six Counties"), and as such is separate from the Republic of Ireland.
Search engine listing for Ollamh Fodhla (by
||During King Finnachta's 20 year reign, snow fell
which tasted of wine. Before this event, he was known as Elim. He died at Magh-Inis -
which is located in the area now known as County Down (in the province of Ulster). His
name is still preserved in the Celtic surname "O'Fionnachta", which has been Anglicised to "Finnerty". Both versions of the surname have several spelling variations.
|In this hit-and-miss way, busy English
scribes - who would have had no knowledge of Celtic languages (or very little) - quickly
wrote down place names on maps, and drew up lists of tenants' names etc., based on what
they heard and what was easiest for them to pronounce. Under these circumstances, ” Fionnachta was transformed into Finnerty by one scribe, to O'Finaghty
or Finaghty by another, and so on.
Some of the other variations we know of include: O'Fenaghty,
Fennaughty, Finerty, Finnearty, O'Finnearty,
Fenarty, and Finnesty.
However, and as is believed to have happened with several other Celtic names, some of
these variations (such as Fenerty and Fenety for example), may have originated after members of
the family had emigrated from Ireland and established themselves in places such as
England, Canada, the United States, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Also,
there is reason to believe that some (at least) of the people with the surnames Fenton, Snow,
and possibly White and Whitehead as well, are also Fionn-Sneachta
a composite of the two Celtic language words "fionn"
(white), and "sneachta" (snow): meaning "snow white".
||The reign of King SlŠnoll is associated with a period
when the people of Ireland enjoyed extremely good health. The kingdom was free of all
manner of sickness. His name is made up of the two Celtic words "slŠn" meaning health, and "oll" meaning massive. The Celtic toast
meaning "Good Health" or "Cheers" in English, is understood to have
originated during the years of his reign. Similarly, for related Celtic phrases such
home), "slŠn leat!"
(farewell), and so on. Years after his burial, it was found that his body had not
|All of the calves born during
the reign of King Fiacha Finnailches were white-headed; and the Celtic word "ceannann" is still used in Ireland to describe cows and horses having a white
star on their foreheads. He built a fort in Ceanannus (County Meath) and made his home there. Ceanannus is now known as Kells;
and this particular place later gave its name to what is probably the world's most famous
book: The Book
of Kells. Spring wells were first dug in Ireland
during his reign, and the ears of corn in his time were so full and heavy that the stalks
had difficulty sustaining them.
||King Oilioll reigned for 16 years, and was slain by Sirna Mac Deyn. Immediately
afterwards, the government of Teamhair (Tara, or possibly Turoe?) was violently taken
from the "Ulta" (the
people of Ulster) who were the descendants of Ir, son of Milesius.
six of the above kings are believed to be descendants of Ir, and it appears reasonable to suppose that the word "Ireland" derives from the name Ir. This
view seems to be supported by the fact that in European continental languages such as
German, French, and Spanish, the words for Ireland are: Irland,
Irlande, and Irlanda,
respectively. The Italian word for Ireland is also Irlanda:
The Land of Ir.