A tree-planting ceremony was held in the Mall to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Armagh Robinson Library. Archbishop John McDowell, who is the Chairperson of the Library’s Governors and Guardians, planted the Irish oak tree on behalf of the Library.
Present at the ceremony were the Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Cllr Kevin Savage and the Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Roger Wilson; the Chairperson of the Mall Trustees, Mr Malcolm Dawson; and Armagh Robinson Library’s recently appointed Keeper, the Very Revd Shane Forster.
The Council and Mall Trustees were supportive of this initiative, recognising the connection between Armagh Robinson Library and the Mall since the Eighteenth Century. Archbishop Robinson founded the Library in 1771 and two years later an Act of Parliament was incorporated ‘for settling and preserving a Publick Library in the City of Armagh for ever, and for enabling the Archbishop of Armagh to appropriate parts of a piece of waste ground contiguous to said City for certain uses for the benefit of the inhabitants thereof’.’
Speaking ahead of the ceremony, the Archbishop said,
I am aware that one of the trees, a venerable oak tree, planted in the Mall in the 1790s remains to this day. No doubt it has brought pleasure to the many generations as they have walked round the Mall, not to mention those of us who have used the Mall as part of our daily exercise circuit during lockdown. It is a privilege to be asked to plant another oak tree which I hope, in time, will bring equal pleasure to future generations as well as being a visible reminder of the historic connection between the venerable old Library and the Mall, and to celebrate Armagh Robinson Library’s 250 years.
The Lord Mayor, Cllr Kevin Savage commented,
On behalf of the Citizens of the Borough I am pleased to witness the planting of an Irish Oak Tree to mark the 250th Anniversary of the Armagh Robinson Library. The Robinson Library has been a pillar of the Armagh community since its opening in 1771 and remains a significant heritage library with many fascinating collections attracting visitors world-wide. Congratulations on reaching this exceptional milestone.
Mr Dawson, the Trustees’ Chairperson added,
We couldn’t think of a more appropriate place to plant a tree to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Library Archbishop Robinson established than on the Mall which he gifted to the people of Armagh in1773.
Image credits: Ian Maginess