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

The Royal Irish Academy Archives

The Royal Irish Academy was founded in 1785. From its inception it has retained minutes of Stated Meetings of the Academy and minutes of meetings of the Academy Council. The Academy also holds minute books recording decisions taken at meetings of the Committee of Polite Literature and Antiquities (PL&A) (1870-) and the Committee of Science (1785-). Committees of Antiquities (1785-1870) and Polite Literature (1785-1870) merged into one committee. Most of manuscript minute books (excepting the current volumes in use by the Academy administration) are available for consultation by registered readers in the Reading Room of the Academy Library. Council minutes are subject to privacy and data protection regulations.

Card index of Minute Books

An integrated card index to the contents of the four separate sets of minute books is available for consultation in the Reading Room:

  • Academy Minutes are indexed on cards for the years 1785 to Feb 1955.

  • Council Minutes are indexed on cards for the years 1785 to 1965.

  • Polite Literature & Antiquities Committee Minutes are indexed on cards to July 1988.

  • Science Committee Minutes are indexed on cards to May 1955.

Catalogue records for the various sets of Minutes, etc. are available on the Manuscripts Catalogue. These also include miscellaneous other Academy Committees such as the Publication Committee (1837-), Library Committee (1840-), Economy Committee (1843-1924), Irish Studies Committee (1865-) etc.

Abstracts of Minutes of Proceedings of the Academy have been published as appendices to the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. These are available for consultation in the library Reading Room.

Annual Reports of the Royal Irish Academy have been issued as separate publications each year from 1966-67 to 2002-03. From 2003-04 the title has changed to Annual Review.

Members of the Royal Irish Academy

The Academy has published lists of elected members (MRIAs) periodically. These published lists, the earliest of which is dated 1846, are available for consultation in the Library Reading Room. Lists record the name and address of each member, the date of election, the section to which they were elected (Science or Polite Literature and Antiquities), and the years (if any) in which they held office in the Academy. The names of Honorary Members are also recorded.

An online list of current members of the Academy is also available. [Link to list of current members]. An online list of past members is in preparation.

The original manuscript Certificates of Membership of the Royal Irish Academy, created at the time members are proposed for election are also preserved in the Library, though with some lacunae.

Select bibliography

T. Ó Raifeartaigh (ed.), The Royal Irish Academy: a bicentennial history, 1785-1985, (Dublin, 1985) (out of print). This history of the Royal Irish Academy was published in 1985 on the occasion of the bicentenary of its foundation. It draws on the archival material preserved in the Academy muniments and discusses many aspects of the work of the Academy in its first 200 years.


The Main Narrative (R.B. McDowell)

Antiquities (G.F. Mitchell)

Irish Studies (E.G. Quin)

Polite Literature (W.B. Stanford)

Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (T.D. Spearman)

Experimental Physics (T.E. Nevin)

Astronomy, Geology, Meteorology (Gordon L. Herries Davies)

Chemistry (Eva M. Philbin)

Biology (Colm Ó hEocha)

Academy House and its Library (Maurice Craig)


List of Presidents

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