This collection, ranging from the fourteenth to the twenty-first century, covers subjects such as literature, genealogy, hagiography (lives of the Saints), spirituality, law, medicine, and dinnseanchas (place-lore). Among the writers represented in this collection are Aodhagán Ó Rathaille, Peadar Ó Doirnín, Eoghan Ruadh Ó Súilleabháin, Brian Merriman and Tomás Ó Criomhthain. The ancient bardic tradition is represented by the earliest surviving book of praise poetry, the fourteenth-century Book of Magauran from Tullyhaw, Co. Cavan, and by another important volume of bardic poetry also associated with Co. Cavan, An Duanaire Nuinseannach (the Nugent Manuscript).
Athbheochan na Gaeilge, the Irish Language Revival Movement, which started in the latter half of the 19th century, is represented in the library’s collections by some of the papers of Conradh na Gaeilge (The Gaelic League), The Celtic Society, The Irish Texts Society, The Ulster Gaelic Society and the Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language. These include the Papers of Oireachtas na Gaeilge, an annual festival of Irish culture. Many of the papers of individuals such as Douglas Hyde (An Craoibhín Aoibhinn), Eoin MacNéill, Dáithí Ó Coimín (David Comyn) and Piaras Béaslaí are also deposited here, as well as some of the letters of Pádraig Mac Piarais. The Irish Language Revival and the Anglo-Irish Literary Revival went hand in hand and were closely intertwined with the politics of the day.
A list of all Gaelic manuscripts held by the Library is available for download on our Manuscript Catalogues & Databases page.
A number of Gaelic manuscripts from this collection are available on the Irish Script on Screen (ISOS) website, Meamram Páipéar Ríomhaire.