Whither the National Library?

Published in Issue 2 (March/April 2016), Letters, Volume 24

Sir,—When examining problems facing the National Library and Museum (HI 23.3, May/June 2015, Platform) it never occurred to me, or to those with whom I spoke, that culchies were to blame. All is revealed, however, in Felix M. Larkin’s Platform piece (HI 24.1, Jan./Feb. 2016). The Museum and Library, as ‘institutions of the Pale’, are, it seems, subject to ‘antagonism in government circles’ from ‘Real Ireland’ Neanderthals. As products of British enlightenment, the Library and Museum did not (and do not) share in the melancholy of the bog, what Felix terms the ‘Gaelic revival [and its] “Irish Ireland” mythology’ (despite the complicating factor of ‘some fine Gaelic scholars on the staff’). The Museum has substantial outposts beyond the metropolis—admittedly a piffling fact, confusing the point. Who would have considered that, based in her redoubt in Newbliss, Co. Monaghan, Heather Humphreys, our Presbyterian and acknowledged republican minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, would spearhead the philistine neglect of these, as Felix puts it, ‘ancien régime institutions’? Though he sees things I cannot, we are agreed that the Library and Museum need more money.—Yours etc.,

Griffith College, Dublin


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