5 Libraries in Dublin Every Bibliophile Should Visit
As described by Virginia Woolf, exploring a library is much like exploring a shipwreck and finding sunken treasure. Libraries are melting pots of culture, life and history, with the most relaxing and incredible atmospheres. Dublin’s libraries are varied, from the intricately and impressively designed, to the modern and simple. Here are 5 of the very best.
Containing the most comprehensive collection of Irish documentation in the world, the National Library of Ireland is renowned for its rich databases and information on family histories. Every year thousands of people visit the library to research their own ancestry – their website even contains details on how to begin the search. The National Library of Ireland is housed in a grand Victorian building with an awe-inspiring dome roof, the perfect place to fall into a wonderful story or even create one of your own.
Deansgrange Library Refurbishment | Courtesy of DLR Libraries
The Rathmines Library has a great atmosphere, with friendly, helpful staff who are always ready to advise with a smile. It is a great place to study but can get busy, especially around three o’clock. A great variety of resources are available, including large print books, young adult books and talking books, as well as various learning tools such as adult literacy material, a public speaking group, adult book clubs and various workshops, recitals, lectures and exhibitions. It is the perfect place to inspire and be inspired by literature.
A modern, airy and spacious building, Deansgrange Library was reopened in July 2013 after extensive renovation. Joining the library is free, but membership is needed to take advantage of most of the services such as using the PCs or borrowing material. Since Deansgrange Library is one of the DLR Libraries however — one of eight libraries across Dublin — a membership at Deansgrange can be used at any of the other seven libraries as well. The opening times are somewhat eclectic, but the website for the library is very clear, and shows opening times and events on the site.
The perfect place for parents to bring their kids, Ballyfermont Library is a colorful and lively space with lots of bean bags, shelves designed like castles and quotes or murals decorating the walls to brighten the interior. The staff of the library are forward-thinking and have tried to design the library around the needs of their users by creating a space where visitors could ask for what they wanted in the library – such as wifi or comfy chairs – and they set about enacting these. No matter what kind of study space you need, you will find it at Ballyfermot Library.
Surprisingly located in the busy Ilac Shopping Centre, the Central Library is a great place to work if you enjoy the hubbub and buzz of coffee shops but need the convenience of library services such as printing and scanning services or access to online databases. Although it is definitely not a place for those who feel their skin crawl at the idea of noise in a library, Central has a lot of character and life.