Nov 05 2015 Posted: 10:10 GMT

Public talk explores one of Galway’s most outstanding treasures, the ‘Liber A’ manuscript, which is preserved in the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway

NUI Galway and the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society will co-host a talk about Galway’s famous ‘Liber A’ manuscript, one of Galway’s most outstanding treasures, which holds records of Galway’s Town Council dating from 1603 to 1653 when it was a very wealthy town.

In this public talk, Dr Bríd McGrath from the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society will explore the membership of Galway's town council and the men who controlled and managed the city in the first half of the 17th century. She will investigate the members, how many of them came from Galway's famous tribes, how they dealt with the pressure to appoint protestant mayors and bailiffs, and what we know about these men, their wealth and role within and outside the city. Dr McGrath will also discuss recently discovered letters from the famous Galway lawyer, Patrick Darcy now held in the Huntington Library, California.

The ‘Liber A’ manuscript, based in the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway, preserves Galway Corporation records from 1485. Few towns have records as old as this. It features stunning decorations commissioned by the corporation every year from 1613 onwards and evidence of Galway’s wealth and culture in the early 17th century. No other Irish town is known to have similar decorations in its records.

Dr Bríd McGrath said: “Galway's ‘Liber A’ is a truly unique manuscript and one of the town’s most precious treasures. While working on it, I was able to discover how Galway was managed by its wealthy, cultivated merchant elite in this period and the key role played by Galway men in Irish political life, in parliament and the Confederation of Kilkenny.”

Dr McGrath is a Research Associate in the School of Social Work and Social Policy in Trinity College Dublin and this talk is based on research undertaken as a Visiting Research Fellow at the Moore Institute in NUI Galway and at the Huntington Library, California.

The public talk is sponsored by the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society and will take place at the Harbour Hotel, Dock Road, Galway, on Monday, 9 November at 8pm. All are welcome and admission is free.

‘Liber A’ is available online and features beautiful pen and ink drawings at: http://archives.library.nuigalway.ie/LiberA/html/LiberA.html 

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