Museum offers rare opportunity to view O’Davoren manuscript

Galway City Museum currently have on loan, for a short time only, one of the most important medieval Irish legal manuscripts ever written called The Book of O’Davoren. It was written in the Irish-language by scribes between 1564 and 1570 for the Co. Clare lawyer Donal O’Davoren, much of it at the MacEgan law school, near Tuam, Co. Galway.

Some of the scribes were old, some were young and some were cranky – leaving small notes and doodles in page margins complaining about boredom, hunger or each other.

Two of the three surviving parts of this special manuscript are currently on loan to Galway City Museum from Royal Irish Academy, Dublin and the British Library, London. These prestigious documents form the highlight of a brand new exhibition called Keepers of the Gael which explores Gaelic society and culture in Ireland between 1200 and 1600 AD.

The largest surviving part, known as Egerton 88, has not been back in Ireland in almost 200 years and will be returned to its permanent home in the British Library, London in January 2020!

Galway City Museum would like to invite the public to take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view the manuscript back in Galway, the county in which it was written. They are offering short tours to schools about this special book and about manuscript production in general.

There is also a challenging Museum Explorers Activity Trail that may be used in conjunction with Keepers of the Gael exhibition inviting kids and adults to work together to learn more. These are available for download at or hard copies can be collected at the museum reception.

If you require further information or would like to enquire about a guided tour, please contact Galway City Museum via email to [email protected] . The museum opens Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm and admission is FREE!


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