Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Book of the month

Start off this most Irish of months with a visit to the fabulous Special Collections Reading Room in the Hardiman Research Building and view MacCurtin (1680-1755) and Begley's English Irish dictionary. Published in Paris in 1732 by Jacques Guérin (1699?-1752), it was the first English-Irish dictionary ever printed and is effusive in its presentation of this "so little known" language: "Of all the dead or living languages none is more copious and elegant in expression, nor is any more harmonious and musical in the pronunciation than the Irish".
Selected dictionary entry

Our copy is bound in leather and bears the former ownership stamp of the British Museum, among others. The bookplate is that of Dr. Edward Lynam, and would appear to be Edward W. O’Flaherty Lynam, Superintendent of the British Museum Map Room, 1931-1950. His obituary describes him as a man of many and varied interests though in later years his research centred on the history of cartography. Earlier, however, he published articles on topics such as the development of Irish type and the history and archaeology of “the O’Flaherty Country”. 
If you need further encouragement to make the most of Seachtain na Gaeilge 2014 and want to view this item, please submit an online request or contact the staff of the Special Collections Reading Room in the Hardiman Research Building at specialcollections@nuigalway.ie.

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