The Great Book of Ireland - Leabhar Mór na hÉireann

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Ó Doibhlin, Crónán
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Cambridge University Press
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The Great Book of Ireland, Leabhar Mór na hÉireann, is an extraordinary modern vellum manuscript in a single volume which comprises the original work of 120 artists, 140 poets and nine composers. Produced in Dublin between 1989 and 1991, it has been acquired by University College Cork to be preserved in posterity on behalf of the Irish people. Conceived originally as a venture to create a saleable artefact which would help to fund the development plans of two arts organizations in Ireland, the original architects of the idea and editors of the end product were Theo Dorgan of Poetry Ireland and Gene Lambert of Clashganna Mills, with Eamonn Martin as business manager. Out of their initial meeting in March 1989 came the first tentative idea of producing an original artefact that would raise substantial funds for their charitable-status arts organizations, while at the same time being a venture worthwhile in itself. What was to emerge was a project of breath-taking ambition and scale – The Great Book of Ireland, Leabhar Mór na hÉireann, completed in 1991. Artists, poets, and composers were asked to contribute in their own medium what they believed represented their hopes, fears, dreams, or imaginings in the Ireland of that particular time, and which would have resonance in a thousand years - as the longevity of vellum allows. Each page of The Great Book is a unique artefact in itself, often multi-layered or palimpsestial in nature. The whole “united” in design by the work of the scribe, Denis Brown. This paper will describes the creation process of the book, its subsequent history, and future plans for the book at University College Cork.
The Great Book of Ireland , Vellum manuscript , Leabhar Mór na hÉireann, , University College Cork.
Ó Doibhlin, C. (2016) ‘The Great Book of Ireland - Leabhar Mór na hÉireann’, Art Libraries Journal, 41(4), pp. 198-208. doi: 10.1017/alj.2016.25
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