Garland of Howth

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The Garland of Howth, also known as the Codex Usserianus Secundus, is a fragment of a medieval Irish Vetus Latina gospel book, now in Trinity College Dublin as Ms. 56. It was written at the monastery of Ireland's Eye, Dublin, and once kept in the parish church of Howth. Only 86 folios have survived; for example only 5:12-10:3 of the Gospel of John have survived.[1] It is believed to date from the late ninth to early tenth centuries. It is written with dimuendo script from initials, a feature of the oldest manuscripts in insular script such as Cathach of St. Columba. It has been described as the work of many scribes, none of them first-class.

"Vetus Latina" means the text is a Latin version predating the Vulgate - such versions were used in Ireland later than in most areas. The "garland" of its title is taken from a corrupted English form of Ceithre Leabhair, Gaelic for 'four books', i.e., a gospel.


  • Literature in Ireland, by James Carney, in A New History of Ireland, volume, two, p. 527, 531.

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