Thursday 19 September 2019

Manuscript returns to Ireland after 400 years

Trinity's Professor in Medieval History Sean Duffy, Principal Curator of Manuscripts & Research Library Jane Maxwell and Head of Research Collections and the Keeper of Manuscripts, Bernard Meehan. Photo: Maxwells
Trinity's Professor in Medieval History Sean Duffy, Principal Curator of Manuscripts & Research Library Jane Maxwell and Head of Research Collections and the Keeper of Manuscripts, Bernard Meehan. Photo: Maxwells
An excerpt from the manuscript
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

An ancient Irish manuscript has returned to Ireland - 400 years after it left the country.

The manuscript - created in Dublin's St Mary's Abbey 700 years ago - was bought by Trinity College at auction in Christie's in London last year. It was the first Irish medieval manuscript to be offered for public sale in a century.

The Cistercian Abbey of St Mary's was the wealthiest monastic house in medieval Ireland and a place where parliament, which had no permanent building in the city, regularly met.

The manuscript was produced after a devastating fire at the Abbey in 1304 and details life inside the walls.

It also includes an account of the Trojan War, detailed descriptions of the topography of Ireland and Geoffrey of Monmouth's 'The History of the Kings of Britain'.

After the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII in the 16th century, the manuscript fell into private hands. A small cluster of other medieval manuscripts from St Mary's Abbey survive in major libraries.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News