Bishop regrets library move to Limerick

The Bolton Library, John Street.
The OPW has announced that it is unable to to follow through on a deal announced three years ago which would have ensured that the Bolton Library would stay in Cashel.

The OPW has announced that it is unable to to follow through on a deal announced three years ago which would have ensured that the Bolton Library would stay in Cashel.

The OPW has confirmed that “changed economic circumstances” mean it is unable to follow through on a deal announced in 2010 which would have seen it lease the library from the Church of Ireland and taking it in charge.

Now discussions are taking place regarding an arrangement to move the Bolton Library to Limerick University.

The Bolton Library was originally attached to the cathedral at the Rock of Cashel and includes antiquarian books and pamphlets from all over Europe,Under an agreement announced in 2010 by the then-Minister of State for the OPW, and local TD at the time, Martin Mansergh, the library was to be taken in charge by the OPW and leased from the Church Representative Body of the Church of Ireland.That arrangement would have seen the library, located in the Chapter House of the Cathedral Church on John Street in Cashel, promoted as a visitor centre as part of the Rock of Cashel complex.

However, in a statement to The Nationalist, the OPW said: “Unfortunately, due to changed economic circumstances the OPW is unable to progress on the basis of the announcement made previously. However, the OPW will remain involved with the library owners and will provide practical assistance where possible.”The Bishop of Cashel and Ossory, Bishop Michael Burrows, said it was the “great hope” of the library’s board that the OPW would assist in finding a way to conserve the collection on location in Cashel.

“But it has now become clear that this is not going to happen and the condition of the priceless collection of books is deteriorating rapidly,” Bishop Burrows said. The board has decided to seek “a different way forward” in partnership with the UL library he said.

In a statement, the bishop said it was “deeply regrettable” that it has not been possible to secure a solution that keeps all of the collection in Cashel. Discussions have taken place with UL about housing the books in an environmentally-controlled Special Collections Unit while making “every effort” with the OPW and others to establish a permanent Bolton Library exhibition in Cashel. “Moving in this direction has been a difficult decision, but it is undoubtedly right and responsible if this important collection is to be safeguarded for the future. Continued inaction is simply not an option.” he added.