O is for…



Scribed by Dermod O’Connor, a Limerick native, and dated July 1714, Bolton Library Ms 22 shows Irish script on paper, written in a small, delicate hand. Manicules, head- and tailpieces, initials – some zoomorphic, some cadel – and line fillers are evidence throughout of O’Connor’s artistic skill. Inside the rear cover we find an aisling vision poem, also dated 1714. O’Connor would go on to translate Geoffrey Keating’s Foras feasa ar Éirinn (1723).



A fragment from a copy of secretum secretorum, found in Institutiones ac meditationes in græcam linguam (1548-1550)


Abbreviations, contractions, suspensions and symbols are de rigeur in medieval palaeography, and can often provide clues as to the date and place of origin of a manuscript. Here inside Bolton Library G.10.19, in a fragment from a copy of Secretum secretorum, we dive right in with an omission mark above the second word ‘g[ra]uis’ for the letters ‘ra’, and conclude with two different symbols used for three omissions in the final line ‘-ceitate[m] e[st] pessim[us] ui-‘.