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‘Aon amharc ar Éirinn’: Irish families and their manuscripts

Library Lunchtime Lecture series exploring Irish families and their manuscripts.

Behind every manuscript in the Academy collection lie the very real people from the past, the scribes, compilers and patrons of those manuscripts with all their varied interests, ambitions, and their particular view of the world and their place in it. The manuscripts in our collection are the principal tools for understanding the world of those scribes, scholars, patrons, keepers and readers of manuscripts, the leading families of medieval Ireland.

The learned class formed part of the court of the native elite and they were accorded prominence in Irish society and were rewarded with hereditary tenure of land and other
forms of wealth in return for their services. They maintained important schools of learning, where students were trained and manuscripts were copied. Many of them retained their privileged status down to the end of the sixteenth century.

From July 2013 to February 2014, the Academy Library curated an exhibition which explored the themes of Seanchas ─ ‘the memory and narrative of Irish history as preserved and written from the early medieval period to the writing of histories of Ireland in the seventeenth century’; Filíocht ─ poetry; Reacht ─ law; Leaghas ─ medicine; and Creideamh ─ religion, as well as the stories of those who made these great books of Ireland.

The related publication Aon amharc ar Éirinn: Gaelic families and their manuscripts is available for purchase from our webshop.

Location: Academy House
Date: October - November 2013

The Royal Irish Academy has prepared this content responsibly and carefully, but disclaims all warranties, express or implied, as to the accuracy of the information contained in any of the materials. The views expressed are the authors’ own and not those of the Royal Irish Academy.


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