Libraries & Resources
Queen's University of Belfast Libraries
The Main Library of Queen's University Belfast, in particular the Special Collections, hold a significant amount of historical and contemporary materials relating to Ireland. Other Queen's University libraries include the Seamus Heaney Library and the Geosciences Library in Elmwood Avenue that also possesses a significant map collection. 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 150 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.
Education and Library Boards
The South-Eastern Education and Library Board (SEELB) Headquarters at Ballynahinch has produced valuable newspaper indexes for local newspapers in the County Down area.
Southern Education & Library Board (SELB) - Irish & Local Studies Library comprises books, eighteenth & nineteenth century pamphlets, atlases, directories, postcards, maps, scholarly journals and newspapers. It is a very comprehensive collection with a wide-ranging stock covering all aspects of Irish life and learning from earliest times to the present day.
The Linen Hall Library
The Linen Hall Library is located in the centre of Belfast. It was established in the eighteenth century and possesses a significant Irish studies collection and a unique political collection.
The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, the main archival repository for Northern Ireland, is located at 66 Balmoral Avenue, 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 museums of Northern Ireland offer more visual and object-based forms of learning. Of most note are the collections of material held in the Local History sections of the Ulster Museum, the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum at Cultra, outside Holywood, and the Lisburn Linen Centre. Down County Museum in Downpatrick 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.
The Centre for Migration Studies is located on the Ulster-American Folk Park site in Omagh, County Tyrone, and the specialist reference library is open to the public for research. They are 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.
There are, in addition, numerous resources available in Dublin, including the National Library and the National Archives.
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.