Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Blog

Daniel in Dublin – Marsh’s Library

the entrance to marshs library - an old gate in a stone arch

Here at Vintage Tea Trips we are committed to make Dublin the go to destination in Ireland. Of course you know that Ireland is a wonderful country full of diverse attractions, open greenways and waterways and areas of incredible historical and cultural importance, but did you know that Dublin has all of these and more?  There’s a reason why Dublin is called “surprising by nature” – mountains to the east, the sea to the west and the most beautiful coastal towns to the north and south all nestled around a wonderfully vibrant city. Daniel, our Customer Experience Manager, is making his way through his hometown sharing some of his favourite places to visit. Today’s adventure – Marsh’s Library.

Today I was off again on my quest to experience attractions in Dublin and expand my local knowledge. This morning I went to check out Marsh’s Library with my colleague Chloe. 

We were greeted by the staff and introduced to Sue who showed us around while providing some of the incredible history of the library. 

a painting narcissus marsh

Sue told us that Marsh’s Library is the oldest public library in Dublin, dating back to 1707 and was founded by Archbishop Narcissus Marsh. Apparently he was unhappy with the state of people’s access to books in Dublin and set about fixing the problem himself.

marsh's library - hall with old books on shelves either side

The library is beautiful and filled with ancient books about religion, medicine, astronomy, language and who knows what else. You’d be forgiven for thinking it looks like the library filled with old spell books in Harry Potter.

There are two main sections to the library, one of which contains Marsh’s personal collection. There’s also a common reading room where back in the day you could sit comfortably in the warmth enjoying your book, if you were of a certain status of course.

For those less trustworthy, for lack of a better term, you were assigned to a cage in which you were locked inside with your book.

closed room with books

Unfortunately, with the fighting going on around Dublin against the British, the reading room of Marsh’s Library became a victim of collateral damage having been riddled with bullets. Luckily this happened on a Sunday when nobody was working so no one was hurt but when the librarian opened the library on Monday morning, he discovered some of the books and shelves had been shot up. 

a row of very old books

The library was visited by many people with names you may recognise, for example, Johnathon Swift author of Gulliver’s Travels and Bram Stoker who wrote Dracula the latter of who was recorded at having looked through maps of Transylvania while at the library. 

There’s also a lovely little garden on the grounds where you can imagine them sitting and reading back in the day.

the garden of marshs library with a stone path

Sure, they probably let Bram and Johnathon bring the books out there for a read. Good luck getting one of them out there now! Off to the reading cage with you!

I thoroughly enjoyed myself at Marsh’s library and would highly recommend a visit. The staff are lovely, very knowledgeable and happy to welcome you to their little corner of Dublin history.