The Library of Trinity College Dublin is a major research library of international repute, supporting learning and research needs across all disciplines of the College.
Historic research materials are primarily in the care of the Research Collections Division, which encompasses Manuscripts & Archives (M&A), Early Printed Books & Special Collections (EPB), the Glucksman Map Library, and Music Collections. However, primary research materials may also be found in other sections of the Library – for example, the Research Area of the Berkeley Library. In addition, digitised copies of some research materials are available on the Digital Collections website.
As well as supporting the research needs of individual scholars, the Research Collections Division is happy to assist the teaching programmes of various schools and departments within the College. Class sessions in the Old Library building can be arranged, to introduce students and their tutors to manuscript and early printed items as appropriate, with Library staff present to ensure correct handling of these rare materials. Class tutors should liaise with staff in the relevant Library department if they wish to arrange a teaching session, giving as much notice as possible to ensure availability of staff, materials and teaching space.
For additional information, or to arrange an appointment to discuss particular research or teaching opportunities, please contact the relevant department:
Early Printed Books & Special Collections: email firstname.lastname@example.org; phone +353 1 8961172
Manuscripts & Archives: email email@example.com; phone +353 1 8961189
Glucksman Map Library: email firstname.lastname@example.org; phone +353 1 8962087 or 8961544
Music: email email@example.com; phone +353 1 8961156
The Old Library has been the home of research in Trinity College Dublin for over 300 years, and within it the Department of Early Printed Books & Special Collections houses the oldest and most valuable books in an ever-expanding collection. Besides all early printed books and pamphlets, Special Collections includes private press items, limited editions, signed books, Anglo-Irish literature, Irish Archival material and much else that is either valuable or vulnerable. The collections are constantly increasing, both under legal deposit of new Irish works and by purchase or donation. Cataloguing is in progress continually to ensure that as much of the collection as possible is available to readers.
For more details on specific collections held by EPB, see EPB's Named Collections listing plus Research Collections' Subject Strengths pages.
The material held by the Department of Early Printed Books and Special Collections is listed in the main Online Catalogue (Stella Search), but for completeness readers may also consult the 1872 Catalogue Online and the Accessions Catalogue.
The 1872 Catalogue Online is a digitised and fully searchable version of the Printed Catalogue. It lists works catalogued by the Library up to 1872. Any material published after 1872 is not included.
The Accessions Catalogue lists works catalogued by the Library between 1873 and 1963, and has been made available online in the form of browsable page images.
Manuscripts & Archives is home to more than 20,000 collections of manuscripts and archives, dating from the 13th century BC to the present day. The collections reflect the intellectual, spiritual, economic and everyday lives of scholars, patriots, rebels, church men and women, politicians, explorers, landowners, servants and students. The Book of Kells, the Book of Durrow and the Book of Armagh are among Ireland’s greatest treasures but these iconic manuscripts are only part of the Library's richly diverse holdings. Manuscripts & Archives continues to add to the collections, building on existing strengths and advancing into new areas of scholarship.
Further details of the collections are available under Research Collections' Subject Strengths pages.
The Manuscripts & Archives Online Catalogue (MARLOC), launched in 2010, represents the first phase in providing remote access to details of many of the collections. Summary descriptions are available on this online catalogue for the majority of the holdings acquired up to 2005. For some collections the summary description will link to a PDF of a full descriptive list.
Some significant elements of the collections are not yet covered by this online catalogue; for example, much of the medieval Latin manuscripts, the medieval Irish manuscripts, the Middle-English manuscripts, the papyri and the University archives await inclusion. Published catalogues are available for some of these elements of the collection; these may be consulted in the Manuscripts and Archives Reading Room.
The Glucksman Map Library is the centre for cartographic materials in the Library of Trinity College Dublin. Located in the Basement, Ussher Library, it holds over half a million maps and atlases making it the largest collection of printed maps in Ireland. It is one of the heritage departments of the Library, holding rare older material as well as modern mapping. The collections are particularly strong on maps of Ireland and Great Britain but they also include coverage of Europe, Africa and the rest of the world at less detailed scales.
The Map Library is available during its opening hours to students and staff of Trinity College Dublin who wish to consult cartographic materials. While some materials (such as atlases) are included in Stella Search, most items are recorded in local lists. Please consult Map Library staff for further details.
Music research collections are found in both the Manuscripts & Archives and Early Printed Books & Special Collections departments. Manuscript collections includes liturgical music of the 11th-18th centuries, the Ballet and Dallis lute books, the 16th-century Dublin Virginal Book, the Mercer’s Hospital and Trinity College Chapel collections, and Irish traditional music collected by Petrie, Goodman and Moeran. Several twentieth-century Irish composers (Barry, Boydell, Boyle, Coghill, Deale, Duff, Mawby, May, Victory, Wilson) are also represented.
Amongst the early printed music collections, two stand out: the Prout Collection, particularly strong in music and editions of the 19th century, and the Townley Hall Collection, a country house collection of the 18th and 19th centuries.
The music collections are listed in the standard catalogues outlined above. The Prout Collection has its own card catalogue in EPB, but is currently being fully catalogued online. About half of the collection is now listed in the online catalogue.
The Research Area was created to afford direct access, in one location, to key printed sources for historical research. It contains mainly British and Irish history books and journals concentrating on local history, complemented by bibliographical, biographical, genealogical and international sources. Its chief resources include British and Irish Parliamentary Debates and Papers; historical records published by public bodies; antiquarian and record society publications; and source material for specialist areas of British and Irish history.
Most of the Research Area collection is listed in Stella Search. Items published before 2001 and not listed in Stella may be found in the Research Area card catalogue, organised alphabetically by title or author.