George Shiels Collection Libraries NI


The George Shiels Collection consists of the private library of local playwright George Shiels (1881-1949). Shiels was born near Ballymoney, County Antrim. He emigrated to Canada to work on the Canadian Pacific Railway, but was injured in 1913 and disabled for life in an accident. He returned to Northern Ireland and set up business with his brother as a shipping agent and started to write. His first play - Away from the Moss, was performed by the Ulster Literary Theatre in 1918. Many of his plays, starting with Bedmates in 1921, were performed by the Abbey Theatre in Dublin where he was very popular with Dublin audiences. His plays were also performed at Belfast's Group Theatre. George Shiels plays are often described as "kitchen dramas" and are very popular with amateur theatre groups. Despite the limited canvas with which Shiels worked it is apparent from his work that he was keen commentator on the changing times in which he lived. This collection also includes original typescripts of many of Shiels’ plays and some personal belongings such as Christmas Cards, family albums and letters.


This is the private library of George Shiels and reflects the personal interests of the man. Includes multiple copies of Shiels' plays. It will be of interest to students of George Shiels and his work and local residents.

Physical Characteristics

The George Shiels Collection comprises 93 titles.



Collection Type



Policy: Closed   Method: Donation;   Periodicity: Closed


This Collection is for reference only. Please contact Libraries NI regarding access.

Legal Status

Libraries NI have legal ownership of this collection. All enquiries regarding access and permissions should be directed to Libraries NI.

Description or Catalogue

The George Shiels Collection is catalogued and available online at:



Public Library Service


The Library Service of the North Eastern Education and Library Board was established in 1973 under the Education and Libraries (NI) Order (revised 1986). It has a statutory obligation to provide a 'comprehensive and efficient' library service to everyone living or working in the Board's area and to all schools. There are 38 service points and 7 mobile libraries. All libraries are linked to the Library Service's computer system with stock issuing and circulation terminals and on-line public access catalogues. 2 mobiles are computerised.



Shiels, George (1881-1949)




George Shiels (1881-1949) was born near Ballymoney, County Antrim. Shiels emigrated to Canada to work on the Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1913 he was injured and disabled for life in an accident. He returned to Northern Ireland and set up business with his brother as a shipping agent. He started to write and based his plays on his experiences abroad and the changes he observed in the society which made up his world. When he first started to write Shiels used the pseudonym George Morshiels. With his success as a playwright Shiels was able to give up his shipping agency business and he moved to Carnlough in County Antrim. Shiels died at Carnlough on September 19th, 1949.



Libraries NI


Heritage, Belfast, Ulster and Irish Department
Belfast Central Library
Royal Avenue
Northern Ireland

Access Control

Mon: 09.00 - 20.00
Tues: 09.00 - 17.30
Wed: 09.00 - 17.30
Thurs: 09.00 - 20.00
Friday: 09.00 - 17.30

Sat: 09.00m - 16.30
Sun: Closed

Libraries NI has an extensive range of resources that are of benefit to historians, researchers, genealogists, students and those who have an interest in cultural and community life, past or present.

You can get advice in any public library in Northern Ireland, with the main heritage collections located in libraries in ArmaghBallymena,BelfastDerryDownpatrickEnniskillenNewryOmagh and the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies (MCMS). 


Administrator Role







Public Library Service





The Northern Ireland Library Authority (Libraries NI) was established in April 2009 as a result of the Review of Public Administration. Libraries NI has the statutory responsibility for the provision of public library services in Northern Ireland. Its functions are laid down in the Libraries Act (Northern Ireland) 2008. It is a Non Departmental Public Body which reports to the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure. The Board of the Authority consists of a Chairperson and 18 Members, 11 of whom are Councillors, within the meaning of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972. All Board Members are appointed by the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure. The executive business of the Board is carried out by a team of officers under the leadership of the Chief Executive. The Executive Team is organised into three strategic units, each being led by a member of the Senior Management Team.