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Modern Irish Collections

Our Modern Irish Collections (1915 - to date) hold a wide range of subjects in the humanities and social sciences in mainly book, journal and pamphlet form. Coverage of historical and literary subjects is particularly strong. The output of academic publishers and institutions in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland is well represented in the Library's collections.

Under the Republic of Ireland's (and previously the Irish Free State's) legal deposit legislation publishers in the Republic are required to send a copy of each item published to the British Library, in return for Trinity College Dublin Library having the right to claim material published in the United Kingdom. Publishers in the Republic are also required to provide copies of works, if claimed, to the other four United Kingdom Copyright Libraries. Publishers in the Irish Republic are also required to deposit copies of works with the National Library of Ireland, Trinity College Dublin Library and six other university libraries in the Republic.

In common with publishers in Great Britain, publishers in Northern Ireland are required to deposit a copy of each work published with the British Library and, if claimed, with the other United Kingdom copyright libraries and Trinity College Dublin Library.

Historical material

Works on all periods of Irish history and reflecting the broad spectrum of Irish historical experience are held and cover a wide range of subjects including Irish women's history and social conditions, the Great Famine, the struggle for Irish independence, the history and the political and social conditions of Northern Ireland, the history of Irish economic and social conditions, Irish emigration, revisionism in Irish history. The material also reflects the connections, disconnections and upheavals in Irish-British relations on political, social and economic levels. See also Periodicals

Literary material

Literature is also one of the strengths of the collections with a representative range held of works by Northern and Southern Irish authors, playwrights and poets including works by James Joyce, the Nobel prizewinners W. B. Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney, works by contemporary playwrights such as Brian Friel and Billy Roche, contemporary novelists such as Jennifer Johnston, Roddy Doyle and Colm Tóibín, contemporary poets such as Paul Muldoon, Eavan Boland.

Irish language material

Material is also held in the Irish language, including works published by Conradh na Gaeilge (Gaelic League), the Irish Texts Society, Cló Iar-Chonnachta, and works by individual writers such as Máirtín Ó Cadhain, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill.

Literary, historical and cultural societies

The published output of literary, historical and cultural societies is also an important part of the collections. The Library holds material produced by societies such as the Irish Historical Society, Folklore of Ireland Society, Economic and Social History Society of Ireland, Ulster Society, Ulster Society for Historical Studies, Old Dublin Society, Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, and societies concerned with individual authors such as the Oscar Wilde Society and the James Joyce Society of London.

Irish studies in the United Kingdom

Works published on Irish studies and the Irish Diaspora by academic publishers and research institutions as well as works produced by Irish studies centres at various academic institutions in the United Kingdom are represented in the collections. 

Centre for Irish Studies (St. Mary's University College)

Irish Studies Centre (London Metropolitan University)

Institute of Irish Studies (Queen's University of Belfast)

Institute of Irish Studies (University of Liverpool)


Major academic and literary periodicals are held including: Irish Historical Studies, Irish University Review, Poetry Ireland Review, The Honest Ulsterman, The Bell, The Irish Review, Irish Studies Review. An important resource for research on Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Political Literature: Periodicals, a microfiche set produced by the Linen Hall Library Belfast, from its renowned Northern Ireland Political Collection, is also held. Daily, weekly, fortnightly publications (such as The Irish Times, The News Letter [The Belfast news letter], Irish News, Belfast Telegraph, and Fortnight) are held at British Library Newspapers. Access to the Irish Newspaper Archives is available from the Library's reading rooms.