A manuscript dating back to the early 14th century has been returned to Dublin after 400 years.
Acquired by Trinity College Library in 2014, the manuscript, which was produced at St Mary’s Abbey in Dublin, was lost to the world of scholarship when it fell into private hands after the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII during the 16th century. It was eventually purchased by the first Earl Somers in the 18th century.
Last November, it was acquired by Trinity College Library at a Christie’s auction in London. It is the first Irish medieval manuscript to have been offered for public sale in over 100 years.
The manuscript includes legal texts, an account of the Trojan war, the Topography of Ireland and Conquest of Ireland and works by Giraldus Cambrensis (Gerald of Wales, died 1223), RTE reports.
The Cistercian Abbey where the manuscript was produced was the wealthiest monastic house in medieval Ireland. Parliament would meet there regularly, as it had no permanent building in the city.
A Latin inscription of ownership in the manuscript translates as, "A book of the community of the house of the nourishing Virgin Mary near Dublin.”
Librarian and College Archivist Helen Shenton said the manuscript contains a "considerable body of new information which will help to re-evaluate the history and culture of St Mary’s Abbey and the civic life of Dublin in the 14th and 15th centuries.”
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