The Book of Lismore, which was created in the 15th century and is widely considered one of the great books of Ireland, has been donated by the Trustees of the Chatsworth Settlement to University College Cork (UCC).
The book contains some of the greatest masterpieces of medieval Irish literature and consists of 198 large vellum folios.
Created at Kilbrittain, it also contains important texts, many drawn from Irish tradition and others that are translations of contemporary European works.
The book was compiled for Fínghin Mac Carthaigh, Lord of Carbery (1478–1505) and became known as Leabhar Mhic Cárthaigh Riabhaigh.
It begins with religious-themed material, before passing on to material in translation: the History of the Lombards and the Conquests of Charlemagne.
The book also contains the only surviving translation in Irish of the travels of Marco Polo.
It concludes with the exploits of the popular mythological hero Fionn mac Cumhaill and the Fianna, as told in the lengthy tale known as Agallamh na Seanórach.
UCC will welcome the book back to Cork with a special virtual event today.
The Book of Lismore will eventually be displayed in a Treasures Gallery that UCC plans to develop in its Boole Library.
This publicly accessible gallery will serve as an attractive destination for visitors to the region.
The President of UCC, Professor John O’Halloran said he is delighted to welcome The Book of Lismore to UCC.
“This is a very historic moment. The Book of Lismore is a vital symbol of our cultural heritage. The donation emphasises the central connection between Cork and Gaelic learning through the ages. This extraordinary act of generosity by the Duke of Devonshire reaffirms the shared understanding between our respective countries and cultures, an understanding that is based on enlightenment, civility and common purpose.”
The Book of Lismore will now form the foundation for the co-ordinated study of the Gaelic manuscript in text, script and structural components in UCC both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.