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St. John the Baptist's Cathedral, Cashel Ireland

The Bolton Library (left in photo, building in shadow)


Theophilus Bolton was certainly a man of parts, a "doer of the work" as well as an intellectual.


Though Bolton was founder, the library's greatest treasures, however, come from the collection of Archbishop William King of Dublin. He had been Bolton's mentor, and was saidto have been the most learned and widely read man of his time. His best known publication, "De Origine Mali" (1702) provided ideas for Pope's "Essay on Man." He had been Bishop of Derry from 1690, after that City's siege" of famous memory", until 1703 when he was made Archbishop of Dublin. His books, then, were mainly gathered in the last quarter of the 17th century, and sometime after King's death in 1729. Bolton acquired the bulk of his benefactor's extensive library.


The library was originally housed in the "Long Room" adjoining the Archbishops' Palace. It suffered some damage from British soldiers quartered there during the 1798 rebellion, but it survived this and other crises of Irish history without further recorded incident. The coming to Cashel in 1824 of Henry Cotton as Archdeacon of the Diocese begins the next chapter in its history.


He had been one of two sub-librarians of the Bodleian Library, Oxford, for nine years, and published his "Typographical Gazetteer" in the year of his coming to Cashel.


He devoted much of his time for the remainder of his long life - he died in 1879 - to writing his many bodies and working for Cashel Library. Becoming alarmed, about 1835, by the plans of the British government to suppress the Archbishopric of Cashel, he encouraged the clergy of the Diocese to erect a building in the precincts of St.John the Baptist's Cathedral to serve as a library and chapter-house. To its new home - the present one- the library was moved in 1837. The building though plain outside, has a pleasant Georgian-style interior, an appropriate setting for the books.

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Taken on October 11, 2006