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The Oghamzone – The Book Of Lismore

Book of Lismore, Ireland

Book of Lismore was originally known as the Book of McCarthy Reagh, of Cairbre in County Cork (Leabhar Mac Cárthaigh Riabhaigh). At present the manuscript resides at Chatsworth House, England, the Derbyshire seat of the Duke of Devonshire and Cavendish. Its contemporary name derives from its discovery behind a wall after structural alterations at the Duke of Devonshire’s Irish residence, Lismore Castle, County Waterford, in 1814CE.

Written on vellum, the manuscript was compiled in the early 15th century from the lost Book of Monasterboice and other manuscripts. Pages referring to the patrons and scribes of the manuscript were removed shortly after its discovery for investigation and were subsequently lost.

However, it is believed that copies of these pages still survive in scholarly articles of the 19th century. What remains only gives a clue to its authors. The scribe Aonghas Ó Callanáin is mentioned (but he is not considered to be the chief scribe), along with his patrons Finghin Mac Cárthaigh Riabhaigh and his wife Catherine, daughter of Thomas, eighth Earl of Desmond.

The manuscript should not be confused with the similarly-named Book of the Dean of Lismore, a Scottish manuscript from the 16th century. The Book of Lismore contains various themes, referencing the lives of twelve Irish Saints, notably St Brigid, St Patrick, and St Columba. It is one of the sources for the Acallam na Senórach, an important Middle Irish narrative dating from the 12th century concerning the Fenian Cycle. The book also contains Leabhar Ser Marco Polo, an Irish translation of The Book of Sir Marco Polo, or Il Milione.

Robert Boyle one of the founding fathers of the modern scientific method was born in 1627CE at Lismore Castle, Co.Waterford and he was a man of many talents. He wrote on theology and was a philosopher and a chemist. As a physicist he is best known for his work on the laws of gas. In particular his formulation known as Boyle’s law. He died in 1691CE and buried at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London.

Fountain News DigitalThis article was originally published in:
Fountain News Digital – May 2011 (Issue 4)

We are re-publishing all articles from our past newsletter, Fountain News Digital, and you can view all completed newsletters here. There were nine issues published in total between 2010 and 2012.

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