The National Print Museum, Dublin

I have wanted to visit this museum for a very long time for personal reasons. My grandfather was a printer as were several of his five brothers. I had not known this until, during family research, I found his death certificate where his profession was marked as printer. From there I extended the family research and discovered that several other members of the family had been printers. I knew my fathers brother was a printer before he gave it up to be a full time actor. I wanted to know, if possible, where they had worked in Dublin. The family was an inner city family so I assumed they must have worked somewhere in the city centre. I have put in a request to the museum to try to establish more information.

My recent reading of Type & Topogralhy by Phil Baines and Andrew Haslam has opened up so many areas which were completely new to me. In the museum the history of printing was clearly displayed and they had many machines including one of the original Gutenberg wooden printing press machine.The whole mechanism of linotype became clear when I saw the linotype machine. The very slow developments in the world of printing amazed me although I already knew this to be the case. Was this because the process of manually typesetting was pleasurable for those involved. I like to think of my ancestors enjoying their compositing. It appeared to me that only two major developments took place in about three hundred years. The ability to make lines of type ready for printing and being able to feed paper on rolls.

This was until the arrival of the computer which has changed the printing industry utterly. We are all now our own printers.

1_linotype-machine   3_linotype-machine_detail

The terminology for the different steps in the printing process also became clear.


The machine on which the Irish proclamation was printed is also on display in the museum.

7_print-printing-press-for-proclamationThe guide pointed out some errors in the proclamation because of the haste in which it was set and printed.

Several sets of letter types are also held in the museum including a set of the old Gaelic script which I learned as a child. It was a great shame that this was discontinued  because of the cost of special keyboards and printing.