Aibidil Gaoidheilge agus Caiticiosma

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Aibidil Gaoidheilge agus Caiticiosma
AuthorJohn Kearney
Published1571 by John Ussher
Media typePrint (hardcover)

Aibidil Gaoidheilge agus Caiticiosma ("Irish Alphabet and Catechism") is the first book printed in Ireland in the Irish language.[1][2] Meant as a Protestant primer, the book was written by John Kearney (Irish: Seán Ó Cearnaigh), a treasurer of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.[2] It includes a short section on the spelling and sounds of Irish.[3] The production of this book was part of a larger endeavour by Irish Protestants to print the Bible in the Irish language so that the common person could read it. The book was printed on a press which was set up in the home of Alderman John Ussher (Early Modern Irish: Seón Uiser). Ussher, who was a well-known Dublin Protestant, also paid for the venture.[4] Though the printer's identity is unknown, it is possible that William Kearney, a nephew of John Kearney was the printer.[5][6] 200 copies of the book were printed but only four known copies exist today.[6][7][8] In 1995 a copy of the book was bought by Trinity College Library Dublin for £47,700 ($76,463) at Christie's.[6][8]


  • The last paragraph on the cover page states the location and date of the printing: "Do buaileadh so ágcló ghaoidheilge, a mbaile Atha clíath, ar chosdas mhaighisdir Sheón uiser aldarman, ós chion an dhroichid, an 20 lá do Juín 1571" which translates to "Printed in Irish type in Dublin at the expense of master John Ussher, alderman, [at his house] over the bridge, 20 June 1571".[9][10]
  • Digital images of the entire book can be found in the "Special E-collections" of Trinity College Library Dublin.[11]
  • The full title is Alphabet of the Irish language and Catechism that is Christian instruction or teaching along with certain articles of the Christian rule that are proper for everyone who would be obedient to the law of God and the Queen in this kingdom. Translated from Latin and English into Irish by John O'Kearney.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Staunton, Mathew D. (2005), "Trojan Horses and Friendly Faces: Irish Gaelic Typography as Propaganda", LISA e-Journal, 3 (1), pp. 85–98, para. 10, doi:10.4000/lisa.2546
  2. ^ a b Gillespie, Raymond; Hadfield, Andrew (2 February 2006). The Oxford History of the Irish Book, Volume III : The Irish Book in English, 1550–1800: The Irish Book in English, 1550–1800. OUP Oxford. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-19-151433-3.
  3. ^ T. W. Moody; F. X. Martin; F. J. Byrne (2009). "The Irish Language in the Early Modern Period". A New History of Ireland, Volume III: Early Modern Ireland 1534–1691. Oxford University Press. p. 511. ISBN 9780199562527.
  4. ^ Rawlings, Gertrude Burford (13 August 2010), The Story of Books, pp. 139–144, archived from the original on 27 October 2013, retrieved 5 February 2015
  5. ^ "Aibidil Gaoidheilge & caiticiosma: [Page01]". Trinity's Access to Research Archive (TARA), Trinity College Dublin. Archived from the original on 5 February 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d "ABC AND CATECHISM [IN IRISH]. AIBIDIL GAOJDHEILGE…". Christies. 15 March 1995. Archived from the original on 7 February 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2015. ... Alphabet of the Irish language and Catechism that is Christian instruction or ...
  7. ^ hAodha, Ruairí Ó (2012). "‘Desirous to be delivered’:prophecy, printing and Puritanism beyond the Pale". 20(5). History Ireland.
  8. ^ a b "Trinity College Dublin's Friends of the Library 60th Anniversary Celebrations". Trinity College Dublin. 2 November 2006. Archived from the original on 7 February 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  9. ^ Wright, William Ball; Betham, Sir William (1889). The Ussher memoirs, or, Genealogical memoirs of the Ussher families in Ireland. Sealy, Bryers & Walker. p. 122.
  10. ^ Humphrys, Mark. "Ussher". Archived from the original on 22 August 2012. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  11. ^ "Guide to the Catalogues". Archived from the original on 9 August 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2015.

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