Annals of Loch Ce f.13r
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
Early medieval Irish history has an unusually rich body of evidence for an area which was not under the rule of the Roman empire. Year-by-year written records of events (annals) were kept by monasteries from the early centuries of Christianity, being well established by the early 7th century. This manuscript has one of the most important of these, the original copy of the Premonstratensian house of the Holy Trinity, which is located on an island in Loch Ce (Lough Key). Probably based upon earlier annals of the Cistercian abbey nearby at Boyle, they were written under the patronage of the MacDermot family and are sometimes called the Annals of Boyle. Beginning with events of Genesis, the annals continue through political events and the history of Christianity on the Continent and in Ireland into the 13th century. The annals were part of a long-term project of the Irish aristocracy to link native history to that of Christianity.
Entries on this page record milestones of St Patrick's story: captured in Britain, brought to Ireland as a slave, freed from slavery, returned to Britain and then returned to Ireland to baptise the Scotti, as the early Irish were known. Just below the entry on Patrick baptising, the birth of St Brigid, another of the patron saints of Ireland, is recorded. Also appearing are the rise of Laegare Mac Neil to the Irish kingship, the martyrdom of St Lawrence in Rome, and the martyrdom of Pope Sixtus II--the last two chronologically out of place with 5th-century Irish events. The letters 'K' express the date, using a version of the Roman system of kalends.