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Culture and Local History

The library is a centre of community and cultural activity. It is a catalyst for the imagination, encouraging and inspiring creativity within communities and among people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. It provides a welcoming and inclusive space for individuals and all communities, including new communities that may not yet be fully integrated into Irish society. It is a truly democratic service, accepting and supportive of all individuals, regardless of age, ability, culture or personal circumstance.

The library brings people together, enabling social sharing among peoples and cultures, celebrating diversity and encouraging harmony.  It facilitates personal development for all people, providing a range of supports which reduce marginalisation of all types, including language learning supports; social and cultural activities; and support activities for digital technology learning, reading and literacy. 

There is significant potential to develop targeted outreach initiatives for hard to reach individuals and groups. The local library provides a social space for the isolated in urban and rural communities and collaboration with local agencies and community groups can develop and support initiatives that encourage people to use the library

The public library helps to preserve our cultural identity. The library service has a longstanding and important role in the promotion of literature and the Irish language.  It provides access, not only through extensive collections, but also through an increasing range of festivals and events across the network of branches. Nowhere is this more evident than in the central role of public libraries in delivering the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2022 and Creative Ireland 2017-2022. The library also provides a welcoming community space where we can share diverse cultural experiences and perspectives as our society evolves to embrace new communities and cultures.

Griffith's Valuation

Griffith ’s Valuation is the name widely given to the Primary Valuation of Ireland, a property tax survey carried out in the mid-nineteenth century under the supervision of Sir Richard Griffith. The survey involved the detailed valuation of every taxable piece of agricultural or built property on the island of Ireland and was published county-by-county between the years 1847 and 1864.

The process of valuation was painstakingly thorough, involving multiple visits by valuation teams to analyse all of the factors influencing the economic status of the property: the chemical and geological properties of the land; average rents paid in the area; distance from the nearest market town. The aim was to get as accurate as possible an estimate of the annual income that each property should produce. This is the “Net Annual Value” figure (in £ s d, pounds sterling, shillings and pence) in the far right column of each valuation record. This was then used as the basis for local taxation, and continued up to the 1970s. The local authorities decided on a percentage of the Annual Value to be paid every year and usually expressed as “pennies to the pound”. For example a rate of 3 pennies to the pound meant that someone in possession of property valued as £10 would have to pay 30 pence, or 2/6.

Griffith's Valuation is an invaluable source for Irish heritage, history, and genealogy. The entire valuation has been uploaded into a searchable database on our website, including digitised historic maps to show you approximately where the properties in the valuation were located. You can search the collection here.