Garland of Howth. IE TCD MS 56

Garland of Howth. IE TCD MS 56

Alternative title
  • Ceathair-Leabhair
  • Codex Usserianus Secundus
Shelf Mark/Reference Number
  • IE TCD MS 56 ; former shelfmarks: Lyon: A.4.6 ; Bernard: 413 ; Foley: [A.23] ; c1670: [P.1.17]
Rights statement
  • Copyright The Board of Trinity College Dublin. Images are available for single-use academic application only. Publication, transmission or display is prohibited without formal written approval of the Library of Trinity College, Dublin.
Publisher location
  • Ireland
Date Created
  • between approximately 700-899
Physical extent
  • c200 x 150mm (text block)
  • 86 folios
  • 241mm x 192mm (folio)
  • IE TCD MS 56, The Garland of Howth, contains parts of the four Gospels in Latin based on the Old Latin version with modifications from the Vulgate text, which St Jerome completed in 384AD. Hoskier has noted that the Old Latin text is the same as that of Codex Bobbiensis (MS Turin Bibl. Nazionale G. VII. 15 s IV/V). Illumination is restricted to the two surviving incipit pages – those marking the beginning of the gospels of St Matthew (f. 1r) and St Mark (f. 22r). Folio 1r: Incipit page for the Gospel of St Matthew. Folios 1r-21r: Gospel of St Matthew (starting at 1.18 on 1v, ending at 27.58 on 21r; 21v blank). Folios 22r-45v: Gospel of St Mark. Folios 46r-81v: Gospel of St Luke (missing beginning). Folios 82r-86v: Gospel of St John (missing beginning). The book is written on vellum (prepared calfskin) in the cursive script known as "Irish minuscule". It is comprised of 86 folios. See the Manuscript & Archives Research Library's catalogue entry for IE TCD MS 56 here:
  • Wooden boards and modern vellum, rebound in 1977.
  • J. H. Todd, Descriptive Remarks on Illuminations in Certain Ancient Irish Manuscripts (London, 1869), with illustrations by M. Stokes. W. M. Lindsay, ‘Notes on Two Mss. From Irish Scriptoriums (The Book of Durrow and the Garland of Howth)’, in Hermathena 18, Issue 40 (1914), pp. 44-5.H. C. Hoskier, The text of Codex Usserianus 2: r2 ('Garland of Howth') / with critical notes to supplement and correct the collation of the late T. K. Abbott (London, 1919).P. McGurk, Latin Gospel Books from AD 400 to AD 800 (Paris-Brussels, 1961).J. J. G. Alexander, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, Vol. I: Insular Manuscripts from the 6th to the 9th Century (London, 1978), no. 59. F. Henry and G. Marsh-Micheli, Studies in Early Christian and Medieval Irish Art 2 (London, 1984), p. 184.Treasures of the Library. Trinity College Dublin, ed. by P. Fox (Dublin, 1986), pp. 55-6.T. H. Ohlgren, Insular and Anglo-Saxon Illuminated Manuscripts: An Iconographic Catalogue c. A.D. 625 to 1100 (New York and London, 1986), no. 59.M. L. Colker, Trinity College Dublin. Descriptive Catalogue of the Mediaeval and Renaissance Latin Manuscripts (Aldershot, 1991), pp. 103-6 (with further bibliography). M. Brown, The Book of Cerne: Prayer, Patronage, and Power in 9th-Century England London, 1996), esp. pp. 98-9.
Finding aid
  • Traditional association with St Nessan’s monastery on Ireland’s Eye island, near Howth, Co. Dublin and later said to have been given to Elizabeth Plunkett, wife of Christopher St Lawrence, Baron Howth (d. 1589). Although written about by Archbishop James Ussher, his former ownership of the MS remains unproven.
  • Bank of America Merryl Lynch
Resource type
  • ink
  • vellum (parchment)
  • Irish
Digital Object Id
  • MS56_009
  • 0152314


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