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Ref No IE TCD MS 56
Former Shelf Marks Lyon: A.4.6
Bernard: 413
Foley: [A.23]
c1670: [P.1.17]
Title Garland of Howth
Creation Dates [700-899]
Extent And Medium Parchment (very thick); 86 leaves
Level Of Description Collection
Scribe Unknown
Scope And Content Alternative titles: Codex Usserianus Secundus, Ceathair-Leabhair.

Gospel book, folios 1r-86v: four gospels, imperfect;

Folio 1r: Incipit page for the Gospel of St Matthew

Folios 1r-21r: Gospel of St Matthew (starting at 1.18 on 1v, ending at 27.58 on 21r; 21v blank);

Folios 22r-45v: Gospel of St Mark;

Folios 46r-81v: Gospel of St Luke (missing beginning);

Folios 82r-86v: Gospel of St John (missing beginning);

[After H. C. Hoskier, 'The text of Codex Usserianus 2: r2 ('Garland of Howth'), with critical notes to supplement and correct the collation of the late T. K. Abbott', (London, 1919).]

The Garland of Howth contains parts of the four gospels in Latin based on the Old Latin version with modifications from the Vulgate text, which St Jerome completed in 384AD. Hoskier has noted that the Old Latin text is the same as that of Codex Bobbiensis (MS Turin Bibl. Nazionale G. VII. 15 s IV/V).
Phyiscal Description Dimensions: Folio size: 241 x 192mm; text block: c200 x 150mm.

Layout: c26 lines. Leaves are now all separate

Script: Irish minuscule.
Custodial History Traditional association with Saint Nessan's monastery on Ireland's Eye island, near Howth, County Dublin and later said to have been given to Elizabeth Plunkett, wife of Christopher Saint Lawrence, Baron Howth (d. 1589). Although written about by Archbishop James Ussher, his former ownership of the manuscript remains unproven.
Decoration Two full incipit pages;

1r: ‘Xpi autem gene[ratio]’ at the beginning of the Gospel of St Matthew; Evangelist portrait (?);saint holding a book; beard; crossed legs; angel; Evangelist portrait (?); beard; figure holding a book and a sword; angel or Evangelist symbol of St Matthew; (?);zoomorphic interlace; knotwork; geometric display capitals.

22r: ‘Initium eva[ngelium]’ at the beginning of the Gospel of St Mark. Evangelist portrait of St Mark; saint holding a book; halo; Evangelist symbol of St Mark; lion of St Mark; zoomorphic interlace; geometric display capitals; knotwork; diminuendo.
Binding Note Wooden boards and modern vellum, rebound in 1977.
Access Conditions Please contact
Copyright Please contact
Language Latin
Public Note J. H. Todd, 'Descriptive Remarks on Illuminations in Certain Ancient Irish Manuscripts', (London, 1869), with illustrations by M. Stokes. W. M. Lindsay, 'Notes on Two Mss. From Irish Scriptoriums (The Book of Durrow and the Garland of Howth)', in Hermathena 18, Issue 40 (1914), pp. 44-45. H. C. Hoskier, 'The text of Codex Usserianus 2: r2 ('Garland of Howth') / with critical notes to supplement and correct the collation of the late T. K. Abbott', (London, 1919). P. McGurk, 'Latin Gospel Books from AD 400 to AD 800', (Paris-Brussels, 1961); J. Mizzi in 'Revue bénédictine' 75 (1965) 8-39; J. Mizzi in 'Revue bénédictine' 78 (1968) 34-66; W. Koehler, 'Buchmalerei des frühen Mittelalters: Fragmente und Entwürfe aus dem Nachlass, edd. E. Kitzinger and F. Mütherich', (Munich, 1972) 15; J. J. G. Alexander, 'A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, Vol. I: Insular Manuscripts from the 6th to the 9th Century', (London, 1978), number 59. F. Henry and G. Marsh-Micheli, 'Studies in Early Christian and Medieval Irish Art 2' (London, 1984), p. 184. 'Treasures of the Library. Trinity College Dublin', ed. by P. Fox (Dublin, 1986), pp. 55-6; K. Hughes, 'Celtic Britain in the Early Middle Ages', ed. D. Dumville, (Woodbridge, 1980), 15 n.96, 30-32; T. H. Ohlgren, 'Insular and Anglo-Saxon Illuminated Manuscripts: An Iconographic Catalogue c. A.D. 625 to 1100', (New York and London, 1986), number 59. P. McGurk in 'Irland und die Christenheit' (1987) 169-170; M. McNamara in 'Irland und die Christenheit' (1987) 16, 18, 31-32, 46; P. Ní Chatháin in 'Irland und die Christenheit' (1987) 479; S. McNab in 'Peritia' 6-7 (1987-1988) 276, 290 n.39; M.P. Brown in 'St. Cuthbert, His Cult and His Community', edd. G. Bonner et al., (Woodbridge, 1989), 156, 160, pl. 17; M. McNamara, The Psalms in the Early Irish Church, (Sheffield, 2000) 19; T. Pritchard in 'Scriptorium' 44 (1990) no. 34;M.L. Colker, 'Trinity College Dublin. Descriptive Catalogue of the Mediaeval and Renaissance Latin Manuscripts', (Aldershot, 1991), pp. 103-106 (with further bibliography); W. O’Sullivan, ‘Binding Memories of Trinity Library’, in Decantations: A Tribute to Maurice Craig, ed. A. Bernelle, (Dublin, 1992), 173; J. Brown, A Palaeographer’s View: Selected Writings of Julian Brown', edd. J. Bately, M. Brown, J. Roberts, (London and New York, 1993), 273 n.95; 'The Book of Kells: Proceedings of a Conference at Trinity (1994) College Dublin 6-9 September 1992, ed. F. O’Mahony, (Aldershot, 1994), 82 (M. McNamara), 145-147, 170-171 (R. Fuchs and D. Oltrogge), 214, 221, 224, 228 (J. Higgitt), 283 (E.P. Kelly); N. Netzer, 'Cultural Interplay in the Eighth Century', Cambridge Studies in Palaeography and Codicology 3, (Cambridge, 199, 111, 242 n.30; M.D. Reeve, review of M.L. Colker, 'Trinity College Library Dublin, Descriptive Catalogue of the Mediaeval and Renaissance Latin Manuscripts' in The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 45 (1994), 689; M.P. Brown, 'The Book of Cerne: Prayer, Patronage, and Power in Ninth-Century England', (London and Toronto, 1996), 98-99, 101, pl. 46; C. Davis, Illumination: The Irish School, (New York, 1998), 47, with figs.; P. Ó Néill in 'O’Sullivan Festschrift' (1998) 2; 'Medioevo latino' 20 (1999) no. 6231; P. Burton, 'The Old Latin Gospels', (Oxford, 2000) ( repr. Oxford, 2002) 23; M.P. Brown, 'The Lindisfarne Gospels', (London, 2003) 238; D. Ó Cróinín et al., ‘Bibliography’, in A New History of Ireland, ed. D. Ó Cróinín, (Oxford, 2005), 1008; W. O’Sullivan, ‘Manuscripts and Palaeography’, in A New History of Ireland, vol. 1, ed. D. Ó Cróinín, (Oxford, 2005), 531, pl. 35.; Rachel Moss, 'The Garland of Howth (TCD MS 56)' in Rachel Moss, Felicity O'Mahony and Jane Maxwell (eds.), An Insular Odyssey: Manuscript culture in early Christian Ireland and beyond, (Dublin 2017), 260-282.
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