Armagh Observatory Library and Archives

The Library of the Armagh Observatory is one of the premier astronomical collections in Ireland, encompassing a core collection of textbooks, many scientific journals concerning astronomy and related sciences, and archives of scientific and historic interest. Its foundation can be traced to the establishement of Armagh Observatory in 1790 and its holdings include long runs of the major national and international astronomical and astrophysical research journals, and certain climatological journals, in addition to popular works and publications from many of the world's leading observatories. The core collection of textbooks covers most topics in astronomy, with additional texts in mathematics, physics and climatology. The collection is currently accruing new literature on a day-to-day basis. In addition, the Archives comprise documents relating to: the founding, staffing and administration of the Observatory; the Library; observations made at the Observatory and elsewhere; meteorological records; astronomical drawings; and a range of papers associated with various directors and staff of the Observatory. The Archives also contain the rare and antiquarian scientific book collection of the third Director, the Revd Dr Thomas Romney Robinson, and interesting documentary evidence of the history of the Newry and Armagh Railway, and other railways. Issues such as staffing, finance and instruments of the Observatory are detailed in the Archives. The papers detailing the administration of the Observatory include items such as the printed Act of the Irish Parliament setting up the Observatory in 1791, with the 1938 amendment, Minutes of Governors' meetings and annual reports of the Directors. Also included is a collection of 21 leases, tithes and various legal documents concerning the Observatory's estates at Derrynaught, Tullynure and Carlingford.


A modern astronomical observatory containing a comprehensive archive which details the history of the Armagh Observatory and its principal concerns since its foundation in 1790.

Physical characteristics

Approximately 3000 textbooks, 5000 photographs, approximately 1000 shelf-metres of manuscripts, journals and textbooks, and 50 journal and periodical titles comprising a collection of approximately 17000 journal volumes.

Description or Catalogue


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Added by Armagh Observatory | Last updated on: 18 May 2021