BIBLE, New Testament, Irish. Tiomna Nuadh ar d Tighearna agus ar slanajghtheora Josa Criosd. Translated by Nicholas Walsh, bishop of Ossory (d.1585), John O'Kearney, treasurer of St.Patrick's (d.1581), Nehemias Donellan, archbishop of Tuam (d.1609), and completed by William Daniell or O'Donnell, afterwards archbishop of Tuam (d.1628). Dublin: [William Kearney and] Seòn Francke [or Francton], 1602.
Small 2° (232 x 172mm). Collation: s2 (title and preface) 1-2 (English preface) A-U2 Aa-Uu2 3A-3U2 a-u2 (omitting quire o, n1 signed o1) aa-uu2 3a-3u2 (3g2 mis-signed 3h2). Printed in Irish type, title with woodcut headpiece and ornament. Preface in Irish and dedication to James I in English, both by William Daniell. Fly-titles to Mark and Luke, but this early issue without a fly-title to Matthew. (Paper fault in aaa<->1 affecting four lines.) Early 18th-century calf, spine with raised bands, red lettering-piece (slight split in upper hinge). Provenance: contemporary ownership note (Hobart ??) in lower margin of o<->1 cropped; James Fraser (possibly the Scottish divine 1700-69?), his gift to King's College at Aberdeen in 1723 (inscription on title); University of Aberdeen (bookplate, and unobtrusive duplicate stamp on last page). GENERALLY A FINE COPY.
FIRST EDITION OF ANY PART OF THE BIBLE IN IRISH AND ONLY THE SECOND BOOK TO BE PRINTED IN THE IRISH LANGUAGE. It was printed with type adapted from John Day's Anglo-Saxon type, presented by Queen Elizabeth in 1571, when it was used to print the Irish Catechism. The expense of publication were defrayed by the Province of Connaught and Sir William Ussher. In 1592 Queen Elizabeth granted a warrant to William Kearney for printing the New Testament in Irish. He commenced printing at Trinity College Dublin in 1595; he died however in 1599, having finished only a part of the work. He was succeeded by John Francton or Francke in 1600, who completed the New Testament in 1602, although it was not issued until March 1603, after the Queen's death, when it had been folded, but not bound, permitting a dedication to James I to be inserted. This copy has the English dedication with a factotum initial as set by the Dublin printer; another issue has the dedication set by Richard Field in London and is generally found without the preface in Irish. Although the edition was 500 copies, the book is today of considerable rarity and NO COPY APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN SOLD AT AUCTION SINCE RECORDS BEGAN IN 1902. STC 2958; Darlow & Moule 5532; E.E.McC. Dix & J. Cassedy, List of Books, Pamphlets, &c. printed wholly or partly in Irish, (1913) no.3