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The Old Library

The Long Room

The main chamber of the Old Library is the Long Room; at nearly 65 metres in length, it is filled with 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books and is one of the most impressive libraries in the world. When built (between 1712 and 1732) it had a flat plaster ceiling and shelving for books was on the lower level only, with an open gallery. By the 1850s these shelves had become completely full; largely as since 1801 the Library had been given the right to claim a free copy of every book published in Britain and Ireland. In 1860 the roof was raised to allow construction of the present barrel-vaulted ceiling and upper gallery bookcases.

Marble busts line the Long Room, a collection that began in 1743 when 14 busts were commissioned from sculptor Peter Scheemakers. The busts are of the great philosophers and writers of the western world and also of men (and yes, they are all men) connected with Trinity College Dublin - famous and not so famous. The finest bust in the collection is of the writer Jonathan Swift by Louis Francois Roubiliac.

Other treasures in the Long Room include one of the few remaining copies of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic which was read outside the General Post Office on 24 April 1916 by Patrick Pearse at the start of the Easter Rising. The harp is the oldest of its kind in Ireland and probably dates from the 15th century. It is made of oak and willow with 29 brass strings. It is the model for the emblem of Ireland.

The band of gold lettering below the gallery commemorates benefactors of the 17th and 18th centuries:

  • James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh
  • King Charles II
  • William Palliser, Archbishop of Cashel
  • Claudius Gilbert
  • Theophilius Butler

There are temporary exhibitions held in the Long Room which display the rich holdings of the Library and encourage further research.

Location of busts in the Old Library Building, the Library of Trinity College Dublin

Names in brackets denote sculptor.


[Single letter Stalls on North side, double letters on South side]

Reference in Crookshank and Webb

Reference in Strickland

Aristotle (Peter Scheemakers)

Stall E

p. 150 (1)

p. 79

Bacon, Francis (Peter Scheemakers)

Stall CC

p. 150 (2)

p. 79

Baldwin, Richard (Simon Vierpyl) P

Stall KK

p. 16

p. 38

Boyle, Robert (Peter Scheemakers)

Stall GG

p. 151 (3)

p. 43 & 79

Brady, Sir Maziere (Christopher Moore)

Left alcove at upper level when facing East end (Not on public view)

p. 25

[Acquired 1926]

Brinkley, John (John Hogan) [Marble high relief monument]

Entrance lobby of West end (Not on public view)

p. 25

p. 43

Burke, Edmund (John Hickey)

Stall N

p. 30

p. 46

Bushe, Charles Kendal (Peter Turnerelli) [Plaster cast]

Right alcove, when facing West end

See Note 1.

Cicero (Peter Scheemakers)

Stall F

p. 151 (4)

p 79

Clayton, Robert (Simon Vierpyl)

Stall K

p. 36

p. 49

Clement, William (Edward Smyth) L

Stall LL

p. 37

p. 49

Delany, Patrick (John van Nost, the younger)

Stall L

p. 45

p. 50

Demosthenes (Peter Scheemakers)

Stall G

p. 151 (5)

p. 79

Elrington, Charles Richard (Thomas Kirk) P

Stall O

p. 50

p. 52

Emmet, Robert (Patrick O’Connor)

Fagel Collection

p. 51

[Acquired 1966]

Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (Peter Turnerelli) [Fifth son of George III q.v.]

Left alcove when facing East end (Not on public view)

p. 51

p. 50

George III (Peter Turnerelli) [Father of Ernest Augustus. q.v.]

Right alcove when facing East end

p. 58

p. 53

Gilbert, Claudius (Simon Vierpyl) B

Stall II

p. 59

p. 53

Goldsmith, Oliver (William Behnes)

Stall NN

p. 60/61 (3)

p. 54

Hamilton, William Rowan (John Henry Foley)

Stall S

p. 66

p. 55

Herbert, Thomas, 8th Earl of Pembroke (Peter Scheemakers)

Stall HH

p. 152 (10)

p. 68

Homer (Peter Scheemakers)

Stall B

p. 151 (6)

p. 79

Hyde, Douglas (Seamus Murphy)
[Plaster cast]

Manuscripts Reading Room (Not on public view)

p. 72/73 (1)

[Acquired 1973]

Kyle, Samuel (Thomas Kirk) P

Stall T

p. 89 (2)

p. 60

Lawson, John (Patrick Cunnigham)

Stall MM

p. 82

p. 60

Lefroy, Thomas Langlois (Christopher Moore)

Stall PP

p. 83

p. 61

Lloyd, Bartholomew (Thomas Kirk) [Father of Humphy Lloyd q.v.] P

Stall QQ

p. 84

p. 62

Lloyd, Humphrey (Albert Bruce Joy) [Son of Bartholomew q.v.] P

Stall RR

p. 85

p. 62

Locke, John (Peter Scheemakers)

Stall FF

p. 151 (7)

p. 79

Magee, William (Thomas Kirk) [Grandfather of William Connor Magee q.v.]

Stall Q

p. 94/95 (2)

p. 64

Magee, William Connor (Joseph Watkins) [Grandson of William Magee q.v.]

Henry Jones Room (Not on public view)

p. 95

p. 64

Malet, John Adam (J.E. Jones)

Left alcove at upper level, when facing West end (Not on public view)

p. 97

[Acquired 1944]

Miller, George (Thomas Kirk)

Stall OO

p. 98

p. 65

Milton, John (Peter Scheemakers)

Stall DD

p. 151 (8)

p. 79

Newton, Isaac (Peter Scheemakers)

Stall EE

p. 152 (9)

p. 79

O’Brien, James Thomas (Blanche Stack)

Right alcove at upper level when facing East end (Not on public view)

p. 101

p. 67

Parnell, Thomas (Edward Smyth)

Stall M

p. 108

p. 68

Pery, Edmund Sexton (J.C.E. Rossi)

Left alcove, when facing West end

p. 109

p. 69

Plato (Peter Scheemakers)

Stall D

p. 152 (11)

p. 79

Plunket, William Conyngham (Christopher Moore)

Stall P

p. 110 (1)

p. 69

Plunket, William Conyngham (Christopher Moore) [Plaster cast of bust at Stall P]

Right alcove at upper level, when facing West end (Not on public view)

p. 110 (2)

[Acquired 1954]

Shakespeare, William (Peter Scheemakers)

Stall BB

p. 152 (12)

p. 79

Siegfried, Rudolf Thomas (Joseph Robinson Kirk) LA

Stall TT

p. 120

p. 71

Socrates (Peter Scheemakers)

Stall C

p. 152 (13)

p. 79

Swift, Jonathan (Louis Francois Roubiliac)

Stall I

p. 132

p. 73

Tone, Wolfe (Terence Farrell)

Stall VV

p. 134

[Acquired 1924]

Ussher, James (Peter Scheemakers) C

Stall H

p. 152 (14)

p. 76 & 79

Ussher, Percy Arland (Irene Broe)

Manuscripts Reading Room (Not on public view)

p. 136

[Acquired 1988]

Wall, Charles William (Thomas Kirk) L

Stall R

p. 137

p. 76

Wellesley, Arthur, 1st Duke of Wellington (Francis Chantrey)

Stall V

p. 139

p. 76

Whiteside, James (Patrick MacDowell)

Stall SS

p. 140

p. 77

B Claudius Gilbert left money in his will for busts of “men eminent for learning” to adorn the Library – these are the 14 busts by Peter Scheemakers
C Former Chancellor of the University
L Former Librarian
LA Library Assistant to JH Todd
P Former Provost

Note 1. The plaster cast bust of Charles Kendal Bushe by Turnerelli is not listed in Crookshank and Webb or Strickland. A similar bust is listed in National Gallery of Ireland: Illustrated summary catalogue of prints and sculpture. Dublin: NGI. 1988. [p. 600, catalogue no. 8188].

There are three other busts listed in Strickland as being in the Library. Two are James McCullagh (p. 63) and Matthew Young (p. 77) – both of which are in Crookshank and Webb (p. 90 & 145) and both are now located in the Senior Common Room above the doors of the main room. A third bust of James Henthorn Todd (former Librarian) by Joseph Robinson Kirk, (p. 74) is neither listed in Crookshank and Webb or to be found in the Library.

Trevor Peare
Former Keeper (Readers’ Services)
September 2015


Anne Crookshank & David Webb. Paintings and sculptures in Trinity College Dublin. Dublin: Trinity College Dublin Press. 1990. [Includes pictures of all busts and brief biographies of the subjects]

W. G. Strickland. A descriptive catalogue of the pictures, busts and sculptures in Trinity College Dublin and in the Provost’s House. Dublin: The University Press. 1916. [Brief biographies of subjects, but no illustrations]

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