Annals of the Four Masters

Also known as

  • Annals of Donegal


The most extensive and the earliest authentic records of Irish history, traditionally begun c.2242 a.m. (1762 b.c.), and compiled (22 January 1632, to 10 August 1636), at the instance of Father John Colgan (died c.1657), the hagiographer and historian, mainly by Michael O’Clery, afterward a Franciscan monk. They continue down to a.d. 1616, but of the original compilation, the present name of which was conferred by Father Colgan, scarcely one volume remains. Michael O’Clery and his three assistants, Peregrine O’Clery, Farfassa O’Mulconry, and Peregrine O’Duignan, are the “Four Masters.” The Annals contain the reigns, deaths, genealogies,, etc., not only of high-kings, but of provincial kings, chiefs, dignitaries, ecclesiastics, and others, with some account of battles, murders, and wars. They have been published in three editions, the principal one, in seven quarto volumes, being that of John O’Donovan, both in Irish and English, “Annala Rioghachta Eireann” (Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland), Dublin, 1851.

MLA Citation

  • “Annals of the Four Masters”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 21 November 2019. Web. 25 February 2021. <>