Manuscripts for Medieval Studies: Virtual Trinity Library project supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York

The Library is delighted to announce the start of the Manuscripts for Medieval Studies project. The project will seek to research, catalogue, conserve, digitise and share 16 medieval manuscripts of international research significance.

The project is part of the newly launched Virtual Trinity Library Programme. Its outputs will be presented in the Library’s Digital Collections platform, allowing us to share our collections with communities around the world, to catalyse research and educational dissemination on a global scale, whilst ensuring the preservation of our collections for generations to come.

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Women of the Cuala – Maire ‘Molly’ Gill

On This Day in 1891, Maire ‘Mollie’ Gill was born and to mark Women’s History Month 2021, we have another blog post in our Women of the Cuala series. Maire ‘Mollie’ Gill (1891-1977) was born in Murphystown Co. Dublin to James and Jane Gill on the 24th of March 1891. Maire’s older sister Jane worked at Dun Emer Industries and in 1908, when Jane left to get married, seventeen-year-old Maire took her place, working under Elizabeth C. Yeats (1868-1940) in the newly formed Cuala Press. Gill was now at the center of the Cultural Revival, meeting W.B. Yeats and Maud Gonne (1866-1953). Gill became a member of Inghinidhe na hÉireann, the women’s organization founded by Maud Gonne. Through her involvement with Inghinidhe na hÉireann, Gill became increasingly politicized and was one of the first members of Cumann na mBan. She was also on the executive committee of the Irish Republican Prisoners’ Dependent Fund and was later awarded a medal for her part in the War of Independence. 

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Commissioning a replica of the Castle Otway Harp

Anyone who has ever visited The Long Room at Trinity College will have seen the Brian Boru harp. Fewer will be familiar with a second harp owned by Trinity College, known as the Castle Otway harp. This harp is not normally on public display, but every year, at the Historical Harp Society of Ireland’s Scoil na gCláirseach field trip, a small group of us get the rare opportunity to view the Castle Otway harp in the Henry Jones Room.

Simon Chadwick and members of the Early Irish Harp summer school 2019 examining the Castle Otway harp in the Henry Jones Room

The Brian Boru harp and Castle Otway harp are both surviving examples of old Irish wire strung harps. This tradition came to an end around 200 years ago, but there is growing interest in reviving and playing this old type of Irish harp with metal strings. Because this tradition was orally transmitted, the way of playing was lost. Present-day players therefore rely on research and on reconstructed playing techniques to learn the old Irish harp and to connect to past traditions.

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