Anyone with an interest in medieval history will have heard of the term the Dark Ages. It was coined by Francesco Petrarca (known as Petrarch), an Italian scholar of the 14th century.
The term was considered to encompass a perceived dearth of culture across Europe between 500 to 1400, the period between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance.
It was always a myth as during that period there were great advances in literature, politics, travel and science in many parts of Europe, including Ireland.
Attesting to this is the discovery of a 15th-century Irish vellum manuscript that reveals a connection between Gaelic Ireland and the Muslim world and indicates that medieval Ireland was once at the centre of medical scholarship.
University College Cork is today hosting a public seminar on the manuscript known as The Avicenna Fragment and on aspects of Gaelic medieval medicine.
Let’s hope the manuscript will also gain a wider viewership and consign the Dark Ages to mythology, once and for all.