The Trinity College Dublin: Early Irish Manuscripts Project

Dr Rachel Moss

In 2014 The Department of Preservation and Conservation and Department of History of Art and Architecture at Trinity College were awarded funding by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch art conservation project. Funding was for the conservation, digitisation and research into four Insular Gospel books; Codex Usserianus Primus (TCD MS 55), Book of Dimma (TCD MS 59), Book of Mulling (TCD MS 60) and the Garland of Howth (TCD MS 56). The principal conservation work required was the remounting of folios from Codex Usserianus Primus and rebinding of the Book of Dimma. Pigment analysis was also carried out on the manuscripts. All four manuscripts were digitised and published online, hosted on the Trinity digital collections website (see below).

In order to maximise the visibility of the project a project blog was established and short slide sequences relating different aspects of the project were displayed on screens at the entrance to the College campus. Towards end of project an online exhibition giving brief overview of project with links to videos on each manuscript, was created, with a link from the TCD Library homepage. Two publications, one with academic findings, one directed towards a popular audience were also produced.

The momentum gained by the project has led to the continued digitisation of the Insular manuscripts in the TCD collections, which is now almost complete. One of the key challenges remains directing as wide an audience as possible to the digital material. One strategy for this is the launch in October 2018 of a MOOC dealing with the Book of Kells, which will place the wider collection of surviving Insular manuscripts in the context of this more famous work.

Dr Rachel Moss
Trinity College Dublin
June 2018

Links to digitised manuscripts

Usserianus Primus

Detail of Codex Usserianus Primus (TCD MS 55, f.109v)

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