His Serene Highness (HSH) Prince Albert of Monaco visited Trinity today.
His visit marks a major donation to the Old Library Conservation project. The donation was marked by two unveiling ceremonies.
Both Prince Albert and Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco’s names can now be seen on College’s Benefactor Wall at the entrance to the Dining Hall. A frieze of Prince Albert’s name was also unveiled in the Gallery of the Long Room.
This visit marks sixty years since the Irish state visit of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco and ten years since Prince Albert’s first state visit.
Prince Albert was given a tour of the Old Library including the Book of Kells and the 9th century gospel manuscript written and illustrated by Columban monks.
He was also given “special viewing” of items from the Old Library’s special collections related to the work of his grandfather, Prince Albert I who was a keen oceanographer and explorer. This included copies of the earliest treatises on oceanography from the 18th century which are a part of the Library’s Dutch Fagel Collection.
Provost Linda Doyle said they were “delighted” to welcome Prince Albert to Trinity. She noted that “his visit builds on Trinity’s existing links with Monaco through the Princess Grace Irish Library and [Trinity’s] Centre for War Studies”.
She thanked Prince Albert for “his support of this landmark restoration project which will ensure the preservation of the Old Library, as a global cultural icon for Trinity, the city of Dublin and Ireland”.
Speaking during his visit Prince Albert said that “it is a great privilege for [him] with this benefaction, to be part of this ambitious programme to conserve the 18th century Old Library building”.
“It is with great pleasure that through this donation I follow in the footsteps of my mother who had a deep affection for Ireland and signals the link to Princess Charlene’s forebears who were instrumental to the founding of Trinity,” the prince continued.
He hopes the conservation project will create “a sustainable protective environment for the many extraordinary treasures it holds for Ireland and the world”.
Trinity received planning permission from Dublin City Council for the Old Library Redevelopment Project last autumn. The redevelopment is set to be carried out by architects Heneghan Peng, who previously worked to conserve and redevelop the National Gallery of Ireland.
The project has received funding from Trinity’s Inspiring Generations philanthropic campaign as well as €25 million in funding from government.