A library book, I imagine, is a happy book.

Cornelia Funke


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What's On In August

28 July 2017



In a decade that saw Nelson Mandela freed and elected president of South Africa, the first Gulf War break out, Harry Potter exploding onto the bookshelves and the appearance of the Euro….. Northern Ireland was wading through the fourth decade of its Troubles. Daily searches, bomb alerts, no-go areas, what was life like for those living in 90s Northern Ireland? From 2 - 30 August the Linen Hall will revisit these turbulent times with We Lived It, an exhibition and oral history project capturing the day-to-day reality of living in the midst of the conflict.

On display will be an array of social history items such as key rings, badges, and t-shirts branded with slogans and logos from the 90s. There is also a small section of the HM Prison Maze wall (drilled out to make room for a television set).

Troubles-themed artwork by important local artists Sean Hillen and F.E. McWilliam has been loaned to the Library by Newry and Mourne Museum and the F.E. McWilliam Gallery. This includes a piece from the well-known series Women of Belfast, created in response to the Abercorn bombing of 1972. The representations of frantic movement and frozen horror emanate from the bronze sculpture.

A revealing oral history archive has also been assembled capturing people from all walks of life in Northern Ireland relaying their memories of difficult – and sometimes even humorous – times navigating through this very abnormal situation. Visitors can listen via MP3 players incorporated into the exhibition.

There will be a Divided Society – Reminiscence workshop on Monday 21 August at 1.00pm. This free event will invite people to discuss the project, listen to the oral archives and have an opportunity to put forward their own memories.

Divided Society Education and Outreach Officer Rachel Brady says: “The Library’s Divided Society Project is delighted to launch this thought-provoking exhibition based on the Linen Hall’s Troubles collection which now numbers over 350,000 items. We worked extensively with community groups to gather a large selection of audio interviews which capture the good, the bad and the ugly days of 90s Northern Ireland.”

We Lived It is part of the Divided Society project which is digitising large parts of the Linen Hall’s Northern Ireland Political Collection concentrating on the decade from 1990 – 2000. It is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Ulster Garden Villages and the Department of Foreign Affairs Peace and Reconciliation Fund.

Also at the Linen Hall in August:    

Children's Storytime                                                                                                                                         Every Tuesday in August at 10.00am/ reading/ free                                                                                

For pre-school children up to age 5. 

Youngsters are welcome to gather in the Library's Children's Area on Level 2 and hear a Linen Hall Librarian read from popular titles. Lasts approximately 30 minutes.

Jeremy Taylor in Ireland, 1658 – 1667          

An Anniversary Lecture                                                                                                                

Wednesday 9 August at 1.00pm/ lecture/ free

With prose once ranked in distinction with Bacon, Donne, Milton and even Shakespeare; Jeremy Taylor, the Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore is the subject of this talk. Presented by Colin Armstrong, visiting research associate in the School of History, Anthropology, Politics and Philosophy, Queen’s University Belfast.

The Shaken and the Stirred, A Celebration of Canada                                                                

Thursday 24 August at 6.00pm/ performance/ free

This year, Canada turns 150! This event brings together five Canadian poets, including Canada’s Parliamentary Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke, reading from recently released and upcoming collections.

For more information about the Linen Hall Library please visit our website at www.linenhall.com


Pictures and interviews are available on request. Contact Linen Hall Library Digital and Marketing Comms Specialist Rachel Wetherall at r.wetherall@linenhall.com or tel: 028 9032 1707.

The Linen Hall Library, one of Belfast’s oldest charities, is open free to the public. Our opening hours are Monday – Friday 9.30am – 5.30pm, and Saturday 9.30am – 4.00pm