Rare medieval manuscripts on display in Trinity

The display is part of a monthly lecture series ‘Beyond the Book of Kells’

An early copy of An Táin, the first copy of the New Testament and a hymn book are among
the rare manuscripts that will be available to the public this week. The display is part of a monthly lecture series and accompanying digitisation project at Trinity College Dublin.

The lecture series is led by Dr. Faulkner from the School of English and is part of a broader ‘book cultures’ research theme run in association with the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute, the Faculty of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, and the Library of Trinity College Dublin.

In a press statement, Dr Mark Faulkner, said: “Trinity’s extraordinary collection of medieval manuscripts survive mostly thanks to James Ussher, a Dublin native and scholar who rose to become primate of Ireland as archbishop of Armagh. As a consequence Trinity’s collection of manuscripts is unusually coherent, embodying in microcosm the entire breadth of medieval thought.”

Helen Shenton, Librarian and College Archivist added: “We’re committed to widening knowledge of, and virtual access to, this great collection of medieval manuscripts which Trinity College Dublin stewards on behalf of the nation. Each volume is written by hand and is uniquely illustrated. Each newly digitised volume reveals hidden layers of history, politics, art history, philosophy, morality, religion which both illuminate our past and have unexpected resonance for today.”

The Manuscripts include,  The Book of Leinster, the largest collect of Irish myth and history before the arrival of the English copy, The Book of Armagh, which includes an array of important texts on St. Patrick, a 15th century choir book over 50cm in length, a lavish 14th century book of psalms filled with mythical creatures, and a Wycliffite book of psalms.

As part of the free lecture series ‘Beyond the Book of Kells’, Irish and international experts will explain the historical importance of each of the manuscripts. The first series will  begin on October 3rd led by Dr Laura Cleaver, Ussher lecturer in Medieval Art.