600-year-old Gaelic treasures to go on show

A tiny 600-year-old book of psalms from Islay and an ancient lament written by a woman for her husband are among Gaelic language treasures that will go on show for one day only.

Thursday, 25th October 2018, 6:49 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th October 2018, 6:58 pm
The 600-year-old psalter from Islay is one of the items to go on show at the one-day display. PIC: NLS.

National Library of Scotland will put the items on special display to mark the Celtic traditions theme of Scottish International Storytelling Day on Monday, October 29.

A key piece of the show will be Neil MacBeath’s Psalter, the smallest manuscript in the library’s collection, which was designed to be worn on the belt.

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The Glenmasan Manuscript, which was written around 1500, includes the story of Deirdre and the sons of Uisneach with the version depicting the close links between Ireland and Argyllshire at the time. PIC: NLS.

It dates from the 15th-16th Century and belonged to Niall Óg from a branch of the Beaton family on Islay.

The tiny book combines devotional texts written by his father and medical definitions written by a friend for the student.

Part of the Book of the Dean of Lismore, one of the library’s most important Gaelic poetry sources, will also go on display.

It included a lament written by Aiffric Nic Coirceadail for her husband Niall Óg MacNeill sometime between 1472 and 1481.

The page from the 16th Century Book of the Dean of Lismore which shows the lament written by Aiffric Nic Coirceadail for her husband in the late 15th Century. PIC: NLS.

Called A phaidrín do dhúisg mo dhéar - Oh rosary that woke my tears - its forms part of the library’s UNESCO-recognised collection of early Gaelic works.

Meanwhile, The Glenmasan Manuscript, written around 1500, contains the story of Deirdre and the sons of Uisneach, as well as the Cattle Raid of Mayo (Táin Bó Fliodhais).

This long version of the Deirdre story is highly regarded given it is set in both Ireland and Argyllshire and shows the close links between the two countries at the time.

The library’s fascinating Easter calculator, which is up to 400-years-old, will also be offered up to the public.

Known as a volvelle, it includes instructions describe how to rotate the central figure so that its outstretched hand points to the date of the coming Easter.

-The early Gaelic display will go on show at National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh on Monday, October 29, from 11am to 3pm.