Book of Psalms (Psalter), and leather cover, Faddan More, Co. Tipperary

Faddan More Psalter Quire 3

Circa AD 800

NMI 06E0786:13

In 2006 a book of psalms, or Psalter, was found in Faddan More bog, Co. Tipperary. The book was a chance discovery, noticed by the driver in the bucket of his peat-harvesting machine. The Psalter is comprised of sixty sheets of vellum which are divided into five gatherings, or quires. The text is written with iron gall ink, and a number of pigments are used for decoration. The book contains the standard 150 psalms. The opening letter of each psalm is marked by a capital while the opening words of psalms 1, 51, and 101 are decorated, a convention used in other Irish psalters. Preservation of the book varies greatly from page to page. In some cases only the edges of the page and some loose letters survive.

Faddan More Psalter Front Cover

A wallet-shaped leather cover with a flap protected the Psalter. Three horn buttons are fastened to the flap, and the cover was probably closed by wrapping a leather thong around the buttons. The outside of the cover is painted with black carbon-based pigment. A number of motifs seen on the outside of the cover are probably trial pieces. The inside of the cover is lined with papyrus, a writing material from the eastern Mediterranean, principally Egypt.

The reasons for the deposition of the Faddan More Psalter in the bog are unclear, but the story of its discovery and the results of subsequent research make it one of the most important discoveries in recent times.

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