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Royal Irish Academy - Library

Address. Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2 [Map]
Telephone. (01) 676-2570, 676-4222
Fax. (01) 676-2346
e-mail. [library@ria.ie]
Internet. http://www.ria.ie/

Governing body or responsible institution. Council Royal Irish Academy
Function. Research library.
Subjects. Archaeology, Celtic studies, history, Irish language and literature, natural and applied sciences.

Access. Opening hours: Monday to Friday 10.30 a.m. - 5.15 p.m. Usually closed for three weeks in August, for one week at Christmas and from Friday to Tuesday at Easter. Regulations for use by non-Members of the Royal Irish Academy are available on request and on the Academy's website.
Special facilities. Photocopier, microform reader-printer, CD-ROM, Internet access. Power points in Reading Room for lap-top computers. Microfilming and photography by arrangement.
Travel directions. Academy House is in the city centre - next to the Mansion House, official home of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, near urban bus routes and within walking distance of railway stations, the central bus station and car parks. The National Library of Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland are all a short walk from Dawson Street. - No parking facilities.


1.1 The Royal Irish Academy was founded in April 1785 for the promotion of pure sciences, antiquities and literature. Soon after its foundation the Academy procured the publications of main academies in Europe and when the first volume of the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy was published in 1787 copies were sent to these institutions. Eventually formal agreements with learned bodies throughout the world built up the collection of foreign scientific journals, a strength of the library to the present day.

1.2 To further scholarly research into the history, antiquities and literature of Ireland the Academy has always endeavoured to conserve the cultural records of the country. Archaeological artefacts were collected and displayed in Academy House until 1890 when the collection was transferred to the newly established National Museum of Ireland. The Cross of Cong, the Tara brooch, the Ardagh Chalice and many other objects on view in the National Museum today were originally in the Academy's collection.

1.3 The Academy holds a large collection of manuscripts (2,500), of which c. 1,500 are in Irish, constituting the largest corpus of Irish manuscripts in a single repository. These manuscripts include some of the oldest extant written in Gaelic and Hiberno-Latin, i.e. the ``Cathach' (Psalter) of St. Columba, the Stowe Missal, the Leabhar Breac, Lebor na hUidre, the Book of Lecan. Manuscripts in the English language cover a variety of subjects, e.g. the Charlemont Manuscripts, which are the papers of James Caulfeild, 1st Lord Charlemont (1728-1799) and President of the Academy (1785-1799), and the Ordnance Survey Manuscripts (compiled during field studies for the 6-inch maps in the 1830s). Of Irish archaeological and topographical interest are the manuscripts of John Windele (1801-1865). Papers of Charles Bethune Moffat (1859-1935), Robert Lloyd Praeger (1865-1935), Richard J. Ussher (1841-1913), and others, reflect the growing interest in the study of natural history in the 19th century.

1.4 For two centuries books, pamphlets and offprints were added to the library by bequest, by donation, and by exchange. The collection is not homogeneous, nor is the library particularly large, but it holds many titles not found in any other library in Ireland. In 1855, part of the library of the poet Thomas Moore (1779-1852) was donated to the Academy by his widow (see below 2.5 ). Pamphlets and tracts mainly in the English language and dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries collected by Charles J. Haliday (1789-1866) were donated to the Academy in 1867. The Haliday collection covers a wide variety of subjects, such as history, ecclesiastical history, education, law and many other related subjects.

1.5 The Academy has received government support from its inception to the present day when the Higher Education Authority supervises the annual grant. The Dictionary of Medieval Latin from Celtic Sources, Foclóir na Nua-Ghaeilge, the Irish Historic Towns Atlas and the Dictionary of Irish Biography are some current Academy projects. Today one of the functions of the Academy is the administration of National Committees affiliated to international bodies (IUPAC, IUPAP, etc.). The proceedings of seminars held by these are generally published by the Academy. Academy House dates from the 18th century and is a listed heritage building maintained by the Office of Public Works.


Chronological outline and analysis by language

2.1 The library at present holds c. 80,000 vols, 4,000 of which are pre-1851 publications. There are 8 incunabula. The German titles constitute a very small percentage of the library's holdings. In 1822 a catalogue of printed works in Academy House was produced. Approximately two-thirds of the 270 entries recorded therein as ``German' can be traced in the library today.

Subject outline

2.2 The collection's strength are Irish history, archaeology, Celtic Studies, Irish language and literature, the sciences in Ireland, etc. In relation to the German titles chemistry and mineralogy are predominant due to the bequest of 1,204 items in 1813 of the library of Richard Kirwan (1733-1812), second President of the Royal Irish Academy (1799-1812). The Kirwan collection consists mainly of 18th-century books. During his lifetime Kirwan had corresponded with the leading scientists of Europe. One of the many academic distinctions he had received was that of honorary membership of the Berlin Academy and of the Mineralogical Society of Jena. The 1822 catalogue features some German translations of Kirwan's works, including Anfangsgründe der Mineralogie translated by Lorenz Crell (Berlin and Stettin 1785). The first list of Honorary Members of the Royal Irish Academy includes ``M. Bernouilli, Berlin, ``M. L. Crell, Helmstadt and ``M. la Grange, Berlin'. The academy library holds some of Crell's works, e.g. Die neuesten Entdeckungen in der Chemie (Leipzig 1781-1784), in 10 vols.

2.3 Of 8 incunabula held, two were printed in Basel: Bartholomaeus Anglicus, De proprietatibus rerum and Plura ac diversa divi Augustini sermonum opera (1494), and one in Strasbourg: Albertus Magnus, Compendium theologicae veritatis (1489). There are a few 16th to 17th-century imprints of German interest, for example: Lazarus Ercker's Beschreibung Allerfürnemsten Mineralischen Ertzt und Berckwercksarten (Prague 1574), Johann Peter Ludwig's Curieuser Geschichts-Kalender (Leipzig 1697) and Georg Peurbach's Theoricae novae planetarum (Wittenberg 1551). Further examples are Bartholomaeus Gorgevic's De origine imperii Turcorum (Wittenberg 1562), his Ludovici Carlii Rhodigini lectionum antiquarum libri triginta (Frankfurt 1599), Paul Hentzner's Itinerarium Germaniae, Galliae ... (Breslau 1617), Nicholas Caussin's De symbolica Ægyptiorum sapientia (Cologne 1623) as well as Octavian Mirandula's Illustrium poetarum flores (Frankfurt 1629).

2.4 The scientific collection includes 18th and 19th-century titles in German, published in Germany, Sweden, etc. and translations of the works of German scientists. There are for example Johann Gottfried Jugel, Mineralischer Hauptschlüssel, das ist: Sonderbare Entdeckung aller seiner geheimen Röst- und Schmeltz-Arbeiten, dem edlen Bergbau zum Besten (Zittau and Leipzig 1753), Johann Georg Friedrich Klein, Ausführliche Beschreibung der Metalllothe und Löthungen (Berlin 1760), Laurenz Johann Daniel Suckow, Entwurf einer Physischen Scheidekunst (Frankfurt and Leipzig 1769), Johann Philipp Becker, Mineralogische Beschreibung der Oranien-Nassauischen Lande nebst einer Geschichte des Siegenschen Hütten- und Hammerwesens (Mar-

burg 1789), Pierre Joseph Macquer, Chymisches Wörterbuch (Leipzig 1781-1783) or Georg Adolph Suckow, Anfangsgründe der ökonomischen und technischen Chymie (Leipzig 1784).

2.5 The library of Thomas Moore (see above 1.4) comprises c. 2,000 items which cover classics, belles-lettres, Irish and European history. There are a number of continental, British and Irish imprints from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Among the continental books are imprints from Basel, Berlin, Breslau (Wrocaw), Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanau, Heidelberg and Jena. Examples to be noted are Euripides, Tragoediae (Heidelberg 1597), Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae (Frankfurt 1603), Johann Albert Fabricius, Bibliothecae graecae liber IV (Hamburg 1708), John Owen, Epigrammata (Breslau 1668), Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch, Libri III ad Autolycum (Hamburg 1724) or Rerum Britannicarum, id est Angliae, Scotiae ...scriptores vetustiores ac praecipui (Heidelberg 1587). From the 18th century, there are some French titles, such as Louis du Four de Longuerue, Longuerruana, ou recueil de pensées (Berlin 1754) or Voltaire's Oeuvres complètes (72 vols, Basel 1784-1801).

2.6 The bequest of an Irish entomologist Alexander Haliday (1806-1870) brought some German works relating to natural history. These include 18th and 19th-century works, such as Kant's Metaphysische Anfangsgründe der Naturwissenschaft (Leipzig 1800), Wilhelm Engelmann, Bibliotheca historico-naturalis (Leipzig 1846) and a number of special studies in zoology, such as Wilhelm Gottlob Rosenhauer, Die Thiere Andalusiens (Erlangen 1856), Elias Metschnikow, Embryologische Studien an Insecten (Leipzig 1866), Johann August Ephraim Goeze, Entomologische Beyträge zu des Ritter Linné 12. Ausgabe des Natursystems (Leipzig 1777) or Franz von Paula Schrank, Enumeratio insectorum Austriae indigenorum (Augsburg 1781). The number of offprints and monographs by German pioneers in the field of Celtic Studies and philology was augmented by the bequest of the library of Osborn Bergin (1879-1950).

2.7 Some of the 18th-century scientific journals from German Academies held in the Academy are Histoire de l'Académie Royale des Sciences de Berlin (1745-1769) and its continuation Nouveaux Mémoires (1770-1801), Novi Commentarii of the Akademie der Wissenschaften in Göttingen (1769-1777), followed by Abhandlungen. The exchange of publications with these two academies has continued to the present day. There are eight Leipzig titles, six relating to chemistry, as well as Neues Journal der Physik (vols 1-4, 1795-1797) and Neuestes Magazin für die Liebhaber der Entomologie (vol. 1, 1791-1792), and also 15 vols of Almanach oder Taschen-Buch für Scheide-Künstler und Apotheker (1783-1799). There are also some 18th and 19th-century issues of journals from Dresden, Erfurt, Frankfurt, Halle, Jena, and from Salzburg, Vienna, Zürich, etc. such as Magazin der Bergbaukunde, ed. by Johann Friedrich Lempe (vols 1-9, Dresden 1785-1792, lacks vol. 7), Allgemeine Deutsche Naturhistorische Zeitung (n. s., vols 1-3, Dresden 1855-1857), Magazin der Entomologie, ed. by J. C. Hendel (vols 1-4, Halle 1813-1821), Abhandlungen der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft zu Halle (vols 1-25, 1783-1906, imperfect), Magazin für den Neuesten Zustand der Naturkunde (vol. 1, pts 1-4, Jena 1797-1799), or Beiträge zu der Insekten-Geschichte (vols 1-4, Frankfurt 1790-1793).


3.1 Modern catalogues

Computerized catalogue

[Comprises all recent acquisitions and some post-1850 titles; earlier titles are only retrievable via the card catalogues. It is the library's intention to automate the earlier material.]

Card catalogue

[alphabetical; for earlier books and pamphlets]

Haliday Pamphlet Collection

[MS catalogue, in chronological order]

Academy Pamphlet Collection

[MS catalogue]

The Academy Library is an associate member of the Consortium of European Research Libraries.

3.2 Special catalogues

Collison Black, R. D.: A catalogue of pamphlets on economic subjects published between 1750 and 1900 and now housed in Irish libraries. Belfast 1969

The incunables are recorded in the Incunabula Short Title Catalogue (ISTC).

3.3 Historic catalogue

Catalogue of the library, Royal Irish Academy House. Dublin 1822


4.1 Archival sources

Muniments of the Royal Irish Academy. 1785-

4.2 Publications

Bonfield, Caitlin; Farrington, A.: The library of the Royal Irish Academy. In: An Leabharlann 8 (1941) pp. 10-16

Bonfield, Caitlin: The Royal Irish Academy and its library. A brief description. Dublin 1964; rev. ed. 1971

The Royal Irish Academy. A brief description. Rev. ed., Dublin 1971; repr. 1980

Craig, Maurice: Academy House and its library. In: The Royal Irish Academy. A bicentennial history 1785-1985. Dublin 1985, pp. 313-327

See also: A directory of rare book and special collections ...2nd ed. London 1997, pp. 608-610

July 1998 Íde Ní Thuama

Quelle: Handbuch der historischen Buchbestände in Deutschland. Digitalisiert von Günter Kükenshöner.
Hrsg. von Bernhard Fabian. Hildesheim: Olms Neue Medien 2003.