The Long Room, Trinity College Library Dublin – New Exhibition Launched 23rd October 2014

A major new exhibition of children’s books celebrating the wondrous ways in which writers and illustrators have used myth to engage and excite young readers was launched in the Long Room, Trinity College Library Dublin, on Thursday, October 23rd, 2014. The exhibition is open to the public and runs until April 2015.

Illustration from "The Children of Lir" illustration © PJ Lynch 2014 - taken from "The Names Upon The Harp" by Marie Heaney, published by Faber

Illustration from “The Children of Lir” illustration © PJ Lynch 2014 – taken from “The Names Upon The Harp” by Marie Heaney, published by Faber

The exhibition, entitled ‘Upon the Wild Waves: A Journey through Myth In Children’s Books’ presents material from the 17th century to the present day and was prepared by Dr Pádraic Whyte, Assistant Professor in English and co-director of the Masters programme in Children’s Literature at the School of English, Trinity College Dublin.

From Walter Crane’s superb images of Greek heroes battling monsters in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys, through to Beatrice Elvery’s enchanting depiction of Niamh riding out from Tír na nÓg in Violet Russell’s Heroes of the dawn, the exhibition brings visitors on a magical journey through a diverse range of fascinating children’s books. The display, which is primarily aimed at adult visitors, features myths from around the world, with a particular emphasis on English-language books and on tales by Irish authors and illustrators. All the texts are drawn from the Library which holds over 150,000 children’s books – approximately 10,500 of which are from the Pollard Collection of Children’s Books. This collection was bequeathed to the Library in 2005 by a former Keeper of Early Printed Books, Mary ‘Paul’ Pollard.

Commenting on the significance of the exhibition, Dr Whyte said:

“Children’s literature is a central and vital part of our cultural heritage and this exhibition reveals the sophisticated ways in which myth in children’s books can be used to explore everything from gender and same-sex-relationships through to historical revisionism and 1916. I’m delighted that we have the opportunity to display for visitors many of the treasures held at the Trinity College Library, and to highlight some of the research in children’s literature taking place at the School of English.”

The exhibition is also available to view online, click here

Trinity College Library Dublin announces purchase of Samuel Beckett Letters – 8th October 2014


Trinity College Library Dublin has announced the purchase of the most extensive collection of Samuel Beckett letters ever to have been offered for public sale.
The collection comprises 347 items and was sold by a private seller.
The Library now holds the largest collection of Beckett letters of any research library in the world and is a fitting home for the correspondence of one of Trinity College Dublin’s most famous alumni.

The letters and cards were sent from the Nobel Prize-winning author to artists Henri and Josette Hayden.
Beckett and his wife, Suzanne Dechevaux-Dumesnil, met the Haydens when both couples were in southern France evading discovery by the Nazis during WWII.
The letters, dating from a period beginning in 1947, cover a troubled time in Beckett’s life, which saw the death of both his mother and his brother Frank.

“These Beckett letters are very significant for Beckett scholarship at Trinity College, as well as nationally and internationally,” said Helen Shanton, librarian and college archivist.
“We have been developing collections of significant Irish creative writers, and these letters build on the existing Beckett collections the library already holds. We welcome the opportunity to be able to share these collections with students of Beckett and researchers across the globe.”

A small sample of the collection is on display for the public in the Old Library.
RTE News – Trinity Buys Beckett Letters
BBC News – Trinity College buys largest collection of writers’ letters put on sale

A Book of Kells Costume!

Fancy something a little different for Halloween?

We occasionally come across iconic images and buildings associated with the Library using in novel and interesting ways, such as the recreation of the Old Library on a wall in Poland, or a library eerily reminiscent of the Long Room appearing in Star Wars.

Add to that this costume inspired by the Book of Kells. The creator used our online repository of the Book to create a skirt and temporary tattoos. She clearly has a great love for the manuscript and took pains to treat it with respect – even though medieval copyists themselves might not be so scrupulous. It’s certainly not something you’ll see every day – great work Amanda!

Discover Research Dublin 2014

The Library is delighted to be a part of Discover Research Dublin Night 2014, this Friday 26th September 2014.

The Preservation & Conservation Department at Trinity College Library Dublin will host an open evening, providing an opportunity for visitors to come into the Glucksman Conservation Laboratory and meet staff and learn about the research, processes, and skills employed in the care of our collections. A cross-section of fascinating items from the Library’s rich and varied collections will be out on the benches, with conservators on hand to discuss treatment plans, conservation training, and research.

The event will take place between 4:00pm and 7:00pm, in the Glucksman Conservation Laboratory, Ussher Library.

Visits will commence at the entrance to the Berkeley Library at 4:00pm, 5:00pm and 6:00pm.

Visitors can also join the Library team in the Long Room Hub to explore our treasures online. Digital Collections is an online library, providing free access via the Internet to the Library’s historic collections. For the very first time access to the unique and historic collections of the Library does not require a trip to the Long Room, only an Internet connection and a click of the mouse. On Discover Research Dublin Night visitors can explore online such treasures as 18th-century caricatures, 17th-century maps, manuscripts and photographic collections of the playwright J.M Synge, as well as designs and drawings from the archives of the Harry Clarke Stained Glass Studio. Members of the team will be on hand to talk about the digitisation process and how the resource has been designed and programmed.

Until 9:30pm, the the Old Library and Book of Kells Exhibition will be open, to allow visitors to view the famous Book of Kells, perhaps the most well-known 9th-century manuscript in the world. Also on view is the Emperor of the Irish: Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf 1014 exhibition in the Long Room. No booking is necessary but a limited amount of visitors are allowed in during this time. Trinity College staff and students, on production of their current ID, can avail of free admission to the Old Library and the Book of Kells exhibition – and can bring in up to 3 guests; for other visitors, standard charges apply: Adults €10.00, students/OAPs €8.00, Family ticket €20.00.

For the full programme of events please visit the Discover Research Dublin website.

Wound with a Tear – Art Project featuring the Library

Until Saturday 23rd August, the Douglas Hyde Gallery presents Wound with a Tear, a participative piece which includes the Old Library and our collections.

Here’s more info from the Gallery’s website:

Wound with a Tear is an off-site project taking place for one week only around the Trinity College Dublin campus. Ruth Clinton and Niamh Moriarty have devised a route around the grounds using photographs, texts, and installations to guide visitors through a strange narrative. The works playfully tease out questions about the gradual and more immediate deterioration of the archives and buildings which give Trinity College its reputation of permanence and history.

Visitors are invited to collect a map from the Douglas Hyde Gallery and embark on an investigation which will allow the opportunity to view this very familiar environment in an unusual and mysterious light.

The modest sensibility and use of small gestures is reflective of previous Gallery 3 projects organised outside of the Douglas Hyde Gallery. Further projects will also take place in Trinity College over the coming months.”

St Patricks Day, Free Long Room Entry and the Book of Kells Online

As part of the general celebration of St Patrick’s Day at Trinity, we would like to remind you that the Book of Kells in its entirety is now viewable in high-resolution in the Library’s new Digital Collections Repository, provided by the Library’s Digital Resources and Imaging Services unit. This Library resource is free and available anywhere with an Internet connection. Direct link to the Book of Kells online.

For those in Dublin this weekend, entry to the Book of Kells and Old Library Exhibition is free to all this Monday, in honour of our national saint’s day, together with a 10% discount on purchases made in the Library Shop.

If you are not lucky enough to make it to Ireland you can still go online to explore the beautiful artwork in this 8th century medieval masterpiece as well as all the other wonderful Manuscripts and Early Printed Books in the Digital Collections Repository.

The Book of Kells Exhibition is a “must see” on the itinerary of all visitors to Dublin. Located in the heart of Dublin City, a walk through the cobbled stones of Trinity College Dublin will bring visitors back to the 18th-century, when the magnificent Old Library building was constructed. Inside is housed the Book of Kells – a 9th-century manuscript containing the four Gospels in Latin and is famous throughout the world. Its celebrity derives largely from the impact of its lavish decoration, the extent and artistry of which is incomparable. Abstract decoration and images of plant, animal and human ornament punctuates the text with the aim of glorifying Jesus’ life and message, and keeping his attributes and symbols constantly in the eye of the reader. Please click on Opening Hours and Plan Your Visit for more information.

The Book of Kells transparencies, originally captured by Faksimile Verlag, Lucerne, Switzerland in 1990, have recently been rescanned using state of the art imaging technology. These new digital images offer the most accurate high-resolution images to date, providing an experience second only to viewing the book in person.

Free Entry to All Tonight – The Book of Kells and Old Library

The Old Library and the Book of Kells Exhibition will be open free of charge from 17:00 to 22:00 on Culture Night, 20 September 2013. View the Book of Kells Exhibition along with the current Long Room Exhibition, Preservation & Conservation: What’s That?

From 18:00 to 20:00, Dolsé – a trio of lady harpists – will play in the Long Room with Aideen McBride (a member of Storytellers of Ireland) telling tales around the harp. No booking is required but numbers into the Old Library building will be strictly limited.