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Excerpt from the Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Ireland entry for the metropolis of Dublin (pub. 1837). For more snapshots of pre-famine local history for Dublin city parishes, see below.


  • The Library of Trinity College, by much the largest not only in Dublin but in Ireland, is described under the head of the institution of which it forms a portion:
  • the King's Inn Library is also noticed in like manner.
  • St. Patrick's or Marsh's library was founded by Dr Narcissus Marsh, Archbishop of Dublin, in the vicinity of St. Patrick's cathedral; it contains the celebrated Dr Stillingfieet's collection and some manuscripts. The apartment for the books consists of two galleries meeting at a right angle, in which is the librarian's room. The library is open on liberal terms, a certificate or letter of introduction from some respectable and well-known character being all that is required: it is under the government of trustees appointed by act of parliament.
  • The Dublin Library Society originated in the meeting of a few individuals at a bookseller's in Dame-street to read newspapers and periodicals. Having formed a regular society, a library was opened, in 1791, in Eustace-street, which was removed in 1809 to Burgh-quay, and finally, in 1820, to a building in D'Olier-street, erected for the special purpose, by shares. The building is plain but elegant and contains a spacious apartment for the library, another for newspapers and periodicals, and a few smaller rooms for committees and house officers. The public rooms are ornamented with busts of John Philpot Curran, Daniel O'Connell, Henry Grattan, Archibald Hamilton Rowan, and Dean Kirwan, and with portraits of the first Earl of Charlemont and of Curran.


  • The medical libraries of the College of Surgeons and Sir Patrick Dun's hospital are well selected and rapidly increasing. Steevens's Hospital, the Royal Hospital, Christ-Church, and Strand-street Meeting-house have each a collection of books, none of any great extent.


The private library of the Earl of Charlemont is highly worthy of notice. It is contained in a building attached to the town residence in Palace-row: the entrance to it is by a long gallery, ornamented with antique busts, vases, and altars, which opens into a large vestibule lighted by a lantern, which contains the works on antiquities and numismatics, and has in a recess the statue of Venus and eight busts of ancient and modern characters of celebrity.

  • The principal library contains a fine and well-selected collection of ancient and modern writers on most departments of literature and some of science, very judiciously and happily arranged; also some manuscripts, and a unique collection of Hogarth's engravings, mostly proofs. Over the chimney-piece is a fine bust of Homer.
  • Attached to the library is a small museum, a medal room, and a smaller library of very elegant proportions, containing busts of the Earl of Rockingham and General Wolfe.