O’MOLLOY, Francis. Lucerna Fidelium [Lochrann na gCreidmheach], seu Fasciculus Deceptus ab Authoribus Magis Versatus, qui Tractarunt de Doctrina Christiana.


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Rome: Typis Sacrae Congreg. de Propaganda Fide, 1676. First edition. Foolscap octavo. pp. [iv], 391, viii. Later quarter brown morocco on tan cloth boards, title in gilt direct on spine. Inscribed in Irish by a previous owner on titlepage. Occasional toning. A very good copy. Extremely rare.
COPAC locates 3 copies only. Wing O 291C. Sweeney 3279.
Francis O’Molloy acknowledging the sorry state of learning and religion in Ireland: “which proscribed the public and even the private use of the Irish language in order that, when the latter had been consigned to eternal oblivion, no knowledge might survive of native antiquities, of the Lives of our Saints, of our Faith, of our ecclesiastical traditions,” counteracted this by publishing Lochrann na gCreidmheach, better known by its Latin title Lucerna Fidelium.
It is a catechism of the doctrines of the Irish Church printed in the Irish character at the press of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith in Rome, with a new Irish type specially cut there for this work. The book has two title pages, one in Latin and the other in Irish. It was distributed in the Irish and Scottish missions, and to Irish soldiers in Continental armies for their spiritual welfare.
Happily for the bibliophile, uncut sheets in fine condition, of this work were discovered in the loft of the Irish College at Rome. These in turn were offered in a single lot (278 copies) at the sale of the library of J.P. Lyons, Dean of Killala, in 1845. They were purchased by George Smith of Hodges and Smith, who had them bound up and afterwards sold them for ten shillings each.


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