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Treasures of the Royal Irish Academy Library

by  Bernadette CunninghamSiobhán Fitzpatrick
€ 55.00

Book Details

Published by 832

January 2009


Number of pages: 288

ISBN: 9781904890546

This beautifully illustrated volume examines the nationally and internationally important holdings of the Library of the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin. The book celebrates the diversity of the works that the library curates, and explores the nature and origins of the collections and artefacts. The authors have worked closely with the corpus of learning housed in the Library. Their account sheds light on the people who have gathered and commented on the works and shows how this major learning resource has enhanced the understanding of Ireland. The book discusses the library's collection of over 1,400 manuscripts in the Irish language; the records of the 19th-century Ordnance Survey; rare scientific and natural history imprints; the incomparable Haliday Pamphlet and Tract collections from the 17th century; the rich Forde-Pigot collection of Irish airs; and thousands of antiquarian drawings that cover the entire island.

About the authors

Bernadette Cunningham

Dr Bernadette Cunningham is a graduate of University College Galway and University College Dublin, with degrees in History and Political Science and a PhD in Irish. She holds a postgraduate qualification in librarianship from Aberystwyth University (Wales). She has been Deputy Librarian at the Royal Irish Academy since 1998, having previously worked in the libraries of Trinity College Dublin and Mater Dei Institute of Education (now incorporated into Dublin City University). She now works part-time.

She came to work in the Academy library because of its major collections of Irish manuscripts.  She has published widely on early modern Irish cultural and intellectual history. Books include The world of Geoffrey Keating (Dublin, 2000); The Annals of the Four Masters: Irish history, kingship and society in the early seventeenth century (Dublin, 2010); Clanricard and Thomond: 1540–1640: provincial politics and society transformed (Dublin, 2012), and (with Raymond Gillespie), Stories from Gaelic Ireland: microhistories from the sixteenth-century Irish annals (2003).

She compiled two volumes of the new Calendar of State Papers Ireland, Tudor period series for the Irish Manuscripts Commission.

Edited books include (with Máire Kennedy) The experience of reading: Irish historical perspectives (Dublin, 1999); (with Harman Murtagh) Lough Ree: historic Lakeland settlement (Dublin, 2015); and (with Kristina Rexová, Václava Horcáková and Vera Hanelová), Historical bibliography as an essential source for historiography (Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference of the European Historical Bibliographies Network, held in Prague, 2013) (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 2015). She is a former editor of Irish Economic and Social History, a peer-reviewed academic journal.

She is current editor of Irish History Online, the national online bibliography of writings on Irish history ( She has served as president of the Group for the Study of Irish Historic Settlement, 2010–2013, and chairperson of the Rare Books Group (Library Association of Ireland), 2013–2015.

Siobhán Fitzpatrick

Siobhán Fitzpatrick held the position of Librarian to the Academy until April 2020. She has co-edited several monographs on antiquarian and bibliographical themes and has written on science publication in Ireland and on aspects of the Academy's manuscript and print collections. 

Siobhán has served as President of the Library Association of Ireland and as Hon. General Secretary of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. She is a past chair of CONUL (the Consortium of National & University Libraries).