‘Changed Utterly – Ireland and the Easter Rising’, Project Launch, 24 April 2015

1916 Easter Rising Project Launch
Pictured at the Project Launch L to R:
Shane Mawe, Assistant Librarian; Helen Shenton, Librarian & College Archivist; Estelle Gittins, Assistant Librarian

‘Changed Utterly – Ireland and the Easter Rising’ is a weekly series of 52 blog posts which focuses on the Easter Rising and its impact on Ireland.

The project will draw on the rich and diverse collections of 1916 material held in the Research Collections departments of Trinity College Library including diary extracts, letters, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, photographs, and even pieces of clothing. The Research Collections departments comprise of the Manuscripts and Archives Research Library (M&ARL), the Department of Early Printed Books and Special Collections, the Glucksman Map Library and the Music Library.

Launched on Friday 24 April 2015, the aim is to showcase the breadth of our collections related to 1916 and this period of unrest in Ireland’s history. It is hoped that the project will act as a catalyst for research and engage the public ahead of the centenary anniversary in April 2016.

Blog posts are written by the staff in the aforementioned Library departments, and occasionally by Trinity College academics and other experts in the period.

Click here to view the blog.
Follow the project on Twitter: @TCDLib1916

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?

RDS ‘Great Libraries of the World’ Lecture – Peter Fox on Trinity College Library Dublin 15/04/15

Trinity College Library Dublin: a History
Peter Fox’s ‘Trinity College Library Dublin: a History’, launched in 2014

This free (but booking essential!) lecture will examine some familiar aspects of the history of Trinity College Library Dublin from a less familiar perspective. Much of what we now take for granted: the foundation of the Library in the 16th century, the building of what we now call the Old Library in the 18th, the New Library (now the Berkeley) in the 20th, and Trinity’s continuing right to claim new books published in both Britain and Ireland – all of these involved complex negotiations, the outcome of which was far from certain. The story of the Library was directly affected by the intervention of major historical figures – monarchs: Elizabeth I, Queen Anne and Charles II; archbishops: James Ussher, William King and John Charles McQuaid; politicians: Oliver Cromwell, Eamon de Valera and Seán Lemass. These all feature in the lecture, which will cover the political background to the development of Ireland’s greatest library and its relations with church and state over four centuries.

Full details and how to book can be found on the RDS website.

Peter Fox worked at Trinity College for 15 years, first as Deputy Librarian and then as Librarian and College Archivist. He edited Treasures of the Library: Trinity College Dublin, published by the Royal Irish Academy in 1986, and the commentary volume to the Book of Kells facsimile. His history of Trinity College Library Dublin was published in 2014 by Cambridge University Press. From 1994 to 2009 he was the Librarian of the University of Cambridge, and he is a Fellow of Selwyn College Cambridge.

St Mary’s Abbey Manuscript Acquired for Trinity

Trinity College Library Dublin has acquired the only medieval Irish manuscript to have been offered for sale for a century, a highly significant early 14th-century manuscript produced at St Mary’s Cistercian Abbey in Dublin. Lost to the world of scholarship since the 18th century, it has not been in Ireland since the 16th century.

A press launch announcing the acquisition, on 19 March, was followed by an event to thank the donors who were invited to a special viewing of the new arrival. They were then addressed by the Keeper of Manuscripts Bernard Meehan, the Professor of Medieval History at Trinity Seán Duffy and scholar Br Colmán Ó Clábaigh, OSB.

Librarian and College Archivist Helen Shenton said the manuscript includes a “considerable body of new information which will help to re-evaluate the history and culture of St Mary’s Abbey and the civic life of Dublin in the 14th and 15th centuries”.

The Cistercian Abbey of St Mary’s, after which Dublin’s Mary’s Street and Abbey Street are named, was the wealthiest monastic house in medieval Ireland. So important was it that the parliament, having no permanent building in the city, frequently met there.

MS11500Apart from legal texts, such as an early version of the 14th-century Ordinances which restricted the power of King Edward II, the manuscript also includes an account of the Trojan war by Dares Phrygius; Geoffrey of Monmouth’s pseudo-history of the kings of Britain, and works by Giraldus Cambrensis (Gerald of Wales, died 1223), the Topography of Ireland and Conquest of Ireland.

After the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII the manuscript fell into private hands; it was eventually purchased by the first earl Somers whose bookplate is in the volume. The manuscript was acquired by Trinity College Library Dublin at Christie’s auction in London in November 2014.

The acquisition of the manuscript aligns with Trinity College’s strategy of engagement with the city of Dublin as it contains a considerable body of new information which will help to re-evaluate the history and culture of St Mary’s Abbey and the civic life of Dublin in the 14th and 15th centuries. Digitising, scientific analysis, textual and codicological examination of the manuscript will provoke widespread research and popular interest. This ‘new’ manuscript will, through research, focus further attention on other manuscripts, from the same Abbey, which are held in major international repositories, including the British Library and the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

The level of enthusiasm among scholars, across the university and among the wider historically-minded community in Ireland, for the return of this manuscript to Dublin, was given practical expression: when the Library turned to its alumni and friends, seeking much needed support for this acquisition, the response was unprecedented.

Links to media coverage:

RTE

UTV Ireland

The Independent

The Irish Examiner

The Herald

Library HITS – Helpful Information for Trinity Students/Staff Info Sessions from 23/03/15 to 27/03/15

Students and staff are invited to join us for one or more of these information sessions  lasting no longer than 40 minutes (except for EndNote Desktop and EndNote Online, at one hour). If you have time, stay longer and we will answer any Library-related questions. Please come along to the Berkeley Library Basement: classes will be in the North Training Room except for EndNote Desktop which will be in the South Training Room.

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!