Tag Archives: exam hall trinity college

Trinity College Booksale (20-22 February)

As booksales go the annual one held in Trinity College is one of the best. Spread over three days there is something for everyone and the ‘price is definitely right’. This year is the 29th Annual Trinity Secondhand Booksale and the place will, no doubt, be as busy as ever. All the books are donated during the year by staff and students, and the funds raised are used for the purchase of materials for various college libraries. So, not only are you getting a bargain but helping improve college facilities.

Exam Hall

Exam Hall

The old Exam Hall, a place steeped in history with wonderful paintings on show, is a splendid venue and worthy of a visit in its own right. There you be surrounded in the steady murmur of book hunters searching for bargains as they shuffle from one stuffed table of books to another. The books are usually laid out under various heads; like History, Sport, Science, Languages, Philosophy, Adventure and many, many more. It’s always a treat and you will find oodles to choose from – and at the right price!

As the tables of books are emptied they are just as quickly refilled by volunteers. Many buyers slide cardboard boxes of books from table to table – something that I’ve not seen anywhere else – as they gather their precious finds. You can get a year’s reading here for the price of a couple of new books – and that’s what most people tend to do. It’s a book lover’s heaven – so happy hunting and reading!

A book lover's heaven!

A book lover’s heaven!

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Filed under Art, Dublin, History, Ireland

James Caulfield & his Casino at Marino

James Caulfield, the first Earl of Charlemont, was born in Dublin in 1728 and definitely left a mark on his native city. At the age of 18, and with little formal education, he set off on a Grand Tour in the company of a teacher, Rev. Edward Murphy. At the time it was common practice for young men of his class to travel around Europe learning about Classical art and history. They certainly took their time, and Caulfield spent nine years visiting Holland, Germany, Italy, Egypt and Greece where he was particularly impressed by the ancient architecture. He made countless drawings of buildings, and these helped inspire the plans for his pleasure house, the Casino. When he returned to Dublin in 1755 he decided to build his Casino (‘small house’) on land he had been given by his stepfather, in Donnycarney. He renamed his estate Marino after the small town Marino, south of Rome.

Guarding lion

Guarding lion

Georgian elegance

Georgian elegance

During his Grand Tour he had met William Chambers and asked him to design the Casino. Chambers was the most sought-after architect of his day, with buildings like Somerset House (London) and the Exam Hall (Trinity College, Dublin) to his credit. He drew up the plans but, unfortunately, never came to Dublin to see his work completed. However, the work went ahead and it was finished in 1775, and it is considered one of the finest Neo-Classical temples in Europe.  When built, it had a clear and spectacular view of Dublin Bay and the mountains beyond. It is full of surprises and uses plenty of architectural tricks to maximise and display the wonderful Georgian interior. Far from being a single space the Casino has three storeys and sixteen rooms. The lavishly decorated rooms, ornate plaster work and intricate marquetry floors are stunning, and hark back to the Casino’s glory days. Sadly, access to the roof is not permitted at present, and a glimpse of Dublin Bay as Caulfield had will have to wait.

Main Room - elaborate decoration

Main Room – elaborate decoration

And as a Member of Parliament Caulfield needed to be  ‘in town’ and he had Chambers design a town house. This was Charlemont House, Parnell Square, better known since 1933 as the Hugh Lane Dublin City Gallery. Caulfield was, in his own words, a ‘lifelong learner’ and was a founding member of the Royal Irish Academy and served as its first President. Yes, the man left quite a few marks.

Casino with Dublin Bay beyond

Casino with Dublin Bay beyond

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