The Russell Library, Maynooth

For those of you who like lovely old libraries filled with lovely old books, here’s a picture of the Russell Library, which is on the South Campus of Maynooth University:

Library Picture

According to the website:

The Russell Library houses the historical collections of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth which was founded in 1795 as a seminary for the education of Irish priests. The reading room was designed by renowned British architect and designer Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812-1852) and completed in the year 1861. The Russell Library contains approximately 34,000 printed works dating from the 16th to the mid-19th century across a range of subjects including: theology, mathematics, science, geography and history. Other important collections include: medieval and Gaelic manuscripts, archival material and incunabula (pre-1501 printing).


8 Responses to “The Russell Library, Maynooth”

  1. That does look like a rather nice library. One of the things I miss about my previous academic existence is going into old and/or beautiful libraries to look at manuscripts.

    • telescoper Says:

      It’s a fine very library, but one problem with it is that there’s no wheelchair access: you have to go up four flights of stairs to get in.

      • This is true of a lot of the older research libraries, and it sucks.

      • telescoper Says:

        I’m not making excuses but you can see this modifying that particular building for disabled access would be very difficult (and probably expensive). It should still be done though.

      • There was a most terrific row at Cambridge about ten years ago about modifying the Common Room in the Old Schools for step-free access. If it’s going to remain a working building, the modifications need to be done, and they will be expensive. Hopefully, though, Maynooth will not end up in the mess Cambridge did.

        I’m not at all sure what it’s like to access the Bodleian if you can’t use steps. I don’t even know if it’s possible to visit Duke Humfrey’s library if you can’t manage steps. (It’s a beautiful library, a privilege to have worked there, looking at stuff from the year 750.)

        The benefit of working in a nice new astrophysics building in Cambridge is that they have actually thought about access a lot more – ground floor is all step-free, disabled bathroom has plenty of room for manoevering a wheelchair or scooter, etc. If only they’d put air-conditioning in!

      • telescoper Says:

        New buildings are required to take these things into consideration – I was on two major project boards at Sussex, and I can tell you it is taken very seriously. It may take a lot of time in planning, but it’s much cheaper to design disabled access into a building than modify it later.

        The 19th Century Queen’s Building (in which Physics & Astronomy at Cardiff) is located is not very accessible and neither is the Pevensey building in which I was located at Sussex, and that was built in the 1960s.

  2. Miss Lemon Says:

    It looks absolutely splendid. As a librarian by trade, I could happily lose myself in there. AWN Pugin accomplished so much in such a short life. When head girl back in the mid 70s, I was fortunate enough to do a reading at a mass held in St Chad’s, Birmingham (in the real Midlands) – one of Pugin’s many creations.

    For those who might be interested, you can stay in not one, not two, but three of his buildings – The Grange and St Edward’s Presbytery in Ramsgate and Oxenford Gatehouse in Elstead, Surrey.

    • telescoper Says:

      Pugin designed three sides of what is now called St Mary’s Quadrangle (the Russell Library is in one of the buildings he designed). The fourth side is St Patrick’s House, which I stayed in (briefly) last December.

      All of this was completed after Pugin’s death in 1852. He was only 40 when he died. The cause of his death is uncertain, but he seems to have experienced some sort of breakdown that required him to be committed to an asylum (actually the infamous `Bedlam’) for some time before he died. Some have speculated that the underlying cause was hyperthyroidism, others that he was suffering from syphilis.

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