Background

Following the Cardinal's death and in order to mark the contribution that he had made to Irish society it was decided to create an appropriate memorial. It was agreed that this should not simply be in the form of a monument but would act as a living reflection of Tomás Ó Fiaich's life and work. A committee was formed and plans for a library and archive were drawn up. This would have in the first instance house the papers of the Cardinal and his vast library. In time this was merely to become the centrepiece of the project with other complimentary material also being added to the collection. A site was acquired from the Arch-diocese of Armagh adjacent to the Cathedral and bishop''s residence and within sight of the Cardinal''s resting place. Plans were presented to the Heritage Lottery Fund and along with a substantial fund raising effort the project was brought to fruition. COFLA, with its state of the art storage facilities, was officially opened on 8 May 1999 by the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Dr. Marjorie Mowlam.

Although inextricably linked with the Cardinal and his career, the library from the beginning stood apart from the apparatus of the church. It was and remains an independent trust will the sole purpose of preserving and promoting those aspects of life that were the Cardinal''s central interest. The fact that these have been augment through an active acquisitions policy has allowed COFLA to gain its rightful status as one of the most important repositories on the island of Ireland. The nature of the collections covering a broad cross section of Irish political, social religious and sporting life sets COFLA aside from both other independent libraries and the mainstream library and archive sector. Its location in the historical and ecclesiastical centre of Ulster further strengthens its relevance to the local and regional population.

Cardinal Toms Fiaich Library
15 Moy Road
Armagh
BT61 7LY
Northern Ireland

Tel: +44 28 3752 2981
Director: Roddy.Hegarty@ofiaich.ie

For directions, opening hours, etc,