Marshes (2011) 5 min digital video

Founded in 1701, Marsh’s Library was the first public library in Ireland. It comprises of books published in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Much of the knowledge contained there has since been replaced by more recent discoveries, but what of that which has been lost?

I was surprised to find a copy of Melville’s Moby Dick. It transpired that each Keeper of the library left behind one or two personal additions over the years. The novel arose, among other things, a curiosity about the history of marine navigation and it’s relationship to place and time. This lead me to the book Longitude by Dava Sobel. With no reliable measuring device for longitude before the end of the 18th century, sailors were literally lost at sea. Sobel recounts the story of John Harrison, the horologist who invented the chronometer.

The library also holds a clock in the first of its two reading rooms. I recorded the sound, and later took photographs and video footage. And then I explored.