Music and the stars

Mathematics in medieval Ireland


Mary Kelly & Charles Doherty, editors

Hardback €45.00
Catalogue Price: €50.00
ISBN: 978-1-84682-392-3
November 2013. 288pp; colour ills.

‘This handsome volume – with the laudable object of showing that the worlds of numbers and letters are not that far apart and that in the past skill in both was considered necessary and beneficial … a fascinating volume … We all knew that the Early Christian period saw Ireland’s greatest artistic achievement. What these contributors have demonstrated is that it is no coincidence that this was also the period when Irish mathematical skills were at their most sophisticated', Seán Duffy, Books Ireland (July/August 2014).


'Ancient manuscripts show that Ireland was a major centre for the study of mathematics centuries ago … Somehow along the way to modern times, however, we released our grip on this expertise, allowing others to make the breakthroughs and take the lead on the advance of mathematics, science and engineering … But the manuscripts remain, and they bear witness to our past, something that has been brought back to life in Music and the Stars: Mathematics in Medieval Ireland [which] reveals this past and shows how we were an important contributor to knowledge during the eighth century. The book includes contributions by 12 authors, specialists in the various manuscripts and their meanings', Dick Ahlstrom, Irish Times (December 2013).

‘This volume presents a broad range of perspectives on medical scientific material, much of which associates with the culture and scholarship of medieval Ireland. Given the general neglect of this unique and valuable material over most of the twentieth century, this is a welcome achievement for which the editors are to be congratulated’, Dan Mc Carthy, Studia Hibernica (2014).