ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSThis thesis for the degree of Ph.D. at Dublin University is based on research carriedout under the auspices of the School of Celtic Studies in the Dublin Institute forAdvanced Studies from October 1972 to April 1974. My thanks are due to the Boardof the School for the award of a scholarship during this period enabling me toundertake this research.For my sources, I am indebted in the first place to my predecessors in the field, S.ÓDuilearga, N.M.Holmer and H.Wagner, on whose published collections I have drawn.In the second place, and more directly, I am immensely indebted to my informants inthe Munster Gaeltachts, in particular to Seán Tóibín of Ring, Pádraig Ó Drisceoil of Cape Clear, Neil Bean Uí Ríordáin from Cúil Aodha and Dónall Ó Gairbhia of DúnChaoin. But for their unfaltering patience, courtesy and kindness, this thesis couldnever have got off the ground.Mr E.G.Quin of Dublin University supervised my work and his gentle encouragementand discrete but penetrating criticisms have been an aid that only one who saw thework in its earlier stages can fully appreciate. Professor Máirtín Ó Murchú of DublinUniversity read the work at an early stage and offered constructive suggestions.Professors David Greene and Breandán Ó Buachalla of the Dublin Institute forAdvanced Studies read each successive draft and contributed much positive adviceand many valuable suggestions based on their intimate knowledge of the field. Tothem and to all those colleagues who have contributed an idea here and a stimulusthere, I express my deepest gratitude. If the resulting work is a positive contributionto the field, their part in this must not be underestimated - for its shortcomings Ialone must bear the responsibility.