National Library of Ireland

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National Library of Ireland: A Guide to Its History and Collections The National Library of Ireland (NLI) is a cultural institution that serves as the country's main repository of historical and cultural materials. Founded in 1877, it has amassed an impressive collection of books, manuscripts, photographs, maps, and other materials that provide valuable insights into Ireland's rich cultural heritage. In this article, we will delve into the history of the NLI, its collections, and how to access them.

History of the NLI
The NLI was established by an act of parliament in 1877, although the idea of creating a national library had been discussed for several decades before that. The first librarian, Sir Anthony Panizzi, was appointed in 1879, and he set about the task of building up the library's collections. One of his most important acquisitions was the collection of manuscripts and books belonging to the Irish antiquary, Eugene O'Curry.

Over the years, the NLI has continued to acquire materials through donations, purchases, and legal deposit. Today, it has a collection of over 8 million items, making it one of the largest libraries in the country.

Collections of the NLI
The NLI's collections cover a wide range of subjects, including history, literature, genealogy, music, and art. One of its most important collections is the Irish manuscript collection, which includes medieval manuscripts, early modern manuscripts, and contemporary manuscripts. The library also has a significant collection of newspapers, dating back to the 18th century.

The NLI's printed collections include books, pamphlets, and periodicals on a wide range of subjects. There are also collections of maps, photographs, and prints that provide valuable insights into the history and geography of Ireland. One of the library's most unique collections is its collection of music manuscripts, which includes scores by some of Ireland's most famous composers.

Accessing the NLI's Collections
The NLI is open to the public, and anyone can access its collections free of charge. However, some materials may require an appointment in advance or a special permission due to their rarity or fragility.

The library has an online catalog that can be used to search its collections, and copies of many materials can be ordered online for a fee. Visitors can also access the library's reading rooms and view materials on site, subject to certain conditions and regulations.

Exhibitions and Events
The NLI regularly hosts exhibitions and events that showcase its collections and promote Irish culture and history. These events include lectures, talks, and concerts, as well as exhibitions on topics such as literature, art, and history. Many of these events are free and open to the public.

Conservation and Preservation
The NLI places a strong emphasis on conservation and preservation to ensure that its collections are protected for future generations. The library has a dedicated conservation team that works to repair and preserve materials that have been damaged by age or other factors. The library also has a state-of-the-art storage facility that is designed to protect its collections from fire, water damage, and other hazards.

The National Library of Ireland is a treasure trove of historical and cultural materials that provides valuable insights into Ireland's rich heritage. Its collections are vast and varied, and its staff are dedicated to ensuring that they are protected and preserved for future generations. Whether you are a scholar, a researcher, or simply someone who is interested in Irish history and culture, the NLI is a must-visit institution.
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    National Library of Ireland

    7-8 Kildare St, Dublin 2, D02 P638

  Ph: (01) 603 0200

  Hours:   Saturday & Sunday CLOSED

                  Monday 9.30 am to 17.00 pm

                   Tuesday & Wednesday 9.30 am to 19.00 pm

                   Thursday & Friday 09.30 am to 17.00 pm

  Admission:   FREE                 


  ✨The National Library of Ireland (NLI) is Ireland’s national library located in Dublin, in a building designed by Thomas Newenham Deane.

 ✨The library is a reference library and, as such, does not lend. It has a large quantity of Irish and Irish-related material that can be consulted without charge; this includes books, maps, manuscripts, music, newspapers, periodicals, and photographs. Included in their collections is material issued by private as well as government publishers.

 ✨The Chief Herald of Ireland and the National Photographic Archive are attached to the library. The library holds exhibitions and holds an archive of Irish newspapers. It is also the ISSN National Centre for Ireland. The library also provides a number of other services including genealogy. 

 ✨The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport, and Media is the member of the Government of Ireland responsible for the library.

✨The National Cultural Institutions Act 1997 mandated that the National Library of Ireland collect all materials relating to Ireland to provide an accurate record of Irish output. The NLI holds over 2785 subject items related to 20th Century Irish Poetry Irish Authors. The National Library of Ireland is the main source for the collection of poetry by Irish writers

  ✨The Library also maintains an online index of all Catholic parish registers up to the 1880s which recorded baptisms, marriages, and some burials. The original collection was preserved on microfilm and later provided online. 

 ✨The main library building is on Kildare Street, adjacent to Leinster House and the archaeology section of the National Museum of Ireland.

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National Library of Ireland

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The National Library of Ireland is the Republic of Ireland’s national library located in Dublin, in a building designed by Thomas Newenham Deane. The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is the member of the Government of Ireland responsible for the library.