Shining a new light on Ireland’s medieval past


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Shining a new light on Ireland’s medieval past Shining a new light on Ireland’s medieval past

Historian and author Elizabeth Boyle will discuss the Book of Uí Mhaine and its connections to Galway, at an event in Kennys’ Bookshop in the city’s Liosbán Retail Park next Tuesday, May 23, at 6pm.  Dr Boyle, of Maynooth University, will be in conversation with Tomás Kenny about the recently published Book of Uí Mhaine (Royal Irish Academy 2023).

Along with Professor Ruairí Ó hUiginn (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies), she is the co-editor of the new book, which investigates the fourteenth century Irish manuscript of the same name, one of the most important manuscripts of late medieval Ireland.

It was written over a period of seven years for Muircheartach Ó Ceallaigh, bishop of Clonfert and later archbishop of Tuam (d. 1407), probably in the ancient territory of Uí Mhaine (which covered east Galway, south Roscommon, part of Clare and part of Offaly). It was the work of many scholars and a diverse collection of information that was considered vital for a bishop to know in fourteenth-century Ireland.

The new book examines all aspects of the manuscript, including its production, its medieval texts, its decoration and its later history. Experts from Irish and UK universities have contributed to the publication which sheds new light on the manuscript.  In addition, the many illustrations contain examples of its beautiful scripts and decorated initials.

A highlight is an edition and translation by Professor Liam Breatnach of a previously unpublished medieval Irish poem, which may date from the twelfth or thirteenth century, and which discusses all sorts of occupations held by people in medieval Ireland, from musicians to doctors, silversmiths to comb-makers.

All are welcome to next Tuesday’s event at Kennys’ Bookshop in Liosbán when copies of the new book will be available to purchase. This event is free to attend, but ticketed, and people are asked to go or call 091-709350 to book their tickets.

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