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Govt to ask for 900-year-old manuscript back from Oxford University

The Annals of Inisfallen – written in 1092 – have been on display in the Bodleian Library.

Image: Bodleian library in Oxford via Shutterstock

THE GOVERNMENT HAS said it is to ask for a 900-year-old manuscript to be returned to Ireland from Oxford University.

The Annals of Inisfallen – believed to have been written in Tipperary beginning in 1092 – have been kept at the Bodleian Library for more than 250 years.

The Annals contain more than 2,500 entries of  daily life over a period of several hundred years – including weather and monastic activities –  written on vellum by monks in Emly,  before being moved to other monasteries in the region.

The manuscript was bequeathed to the library in the 18th century by Richard Rawlinson, a clerygyman and antiquarian collector of books and manuscripts.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan has told the Dáil that he intends to ask for the manuscript back so they can be housed in Muckross House in Killarney.

In a diplomatically-worded response to Fianna Fáil TD Seán Ó Fearghaíl, Deenihan said:

… It is my intention to raise the matter with the library authorities at the appropriate time to ascertain the conditions under which the Annals of Inisfallen might be exhibited close to the location from which they derive their name.

The Minister noted that the Bodleian has previously loaned the Annals for exhibition in Ireland.

The  text of the Annals can currently be seen on a UCC website while there are replicas at Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork and NUI Galway.

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