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Salmon, St Brendan and the Cross of Dublin, in Gerald of Wales, Topography of Ireland

Salmon, St Brendan and the Cross of Dublin, in Gerald of Wales, Topography of Ireland

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1220

Shelfmark: Royal MS 13 B VIII

Item number: f. 23r

Length: 27.6

Width: 18.3

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

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Gerald of Wales was born at Monorbier castle, in Pembrokeshire, in 1146. He was educated at Gloucester and Paris, and became Archdeacon of Brecon in 1175. He visited Ireland in 1183, 1185, 1199 and again for about two years from 1204. A version of his text--which is largely concerned with the marvellous things he saw or heard about there--is known to have been read publicly in 1188. This manuscript was written perhaps at Lincoln, probably before Gerald's death in 1223, and it has been suggested that he personally supervised its writing and decoration. This manuscript was later owned by St. Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury.

In a section on places of refuge under the miraculous protection of saints, this page tells of the salmon leap in a river in north Munster (possibly Query, Mt Brandon, in Kerry). The salmon hold their tails in their mouths (illustrated in the lower margin) and then release to catapult themselves over the river's leap. Accounts of St Brendan and the cross in Dublin which gave testimony in court follow.

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