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Major Research Projects

Beyond 2022: Ireland's Virtual Record Treasury

Beyond 2022Beyond 2022: Ireland's Virtual Record Treasury is an all-island and international research project funded by the Government of Ireland under the Project Ireland 2040 framework. Based in Trinity College Dublin, Beyond 2022 seeks to re-imagine and re-create through virtual reality the Public Record Office of Ireland building, and its archival collections, which were destroyed in the opening engagement of the Irish Civil War. The project’s aim is to create and launch on 30 June 2022 a Virtual Record Treasury for Irish history—an open-access, virtual reconstruction of the Record Treasury destroyed at the PROI in 1922. Through collaboration with its core partners (National Archives of Ireland, The National Archives (UK), Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Irish Manuscripts Commission and Trinity College Dublin Library), Beyond 2022 seeks to locate and identify archival materials relevant to the project’s ambition to reconstruct, to the greatest extent possible, the collections destroyed in 1922.

The Medieval Exchequer Gold Seam aims to reconstruct the medieval Irish financial and administrative records, held at The National Archives (UK). By creating a definitive digital edition using TEI-XML and Knowledge Graph technologies, the Medieval Exchequer Gold Seam will take important steps towards a full reconstruction of the business of the medieval Irish Exchequer. The edition, which will be freely accessible in English translation with associated digital images and searchable metadata, will be a key resource for all researchers interested in medieval Irish politics, warfare, finance and the economy, wider society, cultural interactions, geography, and genealogy.

Associated staff: Peter Crooks (Programme Director/Principal Investigator), Paul Drybugh (TNA Co-investigator), Elizabeth Biggs (TNA Postdoctoral Research Fellow), Lynn Kilgallon (TCD Postdoctoral Research Fellow).

Funding: Government of Ireland, Project Ireland 2040

The Irish Foundation of Carolingian Europe (IFCE): The Case of Calendrical Science (Compotus)

This project, funded by the Irish Research Council, lies at the heart of our understanding of the formation of Europe. The fall of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century and the rise of Islam in the seventh led to a shift from the Mediterranean as the focal point of the known world to a tripartite division with limited interactions (Latin West, Greek East, Arabic South). In the following four centuries, the Latin West developed from its Frankish center to Europe in the form and with the ethnicities and states that we know today. But was the intellectual formation of Europe a development that owed principally to the Carolingian Empire (and its ‘Renaissance’) around the pivotal figure of Charlemagne (†814)? Or were the intellectual achievements of the periphery of the previous century instrumental in shaping European history?

This project aims at systematically analysing the Irish contribution to the intellectual formation of Europe on the basis of one subject, computus (calendrical science). It seeks to define and contextualise the achievements of the Irish ‘Golden Age’ and to study its impact on Carolingian Europe, on three levels: 1) edition, translation, and commentary of the two most important texts, the Computus Einsidlensis and Dicuil’s Liber de astronomia, with the aim of defining Irish diagnostic features (‘objects’). 2) A newly developed digital ‘Object Based Catalogue’ of computistical manuscripts pre-AD 900 which will make it possible to trace the transmission of Irish ideas (the ‘objects’) and reconstruct continental networks of Irish thought. 3) A synthesis of the findings of this project in monograph form.

Associated TCD Staff: Immo Warntjes, Philipp E. Nothaft

Funding: IRC (2020-22)

The Battle of Clontarf (1014)

The Battle of Clontarf website was created for students and the public to provide access to historical and archaeological information and resources on one of the most emblematic battles in Irish history. The web pages include sections on social context and daily-life in Viking-Age Ireland; the political background and rivalries that led to the battle on Good Friday, 23 April 1014; and the key figures at the battle. Dynamic interactive maps enable exploration of viking raids and settlement development, Brian Boru’s military campaigns and what happened on Good Friday, 23 April 1014.

  • Project team: Professor Sean Duffy, Roman Bleier, Dr Cherie Peters, Dr Eoin O'Flynn, Dr Sparky Booker, Dr Caoimhe Whelan. High Performance Computing: Dermot Frost; Juliusz Filipowski; Paddy Doyle
  • Funding: Ireland’s EU structural Funds Programme (2012–13); Trinity Long Room Hub


The Irish Chancery Project seeks to reconstruct the records of the medieval Irish chancery, which were destroyed by the explosion and fire at the Four Courts in 1922. In the absence of the original rolls of chancery, the project team drew on copies, antiquarian transcripts and calendars ranging in date from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries and surviving in repositories in Ireland, England and North America. The result is the Calendar of Irish Chancery Letters, c.1244–1509 (known as CIRCLE). The publication of CIRCLE in 2012 provided both specialist researchers and the general public with ready access to an unparalleled source of information for the first time.

  • Associated TCD Staff: Peter Crooks, David Ditchburn, Sean Duffy, Katharine Simms. Associated universities: Bristol, Durham, Reading, St Andrews
  • Funding: British Academy; Leverhulme Trust; IRCHSS (2008-11)

Investigating the Book of Kells: Learning through Art and Science

The aim of the project is to share, exploit and analyse in a teaching environment the latest research into the Book of Kells, the word-famous and iconic manuscript preserved in Trinity College Dublin. This aim will be achieved through the design of two innovative modules on the Book of Kells, one offered to extramural students and the other to M.Phil students registered for programmes in arts-based disciplines, including History and History of Art. Both modules are interdisciplinary in approach and informed by the latest research which has been undertaken by art historians, botanists, chemists, computer scientists, geologists, physicists and historians, as well as by conservationists. The lectures will be delivered by experts from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds. Each module will also be accompanied by a web-based tutorial package to support the lecture programme. Graduate students will also be expected to participate in inquiry-led seminar discussions; and extramural students will have a question and answer session after each lecture.

  • Associated TCD Staff: David Ditchburn and Roger Stalley.
  • Funding: NAIRTL (2010–11)

Medieval Liturgical MSS in the Library of Trinity College Dublin


Source of Image: TCD MS 78, f. 139v (late 15th c.):  Office of St Brigit, ‘Adest dies leticie’.

The project, under the direction of Dr Ann Buckley, involves the preparation of a descriptive catalogue of Trinity’s holdings of Irish medieval liturgical manuscripts. They include eleven service-books – antiphonaries, breviaries, and missals – ranging in date from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries. Largely of Sarum Use, along with Carmelite, Arroasian and Franciscan, they represent over half of all post-twelfth-century Irish liturgical manuscripts known to survive, and the largest collection with music notation.

            Mainly from Dublin and the greater Leinster region, the sources have a central bearing on questions such as the impact of the twelfth-century reforms of the Irish church on liturgical practice in its insular and Euopean contexts; continuites and discontinuities in the veneration of local saints; and the role and influence of hagiographers in fashioning new literary and musical texts to meet the requirements of incoming Anglo-Norman secular and ecclesiastical patrons. Valuable insights are provided by the presence of Proper offices for the celebration of feast days for Irish saints found, uniquely, with their chant melodies in some of these sources. However, their importance lies not only in their local Irish content: for example, the Kilcormac Missal (MS 82) is the only surviving Carmelite missal from all of Ireland and Britain; and a fragment bound into MS 1305 (ff. 19r–20v) contains one of the earliest surviving texts of the Sarum Missal. Thus these materials occupy a significant place in mapping late medieval insular liturgies as a whole.

Related Events

An international workshop entitled ‘Medieval Insular Liturgical Manuscripts with Music:
Local, Regional and European Perspectives’ took place on 16–17 June 2015 with the support of the Trinity Long Room Hub Research Incentive Scheme (2014–15). This was accompanied by an exhibition of a selection of these manuscripts by courtesy of the Manuscripts and Archives Research Library. The event concluded with a recital in the College Chapel of chant for Irish saints edited from these sources.

Associated Publications

  • ‘Letetur Hibernia’: Music, Liturgy and Saints of the Medieval Irish Church and its European Cultural Legacy, ed. Ann Buckley (Turnhout: Brepols, forthcoming 2016).

Adest Dies Leticie

Last updated 18 March 2021 (Email).