Royal Irish Academy Library

Royal Irish Academy Library,
19, Dawson Street,
Dublin 2
D02 HH58



The Royal Irish Academy was founded in 1785 as a learned society for the promotion of the sciences and the humanities in Ireland.  The elected membership has since comprised individuals drawn in equal measure from the two cultures.  Educational and political developments in nineteenth-century Ireland presaged a growth in the membership and an increase in members based in the universities. The twentieth century saw the election of women to Academy membership.

Since its inception, publication in the sciences and humanities has been a key objective of the Academy and a major exchange of publications programme ensured that the Library holds a comprehensive collection of scientific journals from the eighteenth century to the late twentieth, many of which constitute unique holdings.

The Library also boasts early scientific publications, particularly in the fields of chemistry and geology, part of the library of the second president, Richard Kirwan, 1733-1812, as well as other early scientific works and later on, the vast entomological libraries of A.H. Haliday, 1807-70 and Cynthia Longfield, 1896-1991.  The muniments of the Academy’s Committee of Science and the records of various scientific projects managed by the Academy are also held, as are minute books of earlier scientific societies.  Letters, essays, correspondence in the fields of botany, geology, medicine, meteorology and ornithology are also held.

The Academy Library also holds the largest collection of medieval medical manuscripts in the Irish language, an important resource for medical and language scholars and for the social history of medieval Ireland.

Scientific resources at the Royal Irish Academy Library                   

Minute Books:

  • Royal Irish Academy Committee of Science, Science, 1785-
    • Fauna & Flora Committee, 1929-56
    • Praeger Committee, 1956-
    • Quaternary Research, 1833-1953
  • Physico-Historical Society, 1755-51 MS 24 E 28
  • Medico-Philosophical Society, 1756-84 MS 24 K 31
    • Repository of the Medico-Phil. Soc. MSS 24 E 5-6
  • Kirwanian Chemical & Natural History Soc., 1815 MS 12 B2 17
    • Other related vols. MSS 12 B 2 15-6
  • Dublin Natural History Soc., 1838-45 MS 12 P 2
  • Dublin Microscopical Society, 1867-92 MSS 12 F 53 and 23 P 22

Newspaper cuttings on Scientific institutions of Dublin  2 vols               MSS 24 B 28-9

17th century interest

  • Botanical and medical papers,  17-18th century MSS 24 Q 2

18th century interest

  • Letters of Sir Joseph Banks to Bp. Thomas Barnard, MRIA MS 12 N 3
  • Richard Kirwan, Notes on chemical experiments, Dec. 1784-Nov. 1785     MS 24 I 30
  • Guillaume-Francois Rouelle, Cours de Chimie…   1754-5 MSS 24 E 35-6
  • Silvester O’Halloran, A new philosophical and medical treatise of the air, 1755-6 

MS 24 K 9

  • John K’eogh, Herbal MS 12 E 19
  • Richard Kirwan’s library of scientific books (17th-18th century)

19th century- 20th century interest


Essays on science etc. MSS 12 O 2-6;

MSS 12 O 14;

MSS 12 P 8

F.G. Heine, Essays on scientific subjects, 1833 MS 24 E 23 presented by the British Assoc. for the Advancement of Science on their visit to Ireland, 1835.


  • John Templeton, Native Irish plants, 1794-1810 MS 3 B 48
  • Zelda Reynell, Botanical notes, 1865-6 MSS 23 E 67-8
  • A.G. More, 1830-95, Correspondence and papers MSS 4 B 46-7
  • Charles Bethune Moffat, 1859-45, Notebooks, diaries, correspondence. MSS 4 B 48-49C
  • Robert Lloyd Praeger, 1865-1953, Papers Praeger Papers
  • R.A. Phillips, 1866-1945, Correspondence, specimens, notebooks etc. MSS 4 B 50-51
  • R.A. Stelfox [and R.J. Welch], Works on Mollusca MSS 12 X 13; 15
  • Knud Jessen, 1884-1971, Notes and papers on survey of Ir. bogs       MS 12 X 26


  • Entomological library of A.A. Haliday, 1807-70
  • Entomological library and collection of papers, photographs etc. of Cynthia Longfield, 1896-1991.  The collection is known as the Longfield Roberts collection.


  • Patrick Ganly, Letters to Richard Griffith, 1837-46 MSS 12 E 27-9
  • G.V. du Noyer, Album of geological drawings MS 3 D 6

Meteorology and tidal observations:

  • Observations taken at Derrynane, 1845-6 MS 24 I 31
  • Observations taken at Kilranalagh, Co. Wicklow, 1806-14 MS 12 K 14
  • RIA Observations from locations throughout Ireland, 1850-51 MSS 24 L 41-50
  • Miscellaneous meteorological notes by Hardiman et al. MS 24 Q 26
  • F.H. Orpen, Meteorological observations at Dublin, 1805-41 MS 12 B2 21
  • Samuel Haughton, Curves of the diurnal tides of the coasts… MS 24 Q 1


  • R.J. Ussher, Bird notes Ussher Bird Notes 1-10

The Library holds a good collection of early imprints related to science in Ireland as well as the journals of most of the major European and American academies, institutes and societies connected with scientific investigation from the 18th to mid-20th century.

For further information contact: or 01-6090620    Catalogues accessible at:

Compiled: S. Fitzpatrick, Academy Librarian, 2015.