Libraries & Resources

Inside the Main Library

Queen's University of Belfast - McClay Library
The McClay Library of Queen's University Belfast, in particular the Special Collections, holds a significant amount of historical and contemporary materials relating to Ireland. Queen’s is fortunate to have built up a superb collection of books, manuscripts and periodicals, including some volumes of great historical value, over the past 160 years. It would now be almost impossible to start a Library collection such as this from scratch. The book collection currently extends to over one million volumes.

Belfast Public Libraries
The Irish and Local Studies section of Belfast Central Library is located in the City centre. It holds one of the largest newspaper collections in Ireland.

The Linen Hall Library
The Linen Hall Library is located in the centre of Belfast. It was established in 1788 and possesses a significant Irish studies collection and a unique Northern Ireland Political Collection.

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), the main archival repository for Northern Ireland, is located in the Titanic Quarter, Belfast. This houses both private and official materials ranging from governmental to great estate records. In addition, computerised indexes and a growing number of record guides offer a comprehensive introduction to available sources.

Museums and Other Sources
The National Museums of Northern Ireland (NMNI) offer more visual and object-based forms of learning. Of most note are the collections of materials held in the Local History sections of the Ulster Museum in Belfast and the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum at Cultra, outside Holywood. The Mellon Centre for Migration Studies is located on the Ulster-American Folk Park site in Omagh, County Tyrone (part of NMNI) and the specialist reference library is open to the public for research. It is a leading international institution for the study of human migration focusing on the peoples of Ireland worldwide in partnership with the Ulster-American Folk Park.

Other nearby museums include the Irish Linen Centre in Lisburn and the Down County Museum in Downpatrick, which offers a growing research facility with a special interest in the county's history. It also acts as a convenient touring base for a number of Big Houses in the East Down area.

On-Line Resources and Guides
A very comprehensive guide to Research and Special Collections available locally are listed on the RASCAL website. RASCAL is a new electronic gateway to research resources in Northern Ireland. You can use this web-site to search and browse information about the wide range of research and special collections held in libraries, museums and archives across the region.

We have prepared a detailed list of the online links to Irish research, political and social institutions, and of research projects relating to Ireland, and other relevant links - which you can find here.