RCB Library Notes
Cúinne Caird opened at Representative Church Body Library
The life and legacy of the late Bishop Donald Caird (1925–2017) was remembered on Saturday (14 September) when the Cúinne Caird was opened in his memory at the Representative Church Body Library – the Church of Ireland’s central reference library and repository of archives.
Cúinne Caird is a special corner created to exhibit the printed books and other materials in the Irish language presented to the Library by his widow, Nancy, in the context of a larger collection of related archives. It includes books, photographs, and an original drawing by the artist Carol Wade. Mrs Caird attended the opening along with members of her family, her children and her grandchildren. Central to the corner is the Ghradam an Phiarsaigh prize, which Bishop Caird was awarded in 2010 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the language. The cabinet in which the collection is now exhibited was built by Shane Duffley and the event was organised by the RCB Library and Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise (the Irish Guild of the Church).
Dr Susan Hood, Librarian and Archivist, noted that Bishop Caird was ‘a bridge–builder of his time’ and explained that the wider collection included his sermons, addresses, notebooks of research into Douglas Hyde and many other subjects, including CS Lewis – the materials will be fully archived in a later phase of the project. Bishop Caird was curate in Lewis’ home church, St Mark’s, Dundela, in East Belfast.
‘As an initial phase,’ Dr Hood said, ‘given the extensive collection of books in Irish, many of them personally autographed to the Bishop, we decided that we could do something more immediately with those and hence the Cúinne Caird came into being.’ Robert Gallagher, the Library’s Administrator, who catalogued the print collection, addressed guests in Irish on how the project came together, and using the Library’s online catalogue each book was accessioned with a unique identity and “Caird Corner” number.
Bishop Caird was successively Bishop of Limerick (1970–1976), Bishop of Meath and Kildare (1976–1985) and Archbishop of Dublin (1985–1996). He had been a member of Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise since 1943 and also served on Bord na Gaeilge.
Bishop Michael Burrows, Patron of Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise, praised the project as a ‘wonderful collaboration’. Surveying a selection of notes and photographs on display, he remarked: ‘This represents a world that is gone, sadly, but so much of Archbishop Caird’s utterances speak to a world that still is … his faith and his citizenship were two sides of the same coin and he taught so many of us the importance of participative citizenship that treasured the contribution of faith to the State, which was so deeply rooted in the culture we have the privilege of inheriting.’ He recalled, in particular, Bishop Caird’s intelligence, humour and modesty, and his early encounters with the language while on holiday in the Blaskets and meeting the story–teller Peig Sayers.
Concluding the event, Bishop Caird’s son John expressed the gratitude of the family to the staff and guests: ‘We really do appreciate the time and effort that people have made to come to remember a remarkable man.’
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