Irish Language Week – Seachtain na Gaeilge le Energia | William Bedell and the translation of the Old Testament into Irish

Entitled ‘Print, religion and Gaelic culture in seventeenth-century Ireland: the case of William Bedell (1571-1642), bishop of Kilmore’, this talk explores the career of the English-born bishop of Kilmore, William Bedell, and his role in the translation of the Old Testament into Irish. His singular achievement is examined in the context of the previous Protestant translation of the New Testament into Irish which was published in 1603.

Dr Marc Caball is an Associate Professor in the School of History at University College Dublin. He has published widely on the cultural history of early modern Ireland, including ‘“Solid divine and worthy scholar”: William Bedell, Venice and Gaelic culture’ in James Kelly and Ciarán Mac Murchaidh (eds.), Irish and English: essays on the Irish linguistic and cultural frontier, 1600-1900 (Four Courts Press, 2012) and ‘Language, literature and print in Irish, 1550-1630’ in Jane Ohlmeyer (ed.), Cambridge history of Ireland: volume II 1550-1730 (Cambridge University Press, 2018). He was the principal investigator on the IRCHSS and Department of the Taoiseach-funded major research project ‘Protestants, print and Gaelic culture in Ireland, 1567-1722’.

Funded by the Department for Communities this talk, given on Wednesday 3 March 2021, was part of a week of free online lunchtime lectures organised by Armagh Robinson Library to link with Irish Language Week (Seachtain na Gaeilge le Energia). The series was also designed to highlight Irish language items in the collection of Armagh Robinson Library, Northern Ireland’s oldest public library, during the Library’s 250th anniversary year.