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.
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