M&ARL and the Booksale Fund

Michael de Larrabeiti Exhibition, October 2009 Ð November 2009

Today is World Book Day and the Trinity Booksale starts today.

Over the past 25 years the Booksale has been of considerable benefit not only to the social, personal and recreational life of College, but more especially to those Library departments which traditionally have been under-funded. In the case of M&ARL, grants from the Booksale have permitted the purchase of a steady flow of items which fit with existing holdings. Three recent accessions are described here.

In the literary category, the papers of Michael de Larrabeiti (1934-2008), purchased from his family in 2009, form an important recent acquisition. Larrabeiti studied at TCD between 1961-65. His works were short listed for numerous literary prizes including the Whitbread award and the Booker prize (for Foxes’ Oven). Born in Battersea, London, he drew on his surroundings and upbringing when he created his best-known work The Borribles (1976), which on one level is a savage satire on the popular children’s TV show, the Wombles. The Borribles trilogy is now attracting considerable interest from film-makers.

Cromwell letter 11378M&ARL has particular strengths in early modern historical material, the most valuable collection being the famous 1641 Depositions. The figure of Oliver Cromwell dominated the 17th century, but letters signed by Cromwell during his time in Ireland are scarce. The opportunity arose to purchase one such item in 2010: a letter of protection for Redmond Roch [Roche], Ballyhendon, Co Cork, and his family, signed by Cromwell in his distinctive hand.

Medieval codices, represented most spectacularly in the Library’s collections by the Book of Kells, form an important collecting strand. A decorated Italian 15th-century breviary (church service book) is one such recent acquisition. The charming detail of Virgin and Child was used for the Library’s 2012 Christmas card.

Bernard Meehan and Caoimhe Ní Ghormáin