23/07/2013 – Minister Deenihan launches rare bookbindings exhibition at Marsh’s Library

Tuesday 23rd July 2013 – Minister Jimmy Deenihan, TD, Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht this evening will launch an exhibition ‘Exquisite & Rare: Bookbindings from the Library of Benjamin Guinness, 3rd Earl of Iveagh’ at Archbishop Marsh’s Library.

This year long exhibition shows an assortment of books from the library of Benjamin Guinness at Farmleigh.  They represent a selection of a very erudite collector who decided to collect eighteenth century Irish bookbindings.  At that time, Ireland led the world in this luxury book craft; there was simply nowhere to compete with Irish craftsmen.  There are 64 books from this library, which are exquisitely and ornately bound, on display. These bespoke items were created by skilled Irish craftsmen. Many of the bindings were produced within a few hundred yards of Marsh’s Library itself.

Speaking ahead of the launch Minister Deenihan commented “In an age where books can be downloaded to your iPad or kindle this exhibition reminds us of the craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into book binding.  No doubt they were as much a collector’s item in the 18th Century as they were to Benjamin Guinness.  As an exhibition it is one that I’m sure the public will really marvel at the craftsmanship and beauty of the work that was put into them.”

The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht funds the Library and has allocated €345,000 in 2013 towards the administrative and operational budget.

Marsh’s Library holds a fine collection of Irish manuscripts including Tadhg O Neachtain’s Latin-English-Gaelic dictionary of 1730 and a 14th century account of the lives of Irish saints in latin ‘Vitae Sanctorum Hibernicorum’.

Children are particularly welcome and have free entrance while adults are charged €3. In 2008 The Benjamin Guinness Library at Farmleigh was donated to the custody of Marsh’s Library. It remains in Farmleigh House which is owned by the OPW.
The poster for the exhibition has been designed by a student named Jason Ryan of Ballyfermot College of Further Education.


Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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