Catalóg Lámhscríbhínní na hÉireann ar líne / Medieval Irish Manuscripts Online Cataloguing Project

Since 2013 work has been underway in M&ARL to make available online the full catalogue of Trinity College Library’s significant medieval to early modern Irish language manuscripts. The catalogue, previously only available in the 1921 published format (Catalogue of Irish Manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College Dublin TK Abbott & EJ Gwynn, Dublin: 1921), is expected to be complete in 2016 and will greatly enhance how scholars and students can search for, and access, catalogue information to these manuscripts.

TCD MS 1282, fol 55r, the Annals of Ulster. Describing the events of 1014, dominated by the Battle of Clontarf.

TCD MS 1282, fol 55r, the Annals of Ulster. Describing the events of 1014, dominated by the Battle of Clontarf.

Trinity College Library is a major repository of over 240 manuscripts in Irish, ranging from medieval to early modern volumes which include the Book of Leinster, (TCD MS 1339, 12th century), the Annals of Ulster (TCD MS 1282, late 15th/early 16th century),the Yellow Book of Lecan (TCD MS 1318, late 14th/early 15th century) and the Book of the de Burgos (TCD MS 1440, 16th century). The purpose of the project is to make available through MARLOC full catalogue descriptions for the entire medieval Irish collection. Currently, summary descriptions for all of the Irish manuscripts are already available, with full descriptions for many, and further descriptions being added weekly. There are also links in the descriptions to digitised images from the manuscripts on ISOS and on Digital Collections TCD When complete, the online resource will be fully searchable (users can search by manuscript number, name, placename, title, first lines, etc.) and will contain much addenda from the published catalogue.

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TCD MS 1440, fol 21r, the Book of the de Burgos. Portrait of Tomás Mac Emoind

TCD MS 1440, fol 21r, the Book of the de Burgos. Portrait of Tomás Mac Emoind.


Four Seasons in One Day

TCD MS 1282 30r Four Seasons in one DayRTÉ Cork visited Trinity College Library recently to film the Annals of Ulster (TCD MS 1282), one of the most well-known medieval Irish chronicles in M&ARL’s collections, as part of a new series ‘Four Seasons in One Day: Ireland’s Weather with John Creedon’.

Creedon’s journey will see him investigating stories from history, science, folklore, archaeology and modern life in order to examine how the weather has influenced our landscape and our nation. The programme looks at what causes our weather to be the way it is; how has it shaped us; and how we deal with it in our daily lives.

Examining the Annals of Ulster, Creedon interviewed Dr Francis Ludlow of Yale Climate & Energy Institute, Yale University (formerly of the School of Natural Sciences, TCD), who gave a fascinating insight into how, over 1200 years, Irish annalistic records have preserved records of extreme weather. Ludlow looked at the entry for the year 738 A.D. on folio 30r of the manuscript, which features the famous battle of Ath Senaig (Ballyshannon, Co. Kildare) between the Uí Neill King of Tara and the Laigin (or Leinstermen). This date corresponds to a very severe drought, registered in Irish oak tree-rings by very low growth. He also discussed how extreme weather events like this might contribute to increased violence in medieval Ireland. There are many reasons why any given year might have witnessed increased violence (e.g. existing or ongoing political tensions), but what the weather may contribute is an increase in these tensions by causing poor harvests and scarcity. Rival leaders might also see an opportunity to attack their weakened enemies during such years.

The first episode of this three-part series will be broadcast on Sunday 10 August 2014 on RTÉ ONE.

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