Re: Re: national archives

Home Forums Ireland national archives Re: Re: national archives


what site is that John?

Ah something of a fusspot was aul Tim Healy, Stephen. Clearly seeing himself as taking on an impossible task, he went to great lengths in squeezing every inch out of the role. Upon arriving out at the Áras he was aghast at what passed as fireplaces in the Dining Room, declaring “I couldn’t bear to look at anything so ugly!”. Within a matter of moments he had them replaced with a fine set he had acquired from a house on Mountjoy Square – and by all accounts he did have exquisite taste. So much so that he wanted to rip them out again when he left in 1928, but reluctantly left them in situ.
Pity he didn’t give the same treatment to the rest of the house’s interiors…

Yes agree with Brennan on the National Archive. Not so much an ‘iconic’ but certainly a clearly defined purpose-built modern structure is required for this institution. Yet another conversion is out of the question for this bedraggled body – it needs a spacious site with room to expand. The optimum result can only be achieved through a building that is tailored-made for the requirements of the Archive, and that in turn contributes something new and invigorating to the city. Coláiste Mhuire is going to be restored either way eventually, as with Mountjoy Square: if nothing else why waste a flagship project on buildings like these that architecturally are already ‘complete’?

As it happens I was in the Archive only yesterday – what a disaster zone on too many levels to describe. Save a few happy clappy 1990’s improving works and a more recent reception and locker facilites, the place is barely muddling along. Even the Reading Room (with ravishing tartan carpet) is impossible to keep adequately air-conditioned, with water filled radiators blasting out heat and dodgy aluminium sashes opened above on both sides of the room to try balance things out – in turn resulting in your neck being cut off with the draft for the duration of your stay. The wind was also rattling all the internal shuttering. It was nothing short of embarrassing with the amount of foreigners using the facility. I can only imagine what problems they have in storage, which is an enormous problem for them now apparently. They’ve huge amounts of material that’s not even catalogued either.

A substantial injection of hard cash into this institution is clearly required, with staffing to back it up. Lets just hope it doesn’t end up as another Abbey Theatre saga…

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