The Royal Irish Academy/Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann champions research. We identify and recognise Ireland’s world class researchers. We support scholarship and promote awareness of how science and the humanities enrich our lives and benefit society. We believe that good research needs to be promoted, sustained and communicated. The Academy is run by a Council of its members. Membership is by election and considered the highest Academic honour in Ireland.

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Library Exhibitions

The Library regularly organises exhibitions highlighting its rich collections of books, prints, drawings and manuscripts. Exhibitions are free and open to the public

Current Exhibition:

Françoise Henry and the history of Irish art

An exhibition of original papers, notes, journals and sketches by eminent archaeologist and Celtic art specialist Françoise Henry, MRIA.

Françoise Henry, 1902-82, MRIA, was an archaeologist and art historian and one of the first women elected as a Member of the Royal Irish Academy. Born in Paris she graduated from both the École du Louvre and the Sorbonne. After her first visit to Ireland in 1926 the study of early Irish metalwork and decorative stone carvings became the focus of her career; she taught, travelled and excavated, and published in Ireland, England and France. Henry documented her research and left an important collection of papers to the Academy.

Our exhibition of handwritten notes, journals, sketches and photographs illustrates the breadth and enduring legacy of Henry’s contribution to the study of early Irish art. ­

Opening hours: Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm, except on conference days. See Library landing page for exceptions. Free admission. No individual booking required. Group bookings please contact: / 01-6090620

Previous Exhibitions:

Beranger’s Ireland: eighteenth-century watercolours by Gabriel Beranger, c.1729-1817

Royal Irish Academy Library, 14 August-21 December, 2017

Marking the bicentenary of the death of Gabriel Beranger on 18 February, 1817, this exhibition features a selection of original watercolours from our collection.

Gabriel Beranger was a Dutch artist who came to Ireland in 1750, remaining there until his death. He ran a print shop and artist’s warehouse in Dublin and spent much of his time sketching the antiquities of Ireland. From 1779-83 he was one of the main artists employed by the Hibernian Antiquarian Society, a predecessor of the Royal Irish Academy, to draw the ancient monuments of Ireland. He embarked on an extensive sketching tour of Connacht in 1779 with the Italian architect Bigari, which became the most important archaeological survey of Ireland until the Ordnance Survey began in 1824.

The Academy has one of Ireland’s finest collections of antiquarian drawings and the Beranger collection is its largest collection of 18th century watercolours. Many of the drawings are either copies by Beranger of his own originals or of originals by other artists such as General Charles Vallancey or the Earl of Portarlington. This exhibition showcases a selection of drawings of buildings and antiquities, many of which have since either fallen into ruin or entirely disappeared, such as St John’s Tower in Dublin or Ballybrittas Castle, Co Laois. Many of Beranger’s drawings are the only extant records of these monuments of Irish heritage.

Find out more about this exhibition

Opening hours: Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm, except on conference days. See library home page for exceptions. Free admission. No individual booking required. Group bookings please contact: / 01-6090620

Lunchtime Lecture
Wednesday, 23 August, 1pm 
Beranger drawings in the Royal Irish Academy Library by Dr Peter Harbison, MRIA, Honorary Academic Editor, Royal Irish Academy.

Find out more about this lecture

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