Birr Early Christian Monastic Site

An extraordinary manuscript

The original monastic site is adjacent to Birr castle in Church Street behind the wrought-iron gates of the old church erected by the Parsons family from the castle.

BIRRMONASTIC262x262In the late 8th or early 9th century when the monastery at Birr was at the height of its power, a scribe named Mac Regol wrote and illuminated an extraordinary manuscript.   Although his images have been described as primitive, Mac Regol’s gospel is recognized as a unique and important work of art.  It is now in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. However beside the R.C. Church (Wilmer Road), in the library (tastefully converted from a Pugin designed convent chapel), is the only copy of the  Four Gospels known as the Book of Birr or Macgregols Gospels.

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