John O’Dowd MLA, Minister for Education, visited Armagh Public Library recently. Founded by Archbishop Robinson in 1771, the Library was intended to provide for the education of the young people of his day. Since then it has acquired a collection of over 46,000 items, many of them of great scholarly and antiquarian interest.
With its associated museum at No 5 Vicars’ Hill, the Library runs an education programme called ‘Morning on the Hill’ to introduce the children of today to this precious heritage at the heart of Armagh.
The Minister viewed a selection of the Library’s holdings, including some titles in Irish, and the 1835 Ordnance Survey of his ancestral home.
In welcoming the Minister to the Library, the Keeper, the Very Revd Gregory Dunstan said: “Libraries exist for education and to transmit the knowledge accumulated in their collections to future generations. We are delighted to make the riches of this Library available both to specialist researchers and to the school groups who visit us so that they, too, may look through this window into our past.”
Minister O’Dowd said: “I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to see Armagh Public Library and gain a fuller appreciation of what an interesting learning resource it is. Libraries across the world have historically empowered the people, giving them the opportunity to expand their knowledge and horizons. Armagh Public Library holds a unique trove of historical publications and is a place where young and old alike can spend many hours in fascination and discovery. I am heartened to note that local schools visit the library and clearly value it as a learning resource for pupils.”