Book of Fenagh Festival

Why has the Book of Fenagh survived for 500 years?

Fenagh Abbey, Co. Leitrim
Fenagh Abbey, Co. Leitrim

This past weekend the community of Fenagh and those related to it came together to celebrate the Book of Fenagh, and what a great weekend it turned out to be.  I was lucky enough to attend most of the lectures and we got an in depth knowledge of why the book was rewritten in 1516, when St Caillin was already dead 1000 years.  It had a lot to do with political standing in the community at the time, this area of Ireland was prolific in recording saints lives, and it was a way of improving your status in the community to commission a Book written by one of the foremost scribes of the time.  The survival of the book is due to its continued importance and the recognition that it needed to be preserved which eventually led to it being sold to the Royal Irish Academy in 1870 for the princely sum of £10.  And so The Book of Fenagh has survived to its 500th year unlike so many other manuscripts written at around the same time.  The committee had two pages of the Book of Fenagh reproduced on Velum and this will be permanently housed in the Visitor centre in Fenagh.  A big thank you to the committee who put so much of their time and effort in providing us all with a great weekend and as Bernadette Cunningham said “we are all now part of the history surrounding The Book of Fenagh”.

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