Marsh’s Library

Marsh’s Library, Saint Patrick's Close, Saint Peter's, Dublin 8


Unchanged for three centuries, this perfectly preserved library of the early Enlightenment, with its original oak bookcases, houses more than 25,000 rare and fascinating books. Designed by Sir William Robinson, the library was built for the Narcissus Marsh, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, and formerly Provost of Trinity College, Dublin.In 1707 the library was established by an act of Parliament with the second gallery added shortly after under the supervision of Robinson’s successor as Surveyor General Thomas De Burgh. Built as the first public library in Ireland and still in use today by scholars and students, Marsh’s is one of the few buildings of its time in Dublin still being used for its original purpose. A small garden on the grounds provides a peaceful haven in the middle of the city.

Online tour available from 9 October. Check back here!

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Marsh’s Library

Saint Patrick's Close, Dublin 8

Designed by the then Surveyor General of Ireland Sir William Robinson and built to the order of the then Archbishop of Dublin Narcissus Marsh. Marsh’s was the first public library in Ireland. The library was built in two stages. The first completed in late 1703 with the second gallery and the area known as the cages added between 1708 and 1709 designed by Robinson’s successor Thomas De Burgh. The library still features its original fittings, including seating and shelving. The bookcases are made of quarter-planed Baltic oak with carved and lettered gables. There are three wire alcoves, known as ‘cages’, which came into use as reading areas in the 1770s in response to thefts in the library. The library is one of the last 18th-century buildings in Ireland still used for its original purpose. It functions as both a working library for researchers with appointments and as a museum.

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