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Book of the De Burgos

Gaelic manuscripts produced during the late medieval period in Ireland were typically plain and unadorned, but what distinguishes Seanchas Búrcach from other manuscripts of the period is its unusual visual style. Its vivid illustrations, although crudely executed, are intensely realistic. Shown here is one of the MacWilliam Burke ancestors, Tomás Mac Emoind Albanach (d. 1402). Against an arresting backdrop of red and blue, this medieval warrior has an almost cartoon-like quality, his sword and shield held dramatically aloft. The colours appear to leap off the page, drawing one's eye to the huge, green hound at his side.

The manuscript is one of the last of the great family books written in Irish and is one of the most iconic from the Irish language collection held in the Library of Trinity College Dublin.

Shelfmark: TCD MS 1440

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.