We ended up in Marsh’s Library over the mid-term break, taking advantage of the free entry during the Bram Stoker Festival; the author of Dracula was a frequent visitor. I had been to the library a few times as a child, as my brothers were choristers in St Patrick’s Cathedral next door. I vividly remember the book cages where they used to lock readers in with valuable manuscripts, and had prepped the almost-4 year-old well with that tale before we went in.
A library is not always the most welcoming place for the pre-literate but Marsh’s Library have made a real effort to make the library attractive for young visitors. My pair were a bit young to appreciate any of it, but I can imagine children from 6 years old would be fairly gripped by the Scary and Hairy Tales, a Children’s Trail that highlights some of the more gruesome stories from the museum’s archives and history. There are ghosts in the gallery, mummies, spiders, skulls, and the reading cage. The stories are well displayed with vivid cartoons, which are available to take away in an attractive comic designed by John Rooney. You can also try writing with a quill pen or a typewriter.
There is no lift or ramp, and no-one manning the entrance door, so I deposited the kids at the top of the steep staircase, and ran down to bring the buggy up myself. There are clean toilets, though no changing facilities. There is no coffee shop, but this is the city centre so you wont be stuck for refreshments. St Patrick’s Park is around the corner for run-arounds, and if the kids have the energy, it is always worth popping into the cathedral, especially near 3pm for Evensong.