Robinson Library/Brian Boru’s head

Richard Robinson, Lord Archbishop of Armagh, was a rich and influential man who embodied the spirit of his age.

As an educated and enlightened man, he resolved to use his wealth and power to found and maintain charitable and educational institutions, particularly in Armagh. He employed some of the foremost architects of his day, Thomas Cooley and Francis Johnston, to design buildings and plan his cathedral city.

Archbishop Robinson founded the library that bears his name in the heart Armagh in 1771. He wanted to share his own collection of books and fine art with the public.

The collections include around 46,000 printed works. The subjects include medicine, science, history, law, politics, theology, and travel. The collections also hold ancient and medieval coins, commemorative medals and sulphur gems, prints, map and atlases, and manuscripts.

The Long Room is home to many of the Library’s treasures, such as Medieval manuscripts, incunabula (books printed before 1501), Archbishop Beresford’s archaeological collection, and Jonathan Swift’s own copy of Gulliver’s Travels with notes in Swift’s own handwriting.

Today, the Library hosts a variety of events and exhibitions and runs regular interactive events for children including a scavenger hunt amongst the stacks!

When you’re at The Robinson Library be sure to visit the Cathedral Gardens across the street and the severed head of Brian Boru.

Brian Boru was the last high king of Ireland and died at the battle of Clontarf in 1014, his remains still lie buried in the walls of St Patrick’s Cathedral.

 

In 2021 The Armagh Rhymers told the story of Brian Boru’s head on More4 show “Exploring NI with Siobhan McSweeney”, showcasing this local legend in true Rhymers theatrical style; click here to watch.

CLICK HERE to find out how you can book a performance by The Armagh Rhymers.

Armagh Robinson Library, 43 Abbey Street Armagh, BT61 7DY