National Print Museum, Dublin

While attending the annual conference for the Society of the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing, I visited the National Print Museum. Founded in 1996, the museum is situated in the old Garrison Chapel (yes, in the Chapel)
of the Beggars Bush Barracks. Their charming space is crammed with presses, type cases, and printing machinery of all types, along with a space where you can practice setting typing yourself. They have a Linotype machine, an enormous Albion iron press complete with a life-size eagle on top, and an historic wooden press, among many others. The flong for the front page of the last Irish Times to be set with hot metal is on view. Upstairs is an exhibition of letterpress artists' books, which includes one example with poetry by our own Professor Paul Muldoon.

Photo by Neil McDermott
All machines are in working order and a resident printer will give you a tour. The strings across the Hickok pen ruling machine are freshly strung and one of the volunteers remembers assisting in its commercial operation. Their huge Linotype machine, invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler (1854-1899), has fragments of cooled metal piled in boxes beneath it. I'm told that an upcoming documentary Linotype: The Film, which opens in October, will feature Dublin's machine specifically.