The National Library of Scotland
Adv.MS.72.1.2, f. 114r Beaton MS, charms
Dr. Ulrike Hogg is Curator for Gaelic, Medieval, Early Modern and Music Manuscripts at the National Library of Scotland. She has published in the fields of Scottish Gaelic manuscript studies and manuscript collectors, and medieval and Renaissance Scottish historiography.
The National Library of Scotland has collected Scottish Gaelic printed books and manuscripts from its very beginnings. It holds nearly all the surviving older Gaelic manuscripts written or preserved in Scotland, building on the collecting work begun by its forerunner, the Advocates Library, which presented all its non-legal material to the nation in 1925. Most of the Library's early Gaelic manuscripts arrived in the nineteenth century and come from the manuscript collections of the Highland Society of Scotland (now the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland) and the Highland Society of London. These early manuscripts are strong on poetry, tales, religious literature, genealogy and medicine. 15 volumes were formerly owned by members of the Beaton family of physicians. The Library's collections also include papers of Gaelic collectors, scholars, poets and lexicographers of the 18th and 19th centuries. There is also a large collection of archives of modern Gaelic writers, activists, societies and publishing archives.
Most of the early Gaelic manuscripts were digitised by the Library from 2009 onwards. The images and descriptions are now accessible on Irish Script on Screen (www.isos.dias.ie) and on the Library's own website (the images at https://digital.nls.uk/gaelic-manuscripts-of-scotland/archive/ and the descriptions in the catalogue: https://manuscripts.nls.uk/).
The Royal Irish Academy Library
RIA MS 23 E 25 (Leabhar na hUidhre), p.81, by permission of the Royal Irish Academy © RIA
Barbara McCormack is Librarian to the Royal Irish Academy, founded in 1785 to promote the study of science, polite literature, and antiquities. The Academy Library is an important research centre for the study of Irish history, language, archaeology, and the history of Irish science. It is home to the largest collection of Irish language manuscripts in the world, including the Cathach, the sixth-century Latin psalter reputed to have been copied by St Colum Cille (Columba) and Lebor na hUidre (the Book of the Dun Cow), the oldest extant manuscript completely in the Irish language. The Academy Library is a long-term partner of the Irish Script on Screen project and many of the earliest Academy manuscripts are available on www.isos.dias.ie. The Irish language manuscript holdings of the Academy have been catalogued in detail in the descriptive catalogue published under the title Catalogue of Irish manuscripts in the Royal Irish Academy (28 fasc., Dublin, 1926).
The British Library
Harley MS 1802, f 61r. Decorated initial and letter 'In'(itium) with animal heads at the beginning of the Gospel of Mark. Ireland, N. (Armagh), 1138.
Claire Breay did a PhD in medieval history at the Institute of Historical Research (1993-96) and then worked as an archivist at Lambeth Palace Library for two years before joining the British Library in 1998 as a curator of medieval historical manuscripts. She has led the medieval manuscripts section since 2006. She managed the Codex Sinaiticus Project (2002–10), worked on the acquisition of the St Cuthbert Gospel (2010–12), and was a co-investigator for the AHRC-funded Magna Carta Project (2012–15) and the Leverhulme Trust-funded Insular Manuscripts: Networks of Knowledge project (2016-19).
She was lead curator of the exhibitions Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy (2015) and Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War (2018-19). Together with Professor Joanna Story of the University of Leicester, she jointly supervised an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership student (2015–18).
Cillian O’Hogan wrote this summary of the British Library’s collection of Irish manuscripts for the Library's medieval manuscripts blog in 2015.