The Irish and Local Studies Library at Armagh comprises books, eighteenth and 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. Some consideration has been given to the amassing of material in areas where interest is growing such as women's studies and the environment, contributing to the overall balance of the collection. Irish literature, history and politics are well covered, particularly the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The collection has a wide-ranging selection of plays, novels and poetry by both well-known and obscure writers as well as works of criticism and piterary histories. A considerable proportion of these works are in the Irish language.
Noteworthy are some valuable and scarce titles dealing with "tours in Ireland". Local authors like James Stuart, well known for his work “Historical Memoirs of the City of Armagh”, published in 1819 and Rev Henry Boyd, who achieved fame as the first translator of Dante into English – published first in Dublin, 1785 and later in London, 1802 are represented in this collection. The works of many of Newry’s famous sons – John Kells Ingram (Regius Professor of Greek and later Librarian at the University of Dublin, President of the Statistical Society of Ireland and also of the Royal Irish Academy), the poets Thomas Caulfield Irwin, William Drennan and William Hamilton Maxwell to name a few, are represented, all of which made up part of the original stock of the Newry Free Library established in 1897. History coverage includes important subject areas dealing with the Irish linen trade, railways, Irish regiments, church history, directories, economic and historical pamphlets from the seventeenth century through to the present day. A small selection of material dealing with the 1798 Rebellion, photographs and postcards (political and local), books relating to counties Armagh, Tyrone and Down, famine reports and two manuscripts relating to Armagh Hospital are also to be found. The Antiphonary of Bangor, Book of Lismore and other rare Irish MSS facsimilies, Borlase - The dolmens of Ireland, Carew's Lyra Anacepalaeosis Hibernica, Sulzbach 1666 also feature. This collection includes material for the study of Irish history from a wide range of approaches and emphases. Armagh has long been established as a centre of the Christian church in Ireland and in keeping with this the library has endeavoured to build up its material on ecclesiastical matters. Books, pamphlets and journals, some rare and valuable, pertaining to the history, theology, organisation and practises of all denominations, their activities and influence in Europe and further afield, as well as the histories of individual parishes and church institutions are included. The theory and history of political parties, organisations and movements, from mainstream to obscure radical alternatives, North and South, pre and post Partition are featured in the library's political material. It includes many rare pamphlets dating from the seventeenth century to recent times (approximately 615 items), as well as the famous Linen Hall Collection of political journals from the "Troubles" on microfiche and a selection of earlier, mainly radical, twentieth century papers on microfilm. Included in the collection are Parliamentary Papers, House of Lords (Ireland) Journals, Dublin 1783 (Sleater) 1634-1800, Irish Statutes, 1310-1761, Irish Statutes and Journals of the House of Commons (Dublin).
Comprehensive collection with local interest value for researchers. The history, culture, economic activities and other significant features of most of the towns, villages and parishes throughout the area are covered. In addition to all of the standard, recognised works there are many others which are out of print and difficult to obtain elsewhere.
In excess of 70 000 volumes.
Inhouse database for monographs; local newspapers acquired post 1998 listed on an in-house database.
Libraries NI have legal ownership of this collection. All enquiries regarding access and permissions should be directed to Libraries NI.