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A happy St Patrick’s Day to you all!

March 17, 2013

A fine day it is for green reading!   I’m going to try to weave saints, scholars, sustainability, books old and new, a wee bit of music, history and poetry and even some maths into something lovely I hope.  I promise, no paper, but allow me just a little vellum!

So, go get yourself a cup of tea and indulge me.

I’ll start with the old and work to the new.  When I was in Dublin I made the pilgrimage to the beautiful Book of Kells in the Library of Trinity College.

But did you know that it’s now “an app”?   As Professor Stalley from Trinity College says: “Made for the iPad – 1200 years ago. Visual magic on every page.”

If that isn’t sustainability I don’t know what is!

It’s not free, but at $13.99 for 680 pages of high-resolution breathtaking illumination it seems very good value.

I wonder what those long dead monks would make of this new incarnation.  It is indeed beautiful to dip into.

From old to new treasures.  On a recent visit to Australia, John FitzGerald, University College Cork Librarian spoke of the library’s acquisition of a new vellum manuscript – the work of 121 artists, 143 poets and nine composers.  It is The Great Book of Ireland.  Watch John FitzGerald talk about it here and listen to some music too:

He also spoke of the Atlas of the Great Irish Famine published by the Cork University Press.

It made me think of our own Famine Memorial in Macquarie Street, Sydney.

In August this year they will be hosting the International Famine Commemoration.   So watch for events.

And lastly on Cork, did you know that George Boole – English mathematician and famous for Boolean logic (where would we all be without AND OR and NOT?) was the first Professor of Mathematics at what was later University College Cork.  They have the Boole Library there and hold his papers.  A little piece of trivia for you!

And back to words.  If you’d like to learn some Irish ones – or perhaps whole proverbs – you can check out the Talk Irish website.  You can sign up to learn a new Irish word or proverb every day

They tweet in Irish too!

Speaking of which.  I’ve recently joined twitter, and there’s a wealth of Irish things to enjoy.  I am currently following several dead Irish poets and writers and more spookily, one is following me!

Also worth following are the National Library of Ireland in Dublin and the Linen Hall Library in Belfast.

The Linen Hall Library is the home of the Northern Ireland Political Collection – the archive of “The Troubles”.   We often talk of libraries as safe and neutral spaces – and, as the library says, this collection “has been endorsed by opponents right across the political, religious and social spectrum.”

Watch poet Seamus Heaney talk about the library here

And the last word to him as quoted on the Linen Hall website:

“Saying the words “Linen Hall” is salubrious and restorative, unpolluting and healthgiving ….The Library is community, not a repository – it is a style, a conviction, a value.”

Words for us to live by!


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