The Lewis Glucksman Gallery opened the pages of the book last month. It was published in 1991 and acquired for the university last year with $1m (€735,000) from dedicated fundraising.
Featuring the works of some of the country’s greatest writers, artists, and composers, it underwent preservation ahead of its display as part of the Facing Pages exhibition that runs until July.
The gallery is hosting a number of events up to mid-July, starting with a lunchtime talk tomorrow by Pádraig Ó Macháin, UCC professor of modern Irish, about poetry anthologies in Irish tradition.
A series of lunchtime events and evening readings by internationally recognised poets and writers will be complemented by workshops focused on the creation, care, calligraphy, and photography of the Great Book of Ireland.
Its publication was a fundraising idea for Clashganna Mills Trust, which works for people with disabilities, and for Poetry Ireland, with original works contributed by nine composers, 121 artists, and 143 poets, including Samuel Beckett, Seamus Heaney, and Derek Walcott.
Among the poets to read from their works will be Ciarán Carson (June 5), Paula Meehan (June 19), Eavan Boland (July 3), and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin (July 10).
In the tradition of the country’s ancient manuscripts, the book is bound in vellum and its decorative protective case features silver, bog oak, and elm taken from trees set by WB Yeats. A June 7 masterclass with paper conservator Paul Curtis will reveal the work involved in caring for this book, and rare and early printed works, while calligrapher Denis Brown gives a workshop for beginners on June 28.
The book remains open at a different page each week while on display; this week, visitors can read Paul Muldoon’s poem ‘Meeting the British’.
The Facing Pages exhibition runs until July 13 and features works from UCC’s own art collection and on loan from the Irish Museum of Modern Art, emphasising many artists who contributed to the Great Book.