Closely allied to the Belfast Printed Book Collection at the Linen Hall Library is the Kennedy Collection of Ulster Poets. This collection was donated to the Library by David Kennedy, a Governor of the society and library from 1963-1974. The collection comprises the published work of the poets of the north of Ireland in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Little known outside their own locality, the poetic output of these men and women was until recently attributed to (and largely dismissed as ) an attempt to imitate the Scottish bard, Robert Burns. It was not until John Hewitt's study - "Rhyming weavers" that their social, historical and poetic importance was established. The books which contain this poetic outpouring are extremely scarce. They are small volumes of stitched paper, or rudely bound in boards, they were printed in Belfast, Strabane, Newry, Portadown and many smaller towns in Ulster. They comprise a finite collection of poetry and are a valuable source of local and social history. Kennedy's manuscript catalogue of the collection lists some 568 titles, one of which is unique to the Linen Hall Library.
Very rare collection of poetry by Ulster's "Rhyming weavers". In John Hewitt's words - "their written idiom was largely that of words which they spoke, not the language of print."
Approximately 568 titles, small voulmes of stitch paper, some bound crudely in boards.