The Princess Grace Irish Library, which was founded in Monaco in 1984 two years after the death of Grace Kelly, is home to rare  Irish American books and music that Kelly collected throughout her life. 

The 40th-anniversary celebrations of the library will focus on a "triangle" of countries close to Kelly's heart - namely Ireland, Monaco, and the US. 

The events will also explore the impact of Irish writers, musicians, and other prominent figures, including Princess Grace's father Jack Kelly, who was born in Philadelphia to Irish immigrants. 

The library's 40th-anniversary celebrations coincide with the end of Monaco's centenary celebrations for Kelly's husband, Prince Reinier III. 

The Princess Grace Library said it is "fitting" to celebrate Prince Reinier's contribution to the promotion of Irish culture and literature. 

The Princess Grace Irish Library is turning 40 with a retrospective of her Irish origins & its culture focusing on 🇮🇪 🇺🇸 & 🇲🇨 - the 3 nations closest to her heart. When in Monaco, be sure to visit this ‘must-see’ gem ➡️

— Embassy of Monaco (@MonacoEmbassyDC) January 23, 2024

The celebratory events began with a lecture by Irish author Patrick O'Sullivan Greene on the theme of "Revolution to Royalty - The Making of an Irish-American Princess" on January 24 and will continue with a multimedia presentation on County Mayo by Neal Doherty on February 21, exploring Kelly's ancestral links to the county. 

On March 13, Irish journalist Flor MacCarthy will present an illustrative talk on "The Princess and the Presidents of Ireland." The talk will be based on correspondence between various presidents of Ireland and Prince Albert II of Monaco, the only son of Kelly and Prince Reinier III. 

Award-winning Irish musicians Zoë Conway and John Mc Intyre will provide a traditional Irish music performance on April 4.

Several other events will be announced for the spring, with music set to feature prominently in the celebrations. 

A selection of music from the Princess Grace collection will be performed by pupils later this year as part of an ongoing collaboration between conservatoires in Monaco (L’Académie Rainier III) and the Technological Univeristy of Dublin. 

For more information about the 40th anniversary celebrations, click here.

What is the Princess Grace Irish Library?

The Princess Grace Irish Library was inaugurated on November 20, 1984 by Prince Rainier III of Monaco as a tribute to his wife, Princess Grace, and the attachment she felt for her Irish origins.

In March 2023, H.S.H. Prince Albert II unveiled a sculpture of his mother Princess Grace in Newport, Co Mayo, close to where the Kelly homestead stood.

People of Irish descent have emigrated and contributed to the United States for centuries – particularly from the 19th century due to the devastating effects of the Famine in Ireland. Grace Kelly’s own grandfather John Kelly (1847 -1897) was born in county Mayo and aged 20, set sail aboard the ‘SS City of Boston’ to America. The Kellys became one of the most prominent families in Philadelphia and direct descendants still live in the area today.

The Princess Grace Irish Library launched its catalogue of books and music scores online (the search bar can be found on the website homepage.) The listing of over 500 Irish books and more than 1,000 unique Irish American music sheets (which span from 1840 to the mid-1900s) from Princess Grace's personal collection can be found. The library is also home to precious artworks and photos of visits to
Ireland by the Prince’s family from 1961 to today.

The library is under the ægis of the Fondation Princesse Grace with President H.R.H. Princess of Hanover and H.S.H. Prince Albert II as Vice-President, respectively the daughter and son of the late Princess Grace (née Grace Kelly).