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Dan Rooney's Irish library finds a new home

| Thursday, May 31, 2018, 3:51 p.m.
Steelers owner Dan Rooney holds the Lombardi Trophy after the Steelers won Super Bowl XL on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2006, in Detroit.
Chaz Palla | Trib Total Media
Steelers owner Dan Rooney holds the Lombardi Trophy after the Steelers won Super Bowl XL on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2006, in Detroit.

The late Dan Rooney left Pittsburgh more than just the Steelers.

Now, thanks to Rooney, hibernophiles -- lovers of all things Irish-- can share in the late ambassador's love of the literature and history of his family's homeland at Duquesne University.

The university is the alma mater of the late Steelers chairman who died on Apr. 13, 2017. And now will be the new home of Rooney's collection of 438 volumes on Irish history and literature.

While Rooney was best known in Western Pennsylvania as the man who built the Steel Curtain and the U.S. ambassador to Ireland from 2009-2012, his love of Irish literature was another major thread in the multi-hued texture of a life that spanned 84 years.

Rooney may be the only figure elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame to ever launch a literature prize. The co-founder of the Ireland Fund launched the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature in 1976. Over the next 40 years, the prize would honor more than 40 up and coming young Irish writers.

Duquesne officials said the Daniel M. Rooney Irish History and Literature Collection that includes 438 volumes dating from the early 19th century to the present will be housed in the university's Gumberg Library.

A signed volume of poetry by William Butler Yeats; John Carr's 1806 edition of The Stranger in Ireland ; Samuel Beckett's limited edition of Poems 1930-1989 ;Statistical Survey of the County of Dublin from 1801; James Stuart's Historical Memoirs of the City of Armagh and Sir Jonah Barrington's two-volume Historic Memoirs of Ireland are among the volumes in the collection.

“We're incredibly honored to have received this significant collection of works on Irish history and literature from the late Dan Rooney,” Duquesne President Ken Gormley said, announcing the gift.

“Dan Rooney was a man of great compassion and integrity who was known for his deep love of Pittsburgh and Ireland. Through this very generous gift, future generations of faculty, students and scholars at Duquesne University will benefit from Ambassador Rooney's lifetime devotion to literature, learning and love for the communities that were so dear to him,” Gormley said.

A 1955 graduate of Duquesne, Rooney also left his fingerprints on Duquesne at the Arthur J. Rooney Field, the campus football stadium named for his late father that he helped develop.

Debra Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7996 or or via Twitter @deberdley_trib

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