Bray Library Celebrates 100 Years

Bray's 100 year old Carnegie Library on Florence Road

Bray Public Library is 100 years old this year.

An architectural gem, it was financed through the generosity of one of history’s wealthiest men, Andrew Carnegie, a Scots man who was born in a one roomed cottage in Dunfermline.

The success of Carnegie’s steel business in America made him a very wealthy man but he never forgot the poverty of his childhood and by the time he died he had spent his entire fortune on good works for the poor.

Carnegie built  2,509 free librarys around the world, including our library in Bray, which opened in 1911. But he didn’t just didn’t just donate the money. Andrew Carnegie had a vision, one that extended to the detail of the design and construction of his libraries.

The layout and appearance of the Bray Library was to a design approved by Carnegie’s personal secretary James Bertram. A condition of the tender was that materials of Irish manufacture were to be used and local labour employed.

The building’s handsome granite facade was quarried in Glencullen and dressed in Glencree. The total cost of the building was £2,184. An obligation to use local goods and services within a public tender is a concept that we should give more thought to in these times.

The library had 2,000 books when it opened

Later, during the 1940′s and 50′s the library was to acquire its fine art collection. Visitors to Bray Library can admire not only its book collection, but art works by Sean Keating, William Conor, Humbert Craig, Daniel O’ Neill and other important artists.

Within walking distance of Diamond Valley Apartments.

Read about famous artists associated with Bray and the Valley of Diamonds here


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The editor of this diary lives in Diamond Valley, Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Diamond Valley is a modern apartment community in the old setting of the Valley of Diamonds, alongside the river Dargle. Contact
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