Trinity marks major benefaction by Prince Albert II of Monaco to the preservation of the Old Library

His Serene Highness (HSH) Prince Albert II of Monaco visited Trinity College Dublin today as part of his three-day visit to Ireland.  An unveiling ceremony took place during his visit, marking a major benefaction Prince Albert II has made to the conservation of the iconic Old Library at Trinity College.

Welcoming Prince Albert II to Trinity, Provost & President, Professor Linda Doyle said:

“We are delighted to welcome Prince Albert II to Trinity College Dublin. His visit builds on Trinity’s existing links with Monaco through the Princess Grace Irish Library and our Centre for War Studies. Prince Albert joins a tradition of philanthropy that dates from the establishment of the University in 1592. On behalf of the Trinity community, I would like to thank Prince Albert for his support of this landmark restoration project which will ensure the preservation of the Old Library, as a global cultural icon for Trinity, the city of Dublin and Ireland.”

On the occasion of the visit, two ceremonies took place to mark the significance of the donation. An unveiling ceremony took place of a frieze with the names of Their Serene Highnesses Prince Albert II & Princess Charlene of Monaco on the University’s Benefactors Wall at the entrance to the Trinity College Dining Hall.  A frieze containing the name of HSH Prince Albert II was also unveiled on the Gallery of the Long Room of the Old Library alongside the founding donors to the Library.

Marking the ceremony, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco said:

“It is with great pleasure that through this donation I follow in the footsteps of my mother who had a deep affection for Ireland and signals the link to Princess Charlene’s forebears who were instrumental to the founding of Trinity. It is a great privilege for me − with this benefaction – to be part of this ambitious programme to conserve the 18th century Old Library building, creating a sustainable protective environment for the many extraordinary treasures it holds for Ireland and the world.”

The visit marks sixty years since the Irish state visit of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace (1961) and ten years since the first state visit of Prince Albert II (2011).

In the course of his visit to the Old Library, Prince Albert was shown the Book of Kells, the 9th century gospel manuscript written and illustrated by Columban monks, famous throughout the world for its beautifully intricate decoration and representative of Ireland as a seat of art and learning. 

He was also given a special viewing of items drawn from the Library’s extensive special collections related to the work of his grandfather, Prince Albert I, a keen oceanographer and explorer.  They included copies of the earliest treatises on oceanography from the 18th century, forming part of the Library’s Dutch Fagel Collection.

Concluding the visit to the Old Library, Librarian & College Archivist, Helen Shenton thanked Prince Albert II for his pledge of support:

“The evolution of the Library of Trinity College has been made possible over the centuries by visionary benefactors who understood the importance of the Library for Ireland and for the advancement of scholarship, culture and civilisation. The Old Library Redevelopment Project will be using leading technology and preventive conservation, providing optimum environmental conditions for the 18th century building and its precious collections.  With this ambitious conservation programme we are ensuring that future generations will continue to benefit from it and be inspired. It will be accessible to all, our scholars and public in an historic building reinterpreted for the 21st century.”

A frieze with the name of HSH Prince Albert II was unveiled on the Gallery of the Long Room.

Media Coverage:

Irish, UK, German, French and Monégasque publications: Irish Independent; Irish Times online & print; Education Matters;  Daily Mail; Monaco TribuneMonaco Info video; MonacoLife.net; NiceMatin.comwww.gala.fr; Royal Central RTÉ online; Breaking News; University Times; Qoshe.com; Promipool.de; ExpressDigest Headtopics.com among others.