Index of Names in Irish Annals: Céle / Céile

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

© 2000-2020 by Kathleen M. O'Brien. All rights reserved.
Version 2.0, updated 18 March 2020

Masculine Given Names: Céle / Céile

This name, Céle, means "servant, bondsman, vassal, subject". Names with this element, either as a standalone name or as the first portion of a two element name, were predominantly used by men in religious orders (abbots, priests, etc).

There are three name structures that regularly appear early in the annals in the names of men with religous callings such as that of a priest, abbot, etc. These names often reference the names of saints and each has a general meaning of "servant/follower [of] [the name referenced, usually a saint]". However, each initial element carries other layered meanings, which adds to the meaning of the name.

The three name structures are:


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: 6
Found in Years: 746, 751, 906, 926, 927, 928, 929, 950, 952, 1048, 1050, 1076, 1209, 1210, 1257, 1331

Research Notes:

The Annals of Ulster (entry U929.3) gives more information:

Ceile, comarba Comgaill, scriba & anchorita & apostolicus doctor totius Hibernie, .l.ix. annoetatis sue, .xuiii. die Kl. Octimbris in perigrinatione feliciter Romae quieuit.
1. Tri .ix., .ix. cet do bliadnaib
rimthir fo riaghlaibh reilibh
o gein Crist, gnim cen deni,
co bas caidh Ceili clerig.

which appears in the translation as:

Céile, successor of Comgall, scribe and anchorite and apostolic doctor of all Ireland, rested happily at Rome on his pilgrimage, on the eighteenth day before the Kalends of October 14 Sept., in the 59th year of his age.
(Thrice nine and nine hundred years
Are reckoned by clear rules
Since the year of Christ's birth (a benign occurrence)
Until the holy death of the cleric Céile.)

The full text of entry M927.3 in the Annals of the Four Masters (vol. 2) covers this same event:

Cele Dabhaill, mac Scandail, comharba Comhghaill Beandchair fo Erinn eapscop scribhnidh, proiceptaidh, & doctor ergna, d'ég ina ailithre isin Roimh an 14 do September, & isin naomhadh bliadhain ar caogatt a aoisi. Ba do bliadhain a bháis ro ráidheadh,
1. Tri naoi, naoi c-céd do bhliadhnaibh,
ríomhthar fo riaghlaibh reilibh,
o ghein Críost, gníomh ga n-déine,
co bás cáidh Céle cléirigh.

which appears in the translation as:

Celedabhaill, son of Scannall, successor of Comhgall of Beannchair, throughout Ireland, bishop, scribe, preacher, and learned doctor, died on his pilgrimage at Rome, on the 14th of September, and in the fifty-ninth year of his age. Of the year of his death was said:
1] Three times nine, nine hundred years, are reckoned by plain rules
2] From the birth of Christ, deed of purity, to the holy death of Cele the Cleric.


Further information about the element Céle / Céile, 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.

Special factors which may affect name usage are marked in the context column.

ANindicates a member of an Anglo-Norman family
ASindicates an Anglo-Saxon
Nindicates a Norseman
Pindicates a Pict
Rindicates a person holding a religious office
Sindicates a person from Scotland

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.

AnnalsEntryContextCitation (formatting preserved)
[Céle] (d. ?)
BM906.3RFogartach, mac Cele, tighearna Ua Mic Uais
[Céle] (d. 927-929)
UU928.7RCeile, comarba Comgaill & apostolicus doctor totius Hibernie
BM926.5RCele Dabhail, mac Scannail, do dhol co Róimh dia ailithre a h-abdhaine Bendchair [Note: in this form, Dabhaill seems to be a byname. It only appears in entries for this person in the Annals of the Four Masters.]
UU929.3RCeile, comarba Comgaill, scriba & anchorita & apostolicus doctor totius Hibernie
CSCS929RCele mac Scannail comarba Benncuir
BM927.3RCele Dabhaill, mac Scandail, comharba Comhghaill Beandchair fo Erinn eapscop scribhnidh, proiceptaidh, & doctor [Note: in this form, Dabhaill seems to be a byname. It only appears in entries for this person in the Annals of the Four Masters.]
UU929.3RCeili clerig [Note: this reference uses a byname meaning "cleric".]
BM927.3RCéle cléirigh [Note: this reference uses a byname meaning "cleric".]
[Céle] (d. 952)
UU952.3RCele clam & ancorita ["Céile the leper and anchorite"]
BM950.6RCéle Clamh ancoire Ard Macha
[Céle] (d. 1048)
TT1048.1RCeili, espoc Ardachaidh Espuic Mael
CSCS1048RCele episcopus Ardachaidh
BM1048.1RCéle, epscop Ardachaidh Epscuip Mel
[Céle] (d. 1076)
IM1050.16RCéle mac Donnacáin
UU1076.6RCele m. Donnacan
BI1076.4RCéle mac Donnacáin
BM1076.1RCéle mc. Donnacáin, cenn crabuid h-Erend
[Céile Ua Dubhthaigh] (d. 1209-1210)
U2U1210.4RCeile h-Ua Dubhthaigh, epscop Mhaighi Eo na Saxan
LCLC1210.2RCéle .H. Dubthaigh, espuc Moighe h-Eó
CM1209.1RCele Ua Dubhthaigh epscop Maighe Eo na Saxan
[] (d. ?)
CM1257.3?Maol Pattraicc mac Cele airchinneach Cille h-Aladh
[] (d. ?)
CM1331.1?Comharba Caillín, .i. Giolla na Naomh Mac Cele

Medieval Scotland | Medieval Names Archive | Index of Names in Irish Annals
Feminine Given Names | Feminine Descriptive Bynames | Masculine Given Names | Masculine Descriptive Bynames