The Oireachtas Library & Research Service (L&RS) provides information and research services to Members of the Oireachtas. Our mission is to contribute to a well-informed parliament and our vision is to strengthen the democratic process by providing Members with equal access to information and research services, and by enhancing public access to research and collections.
The Oireachtas Library was established in 1924 in response to the Members’ need for access to library and other materials to fulfil their legislative and constituency duties. The most significant acquisition at that time was the transfer of the Chief Secretary’s Office’s Library from Dublin Castle to the Houses of the Oireachtas. This collection was, in effect, the reference library of the British administration in Ireland up to 1922. It contained a range of books, maps and archives with the oldest items dating from the sixteenth century.
A complementary acquisition was the transfer of items from the Irish Office library in London, following the dissolution of this office. This collection included parliamentary material from the Irish House of Lords and a collection of political pamphlets and essays commenting on political, social, economic and religious issues of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
The original acquisitions have remained in the custody of the Oireachtas Library and now form the nucleus of our Special Collections. We have digitised almost 80% of our Special Collections and made the files freely available to view on opac.oireachtas.ie.