Trinity College Dublin begins project to relocate vulnerable books

Three hundred years after the first foundation stone was laid, the 250,000 ancient books and manuscripts – including the ornately decorated ninth-century Book of Kells – printed on vellum, paper or silk are to be moved one by one, along with 500,000 others, to make way for the restoration of the building.

It is a monumental task that will take the best part of five years and cost €90m (£75m).

“Moving 750,000 vulnerable books is quite an undertaking, so we are having to pilot everything to see what is involved,” says TCD’s librarian and archivist Helen Shenton, who is leading the daunting project involving a 50-strong team.