Queen Elizabeth II views first printed Irish book in Trinity College

On her visit to Trinity College Dublin during her recent State Visit to Ireland, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was shown by Robin Adams, Librarian, the first book ever printed in Irish in Ireland. This was an Irish Alphabet and Catechism- Aibidil Gaoidheilge 7 Caiticiosma– which was printed by John Kearney with type presented by Queen Elizabeth I in 1571. 


William Bedell (1571 to 1642), a Provost of Trinity College Dublin, and later Bishop of Kilmore, had the Old Testament translated into Irish. This was printed in London in 1685, together with a translation by William Daniel (died 1628) of the New Testament- Tiomna Nuadh. The completed work became known as “Bedell’s Bible”. Daniel, who became Archbishop of Tuam in 1609, also translated the Book of Common Prayer into Irish. Leabhar na nUrnaithe gComhchoiteann was printed by John Francke in 1608.

A number of later editions of the Book of Common Prayer were also translated into Irish. When Bedell was Provost of Trinity College, those from a Gaelic background who were studying for the ministry were obliged to attend lectures in Irish in order to evangelise the Gaelic-speaking population.

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