Saturday 19 September 2020

CorkHi18°| Lo11°

Cork Independent

Lifestyle & Leisure

Pages for the ages

Wednesday, 12th August, 2020 5:33pm

Ireland’s modern-day Book of Kells has been in Cork since 2012 and will this month have its fascinating story told in a new RTÉ One documentary.

The Great Book of Ireland, (Leabhar Mór na hÉireann) is an extraordinary 278 page, single volume, vellum manuscript which features original works from 121 artists, 144 poets and nine composers from across the country.

The one of a kind manuscript contains many invaluable Irish works including Samuel Beckett’s last handwritten poem, along with poems from Seamus Heaney and a young Michael D Higgins, the current President of Ireland.

The documentary, simply entitled ‘The Great Book of Ireland’, was commissioned by UCC and explores the book’s history from its conception in 1989 as a means to help fund a number of support organisations for Irish artists and writers.

Conceived and edited by Cork-born poet and writer Theo Dorgan of Poetry Ireland and Gene Lambert of Clashganna Mills, the manuscript called upon artists, writers, poets and composers to contribute in their own medium what they believed represented their hopes, fears, dreams, or imaginings in the Ireland of that particular time.

The book took two years to complete, with contributors working directly onto large vellum pages, with their work then unified by calligrapher Denis Browne.

Artists who contributed include Louis le Brocquy, Barrie Cooke, Patrick Scott, Tony O’Malley, Dorothy Cross, Pauline Bewick and Sonja Landweer.

Among the contributing writers were Michael Longley, Eavan Boland, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Dennis O’Driscoll and John Montague. Bono and Daniel Day-Lewis also feature in the manuscript.

According to UCC’s Chief Librarian John FitzGerald, UCC acquired the book in 2012 for €1 million so that it could be “preserved, promoted, and displayed in perpetuity on behalf of the Irish people”.

He said: “The Great Book of Ireland is a tribute to the depth of Ireland’s art and culture and through the documentary we hope to illustrate the creativity, skill, and passion behind this remarkable book.”

‘The Great Book of Ireland’ documentary will premiere nationwide on RTÉ One at 22.10pm on Thursday 20 August.

To display the book itself, UCC has announced its intention to develop a Treasures Gallery in its Boole Library in the near future.

The proposed new gallery would be a fully secure and serviced space, providing for public display and interpretation of a variety of important artefacts.

Commenting on the proposed gallery, the President of UCC, Professor Patrick O’Shea, said: “Our ambition is that The Great Book of Ireland becomes a destination to visit on our campus so that the public can experience the imagination and beauty of this remarkable Irish cultural treasure.”

The Great Book of Ireland would be the centrepiece of the Treasures Gallery which would also include other items currently in the UCC collection including an ancient Irish manuscript from the 12th century known as The Regensburg Manuscript Fragment, the private papers of George Boole, considered the father of the computer age, and some of the most important heritage collections relating to the Munster region.

“There is no venue in Cork to view the kinds of artefacts held and displayed at the National Museum of Ireland, National Library of Ireland, Royal Irish Academy, or Chester Beatty Library. With the necessary support we want to create a stunning attraction in this region,” concluded Prof O’Shea.

ePaper Service

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8
Desktop, Tablet & Smartphone friendly
Cookies on Cork Independent website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. We also use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Cork Independent website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time by amending your browser settings.
How does Cork Independent use cookies?
Cookies enable us to identify your device, or you when you have logged in. We use cookies that are strictly necessary to enable you to move around the site or to provide certain basic features. We use cookies to enhance the functionality of the website by storing your preferences, for example. We also use cookies to help us to improve the performance of our website to provide you with a better user experience.
We don't sell the information collected by cookies, nor do we disclose the information to third parties, except where required by law (for example to government bodies and law enforcement agencies).
Hide Message