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.

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RIA Membership Certificates, 1785 – 1920

The Academy Library holds a collection of Certificates of Candidate. These are forms recommending individuals for membership of the Academy. The forms contain information such as the candidate’s name, address, profession or qualification for membership, the signatures of those members who acted as proposers and date of election.

There are few extant certificates for the early years of the Academy and the collection is not comprehensive. However, the information contained in the extant certificates can inform us about the composition of the membership over time and can yield other data, e.g. who were the proposers, were some members more active than others in proposing candidates for election? What were their affiliations? Who were the movers and shakers? Can the certificates provide us with information about antiquarian or scientific networks?

The Library has now completed Phase 1 of a project to catalogue and digitise certificates for the years 1785-1920.  The certificate records and digital images may be found on the Manuscripts Catalogue

How to search for a Member's Cert

Sample search for the Member’s Certificate for author, naturalist, director of the Clare Island Survey, National Library of Ireland Librarian and president of the Academy (1931-4), Robert Lloyd Praeger, 1865-1953:

In the above catalogue, at Manuscript Number field, type in MRIAC

At the Subject field, type in Praeger.  Press Search at bottom of screen.

The record will now appear in a new screen. Click on the link.  You should now see the details of the Certificate and an image.  Click on the image to enhance it.

Certificates may be downloaded or printed out freely.

We have simultaneously updated Membership records for all members elected 1785-1920, regardless of whether there are certificates for these members. The records now contain links to the Dictionary of Irish biography and images of members, depending on availability.  The Membership database is an internal one but we are examining ways to make the earlier records available online and to present a content-rich resource which will be fully searchable and accessible to all.

Phase 2 of the project, 1921-1960 is now in hands. 

The project contributors are: Konstantin Ermolin (cataloguing and verification of records), Dave McKeon (photography and scanning), Bernadette Cunningham (advisor).

This page will be updated on an ongoing basis.





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