Thursday, 22 April 2021

Armagh Robinson Library

EDITED EXTRACTS FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY GAZETTEER OF IRELAND, PUBLISHED IN 1846


THE ARMAGH ROBINSON LIBRARY CELEBRATES ITS 250th ANNIVERSARY IN 2021


This building stands in the vicinity of the cathedral; presents a very handsome appearance; contains spacious and neat accommodation for a large collection of books, and an elegant suite of apartments for the resident librarian; and has attached to it a court of ten acres.

The Lord Primate endowed the library, a noble edifice in the Grecian style, situated to the north-west of the cathedral, with lands at Knockamell and houses in Armagh yielding a clear rental of £339 [about £35,000 in 2020].


PRIMATE ROBINSON not only constructed the edifice, and stored it with an accumulation of scarce and valuable works in both ancient and modern literature, but endowed it with a perpetual fund, which 40 years ago [ca 1800] yielded £300 per annum, and is applied to the purchase of books, the salarying of the librarian, and the repairing of the edifice.

The front of the building bears the date "1771", above which is the inscription, Ψ Υ Χ Η Σ Ι Α Τ Ρ Ε Ι Ο Ν, translated as "The Healing-Place of the Soul."

Armagh Robinson Library (Image: Robert French)

In 1820, an additional staircase was erected, as an entrance to the west end, which has in a great measure destroyed the uniformity and impaired the beauty of the building.

The library contains, at present, between 20,000 and 30,000 volumes, and comprises many valuable works on theology, the classics, and antiquities.

It may be used by every person who resides within 30 miles of the city, and deposits double the value of the books which he borrows.

Coat-of-arms of the Baron Rokeby

In the record-room of the diocesan registry are writings and books bequeathed by PRIMATE ROBINSON to the governors and librarian, in trust, for the sole use of the Primate for the time being.

The observatory and the library are under the corporate governorship, for the public use, of the Archbishop, the Dean, and several members of the chapter of the cathedral, by an Act of GEORGE III, with liberal powers.

I'm seeking a present image of the library from exactly the same location as the black-and-white photograph.

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