The Antiquarian Journal
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The formation of learned bodies like the Dublin Society reflected the wealth and education of Ireland’s ascendancy class in the eighteenth century, and by the time the Royal Irish Academy received its charter in 1785 as a society for “promoting the study of science, polite literature, and antiquities”, it was only one of many groups beyond the University of Dublin interested in debating and disseminating advances in learning amongst like-minded individuals. From the outset the Academy assumed an antiquarian role and collected items of importance to Ireland’s history: gold ornaments, ogham stones, ancient manuscripts. These objects ultimately became part of the collection of the National Museum, and the Irish manuscripts collected by Academy members over the last 200 years are a priceless record of Ireland’s past.