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Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts

The Irish language manuscript holdings of the Academy have been catalogued in detail in the descriptive catalogue published under the title Catalogue of Irish manuscripts in the Royal Irish Academy (28 fasc., Dublin, 1926-1970). For more information on the printed catalogue read Elizabeth FitzPatrick's A brief introduction (Dublin, 1988).

Annals of Connacht

A major historical resource for the province of Connacht, the Annals of Connacht place special emphasis on the O’Conor family, ancient rulers of Connacht.

Annals of the Four Masters

The renowned Annals of the Four Masters chronicles the history of Ireland from pre history to 1616, the year in which Hugh O’Neill, the ‘Great O’Neill’, Earl of Tyrone, died.

Astronomical and Medical Tract

An Arabic astronomical tract and a medieval medical treatise are rendered into Irish in this 15th century compilation. Copiously illustrated.

Beatha Aodha Ruaidh Uí Dhomhnaill / Life of Red Hugh O’Donnell

Earliest surviving version of a seventeenth-century biography of Aodh Ruadh Ó Domhnaill / Red Hugh O’Donnell.

Book of Ballymote

A “bolg an tsoláthair” or miscellany, the Book of Ballymote is an iconic and hugely important 14th century manuscript containing key texts such as the Book of Invasions, Book of Rights, Dindshenchas etc.

Book of Fenagh

The Book of Fenagh is a sixteenth-century O’Roddy compilation of prose and verse based on the Book of St Caillín.

Book of Fermoy

Containing material relating to the Roche family, poems of Gearóid Iarla and the Book of invasions, the Book of Fermoy is an important Munster compilation. 

Book of Hours (A Rouen Book of Hours of the Sarum use)

French Book of Hours once owned by Mary Queen of Scots. 

Book of Knockninny ~ Leabhar Chnoc Ninne

The Irish language manuscript known as the Book of Knockninny was compiled in 1718 for Brian Mág Uidhir of Knockninny, Co. Fermanagh. It contains a selection of historical poems and prose texts and is usually referred to as the Book of Knockninny.

The Book of O’Lees [‘Book of Hy-Brasil’]: Medical treatise

The Book of O’Lees is an iconic medieval medical text translated into Irish from a Latin version of an Arabic text. Its format is unique in the Irish canon and its history is both colourful and dramatic. 

Book of O'Loghlen - Leabhar Uí Lochlainn

The Book of O'Loghlen is an eighteenth-century duanaire or book of praise poems compiled by the renowned scribe Aindrias Mac Cruitín in honour of the O’Loghlens of the Burren, County Clare.

Book of Uí Mhaine / The Book of Hy Many / The Book of the O’Kellys / Book of Ó Dubhagáin

A “bolg an tsoláthair” or a bag of mixed content, The Book of Hy Many is the work of  multiple scribes based in Uí Mhaine. It contains genealogies, historical and religious material. 

Books of Survey and Distribution

Taylor set, 1674–5, sixteen volumes, late seventeenth-century documents recording changes in Irish landownership since 1640

The Cathach / The Psalter of St Columba

The earliest surviving Irish manuscript, this Psalter of St Columba, purportedly copied by St Colm Cille/Columba, gave rise to the earliest copyright declaration.

Domnach Airgid

The Domnach Airgid, fragments of a medieval gospel book, possibly associated with St Cairthinn, Abbot of Clones.

Foras Feasa Ar Éirinn

Introduction to the seminal Geoffrey Keating history of Ireland, Foras Feasa Ar Éirinn, and its textual transmission over three centuries.

Guild of St Anne (Dublin), 13th – 19th century

The medieval Guild of St Anne received charitable donations and bequests of property in Dublin. Its archival records are an important source for the history of the medieval city and county of Dublin.

Leabhar Breac / The Speckled Book / The Book of Mac Egans / Leabhar Mór Dúna Doighre

Leabhar BreacThe Speckled Book, a miscellany of historical, literary and religious texts.

Leabhar Chlainne Suibhne (The Book of the Mac Sweeneys)

The Book of the Mac Sweeneys, a compilation of praise poems, devotional texts and history of the Mac Sweeneys of Fanad is an important manuscript relating to Fanad, Co. Donegal.

Leabhar Gabhála / The Book of the Invasions

The origin legend known as Leabhar Gabhála or The Book of the Invasions exists in many variant versions, in poetry and prose. 

Leabhar Mór Leacain / The Book of Lecan

 The Book of Lecan is a major 14th – 15th century compilation of historical, genealogical, biblical and hagiographical material.

Lebor na hUidre / The Book of the Dun Cow

Traditionally associated with a relic of St Ciarán of Clonmacnoise, The Book of the Dun Cow is the earliest surviving manuscript with literature in Irish and contains the earliest recorded version of the Táin Bó Cuailgne story and many other legends and tales.

Liber Flavus Fergusiorum

Named for a former owner, Dr John Fergus, the Liber Flavus Fergusiorum contains a miscellany of religious material, legends and a translation of the medieval French tale of Fortinbras.

Missale Romanum

The Missale Romanum is a 14th century Augustinian missal from Italy.

Rule of St. Clare - Riaghail Ar Máthar Naomhtha S. Clára

A tiny gem, the Rule of St. Clare translated to Irish for the use of the Poor Clares by Míchéal Ó Cléirigh and Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh.

Stowe Missal and Gospel of St. John

The Stowe Missal and Gospel of St. John is the earliest extant manuscript book of the Irish church provides important evidence for the form of liturgy in use in Ireland. The Missal also contains the earliest substantial prose tract in Irish and is bound with a pocket Gospel of St John.

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