Day-long Tour 1: West
Libraries: Ballinasloe Public Library and National University of Ireland Galway Library
Type of Library: public and academic
Total Distance Return Trip: 418 km
Meeting Point: Convention Centre Dublin
Price per Person: € 17
Head west to Galway, European Capital of Culture in 2020! Along the way, stop in Ballinasloe Public Library, officially opened in 2016, and housed in the refurbished Convent of Mercy. This building forms an important element of the architectural, social and religious heritage of Ballinasloe. Of particular interest is the Convent Chapel (1849) known as the ‘Church Gallery,’ an exceptional world-class art, exhibition and concert space refitted with a seating capacity of 140. The library also hosts a Europe Direct Information Centre, only one of 8 in Ireland, which distributes information and expertise on European Institutions and policies and encourages citizen engagement and debate.
After a stop in Galway city, visit the James Hardiman Library, the main library of National University of Ireland, Galway. Centrally located on the beautiful university campus grounds, the library has recently developed a library makerspace as well as a combined Library and IT Help Desk, along with an Academic Writing Centre, to expand the range of student supports on offer. Adjacent to the Library is the Hardiman Research Building for Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Research, which houses the Library’s Archives and Special Collections Reading Room. The Archives collection has a particular focus on literature, theatre, film and the performing arts, as well as historical and political collections. A major project to digitise the archive of the Abbey Theatre was completed in 2015 and reflects an increasing focus on digital publishing, curation and access. The library’s Special Collections, built over more than 170 years, has a particular strength in folklore, Irish-language materials and travel literature relating to Ireland.