TCD buys first book printed in Irish

Published in Early Modern History (1500–1700), Features, Issue 2 (Summer 1995), News, Volume 3

Trinity College Library, Dublin, yesterday acquired the first book printed in Irish.
This book, Abidil gaoidheilge & caiticiosma (ABC &catechism), printed in 1571, is only the sixth item known to have beenprinted in Ireland and was purchased for £48,000. Only four copies ofthe book are recorded and that purchased by TCD was the only one inprivate hands, coming from the collection of the Marquis of Bute.Trinity’s copy is the only one in an Irish library.
The publication of the Abidil in 1571 saw the use of the firstspecially cut Irish type. This was cut under the supervision of JohnKearney, the treasurer of St Patrick’s Cathedral, at the expense ofQueen Elizabeth. Kearney, in his preface to the book, told the readerthat the pure and perfect type would open the hitherto closed road toknowledge.
The Abidil, which was handed over in the presence of the Ministerfor Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, Mr Higgins, will be on publicdisplay in the Long Room of Trinity College.
Irish Times,
23 May 1995


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