Dublin City Library & Archive

College Green Dublin: 1791

College Green building Parliament House The grandest public space in Dublin is College Green. Roughly triangular in shape, it has three of Dublin’s finest public buildings fronting onto it: Trinity College West Front, the Houses of Parliament, and the General Post Office. In the centre is the equestrian statue of William III. Leading off it from the three corners are the great shopping streets, Dame Street and Grafton Street, and leading towards the river, College Street. It’s a lovely drive by carriage, sweeping down Cork Hill to Dame Street and entering the Green from the west. It is very fashionable to take an evening promenade by the Parliament House, strolling in the arcade formed by the columns. Posters for new plays, and other public notices, are displayed on the pillars and you can catch up with all the latest news as well as getting information about upcoming events here.

Children's reading in Dublin: 1790

Goody Two Shoes 1766This week I must get a gift for my niece’s birthday. Of course it will be a book as nothing else will please her so much. She will be 13, quite a young lady now. She has a lovely reading voice and she often reads aloud to her little brother and sister, and sometimes to her mother and her fashionable friends.

Smock Alley Theatre 1775

Smock AlleyI love the theatre, I’m fascinated by the spectacle, the costumes, the music, and of course people watching. The heavy smell and flickering images of the wax candles create an atmosphere like no other: combining the formality of church with the excitement and anticipation of the performance to come. All the gentry turn up in their carriages, especially on benefit nights. When it gets really busy the drivers are only allowed to drive the carriages in one direction along the street, they drop their passengers at the door and keep moving.

Certificate in Local History 2012-2013

Certificate in Local HistoryThe Certificate in Local History, run by the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, will be offered at Dublin City Library and Archive beginning this autumn. The course runs from 4th September 2012 to 30th April 2013.

The course gives participants a formal and practical training in how to carry out research in local history and how to write up their findings in the form of a dissertation. The course carries 20 credits towards the NUI Maynooth B.A. in Local History.

The course consists of 100 hours part-time.

Dublin Bookbinding Styles

Ornate bookcoverWhat design features come to mind when we think of 18th-century Dublin? Terraces and squares of classical houses with individual fanlights over each hall door, ornate plasterwork ceilings created by Italian stucco workers, elaborately chased Dublin silverware? Certainly, but perhaps not so well known is one of the quintessential and recognizably “Dublin” elements of design, which can be seen in the fine bookbindings carried out by master craftsmen throughout the century.

Utilitarian sheep and calf bindings were surpassed as the century progressed and gilt ornamentation was given free rein. Fine morocco or goatskin was used in rich deep colours of dark red, crimson, green and sometimes, but more rarely, blue, often with cream leather inlays. However, it was the variety and sophistication of the gold tooling that was characteristic of the finest bindings.

Shopping for books in Dublin: 1782

Rocque's Map of Dublin 1756

Of all the wonderful shops in the city I love the bookshops best. In the past they congregated in Skinner Row, but now, since the mid 1770s, they have more visible presences on Dame Street and in the little courts off it. I love the way they display their new publications outside the front door or pinned to the door post. You can smell the fresh ink and feel the lovely texture of the new paper. I love the leisurely atmosphere as readers slowly work their way around the shop examining all the exciting new books and pamphlets.

Dublin City: 1780

Rocque Map of Dublin 1756I feel at home in the 18th century. I’ve no desire to live here permanently, without 21st-century comforts and modern medicine, but to come as a visitor to a beloved destination. I am acquainted with many of Dublin’s citizens through their writings and through newspaper reports of their actions and concerns. I feel I know them well, I know their wives or husbands, and their children, and I know what they enjoyed to read, which gives me an insight into their minds and hearts. The layout of the city is also familiar to me and I can make my way around without getting lost, or feeling like an alien.

Irish Texts Society

Volume 1, 1899: Giolla an Fhiugha or the Lad of the Ferule, & Eachtra Clainne Rí na hIorua or Adventures of the King of Norway, edited, with translation and notes by Douglas HydeThe Irish Texts Society was founded in London in 1898. The initiative to establish the Irish Texts Society came from another Irish organisation based in London, the Irish Literary Society (ILS), founded in 1892. According to the 1895-6 annual report of the ILS “preliminary steps have been taken to form an Irish Texts Society for the publication of modern Irish works”. As a result a provisional sub-committee was appointed to investigate the project. By May of 1897 the sub-committee was in a position to address questions of finance, membership of the projected Society, the identification of suitable texts for editing, the appointment of editors and of a publisher.

Image right: Volume 1, 1899: Giolla an Fhiugha or the Lad of the Ferule, & Eachtra Clainne Rí na hIorua or Adventures of the King of Norway, edited, with translation and notes by Douglas Hyde (click on image for larger version)

Jobs for the girls!

Dublin City of Science 2012 logoInternational Women's Day logoApart from a little maths, the nearest thing to science I ever studied in school was Domestic Science. While knowing how to cook and sew is undoubtedly very useful, I am painfully aware that huge swathes of knowledge are beyond my comprehension and always will be.

There is always a chance I can answer a literature question on University Challenge, maybe even the odd music or film question, but science subjects are a complete mystery. Don't even understand the questions most of the time.

Yes, my knowledge of science is based entirely on what I have learned from watching 'The Big Bang Theory' - and while I have great sympathy for that cat in the box, I'm not sure I really get it.

North Strand Bombing, a Documentary

Why not pop along this Saturday (18 June) at 2.00 pm and view a screening of a new documentary on the North Strand Bombing at Charleville Mall Library? Entry is free and all are welcome.

About the North Strand Bombing

The bombing of Dublin's North Strand was the most serious atrocity inflicted on neutral Eire during the Second World War. Four high-explosive bombs were dropped by German aircraft on the North Strand area of Dublin City on 31 May 1941. The casualties were many: 28 dead and 90 injured, with 300 houses damaged or destroyed.