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NLI opens up magnificent Reading Room with new evening events programme

Programme includes tours, talks, and performances

Monday, 26 September 2022
NLI Acting Director Katherine McSharry surrounded by four young women, gesturing with her hand in the NLI Main Reading Room

Katherine McSharry, NLI Acting Director, guiding visitors on a tour of the Reading Room


Take an evening tour of the National Library of Ireland, learn more about Ireland’s Halloween traditions through music and performance, and hear leading scholars discuss the Irish Civil War. This is a flavour of what visitors to the NLI can enjoy by participating in its new, after-hours autumn events programme, which was announced today (26.09.22). All events are free, with most taking place in the NLI’s iconic Reading Room. The programme begins with the first in a series of new evening tours from Acting Director Katherine McSharry. The 30-minute tour will follow in the footsteps of the writers, thinkers and revolutionaries who have used the National Library, while exploring the fascinating building and its secrets. Afterwards, guests can take photographs in the beautiful reading room, where writers from James Joyce to Kate O’Brien and Seamus Heaney have worked, dreamed, and found inspiration.

Acting Director of the National Library, Katherine McSharry said: “As we head into autumn, we invite visitors to our beautiful reading room on Kildare Street, for free evening events. The National Library’s rich and varied collections are reflected in our programme – and I am particularly looking forward to offering tours of our wonderful building and sharing some of our most treasured and surprising stories.” 

Programme highlights include:

Tuesday 27th September, Tuesday 25th October and Tuesday, 29th November at 7pm: Tours of the NLI, led by Acting Director, Katherine McSharry.  

Thursday, 29th September at 8pm: ‘The felon’s cap is the noblest Crown an Irish head can wear’, a lecture by journalist and historian Ronan McGreevy, drawing on his new book ‘Great Hatred: The Assassination of Sir Henry Wilson MP’.

Thursday, 13th October at 8pm: UCC historian, Dr Andy Bielenberg opens a series of lectures organised in partnership with the Atlas of the Irish Revolution editorial team, with ‘The Dead of the Irish Civil War’. 

Friday, 21st October at 8pm: ‘The Irish Hallowe’en Experience: Dressing Up and Knocking on Doors’: explore the customs surrounding Halloween/Samhain through music and performance with artist and folklorist Michael Fortune, and his guests.

Friday, 11th November at 8pm: Authors Martina Devlin, Emily Hourican and Marianne Lee will be in conversation with Paul McVeigh, discussing bringing history to life through fiction, as part of the Dublin Book Festival. 

This year’s programme will conclude with evening performances of Christmas music in the National Library’s front hall in December. 

Night-time economy 

The NLI’s autumn programme is supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, which has made the development of the Night-Time Economy in Ireland’s towns and cities a policy priority. 

Minister Catherine Martin said: “It is so important that our Night-Time Economy offering is diverse and accessible for people with lots of different interests – our National Cultural Institutions have shown a real willingness to get involved and support the Night-Time Economy initiative and open their doors to a later audience.  The NLI programme is a really interesting one and a great addition to our Night-Time Offering in the city this Autumn.”

Eoin McVey, Chairperson of the National Library’s Board, added: “We are very grateful to Minister Catherine Martin, and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media for their ongoing support, which allows us to offer this autumn programme. We recognise the importance of a vibrant, diverse and sustainable Night-Time Economy for the arts and culture sector specifically, and for Irish life in general.  The NLI welcomes the leadership shown by the Department and the Minister and we are delighted to be playing our part with our upcoming events on Kildare Street.”

For more information, visit www.nli.ie