Monday 27 March 2023

A Supplement to A Dictionary of Irish Saints - Pádraig Ó Riain - Containing Additions and Corrections

A Supplement to A Dictionary of Irish Saints:
Containing Additions and Corrections
ISBN 9781801510196

I must state I had A Dictionary of Irish Saints, on my wish list a long time. The price point was way above what I would normally spend on a book for pleasure reading. For a long time it was the longest standing book on my wish list. Then a few years ago my sister in law was very generous with a book gift card at Christmas. I picked it up. It migrated back and forth between my den and my bedside table for almost 2 years. I was making little progress because I greatly prefer eBooks because of a dual form of dyslexia. I had been hoping all along that an eBook edition would eventually be released. When I found out that a second edition was in the works, and that a volume had been releases, ‘A Supplement to A Dictionary of Irish Saints: Containing Additions and Corrections’ I picked it up as a way to help force myself to finally work through the dictionary volume. 

The description of this volume is:

“In the ten years since its publication by Four Courts Press in 2011, a dictionary of Irish saints has attracted a large amount of supplementary material, mainly through comments and corrections provided by readers, colleagues, and reviewers. As these are to be included in a planned second edition of the Dictionary, it is felt by both Press and author that those who own a copy of the first edition should also benefit from them through this publication.”

And the description of the dictionary is:

“Scarcely a parish in Ireland is without one or more dedications to saints - in the form of churches in ruins, holy wells, or other ecclesiastical monuments. A Dictionary of Irish Saints serves as a guide to the (mainly documentary) sources of information on the saints named in these dedications. The need for a summary biographical dictionary of Irish saints - containing information on such matters as feastdays, localizations, chronology, and genealogies - has never before been satisfied. Author Padraig O Riain has been working in the field of Irish hagiography for upwards of 40 years, and the material for the over 1,000 entries in A Dictionary of Irish Saints has come from a variety of sources, including lives of the saints, martyrologies, shorter tracts on the saints (some of them accessible only in manuscripts), annals, annates, collections of folklore, Ordnance Survey letters, and other documents.”

I try and read a few academic works every year. Most of what I read is more for a general audience. I read widely and with my own Religious Studies degree with a specialization in Roman Catholic Thought, and being of Irish heritage this volume appealed to me on many levels. This volume is listed as 64 pages. The chapters in this work are:

Additional Sources 
Additions and Corrections to:
Dictionary Entries
Index of Civil Parishes 
Index of Other Places 
Index of alternate (mainly Anglicized) Names 
Index of Subjects 
Index of Feastdays

This volume is listed as 64 pages, and the original was 660, and the vast majority of additions and edits to dictionary entries. It should be noted this is a red letter edition. The additions are in red and pieces removed are in red with a strike through. See sample page below. The preface begins with:

“In the eleven years since its publication by Four Courts Press in 20122 A Dictionary of Irish Saints has rarely been far, either from my mind or from my desk. Beginning with notes added to an interleaved copy, followed by entries in red in the online copy generously provided by Four Courts Press, I have since assembled a large selection of supplementary material, which, to my mind, merits being brought to the attention of those who own a copy of the first edition. It is hoped that a future second edition of the Dictionary will include this material. In the meantime, however, the Press has kindly agreed to make available in this format the material assembled to date.”

This is very much an academic work and written after a lifetime in the field of study. And as can be seen by this addition it is study that continues to this day. It is an excellent volume, if you are passionate about Irish Saints or your Irish Catholic heritage this is volume is essential for those who own the first edition of the Dictionary. If you enjoyed the Dictionary you will enjoy this volume. I am glad I picked this up and read both the Dictionary and now the Supplement I am blessed for the effort. When the Second edition is released I can only hope there will be an eBook edition, for with my dyslexia I greatly prefer digital copies. An excellent resource and addition to the original volume.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan

Books by and edited by Pádraig Ó Riain:
A Martyrology of Four Cities: Metz, Cologne, Dublin, Lund
Beatha Aodha Ruaidh: the Life of Red Hugh O'Donnell
Feastdays of the Saints
Fled Bricrenn: Reassessments
Four Irish Martyrologies: Drummond, Turin, Cashel, York
Four Offaly Saints
Four Tipperary Saints
Irish Texts Society: The First Hundred Years
Studies in Irish Hagiography: Saints and Scholars
The Martyrology of the Regensburg Schottenkloster

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