Old Irish manuscripts go online


Irish language manuscripts, including the Book of Leinster, one of the language's most famous manuscripts, compiled in the second half of the 12th century, will be available on a new website, the ICOS (Irish Script on Screen) website, launched last month.

About 5,000 early Irish language manuscripts survive and the manuscripts which will be put on this website form an important and distinctive part of our heritage. Ranging in age from the 12th to the 19th century, they provide a continuous narrative on Irish traditions. The Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies, Dublin City University and TCD Library were the three partners responsible for organising the website.

The School of Celtic Studies was responsible for the selection and electronic scanning of material and for the accompanying commentary. The School of Computer Applications at DCU developed and will maintain the website, as well as post-processing of images. Trinity College Library is responsible for conservation and preservation, in addition to providing the manuscripts themselves.

Funded jointly by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies and the DCU Educational Trust, access to the website is open to both the scholar and the general browser. The project is managed by Dr Padraig O Machain, assisted by Dr Aoibheann Nic Dhonnchadha of the School of Celtic Studies, while creation, maintenance and processing and storage of images are the responsibility of Professor Alan Smeaton of DCU's School of Computer Applications. The manuscript originals for the pilot stage of the project were provided by Mount Melleray Abbey in Co Waterford, and the manuscript materials for the main phase came from TCD.

You can visit the ICOS website at http://www.ICOS.dcu.ie/