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Sunday, December 4, 2016
Rare Book of Psalms found in Irish peat bog
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¬†A rare eighth century illuminated manuscript has been discovered in an Irish peat bog. The Book of Psalms was uncovered last July by a bulldozer digging peat moss in Faddan More Bog, County Tipperary. Specialists from the National Museum of Ireland and Trinity College Dublin are now collaborating to separate more than 100 vellum pages of the psalter, each measuring 32 by 22 cms. The project will take years, as the fragile pages have been crushed together. But experts believe it will be possible to restore the precious book ≠ which they say is as old as the Book of Kells. The psalter is still in its original binding. There are about 30 lines of Latin script on each page. Decoration on the first page includes an interlaced border and the figure of an eagle. The remains of a mat and a leather bag were found with the psalter. Patrick Wallace, the director of the Museum, said: "In my wildest hopes, I could only have dreamt of a discovery as fragile and rare as this. It testifies to the incredible richness of the early Christian civilisation of this island and to the greatness of ancient Ireland." There were once six great monasteries within about 15km of Faddan More. The nearest was Birr, 7km away. Eamonn Kelly, Keeper of Irish Antiquities at the Museum, said there are records of Viking attacks on Birr, which might explain why such a valuable manuscript could have been concealed in the bog.
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