Heritage Ireland

The Library & Scriptorium

Text by Aoife Kennedy, photographs by Carmel Shaw

Did you know there was a school at the Friary? In fact this school was probably the first one in Ennis! The school would have been for both boys and men wishing to join the Franciscan order and it would have also provided a basic education in reading, writing and Latin for the sons of local wealthy landowners. Something all schools needed back then was a library to house all their books and documents and also as a place to study. Another room that would have been required was a scriptorium to write and copy manuscripts. The Friary's library and scriptorium are located above the sacristy. Unfortunately, these are closed off to the public as access to them is unsafe.

In the library photos you can see the large east facing window is quite central to provide natural light to the whole room. To the left of the window is a small door which leads to the scriptorium, dominated by a large fireplace to provide both heat and light and, again, with lots of windows to give even more light. Natural light was very important when it came to reading and writing as the only other form of light available to the friars was candlelight which could be quite hard on their eyes.

View of the library from the tower
View of the library from the tower
The library at Ennis Friary
The library at Ennis Friary
The scriptorium at Ennis Friary
The scriptorium at Ennis Friary
Scriptorium chimney
Scriptorium chimney

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