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#25 Popcorn for a Prime Minister

We’ve already mentioned the promotional film Building for Books. Our colleagues in the Manuscripts & Archives Research Library were able to unearth the following clippings relating to it.

The Irish Tatler & Sketch – a publication the young people of today are probably unfamiliar with, but which can still be found in newsagents as the Irish Tatler – featured the premiere of Building for Books which took place in the Savoy Cinema in O’Connell Street. Prominently at said showing is the then-Taoiseach, later President, Éamon de Valera.

It was also mentioned in the Irish Independent:

…and the film was reviewed in the Sunday Review:

De Valera features himself in B4B, opening the re-purposed Magnetic Observatory as a manuscripts reading room. If you are wondering what happened to that building, we might try and cover that in a later post!

Indeed, DeV in a recurring theme in the lead up to the opening of the Berkeley – opening the new Reading Room in 1937, appearing in B4B opening the Manuscripts Room in 1957, turning the sod in 1963, and opening the New Library in 1967. That he was kindly disposed to Trinity may seem odd when he was Chancellor of the National University of Ireland and was personally a devout Catholic, given that Catholics were forbidden to attend Trinity by the Church’s hierarchy. Apparently, de Valera’s good will towards TCD was mainly down to Provost McConnell who as a fellow mathematician was able to engage DeV in great fireside chats on matters mathematical. For more info on McConnell and DeV, see our sister blog Manuscripts at Trinity’s post.

For something completely different, here’s playwright Arthur Riordan playing DeV as a rapper in the Berkeley Library, at the soirée to mark the donation of the Rough Magic Theatre Company’s archive.