Trinity College warned of “incalculable” loss if anything were to happen Old Library or Book of Kells in plea for €25 million in government support

Trinity College warned of the risk of a fire like that which struck Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral in an application for €25 million in government funding to redevelop their historic Old Library.

They said a “litany of destructive fires” at historic buildings around the world illustrated the risks of deterioration and damage to the library, which houses the Book of Kells.

The university wrote directly to Taoiseach Micheal Martin seeking financial support and saying the fire at Notre Dame “underscores the urgency of the project”.

They said it had been fifty years since any major work had taken place at the Old Library and that it was now in “vital need” of upgrading.

A submission for government said: “Fire prevention and suppression systems in the Old Library, especially in the wood-lined, cathedral-like Long Room, must be updated and improved.

“The collections contained in the Old Library are, collectively, the most valuable, and at the same time, the most vulnerable assets in the university.”

Trinity also warned that the damage to Ireland’s reputation if anything were to happen to the library’s famous Long Room or the Book of Kells would be “incalculable”.