The Book of Kells from the RTÉ Archives, 1989

The Book of Kells is obviously one of the best-known treasures of the Library, so it’s always nice to see it mentioned by the media.

This gem from 1989 is from the “teenage entertainment show” Jo-Maxi, and discusses how the Book of Kells was reproduced for printed facsimile copies – the images taken then are what formed the basis of the later DVD, app and online versions.

The Librarian of the time being interviewed, Peter Fox, is the author of Trinity College Library Dublin: A History.

Enjoy!


Culture Night 2016

As with previous years, we’re delighted to be part of Cuture Night 2016, offering free entry to the Book of Kells Exhibition and the Long Room of the Old Library. Admission is free between 5 and 9, but numbers may be limited during that time to avoid overcrowding.

Also, Library staff member Beata Daly will be exhibiting some of her artwork in the newly-opened Abbey Studios on Marlborough Street, so please swing by if you are hitting the Northside’s attractions too!

The Great War Revisited – Major New Online Exhibition, Partnered with Google Cultural Institute

A slide from the new exhibition

Rare and previously unpublished material held in the Library of Trinity College Dublin relating to WW1 will be brought to a global audience thanks to an online collaboration between Trinity and Google.

RTE-30-06-15
Segment from Six One News, June 30th 2015. Copyright Raidió Teilifís Éireann 2015.
Click to go to video.

The Great War Revisited exhibition was launched online on Tuesday, June 30th 2015 at the Google Cultural Institute. This exhibition features 60 exhibits of unique heritage material from Trinity’s rare books and manuscripts collections relating to the Great War, including recruiting posters, letters, diaries, photographs, videos, pamphlets and artworks.

These highlights from the Library’s rich and diverse collections of material relating to the First World War can now be easily accessed by anyone wherever they are in world, right from their computer, tablet or phone. The Great War Revisited is Trinity’s first collaboration with Google Cultural Institute, which partners with more than 800 institutions – museums, libraries, art galleries and archives – around the world. The platform hosts over 170,000 artworks and a total of 6 million photos, videos, manuscripts and other documents of art, culture and history, to make important cultural material available and accessible to everyone.

Highlights of the exhibition include:

  • Trinity’s celebrated collection of Irish WWI recruiting posters (one of the largest collection in existence)
  • Previously unpublished photographs of the Allied campaign in Iraq and Turkey
  • Letters and diaries from Irish soldiers serving in France, Iraq and Palestine (previously unpublished)
  • A multitude of political pamphlets, songs and ballads and artworks

Commenting on the launch of the online exhibition Helen Shenton, Librarian and College Archivist, said: “The Library of Trinity College Dublin is delighted to be partnering with Google Cultural Institute on the Great War Revisited online exhibition. Showcasing the richness of First World War material held in the Library, the online exhibition forms part of the Library’s commitment to opening up its historic collections for global online access.”

The exhibition is part of the Library’s contribution to the Trinity College Dublin Decade of Commemoration initiative which includes lectures and conferences and a rededication of the Hall of Honour later this year.

Trinity Contributes Highlights of Clarke Stained Glass Studio Archive to Digital Repository of Ireland

Colour design for House of Gold and Spiritual Vessel, by Terence Clarke, Board of Trinity College Dublin

Beautiful sketches, designs and photographs from the famed Clarke Stained Glass Studios held in archive in the Library of Trinity College Dublin are now freely available online as part of a major national open digital repository for Ireland’s social and cultural data. For a selection taken from the fuller range see the Library’s mini online exhibition.

The Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI), which was launched by Damien English, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation on June 25th, contains tens of thousands of high quality, metadata-rich digital objects, including video clips, photographs, digitised manuscripts, oral histories, sound recordings, digitised paintings and museum objects, books and letters. The repository links together and preserves both historical and contemporary data held by Irish institutions, providing a central online access point and interactive multimedia tools

DRI is available for use by the public, students and scholars. The repository is the result of nearly four years of research, software development, policy and legal framework design, and data curation by digital archivists and librarians. Trinity College Dublin has been a key partner in DRI, contributing technical, archiving, metadata and legal expertise to the project. Other partners in the consortium are the Royal Irish Academy (lead institute), Maynooth University, Dublin Institute of Technology, National University of Ireland Galway, and National College of Art and Design.

The repository features beautiful and moving collections, including those from five demonstrator projects – the Clarke Stained Glass Studios Archive, Letters of 1916, Irish Lifetimes, Kilkenny Design Workshops, Saol Agus Saothar Sa Ghaeltacht, and the Teresa Deevy Archive. The repository also contains the award-winning Inspiring Ireland collections, featuring content from eight of Ireland’s National Cultural Institutions, and rich collections of multi-media content from our partners Raidió Teilifís Éireann and the Contemporary Music Centre.

The Clarke Stained Glass Studio Archive held by the Library of Trinity College Dublin sheds light on the design and business practice of one of the leading creative businesses of the 20th century, which operated from 1893 until 1973 and was responsible for hundreds of stained glass windows for churches all over Ireland, the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, several African countries, Singapore, and the Philippines.

With the support of the Digital Repository of Ireland project funding, the Library of Trinity College Dublin is currently undertaking a two-year digitisation project which will make thousands of sketches, designs, order books, photographs and business correspondence from this collection available online to researchers, art historians and the public. This work is being carried out by Dr Marta Bustillo, Assistant Librarian, and Joanne Carroll, Digital Photographer of the Digital Resources and Imaging Services Department in the Library.

Dermot Frost, Principal Investigator for DRI in Trinity with responsibility for the technical delivery of the repository said: “Building DRI has been both exciting and challenging. The team in Research IT, along with our partners, have built a scalable and robust digital repository for humanities and social sciences data using best-of-breed open source software components such as Fedora Commons, Hydra and Ceph.”

Helen Shenton, College Librarian and Archivist added, “Through our involvement in DRI, the Library has been able to unearth the treasures of the Clarke Stained Glass Studios Archive. The high resolution imaging of the business archives and designs for stained glass windows will be a vital resource to future researchers and the wider public.”

Speaking at the launch, Dr Sandra Collins, Director of DRI, invited everyone to visit DRI online: “DRI offers exciting historical, cultural and contemporary content that tells the story of Ireland and its people. The content comes from some of the finest institutions across Ireland, and is available without charge for people to view and to enjoy. Some of the collections we care for are restricted by copyright or the sensitive nature of the data, but researchers can request access. We are an open repository, and we want people to explore and enjoy their cultural and social heritage.”

History Books in the Anglo-Norman World – Online Exhibition

History Books in the Anglo-Norman World ExhibitionThe Library presents a mini online exhibition to highlight our collection of Anglo-Norman histories. This follows the History Books in the Anglo-Norman World Conference in May 2015 and a mini exhibition in the Long Room, organised as part of Dr Laura Cleaver’s History Books in the Anglo-Norman World Project (2011-2015).

The past was a popular subject in the Anglo-Norman world. Following the conquest of England in 1066, historians in the territories controlled by the kings of England sought to legitimise the new regime and make sense of the political circumstances in which they found themselves by exploring both the recent and distant past. Writers used a range of precedents in shaping their accounts, drawing on sources including the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, histories of the dukes of Normandy, and genealogical histories derived from the Bible. Although some works composed in the early twelfth century were primarily designed for use within a particular monastery, others, such as the histories produced by monks John at Worcester and William at Malmesbury, were widely copied and taken up by later generations of writers including Ralph of Diss and Matthew Paris. The surviving ‘history books’ vary significantly in size, format, quality of materials used and decoration. The study of these manuscripts thus sheds light on both the creation and reception of history in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

Trinity College Dublin holds an important collection of Anglo-Norman histories, most of which came from the collection of Archbishop James Ussher (d. 1656). Ussher was a keen collector of manuscripts, and his interest in history was linked to his attempt to establish the date of Creation, which he famously concluded must have taken place in 4004 BC. Ussher’s collection was given to Trinity College Library in 1661.

Images from “Library as Illuminary” & “The Lamps Have Gone Out”

During the first half of Trinity Week, images from the Library’s historic collections were projected around College, visible from 8:30 – 10:30pm, and we think definitely worth staying out for!

We acknowledged the centenary of the First World War with a light installation inspired by the phrase ‘The lamps have gone out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime’. The East face of the 1937 Reading Room was transformed with a projection of the names and portraits of the Trinity engineers and medics who fell in battle. Just before sundown at 7:30 the choir sang songs inspired by Light from the stairs of Trinity Long Room Hub, as an introduction to our memorial piece.

In recognising the role of the Library in illuminating the research mission of the College, the wall above the Berkeley entrance and the Nassau street gate became beacons of light with two stunning displays of images from our collection. The majestic images were matched by the mastery of the light engineer who made them come alive for us.

Finally, from the East window of the Trinity Long Room Hub a Harry Clarke stained glass design from our collection glowed with a burst of light radiating from behind three roses.

Lighten Up – TCD’s Trinity Week & the Library

Three roses set in a starburst pattern
Three roses set in a starburst pattern.
IE TCD MS 11182-106. Stained glass panel by Terence Clarke (1917-1968), part of the Clarke Stained Glass Studios Collection.

The Faculty of Engineering, Mathematics and Science is hosting this year’s programme of events for Trinity Week which commences on Saturday 11th April. The theme for the week is ‘Light’ which coincides with 2015 being declared the International Year of Light by UNESCO. This week-long programme will include exciting events which demonstrate the roles light, in all its forms, plays and how it affects and enhances life.

The Library is involving itself in this programme, under the prompting of the Keeper of Preservation and Conservation, by staging a number of events on the theme of light, interpreting the word perhaps more metaphorically than scientifically, and being all the more interesting for that.

Harry Clarke, for example, used light as part of his palette and his role in Irish cultural history will be acknowledged by the installation of a reproduction, from the Harry Clarke Studios archives, in one of the windows of the Trinity Long Room Hub. The image chosen is a glorious drawing of three roses set in a starburst.

The Library has also interpreted the theme in the sense of ‘illuminary – that which illuminates’, recognising that the work the Library does lights up the research mission of the College. Images from the Library’s historic collections in the Manuscripts & Archives Research Library and the Department of Early Printed Books and Special Collections will therefore be projected onto the wall above the Nassau Street Entrance and also above the entrance to the Berkeley.

Taking the metaphorical use of the word ‘light’ and allying it with the centenary of the First World War inspired another Library installation planned for Trinity Week; ‘The lamps have gone out all over Europe. We will not see them lit again in our lifetime’ – a resonant phrase dating from the eve of the First World War which was understood from the beginning as a threat to enlightened civilization. The centenary of the War will be acknowledged with the projection, onto the East face of the 1937 Reading Room, of the names and portraits of the Trinity engineers and medics who fell.

All of the images being projected are accessible through our Digital Collections.

Early Printed Books and M&ARL will take a bit of liberty with the word ‘light’ again in the titles of their exhibition and blog (respectively) which will be curated/posted to coincide with events: ‘…and there was light’ is the title of a small exhibition, curated by EPB in the Berkeley foyer, which explores the theme through texts on religion, science and literature. ‘Throwing a bit of light on the subject’ is the punningly clever title of the M&ARL blog post which will provide a round-up of the Library’s involvement for the M&ARL audience.

Why not check out the website for all relevant projects within Trinity Week?

ANZAC Day – Long Room Exhibition

Captain Anthony Purdon Hagarty Corley of the 1st Australian Division
Captain Anthony Purdon Hagarty Corley of the 1st Australian Division

The Library has a number of events planned to acknowledge the centenary of the First World War. One of these events, which marks a specific battle and the participation of Trinity alumni in it, is a small exhibition which has been curated to coincide with ANZAC Day, 25 April 2015. ANZAC Day was originally dedicated to the memory of those of the Australian and New Zealander Army Corps who fell in Gallipoli in August 1915. To honour the anniversary this year the Library has identified, from among the archives of the Medical School, the portraits of the medical personnel who died in the Dardanelles Campaign, as it was also known, including one Trinity man who served in the Australian army. These nineteen portraits have been treated in the Preservation and Conservation Department and placed on exhibition in the world-famous Long Room of the Old Library where they will be seen by the hundreds of thousands of visitors who visit the Library in the summer months.

The portraits are identified by name, the date of entry to the College, the date and location of death, and the cemetery wherein the individual was interred. It is, as ever, noticeable how very young most of these men were, the youngest having only entered College less than 18 months before his untimely death. The oldest man was in his fifties.

Both the Medical School and the School of Engineering collected and displayed the portraits of their alumni who died in the War; the memory of their service in Gallipoli and other campaigns formed a part of the Schools’ distinct identity within the College. The medical portraits now form part of the College Archives, housed in the Library, while the portraits of the engineers still hang in the Museum Building.

“Hello Stranger” – Handmade Books by Primary School Students Make Acquaintance with the Long Room

Example page by Adam Caulfield from Our Lady of Good Counsel Boys' NS
Example page by Adam Caulfield from Our Lady of Good Counsel Boys’ NS

On Wednesday, March 25th, the Old Library will be given the pleasure of hosting the Bookmark Awards Ceremony and exhibition launch, brought to us by the Trinity Access Programme (TAP). Hosted by Helen Shenton, the Trinity College Librarian, this evening will feature an exhibition of hand-written and -illustrated books created by pupils from:

  • St Mary’s Boys’ National School, Haddington Road
  • Our Lady of Lourdes National School, Inchicore
  • Our Lady of Good Counsel Boys’ National School, Drimnagh

In preparation for the evening, the students were brought on an extended tour of the Old Library and the Book of Kells. Dr Lydia Ferguson introduced the pupils to some of the Pollard collection, which includes over 11,000 children’s books collected by Mary Pollard over a period of 50 years. The students were also introduced to the theme “Hello Stranger” and given examples to assist them with their projects. Further information on this day and the theme itself can be found in detail on the associated blog by Catherine Ann Cullen.

This has become an annual event and is a fantastic experience for all involved. We are looking forward to welcoming the students, and their families, on Wednesday evening. The handmade books will be displayed in the Long Room until April 10th. It is free of charge for friends and families of those in the three schools involved, as well as any students, staff and alumni of the College who wish to view these creative additions to our Old Library.

Welcome, Welcome Little Women: TCD’s First Female Graduates

Olive PurserIn honour of International Women’s Day, a small exhibition entitled “Welcome, Welcome Little Women” can now be viewed in the Library’s Orientation Space. It is a display of books pertaining to and written by the first female graduates of Trinity, as well as some black and white images relating to them. It symbolises women’s struggle to gain access to third level education in Ireland at a time when it was purely a male sphere.

Photo is of Olive Purser – TCD’s first woman “scholar”. Before the 1960s, women were only allowed to get non-foundation scholarships, not foundation scholarships with added benefits as with the men. According to the Academic Registry, in recent years  a smaller number of female students have applied for the Scholarship Examination than male students, and as a result there is currently a gender imbalance in the number of Scholarships that are awarded. All evidence suggests that female students do as well as male students when they sit the examination; so why are fewer female candidates applying?