The Royal Irish Academy/Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann champions research. We identify and recognise Ireland’s world class researchers. We support scholarship and promote awareness of how science and the humanities enrich our lives and benefit society. We believe that good research needs to be promoted, sustained and communicated. The Academy is run by a Council of its members. Membership is by election and considered the highest academic honour in Ireland.

Read more about the RIA

Audio and Digital Collections

A series of audio recording of public lectures and conferences in addition to other digital collections hosted by the by the Royal Irish Academy library.

Audio-Visual Guide to the Academy and its Library

We have prepared a guided tour for you to learn about the history of the Academy and some of the famous writers, historians and scientists associated with our institution. You can also find out about the library collections and the Academy’s activities and projects. Find out more

The Doegen Records Web Project

Listen to recordings of Irish speakers every region Ireland (1928-31). Learn more

The Books of Knockninny: manuscripts, culture and society in 18th-century Fermanagh

This Irish manuscript was compiled in 1718 for Brian Mág Uidhir of Knockninny, Co. Fermanagh. It contains a selection of historical poems and prose texts and is now usually referred to as the Book of Knockninny. It was presented as a reworking of an older compilation that had been made in 1638 for Brian Mac Cú Chonnacht Mág Uidhir. The older manuscript had fallen into disrepair and Brian Mág Uidhir of Knockninny invited scholars to assemble manuscript sources at Knockninny so that scribes could produce a new Book of Knockninny in 1718.

The contents include Gabháltas na hÉireann, Réim Ríoghraidhe na hÉireann, Seanchas na Naomh nÉireannach, Cath Mhaighe Léana, Teagasc Rí Solmain, the Ó Cléirigh recension of the Leabhar Gabhála, and a variety of historical poems. It also contains poems from the early seventeenth-century poetic dispute known as Iomarbhagh na bhFileadh.  Listen back to our lunchtime lectures that accompanied this exhibition. 
Handout for Dr Nollaig Ó Muraíle's lecture. 

Discovering Thomas Moore: Ireland in nineteenth-century Europe

Listen back to our lunctime lecture series that accompanied our exhibition 'Discovering Thomas Moore: Ireland in nineteenth-century Europe'. Curated by musicologist Dr Sarah McCleave, School of Arts, English & Languages, QUB, the exhibition exposes the breadth of Moore’s research and writing about Ireland and explores Moore’s role as an Irish writer with an international reputation in positioning Ireland within Europe through cultural exchange. It also addresses contemporary European fascination with the orient and Moore’s influential role in depicting eastern culture, particularly via his hugely successful work, Lalla Rookh.

Count Paul Strzelecki and the Great Famine

Listen back to our lunchtime lecture by Professor Peter Gray, Queen's University Belfast, and Associate Professor Emily Mark-FitzGerald, University College Dublin, curators of the current exhibition 'A Forgotten Polish Hero of the Great Irish Famine: Paul Strzelecki’s Struggle to Save Thousands', hosted in the RIA until 30 August 2019.


Listen back to our lunchtime lecture series celebrating sisterhood and specifically the lives and achievements of five families of sisters who made their mark on Irish life. 

Françoise Henry at UCD: Towards a history of Art History in Ireland

A Library Lunchtime Lecture on archaeologist and Irish art historian Françoise Henry, MRIA.

"To please and to reform mankind" a life of protest: Jonathan Swift, 1667-1745

Exhibition and Lunchtime Lectures commemorating the 350th anniversary of Jonathan Swift's birth.

Curated by Dr Andrew Carpenter, MRIA and the Librarian, Siobhán Fitzpatrick, this Swift 350 exhibition explores the writings of Jonathan Swift using the Academy collections of pamphlets, broadsides and Swift’s manuscript accounts book. Including loan items, the display will demonstrate Swift’s prodigious output in a variety of formats from illustrated editions of Gulliver’s Travels and the Drapier’s Letters to the Modest proposal and much more.  Click here to listien to the lectures.

‘A life of two exiles: Wacław Tadeusz Dobrzyński (1883-1962)’

Lunchtime Lecture to accompany the Polish Embassy's exhibition on the life and career of Consul-General Wacław Tadeusz Dobrzyński. Ian Cantwell, grandson of the Consul-General Wacław Tadeusz Dobrzyński, gave a talk on his grandfather at the Royal Irish Academy on 10 May 2019, 13:00.

Book of Uí Mhaine Conference Recordings

The Book of Uí Mhaine is one of the most important manuscripts of late  medieval Ireland. Its size, scope and extent, the range of texts it encompasses and its illumination all mark it out as one of the outstanding productions of Irish scholarship in this period. Written in the late fourteenth century for Muircheartach Ó Ceallaigh (†1407) Lord-Bishop of Clonfert, and subsequently associated closely with the O’Kelly family, it is a veritable treasure trove of traditional Irish history and learning.  In addition to lengthy genealogical tracts on the Uí Mhaine in South Galway and on many notable Irish families, it contains versions of the Bansheanchas, the Dindsheanchas, Cóir Anmann, wisdom texts, glossaries, poetry and many other compositions.

Following highly successful conferences on Lebor na hUidre (2012) and the Book of Ballymote (2015), speakers at the conference on the Book of Uí Mhaine discussed its background and structure, its artistic illumination, its place in Irish intellectual life of the time and its subsequent history. Listen to the lectures here

Nollaig Ó Muraíle
‘Some of those associated with the Book of Uí Mhaine, c.1390–1690’ audio handout

Bernadette Cunningham & Raymond Gillespie
‘The origins and later history of the Book of Uí Mhaine’ audio 

Elizabeth Boyle
‘Middle Eastern history in the Book of Uí Mhaine’ audio handout

Michael Clarke
‘The poetry of measured time: verses on world-kingship and their international context’ audio handout

Marie-Luise Theuerkauf
‘The Dinnsheanchas text in the Book of Uí Mhaine’ audio handout 

Ruairí Ó hUiginn
‘Heroes and ancestors in the Book ofUí Mhaine’ audio handout

Pádraig Ó Macháin
‘The Book of Uí Mhaine and the transmission of poetry’ audio 

Mícheál Hoyne
‘Classical Modern Irish poems on the Í Cheallaigh’ audio handout

Deborah Hayden
‘Auraicept na nÉces and the study of language in the Book of Uí Mhaine’ audio handout

Liam Breatnach
‘Metrical tracts in the Book of Uí Mhaine’ audio handout

Karen Ralph
‘The illumination in the Book of Uí Mhaine’ audio

Charitable property: the manuscripts of St Anne's Guild, Dublin

Professor Colm Lennon gives a talk on the manuscripts of the Guild of St Anne, part of the Haliday Collection held at the Royal Irish Academy.

The Guild of St Anne was established in 1430 by charter of King Henry VI and a chantry chapel was established at St Audoen’s Church, Dublin. The guild had its own common seal and was entitled to buy and lease property to fund the maintenance of the chapel. Through donations and bequests from well to do members and benefactors, the guild became very wealthy. The Haliday collection includes over 200 documents relating to the Guild. A selection of deeds and documents are currently on display as part of the Library's exhibition 'Dublin Documents: highlights from Charles Haliday's manuscript collection'

Listen to lecture

Representations of Jews in Irish Literature

Funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Representations of Jews in Irish Literature is a landmark project between Ulster University and the National University of Ireland, Galway. It examines the portrayal of Jewishness through an exhibition, laectures and publications which include a selection of key Irish-Jewish writing and Irish literature about Jews. Adopting a thematic and chronological approach, it investigates the depiction of Jews and Jewishness in Ireland from the Annals of Inisfallen in the medieval period, then through to centuries of poetry, prose and drama to the present day.  Exploring the relationship between Jews and Ireland as found in the literary record, it reveals both the prejudices of writers who often had little or no direct contact with Jews and, later, an emerging Irish-Jewish literary sphere that shows a vibrant, vocal community at ease with its hyphenated sense of identity and culture. It also acknowledges the fraught past faced by a minority culture in Ireland and how this culture sought recognition and found accommodation on this island, and ultimately, found its place in the pantheon of Irish history, writing, and society. 

Listens to the lectures


Library Seminar: Remembering Hugh O'Neill, 1616-2016

This Library Seminar, in association with the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, took place at Academy House on Thursday 1 December.

Fostered in the Pale after his father’s murder on Shane O’Neill’s orders, Hugh O’Neill, c. 1550-1616, 2nd earl of Tyrone, is portrayed alternately as charismatic, Machiavellian, a ruthless opponent, a skilled negotiator, a power seeker par excellence, an innovator. He died at Rome on 20 July 1616. On the four-hundredth anniversary of the passing of the last of the earls, our seminar assessed O’Neill ─ the man, his milieu, Ulster in the 1600s, his many battles and his ultimate capitulation.

Lunchtime Lecture Series

Book of Fenagh 500th anniversary Series

St Caillín and the Book of Fenagh, 1516-2016
Lunchtime Lecture by Dr Pádraig Ó Riain, MRIA, Professor Emeritus, UCC
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
First of two lunchtime lectures on topics related to the Book of Fenagh exhibition 'Book of Fenagh 500th anniversary'
Listen to the lecture here

The shrine of St Caillín of Fenagh and its place in Irish late medieval art
Lunchtime Lecture by Dr Paul Mullarkey, National Museum of Ireland
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Second of two lunchtime lectures on topics related to the Book of Fenagh exhibition 'Book of Fenagh 500th anniversary'  
Listen to the lecture here
Download images from the lecture here

From medieval text to mobile: folk medicine in Irish tradition

Wednesday, August 24, 2016 

Dr Bairbre Ní Fhloinn's lecture on 'From medieval text to mobile: folk medicine in Irish tradition' was organised in association with the Irish Texts Society. This lecture took place at the Royal Irish Academy during Heritage Week 2016.

Bairbre Ní Fhloinn lectures and is Head of Subject in Irish Folklore, in the School of Irish, Celtic Studies and Folklore at University College Dublin. Her research interests include folk medicine, occupational belief and practice, the role of tradition in contemporary popular culture, folk belief and associated narratives, and the work and history of the UCD National Folklore Collection and its predecessors. She has published widely on a range of topics, and has been a frequent contributor to radio and television programmes over the years. She has also studied folklore abroad, in Helsinki and in Sardinia. Listen to the lecture here

Intellectual life in Ireland, 1910-1920

A series of Lunchtime Lectures exploring the works of some key scholars and organisations that helped shape ideas of Ireland and Irishness. Listen to Dr Chantal Kobel talks about Irish scholar Prof. Eleanor Knott, one of the first women to be made a member of the Royal Irish Academy, and her important contributions to scholarship in the area of Celtic Studies. Dr Regina Uí Chollatáin looks at Irish language journals between 1910-1920, examining their impact  on the intellectual life and on the understanding of culture and identity. Larry White discusses the writings of Desmond Ryan (1893-1964) and their influence in shaping the story of the Easter rising. Professor Mary Daly, President Royal Irish Academy, looks at the Academy, its history and also discusses the decision to expel Eoin MacNeill and his subsequent reinstatement.  Listen to the lectures here

1815, 1915: Centenaries and bicentenaries: Celticists, lexicographers and antiquarian scholars

In Spring 2015 the Library, in collaboration with the Dictionary of Irish Biography (DIB) and Foclóir na Nua-Ghaeilge (FNG), organised a series of lectures entitled ‘‘1815, 1915: Centenaries and bicentenaries: Celticists, lexicographers and antiquarian scholars.’ The series looked at the contributions made by some nineteenth-century scholars to the development of Celtic Studies, the Irish language, lexicography, archaeology and antiquarian research, textual studies and Irish history.   Listen to the lectures here

Scribing for Ireland: the Ó Longáin family and the Royal Irish Academy

A series of Lunchtime Lectures organised to accompany the exhibition ‘Scribing for Ireland: the Ó Longáin family and the Royal Irish Academy'. Listen to the lecture here

From Dublin Westward: Petrie, Clonmacnoise and Aran by Professor Tom Dunne

George Petrie (1790-1866) was a noted Antiquarian, whose detailed recording of medieval ecclesiastical architecture, especially, made him an important figure in the development of what became Irish Archaeology. Listen to the lecture here

Mapping city, town and country since 1824: the Ordnance Survey in Ireland

Lecture Series organised by the Royal Irish Academy Library and the Irish Historic Towns Atlas. Listen to the series here

1014 Battle of Clontarf

A millennium has passed since the Battle of Clontarf took place on the outskirts of Dublin, Good Friday 1014. Involving on the one hand, the Vikings, both Dublin-based and from further afield, their Irish allies and supporters, and on the other, the allies of Brian Boru, leader of the Dál Cais, the story of Clontarf has long been portrayed as a battle between the Irish and the Vikings, in which the Irish claimed victory. Yet as the sun set on the battle, Brian and members of his own family and many of the Irish leaders lay dead. Listen to the lecture series here.

‘Aon amharc ar Éirinn’: Irish families and their manuscripts

From July 2013 to February 2014, the Academy Library curated an exhibition which explored the themes of Seanchas ─ ‘the memory and narrative of Irish history as preserved and written from the early medieval period to the writing of histories of Ireland in the seventeenth century’. Listen to the lecture series here.

Science Lecture Series

The 2012 Science Lecture Series was organised by the Academy Library as an integral element of an exhibition Science at the Royal Irish Academy: ‘Uniting whatever is pleasing with whatever is useful’: an exhibition: July 2012-May 2013. Listen here.

Conference: Book of Ballymote, 5-6 February 2015

The Book of Ballymote (BB), compiled between the late-fourteenth and early-fifteenth centuries, is one of the most remarkable Irish manuscripts we have. Its size and extent, the range of material it contains and its striking illumination all mark it out as an important work of late medieval learning. There are many questions that can be asked about this remarkable codex and the society in which it came into being. What was the intent of the scribes and scholars who compiled it? Why were the texts found in the BB so chosen? What sources were used in its compilation?  Why was it so extensively and richly decorated? How does BB relate to other medieval manuscripts, in particular, the slightly later Great Book of Lecan?  What do we know of the later history of BB? These questions and many more were explored at a conference orgainsed by the Library in February 2015. Listen to the audio recordings from the conference here.

Conference: Lebor na hUidre, 22-23 November 2012

Lebor na hUidre is the oldest manuscript we have that is written entirely in the Irish language. The library held a conference to look at this important manuscript. The conference, organised jointly by the Library of the Academy and by NUI Maynooth, took place 22-3 November and proved to be an outstanding success with over 110 delegates in attendance. Several of those who attended travelled from institutes as far afield as Switzerland, The Netherlands, Germany and Russia. The conference was opened by Academy President, Luke O’Connor Drury. Listen to the audio recordings from the conference here. The Proceedings of the conference have been published and are available to buy via our Publications department Codices Hibernenses Eximii, ed. Ruairí Ó hUiginn, MRIA. The second volume will be published later this year. 


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