Trinity College Dublin is to receive a second State-aided facelift following Mr McCreevy's allocation of £1 million over two years to the restoration of its historic buildings. The provost of Trinity College, Dr Tom Mitchell, last night expressed his "delight" at the allocation to allow the cleaning of the exterior of the college to be completed. The money, £500,000 next year and a similar amount in 1999, would "make wonderful things possible".
Work on the restoration and cleaning of the buildings began in 1992, when the college celebrated its 400th anniversary. At the time, a £1 million gift by an Albert Reynolds-led government paid for the cleaning and lighting of the front facade, which faces College Green. The money also paid for the restoration of buildings, including the dining hall and the examination hall in the college's cobbled front square.
"I am delighted with the news," said Dr Mitchell. "The grime of centuries was cleaned away in the first phase and now other buildings can be similarly restored."
These include the library, where the Book of Kells and other historical documents are housed. Built in 1712, the building has 500,000 visitors a year. Restoring it to its former splendour was a "great ambition", said Dr Mitchell. It was of significant value to tourism, he added, and in its current state it clashed with the newly cleaned buildings in the front square.
The exterior of the Provost's house is also due a facelift. The campanile or bell tower, probably the best known landmark of the college, and the graduate memorial building will also be cleaned under the Budget allocation.