Tag Archives: 12th century

St Mullin’s

The Book of Mulling (TCD MS 60) is traditionally associated with the ecclesiastical site of St Mullin’s in Co. Carlow, located on the picturesque banks of the river Barrow (fig. 1). This was a strategic location, overlooking the border between the ancient territories of Leinster and Ossory, and at a crossing point of the river. The river provided easy access to the coast, a benefit in some ways, but one that left it prone to Viking attack in 824/5, 888, 915 and again in 951.

St Mullin's ©
Fig. 1 St Mullin’s today © R. Moss.

St Mullin’s was renowned as a place of pilgrimage, possibly stretching back to pre-Christian times and the festival of Lughnasa.  Continue reading St Mullin’s

The Shrine of the Book of Dimma

This shrine was made in the 12th century to enclose the 8th-century Gospel Book known as the Book of Dimma (TCD MS 59; see previous post) but, like many book-shrines, it was significantly altered in subsequent centuries, in particular in the late Middle Ages and the 19th century.

It is made of bronze, silver and gilt silver, with blue glass beads, a few blue stone cabochons (lapis lazuli?) and some remains of niello inlay. It is a tight fit for the manuscript, which implies that there is no space for a wooden core, as was often the case for book-shrines. It is however possible that the box was originally larger, and reduced in the course of later refurbishments.

Fig. 1 Front of the shrine of the Book of Dimma, Ireland, 12th century and 1380-1407, 19 x 16.1 x 5 cm. TCD © The Board of Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin. 2015.

The appearance of the front (fig. 1) is largely the result of a late-medieval refurbishment whose commissioner and craftsman are commemorated in the inscription in Lombardic script running along the framing strips (fig. 1a-d): Continue reading The Shrine of the Book of Dimma