Physical access to Special Collections and Archives will close from Thursday (7th of Jan) until further notice.

Staff will still be available for enquiries via email ( and social media (TwitterInstagram and Facebook).

Special Collections & Archives provides access to books, maps, photographs and manuscripts from the twelfth century on, and the institutional archive of Queen's University Belfast. All items held are considered to be of lasting research value.

Explore our Collections

the McClay Library atrium with a number of PCs

Digital Resources

A range of digital platforms to assist you in exploring our collections.

These digital tools include: RASCAL, Digital Special Collections & Archives, our Blog, Online Exhibitions, Subject Guides, the JStor Ireland Collection and the North China Herald Online.

Explore our Digital Resources
Two pages from the Special Collections Book of Hours

Manuscript Collections

Manuscript and archival collections held by Special Collections.

Rare, largely unpublished material, dating from the twelfth to the twenty-first century. Papers relating to politics, music and language in eighteenth century Ireland contrast with politics, culture and business in nineteenth and early twentieth century China.

Explore our Manuscript Collections
Antrim Presbytery Library books in Special Collections store.

Book Collections

Printed collections held by Special Collections.

Extensive collections of rare, antiquarian and modern books which date from the fifteenth century to the present day. Topics covered include Irish & English literature, medicine, politics, theology and philosophy.

Explore our Book Collections
Open drawers of map cabinet in Special Collections displaying Ewart maps.

Map Collections

Historic maps dating from 1567 to 1900.

Special Collections holds three core map collections: The Ewart Map Collection, ca 1567-1900, the Hibernia Regnum Map Collection, 1655-1659 and the Escheated Counties of Ireland, 1609.

Explore our Map Collections
Front view of the Lanyon Building, Queen's University Belfast.

University Archive

Institutional archive of Queen's University Belfast.

Comprises records pertaining to the history and development of Queen's from its foundation as a Queen's College in 1845 through to its establishment as an independent university in 1908 to the present day.

Explore the University Archive

Special Collections Blog

News, Exhibitions and Treasures in Special Collections

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The Foundation and Early Development of Queen’s College Belfast, 1845-1850
In 2020 Queen’s is celebrating...

Black History month 2020. Black history online: colonies, resettlement, identity
The history of black lives...

Black History Month 2020 : Black History online : Irish historical newspapers
Online historical archives present challenges...

Items from the Hamilton Harty Collection laid out in the Special Collections Reading Room.

Using our Collections

McClay Library Tower


Special Collections

SC Women with Lanterns, MS 15.6.21.A.27, Robert Hart glass slides.

Reproductions & Permissions

Copying services

Student reading Ulysses First Edition in Special Collections Reading Room

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Overhead view of inside the old Queen's library with many students studying

Special Collections & Archives

About Us

An Overview


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