With the evenings getting darker and the cold weather fast approaching, there’s never been a better time to curl up somewhere warm and enjoy a good book.
Whether you’re a regular reader or just a lover of some peace and quiet, Ireland has plenty of beautiful libraries that make the perfect setting for a cosy winter date or snug afternoon adventure.
So, if you’re looking for a nice place to detox from assignment stress, or if you’re just looking for that perfect downtime read, here are some of Ireland’s best libraries to check out.
The National Library of Ireland – Dublin
The National Library is famous for its beautiful antechamber and its oak-panelled reading room, complete with regal looking desks and chairs for those interested in perusing the books on display. While it’s mostly known for its records on family histories in Ireland, it’s often home to many literary events.
Once you get yourself a reading pass, you can spend all evening browsing the many books under its domed Victorian roof.
Chester Beatty – Dublin
Often seen more as a museum than a library, The Chester Beatty library was set up in 1950 to house the private book collections of American bibliophile Sir Alfred Chester Beatty.
It’s made up of two exhibits: The Artistic Tradition, which showcases different types of books, in multiple languages from all parts of the world, and Sacred Texts, which is home to a vast collection of sacred texts from all parts of the globe.
Considering its free to visit, what better place for book lovers to spend a chilly winter evening.
Linen Hall – Belfast
Located directly in the middle of the city, Linen Hall is Belfast’s oldest library. Founded in 1788, the library has a wide collection of books and journals published in Northern Ireland in the 21st century.
Famous fans of Linen Hall include Seamus Heaney, and it’s no surprise that with multiple floors free admission, and a gorgeous Victorian style building, Linen Hall is a cultural landmark in Belfast.
Trinity College Library – Dublin
Arguably the most famous library on this list, Trinity College Library is renowned for its vast oak chambers and impressive collections of all variations of books from Victorian classics to ancient manuscripts. It’s the oldest library in Ireland, founded in 1592, and houses the legendary Celtic manuscript, the Book of Kells.
Central Library – Dublin
The last entry on our list is tucked away in an unusual spot- the upper levels of the ILAC Shopping Centre.
Not only does it stock a wide range of books, but it also has an impressive archive of old newspapers and magazines for the news junkies among you.
Since the ILAC is also home to a Starbucks and a sweetshop, it’s the perfect place to take a breather after all that Christmas shopping on Henry Street!