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The Duke of Sussex's Irish Manuscript (Rylands Irish MS 22)

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Rylands Irish MS 22 is a copy of Geoffrey Keating's Trí Biorghaoithe an Bháis (1631), made by the well-known scribe Risteard Tuibear in 1710, a professionally made vernacular book, making available for circulation a widely read devotional text. In the last two pages the scribe permitted an apprentice to copy, and as a result he had to write the ending a second time more correctly. Like several other books made by Tuibear, it belonged to Muiris Ó Gormáin in Dublin in the later eighteenth century and is found in his book lists from 1761 and 1772. Inside the front is the book-plate of the Duke of Sussex, and the catalogue of his library from 1827 shows that this is a book given to him by Sir William Betham a year earlier. When the Duke's library was auctioned, this was sold to a London dealer, reappearing in sales between 1866 and 1869. It was bought by the Earl of Crawford and came with all his manuscripts into the Rylands Library, where for its origin and history it stands out from a collection of books largely made for or by Denis Kelly, of Castle Kelly, in the mid-nineteenth century.
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Keywords: Duke of Sussex's library; Irish language manuscripts; Keating's 'Three Darts of Death'; Risteard Tuibear; Rylands collection; acquisition; scribe

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Wadham College, Oxford

Publication date: March 1, 2017

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  • The John Rylands Library houses one of the finest collections of rare books, manuscripts and archives in the world. The collections span five millennia and cover a wide range of subjects, including art and archaeology; economic, social, political, religious and military history; literature, drama and music; science and medicine; theology and philosophy; travel and exploration. For over a century, the Bulletin of the John Rylands Library has published research that complements the Library's special collections. The editors invite the submission of articles in these fields and welcome discussion of in-progress projects.

    Areas of particular interest include, but are not limited to:

    • Manuscript and archive studies
    • Textual transmission and bibliographical studies
    • The histories of printing and publishing
    • The transmission and reception of the Bible
    • The history of religion, with particular regard to evangelical Christianity and the Dissenting and Nonconformist traditions
    • Visual culture, including manuscript illumination and the printed image
    • Social and cultural history, and the history of medicine

    The editors also invite the submission of descriptive articles or shorter notices pertinent to items in the Library collections and those held in other institutions of the University of Manchester. Further information can be found in the Library's Guide to Special Collections.

    The complete archive of the Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, from its first issue in 1903 to Volume 80 (1998) is now available to purchase from Manchester University Press. The integration of the archive brings all of the journal's content together online for the first time, offering the opportunity for the journal's influential research to be easily discovered and browsed.

    The archive complements the current subscription product (1999 to date), and can be purchased on a one-time basis or as an annual subscription. By purchasing or licensing the archive, subscribers to the Bulletin will benefit from access to the complete collection of content back to issue 1.

    To obtain pricing information, please contact Shelly Turner at [email protected].

    Selected articles from the Bulletin are also available via the University of Manchester Library.

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