Thursday 20 May 2021

€25m redevelopment funding for Trinity College Dublin’s Old Library

The Government has announced funding of €25 million towards the restoration of one of Ireland’s foremost national heritage sites: the Old Library at Trinity College Dublin (TCD).

The Old Library is home to the magnificent Long Room (see image below), 350,000 early printed books, and 20,000 precious manuscript and archive collections, including the 9th-century Book of Kells. Its priceless collection spans millennis and has been in the care of TCD for more than 400 years.

But it now faces significant conservation and environmental challenges. External pollution and dust accumulation are taking their toll on the collections and the fabric of the Old Library building.

There is a need to modernise environmental control and fire protection measures. Recent fires in similar heritage sites across the globe provide stark warnings.

The Old Library Redevelopment Project draws on the best 21st-century design and technology to safeguard the Old Library building and conserve its precious collections for future generations. It includes urgent structural and environmental upgrades; and the redevelopment of facilities in line with the best library and museum experiences around the world.

A new Research Collections Study Centre will provide national and international scholars with a secure, accessible, and inspiring environment to intimately study the unique and distinct collections.

Located in the beautifully colonnaded ground floor, the Research Collections Study Centre will overlook Library Square, one of the original historic courtyards at Trinity College. In addition, a Virtual Trinity Library will provide digital access to the unique and distinct collections of the Library across the world.

The Government's allocation is the most significant funding award for the cultural heritage sector this year.