1 December 2022 Susannah

Book Addict Visits a Library – Princess Grace Irish Library

Princess Grace Library, Monaco

In the heart of an old street in Monaco is the fabulous Princess Grace Irish Library. Her paternal relatives came from County Mayo in Ireland and she had a strong interest in her Irish connections and in the literature of Ireland. In 1984 her husband Prince Rainier II established the library in memory of his beautiful wife. It holds her personal collection, Irish sheet music, paintings and busts of Irish writers, paintings by distinguished Irish artists such as Jack Yeats, and portraits and photographs of the Princess.

The library regularly buys new additions for the collection and there are also donations. They hold lectures there, celebrate St Patrick’s Day and host conferences and readings.

I loved seeing rows of books on favourite Irish writers – Edgeworth, Wilde, Yeats, Shaw, Joyce (a first edition of his Ulysses was on display) and Heaney. It was also great to watch a film they now show there on the life of Grace Kelly – it was fascinating to see the barrage of publicity when she became engaged to the Prince and sailed to Europe.

If you manage to get to Monaco in the near future, do pay a visit to this wonderfully personal and interesting library. This is the last of the library visits I have featured in my newsletter in 2022. Watch this space for a new ‘literary theme’ in 2023.

Is this a library that you’ve visited? Tell me by leaving a comment here.

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Featured image- Princess Grace Library, Monaco, photo by Cheryl Hill
Body images- Princess Grace Library, Monaco, photo by Cheryl Hill

Comments (4)

  1. Donna

    How interesting! i was in Monaco last summer–but didn’t know about the library. Next time!

  2. Margaret Debenham

    It is such a charming, intimate library – the librarian’s job must be one of the best in the world! And – apart from the treasures you mention – how lovely that it has a facsimile of the Book of Kells (as shown in your photo). I was also very impressed by the example of Princess Grace’s pressed flower collages, also on display – she obviously had an excellent design sense. The film was also fascinating – and in some ways rather sad. The press crowding of her and the barrage of questions hurled at her as she left Hollywood to become a princess was rather frightening. But it is wonderful that her collection of Irish and Irish/American literature and music that formed the inspiration for this jewel of a library gave her a satisfying interest beyond the perhaps rather restricted/restrictive role of Princess of Monaco.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      I’m glad my post about the Princess Grace Library brought back happy memories for you. It is a special place, isn’t it?
      I just wish I could attend some of the regular events they hold there.

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