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“A national treasure”

National Library of Ireland
Ranked #46 of 532 things to do in Dublin
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The National Library of Ireland holds the most outstanding collection of Irish documentary material in the world. There are three reading rooms and a Genealogy Advisory Service to assist family history researchers. The Library also has two major exhibitions, the multi-awarding winning 'Yeats : the life and work of WB Yeats' and 'Strangers to Citizens : the Irish in Europe 1600-1800'. Entry to the Library and exhibitions is free.
Dublin, Ireland
Level 5 Contributor
57 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“A national treasure”
Reviewed April 10, 2014 via mobile

What a fabulous building NLI is and located conventiently in the city centre. A wonderful resource and the staff are so helpful with queries, viewings, etc. The Yeats exhibition in the basement is particularly magnificent whether you are a literary fan or not as the interactivity allows everybody to engage with the displays. Everybody should become a member of our national library- a priceless archive of Ireland in a stunning surroundings.

1 Thank OhYesIndeedy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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454 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
New York City, New York
Level 6 Contributor
150 reviews
78 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
“Interesting Sight”
Reviewed March 28, 2014 via mobile

The Reading Room is beautiful. There is a permanent exhibit of William Butler Yeats' life that is outstanding.

Thank Carol B
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Clarksville, Tennessee
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“What a Wonderful Library”
Reviewed March 13, 2014

I was working at this library for about 10 days in July for a research project. This was my first trip to do research and I found the staff to be so friendly and helpful! I was doing all of my research in the Manuscript building. The first floor had an exhibit on JFK while I was there, and every morning I'd read a little bit more of the exhibit while waiting for the Reading Room to open up. There were lockers to keep my personal belongings that felt very safe and every time I had any questions or problems, someone was there to help me.

The library itself is very beautiful and photogenic. If you find yourself in the area, it's nice to get some photos inside and out.

Visited July 2013
Thank dftbagwen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
36 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“What a fabulous library...”
Reviewed January 16, 2014

Tripadvisor asks for reviews of "attractions," and to be sure when visiting Dublin the National Library (and its sibling across the courtyard the National Museum) is a natural tourist spot. As some reviewers point out, many tourists (largely American) use the Library -- as well as the national archives and the heraldry office -- as starting points for genealogical research.

I've been blessed, however, to use the National Library a number of times in the last three (and change) decades as a historian and media scholar engaging in academic research (Tripadvisor demands I put a date on my "visit" -- my visits are numerous and go back to 1977). The library houses printed material -- books, musical scores, newspapers, magazines -- from many centuries of Ireland's history. The manuscript collection alone is comprised of nearly one million items spanning ten centuries (!).

The history of information in Ireland is an interesting one, and tragic. Many generations of documents -- mostly public records -- were destroyed during the revolutionary period (uprising of 1916 through the Anglo-Irish war of 1919-1922 through the civil war that followed the treaty and establishment of the Irish Free State); the Gaelic-Irish traditional culture all but disappeared in the nineteenth century (I get in a lot of arguments about this with my Irish cousins who point out the "Gaeltachts" -- Irish-speaking areas -- in Clare, Galway, Kerry, Mayo and Donegal; but both the number and proportion of Irish who speak Irish predominantly is very low and speak it exclusively is non-existent); so the preservation of knowledge and history, important to any culture, is fairly sacred in Ireland. The National Library is a fitting cathedral for this sacred activity, and I'll confess to feeling a sense of awe working there (holding hand-written letters of Irish historical figures from centuries is an amazing thing).

The librarians and staff are knowledgeable and courteous and incredibly helpful; and after warning you about the fragility of some of the documents you're handling and advising you about their proper care, they tend to stay out of your way and allow you to work.

I can't wait for my next project that demands a trip to Dublin and the National Library.

Visited February 2013
3 Thank DrFallon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Fascinating gem of an exhibition”
Reviewed January 8, 2014

This exhibition is beautifully curated to show off the depth of Yeats and his contemporaries' lives and works. This is as interesting and informative for newcomers to Yeats as it is a treat for enthusiasts and scholars, I would thoroughly recommend it, give yourself at least an hour and a half!

Visited December 2013
Thank Cate P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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