Princess Grace Irish Library

Cultural Center

Our vision

To share the heritage of Éire (Ireland) and its literary legacy.

To foster a love of the country, its culture, people, history and present day.

To instill in young people a love of reading by discovering the Irish authors and illustrators on our shelves.

These aims are achieved through our programs of lectures, bursaries, symposia and a warm welcome – céad mile fáilte – when you visit to read or research. Children can discover Ireland and have fun with our reading and colouring kits.

Presentation

The heart of the library is the personal collection of Princess Grace’s books and Irish-American sheet music, as well as beautiful reference books (including many rare first editions) and items of historical value, photos and art works. 

Princess Grace of Monaco was very fond of Ireland and proud of Her Irish origins and this love for the country was passed on to Her children.

Their Serene Highnesses Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace visited Ireland on a state visit in 1961, bringing along their two young children Prince Albert and Princess Caroline. It was the first of many visits.

It was in 1961 that they were welcomed by the village of Drimurla in County Mayo (west coast) - where Princess Grace's grandfather John Kelly was born in 1847 during the Great Famine in a two-roomed cootage, overlooking the Leg of Mutton lake. John Kelly emigrated to the United States in 1867 and t was in Philadelphia where he settled and started a family and where Grace Kelly was born in 1929.

This visit and meeting extended family members, instilled a desire in Princess Grace to further her knowledge of Ireland and its culture, prompting her to start collecting Irish books and music sheets.

The Library was inaugurated on 20th November 1984 - two years after the tragic death of the Princess - by Prince Rainier III as a tribute to his wife Princess Grace and the attachment she felt for her Irish origins. 

 

Books

The collection is of historical and cultural value and is a source for academics from around the world. An example of some works include from the Irish Literary Revival – at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century – with poet and playwright William Butler Yeats spearheading the movement and works by the likes of John Millington Synge capturing the Irish way of life and popularising Irish folklore.

It is also a lending library for the local community with a vast selection of English-language books by Irish authors, including contemporary writers, across themes of history, culture, art, literature, poetry, drama and more. 

 Some twelve thousand books have been acquired or donated.

The Library is proud to have a first edition of Ulysses by James Joyce published in 1922 by Sylvia Beach of Shakespeare and Company in Paris. It is considered one of the most important works of modernist literature.

 

Culture

The Library regularly organises cultural events, such as lectures by Irish writers, academics, personalities and concerts by musicians invited to perform Irish music. Distinguished speakers include Seamus Heaney, Nobel Prize for Literature, 1995.

Read more

The Princess Grace Irish Library was inaugurated on 20th November 1984 by Prince Rainier III of Monaco as a tribute to his wife Princess Grace and the attachment she felt for her Irish origins.

The Library is under the ægis of the Fondation Princesse Grace and is situated in the former hôtel particulier of Comte Félix Gastaldi (1821-1906), Mayor of Monaco for 39 years.

Watch this 2-minute video for an explanation of the origins of the library and Princess Grace’s Irish roots. 

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