Trinity has lodged plans with Dublin City Council for a new visitor centre for the Book of Kells exhibition and “urgent” works to the Old Library.
The exhibition is due to reopen on August 10. In an email to students this morning, it was communicated that tourists will be given “limited” access to campus upon visiting the exhibition.
The new visitor centre proposed is part of the Old Library Redevelopment Project which also includes the refurbishment and alteration to both to the Old Library.
The redevelopment plans have been lodged to Dublin City Council, after two years of planning by architects Heneghan Peng. The plans were concluded just before the Covid-19 lockdown.
Speaking to the Irish Times, a spokeswoman for Trinity stated: “The Old Library faces a number of conservation, structural and environmental challenges which need to be urgently addressed in order to safeguard the building and its contents for the next century.”
She continued: “The pandemic and recent events go to further highlight the importance of preserving this national historic site and improving visitor facilities in keeping with health and safety protocols.”
According to the Irish Times, documentation lodged with the plan states that the proposal aims to protect the library collection against “further deterioration” and to “improve facilities for visitors and enhance the visitor experience”.
The visitor centre is to be located underground, as well as a ticketing area.
The Trinity spokeswoman said: “Funding for the redevelopment project is under consideration. The focus on the coming year will be on planning and developing the detailed design and securing planning permission.”
On the timescale of the plan, she continued: “This is a complex project and its overall duration is currently under consideration. It will depend on a number of factors including the overall planning process and funding for its development.”
A decision on the work is due by Dublin City council by the end of next month.