A collection of rare books, described by experts as the most important of its kind in Ireland outside Dublin is being taken into State care by the Office of Public Works.
The Bolton Library in Cashel, Co Tipperary, was established by an 18th century Church of Ireland archbishop (Theophilus Bolton) and contains a unique collection of 11,000 antiquarian European books, maps and pamphlets including works by Dante and Machiavelli.
The collection, currently housed in the Chapter House of the Cathedral of St John the Baptist St Patricks Church, has traditionally been cared for by the local clergy. Despite its proximity to the Rock of Cashel the library is little-known and attracts few visitors.
Martin Mansergh, Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works and the Arts, said a new visitor facility would be established at the library which will form part of the Rock of Cashel complex which he described as Irelands mediaeval acropolis. He hoped the extra visitor centre would add significantly to the capacity of Cashel to absorb increased numbers of visitors, and act as a signpost to the other attractions within the town.
The site will be managed jointly by the Library of the University of Limerick and the OPW. The building will be acquired by the State on a long-term lease from the Church Representative Body of the Church of Ireland while the book collection will remain on site but ownership will in due course be lodged with Marshs Library.
The Minister said a board of visitors/advisory body is to be set up comprising representatives from the OPW, the Church of Ireland, the University of Limerick and other interested bodies to draw on their expertise in the management of the library.
Dr Mansergh, who is also a Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary South, said he was delighted at the positive outcome to long drawn-out efforts to secure the future of the Bolton Library. He acknowledged the care and custodianship taken of the library by successive Deans and Bishops and also the [financial] support given by the late Tony Ryan, the Tipperary-born co-founder of Ryanair, who died in 2007. Dr Philip Knowles, Dean of Cashel, who has acted as voluntary curator of the Bolton Library for the past 15 years welcomed the announcement as very good news.Source: irishtimes.com