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Manuscripts of 17th century Irish exiles will live on digitally


Sept. 18, 2019

The manuscripts of 17th century Irish exiles that are in Belgium have been digitalized in a joint project by Belgium and Irish researchers.
The manuscripts were collected in the early 17 century at St Anthony's College of the Irish Franciscans in Leuven and are now accessible online as part of a co-operative project by Belgian and Irish researchers.
Director of the School of Celtic Studies, Professor Ruairí Ó hUiginn said digitalising the ancient artifacts will protect them and provide easier access to researchers.
"Irish Script on Screen (ISOS), because manuscripts are very fragile artifacts, librarians are not too happy to have them being accessed all the time and people using them," he said.
So, the idea was to make them available on screen digitally. This project started 20 years ago. We've digitize manuscripts in the Royal Irish Academy, Trinity College Dublin, National Library of Scotland, University College Dublin, Maynooth, and various other places. These can be accessed anywhere in the world/
"One of the great parts of Irish culture heritage is the manuscripts. The Irish started writing at a very early stage in about the 5th century or the 6th century. They wrote quite a lot about the various different aspects of life in Latin and in Irish.
"This material was written at the great monastic settlement. Places such as Clonmacnoise, Glendalough, and many others. At a time in European history that is very often known as the dark ages, the Irish were the shining light," he added.
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