daily except Tue and Sun 9.30am-5pm, Sat 10am-5pm - closed Bank Hols and 24 Dec-1 Jan
The first public library in Ireland was built in 1701 by Archbishop Narcissus Marsh. There are 25 000 volumes from four private collections, including countless ancient rare volumes. Dark oak shelves divide up two long rooms. To prevent the most valuable books from being stolen, readers who wanted to consult them were locked into a small room - these "cages" can still be seen today - and the books on the lower shelves were chained to a rod.