Pre-Book only

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Open House Tours

Glenstal Library


12 & 1pm, Sunday October 20th
45min by S. Leyden, Leyden Hassett & Associates
FREE, Pre-Booking required. Tickets available from this page from 10am, October 10th
Limited Disabled Access

Booked Out 


Murroe, V94 A725
Architect: Richard Hurley & Associates, 2001


Historical Visionaries: Stories of well-known Limerick landmarks and hidden corners.

A two storey cylindrical drum develops into a clear storey segment admitting light into the drum symbolising the meaning of the library. RIAI Regional Award 2002.

A library building is at once both functional and aspirational. Functional in that access to books must be easy and minimise waiting, and aspirational by evoking a sense of learning and scholarship. This idea of books and scholars, coupled with the sense of Benedictine order and human values lay at the heart of the brief. The new library at Glenstal can be best described as a monastic library with access for lay students and scholars. The ground floor has controlled access for visitors, with closed book stack with provision for compact mobile shelving. There is a large archive for special and historic collections, a resource room and study carrels. There is a computerised catalogue, database, internet access and connections to universities and other libraries. 

The first floor houses the monastic library - a handbibliothek, unsupervised and private, where books most used by the community are displayed on free standing shelving, accessible to all monks without having to go through the officialdom of borrowing from the library. Staircase access links the two stack areas, indirectly lit from above by a three storey void linking the book stacks. The main space on the first floor is the circular reading room which can also be used for classes and seminars. The basic design for the reading room is simple - a circle. A two story cylindrical drum develops into a clean storey segment admitting light into the drum. This symbolises the meaning of the library and manifests the spirit of the community. The circular plan, which rises off a square base shows its lineage in library design to Sydney Smirks' Reading Room in the British Museum and Gunnar Asplund's Stockholm City Library, but on a much smaller scale and having different inspiration. A feature of the room is the five and a half metres high oak doors, which when opened integrate the entire interlocking space of the building on two floors. The evening sun reaches through the whole building, finally coming to rest in the circular reading room. A very restricted pallet of materials add greatly to the character of the building, particularly the interior, where two materials only, wood and self finished concrete add greatly to the general ambience of books and learning.


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