An tSeachtain Glas 2015: The Roots of Irish Sustainable Forestry

Vale of Ovoca, from the Octagon House. From "Picturesque Sketches of some of the finest Landscape and Coast Scenery of Ireland" (Dublin, 1835). Shelfmark: V.g.29

Vale of Ovoca, from the Octagon House. From ‘Picturesque Sketches of some of the finest Landscape and Coast Scenery of Ireland’ (Dublin, 1835). Shelfmark: V.g.29

Trinity College Dublin hosts their 13th annual Green Week from the 16th to the 20th of February this year, and we are all encouraged to “Go Green in 2015!” Sustainability on campus and as a research direction is very important to the University and this has inspired our Green Week exhibition currently on display in the Berkeley foyer. A selection of titles shows the use of silviculture, or forest management, in Ireland from the 12th century up to early state forestry in the 20th century.

Early written references to tree planting in Ireland date back to the late 12th century when Giraldus Cambrensis (Gerald of Wales) described yew trees planted about churches and cemeteries for ornament and shelter. From the 16th century, an increase in industry and agriculture resulted in the decline of woodland and forest areas. Forest management was necessary to sustain future demand and pamphlets and books were published on the subject.

The first major work on the topic of Silviculture in Ireland was written by Samuel Hayes, who forested his own estate at Avondale, Co. Wicklow in the 1770s. His ‘A practical treatise on planting; and the management of woods and coppices’ (Dublin, 1794) was written for the Dublin Society and encouraged the preservation of woods and the extension of plantations.

Extensive demesne planting occurred on Irish estates in the 18th century. Originally formal layouts were preferred, but with the introduction of ‘natural style’ landscape parks in the 1740s planting increased to achieve ‘natural’ woodland features. The “Vale of Ovoca, from the Octagon House” (top) shows dense plantations on the hills that provided not only an aesthetically pleasing view, but also an annual income of £600. More scenic landscapes can be seen in ‘Picturesque Sketches of some of the finest Landscape and Coast Scenery of Ireland’ (Dublin 1835).

State forestry began in Ireland in 1903 and the first forestry school was established at Avondale, the former estate of Samuel Hayes, in 1904. Today the objective of the Forest Service is that all timber produced in Ireland should be derived from sustainably managed forests.

For more on Green Week activities in the Library check out the alerts page. Selected items from the collections will be featured on this blog throughout the week.

Martians, detectives and ghosts – all in a day’s work

In January the Department welcomed School of English students from the sophister option ‘Martians, Detectives and Ghosts’ to the reading room with Assistant Professor, Dr. Clare Clarke. The visit gave the group an opportunity to view early editions of core texts related to their course. For more about the visit and to learn what the students thought of their excursion, please see the School of English Facebook page.

The Golden Lion and its silver swag: a Kerry tale of adventure

Regular readers of our blog might recall a piece relating to Lady Margaret Barrymore which was published in September 2014. She now returns with her husband, Thomas Crosbie, M.P. for Dingle, in a swashbuckling tale that features a rare ballad from the Burgage Collection.

On October 28th 1730, the Danish ship The Golden Lion hit stormy weather off the Kerry coast on its voyage from Copenhagen to the Indian port of Tranquebar. Thomas Crosbie came to the aid of the stranded ship and its captain Johan Heitman at Ballyheigue by beating off a scavenging mob and sheltering the crew on his nearby estate. The cargo was recovered and stored on Crosbie’s land. It included 12 chests of silver, the majority of which was the property of the Danish East India Company and valued at c. £20,000. With his health suffering after the exertions of saving the crew, Crosbie died a short time later. By early 1731 after an eventful few months the widow Lady Barrymore initiated salvage claims to the cargo which resulted in her being awarded £4,000. The drama however was only beginning!

In early June 1731 events took a spectacular turn when the Crosbie property was stormed by a gang of over 60 men who made away with the chests and killed at least two Danish guards in the process. Even though half the silver was recouped with the help of Francis Ryan, a ring-leader of the gang, the balance remains unaccounted for to this day.

Pue's Occurrences

Pue’s Occurrences, (June 1731) reports ‘about 200 men’ were involved in the raid. Shelf mark: IN.18.42.

Establishing who was behind the robbery became a sensational news story. Suspicion soon fell on the Crosbies and other landed gentry about their role in the missing silver. The close relationship between the investigating authorities (local magistrate Sir Maurice Crosbie was a nephew of the recently deceased Thomas) and the suspects, coupled with Lady Barrymore’s dubious salvage claims, rightly concerned Captain Heitman. His confidence in the resulting Kerry verdict was low and he moved that the case be heard in Dublin. Proceedings eventually opened in November 1735 resulting in the acquittal of conspirators Arthur Crosbie, cousin of Thomas, Archdeacon Francis Lauder and his wife Bridget. Much to Captain Heitman’s dismay Lady Margaret was never charged with involvement. He returned in defeat to Denmark in 1740 aged 77 and passed away a short time later.

The events inspired the composition of this rare ballad from the Burgage collection.

OLS-x-1-924-no 21_01 (2)

‘An excellent new ballad on the county of Kerry jury’ [Dublin, c.1735]. Shelf mark OLS X-1-924 no.21

The collection came to the library in 1979 from Terence Vigors of Burgage, Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow. The verse shown is one of seven poems and ballads from the collection not recorded in Foxon, D.F. ‘English verse, 1701-1750′.

TAP Workshops Hosted by the Library

We are delighted to welcome children from three Dublin primary schools to the Library for a series of workshops on 13th January 2015. These workshops are the starting point of the annual Bookmarks Programme organised by staff from TAP (Trinity Access Programmes) in Trinity College. In one of these workshops the children — from Our Lady of Lourdes National School, Inchicore; Our Lady of Good Counsel Boys’ National School, Drimnagh; and St. Mary’s Boys’ National School, Haddington Road — will be shown books from the Pollard Collection, a collection of more than 10,000 children’s books bequeathed to the Library by Mary Pollard, former Keeper of Early Printed Books.

Miss Pollard’s collection of schoolbooks had been purchased by the Library thirty years earlier. Three needlework textbooks from that collection are currently on display in the exhibition case at the entrance to the Berkeley Library. The book on agriculture which accompanies them is one of many schoolbooks which have been acquired to supplement the Pollard Schoolbook Collection.

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The books shown here were all issued by the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland, the publisher of the bulk of the textbooks used in Irish schools during the mid- to late 19th century. They are notable for their careful attention to detail and balanced approach, especially in potentially controversial subjects such as religious education.

Eadweard Muybridge and Animal Locomotion

In 1878, the photographer Eadweard Muybridge proved that while in motion all four legs of a horse could be mid-air at once. His discovery caused a public sensation as this rapid motion could not be discerned by the human eye. By creating a completely new system of high-speed photography, Muybridge had effectively ‘frozen time’. Muybridge’s most ambitious publication, Animal locomotion :an electro-photographic investigation of consecutive phases of animal movements, 1872-1885 (Phililadelphia,1887) is now available for consultation in the Early Printed Books reading room. For this work, Muybridge created 781 motion studies using the sophisticated equipment that he had developed. He could take up to 36 images of a single act; such as walking, jumping, wrestling, knitting or lying on the ground and reading.

Animal locomotion, plate 637

Animal locomotion, plate 637

At the time, Muybridge’s work gave him celebrity status, he travelled throughout America and Europe giving public lectures which were a mix of education and entertainment using his motion study images. He projected and animated the images using a device that he invented called the zoopraxiscope. His images and influence have had a far reaching effect in popular culture. Today they are considered to be part of the genesis of cinema.

The photographs were reproduced for publication using the collotype printing process. Invented in the 1850s, this planographic printing process utilises a printing surface created from reticulated gelatin. The publication method of Animal Locomotion was novel. It was possible, of course, to purchase the complete publication. However, many subscribers choose to make a selection of 100 plates at a cost of $1 per plate, which was then issued in a portfolio. Therefore, the Trinity Library copy of publication has the potential to be unique.

Animal locomotion, plate 655

Animal locomotion, plate 655

Unfortunately the portfolio which contained the complete 100 plates and title page is no longer extant rendering the printed plates vulnerable. The conservation treatment required to make the collection available was recently completed by Austin Plann Curley, a visiting student from Winterthur-University of Delaware Art Conservation Program and involved cleaning, repairing, documenting and collating the plates. A storage enclosure was custom-made in order to make the collection available to readers and preserve and protect this fascinating publication for future scholarship.

– Andrew Megaw MA, Senior Conservator of Books

What where? Beckett Display in the Berkeley Foyer

IMG_20141112_171959This year Trinity College Library has made great advances in acquiring and making available significant collections of Samuel Beckett material, most recently with the acquisition of the Hayden Collection of Beckett correspondence. In the Department of Early Printed Books and Special Collections two excellent Beckett collections have been catalogued and are available to consult in the EPB reading room. The Con Leventhal Collection, which contains primarily Beckett authored material from throughout his career including many inscribed first editions; and the Stanley E. Gontarski Beckett Library, which contains a comprehensive collection of Beckett criticism as well as many foreign language editions of Beckett’s writing. Several items from both collections are now on display in the Berkeley foyer.

From the Leventhal Collection you can see “Our exagmination round his factification for incamination of Work in progress” which features Beckett’s first published essay; a rare first edition of his prize winning poem “Whoroscope”; and a copy of “Molloy” inscribed to Ethna MacCarthy, an early crush of Beckett’s who went on the marry his friend Con Leventhal. The Gontarski Beckett Library is strong in theatrical and international content with the Evergreen Review literary magazine featuring “Ohio impromptu”; and “Wierność przegranej” a collection of Polish translations of Beckett essays also on display.