Benburb Priory’s former Abbot, Fr Chris O’Brien found the collection of historic documents and forgotten rare books which had been gathering dust in the cellars of his priory. The library contains some of the earliest and most lavishly illustrated books of medieval Christianity, as well as an extensive collection of books on Irish history and centuries-old artefacts.
Paul Mullan, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund Northern Ireland, said: “We consider the care of this collection a high priority and we are delighted to be able to give the project the necessary support to further develop their plans to secure funding.
Within the priory cellar rooms, there are accounts of the lives of countless saints, medieval theological tracts, the collected writings of Augustine published in 1626, and books documenting miracles and legends. The ancient texts are written in Latin, Hebrew, Irish and French. There are also rare fictional and philosophical works dating from the 19th Century including bound copies of Dickens novels when they were serialised in periodicals.
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