Vol. 5: Watson, Seosamh.

Type: Article

Watson, Seosamh. ‘Laoi Chab an Dosáin: Background to a late Ossianic Ballad’, Eighteenth-century Ireland/Iris an dá chultúr, Vol. 5 (1990), pp 37-44.

This article discusses fourteen manuscript versions of Laoi Chab an Dosáin, “perhaps the most obscene literary piece in pre-modern Irish literature”. Included is a summary of the plot of the poem from Dáithí Ó hÓgáin’s Fionn mac Cumhaill, a survey of Finn-literature, and Robin Flower’s description of the lay as ‘pseudo-Ossianic’. Watson discusses the variants in the manuscripts and the way in which changes have been made to the original story. He also considers the regional origins of the manuscripts and the folk tale, and the relationship between folk tradition and Irish manuscript literature. Watson argues that the later omission of obscene episodes in the poem shows an attempt to adapt the original folk material for literary use.