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Book of Leinster

Most famously, it contains the Irish 'Book of Genesis' (Lebor Gabála Érenn), which establishes the place of Ireland, the Irish people and their language in a biblical world setting. The Irish language, according to this book, was created after the confusion at the Tower of Babel. It claims that Irish avoided all the 'shortcomings' and 'confusion' found in the other languages and was thus deserving of special recognition. This origin legend was particularly relevant in medieval times when Irish was threatened by the enormous prestige of Latin.

A very important version of the famous Irish saga Táin Bó Cúailnge (Cattle Raid of Cooley) and the story of the warrior Cú Chulainn is also included in the Book of Leinster. This page is from the Dindshenchas (place-name lore), opening with the words: Temuir, unde nominatur (Tara, whence is it named).

Shelfmark: TCD MS 1339, p. 159

Caoimhe Ní Ghormáin

Caoimhe Ní Ghormáin is an Archivist in the Department of Manuscripts & Archives. Holding an MPhil in Early Irish, Caoimhe has a special interest in medieval and early-modern Irish manuscripts, as well as in Irish literary archives. She has worked with a diverse range of collections such as Oscar Wilde, John Banville and Máirtín Ó Cadhain.