Muriel McCarthy, b. 1931
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Muriel McCarthy, b. 1931


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Track 1: Her upbringing in Dublin and her introduction to Marsh’s Library, working there in a voluntary capacity for the Keeper, Dr R.B. McDowell and Deputy Keeper, Canon Cecil Bradley. Taking on the role of Keeper, and the Readers with whom she worked. Memories of Keeper Gerald Simms. Track 2: Memories of her late husband, Professor Charles McCarthy, their first meeting and his illustrious career, which included his tenure in Trinity College Dublin in the 1960s. Track 3: The Keeper of Early Printed Books in Trinity College Library, Ms Mary (Paul) Pollard, who also worked part-time for ten years in Marsh’s Library, and lived in a flat in the Library. Attending bookbinding classes in Bolton Street College and lectures in literature delivered by Trinity College academics. Track 4: The preservation and conservation of books and the exhibitions that she coordinated. A discussion on the timeless nature of the Library. Track 5: The scholars and academics who visited and worked in the Library. The famous collections and a brief history of the founder, Narcissus Marsh. When Archbishop Marsh, who at this period was Provost of Trinity, obtained Bishop William Bedell’s translation of the Old Testament into the Irish language, he organised Irish scholars to check the Bedell translation and to provide transcripts to send to the Hon. Robert Boyle in London. Boyle arranged the transcripts for printing and paid for the publication, which was published in London in 1685. The original translation is preserved in Marsh’s. In 1707 an Act was passed for Settling and Preserving a Public Library for ever. The Government appointed the following Governors ex officio: The Church of Ireland Archbisop of Armagh, the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, the Archbishop of Dublin (Chairman), the Lord Chief Justice of Queen’s Bench, the Lord Chief Justice of Common Pleas, the Lord Chief Baron, the Deans of Christ Church and St. Patrick’s cathedrals, and the Provost of Trinity College. The legal governors and the Lord Chancellor’s office became extinct in 1922.In 1970, the Governors of Marsh’s requested the Government to make the Chief Justice a Governor. The Government agreed and the Chief Justice Cearbhaill Ó Dálaigh was appointed ex officio. The Government later appointed two Governors to Marsh’s Library for five year terms. In 1865, the Governors requested the Government to provide assistance for the Library as the building was almost derelict. The Government refused but suggested that the books be removed to the National Gallery and the building be sold. Sir Benjamin Guinness then offered to restore Marsh’s and the Governors accepted his generous offer, and so Marsh’s Library was saved. Track 6: Cataloguing the books in Marsh’s Library over the years. The pleasant nature of her domestic arrangements in Marsh’s, including the use of the private garden. Track 7: The responsibilities of the upkeep of the building, working with the Office of Public Works and details of private funding received for conservation. Discussion on St Patrick’s Cathedral and her acquaintance with the Deans. Track 8: Discussion on her family background and the origins of her abiding passion for old books.

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

Trinity College, Dublin, Collection



Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

16.65 MB, 13.25 MB, 5.22 MB, 9.75 MB, 7.08 MB, 11.26 MB, 8.06 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



Former Keeper, Marsh’s Library

Recorded by:

Maurice O’Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore