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Fragment of a medieval grant from the Brett Collection MS 3.10C

Special Collections

The Special Collections service at Queen's provides access to the Library's rare and early printed book, map, and manuscripts collections, as well as to more modern material relating to Ireland and Ulster in particular. All items held in Special Collection are considered to be of lasting research value and include examples of the earliest printed works, and books and pamphlets published between the 16th and early 19th centuries. In order to preserve the material for future readers the collections are housed in a secure and environmentally controlled setting.

Published Books, Pamphlets & Journals Map Collections Manuscript Collections

Special Collections holds thousands of published books, pamphlets & Journals. They are divided into discrete book collections depending either on the subject matter, collector or donator.

The subject areas covered include Ulster, Ireland, History, Politics, Economics, Theology, Literature and Language.

Special Collections holds 3 core map collections:         

- The Ewart Collection (ca 1567-1900), is an assortment of 168 maps relating to Ireland.

- The Hibernia Regnum collection contains 289 facsimiles of the Down Survey of the Baronies of Ireland, 1655-1659.

- The Maps of the Escheated Counties of Ireland includes 31 facsimiles of Northern Ireland maps, 1603-1609.

Other significant maps and atlases include Petty's Maps of Ireland and the Atlas geofráfico de España.

The Manuscript Collection includes material dating from the twelfthcentury on, with a particular bias towards the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 

Papers relating to politics, music and language in eighteenth century Ireland contract with politics, culture and business in nineteenth and early twentieth century China.


Part of the 1912 plans for the old Library in Queen's

University Archive

The 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. The record series include a number of broad areas:

Life of a University  Administration of the University  Records from Student Organisations
Minutes of Senate, minutes of the Academic Council, faculty and departmental records, University Calendars, student registers, roll books and examination papers Minutes and papers dealing with the management of the University Estate, records reflecting the work of the Library Publications produced by student societies, collections of papers deposited by former members of staff.

Visit the University Archive web page for additional information on services and resources. 

Special Collections Brief Guide
An Overview


Special Collections and the University Archive are located on Floor 1 of the McClay Library. The silent Reading Room is located beside the Enquiry Services desk for Floor 1.

Address: Special Collections | Floor 1 | The McClay Library | 10 College Park | Belfast BT7 1LP



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