Ireland // Donegal //

The Annals of the Four Masters

In Donegal town’s Diamond stands an obelisk commemorating the compilers of the famed Annals of the Four Masters. The Annals were begun in the town’s Franciscan friary, whose ruined remains stand on the left bank of the River Eske, and were a systematic attempt to collect all known Irish documents into a history of the land beginning in 2958 BC, including mythical invasions by Firbolgs and Milesians, and ending in 1616 AD. The friary itself was built in 1474 by the first Red Hugh and his wife Nuala O’Brien of Munster. It was occupied by the English in 1601 and seriously damaged by the besieging O’Donnell army, being finally abandoned after the Flight of the Earls. The Annals were completed by friars who had moved to a site by the River Drowse, near Kinlough, Country Leitrim. Manuscript copies of the Annals are occasionally on display at Trinity College library in Dublin.