Suitably sedate and elegant, the National Library was built from 1884 to 1890 by Sir Thomas Newenham Deane, to a similar design as the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology. Its extensive collection has many valuable early manuscripts, first editions and maps. Parts of the library are open to the public, including the domed reading room where Stephen Dedalus expounded his views on Shakespeare in James Joyce's Ulysses. There’s a Genealogy Advisory Service on the 2nd floor.
For those prints that are worth a thousand words, you’ll have to head down to Temple Bar to the National Photographic Archive extension of the library, for which you'll need to pick up a reader's ticket (look for the Readers Ticket Office in the main building).