An Irish manuscript, dubbed The Great Book of Ireland, will be the topic of a Griffith University Friends of the Library seminar at the Gold Coast campus on Thursday, July 31.

A digital version of the manuscript will also be on display at Griffith’s Open Day on August 10.

John Fitzgerald, University Librarian and Director of Information Services at University College Cork, Dublin, will explain the history of the manuscript at the Friends of the Library seminar.

The vellum (calfskin) book, which comprises original work from 121 artists, 143 poets and nine composers, was produced in Dublin between 1989 and 1991. It was created as a fundraising venture to advance the development plans of two arts support organisations operating in the areas of visual art and poetry.

Artists, poets and composers were asked to contribute in their own medium what they believed represented their hopes, fears, dreams or imaginings in the Ireland of that particular time, and which would have resonance in a thousand years’ time – as the longevity of vellum allows.

In 2012, following a five-year fundraising campaign, The Great Book of Ireland was acquired for US$1,000,000 by University College Cork (UCC).

“UCC first took an interest in acquiring The Great Book of Ireland in 2005,” Mr FitzGerald said.

“By 2012, US$1 million was raised by the Library and the Cork University Foundation to acquire the manuscript, working closely with the Great Book of Ireland Trust.”

“The book is something of an artistic ‘time capsule’ that captures the richness of Irish creativity during a particular period towards the end of the 20th century.

“It is only through the support of a number of generous philanthropic individuals and organisations that it is now possible for UCC to act as permanent custodian for this major work of art.”

The Great Book of Ireland’s digital version will be available for public viewing at Griffith’s Open Day on August 10, where it will feature on 55-inch screens in libraries at Nathan, Gold Coast and South Bank campuses.

WHAT: The Great Book of Ireland seminar by John Fitzgerald, University College Cork, Dublin

WHEN: Thursday, July 31, 5.30pm-7.30pm

WHERE: Council Chambers, The Chancellery, Gold Coast campus