Tag Archives: 1916 proclamation

The Long Room – with a great view!

The Old Library

The Old Library

As libraries go the Long Room in Trinity College is a ‘must see’ and one of Dublin’s great attractions. It is the main chamber of the Old Library (which houses the Book of Kells, the Book of Durrow and many other ancient manuscripts) and was built between 1712-1732. It measures an impressive 65 metres and is lined with more than forty busts of great writers, philosophers, scientists and famous former students like Jonathan Swift, William Rowan Hamilton and Edmund Burke.

Touching history

Touching history

From 1801 the library was given the right to receive a copy of every book published in Britain and Ireland, and the Long Room now holds over 200,000 books. Due to the amount books being received it was decided to extend the Long Room and the roof was raised. The construction of the distinctive, barrel-vaulted  ceiling and upper bookcases was completed in 1860. Walking among the bookcases, with their tall ladders reaching the highest shelves, is a real treat and a step back in time. With many of the books being very old conservators are kept busy caring for these priceless works.

Along the main floor glass display cabinets house exhibitions from the library’s vast collection. Exhibitions alternate every six months (April & October) with works from either Manuscripts & Archives (ancient books) or the Early Printed Books (modern books) – there is always something interesting on show. You can also see one of the last remaining copies of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic that was read outside the GPO on Monday 24 April by Padraig Pearse at the start of the Easter Rising. And there is the oldest harp in Ireland that dates from the 15th century and is now the symbol of Ireland.

In the movie Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones the Jedi archives bear an uncanny resemblance to The Long Room. This led to a certain amount of controversy but no legal action was taken the college. Well, would you want to argue with the Jedi?

(Long) Room with a view!

(Long) Room with a view!

 

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A Grand Walk

Summer is finally in the air, and the other day I joined a group at The Barge Pub (Charlemont Street) for a most enjoyable walk along the Grand Canal. One of the many Dublin City Council inititives this ‘Let’s Walk & Talk’ tour took about ninety minutes and, thankfully, catered for all speeds. There were, of course, some folk who liked to walk quickly, but most of us took our time and chatted as we went.

Grand Canal - looking grand!

Grand Canal – looking grand!

There are a number of different walks to consider, and as someone who knows the area quite well, it was great to find out ‘new stuff’ from the volunteers, when we stopped along the way. A canal connecting Dublin to the Shannon was proposed as early as 1715, but building work only began in 1756. After a few false starts, and the unique difficulty of working in the Bog of Allen, the canal was completed in 1804. It is 82 miles (131 kms) long, has 43 locks and enters the Shannon in County Offaly.

We headed to Sundrive Road Park (now Ceannt Park – named in honour of the signatory to the 1916 Irish Proclamation), and past the house on Harold’s Cross Road where Robert Emmet was arrested after the failed rising in 1803. I never knew where the Crown Forces ‘got him’ and that he was hiding under the name ‘Hewitt’.

Back along the canal some small children laughed out loud when they tossed pieces of bread to the swans. I counted at least twenty elegant birds, and in the strong sunshine a few of my fellow walkers took photographs. They were postcard stuff.

Upstairs at The Barge a number of us went for a coffee and continued the ‘Let’s Talk’ theme. I must say it was a great way to spend a little time and, as the advertisement almost says ‘It’s good to walk…and talk.’

Swanning around...

Swanning around…

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