The Old Library

Photo: Courtesy of the Old Library

The Old Library

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Saturday 13 October, 1.00pm – 2.00pm

The main library of Trinity College Dublin until the 1960s, the Old Library building is home to over 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books as well as the world renowned Book of Kells. This imposing building is the masterpiece of Thomas Burgh, chief engineer and surveyor-general of Ireland and it has undergone two major adaptions since its completion in 1732. Originally, the main chamber of the Library was placed over an open ground floor arcade as a precaution against damp. In 1892 this was filled in to make more shelf space for books. The jewel in the Old Library’s crown is undoubtedly the Long Room, regarded by many as Ireland’s most beautiful interior. Alterations by architects Thomas Deane and Benjamin Woodward in 1860 saw the Long Room’s flat plaster ceiling replaced with a barrel-vault and in the words of Professor Edward McParland “what had been superb, they made sublime”. Open House visitors will be guided through the Long Room and after the tour will be shown to the colonnades (Book of Kells exhibition and gift shop) which they can explore at their own leisure.

First-come basis: Just turn up and look out for Open House Dublin volunteers. Non-flash photography permitted in the Long Room but not in Book of Kells exhibition. The Old Library is a busy tourist attraction and visitors should be aware that there will be other many other people in the building. Only one tour will be provided. Wheelchair accessible. Photography is not allowed on this tour.

Designed by: Thomas Burgh
Building Date: 1732
Location: Trinity College Dublin, College Green, Dublin 2

People like you make Open House Dublin possible!

Open House Dublin is presented by the Irish Architecture Foundation (IAF): a non-profit arts organisation that communicates the value of architecture.

The IAF presents Open House Dublin each year as just one part of a rich and unique offering. Our year-round programme includes exhibitions, talks, film screenings, symposia, competitions, publications, school and community workshops. You can help to secure our future by becoming an IAF member, or simply by donating directly.

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Members enjoy perks which include: beating the OHD queues, private tours, partner discounts; and limited-edition IAF publications and prints. Architects can also claim structured CPD at all IAF events.