Index of Names in Irish Annals: Descriptive Bynames: Cléireach

by Mari Elspeth nic Bryan (Kathleen M. O'Brien)

© 2000-2001 by Kathleen M. O'Brien. All rights reserved.
Version 2.0, updated 20 December 2001

Descriptive Bynames: Cléireach


"[the] Cleric/Person in religious orders" also "[the] Scholar/Clerk"


What we know as a set of Irish Annals are manuscripts that were each compiled during a particular time period, usually using older material as sources. For example, when the Annals of the Four Masters were written from 1632 to 1636, they covered events that occurred centuries and millenia before (including legendary history). So, when an entry in this set of annals refers to a person who lived in the year 738, the spelling used for that person's name is very likely not using the spelling that would have been used in 738.

Standard forms of this name (based on spelling systems of different periods) would be:

Frequency & Dates:

Number of men found in the annals with this name: 4
Found in Years: 1151, 1263, 1410, 1522

Research Notes:

Woulfe (p. 311 s.n. Mac an C.lérig.) gives the meaning of this byname as "son of the clerk".

The meaning "the Clergyman, so called probably from his having been educated for the Church" is given in regards to a man's name in 1522 (FM vol. 5, p. 1362-1363, footnote "v").

[Answering a question about the meaning of Clérech vs. Cléirech:]
They're all one byname (except the Woulfe surname, which is derived from the same word). The DIL takes the normalized early spelling to be cle/irech; the corresponding genitive would be cle/irich or cle/irig, the latter leading to the modern genitive. The later spellings are cle/ireach (nom.) and cléirigh (gen.). The meaning is "cleric, person in orders; scholar, clerk". [email from Talan Gwynek - 01 Oct 2001]


Further information about the byname Cléireach, may be found in:

The Sources page lists the Annals referenced below. Information about secondary sources is included on that page as well.

Raw Data

In the table below, I have separated individuals with a blank line. That is, when there are multiple entries in the annals that refer to a single person, those entries are grouped together.

Within the list of entries refering to a single person, I have sorted the entries primarily by orthography when it is obvious that what I am seeing is the same entry showing up in multiple annals. The entries that tend to use older spellings are listed first.

NOTE: The Annals referenced below under the code letters A, B, C, E, & F tend to use later spellings than the other Annals. In some cases, the spellings listed in these Annals may not be appropriate for the year referenced in the Annal entry.

In some Gaelic scripts, there is a character that looks approximately like a lowercase f, but without the crossbar. This character (represented by an underscored , e, in the entries below) sometimes represents e and sometimes ea depending upon the context of the text.

[Standardized form of this man's name]
AnnalsEntryCitation (formatting preserved)
[Brian Cléirech mac Taidc Uí Mail Ruanaid] (d. 1151)
BM1151.3Brian Cléireach, mac Taidhg Ui Maol Ruanaidh
[Diarmaid Cléireach mac Cormaic Mhic Diarmata] (d. 1263)
Co1263.7Diarmaid Clerech mac Cormaic Meic Diarmata
[Domhnall Cléireach mac Seaain mhic Aibhne uí Chathain]
FMvol. 5, p. 1362, 1522Dom.nall (.i. dom.nall cleireac.) mac Seain uí cat.ain
Co1522.15Domnall Cleirech mac Seain meic Aibhne h. Chathain
[Feidhlimidh Cléireach mac Aoidh mhic Fheidhlimidh Uí Chonchobhair] (d. 1410)
DM1410.3Fedhlimidh Cleireach mac Aedha mic Fedhlimidh Uí Choncobhair

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